The 2007-2008 Global Cooling Event: Evidence for Clouds as the Cause

World low cloud cover in January 2008. NASA

The 2007-2008 Global Cooling Event: Evidence for Clouds as the Cause

September 26th, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

As I work on finishing our forcing/feedback paper for re-submission to Journal of Geophysical Research – a process that has been going on for months now – I keep finding new pieces of evidence in the data that keep changing the paper’s focus in small ways.

For instance, yesterday I realized that NASA Langley has recently updated their CERES global radiative budget measurement dataset through 2008 (it had previously ran from March 2000 through August 2007).

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this update because of the major global cooling event we saw during late 2007 and early 2008. A plot of daily running 91-day global averages in UAH lower tropospheric (LT) temperature anomalies is shown below, which reveals the dramatic 2007-08 cool event.
UAH-LT-during-Terra-CERES

I was especially interested to see if this was caused by a natural increase in low clouds reducing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the climate system. As readers of my blog know, I believe that most climate change – including “global warming” – in the last 100 years or more has been caused by natural changes in low cloud cover, which in turn have been caused by natural, chaotic fluctuations in global circulation patterns in the atmosphere-ocean system. The leading candidate for this, in my opinion, is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation…possibly augmented by more frequent El Nino activity in the last 30 years.

Now that we have 9 years of CERES data from the Terra satellite, we can more closely examine a possible low cloud connection to climate change. The next figure shows the changes in the Earth’s net radiative balance as measured by the Terra CERES system. By “net” I mean the sum of reflected shortwave energy (sunlight), or “SW”, and emitted longwave energy (infrared) or “LW”.
Terra-CERES-LW-SW

The changes in the radiative balance of the Earth seen above can be thought of conceptually in terms of forcing and feedback, which are combined together in some unknown proportion that varies over time. Making the interpretation even more uncertain is that some proportion of the feedback is due not only to radiative forcing, but also to non-radiative forcing of temperature change.

So the variations we see in the above chart is the combined result of three processes: (1) radiative forcing (both internal and external), which can be expected to cause a temperature change; (2) radiative feedback upon any radiatively forced temperature changes; and (3) radiative feedback upon any NON-radiatively forced temperature changes (e.g., from tropical intraseasonal oscillations in rainfall). It turns out that feedback can only be uniquely measured in response to NON-radiatively forced temperature changes, but that’s a different discussion.

The SW component of the total flux measured by CERES looks like this…note the large spike upward in reflected sunlight coinciding with the late 2007 cooling:
Terra-CERES-SW

And here’s the LW (infrared) component…note the very low emission late in 2007, a portion of which must be from the colder atmosphere emitting less infrared radiation.
Terra-CERES-LW

As I discuss at length in the paper I am preparing, the physical interpretation of which of these 3 processes is dominant is helped by drawing a phase space diagram of the Net (LW+SW) radiative flux anomalies versus temperature anomalies (now shown as monthly running 3-month averages), which shows that the 2007-08 cooling event has a classic radiative forcing signature:
Terra-CERES-vs-LT-phase-plot-3-mon

The spiral (or loop) pattern is the result of the fact that the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag. The dashed line represents the feedback I believe to be operating in the climate system on these interannual (year-to-year) time scales, around 6 W m-2 K-1 as we published in 2007…and as Lindzen and Choi (2009) recently published from the older Earth Radiation Budget Satellite data.

The ability to separate forcing from feedback is crucial in the global warming debate. While this signature of internal radiative forcing of the 2007-08 event is clear, it is not possible to determine the feedback in response to that temperature change – it’s signature is overwhelmed by the radiative forcing.

Since the fluctuations in Net (LW+SW) radiative flux are a combination of forcing and feedback, we can use the tropospheric temperature variations to remove an estimate of the feedback component in order to isolate the forcing. [While experts will questions this step, it is entirely consistent with the procedures of Forster and Gregory (2006 J. Climate) and Forster and Taylor (2006 J. of Climate), who subtracted known radiative forcings from the total flux to isolate the feedback].

The method is simple: The forcing equals the Net flux minus the feedback parameter (6 W m-2 K-1) times the LT temperature variations shown in the first figure above. The result looks like this:
Terra-CERES-rad-forcing-6.0

What we see are 3 major peaks in radiant energy loss forcing the system: in 2000, 2004, and late 2007. If you look at the features in the separate SW and LW plots above, it is obvious the main signature is in the SW…probably due to natural increases in cloud cover, mostly low clouds, causing internal radiative forcing of the system

If we instead assume a much smaller feedback parameter, say in the mid-range of what the IPCC models exhibit, 1.5 W m-2 K-1, then the estimate of the radiative forcing looks like this:
Terra-CERES-rad-forcing-1.5

Note the trend lines in either case show a net increase of at least 1 W m-2 in the radiant energy entering the climate system. The anthropogenic greenhouse gas component of this would be (I believe) about 0.4 W m-2, or a little less that half. I’ll update this if someone gives me a better estimate.

So, what might all of this mean in the climate debate? First, nature can cause some pretty substantial forcings…what if these occur on the time scales associated with global warming (decades to centuries)?

But what is really curious is that the 9-year change in radiative forcing (warming influence) of the system seen in the last two figures is at least TWICE that expected from the carbon dioxide component alone, and yet essentially no warming has occurred over that period (see first illustration above). How could this be, if the climate system is as sensitive as the IPCC claims it to be?

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183 thoughts on “The 2007-2008 Global Cooling Event: Evidence for Clouds as the Cause

  1. “But what is really curious is that the 9-year change in radiative forcing (warming influence) of the system seen in the last two figures is at least TWICE that expected from the carbon dioxide component alone, and yet essentially no warming has occurred over that period (see first illustration above). How could this be, if the climate system is as sensitive as the IPCC claims it to be?”

    That was precisely the point of Lindzen’s recent devastating (to alarmists) paper: you can *measure* sensitivity from events like this, and the plug numbers in the gcm models are (unsurprisingly) all absurdly high.

    Couple that with the expected missing tropical tropospheric water-vapor feedback hotspot and all the measurable evidence indicates that the alarmism is a crock based on apparently wishful over estimations of H20 feedback.

    We need to keep reminding everyone that this sensitivity is an *input* to the GCMs, i.e. the models are irrelevant because without positive water vapor feedback CO2 warming is small compared to natural variability.

    What “proof” the alarmists have of high H20 sensitivity amounts to a claim that they cannot otherwise explain the warming from 1970 to 1998. That’s one of the weakest widely-defended arguments in the history of science.

    We also have heard for 20 years now that someday we’ll have powerful enough computers for models with the cellular resolution to model clouds. I find it highly suspicious that there’s not a hint of even a very slow small scaled simple cloud model that supports warmism — despite a 1000x improvement in computing capabilities in the past 20 years. Indeed Lindzen’s “Iris” theory — which at least explains the absence of a tropical tropospheric hot spot — is all we really have.

    It’s so sad to see science so captured by political interests.

  2. Climate Change is not for you or me to alter. It is not for you or me to decide to change which way it goes. It is not yours or my decision to make. How arrogant it is of us to think we have any say in which way the climate of our planet is to go.

    The harshest thing we could possibly throw at planet Earth would pale in comparison to the Mt. Vesuvius volcanic eruption that completely destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy: 79 A.D. Or consider Mount Krakatoa, Indonesia: On August 27, 1883, Mount Krakatau exploded with such force that it was heard in Australia, over 2,000 miles away. The force of the eruption triggered a series of tsunamis that reached the Hawaiian islands and the coast of South America, killing more than 36,000 people. The five cubic miles of ejecta covered the surrounding areas in darkness for over two days and caused a series of dramatic sunsets around the world throughout the following year. The explosion and subsequent collapse of the volcano left only a remnant of the island above sea level. Yes, around the world.

    Events such as these have the power to alter the climate of our planet, but even events of this magnitude have only a temporary affect on the global climate. Within some short years the climate re-balances itself. If all the nukes in the world were to explode in one place, it would pale in comparison to a Krakatau type event. Don’t think you have any say in the matter of climate change, because you don’t.

  3. jeez (18:44:42) :
    Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy
    It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.

  4. Kasmir 18:26:32

    Mistaking the 1970-1998 warm-up as being caused by CO2 is the grandest example ever of the Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy. And really, that’s all it was. It’s just stunning that so many fell for it.
    ==========================

  5. “the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag.”

    I am not a climate scientist, I do electronics and the systems I deal with are simple compared with the climate, however …

    It would take some strong arguments to convince me that the overall system response has significant delay but the feedback doesn’t. It may be possible that part of the system has rapid feedback but it is likely that the system as a whole has significantly delayed feedback. It also seems to me that, if you ignore the whole system feedback term, you will never be able to model the system accurately.

    My candidate for overall system feedback is something like this: There are decadal oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. That means that the system’s response to a forcing is delayed by years. The ocean influences the atmosphere and thereby influences cloud formation. The clouds influence inputs to and outputs from the system. There’s your feedback, years after the original forcing.

  6. “the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag.”

    I made the observation a few weeks ago; the temperature response of the ocean “due to solar activity” lags the forcing. I do tend to believe the Sun is also a factor.

  7. Your are both wrong gentlemen over dark enthalpy and candle wicks.

    T’was the electric light that slew the ghost.

    Now all we need is a big enough lantern to get rid of all that dark matter that seems to be clogging up the universe.

    Kindest Regards

  8. “The ability to separate forcing from feedback is crucial in the global warming debate.”

    Profound statement….and profound post.

    Bravo.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  9. Beneath Dr. Roy’s first chart is a link via the word “candidate” to one of his earlier reports. Include this in your reading.

    His work, and studies and reports by others, marginalize the role of CO2 in climate change. The problem now is that a multitude of things, or pieces, have been put forward to account for the changes seen at different time scales. These pieces have not been put into a coherent whole that is sufficiently simple that I can present it to anyone. A comparison may be made to the notion of continental drift (matching coasts but no mechanism) and plate tectonics (messy details still being investigated) but considered sound science nevertheless.

    So, say I buy that the cold phase of the PDO causes more clouds that block solar energy and the atmosphere cools. However, the PDO index is not easily explained to just about anyone, and we are still left with what causes the shift in the PDO index (or any of the other ocean descriptors.)

    When a coherent story can be cobbled together from all the pieces such that a non-scientist can grasp its reasonableness in an under 10 minute explanation, then I think the CAGW train can be derailed. Until then it is only being slowed. Thus the big push to enact laws and treaties before someone makes a new story believable.

  10. [snip - your email address of "nospam@hotmail.com" is invalid, in that it does not reach you directly. Per our posted policy on the policy page, your participation is denied, sorry. If you wish to use a valid email address, you can post a comment.]

  11. John F. Hultquist (21:54:38) :

    Yes, and Global Warming will cause an Ice Age, freezing instantly anyone in it’s path, and re-installing Laurentide subroutine in 2 short weeks.

    So, with the several years of bare minimum Solar Activity running down the ocean’s heat, the lag of which is just now starting to be felt, the cooling of 2007-8 will be repeated until the system stabilizes to the new input. Riding the Bucking Bronco of Climate Change.

  12. Jerky (22:19:02) :
    The link you provide leads to an analysis that relies on bogus temperatures about which readers of this site are well aware.
    Perhaps instead of your misdirected remark you could read what is presented in this current post and comment on it, either pro or con, based on your analysis of it. I’d be happy to read your respectable comments rather than having wasted time reading the snide renderings of someone else. Thanks for wasting my time. Translation: I’ll not read anything by Jerky again.

  13. The Europeans are socialists. It’s only logical they would be the first people on the planet to accept the blame for climate change.

  14. jeez (18:44:42) :

    Dr. Spencer,

    Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy

    Enthalpy is the amount of internal energy of a thermodynamic system plus the product of its volume by the pressure exerted on that thermodynamic system by an external operator. U = E + VP

    Well intentioned questions:

    What’s “dark” enthalpy? Enthalpy cannot be known directly, so it would have been ignored absolutely if not were by the changes (ΔU) in the internal energy of the thermodynamic systems. Then, is enthalpy always “dark” because we cannot measure it directly or what are you talking about?

    Another definition for enthalpy is ΔU = Cp (T2T1). It is the change of internal energy what we know as “enthalpy”; how could a variation be “dark”?

  15. rbateman (22:34:39) : Riding the Bucking Bronco of Climate Change.

    I like that!

    Some people want to visit Rome or Paris, or another famous place. I would like to stand at the apex of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and take a digital panorama of the landscape. I likely will need more than two weeks to accomplish this as it is a little late in the 2009 season. Winning a small lottery would help too. So let’s not install that subroutine without a holding clause in front of it. Thanks.

  16. There are 1000 different ways to say the same thing. It is important that you figure out what those 1000 different ways are and use them. As long as those 1000 different ways same thing, make the same point, and convey the same message as the original way. Hearing the same thing said the same way over and over again gets boring. Kids don’t like to here that.

  17. Yes, and Global Warming will cause an Ice Age, freezing instantly anyone in it’s path, and re-installing Laurentide subroutine in 2 short weeks.

    Oh yeah, there was serious movie about that, wasn’t there? It was a real blockbuster and totally believable!

    Just in case there’s someone who doesn’t implicitly get sarcasm…
    [/sarc]

  18. a jones (20:30:06) :
    Now all we need is a big enough lantern to get rid of all that dark matter that seems to be clogging up the universe.
    “Let there be light! And there was!” (I. Asimov among others)

  19. Leif Svalgaard (18:51:22) :
    It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.

    Eureka, you have found it.
    That’s what’s wrong with the Sun, it’s ill from sucking up the cold darkness of Insterstellar Space too fast.
    Let’s call that the Solar Ice Cream Headache Theory.
    You get a vote for quote of the week.

  20. Leif Svalgaard (18:51:22) :

    jeez (18:44:42) :
    Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy
    It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.

    So Leif subscribes to the Darkon theory. Something I’ve always found fascinating whenever photons seem so passe at the moment. I just noticed this effect earlier when I was paying $2.69 a gallon to have previous transportation sucked out of my vehicle. Hmmm, I see a new thread starting when my favorite solar scientist submits to the dark side.

  21. Leif Svalgaard (18:51:22) : “It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.”

    A noted astronomer once assured me at a party that days were “longer in the zummer und shorter in the vinter, because heat expands und cold contrakts!”

  22. Thank you for the CERES radiative balance graphs. They show that there is no heat in the pipeline stored somewhere e.g. in the oceans. The heat that we did not have during the cool year 2007 is lost forever to the outer space.

    The consequence of that is that the recovery from the cool period will be normal instead of rapid as AGW promoters suggest. The lost heat can’t have watervapor and other feedbacks, either.

  23. What ever happens in this debate The American people must lead the way. Smaller countries cannot buck the direction your government takes in this issue. We all hold with bated breath the struggle that is fought in your country.

    The friendly government to the north has tried to divert, wiggle and dodge but we can only do so much. I love this blog, I make my views know and try to influence, but public opinion is everything to governments here. so it up to American opinion makers to turn the tide and I have a feeling it will not be long. Just hope its not to late.

    To all those who post I find your comment refreshing and insightful keep it up.

  24. When the history of this lamentable episode is written, Dr Spencer will have an honorable and prominent place in it.

  25. It would seem to me that atmospheric cooling causes clouds and not clouds causeing atmospheric cooling, although both go hand in hand. Dew point( clouding ) is proxy for moisture, pressure and temperature.
    It also seems that the lag time of several years in the various components of the hydrosphere and atmosphere will make modeling difficult. The use of proxies may help to simplify, as in warm oceans push energy towards poles, warm oceans and cooling atmosphere yield more clouds, forcing cooling . Cooling oceans under warm atmosphere forces less clouds and more heating. Actually the atmosphere average temperature changes little, it is the oceans that really gain and lose energy and therefore water vapor that transports the energy from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere. A very large version of a hurricane. K.I.S.S.

    The Sun varies it’s output a little, the earths orbit changes a little, but in a balanced system in a good vacuum the real changes would be small but visable as in more or less polar ice in one pole or the other. This makes me feel very very small.
    From our tiny point of view large changes,

  26. jorgekafkazar (23:28:02) :
    A noted astronomer once assured me at a party that days were “longer in the zummer und shorter in the vinter, because heat expands und cold contrakts!”
    Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun, because is shines at night when it is dark, and we need the light more.

  27. I would like to, once again, bring to the millions of WUWT readers the evidence that the Sun drives the PDO.

    Most recently, in a paper published in March this year, Dr. Ichiro Yasuda, Professor, Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo showed that the Luna Nodal Cycle (LNC) drives the PDO.

    The citation is: Yasuda, I. (2009), ‘The 18.6-year period moon-tidal cycle in Pacific Decadal Oscillation reconstructed from tree-rings in western North America’, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L05605, doi:10.1029/2008GL036880.

