Spotting the AGW fingerprint

Hotspots and Fingerprints

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D., October 11th, 2009

It is claimed by the IPCC that there are ‘fingerprints’ associated with global warming which can be tied to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, as if the signatures were somehow unique like real fingerprints.

But I have never been convinced that there is ANY fingerprint of anthropogenic warming. And the reason is that any sufficiently strong radiative warming influence – for instance, a small (even unmeasurable) decrease in cloud cover letting in slightly more sunlight starting back in the late 1970’s or 1980’s– would have had the same effect.

The intent of the following figure from Chapter 9 in the latest (AR4) version IPCC report is to convince the reader that greenhouse gas emissions have been tested against all other sources of warming, and that GHGs are the only agent that can cause substantial warming. (The snarky reference to “proof” is my addition.)
Hot-spot-proof

But all the figure demonstrates is that the warming influence of GHGs is stronger than that from a couple of other known external forcing mechanisms, specifically a very small increase in the sun’s output, and a change in ozone. It says absolutely nothing about the possibility that warming might have been simply part of a natural, internal fluctuation (cycle, if you wish) in the climate system.

For instance, the famous “hot spot” seen in the figure has become a hot topic in recent years since at least two satellite temperature datasets (including our UAH dataset), and most radiosonde data analyses suggest the tropical hotspot does not exist. Some have claimed that this somehow invalidates the hypothesis that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for global warming.

But the hotspot is not a unique signature of manmade greenhouse gases. It simply reflects anomalous heating of the troposphere — no matter what its source. Anomalous heating gets spread throughout the depth of the troposphere by convection, and greater temperature rise in the upper troposphere than in the lower troposphere is because of latent heat release (rainfall formation) there.

For instance, a natural decrease in cloud cover would have had the same effect. It would lead to increased solar warming of the ocean, followed by warming and humidifying of the global atmosphere and an acceleration of the hydrologic cycle.

Thus, while possibly significant from the standpoint of indicating problems with feedbacks in climate models, the lack of a hotspot no more disproves manmade global warming than the existence of the hotspot would have proved manmade global warming. At most, it would be evidence that the warming influence of increasing GHGs in the models has been exaggerated, probably due to exaggerated positive feedback from water vapor.

The same is true of the supposed fingerprint of greater warming over land than over the ocean, of which there is some observational evidence. But this would also be caused by a slight decrease in cloud cover…even if that decrease only occurred over the ocean (Compo, G.P., and P. D. Sardeshmukh, 2009).

What you find in the AR4 report is artfully constructed prose about how patterns of warming are “consistent with” that expected from manmade greenhouse gases. But “consistent with” is not “proof of”.

The AR4 authors are careful to refer to “natural external factors” that have been ruled out as potential causes, like those seen in the above figure. I can only assume this is was deliberate attempt to cover themselves just in case most warming eventually gets traced to natural internal changes in the climate system, rather than to that exceedingly scarce atmospheric constituent that is necessary for life of Earth – carbon dioxide.

215 thoughts on “Spotting the AGW fingerprint

  1. “The AR4 authors are careful to refer to “natural external factors” that have been ruled out as potential causes, like those seen in the above figure”.

    “I can only assume this is was deliberate attempt to cover themselves just in case most warming eventually gets traced to natural internal changes in the climate system, rather than to that exceedingly scarce atmospheric constituent that is necessary for life of Earth – carbon dioxide.”

    The voice of truth!

    Also….they finally mention “Natural External Factors”.

    With many more pressing scientific issues vexing our species and our planet…how much more scientific energy will be wasted on the AGW scare??

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  2. “With many more pressing scientific issues vexing our species and our planet…how much more scientific energy will be wasted on the AGW scare??”

    Enough “scientific” energy so that government gets an ability to tax and control…or is that destroy?

  3. I can see your point about the presence or absence of the hotspot not implicating AGM, but I thought that the tropical hotspot conjecture had been disproved by thousands of radiosonde balloons.

  4. As you mention, the Models do not work correctly. If the models are wrong, it matters not whether there is a Hot Spot.

    It DOES matter what would cause PROBLEMS in the climate system. If corrected, the models might be able to show this. Until then, all the spending and reorganisations of society are contraindicated as we DO NOTKNOW HOW THINGS HAPPEN AND THEREFOR WE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO CORRECTLY IMPLEMENT SOLUTIONS!!

    Actions we take could, instead of improving the situation, actually exacerbate it through our ignorance.

    Thank you for sticking with your excellent work and also taking the time to clarify issues for us .

  5. OT: The BBC has it’s problems for sure, and one of those problems has been its uncritical acceptance of Man-made global warming, but perhaps the harsh light of reality is starting to get through:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm

    BBC — Friday, 9 October 2009 — What happened to global warming?

    “This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.”

    Old news to readers, here, but apparently not to the BBC.

    Continuing…

    “But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

    And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

    So what on Earth is going on?”

    For all the faults of the BBC, it is a major news outlet in England and gets play all over the world.

    Perhaps, this winter, should the solar minimum continue, will be AGW’s waterloo.

    Another passage from the BBC’s story:

    “But one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting, disagrees.

    He claims that solar charged particles [ electrons and ions] impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.

    He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month.

    If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject.”

    Yes, an electromagnetic hypothesis warms the cockles of my heart!

  6. Could someone lead me please to a baloon data that falsifies the formation of tropical stratosphere hot spot ?

  7. It seems that the “hot spot” and any other change in the atmosphere might be caused by any one or combination of factors. Thus, there is nothing that will refute the AGW argument and as long as it is not refuted it keeps rolling along. Perhaps a prolonged cold spell will divert most of the responsible people to direct their attention to solving serious problems but, in most cases, they will still want to throw money at these problems and, at the moment, they see only one source for that, namely, anything that can be linked to carbon dioxide. Eventually the workings of the atmosphere and oceans will be better understood but that won’t make much difference as socialist elites will have established the procedures they hope will restructure the world to their own liking well before a grand theory of climate change is written.

  8. May I ask someone another favor.
    My source of the UAH satellite data is limited to low- and mid-troposphere data on the Junkscience site.

    Where should I go to watch similar data for troposphere/stratosphere interfacial region (TTS) and for mid-stratosphere (TLS) ?

  9. Friday, October 9, 2009 BBC News: What happened to global warming?
    BBC News climate correspondent, Paul Hudson, declares “For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.”
    More at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm

  10. I keep being surprised by the amount of fuzzy thinking that enters CO2 culprit climate discussions .

    In my scientific books, whether it is mathematics or entomology, proof requires conditions called necessary and sufficient.

    According to the authors of the IPCC reports, the hot spot is a necessary condition coming out of the model runs that give all the dire predictions that are stampeding politicians to destroy the western economies.

    A necessary condition not being there means throw the runs in the wastebasket and start again. Nothing less.

    They have not done even that, i.e. given us runs that show no hotspots and at the same time give dire predictions for the next 100 years.

    GIGO.

    If there were in the data a hotspot, I would agree with the author that it would not be enough/sufficient to demonstrate its origin: it would have been another confirmation/fit to the data showing consistency/sufficiency but not necessity.

  11. We need to demonize CO2 and destroy the economy of the world because the models predict such disastrous consequences that billions of people will die by the end of the century if we don’t. They’re right of course, at least 8 to 10 billion people will die by 2100, if we don’t stop using fossil fuels immediately. Of course, 8 to 10 billion people will die by 2100 no matter what we do and judging by the resounding success of all the green initiatives of the past 40 yrs, DDT ban, biofuels etc., if we follow their demands, the number of dead will be far larger than if we do absolutely nothing. The fact that most everything the models have predicted to be increasing rapidly is occurring slower than predicted, except for everything that’s happening far faster than expected. But, if you put it all together, couldn’t we all just agree that when it comes to predicting the climate, the models just plain suck!

  12. Roy,
    A query: You say: Anomalous heating gets spread throughout the depth of the troposphere by convection, and greater temperature rise in the upper troposphere than in the lower troposphere is because of latent heat release (rainfall formation) there.

    By upper troposphere are we referring to above 200hPa. I would maintain that the greater temperature rise there (by up to two or three times the surface temperature increase, as surface temperature increases) is due to the presence of ozone rather than precipitation. The capacity for precipitation above 200hPa is very much limited by low specific humidity. Would you not agree?