    Here is the Abstract:
    “Time-series of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) reconstructed from tree-rings in Western North America is found to have a statistically significant periodicity of 18.6- year period lunar nodal tidal cycle; negative (positive) PDO tends to occur in the period of strong (weak) diurnal tide. In the 3rd and 5th (10th, 11th and 13rd) year after the maximum diurnal tide, mean-PDO takes significant negative (positive) value, suggesting that the Aleutian Low is weak (strong), western-central North Pacific in 30–50N is warm (cool) and equator-eastern rim of the Pacific is cool (warm). This contributes to climate predictability with a time-table from the astronomical tidal cycle”.

    The last LNC maximum happened on September 16, 2006.

    According to Prof Yasuda’s finding the PDO should now be taking a significant negative value, as is being found. The climate consequences are therefore as expected.

    There is substantial evidence that the LNC is a significant contributor to our planet’s climate dynamics. I include an illustrated explanation of the LNC and review a lot of the published literature about its contribution to climate dynamics in my paper “The Sun’s role in regulating the Earth’s climate dynamics” published in the Journal of Energy and Environment Vol 20 No 1 2009.

    Amongst other things I wrote:
    “The ocean currents generated by the northward movement of the tidal bulge, in conjunction with the rotation of the Earth through the bulges in the normal manner creating our experience of the tides, brings warmish equatorial water to the Arctic accelerating the warming that had being going on there because of other forms of solar activity as discussed below.
    The LNC has maximum effect at higher latitudes, resulting in higher sea levels at these latitudes. It creates tidal currents resulting in diapycnal mixing, bringing the warmer equatorial waters into the Arctic. The LNC is therefore a major determinant of Arctic climate dynamics, influencing long term fluctuations in Arctic ice. As a result, it is a key driver of European climate.”

    There is also a very good paper accompanied by useful discussion and web links about the LNC on WUWT here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/23/evidence-of-a-lunisolar-influence-on-decadal-and-bidecadal-oscillations-in-globally-averaged-temperature-trends/#more-7965

    (aka http://tinyurl.com/mrjq9e )

    The effect of the LNC is amplified by the distinctive geography of the high latitude oceans, e.g. the North Pacific and the Bering and Okhotsk Seas.

    Prof Yasuda and his colleagues have been researching the role of the LNC for several years. Their work is meticulous and rigorous. It builds on other published research in this field over the last forty years, which I’ve reviewed in my Journal of Energy and Environment paper.

    A little about how the Sun creates the LNC:

    The Sun’s gravitational field makes the Moon’s Earthly orbit swivel around in a clockwise manner, over a cycle of 18.6 years, with respect to the plane of the Earth’s orbit, the ecliptic. The Moon moves with respect to the ecliptic up and down a northerly latitude throughout the LNC. This arises because the Earth is titled on it axis and inclined away from the Sun and because the Moon’s orbit is tilted a little relative to the ecliptic. It is as if the Sun strives to pull the plane of the Moon’s orbit into its own plane, the ecliptic. But there is an alternate motion at right angles to the applied force, resulting in a revolution of the pole of the Moon’s orbit around the pole of the ecliptic.

    The LNC encodes information about the Moon, Earth, Sun geometry that relates to tidal extremes, at least at high latitudes. It defines how the angle of the Moon’s orbit to the Earth’s equatorial plane combines with, or partially cancels out, the tilt in the Earth’s axis. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, during the LNC the Moon moves along a northern latitude about ten degrees from a position about 18.5 degrees north of the equator to one that is 28.5 degrees, which it reaches after 18.6 years.

    I can send my Journal of Energy and Environment paper to anyone who wants it.

    The LNC was first reported by John Bradley in his grandly titled “A Letter to the Right Honourable George Earl of Macclesfield Concerning an
    Apparent Motion observed in Some of the Fixed Stars”, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol 45, London, 1748, pps 1 to 45.

    James Bradley was Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford and in 1742 he succeeded Edmond Halley as Astronomer Royal.

    Professor Bradley read his paper at a meeting of the Royal Society on February 14, 1747.

  28. Leif Svalgaard (23:59:47) :
    Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun, because is shines at night when it is dark, and we need the light more.

    Can you provide us a link to the data?

  29. Dr Roy writes
    “the 9-year change in radiative forcing (warming influence) of the system seen in the last two figures is at least TWICE that expected from the carbon dioxide component alone, and yet essentially no warming has occurred over that period (see first illustration above). How could this be, if the climate system is as sensitive as the IPCC claims it to be?”

    Could a look at the absolute levels of incoming and outgoing radiation rather than the anomalies help us get a better handle on this?

    It’s doubly perplexing because according to ARGO data the oceans have been ‘slightly cooling’ since 2003. If the energy from the oceans has been lost to the air, and the air hasn’t warmed up, it must be escaping to space. Yet the anomalies indicate no big increase in outgoing radiation.

    Could something else in/on the ocean be absorbing energy and sequestering it in a form not available as sensible heat? Biological processes on a big enough scale to make a difference?

    Could the increased incoming energy be offset by some aspect of waning solar influence we don’t yet understand or measure. Or that we do measure but don’t yet understand enough to relate it to global temperature?

  30. Another question.
    Has Dr Roy looked at the outgoing LW for the tropics in comparison to the 85N-85S data? Might that not be instructive as to the disposition of cloud at the regional in contrast with the global situation?

  31. Richard Mackey (01:08:47) :
    Jimmy Haigh (01:37:11) :

    Thank you for sharing your insights…
    The Saros cycle really helps me join up some dots in my understanding…

    Reading WUWT is like reading a “Who Dun It?”… looking for clues… spotting the “red herrings”… watching out for liars and cheats… waiting for reliable forensics…

    Wikipedia states that the earliest discovered historical record of the Saros cycle is by the Chaldeans (ancient Babylonian astronomers) in the last several centuries BC. This fuels my prejudice that we need to combine astrology and astronomy on a cosmic scale if we wish to fully understand our climate drivers…

    But there are still parts of the puzzle that are missing… my instinct is that those missing parts are the ones that are hard to see with the naked eye… things like gravity, electricity and magnetism… It will be very interesting for me to learn more about Piers Corbyn’s perspective in October… he might not be totally correct… but I get the feeling that he may be looking in the right holistic direction….

  32. Nice to see Roy’s progress with this since I agree with his basic premise that the climate system provides overwhelming negative feebacks to forcings emanating internally from the ocean/air interaction.

    Lots of detail still to be resolved but currently supporting my overview of an ocean driven system rather than an air driven system as proposed by AGW theory and sceptics such as Svensmark.

    I still support the Svensmark idea but as a minor modulating effect rather than as a primary driver.

  33. p.g.sharrow “PG” (23:55:20) :

    It would seem to me that atmospheric cooling causes clouds and not clouds causeing atmospheric cooling, although both go hand in hand.

    On the radiative issues, clouds prevent warming. It is by evaporation and precipitation that clouds are produced, causing cooling.

  34. Whoops, just noticed this:

    “The spiral (or loop) pattern is the result of the fact that the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing.”

    which goes contrary to my view that the oceans initiate the forcings in the first instance.

    However it is possible for the oceans to nevertheless start the process off by cooling which causes more low level cloud and a greater albedo effect which reduces incoming solar energy to the oceans which then cool further until the oceans start to release more energy again from their own internal variability.

    Perhaps Roy could clarify his opinions on the chicken and egg aspect.

    From a recent thread where he showed the various lags for ocean surface temperatures, clouds, rain then wind it was a little amiguous whether windspeed changes caused the SST changes or were a consequence of them. I favour higher ocean surface temperatures leading to greater windiness from a speeding up of the hydrological cycle and then cooling of the ocean surfaces rather than,
    reduced windiness leading to higher ocean temperatures then more cloud and rain bringing temperatures down again.

    The reason I say that is that logically, increased windiness would more plausibly be a direct result of a faster hydrological cycle rather than decreased windiness allowing the oceans to warm up and then indirectly causing the hydrological cycle to speed up.

    Always go for the shortest route for causation.

  35. Leif Svalgaard (01:57:03) :

    That got me thinking. the planet mercury contributes to global warming, since its much closer to the earth than the sun and bounces solar energy right in our faces, in a much amplified way. The fact that we can sometimes see mercury as a bright object in the sky means that this is true. Also: Has anyone considered that all the stars in the sky that radiate energy – much more so than our sun- could cause global warming? My new theory is that every time a star dies and becomes a red dwarf, the temperature here on earth drops, as we no longer get its heat, and the temperature goes up again once the energy of new stars traverses the universe and hits our planet. Just because we live in the solar system doesn’t mean that things beyond it don’t impact us and our loved ones.

    PS If it wasn’t for the moon shining at night, temperatures here would be -45C at night. :-(

    Its just as well we have c02 as a contingency if all these planetary systems fail us. ;-)

  36. Is the amount of water going into the atmosphere(evaporation) always balanced by the amount falling as rain(precipitation)? Can we measure this?

  37. I was interested in the following two comments (my emphasis added):

    …probably due to natural increases in cloud cover, mostly low clouds, causing internal radiative forcing of the system

    I think this is quite an assumption.

    and

    what if these occur on the time scales associated with global warming (decades to centuries)?

    Yes, what if? That is a good question that cannot be answered now nor can we wait a few centuries using our satellites to find out.

    Here is a paper that can be freely downloaded titled:

    Trends in Observed Cloudiness and Earth’s Radiation Budget
    What Do We Not Know and What Do We Need to Know?

    It is quite sobering because it shows how poorly we understand cloud trends and their impacts.

  38. jeez (01:51:48) :

    Nasif Nahle

    Another definition for enthalpy is ΔU = Cp (T2 – T1). It is the change of internal energy what we know as “enthalpy”; how could a variation be “dark”?

    Perhaps this could help?

    I don’t need classes of English 101, but straight answers to those questions. People who know me understand perfectly my English.

  39. Further to Richard Mackey’s posting on the Saros Cycle, our local newspaper, the Telegraph-Journal, carried a long article on that very topic on Sept 26. I just went to the website of the paper for the article [http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/front/article/804396} and was surprised to find an entirely different article! (It is worth a read, but the “missing” one has more information.) I believe that they transposed the article on the topic that was supposed to appear on Monday (28th). Anyone interested in the subject of the Saros Cycle, Saxby Gale, etc., should have a look at the “generic” website [http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/] on Monday and see if the article that appeared in print on Saturday is posted on Monday.

    IanM

  40. Mr. Spencer,

    I always look forward to posts from you. Thank you for this one.

    Also, I remember your prediction of when public opinion of global warming could change : you said it might take cooler weather to change it since the science wasn’t. And you were right. The harsher winters in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the last 2 to 3 years are making people have doubts about Al Gore’s global warming.

    The Farmers Almanac (if it’s ok to refer to that) says this winter will be a harsh one too. So public opinion should continue in the same trend.

    The science (the data) was what formed my viewpoint of global warming/climate change. You had an important part in that. That was because I did a search on my own ; “Seek and you will find.” I can only wish the general public would have done the same. AGW would be long gone if it had.

    Thank you again Mr. Spencer. I will be looking forward to your next post here,

    Gene Nemetz, a fellow Yooper.

  41. Hey, Scott, why can’t we ‘wait a few centuries’ to understand the natural cycles. The knowledge will come when it does, not because of an exogenous need.
    ===================================

  42. I did something like that on ‘The Open Mind’ last year; it about drove Tamino nuts. Answer, Scott has published his question at Tom Fuller’s site already.
    ======================================

  43. Stephen…the ocean temperature lags the radiative forcing response to a natural cloud change, but as you said, that cloud change could have been initiated by the ocean itself.

    If it was an ocean TEMPERATURE change that initiated a cloud change, then that is (by definition) FEEDBACK. In that case, the radiative change associated with the cloud change is seen concurrent with the ocean temperature change, which causes a straight line on the phase space plot.

    But if it’s radiative forcing, not a direct or indirect result of an ocean temperature change, then the resulting temperature change has a 90 deg. phase lag with the forcing.

    I would have never figured this out intuitively without running the simple forcing-feedback model and trying different kinds of forcings and feedbacks.

  44. ….that explanation was a little muddled:

    The radiative response to an ocean temperature change (say, more clouds, less vapor, or whatever) is by definition FEEDBACK.

    RADIATIVE FORCING is a radiative imbalance caused by anything other than an ocean temperature change, and the temperature response to it lags the radiative forcing by 90 degrees. It causes loops or spirals in phase space plots. The feedback in response to this temperature change can not be measured because it is drowned out by the radiative forcing.

    NON-RADIATIVE FORCING is something like increased winds causing increased evaporation causing anomalous cooling….it leads to linear striations in phase space plots, the slope of which is the feedback parameter.

    So, feedback can only be clearly seen in response to non-radiative forcing (e.g. evaporation or ocean upwelling driven temperature changes), not radiative forcing (e.g. cloud changes brought about through and processes not caused by a surface temperature change)

  45. tallbloke (03:30:26) : “It’s doubly perplexing because according to ARGO data the oceans have been ’slightly cooling’ since 2003. If the energy from the oceans has been lost to the air, and the air hasn’t warmed up, it must be escaping to space. Yet the anomalies indicate no big increase in outgoing radiation.”

    Look at the second to last figure.

    tallbloke (03:49:08) : You know, I’ve been wondering about this myself, since it would be nice to see an apples to apples comparison with Lindzen’s ERBE analysis.

    Roy, when might we expect your results to get published? It would be nice if you had some kind of bar on the webpage which tells us what stage you are at so we don’t need to keep asking. I get this idea because-big dork that I am-I read a lot of web comics, and many of them actually release print volumes etc. and anyway, the point is that they tell you when the scripts are written, when the line art is done, when the coloring is done, when the volumes are in print, shipping, etc.

    You could have something that says what stage of publication your latest work is. In preparation, submitted, in review, undergoing revision (let’s hope that this isn’t continually necessary), Accepted for publication, and In Press.

  46. *******
    tallbloke (03:30:26) :

    Could something else in/on the ocean be absorbing energy and sequestering it in a form not available as sensible heat?
    *******

    Yes, mixing w/cooler subsurface water. The “heat” is diluted and much of it no longer interacts w/the atmosphere (going below surface), but would show up in an “ocean heat” accounting.

    Colder surface ocean water acts as a heat-sink, its effect depending on the amount & depth of mixing.

  47. michel (23:47:49) :

    When the history of this lamentable episode is written, Dr Spencer will have an honorable and prominent place in it.

    For most of us, Dr Spencer has an honorable and prominent place in the present.

    His work is where the Rubber meets the road in the climate change debate, if the GCMs reflected the reality that he is measuring the debate would be over and the socialists would have to find a different excuse to run the world.

  48. Off track, but I couldn’t find anywhere esle to ask. What’s up with the DMI polar temp page. I get the dreaded 404 advisor.

  49. Scratching my head over the 0.4 W/m^2 for increase in GHG forcing since 2000. For CO2 only, using 368 ppm in 2000 and 385 ppm in 2008, get
    ln (385/368) x 3.7 w/m^2 for doubling/ ln 2 = 0.24 w/m^2, or about 1/4 of the total change in forcing.

    Thanks for the comment. Things get curiouser and curiouser.

  50. If it was actually clouds, then all those bloody high-flying airplanes must have something to do with it because they sure spoil a lot of nice days with their jet trails crossing blue skies and then growing into clouds which eventually cover the sky. Few true blue days anymore.

  51. Scott A. Mandia (07:22:22) :

    I was interested in the following two comments (my emphasis added):

    …probably due to natural increases in cloud cover, mostly low clouds, causing internal radiative forcing of the system

    I think this is quite an assumption.

    I think that you will find that Dr. Spencer is fairly “up to speed” on the issues involved in the Earth’s radiation budget. When you become familiar with his work you will find that he is refreshing forthcoming about what is known and unknown.

    and

    what if these occur on the time scales associated with global warming (decades to centuries)?

    Yes, what if? That is a good question that cannot be answered now nor can we wait a few centuries using our satellites to find out

    Perhaps a visit to his web page, http://www.drroyspencer.com, would be educational. Dr. Spencer is the Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The methodologies developed by Dr. Spencer and Dr. John Christy are the reason that we can measure global temperatures from space.

    You are preaching to the Pope.

  52. Leif Svalgaard (01:57:03) :
    Mike McMillan (01:38:23) :
    Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun…”
    Can you provide us a link to the data?

    Back in 1997, it was attributed to Pvt. Kozma Prutkov:

    http://www.tos.org/oceanography/issues/issue_archive/issue_pdfs/10_3/10.3_munk_wunsch.pdf

    Of course we know there is a discernible heating effect on the poles by the lunar reflected radiation:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1997/96GL03702.shtml

  53. I’m still waiting for an answer on this question.

    “How many PPM of H2O are there in the atmosphere at any given time? What is the history?”

    I would also like to know; At what levels of the atmosphere does CO2 and H2O occupy?

    Surely there is at least one scientist out there who can answer these questions.

  54. beng (09:55:21) :

    *******
    tallbloke (03:30:26) :

    Could something else in/on the ocean be absorbing energy and sequestering it in a form not available as sensible heat?
    *******

    Yes, mixing w/cooler subsurface water. The “heat” is diluted and much of it no longer interacts w/the atmosphere (going below surface), but would show up in an “ocean heat” accounting.

    My point was that it isn’t showing up in the ocean heat accounting. ARGO measures Ocean Heat Content to a depth of 700m, and shows a ‘slight cooling’ since 2003 according to data custodian Josh WIllis. It shows a steeper cooling according to researcher Craig Loehle.

    Colder surface ocean water acts as a heat-sink, its effect depending on the amount & depth of mixing.

    Not too sure what you mean by this. By and large, much more heat goes from the ocean into the air above it’s surface than is conducted into it. Solar radiation penetrates the sea to a depth of several tens of metres and the energy transferred makes it’s way back out of the ocean as long wave radiation plus evaporation plus night time convection/conduction. Long wave radiation in the atmosphere can’t penetrate the ocean surface, and the opportunity for warmer air to conduct heat to a cooler ocean surface is limited.

    The path of energy cycling through the Earth system is mostly Sun -> Ocean -> air -> space

  55. As is often the case – the Land of the Long White Cloud (Aotearoa) doesn’t even feature on the image above. Why are we always just around the corner? :)

    From an Auckland covered in grey clouds…

  56. timetochooseagain (11:25:13) :

    “Golly, maybe something else? Global Brightening?”

    Not likely. Aerosols emissions should have increased over this period, presumably reducing overall forcing.

  57. “Roy Spencer (09:21:53) :

    Stephen…the ocean temperature lags the radiative forcing response to a natural cloud change, but as you said, that cloud change could have been initiated by the ocean itself.”

    Thanks Roy. We are still on the same wavelength.

  58. “beng:
    Colder surface ocean water acts as a heat-sink, its effect depending on the amount & depth of mixing.”

    Reply:
    Actually I’m doubtful about that. Colder water cools the air but the amount of energy taken from the air is far too small to have a significant effect on the much denser water and that extra energy just goes to more evaporation anyway.
    If there is rougher water one doesn’t get more downward mixing because rough water has a larger surface area and, again, that increases evaporation. It’s usually windier as well – more evaporation.

    I’ve yet to find a plausible means of getting significant energy from warm air into cooler water and the ‘ocean skin’ theory of the AGW proponents doesn’t cut it either because of the evaporative response.

    Furthermore if the ocean energy content could increase from energy transfer from air to water the oceans would have boiled away long ago rather than surviving huge volcanic disruptions and meteorite strikes over the billions of years since liquid oceans formed.

    Instead of oceans keeping coastal regions cool the coastal regions would heat up the nearby oceans. That doesn’t happen though the shallower water around coasts is a little warmer than the ocean bulk because of solar penetration.

  59. Stephen Wilde (12:09:37) :
    Furthermore if the ocean energy content could increase from energy transfer from air to water the oceans would have boiled away long ago
    No, they wouldn’t, because the heat transfer depends on the temperature difference, which would decrease [and go sway] as the oceans heat up.

  60. Mr Spencer

    In brief

    As I understand it, there is a lag of 6 years between oceanic warming from the sun, and “global cooling” from cloud cover and precipitation,as lower lying clouds give a cooling effect. This was predicted by some oceanographers (I forget which off hand) in 2001-2002, that around 2007, cooling would occur. Climatologists of course said at the time that we’d be on a path of yearly warmer global temperatures.

  61. Re Dr Spencer

    While I fully understand your phase-space diagrams, I wonder if they might not be more visually instructive if they were presented as 3D plots with lag time as the 3rd dimension, thus avoiding the need to follow the “strings”.

  62. “Leif Svalgaard:

    Stephen Wilde (12:09:37) :
    Furthermore if the ocean energy content could increase from energy transfer from air to water the oceans would have boiled away long ago
    No, they wouldn’t, because the heat transfer depends on the temperature difference, which would decrease [and go sway] as the oceans heat up.”

    Reply:
    Thank you Leif. I had doubts about that as soon as I confirmed the post. The lack of an edit function is a problem.

    Mind you according to AGW theory warmer air leads to warmer oceans which leads to more water vapour which leads to warmer air and an ever increasing spiral to catastrophe so the temperature difference doesn’t go away, it leads to a feedback loop of warming.

    I think we can agree that the world doesn’t seem to work that way.

  63. John F. Hultquist (21:54:38) :
    Beneath Dr. Roy’s first chart is a link via the word “candidate” to one of his earlier reports. Include this in your reading.

    His work, and studies and reports by others, marginalize the role of CO2 in climate change. The problem now is that a multitude of things, or pieces, have been put forward to account for the changes seen at different time scales. These pieces have not been put into a coherent whole that is sufficiently simple that I can present it to anyone. . .

    So, say I buy that the cold phase of the PDO causes more clouds that block solar energy and the atmosphere cools. However, the PDO index is not easily explained to just about anyone, and we are still left with what causes the shift in the PDO index (or any of the other ocean descriptors.)

    When a coherent story can be cobbled together from all the pieces such that a non-scientist can grasp its reasonableness in an under 10 minute explanation, then I think the CAGW train can be derailed. Until then it is only being slowed. Thus the big push to enact laws and treaties before someone makes a new story believable.

    The difference between (1) the work of Dr Spencer and others posted here and (2) the Alarmists is that the first is science as it is supposed to function, in all its fragmentary and messy reality, and the second is a foregone conclusion trumpeted as ‘science’ for political ends. That makes the public debate one-sided, because we cannot tie up the Realist view into one neat package.

    To the question, “If not CO2, how do you explain the warming?” we may answer: (A) looks like there was very little if any warming at all, because the data stinks; and (B) it was probably caused by natural cycles, which are enormously complex and poorly-understood. That is markedly unsatisfying to the average TV watcher.

    John F. Hultquist is right: we need “a coherent story,” a Unified Theory, that the average science reporter can understand and present in 300 words, one that directly contravenes (‘disproves’) the AGW litany. Maybe with these current observations about the sun’s gravitation driving lunar-tidal cycles driving ocean cycles driving climate cycles (with some cosmic rays thrown in) we are getting close. Can we have something ready for Copenhagen, please?

    /Mr Lynn

  64. tallbloke (03:30:26)

    Heat isn’t an easy thing to understand. In a liquid, it will asymptotically approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed. In other words, in nature there is a tendency to the dissipation (energy loss). If you heat to 70C a pan of water in a totally isolated environmment, considerably larger than the pan and stove ( a totally sealed kitchen) the heat, after the heat source has been switcced off, will disippate, as energy can change form one form to another. Even in a vacuum flask where convection and conduction is prevented its energy will degrade. Three days later, why isn’t it still at 70C? Degradation of energy is the essence of entropy

  65. Also, when evaporation from oceans takes place from solar from heating, huge amounts of water vapour and heat are released into the air and into space

  66. Remember to take into account the effects of jet contrails. These may be leading to increases in cloud cover. They would vary with economic conditions and the price of oil.

  67. Bart Verheggen (13:06:02): My my, that’s a rather silly, and hysterical reaction. I never imagined that anyone was still denying that the temperature of the Earth decreased during that time. That was a major “event” and your criticism that it isn’t climate is irrelevant, since we are in fact 1. discussing it in a context which makes it relevant to other discussions about climate (that is, how clouds and water vapor respond to warming and cooling).

  68. @DGallagher (10:57:41) :

    In no way was I attempting to “preach to the pope.” I am well aware of Dr. Spencer’s credentials and experience. I questioned why the assumption that the SW component was mostly due to low clouds. Could other factors such as aerosols be a significant factor? My question was based on the post content and perhaps with more details I would be convinced.

    Secondly, my link was certainly not for Dr. Spencer but for the rest of us who may not realize how difficult it is to measure trends in cloud cover or other cloud-related data.

  69. P Wilson (13:31:43) :

    tallbloke (03:30:26)

    Heat isn’t an easy thing to understand. In a liquid, it will asymptotically approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed. In other words, in nature there is a tendency to the dissipation (energy loss). If you heat to 70C a pan of water in a totally isolated environmment, considerably larger than the pan and stove ( a totally sealed kitchen) the heat, after the heat source has been switcced off, will disippate, as energy can change form one form to another. Even in a vacuum flask where convection and conduction is prevented its energy will degrade. Three days later, why isn’t it still at 70C? Degradation of energy is the essence of entropy

    The only way to interpret entropy is as the means by which we measure the amount of energy dispersed or diffused out to more available microstates in a process.

    The degradation of the energy consists on the transformation from one form of energy into another form that would not be available for doing work in our limited cosmos.

  70. Firstly, Scott Mandia. Without aerosols, clouds would not exist. Secondly, naturally occurring aerosols are the majority. So it poses the question – if clean air acts led to global warming, then suddenly we must be secretly producing more aerosols, or else this aerosol equation is much more complicated than was originally thought. Or could it be PDO conditions instead?

    According the Anthrpogenic determination, the period from 1940-1976 was of declining temps due to anthropogenic aerosols – yet this so called aerosol forcing lasted well into the 80’s. Since aerosols have a local effect, this should only have been in the North hemisphere – yet this period from the 40’s the the late 70’s was global. So: was it aerosols or the pacific climate change of the 1970’s? The evidence for the climate change is squarely on the pacific climate change of 1977

  71. commieBob (19:56:03) :

    I work with servo systems too.

    I see a servo with ringing on several time scales, (~1000 & ~70Yrs being just two).

    DaveE.

  72. P Wilson (13:31:43) :

    Even in a vacuum flask where convection and conduction is prevented its energy will degrade. Three days later, why isn’t it still at 70C? Degradation of energy is the essence of entropy

    Because convection & especially conduction is limited not prevented.

    DaveE.

  73. Nasif Nahle (17:00:40) :

    In physics, very little is understood of heat and energy transformations. In the case of black body radiation at normal temperatures, if it is giving off radiation, then it is losing heat, and when it loses enough it receives heat from the ambient temerature. (so much for the Stefan Boltzman constant). This principle operates with the climate. so called Re-radiation from earth stabilises at the ambient temperature, and since heat is a poor conductor, even the effect of ambient air is greater than that of re-radiation: In other words – re-radiation is virtually non-existent.

    This is the problem with much climatology. It thinks there is a huge equation of mechanical energy budgets, that somehow, incoming radiation is a constant that has to leave in the same magnitude.

    I think the flask experiment – even one in a 100% heat sealed chamber is quite a good demonstration of how heat efectively disappears according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and that cooling is autonomous than dependent.

  74. I’m confused
    LW + SW shows continual energy gain (average) fro 2000 to 2008 with a big gain at end of 2007. I.e. there should be a continual temp increase with big shift upwads in 2007.

    The sw and lw separated plots also show a massive gain at end of 2007
    BUT UAH lt shows a temp drop at this point. The peak reflection of SW gives instant cooling but the minimum loss shows no instant heating.

    Looking at AMSU-A data and CERES data shows little correspondance:
    short wave http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/9646/amsuaceres85nssw.jpg
    SW/LW http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/7175/amsuaceres85nsswlw.jpg

    Lokking at hadcrut3v also shows little correspondance:

    Any explanation greatfully received.

  75. Thanks for the reply Dave E, but after studying the thermodynamics of William Thomson, (1st Baron Kelvin) – some time ago, and modern variations thereof and no doubt to my discredit, I see heat in a different way to modern physics, which – I hope I am wrong – contains errors of principle due to the determination of engineering and technology as the driving force of physics.

  76. Richard Mackey – would appreciate a copy of your paper.

    Don’t really like to publish my email address – tends to attract too many flies.

    Could I give you a fax number in Canada and thus send you my email address by return fax?

  77. I’m sorry, but is there not one scientist who can answer these questions for me?

    How many PPM of H2O are there in the atmosphere at any given time? What is the history?

    I would also like to know; At what levels of the atmosphere does CO2 and H2O occupy according to their position in the atmosphere?

  78. bill (18:06:45) :

    “I’m confused
    LW + SW shows continual energy gain (average) fro 2000 to 2008 with a big gain at end of 2007. I.e. there should be a continual temp increase with big shift upwads in 2007.”

    This confused me also. Dr Spencer does not use the standard convention that heat gained by the system is a positive quantity. With the standard convention LW and SW would be negative quantities, indicating heat leaving the system. But here they are positive, so that the increase at the end of 2007 for example indicates cooling not heating. With the standard convention the trend lines in the last two figures would have the “right” slope to indicate warming (upward instead of downward).

  79. P Wilson (18:02:29) :

    Nasif Nahle (17:00:40) :

    In physics, very little is understood of heat and energy transformations. In the case of black body radiation at normal temperatures, if it is giving off radiation, then it is losing heat, and when it loses enough it receives heat from the ambient temerature. (so much for the Stefan Boltzman constant). This principle operates with the climate. so called Re-radiation from earth stabilises at the ambient temperature, and since heat is a poor conductor, even the effect of ambient air is greater than that of re-radiation: In other words – re-radiation is virtually non-existent.

    Perhaps you meant “air is a poor conductor of heat”? I agree on your last assertion, especially when considering induced negative emission, which cancels absolutely the idea of re-radiation.

    This is the problem with much climatology. It thinks there is a huge equation of mechanical energy budgets, that somehow, incoming radiation is a constant that has to leave in the same magnitude.

    A big problem because all the systems tend to thermalization. Fortunately for us, living beings, thermal equilibrium does not happen by the thermal contact Sun-Earth, neither through the thermal contact Earth-Space. If we reached the equilibrium at any of those systems, we would be toasted in the first case and congealed in the second case.

    I think the flask experiment – even one in a 100% heat sealed chamber is quite a good demonstration of how heat efectively disappears according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and that cooling is autonomous than dependent.

    The energy dissipated from the hypothetical 100% thermally isolated flask could be used for doing work in some other fields. I have speculated a bit about the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field, for example; however, we don’t know a bit about it because we have not gone yet beyond our near surrounding cosmos. :)

  80. Michael (19:36:03) :

    I’m sorry, but is there not one scientist who can answer these questions for me?

    Since when did they hang around WUWT?

    REPLY: Lets see, Dr. Leif Svalgaard and Dr. Roy Spencer just to name two. You might want to check that snark rifle of yours before it jams on you. – A

  81. Michael (18:58:20) :

    “How many PPM of H2O are there in the atmosphere at any given time? What is the history?”

    Since the CAGW’ers will never mention it, even googling for the information proved difficult. About a year ago I did some searching and the generally accepted one seems to be about

    14,400 PPM for water vapor.

    I don’t even know if there IS a history, if anyone has tried to determine it, or if it’s even possible to know.

  82. To recap on the OT:

    Leif: “It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.”

    jorge: “A noted astronomer once assured me at a party that days were “longer in the zummer und shorter in the vinter, because heat expands und cold contrakts!”

    Leif: “Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun, because is shines at night when it is dark, and we need the light more.”

    I’d like to add, attribution unknown:

    The northern hemisphere is warmer than the southern hemisphere because heat rises.

  83. Speaking of CO2 from an atricle;

    “It obviously hasn’t even crossed the mind of Ms Jackson’s prejudiced script-writer that the moral current is in fact running in Australia’s favor – for, by supplying third-world countries with the means to generate cheap electricity, Australia is in fact providing them with the only support there is that will allow them to lift themselves out of poverty. As other writers have commented, to intentionally obstruct development in third-world countries by depriving them of the right to use cheap, coal-fired power generation is a type of genocide; in essence, in order to expiate the consciences of comfortably-off middle class moralists in western nations, millions of underprivileged people are going to die.”

    Media Ecoevangelists

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/09/media-ecoevangelists

  84. Pertaining to my previous post; It is important to get the perspective correct before you convey the message to the general public.

  85. Nasif Nahle (19:46:45) :
    the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field, for example; however, we don’t know a bit about it because we have not gone yet beyond our near surrounding cosmos.
    Is utter nonsense.

  86. When the clouds in the atmosphere disperse without producing a major rain event; Is that the reason why we experience a rise in the level of humidity on the surface?

  87. Leif Svalgaard (20:19:21) :

    Nasif Nahle (19:46:45) :
    the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field, for example; however, we don’t know a bit about it because we have not gone yet beyond our near surrounding cosmos.
    Is utter nonsense.</i

    I don’t think so. It is simply an attempt to explain the essence of the gravitational field on the flow of heat (energy in transit) and the burden of energy transferred from a system which absorbs heat from an external source effect. My explanation depends on both Newtonian and Relativistic Cosmology.

    We know that energy is released whenever a gravitational field is created by a global effect of energy removal, although we know also that the interchange of gravitational energy is quite lower than the energy at rest. From a cosmological viewpoint, the total gravitational energy is dominant.

    Hartnett, James P., Irvine, Thomas F. Advances in Heat Transfer, Volume 21. 1991. Academic Press, Limited. San Diego, CA.

  88. I am sorry… I forgot to include a reference for my next assertion:

    “I don’t think so. It is simply an attempt to explain the essence of the gravitational field on the flow of heat (energy in transit) and the burden of energy transferred from a system which absorbs heat from an external source effect. My explanation depends on both Newtonian and Relativistic Cosmology.”

    Here is it:

    http://www.math.tulane.edu/~dupre/einsteq8.pdf

  89. Scott A. Mandia (16:15:47) :

    Ah, yes I understand. I don’t think that Dr. Spencer is assuming that the increased SW signal is due to low cloud cover, he is merely discussing likelyhoods. Low cloud cover is the likely explanation. SW radiation is reflected sunlight, and low cloud (water vapor) cover is the strongest reflector. High Cloud (ice crystal) cover isn’t as reflective of the incoming SW, however it is more reflective of outgoing LW radation.

    Low cloud cover tends to cause cooling by reflecting sunlight (SW) back to space, High cloud cover tends to cause warming by reflecting the earth’s radiate (LW) heat back down. Naturally there could be other explanations such as volcanic eruptions etc., but low cloud cover is what’s likely.

    pochas (19:37:35) :

    bill (18:06:45) :

    “I’m confused
    LW + SW shows continual energy gain (average) fro 2000 to 2008 with a big gain at end of 2007. I.e. there should be a continual temp increase with big shift upwads in 2007.”

    This confused me also. Dr Spencer does not use the standard convention that heat gained by the system is a positive quantity. With the standard convention LW and SW would be negative quantities, indicating heat leaving the system. But here they are positive, so that the increase at the end of 2007 for example indicates cooling not heating. With the standard convention the trend lines in the last two figures would have the “right” slope to indicate warming (upward instead of downward).

    The values are denote what is being measured by the satellite. A positive trend at the satellite is a negative trend in the system.

  90. if clean air acts led to global warming

    Clean air acts may have had some warming effect, but primarily they led to to the appearance of global warming in the 1970s to the 1990s, because of their effect on minimum daily temperatures explained above.

  91. Leif Svalgaard (12:41:41) : No, they wouldn’t, because the heat transfer depends on the temperature difference, which would decrease [and go sway] as the oceans heat up.

    Right! Another point is that the air temperature would decrease faster than the ocean temperature would increase, as the thermal mass of the oceans is vast compared to the thermal mass of the air. Equations are.

    m_o•cp_o•dT_o /dt = Qin_o – Qout_o (heat balance oceans)

    m_a•cp_a•dT_a/dt = Qin_a – Qout_a (heat balance air)

    Here, “o” denotes oceans and “a” denotes the air. Changing the temperature from T1 to T2 could be roughly approximated by;

    T_o(t) = T1 + [T0 – T1] exp(-t/tau_o)

    T_a(t) = T1 + [T0 – T1] exp(-t/tau_a)

    Where the thermal time constants are

    tau_o ~ m_o•cp_o

    tau_a ~ m_a•cp_a

    We all know that the thermal mass (m•cp) is much larger for the oceans than for the air, so when the oceans are heated by the air the temperature in the oceans will increase slowly while the temperature in the air decrease quickly. When the temperatures are the same the heat transfer terminates.

    This also means, of course, that the so called anthropogenic global warming of the air would be increasing the thermal energy in the oceans extremely slowly – when a small thermal mass increases the temperature of a large thermal mass thermal equilibrium is quickly reached and the heat transfer terminates. Think it over….

  92. Nasif Nahle (21:31:17) :
    the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field
    Is still utter nonsense, in spite of your references that do not address this. Perhaps, help us by extracting the precise statement from the reference you think supports your statement and posting it here.

  93. Nasif Nahle (17:00:40) :

    P Wilson (13:31:43) :

    tallbloke (03:30:26)

    Heat isn’t an easy thing to understand. In a liquid, it will asymptotically approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed. In other words, in nature there is a tendency to the dissipation (energy loss). If you heat to 70C a pan of water in a totally isolated environmment, considerably larger than the pan and stove ( a totally sealed kitchen) the heat, after the heat source has been switcced off, will disippate, as energy can change form one form to another. Even in a vacuum flask where convection and conduction is prevented its energy will degrade. Three days later, why isn’t it still at 70C? Degradation of energy is the essence of entropy
    =====================
    The only way to interpret entropy is as the means by which we measure the amount of energy dispersed or diffused out to more available microstates in a process.

    The degradation of the energy consists on the transformation from one form of energy into another form that would not be available for doing work in our limited cosmos.
    ======================

    P Wilson. Your analysis is correct, but questions of scale and position have to be addresses when moving from kitchen cupboard analogies to the Ocean air system. For example, the pan of water or thermos flask radiate evenly on all sides.

    The oceans are insulated by a hot planetary core on one side, and from cold space by the air on the other side. The Ocean gains heat from the sun, it loses it to the air far more readily than the seabed. The oceans have as much thermal capacity in the top two metres as the entire atmosphere above it.

    The air has a warm ocean under it and cold space above it. Hot air rises. The atmosphere loses heat to cold space far more readily than to the warm ocean. If the air temperature worldwide fell from an average of 13C to freezing point, and all the heat energy went into the oceans, it would warm the oceans by around 0.008C.

    The energy cycle goes from sun to sea to sky to space.
    Changes in global air temperature lag changes in sea surface temperature.

    Conclusion: The oceans are the major player in the earth’s climate system, not the air and any trace gases it may contain.

  94. bill (18:06:45) :

    I’m confused
    LW + SW shows continual energy gain (average) fro 2000 to 2008 with a big gain at end of 2007. I.e. there should be a continual temp increase with big shift upwads in 2007.

    BUT UAH lt shows a temp drop at this point.

    Any explanation greatfully received.

    Climate is more complicated than you’ve been led to believe.

  95. High cloud is generally accepted as warming
    Low cloud reflects SW during dayligh. BUT low cloud also retains LW and this predominates at night (no SW to reflect) i.e. cloudy nights = warm nights
    So what is the forcing of low clouds? Do low clouds disappear at night?

    Looking at the graphs above the word appliead to the pos and neg radiation balance explain their effect and is as I would expect. They show a decreasing loss of SW + LW from the sysytem. Incoming TSI has been constant from 2000 to 2003 and falling since then. Is there any change in lw/sw mix of TSI over this period?

    Assume the albedo/blanket round the earth retains a constant % of TSI then as TSI decreases the magnitude of the imbalance should decrease. But the plots show an increasing magnitude. Why?

    The plots show in my view radiation being retained in the system = higher temps. What is retaining it? Why not GHGs? Why are these dismissed?

  96. tallbloke (00:45:42) : Conclusion: The oceans are the major player in the earth’s climate system, not the air and any trace gases it may contain.

    Exactly! See my post Invariant (23:35:23).

  97. tallbloke (00:45:42) :The energy cycle goes from sun to sea to sky to space.
    Changes in global air temperature lag changes in sea surface temperature.

    As you uggest the warm air does not heat the oceans significantly.

    However, the oceans are not always hotter than the air and consequently will not transfer heat from ocean to air. Hot air WILL transfer heat to water. Only air movement will cool the surface through evapouration in these conditions. The air is quickly heated by insolation (otherwise there would be no day night variation. This maximum air temp will depend on its surroundings. and in general will heat a fixed number of degrees (set by insolation) above the heatsink temperature. This heatsink will be ocean, land, snow, tarmac. e.g.
    sea temp =20C surface air temp=25C or in same insolation/wind conditions
    sea temp =10C surface air temp=15C
    In no case is the ocean heating the air. The heat is travelling from air to ocean in both cases. BUT the ocean is controlling the temp.
    It is perhaps worth saying that whilst the ocean is not losing heat to the air it is still gaining energy from insolation and warming (very slowly due to its mass) In UK swiming in the sea is not sensible until well into the summer and ccertainly does not warm instantly on cloud cover disappearing.

  98. tallbloke (00:56:02) :
    Climate is more complicated than you’ve been led to believe.

    I have no beliefs! I have a small UNDERSTANDING.
    Specncer in the entry is making assumptions in my view that did not agree with the plots e.g. lower temps give less outgoing radiation (true of course). But surely so would more thermal resistance between the satellite and the planet surface?

  99. bill

    “The plots show in my view radiation being retained in the system = higher temps. What is retaining it? Why not GHGs? Why are these dismissed?”

    There are two reasons for less LW radiation leaving the system: retention and/or a cooler atmosphere. Nothing is being dismissed.

    Now why would the atmosphere get cooler when more LW radiation is retained? It can get cooler when less radiation comes in and that can happen if more SW radiation is reflected out to space–which these graphs showed has happened and Spencer thinks this is due to more low lying clouds.

    As you can see from the graphs there’s no perfect symmetry between temperature and radiative balance. This is because, as spencer found, there’s a delay in radiative forcing that causes a change in temperature. But changes in temperature cause feedbacks which also change temperature and these changes are immediate. And not all changes in temperature are due to radiative forcing.

    Thus it’s a bit more complex than a one-to-one relationship between outgoing radiation and atmospheric temperature.

  100. Northern hemisphere temperatures dominate global temperature. If a drop in the solar signal occurs in the Northern Hemisphere winter it will have a marked affect on global temperature. If such a drop occurs in Northern Hemisphere summer, as happened in mid 2004, very low temperatures were noted in the Southern Hemisphere, but the impact on global temperature was much less. Changes in the solar signal can be very brief, as in mid July this year, when a sharp drop produced a very heavy uplift in rain for the Northern Hemisphere, and very cold conditions in S. America, Australia and New Zealand. Temperatures before and after this notch (June and August) were generally above normals everywhere. It is the timing and strength of these changes in the solar signal that are driving the cloud cover levels, in a similar way that they do with precipitation levels, which is a temperature drop in summer brings a rainfall jump, while a temperature drop in winter brings a dry period, and visa versa for a temperature raise.

  101. Syl (03:57:14) :
    There are two reasons for less LW radiation leaving the system: retention and/or a cooler atmosphere.

    Agreed.

    It can get cooler when less radiation comes in and that can happen if more SW radiation is reflected out to space

    Agreed

    –which these graphs showed has happened

    The plots show more SW radiation in peaks 2004 and 2007 but in general it is a reducing level of outgoing SW radiation that reached minimum outgoing in early 2008.

    Average insolation for the Earth is approximately 250 watts per square meter and varies by 0.1% =.25w/m^2

    The drop in SW radiation away from the earth in the plots shows almost 2W/m^2 drop. ten times that caused by the peak to minimum TSI over the time of the plot.

    and Spencer thinks this is due to more low lying clouds.

    I assume that the 2007 peak (reflection of SW away from earth) is what is refered to here. The overall lowering of SW reflecting away can therefore be ascribed to less lower cloud cover over the 9 years???

  102. bill (02:23:42) :

    The problem with this theory is that oceans have a high heat capacity – meaning that it takes a lot of energy to heat the oceans by 1C than something with a lower heat capacity. Air doesn’t have much heat capacity, and doesn’t retain much heat. For this reason, warmer air does not pentrate cooler oceans. Only the sun can do that. Thats partly why even on a hot summer day, oceans at the beach are cooler than the air, the sand and the promenade.

  103. Primarily, oceans heat the air during evaporation. During evaporation, large amounts of heat, c02, and water vapour are released.

  104. P Wilson (05:56:38) :
    Primarily, oceans heat the air during evaporation. During evaporation, large amounts of heat, c02, and water vapour are released.

    Don’t think so
    Cold sea will never heat warm air. Cold sea will control warm air temperature acting as a heat sink. measuring air temp from sea surface at 20C to a couple of meters above the sea will show a decreasing temp as the sea surface is approached reachin 20C at the surface.
    if at say 2metres above the sea the temp is 25C and sea surface temp is 20C (ignoring air circulation then chnging sea temp by 1C will change air temp by 1C. But it is not heating the air. With air temp below se temp the sea will increase the air temp losing temp as it does so.

    Air movements will rip molecules off the surface of the ocean (increase evaporation) and cool it through latent heat of evaporation. – Remember the science experiment blowing air through alcohol causes the alcohol to cool to freezing simply through latent heat of evaporation of alcohol. Question is does the blown air get hotter? Not sure but I do not think so. It will become more humid however.

  105. bill. My argument is that oceans control the air temperature through water vapour which has some 100 times the atmospheric ghg capacity of c02. Effectively, this is water vapour from oceans which are 70% of the surface, and which store huge amounts of solar heat. On this basis, the oceans regulate the temperature, meaning that atmospheric temperatures cannot regulate the oceans

  106. clouds from the oceans are a different thing of course… they regulate the air temperature in quite a different way, which is the point of Dr Spencer’s work. On top of all this is precipitation, PDO’s etc.. There is little room for the atmosphere to govern these events.

  107. “most climate change – including “global warming” – in the last 100 years or more has been caused by natural changes in low cloud cover, which in turn have been caused by natural, chaotic fluctuations in global circulation patterns in the atmosphere-ocean system.”

    Good opening sentence for any text on the subject of climate.

  108. Leif Svalgaard (23:59:31) :

    Nasif Nahle (21:31:17) :
    the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field
    Is still utter nonsense, in spite of your references that do not address this. Perhaps, help us by extracting the precise statement from the reference you think supports your statement and posting it here.

    The references address the energy density of the gravity field on my second post. About the basis for my hypothesis:

    Guth, Alan H., Lightman, Alan P. The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins. Perseus Books Group, 1997, New York, New York. Pp. 335-339

  109. After three decades of continual increase, the mean Earth temperature has been decreasing steadily since 2002, as precise satellite measurements show. As a result, the steady rise in sea level has stopped since 2005.

    World climate is a regular quasi-periodic phenomenon (see Fig. 2.1 of http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y2787E/y2787e03.htm ) that is driven by solar activity with a period of 70 – 80 years (Gleissberg cycle). Because of this regularity, it can be stated with absolute certainty that the mean Earth temperature will continue to decrease until 2040.

    1. There exists an extremely close correlation between the changes in the mean global temperature and the small changes in the rotational velocity of the Earth – two physically unrelated geophysical quantities – (see Fig. 2.2 of http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y2787E/y2787e03.htm), which has been ignored by the mainstream climatologists, and leaves little room for a human influence on climate. Note that temperature lags rotation by 6 years. This close correlation results from the action of galactic vacuum density waves on the Sun and on the Earth (see http://www.icecap.us/images/uploads/Lobert_on_CO2.pdf ).

    2. The orbital periods of all Solar System planets are very close to integer multiples and integer fractions of the periods of the well-known solar cycles. This provides further evidence for the existence of super-Einsteinian gravitational waves and of their action on all celestial bodies of the Solar System. In the post of September 26, 2009 in http://www.pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/a-new-book-elucidates-the-life-and-work-of-Dr.-Abdus-Salam it is shown that all orbital periods of the planets of the Solar System are very close to integer fractions and integer multiples of the periods of the Hale (22.14 years) and the Gleissberg (78 – 84 years) solar cycles.

    The Close Correlation between Earth’s Surface Temperature and its Rotational Velocity as well as the Close Correlation between the Planetary Orbital Periods and the Periods of the Solar Cycles Prove that Climate Changes are Driven by Galactic Gravitational Waves

    Progress in climatological science can only be achieved if the above physical facts are looked into in full depth.

  110. How does one tell the difference between a forcing cloud and a feedback cloud? These two types have different signatures on a phase space diagram, but how would one distinguish them au natural?

    The feedback cloud would be the low level convective cumulus clouds that form on a sunny day with some humidity in the air. But how about the forcing clouds? These would have to persist for longer time periods to produce the lags that are observed, so presumably they live at higher altitudes and are non-convective in nature.

    Dr R. Lindzen deals with the ratio between these two types of clouds in his paper on the “Adaptive Iris effect”.

    http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/adinfriris.pdf

    From the abstract:
    “…it has been found that the area of cirrus cloud coverage normalized by a measure of the area of cumulus coverage decreases about 22% per degree Celsius increase in the surface temperature of the cloudy region.”

    Are these cooling events examples of the Iris Effect in action?

  111. Bill,

    High cloud is generally accepted as warming
    Low cloud reflects SW during dayligh. BUT low cloud also retains LW and this predominates at night (no SW to reflect) i.e. cloudy nights = warm nights
    So what is the forcing of low clouds? Do low clouds disappear at night?

    It’s always daylight where the sun is shining, which it always is. You are picturing what happens at the spot where you are standing, a better perspective is to look at the earth from space. From that perspective, it’s like the earth is cooking while rotating on a spit. SW radiation is far more energetic than the diffuse LW that the earth radiates. Low (water) clouds lead to cooling.

    Don’t think so
    Cold sea will never heat warm air.

    Whatever water evapaorates will remove the heat vaporization from the body of water, and transfer it to the atmosphere during condensation. This process doesn’t depend on a temp. difference. Naturally the water vapor will not condense immediately above the water, but at some altitude, the vapor will condense and transfer the heat.

  112. I know that when a cold front comes through and the ambient temperature drops below 70F, my swimming pool gets cold very quickly. Do you know how much it costs to heat a swimming pool?

  113. Nasif Nahle (07:35:50) :
    The references address the energy density of the gravity field on my second post.
    Where do they say that “the thermal energy is absorbed by the gravity field”. Please, just copy paste the statement in the reference that mentions that.

  114. DGallagher (09:09:06)
    This process doesn’t depend on a temp. difference. Naturally the water vapor will not condense immediately above the water, but at some altitude, the vapor will condense and transfer the heat

    So the water vapour ascends a few hundres metres to find a lower temperature into which it condenses. This means it has passed though layers of warmer air also transfering heat to the molecule. So is it transfering ocen or air heat upwards?

    Low clouds at night retain heat (LW radiation) on the surface low clouds during the day reflect SW radiation. The clouds do not follow the sun. So over a day a single cloud both reflects and retains radiation. Which wins?

    gravity waves:

    http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/~cit40m/Docs/40msqueezer_P070049-00.pdf

    Laserinterferometric gravitational wave (GW) detectors such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) [1, 2] are designed to measure distance changes on the order of 10−18 m caused by GWs from astronomical sources, such as coalescence of neutron stars and black holes, supernova explosions, and the Big Bang, providing further verification of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and opening an entirely new window onto the universe [3]. The sensitivity of the currently operational gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO [1], VIRGO [4], GEO600 [5], and TAMA300 [6] is partly limited by quantum noise that arises from the Heisenberg uncertainty due to quantum mechanical fluctuations in the number of photons at the interferometer output. Future gravitational wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO [7], which are planned to be operational in the next few years, are expected to be limited by quantum noise of light at almost all frequencies in the GW detection band (10 Hz – 10 kHz).

    There must be a H-U-G-E amplification factor to modify climate from GW that have not yet been detected!

  115. Bill,

    So the water vapour ascends a few hundres metres to find a lower temperature into which it condenses. This means it has passed though layers of warmer air also transfering heat to the molecule. So is it transfering ocen or air heat upwards?

    The heat of vaporization is massive compared to any slight comvective heating from the lower level air.

    Low clouds at night retain heat (LW radiation) on the surface low clouds during the day reflect SW radiation. The clouds do not follow the sun. So over a day a single cloud both reflects and retains radiation. Which wins?

    Lets say that we were together somewhere and that we were effectively blindfolded. It is daytime and we are lying in the sunshine. I believe that both of us would be able to tell when a cloud goes over. Now let’s repeat the same experiment, but this time at night. I doubt that either of us would be able to detect a cloud passing from the slight increase in reflected LW.

    “Even a blind man knows when the sun is shinin'”

    The effect of the reflected SW is far more significant that the reflected LW, they have drasticaly different energy levels.

  116. Leif Svalgaard (10:34:53):

    Nasif Nahle (07:35:50):
    The references address the energy density of the gravity field on my second post.
    Where do they say that “the thermal energy is absorbed by the gravity field”. Please, just copy paste the statement in the reference that mentions that.

    “The references address the energy density of the gravity field on my second post.”

    “About the basis of my hypothesis:

    Guth, Alan H., Lightman, Alan P. The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins. Perseus Books Group, 1997, New York, New York. Pp. 335-339″

    “…when an object is lifted the gravitational field stores the energy exerted by the lifter as potential energy.”

    http://www.wlsyw.com/thesise/13.asp

    I wrote in my message to P. Wilson [Nasif Nahle (19:46:45)]:

    I have speculated a bit about the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field, for example; however, we don’t know a bit about it because we have not gone yet beyond our near surrounding cosmos.”

    So, as you say, they do not mention my speculation. It would be a fluctuation of the electrochemical field. Although, it could be that someone else has mentioned it somewhere. Nevertheless, my speculation finds its sources on those articles, from which we find that:

    1. There is a measurable energy density in the gravity field.
    2. Work is transferred to the gravity field.
    3. For a gravity field is created, a release of energy from the new gravity field is needed.
    4. The gravity field absorbs thermal energy every time an object acquires potential energy, i.e. every time an object converts its thermal energy into potential energy.
    Thus, we are not expecting to find my hypothesis in any Cosmology treatise. Not yet.

  117. Nasif Nahle (12:46:14) :
    I have speculated a bit about the thermal energy absorbed by the gravity field, for example; however, we don’t know a bit about it because we have not gone yet beyond our near surrounding cosmos. [...]
    Thus, we are not expecting to find my hypothesis in any Cosmology treatise. Not yet.

    So, you expect we’ll know more if we go beyond our near surrounding cosmos… Might take a while…:-)

  118. Everyone is familiar with the argument that smoking causes lung cancer. A personal friend of mine, recently retired from U of Miami; as a Professor of Psychology (behavioral) and Pediatrics; but he was more of an epidemiologist attached to the med school. The way he put the smoking thing was; “There’s a body of evidence that smoking causes lung cancer; and there’s a body of evidence that sex causes children; it’s just that the lung cancer data is much more convincing.

    So back to the global climate; and we see there’s a body of evidence that clouds cause cooling.

    Now Doctor Roy cautiously puts the little word “low” in there as a cloud selector.

    Well I’m not as cautious as the good Doctor is, so I can afford to be rash. I’ve never met a cloud, high or low, that warmed me up when it passed in front of the sun; they all block sunlight from reaching me, either by reflection or absorption or both; in any case the solar irradiance that strikes me, and the ajacent surface when a cloud passes in front of the sun; always goes down; it NEVER goes up. And I even have taken meter readings (crude to be sure) with my Gossen Lunasix light meter to prove that it always goes down.

    And I don’t buy the notion that the higher the clouds form the more they warm the surface; because I simply don’t believe that it is the clouds that cause the surface conditions; I’m convinced that it is the other way around.

    Those high clouds are the RESULT of the surface conditions, and the warmer the surface; the higher the moist air has to rise to reach the dew point and form clouds, and the lower the humidity (less moisture content) the higher yet those ethereal clouds will form.

    So Doctor Spencer I am on your team; it’s the CLOUDS; all of the clouds.

    George

  119. Leif Svalgaard (13:27:55) :

    Thus, we are not expecting to find my hypothesis in any Cosmology treatise. Not yet.”
    So, you expect we’ll know more if we go beyond our near surrounding cosmos… Might take a while…:-)

    Oh, no! I think we’ll know more about it when the existence of gravitons and Higgs’ particles in our near neighborhood is revealed. As near as the LHC begins to operate properly. There are some related discoveries which have given roots to my hypothesis, otherwise I had not thought on it. So the development of my hypothesis is closer than we think. :)

  120. Terry (13:05:38) “Re Dr Spencer
    While I fully understand your phase-space diagrams, I wonder if they might not be more visually instructive if they were presented as 3D plots with lag time as the 3rd dimension, thus avoiding the need to follow the “strings”.”

    I have used the approach suggested by Terry in the past. For the z-axis I used a spinner that allowed control of depth (so I was looking at a slice and spinning the height of the cross-section slicer).

    One sees pattern-cycles as one rolls the lag through harmonics. For example, striations become right-slanted-ovals, which become straight-lines, which become left-slanted-ovals, which become striations, etc.

    This relates to visualization methods that data analysts call “coplots” (short for “conditioning plot”), which can be used to overcome paradox in areas where intuition is unsuspecting. Parametric approaches are based on assumptions that blind to some varieties of patterns which show up in coplots. Of course, if/when a parametric practitioner becomes aware of such patterns, they can modify their assumptions to easily make parametric methods notice a paradox with crystal clarity …but the problem is that analysts (particularly ones following traditional convention) don’t always [or even generally] run non-parametric exploratory diagnostics.

    I have some ideas about the 2000, 2004, & 2007 spikes in Dr. Spencer’s plots, but before commenting, I need to know why there is a gap in the record at 2005. Even a single missing datum in a time series takes out a wide swath in a moving-average — (to avoid this I usually insert an estimate for missing values). The ideas I have might make sense if there is also a spike at 2005 …but if there is no spike there, I have more work to do on the conditioning…

    A final note: These striations, ovals, circles, loops, etc. can arise due to relative variations in cyclical amplitude. This becomes evident when running detailed diagnostics on wavelets [which I've done to develop awareness of statistical coincidences that drive spurious power cycles in wavelet spectra - a problem that can, fortunately, be largely overcome with filters].

  121. To:
    Stephen Wilde (12:09:37) & tallbloke (11:43:29):

    Sorry, I posted my original comment to tallbloke w/o thinking much & as a result didn’t make much sense.

    I agree that air masses have only a small temp effect on the ocean below. This is seen in everyday weather synoptics — cold or hot air blowing off continents’ coasts is quickly changed to near the ocean temp (at least the shallow air near the ocean surface).

    So to tallblokes original question, I was wrong — there’s no way heat can “hide” as long as the ocean-heat content can be measured w/some acceptable accuracy. Whether the current measurements meet those requirements, I’m not sure — it’s a big global ocean, and fractional-degree changes in large volumes of deep-water may be difficult to detect.

    But if total ocean “heat” has actually decreased alittle, there’s no other place it could be except to have been radiated out to space (I think chemical/biological energy “storage” would prb’ly be insignificant).

  122. “”” bill (02:00:51) :

    High cloud is generally accepted as warming
    Low cloud reflects SW during dayligh. BUT low cloud also retains LW and this predominates at night (no SW to reflect) i.e. cloudy nights = warm nights “””

    First of all, clouds don’t change their optical behavior based on any clock. Day or night, clouds keep on doing the same things. Of course what the clouds are doing, may result in those clouds changing; and that in turn will have their behavior changing; but those changes are because of the cloud changes; not because a clock says it is night time.

    We are taught that during the day, the earth absorbs solar energy and warms up, and during the night the earth radiates long wave IR radiation and cools down.

    Actually the earth is cooling (radiating LW) much more efficiently during the hottest hours of the day; not at night.

    And where is the evidence that the earth warms up at night because of the presence of high clouds. And the graphs say the warming is greater when the clouds are higher and wispier.

    Is that even sensible ? The higher you go in the atmosphere, the lower the atmospheric density becomes, the CO2 and water vapor densities also go down at the same time, so their absorption of LW infrared Radiation also goes down with increased altitude. For most of the important part of the atmosphere where clouds reside, the temperature also goes down with increasing altitude, and since thermal radiation goes as the 4th power of the Temperature (Kelvins), the long wave emission from the atmosphere and or clouds, goes down big time, as the altitude increases.
    Also the higher and less dense, and lower temperature the atmosphere is, the narrower is the spectral widths of the major absorption lines of the GHGs water vapor, and or CO2/ozone etc, so the fraction of the surface emitted LW that gets absorbed, will diminish as the altitude increases.

    So you have a forever diminishing thermal radiation source that is blocking less and less of the outgoing IR, and returning some to earth through an increasingly hostile denser warmer atmospheric layer, at lower altitudes.

    Does this sound like a mechanism for increasing the efficiency of surface warming from cloud emissions ?

    Yes warm surfaces, and high clouds tend to occur together. The silly part is trying to present the clouds as the cause, and the surface warming as the result; particularly since it actually cools down after sundown; it does not warm up, clouds or no clouds; UNLESS A BODY OF WARMER AIR MOVES IN FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. All bets are off in that case; which is differerent from the cloud/surface interraction.

  123. Nasif Nahle (13:59:32) :
    Oh, no! I think we’ll know more about it when the existence of gravitons and Higgs’ particles in our near neighborhood is revealed.
    So the Higgs is important for our climate…

    REPLY: Nasif this has to be one of the most ridiculous things ever said. The Higgs Boson has yet to be revealed. It is only theorized.

    Again I grow weary of your constant silliness. Take a 24 hour time out. This continued back of and forth is pointless and a waste of my time and my moderators time. – Anthony

  124. Here’s a (possibly substantial) clue for Dr. Spencer:

    For related insight, blink between these two:

    The disturbance shows up in AO, NAM, NH-winter NAO, & Sea Ice – for example:

    I suspect a connection with contrasts between interannual & annual aa index (or something lurking & confounded with it), but I will need to spend a considerable amount of time refining the diagnostics before commenting further because, at this time, there remains at least one further conditional-dependence that I have not yet worked out.

    For now I can say I am convinced of substantial shared interannual variance involving SOI, aa (or something lurking & confounded with it), & regional precipitation patterns based on records dating back to the 19th century; I never would have discovered this had I not spent a considerable amount of time analyzing EOP (Earth orientation parameters).

  125. George E. Smith (14:18:47) :
    Oh dear! this is ridiculous!
    Obviously clouds actions do not change night and day. In sunlight they affect albedo and also act as a GHG. In the dark There is nothing to albedo so they act as a GHG.
    Take away the cloud moisture and the heat stored in the ground radiates away more quickly. No where has it been said that clouds will warm the night. They retain heat!

    In UK a cloudy night can make a large difference to the night temperature (5 to 10C)

    http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/kidder/Oskar.pdf

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/5dac76137ab0d6f4b731a6ecab3a7398,0/3__Sun_and_clouds/-_Clouds_and_climate_25x.html

    There are huge differences in day and night time temperatures in deserts. Very few clouds form over deserts because the air is so dry. This means the surface heats up during the day and escapes rapidly at night. Night-time temperatures can be 35oC lower than daytime ones.
    Clouds can begin at 0 metres but more importantly at 300 to 600 metres. The air at these heights is not a lot different to sea level.

    http://www.maltaweather.info/clouds3.html

    Clouds aren’t really a ‘blanket’ on warm nights
    You sometimes hear that “clouds act like a blanket” to keep temperatures from falling as low as they otherwise would if the sky were clear. It’s true that the effect of clouds can be like a blanket. But they work in a different way. …The tiny water droplets that make up clouds radiate even more heat than the gases in clear air. For one thing, the tiny droplets absorb some frequencies of infrared energy that the air’s gases don’t. As the energy is absorbed, it heats the droplets, which causes them to radiate energy. Then too, the cloud has more matter – the cloud droplets – to radiate heat in all directions, including back toward Earth, than clear air.

  126. George E. Smith says:

    Is that even sensible ? The higher you go in the atmosphere, the lower the atmospheric density becomes, the CO2 and water vapor densities also go down at the same time, so their absorption of LW infrared Radiation also goes down with increased altitude. For most of the important part of the atmosphere where clouds reside, the temperature also goes down with increasing altitude, and since thermal radiation goes as the 4th power of the Temperature (Kelvins), the long wave emission from the atmosphere and or clouds, goes down big time, as the altitude increases.

    George: You have unwittingly put together all of the ingredients to explain how high clouds cause warming. Basically, there is an effective emitting layer in the troposphere at ~255 K from which, ***ON AVERAGE***, the emission of IR radiation to space occurs. (One can see how such a peak in emission to space would occur because radiation emitted from lower levels is too unlikely to escape into space without being absorbed, whereas at higher levels there is less emission simply because there is too little absorption for there to be significant re-emission.) High clouds are higher in the atmosphere than this level and hence are colder (because, as you noted, the temperature decreases with altitude). Hence, when these high clouds are there, they absorb some of the radiation that would otherwise be emitted to space…and although they also emit radiation, they do so at the colder temperature and hence, as you noted, less prodigiously by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. In essence then, they raise the effective radiating level to a colder part of the atmosphere.

    This is all very basic non-controversial science that can be found in an atmospheric science textbook. In fact, I just recently discovered this explanation myself in Richard Goody, “Principles of Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry” (1995), pp 146-147, which I was reading through in my attempt to bone up on some of the fundamentals of atmospheric science that I didn’t get in my physics education. I might suggest that you do the same!

  127. Dr. Gerhard Loebert (07:42:28) :

    “The Close Correlation between Earth’s Surface Temperature and its Rotational Velocity as well as the Close Correlation between the Planetary Orbital Periods and the Periods of the Solar Cycles Prove that Climate Changes are Driven by Galactic Gravitational Waves”

    Your paper had no data on these “gravitational waves”. Could you please provide realistic data covering the occurrence periods, strength and how they are measured?

  128. Geoff Sharp (02:11:26) :
    Loebert: “…Prove that Climate Changes are Driven by Galactic Gravitational Waves”
    Your paper had no data on these “gravitational waves”.

    Geoff, this is high carat pseudo-science. Entertaining for ‘open-minded’ people, but not science. There are no such measurements. No-one has ever measured a gravitational wave. We infer that they exist from measurements of the orbital changes of close-in binary pulsars: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1993/press.html but they are exceeding weak [as gravity is the weakest of all forces on length scales that are of interest].

  129. “”” bill (20:06:21) :

    George E. Smith (14:18:47) :
    Oh dear! this is ridiculous!
    Obviously clouds actions do not change night and day. In sunlight they affect albedo and also act as a GHG. In the dark There is nothing to albedo so they act as a GHG.
    Take away the cloud moisture and the heat stored in the ground radiates away more quickly. No where has it been said that clouds will warm the night. They retain heat!

    In UK a cloudy night can make a large difference to the night temperature (5 to 10C)

    http://amsu.cira.colostate.edu/kidder/Oskar.pdf

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/5dac76137ab0d6f4b731a6ecab3a7398,0/3__Sun_and_clouds/-_Clouds_and_climate_25x.html

    There are huge differences in day and night time temperatures in deserts. Very few clouds form over deserts because the air is so dry. “””

    Maybe ridiculous to you Bill; but then you are talking about last night’s weather; while I am talking about climate; you know the stuff that is typically related to things that happen over time scales of 30 years and longer.

    You’ll get no arguments from me that clouds and water vapor and other minor GHGs like CO2 don’t absorb surface emitted long wave IR, which otherwise would escape faster to space; or that more clouds and water vapor won’t produce more IR absorption. I agree with all of that. And all of that happens day or night; but those same clouds that slow down the cooling at night will block far more solar energy from reaching the ground during the daytime; so more clouds over climate time scales always results in less ground level solar energy and so leads to cooling.

    You mention the rapid cooling at night in dry deserts. Please explain why that devil of all green house gases, CO2, is unable to stop that rapid cooling. Does CO2 also only work during the daytime.

    I have many times pointed out (if you have been reading here) that the most efficient cooling of the earth takes place not at night, nor at the cold polar regions; but during the midday bright sun of those very same dry arid deserts; which reach surface temperatures of +60 deg C or more 140 deg F), and as you point out can drop as much as 35 deg C overnight.

    And the very same lack of water vapor or clouds in the atmosphere over those deserts leads to lower atmospheric absorption of incoming solar radiation (maybe as much as 20% of the solar total); which is why the surface can reach those high temperatures; which incidently they would never reach under the NOAA (Trenberth) official surface absorbtance of 168 W/m^2 or even the total solar incoming of 342 W/m^2; which is one reason the computer models don’t work; they aren’t modelling any real physical planet; let alone this one; but some mythical average planet that is always at about 288 K Temperature.

    On the real earth the tropical desert surface emittance can be as much as twice what Trenberth and NOAA say the whole earth is emitting.

    And it is that super highe emittance that is the reason that the deserts cool so rapidly and so much at night, when that 1366 W/m^2 solar blow torch goes to sleep.

    Moreover, because of the high starting surface temperatures in those hot deserts; the Wien displacement moves the peak of the surface long wave emissions down to something more like 8.8 microns, instead of 10.1 microns, at the official NOAA global temperature of about 288K. So the much vaunted CO2 15 micron absorption band is even less effective in slowing doen the long wave emissions from the arid tropical deserts; in fact high altitude ozone with its 9-10 micron notch becomes a significant GHG contributor to the hot desert GHG effects.

    As for the cloud effects changing at night why would they; the earth’s albedo doesn’t change at night; clouds continue to reflect sunlight that hits them, and also to absorb additional sunlight that otherwise would reach the ground; 24 hours per day; and as people like to point out those same clouds, and also the water vapor that eventuially leads to those clouds continues to absorb and then re-emit long wave IR; which incidently tends to be emitted from the atmospheric gases isotropically, so that only about half of it heads in the direction of the earth surface; to where ever denser hotter GHG molecules, will reabsorb it over an ever widening spectral range; whereas, the portion of that radiation that is emitted upwards, propagates through a less dense, and colder GHG path whose absorption spectrum continues to narrow; so it captures less and less of the outgoing long wave atmospheric emissions.

    The easy direction for long wave IR propagation is upwards toward outer space; not downwards; which becomes increasingly hostile to transmission og long wave IR, because of pressure, and Doppler broadening of the GHG absorption bands.

    You cannot invoke INCREASED cloudiness at night and claim increased warming as a result; and not allow for that same INCREASED cloudiness during daylight hours to remove even more incoming solar radiation that otherwise would reach the surface (73% of which is the oceans) which results in a net global cooling.

    Increased cloudiness at any altitude that persists over climate time scales ALWAYS results in global surface cooling.

    Don’t try to sidetrack the issue by talking about last night’s weather.

    It’s weather that drowns polar bears, not climate. It is weather that causes local flooding; not climate.

    As for the mean global surface temperature; that is maintained in a very comfortable feedback controlled range almost entirely by the unique physical and chemical properties of the H2O molecule.

  130. Leif Svalgaard (14:25:16) :

    Nasif Nahle (13:59:32) :
    Oh, no! I think we’ll know more about it when the existence of gravitons and Higgs’ particles in our near neighborhood is revealed.
    So the Higgs is important for our climate…

    REPLY: Nasif this has to be one of the most ridiculous things ever said. The Higgs Boson has yet to be revealed. It is only theorized.

    Again I grow weary of your constant silliness. Take a 24 hour time out. This continued back of and forth is pointless and a waste of my time and my moderators time. – Anthony

    I didn’t say Higgs’ particles has been discovered.

    Regarding thermal energy in the gravity field, I have a reference for it:

    Guth, Alan H. The Inflationary Universe. Perseus Books Group, 1999, New York, New York. Pp. 29-31.

    Please, be fair and publish this post and do not put words in my mouth that I have never said.

  131. Leif Svalgaard (09:02:35) : Entertaining for ‘open-minded’ people, but not science.

    One must be careful that when mind is opened, it is not opened too far, lest intelligence fall out…

  132. E.M.Smith (12:15:32) :
    One must be careful that when mind is opened, it is not opened too far, lest intelligence fall out…
    At least it is safe to open again [and again], as it can only fall out once…

  133. George E. Smith (10:56:53) :
    so we agree that low clouds act as GHGs and prevent some transmission of LW IR upwards, during day and night. The low level clouds only reflect, mainly visible, light to space during the day. Hence the albedo change is only effective for 50% of the time. The GHG effect is continuous for the life of the cloud.

    Which Wins – Albedo of IR aborption?
    I have posted documents here that show the effect of clouds is warming neutral – if they are to be believed then as far as climate goes their effect is neglegible.

    I assume you can give me similar documents that prove your beliefs (hopefully not utilising gravity waves in their proof!)?

    I would agree that the hydro cycle is a major player in the temperature of the earth. But also other GHGs have their input.

  134. “””bill (13:16:23) :

    George E. Smith (10:56:53) :
    so we agree that low clouds act as GHGs “””

    Well actually, I think we don’t. I don’t distinguish clouds by height; they all do pretty much the same; but with important differences.

    H2O, is the ONLY GHG candidate which exists in the atmosphere in all three phases, all the time; Vapor, liquid, and solid. In the vapor phase, H2O absorbs long wave IR from either primary surface emissions, or secondary atmospheric emissions, and arguably, the downward radiated portion of the thermal radiation that arises from the vapor absorption of primary surface IR, is mostly absorbed in the top 10 microns of the earth’s oceans and other water bodies which comprise about 73% of the earth’s surface area, and a larger portion of its tropical surface area. That water surface absorption leads to prompt evaporation from the water surface, which transports vast quantities of thermal energy back into the atmosphere, and cools the ocean surface, and the increased atmospheric water vapor that results, leads to further LWIR capture, so it is a positive feedback warming effect. Moreover, this effect begins with the least amount of water vapor possible in the atmosphere, so no CO2 or other GHG “trigger” is required to create this positive feedbaclk effect; water is perfectly capable of doing the whole thing on its own.

    BUT !! that very same water vapor, is also a very efficient absorber of incoming solar radiation, beginning at around 750 nm wavelength in the deep red, and continuing in around seven prominent bands out to about 7-8 microns, on the leading edge of the10 microns so-called atmopsheric window. About 45% of the total solar spectrum energy, is contained in that range, and water vapor is capable of addressing about half of that total spectral range, and with enough water vapor probably 20% or more of the total solar energy. That is the extra ground insolation that reaches the surface in the arid tropical deserts and leads to their high surface temperatures. But with the presence of the water vapor, the surface soolar irradiance is reduced, and the more water vapor, the more it is reduced; so in that case, Water vapor acts in a negative feedback cooling fashion. So it depends on conditions, whether the negative or positive feedback dominates. We do know that absent that water vapor, and the “equilibrium” earth temperature would be sub zero C. So at least at low concentrations the warming evidently wins.

    But it is in the liquid and solid phases, as clouds, that H2O alone comes into its own, since the top surface of the clouds (all clouds) reflects incoming solar radiation back out into space, and then the liquid and solid water absorb further solar energy, and both effects result in a lowering of surface insolation and ALWAYS results in surface cooling. It NEVER results in a surface temperature rise, when a cloud (any cloud) moves in front of the sun; it always cools. That is so obvious, that I doubt that anybody ever considered writing a peer reviewed paper relating to that common observation; maybe for a sixth grade science essay.

    And it is equally obvious, that the higher those cloud layers form, the colder, and less dense, and less water content the atmosphere is, so the total upward reflection diminishes with the molecular density of the water
    and the bulk scattering and absorption also gets less, so more of the soalr spectrum energy reaches the ground; the higher the cloud layers form,so the surface temperatures get increasingly hot, because of the increased insolation; and not because of some increase in long wave IR trapping of surface emissions; in fact as I pointed out those absorptions and emissions decrease as the cloud altitude increases.

    This isn’t rocket science. The long wave absorbing and re-emitting molecules (not necessarily the same) diminish in number with increasing altitude, and their temperature diminishes, so the Stefan-Boltzmann emission reduces steadily with altitude.

    That is NOT a recipe for increased warming of the ground.

    And the cloud in front of sun experiment proves that the cooling wins ALWAYS; it never gets warmer in the shadow zone of the cloud.

    Now a polar scientist once told me that he had seen it warm up in the arctic under a cloud layer. Well the cloud layer was due to a body of warmer moist air that had moved into the region (overhead); but the sun was down low on the horizon, and the cloud wasn’t anywhere near in front of the sun, and if another distant cloud, had moved in front of the sun; even though miles from his position, the temperature would still drop during the occultation; regardless of whether some water laden moist air and cloud layer had move in from some other (warmer) place.

    So I don’t care what the climatology text books say about high clouds warming the surface. The higher they are the less sunlight they block; and sunlight does not disappear on earth for climatically significant times; it always seems to reappear on about a 24 hour time schedule. So yes the sun will warm the earth more with wispier lower density colder higher clouds. And the existence of those clouds is a result of the previous surface temperature and moisture conditions.

    Under a midwest thunderstorm in mid summer; even inside a house out of the air, it gets darn cold when the storm passes overhead, and blocks out the sun; often to night time levels.

    As for the “other” GHGs “having their input”; the arid desert experiment proves they are totally ineffective; specially compared to the much greater influence of the predominent GHG which is H2O.

  135. George E. Smith says:

    So I don’t care what the climatology text books say about high clouds warming the surface.

    Well, you are welcome to invent your own theory of climate. Just don’t expect that many of us in the scientific community will take it seriously. I am continual amazed on the site by how many people, who are clearly smart, believe that they are so much smarter than anyone else that they can just dismiss the accepted science without attempting to understand it because they know better. A little more humility could go a long way in the “skeptic” movement.

  136. “”” commieBob (19:56:03) :

    “the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag.”

    I am not a climate scientist, I do electronics and the systems I deal with are simple compared with the climate, however … “””

    Well then commieBob, I presume that your electronics also has zero propagation delay, from input to output, since that would be a pre-requisite for have no delay in feedback from the output back to the input.

    You mean all that SPICE analysis I did was just a waste of time?

  137. “”” Joel Shore (15:24:21) :

    George E. Smith says:

    So I don’t care what the climatology text books say about high clouds warming the surface.

    Well, you are welcome to invent your own theory of climate. Just don’t expect that many of us in the scientific community will take it seriously. “””

    Well Joel, you are just tilting at windmills if you assume that I make no attempt to understand what passes for “Science” among the climatology community; in fact I have spent countless thousands of hours studying and trying to understand what is being passed off as science.

    They aren’t very successful in either explaining the past with their computer “models” and they certainly have failed miserably in attempting to predict the future.

    Remember that we have already had a fairly respectable climate time scale delay since the great Dr James Hansen made his predictions before the Congress of the United States, and started this whole ball rolling; and so far, none of his dire predictions that should already have shown up, seem to have materialized.

    And I have no interest in coming up with my own climate theory; it doesn’t interest me at all, since even the most ardent supporters of man made climate change agree that if the developed world all went back to the stone age, and stopped using stored chemical energy; that the result (climatically) would be unmeasurable over the next 50 years.

    So clearly there is nothing I can do to change that situation. I’m only interested in things whose outcomes I can influence; when it comes to working for a better world.

    And I am not a member of any “skeptic” movement; in fact I am not at all skeptical.

    Produce some climate theories that jibe with actual observations Joel, and I am sure the world will sing your praises.

    But don’t try and sell that “we are the only ones who understand this stuff. ” line with me. We get the same attitude from lawyers who comprise 75% of the members of every legislative body in the USA; and who therefore write all our laws; and most of them have at least a passing aquaintance with the English language; yet they claim that we ordinary folks can’t understand the tripe they write, and need to hire their services to decipher it for us.

    It never dawns on them that they should have their A**** fired for writing laws that can’t be understood by those who must obey them.

    For example; the new Boy Wonder’s medical prescription for the country will achieve economic viability by simply making it mandatory for EVERYONE ;except of course those illiterate lawyers themselves, to purchase the new socilaized medical insurance, and failure to comply will bring a $2,500 tax fee ; and failure to pay that tax will bring a $25,000 IRS tax penalty; and refusal to pay either the tax, or the penalty, will result in imprisonment. What a wonderful law to put on the books; so what does the Teleprompter Reader-in-Chief plan to do with all the Amish people whose religious beliefs are that they will not buy insurance of any kind, for anything, for any reason. They are already well served by modern medicine for which they pay with actual legal tender AKA “cash”; they don’t insure their houses or farms or their horse drawn carriages; their religious belief is that somehow they will weather any adversity; and they do so very well.

    And every single one of those good citizens of this country will go to jail before they will bow to the insane wishes of that nitwit that the teenyboppers put in charge of this great country; who can find nothing more pressing to do, than to take his family on a vacation jaunt to Copenhagen to convince the people there to put the Olympic games in Chicago,;even though most Chicagoans don’t want the games anywhere near them. Yes we have our fill of “we know best” pretenders; who don’t seem to have demonstrated, any basic problem solving skills; and will simply statisticize, and regress till they get the result they think should be what Gaia is doing.

    No I have no interest in trying to figure out what Mother Nature does; it is far too complex for mere mortals to unravel.

    But go ahead and invest your life in it Joel; so you can be like Carl Sagan; who spent his life looking for intelligent life in the universe, and could only leave his grandchildren with the knowledge, that he never found so much as one binary digit of scientific information, about life outside a thin shell about +/- 20 km or less about mean sea level on planet earth. What a waste of a brilliant mind.

  138. Leif Svalgaard (09:02:35) :

    Geoff Sharp (02:11:26) :
    Loebert: “…Prove that Climate Changes are Driven by Galactic Gravitational Waves”
    Your paper had no data on these “gravitational waves”.
    Geoff, this is high carat pseudo-science. Entertaining for ‘open-minded’ people, but not science.

    Yes, I was thinking the same and fishing for some sort of data to support the wild claims.

  139. I hope Joel Shore is a pseudonym if you are in ‘the scientific community’. Most of the public have tumbled that CO2 forced warming is a hoax, and this NH winter will settle the rest.
    This leaves us with the ‘scientists’ who have presumed on the public’s respect for Science to peddle garbage.
    By garbage I mean the unlikely hypothesis of CO2 forced warming with the dubious rationales and diddled datasets that have been wheeled out to support it.
    Unfortunately most people here are capable of evaluating what they are told and so ‘trust me, I’m a scientist’ won’t wash. Real scientists are delighted to share their knowledge with the public, whereas the ‘trust me’ crowd are failed politicians.
    As the weather/climate shows over the next few years that it doesn’t do linear trends the public will want to know how our ‘Scientific Method’ failed, how grant-hunting charlatans managed to masquerade as scientists and how to trust ‘scientific data’ in future.
    While alarmism may be the easy money now accepting the pork-barrel will permanently taint a future career in science.

  140. Sandy says:

    Unfortunately most people here are capable of evaluating what they are told and so ‘trust me, I’m a scientist’ won’t wash. Real scientists are delighted to share their knowledge with the public, whereas the ‘trust me’ crowd are failed politicians.

    I try to share what knowledge I have, as do many of the scientists actually in the field, but it is a two-way street. If people have such a block against learning anything that might actually challenge their worldview then it becomes rather difficult. My last post (which I am not proud of) was expressing that frustration…After I had given George E. Smith an explanation of how he had actually presented all the ingredients to understand why high clouds can cause warming and explained how they come together, he simply dismissed it by saying, “So I don’t care what the climatology text books say about high clouds warming the surface.”

    It’s not like the idea that high clouds, if they are not too thick, produce warming is even controversial. I’m pretty sure you could even find Roy Spencer saying as much.

  141. ******
    Joel Shore (20:35:35) :

    This is all very basic non-controversial science that can be found in an atmospheric science textbook. In fact, I just recently discovered this explanation myself in Richard Goody, “Principles of Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry” (1995), pp 146-147, which I was reading through in my attempt to bone up on some of the fundamentals of atmospheric science that I didn’t get in my physics education. I might suggest that you do the same!
    *******

    Joel, simple observations conflict w/your statements. High-level cirrus dimming the sun causes surface temps to drop from an otherwise clear, sunny sky — I’ve experienced and measured it many times. Tho I understand they absorb some energy, they also reflect some non-zero amount of solar energy back into space that would otherwise get further down. What would the net result of that be, compared to a clear-sky condition? Net warming? Maybe the end effect is that they cause some warming at higher tropospheric levels, but not at the surface — just the opposite.

    Yes, the situation at night is reversed — high, thin clouds or better, low, thick clouds retard radiation to space & reduce nighttime cooling. But, at least for thunderstorm/convective clouds producing cirrus decks, there is typically a daytime bias (usually late afternoon) for this action, so in this case would clearly be a net cooling for the surface, which is what we’re concerned about. Even for jet-stream-produced cirrus, I doubt there’s any nighttime bias for this action, so the net effect at worst (from your AWG viewpoint) would prb’ly be very small.

  142. beng: I think the day / night thing is the main point. In the day, the net effect of high clouds may well be modest cooling but at night it is warming…and the net effect for both day and night is warming.

    For low clouds, the net effect is cooling because they reduce incoming solar radiation and they actually don’t reduce the outgoing terrestrial radiation that much (because they tend to lie below the effective radiating layer from which most of the infrared radiation escapes back into space).

  143. Joel,

    Let me try to give you some inkling of why I have so much “suspicion” for what we are all being told is gospel by the “climate science” community.

    Take the issue of “Climate Snsitivity”, evidently a standard climatology technical term purportedly dreamed up by the (in)famous Arrhenius who evidently was one of the first to blame CO2 for “global warming”.

    According to this notion, there is a universal constant; the amount of increase in the “mean global temperature” (whatever that is) that occurs for every doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere; presumably by volume or molecular numbers.

    That concept leads to a mathematical form:- y = a.ln(bx) (self explanatory); which in turn leads to the statement that the changes in mean global temperature (????) vary as the logarithm of the CO2 fractional abundance in the atmosphere.

    When I challenged the validity of that statement; arguing there was no physical reason for such a relationship; Phil (whose opinion I value greatly), said ‘well yes there is’ or words to that effect, and he then went on to explain that the Temp/CO2 relationship was linear for low concentrations, and then logarithmic for intermediate concentrations, and then Square root (if my memory serves me) for higher concentrations.

    Well clearly that is NOT the behavior of the function y = a.ln(bx) which really IS a logarithmic function. I take Phil’s comment to mean those linear/log/Sqrt functions can be fitted to the actual measured Temp/CO2 data by some choice of arbitrary scaling parameters.

    Well hey; if it is an issue of curve fitting; I can fit any continuous single valued function to some set of Tchebychev Polynomials; or Bessel functions, or sin functions, or any other set of orthogonal functions, over some limited range of the data. And moreover I can make such a fit to a much greater accuracy than is represented by the actual measured, observed values and their uncertainty.

    And to get back to my original objection; there is in fact no physical explanation for any such formulation of the curve fitting; based on fundamental physical processes.

    So consider the local behavior of the CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 molecules absorb long wave infrared radiation which excites some well understood molecular oscillation mode; well assuming the photon moves within the crossection for that particular capture mechanism, and that it has the required photon energy (wavelength). That energy is subsequently shared with ordinary atmosphere molecules (N2/O2) by collisions, based on local temperature and density, and that atmosphere; presumably warmed by the transferred energy, eventually radiates some form of thermal long wave radiation based on the air temperature. Some of that re-radiation which is inherently isotropic in emission, eventually reaches the ground where much of it is absorbed.

    Now there is a problem with this picture.
    The available primary surface emission of long wave IR is dpendent of the surface temperature and emissivity over the likely emission wavelength range.

    For the extreme observed range of earth surface temperatures; all of which could be present somewhere on earth at the same time, the total radiant emittance from the surface can have a renge of more than an order of magnitude; about 11:1 before taking emissivity into account.

    So the amount of primary surface LWIR available to the atmospheric CO2 for capture in the process described above, varies over the globe by more than an order of magnitude; and moreaover it is not adequately sampled globally to obtain a proper sampled map of the total earth surface emissions. So it is not even possible to rigorously compute any kind of global average “forcing” due to the CO2; or to the effect of the doubled CO2 from such a highly variable physical interraction.

    So the whole notion that there is a believable measureable global value to explain even the radiation change due to a doubling of CO2; let alone the resulting temperature change (globally), in order to support Arrhenius’ idea of a “climate sensitivity”, just defies common sense.

    Well that is borne out by the fact that nobody seems to know just what the value of this “climate sensitivity” universal constant is; and it seems to be inferred indirectly from statisticall manipulations of data from a system, that involves far more complex interractions than the mere absorption of a LWIR photon by a CO2 molecule.

    But “climatologists” are heavily invested in the idea, and in the logarithmity of that clearly non logarithmic function; and they aren’t going to abide any sort of “explanation”, that seeks to describe aspects of climate, that does not adhere to what is a really silly idea.

    If you are going to talk climate with peer reviewed “climate scientists” you have to first swear allegiance to Arrhenius, and climate sensitivity; otherwise you are simply incompetent to discuss the matter in polite society.

    Well yes; the earth used to be the center of the universe; and no contrary view was permissible; and that blocked scientific progress for many years, until observations made that belief completely untenable.

    Well that is just one of the many stones strewn on the ground Joel; that simply do not fit back into place, when trying to construct what that pile of rocks is supposed to be.

    Far be it from me to dissuade those who are emotionally or financially invested in the gospel as it is still taught today. But I hate to see what generations of truly great people have constructed in the form of this modern technological world; be systmeatically destroyed by adherence to a belief that is fitting of ancient astrology

    As for me; I have neither emotional nor financial investment in climate; I just hate to see my fellow Americans being screwed over, by what is demonstrably bad science; and being asked to lead like the pied piper; the rest of the developed world with them back into the dark ages.

    Just get the science correct, and the future will take care of itself.

  144. George,

    What you describe is essentially what happens in any field of science. If you start to dig into it, then there will be a lot of things that are just sort of taken for granted by the scientists in the field because they were settled decades ago. (And, indeed, most of these issues that you seem stuck on involving radiative physics and such were serious objections 40 or 50 years ago, but have since been settled. The very end result of the climate sensitivity is not settled, but that is because getting from the radiative forcing to the temperature response involves all the possible feedback effects in the atmosphere.)

    And, so you have two choices: You can either accept that the scientists figured them out correctly. Or, you can dig up all the original work again and go through it and either decide that it is correct or come up with a good argument as to why it is not. However, I think just saying that it doesn’t seem right to you without investing the time to understand how the conclusion was reached is, in my opinion, not a very good option. It is extremely immodest to basically say that you know better than these scientists even though they have invested many years of study in the problem and you are just talking off the top of your head or on the basis of what you know by analogy from other fields.

    As for the part about the developed world being led back to the dark ages: I think, in fact, this is the crux of the matter. — You don’t like the policies that are being proposed to deal with this problem and that pre-disposes you to believe that the science is wrong because that way you can argue that the policies are unnecessary.

    And, just as a thought experiment, if I told you that we were running out of fossil fuels and would have to wean ourselves off of them over the next half century or so, would you still say that we were going to end up having to go back to the Dark Ages? And, if not, what exactly is the difference…except that, in the current situation, we have the additional flexibility of continuing to burn fossil fuels if we find an economical way to sequester the CO2?

  145. Robert Mackey,
    What is the period of the interaction between this 18.6 year LNC and the 22 year solar magnetic cycle? Might we find another climactic cyle there? Perhaps also a minor one in the interaction of the 18.6 and the (roughly!) 11 year activity cycle? The variation in pitch between the Saros cycle and the LNC suggest the possibility of another long-scale cycle. I suspect that there are even more cycles invovled. If we overlay them and add and subtract the vectors correctly I wonder how good a fit we will find?

    Now, due to lack of sufficient 1, 3,7 trimethylxanthine, my head is going to explode.

  146. “”” Joel Shore (17:36:42) :

    George,

    What you describe is essentially what happens in any field of science. If you start to dig into it, then there will be a lot of things that are just sort of taken for granted by the scientists in the field because they were settled decades ago. (And, indeed, most of these issues that you seem stuck on involving radiative physics and such were serious objections 40 or 50 years ago, but have since been settled. The very end result of the climate sensitivity is not settled, but that is because getting from the radiative forcing to the temperature response involves all the possible feedback effects in the atmosphere.)

    And, so you have two choices: You can either accept that the scientists figured them out correctly. Or, you can dig up all the original work again and go through it and either decide that it is correct or come up with a good argument as to why it is not. However, I think just saying that it doesn’t seem right to you without investing the time to understand how the conclusion was reached is, in my opinion, not a very good option. It is extremely immodest to basically say that you know better than these scientists even though they have invested many years of study in the problem and you are just talking off the top of your head or on the basis of what you know by analogy from other fields.

    As for the part about the developed world being led back to the dark ages: I think, in fact, this is the crux of the matter. — You don’t like the policies that are being proposed to deal with this problem and that pre-disposes you to believe that the science is wrong because that way you can argue that the policies are unnecessary.

    And, just as a thought experiment, if I told you that we were running out of fossil fuels and would have to wean ourselves off of them over the next half century or so, would you still say that we were going to end up having to go back to the Dark Ages? And, if not, what exactly is the difference…except that, in the current situation, we have the additional flexibility of continuing to burn fossil fuels if we find an economical way to sequester the CO2? “””

    Well Joel I agree with your comment that scientists accept things that were settled decades ago.

    For example in a climate related instance; for over 60 years; six decades, and double the typical climatology base line periods that people select; and a very long time in the history of any modern science; it was beleived as gospel that when liquid water droplets freeze (presumably in clouds) that they freeze from the INSIDE OUT. No; we are not talking about the multilayer deposition process which typically forms hailstones; simply the freezing of a pre-existing water drop.

    But it was proven by Azadeh Tabazadeh (NASA Ames) that that is completely eroneous, and they in fact freeze from the outside in. So in rapidly developng sciences, it is not unusual for long held dogma to get overturned.

    And the trouble with climate research before the space age, is that the data to feed some of these computer simulations simply was not available; not that the computers were either.

    Christy et al in 2001 presented a paper on oceanic buoy data of about 20 years duration whose underlying message, was that temperature sampling data over 73% of the earth’s surface (the oceans) prior to about 1980 when those buoys were first deployed was essentially unusable and uncorrectable because it was found that oceanic water and air temperatures aren’t correlated; whereas it was previously assumed that they were in fact the same. since they are not correlated, then air temperature data cannot be reconstructed for the useless water temperature data that was gathered over 150 years or so. Well it might be of use in tracking water surface temperatures; but can’t be melded into lower troposphere data obtained from land based sensors; Anthony’s infamous Owl box collection.

    I’m not the one who is saying that the computer GCMs don’t model clouds correctly; the modellers themselves say that. I’m not surprised, since we have no way to monitor cloud cover the way Mother Nature monitors it; even with satellites there is no continuous total global cloud cover measurement; and clouds come and go in minutes, so orbiting satellites can only sample at quite inadequate intervals. Gaia monitors the cloud cover down to picosecond time intervals, and at spatial scales of nanometres; continuously; so she gets the right answer. We can’t do that, so we get only wrong answers.

    and the whole point about the climate sensitivity issue, is that it is not a fixed property of CO2. The climate sensitivity at Vostok Station is not even vaguely close to the climate sensitivity in the middle of death valley or in the Hawaiian islands. So it is not a useful quantity at all, so they try to come up with some average value. There’s no computational way to do that, since there is no adequate sampling network to sample climate sensitivity globally to properly compute an average for the whole earth.

    And the whole concept only yields some sort of radiation imbalance that cannot be simply converted into a temperature change; because there are other much more powerful effects going on that swamp whatever the CO2 might be doing.

    And nowhere have I ever said that I know better than “these scientists”, whoever they may be. My comments are nearly always restricted to subject matters that I have only been working with for about 50 years. I agree that is not long compared to the billions of years of climate proxy data that the experts have been working with.

    I’ve already told you that I’m not really interested in studying climate. The ins and outs of ENSO and other apparent climate patterns, I am sure are of great interest to all those statisticians who love to fit straight line trend graphs to, and filter the available data to throw most of it away, in the search for information that really isn’t there to begin with. I don’t have time to study all of that; I actually have a full time job to do; and lucklily my computer is busy doing a lot of it for me, so I can catch a few moments to comment here; while it thinks for me.

    But when I do spend some time listening to the climate experts and what they have to say; I immediately run into some problems. There’s an awful lot of brilliantly eminent climate scientisst; who HAVE worked in the field for decades; who simply disagree with what you are suggesting is an overwhelming settled conclusion as to man’s influence on the climate.

    The rebellion against the party line is impossible to ignore Joel; and I do listen to both sides.

    And yes I do get riled up when I see politicians proposing Draconian measures that are borderlng on criminal insanity to supposedly fix so-called problems whose very existence has not been proven.

    As to the running out of fossil fuels; as far as the USA is concerned; the limits on our fossil fuel future useage are those that are self imposed by edict that removes known US supplies from availability. Government dictators are locking up US sources of fossil fuels as fast as they can be discovered, and simply decreeing that they can’t be used, and that decision is based on the belief that CO2 is bad for the environment.

    One thing that will be bad for the environment is the permanent sequestration of atmospheric oxygen in man made deposits of the ultimate “pollutant”.

    Well the problem is Joel, that there are simply too many people who realize that this whole donnybrook was deliberately created as a mechanism for an elite cliche to control the behavior of the rest of us. It has nothing to do with the environment or energy or anything else; it is all about political power and control.

    I object to that; but mostly I object to the misuse of “science” to delude those who for their own reasons, are not able to follow these issues themselves; that to me is the ultimate crime.

    George

  147. Re: Richard Mackey (01:08:47)

    Hi Richard,

    The LNC alone only ‘explains’ (in the statistical sense) a small fraction of the variance, but consider the following, which takes into consideration both high-frequency solar system dynamics and terrestrial polar motion (in addition to the LNC):

    Regards,
    Paul.

  148. George E. Smith says:

    Well Joel I agree with your comment that scientists accept things that were settled decades ago.

    So in rapidly developng sciences, it is not unusual for long held dogma to get overturned.

    Well, it may not be that unusual, but I don’t think it is common enough that the going assumption should be that it is wrong. And, the way to overturn it is to carefully study the past work in the field and come up with a good demonstration showing how or why this work is wrong. It is not just to make vague arguments of disbelief.

    I’m not the one who is saying that the computer GCMs don’t model clouds correctly; the modellers themselves say that.

    Yes, clouds are a legitimate source of uncertainty. But, that doesn’t mean that nothing is known or can be modeled about them. It just means that there remain significant areas of difficulty. I don’t think whether thin high clouds cause net warming or cooling is one of them.

    I don’t even think the “skeptics” do themselves any service by contesting everything and anything…at least for really advancing their cause in the scientific community. (This may be a good strategy for convincing the public, but that is a different story.) It would be better if you guys conceded the stuff where the evidence is really overwhelming and stuck to arguing about the value of the climate sensitivity due to cloud feedbacks. Instead, there are people arguing about the most basic issues of the effect of clouds on climate, people claiming that the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, people claiming that humans are not responsible for the rise in CO2 levels above the pre-industrial baseline, people claiming that CO2 levels were really much higher than ice core data show over the recent past, and all sorts of truly nutty things.

    and the whole point about the climate sensitivity issue, is that it is not a fixed property of CO2. The climate sensitivity at Vostok Station is not even vaguely close to the climate sensitivity in the middle of death valley or in the Hawaiian islands. So it is not a useful quantity at all, so they try to come up with some average value. There’s no computational way to do that, since there is no adequate sampling network to sample climate sensitivity globally to properly compute an average for the whole earth.

    This paragraph is one example of where you can really benefit from reading a basic textbook on atmospheric or climate science. As it turns out, I have just been doing this myself (because I also can really benefit from this and only regret that I didn’t start doing so sooner). One book I have been reading is “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey. And, Chapter 3 discusses the concepts of radiative forcing and climate sensitivity. And, what you are saying doesn’t really make sense for a few reasons. First of all, climate sensitivity is DEFINED as the change in average global temperature per given change in global radiative forcing, so to say it can be different in different places doesn’t really make sense. Now, there are questions you could ask and which in fact the author addresses. For example, one question is whether the distribution of radiative forcing (either latitudinally or in altitude) results in very different climate sensitivity. And, the answer seems to be that it doesn’t significantly in most cases (partial exceptions include ozone and absorbing tropospheric aerosols). Another question is whether the regional response depends on the distribution of the forcing…and again the answer seems to be for the most part NO…and this is simply because the troposphere has lots of flows both vertically and horizontally that mean that the distribution of warming that occurs is more a function of these flows than it is of the distribution of any change in radiative forcing. (Another interesting fact I learned is that the main surface warming effect of greenhouse gases is not actually the increase in infrared radiation from the atmosphere that makes it back to the surface but is rather the decrease in the emission of radiation back out into space because the effective emission layer moves higher in the atmosphere and hence the emission decreases via the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.)

    And nowhere have I ever said that I know better than “these scientists”, whoever they may be. My comments are nearly always restricted to subject matters that I have only been working with for about 50 years.

    Well, I don’t think you have been working on the radiative properties of clouds in the atmosphere for 50 years. You may have done some work on radiative issues but that doesn’t necessarily make you an expert on the radiative properties of clouds.

    But when I do spend some time listening to the climate experts and what they have to say; I immediately run into some problems. There’s an awful lot of brilliantly eminent climate scientisst; who HAVE worked in the field for decades; who simply disagree with what you are suggesting is an overwhelming settled conclusion as to man’s influence on the climate.

    Well, “an awful lot” seems like an exaggeration to me. The few in the U.S. off the top of my head who I think would qualify if you relax “brilliantly eminent” to be “reasonably well-published and regarded” would be Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, John Christy, and Roger Pielke Sr. And, while these scientists may argue the extent of man’s influence on the climate through greenhouse gas emissions, I don’t think any of them would agree with you on the points that you have argued (regarding the effect of high clouds or what the radiative forcing due to increased greenhouse gases is). They mostly seem to argue about feedback effects.

    The rebellion against the party line is impossible to ignore Joel

    Do you expect complete unanimity, especially given the complex policy implications of the science? What is impossible to ignore, I think, is the broad consensus of scientific organizations…and the increasing acceptance of the science by those (such as fossil fuel companies) who have considerable financial interest in questioning it (and, who indeed were part of the Global Climate Coalition back in the 90s that was doing just that until it became increasingly scientifically untenable).

    As to the running out of fossil fuels; as far as the USA is concerned; the limits on our fossil fuel future useage are those that are self imposed by edict that removes known US supplies from availability. Government dictators are locking up US sources of fossil fuels as fast as they can be discovered, and simply decreeing that they can’t be used, and that decision is based on the belief that CO2 is bad for the environment.

    You are dodging my question which was a hypothetical one. I.e., are you saying that the only thing preventing us from going back to the Dark Ages is that we have the good fortune of having a large store of fossil fuels and if this store was any significant amount less than it is, we would be doomed?

    It is my experience that people who are great believers in markets and think that they can deal with problems such as resource depletion suddenly start alarmist talk about economic disaster and going back to the Dark Ages if, heaven forbid, we impose what is essentially the equivalent of resource depletion artificially in order to preserve our environment. It doesn’t seem like a consistent point-of-view to me.

    One thing that will be bad for the environment is the permanent sequestration of atmospheric oxygen in man made deposits of the ultimate “pollutant”.

    This seems like a bizarre statement to me. Why do you expect that doubling or quadrupling the level of CO2 in the atmosphere would have no significant effect and yet you are worried about a fractional change in oxygen levels of less than 1 part in 100? And, why are you not concerned about this change in O2 itself…as long as the CO2 is left in the atmosphere but it becomes a big concern to you if we sequester it away. Can you explain the logical consistency of such a position?

    Well the problem is Joel, that there are simply too many people who realize that this whole donnybrook was deliberately created as a mechanism for an elite cliche to control the behavior of the rest of us. It has nothing to do with the environment or energy or anything else; it is all about political power and control.

    Sounds like a grand conspiracy theory to me.

    I object to that; but mostly I object to the misuse of “science” to delude those who for their own reasons, are not able to follow these issues themselves; that to me is the ultimate crime.

    I guess we inhabit different worlds. In the world which I inhabit, it seems much more reasonable to believe that it is the Heartland Institute that is misuing science and it is the NAS, the AAAS, the APS, AMS, and AGU who are fighting this misuse than the other way around. And, of course, as I look at the science itself I become more and more convinced that this is indeed the case.

  149. Several correspondents have asked about relationships between the 18.6 yr Lunar Nodal Cycle (LNC) and the 18.03 yr Saros cycle. Others have asked about interaction effects between solar periodicities of whatever type and the LNC. This note is a response to these queries.

    It is essential to understand that the LNC and Saros cycles are fundamentally different categories.

    The LNC is the period of a full rotation of the Moon’s orbital plane around the geometric plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun (the ecliptic). The Sun’s gravitational field makes the Moon’s Earthly orbit swivel around in a clockwise manner, over a cycle of 18.6 years, with respect the ecliptic, which is the plane of the Earth’s orbit. The Moon moves with respect to the ecliptic up and down a northerly latitude throughout the LNC. This arises because the Earth is titled on it axis and inclined away from the Sun and because the Moon’s orbit is tilted a little relative to the ecliptic. It is as if the Sun strives to pull the plane of the Moon’s orbit into its own plane, the ecliptic. But there is an alternate motion at right angles to the applied force, resulting in a revolution of the pole of the Moon’s orbit around the pole of the ecliptic.
    The LNC defines how the angle of the Moon’s orbit to the Earth’s equatorial plane combines with, or partially cancels out, the tilt in the Earth’s axis. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, during the LNC the Moon moves along a northern latitude about ten degrees from a position about 18.5 degrees north of the equator to one that is 28.5 degrees, which it reaches after 18.6 years.

    The Saros cycle is a means for predicting lunar and solar eclipses. The word “Saros” means “repetition” was given to the cycle by Edmund Halley in 1691.
    There is a very good entry about the Saros cycle in Wikipedia here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saros_cycle

    The Saros cycle is 6,585.277 days long, but depends on the number of leap years in the cycle. After one Saros cycle, the Earth-Sun-Moon geometry will be nearly identical: the Moon will have the same phase, be at the same node, and have the same distance from the Earth. If one knew the date of an eclipse, then one Saros Cycle later, a nearly identical eclipse should occur.
    The Saros Cycle is connected to the LNC in that Saros is a simple arithmetic function of three lunar months one of which is an element of the LNC: (i) the time between lunar phases e.g. two full moons; this month is known as the synodic month. (ii) The time between two passages of the Moon at the point at which it is closest to the earth (perigee): this month is known as the anomalistic month. (iii) The time required for the Moon to return to the ascending node (i.e. crossing the ecliptic from south to north): this month is known as the nodal month (and also known as the draconic month). It is this month that links the Saros Cycle to the LNC.

    The Saros Cycle was devised around the fifth or sixth century BC by Chaldean astronomers (who in those days were called astrologers) because of the absolute importance of being able to predict eclipses. They had thousands of cuniform clay tablets made by the ancient Babylonians as their data base. The Chaldean equivalent of Rajendra Pachauri knew that fame, fortune and great power would be his if he could persuade the powers-that-be that he could predict things and make the powers-that-be seem godlike to the masses. The way to do that in those days was to be able to predict eclipses more accurately than anyone else. The Saros Cycle gave the top astrologers of the day that power.

    The Saros Cycle is now no more than a curiosity, an indicator of the observational skill, record keeping skills and (arithmetic) calculating skills of the ancients. We have far more sophisticated lunar ephemerides on the www than the Saros Cycle.

    Nevertheless, there are two important lessons for us moderns from Saros. One is that the existence of Saros means that there must be a periodic repetition of some special geometries and that this would mean there is resonance acting within the Moon-Earth-Sun system. Resonance is ubiquitous in the solar system. Resonance is the subtle gravitational effect of Newton’s laws at work that determines the dynamical structure of the solar system; and so with the solar system’s Moon-Earth-Sun sub-system. The second lesson, taking the resonance into account, is that if there can be demonstrated relationships between lunar periodicities and our planet’s climate dynamics, we can use the mathematics of the lunar periodicities to predict climate dynamics, just as the ancient astrologers used them to predict eclipses with such great success.

    Mazzarella and Palumba (1994) point out that bistable modes of oscillation with respect to time are well known in physical and engineering systems and have been extensively studied. This research from Physics and Engineering demonstrates that a sinusoidal force applied to any dynamic system induces sinusoidal periodicities in the system.

    Accordingly, the LNC induces bistable sinusoidal periodicities in the atmosphere (pressure, temperature and rainfall) and the ocean (temperature and sea level). The sinusoidal, highly stable 18.6 year LNC has a distinctive and significant effect on the Earth’s climate dynamics.

    There is a substantial published literature that shows the significant role of the LNC in regulating our planet’s climate dynamics. Amongst other things, it is largely responsible for the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

    The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is regulated by the solar cycle in a non-linear manner. Heightened and weakened solar activity activates the large Rossby and Kelvin waves.11 The effects of these waves on atmospheric circulation are intensified by the creation of Ozone during times of increased solar activity. The AO is stronger with more zonal circulation over mid-latitudes, especially in the European-North Atlantic sector, and more variable during the peak of the solar cycle.

    The AO is also regulated by the peak 9.3 year and 18.6 year LNC tidal oscillations. The processes by which the effect occurs are different from those of variable solar activity. The tidal oscillation impacts on atmospheric circulation and on the large Rossby and Kelvin waves. It also impacts on the churning of the oceans.

    Nevertheless, the two solar processes interact amplifying each other’s contribution.

    The AO has a key role in Northern Hemisphere climate variability and its behaviour is largely the result of the interaction of the solar cycle and the 9.3 and 18.6 year LNC tidal oscillations.

    Berger (2007) found that solar modulation of the NAO is amplified by tidal cycles. He found that there is non-linear resonance between solar cycles and tidal cycles, especially the LNC and the perigean tidal cycle the effect of which is to amplify solar modulation of the NAO.

    Treloar (2002), of the Queensland Centre for Climate Applications, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, reported that the variability in ENSO and seasurface temperature anomalies is partly a result of lunisolar tidal factors.

    The Moon and the Sun periodically amplify each other’s gravitational effect on the Earth in a non-linear manner that closely correlates with major earthquakes. These periodic non-linear amplifications produce elastic energy that resides in the Earth’s core and crust. Barkin and Ferrandiz (2004), Barkin et al (2005) and Barkin et al (2007) demonstrated that the variable gravitational field of the Sun, interacting with the Moon’s, generates a range of significant periodic changes amongst the Earth’s shell-like structures: atmosphere, oceans, liquid core, mantle, another layers and plates.
    Barkin and Ferrandiz (2004) derived an analytic expression for the elastic energy of planet tidal deformations induced by other bodies, including the central star, in a planetary system.

    The elastic energy is not simply a sum of the elastic energies of the separate pairs of bodies but contains additional terms which are non-linear functions of the superposition of the variable gravitational fields of the Sun, Moon and other planets. As a result, there are large and significant variations in conditionally periodic variations in the elastic energy of the gravitational fields of the Sun and the Moon, especially, but with additional coefficients for the planets.

    Some of the elastic energy is dissipated as heat and contributes, as the periodicities of the tides determine, to the warming of the Earth and the oceans. Most of the remainder is retained in the solid material of the Earth, resulting in deformations, ultimately in the form of earthquakes and volcanoes. Some of the elastic energy is retained by the Moon, resulting in moonquakes which correlate closely with earthquakes.

    The Moon and the Sun periodically amplify each other’s gravitational effect on the Earth in a non-linear manner that closely correlates with major earthquakes. Major earthquakes and moonquakes coincide with extreme variations in tidal elastic energy. The large additional mechanical forces and moments of interaction of the neighbouring shell-like structures of the Earth have significant impacts on climate dynamics, including the sea level. They produce cyclic perturbations of the tensional state of the shell-like structures, including deformations, small relative translational displacements and rotational oscillations, and the redistribution of the plastic and fluid masses of which the planet is composed. These additional forces and moments of a cyclic solar system nature produce deformations throughout the all layers of the Earth, regulating variations of almost all natural processes.

    Apart from the immediate catastrophes that earthquakes and volcanoes induce, there are also longer term climate change consequences. These non-linear gravitational effects of the Sun and the Moon on climate change can be calculated with reasonable precision.

    Here are some other well-established relationships:
    • LNC maximum jointly with a Hale cycle minimum results in severe drought in the western US.
    • LNC, in conjunction with resonance from the Rossby wave locked topographically into position by the Tibetan Plateau and the Rocky Mountains, most likely induced Northern Hemisphere droughts.
    • LNC, in the Arctic, accelerates the warming effect of other solar processes, contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice and higher sea surface temperatures at northern latitudes. As a result, there is a larger volume of liquid water to respond to the tidal forces. In addition, the changes in ocean stratification that follow improve the mixing efficiency.
    • LNC effects interact with the seasons because of the relationship between the tilt of the plane of the Earth’s equator in relation to the ecliptic (which causes the seasonal changes and the regular seasonal movements of the Sun north and south of the equator) and the rotation of the Moon’s orbital plane. Once every 18.6 years the plane of the Earth’s equator will tilt above the ecliptic in the same direction as the plane of the Moon’s orbit will tilt below it.

    References
    Barkin, Yu, Ferrandiz, J., Ferrandez, M. G., Navarro, J., 2007. Prediction of catastrophic earthquakes in 21 century. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 9, 08643, 2007, SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU2007-A-08643.
    Barkin, Yu. V. and Ferrandiz, J. M., 2004. Tidal Elastic Energy in Planetary Systems and its Dynamic Role. Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions, 23, (4), 369 – 384.
    Barkin, Yu. V. and Ferrandiz, J. M., and Ferrandez, M. G., 2005. Earth, Moon, Mercury and Titan, seismicity: Observed and expected phenomena. 36th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2005), Abstract #1076. The paper is available here:

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2005/pdf/1076.pdf

    Berger, W. H., 2007. Solar modulation of the North Atlantic Oscillation: Assisted by the tides?
    Quaternary International, 188, 24-30; doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2007.06.028.
    Mazzarela, A. and Palumbo, A., 1994. The Lunar Nodal Induced-Signal in Climatic and Ocean Data over the Western Mediterranean Area and on its Bistable Phasing, Theoretical and Applied Climatology 50, 93-102.
    Treloar, N. C., 2002 Luni-solar tidal influences on climate variability. International Journal of Climatology 22 No: 12 pps: 1527-154 2002 DOI: 10.1002/joc.783.

    Here are some others:
    Camuffo, D., 2001. “Lunar influences on climate”Earth, Moon and PlanetsVols. 85-86: pps 99-113.
    Cerveny, R. S. and Shaffer, J. A., 2001. “The Moon and El Nino”Geophysical Research Lettersvol 28, No. 1. pps 25-28. Chain, A. C-L., Kamide, Y., Rempel, E.L., and Santana, W. M., 2006. “On the chaotic nature of solar-terrestrial environment: Interplanetary Alfven intermittency”. Journal of Geophysical Researchvol111, A07S03, doi:10.1029/2005JA011396.
    Cook, E. R., Meko, D. M. and Stockton, C. W. 1997. “A new assessment of possible solar and lunar forcing of the bidecadal drought rhythm in the western United States”. Journal of Climate vol 10 pps 1343 -1356.
    Currie, R. G., 1987. “Climatically induced cyclic variations in United States crop production: Implications in economic and social science”, in Erickson, G. and Smith, C. R. (eds) Maximum Entropy and Bayesian Methods in Science and Engineering Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1987.
    Currie, R. G. 1987. “Examples and Implications of 18.6 and 11 year Terms in World Weather records” Chapter 22 in Rampino, Michael R., Sanders, John E., Newman, Walter S., and Konigsson, L. K., Climate: History, Periodicity, and Predictability. Essays in honour of the 70th Birthday of Rhodes W Fairbridge. Van Nostrand Reinhold USA. Currie, R. G. 1995. “Variance contribution of Mn and Sc signals to Nile River Data over a 30-8 Year bandwidth” Chapter 3 in Finkl, Charles W., (Editor) Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 17, Holocene Cycles: Climate, Sea Levels, and Sedimentation. A Jubilee Volume in Celebration of the 80thBirthday of Rhodes W. Fairbridge. Coastal Education and Research Foundation.
    DaSilva, R. R., and Avissar, R., 2006. “The impacts of the Luni-Solar Oscillation on the Arctic Oscillation”. Geophysical Research Letters 32, L22703, doi:10.1029/2005GL023418,2005.
    McKinnel, S. M. and Crawford, W. R., 2007. “The 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle and surface temperature variability in the north-east Pacific”. Journal of Geophysical Research vol 112, C02002,doi:10.1029/2006JC003671; 15 pps.
    Wood, Fergus J. 1986. Tidal Dynamics: coastal flooding, and cycles of gravitational force. D Reidel Publishing Co. (Note: this is a revision of Wood, Fergus, J. 1978. The Strategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides in Nautical History and North American Flooding U. S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Washington D. C., U. S. Government Printing Office).
    Wood, Fergus J., 2001. Tidal Dynamics Volume 1 theory and analysis of tidal forces. Third Edition Journal of Coastal Research Special Issue No. 30.Coastal Education and Research Foundation. (Note: this is a revision of the theoretical and analytic elements of Wood (1986). It includes new material written by Fergus Wood plus several additional papers of the author. It includes new computational material. The author, with the assistance of Emeritus Professor Rhodes Fairbridge, reorganized the text substantially resulting in a book in the standard textbook format. Fergus completed the book in 2000, but died that year before the new work was published in 2001. Wunsch, C. and Ferrari, R., 2004. Vertical mixing and the general circulation of the oceans. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 36, 281–314 doi: 10.1146/ annurev.fluid.36.050802.122121.
    Yndestad, H., 2006. “The influence of the lunar nodal cycle on Arctic climate”, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Journal of Marine Science, vol 63, pps 401-420.

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