  13. John F. Hultquist (22:07:40)
    A prolonged cooling appears to be what we are going to experience. While this will not convince alarmists, as the goal posts will simply be moved, it may change the thinking of billions of others. The political machinations and scientific malfeasance of AGW supporters only have the ability to affect human beliefs, they cannot affect nature. Just as King Canute could not stop the tide, AGW promoters cannot stop natural global cooling. It is disappointing that the AGW hoax will be stopped by nature rather than good science, but I am thankful that skeptics have managed to at least delay the AGW train long enough for cooling to begin. I’m guessing there may not be too may outdoor photo opportunities with Al or the Teleprompter Reader in Chief at Copenhagen this December.

  14. anna v (22:49:44) :

    fuzzy myself :)

    If there were in the data a hotspot, I would agree with the author that it would not be enough/sufficient to demonstrate its origin: it would have been another confirmation/fit to the data showing consistency/sufficiency but not necessity.

    “constistency/sufficiency” should of course be only “consistency” . No slash. Sufficiency would mean it were sufficient to prove CO2 the culprit, which is not possible with so many “forcings” entering in the problem.

  15. With real “fingerprints” you can demonstrate the ability to identify a person by their fingerprint with a blind study involving a sufficient number of people. Absent the initial demonstration that fingerprints are in fact an effective means of uniquely identifying people, the word “fingerprint” wouldn’t have the meaning we attribute to it today.

    How can you show that AGW has a “fingerprint” that can distinguish the warming attributable to greenhouse gasses from other causes of warming if you have no means of removing the AGW influence (of whatever magnitude) from the climate system. I can see how it is reasonable to speculate as to what characteristics AGW might show over time, but there is no actual means to verify that the speculative “fingerprint” is in fact useful to distinguish warming from CO2 over warming from other causes.

  16. I agree that there would be almost certainly many other mechanisms that would lead to the same fingerprint. But is this question relevant at all if this fingerprint is actually found not to exist according to the observations? In my opinion, it does exclude the greenhouse effect as the “predominant” driver – and it does exclude all other mechanisms with the same fingerprint, too.

    Consistency is not enough as a proof but inconsistency is enough for a negative proof, isn’t it? By Bayesian inference, consistency may be a more or less strong circumstantial evidence that a hypothesis is correct – except that the consistency doesn’t seem to exist here so the question how strong evidence it would be seems immaterial.

    Cheers
    LM

  17. Anna V, good solid logic and analysis. I too am always astonished at the basic scientific illiteracy displayed by pro AGW climate soothsayers ‘scientists’.

    Mind you, a good many on all sides of the debate are guilty. Why isn’t propositional logic taught alongside basic maths at school? It ain’t rocket science.

  18. What small cloud changes? How about the large observed cloud decrease of 4% that explains 90% of the warming that occurred since 1980.
    Just compare the Troposphere cross section to the cloud changes cross section and you get a match!

  19. Luboš Motl (00:16:16) :

    Consistency is not enough as a proof but inconsistency is enough for a negative proof, isn’t it? By Bayesian inference, consistency may be a more or less strong circumstantial evidence that a hypothesis is correct – except that the consistency doesn’t seem to exist here so the question how strong evidence it would be seems immaterial.

    The logical upshot of this is that either:

    1) The warming just wasn’t strong enough to produce a hotspot, and therefore the theory which predicts it is wrong.

    2) The measurement of the temperature increase is in error.

    3) The warming didn’t take place in the troposphere, but somewhere else.

    I suspect a combination of the three.

    Observations:
    We know the atmosphere can’t heat the ocean to any great extent.
    We know the sun can.
    We know the ocean can heat the atmosphere – but no hotspot is seen.
    We know temperature has risen but not fast enough to create a detectable hotspot.
    We know high latitude temperature in the N.H. rose more than at the equator.
    We know the steric sea level and surface to thermocline temperature gradient indicates that heat mixes down to at least 1000m in the ocean readily. (Tell Ray Pierre-Humbug to stitch that one Roy!)

    Deductive propositions:
    The heat coming out of the tropical ocean is diffused by wind and absorbed at relatively low levels.
    Heat is diffused throughout the oceans more readily than our understanding of currents indicates.

    Inductive proposition:
    It’s time to bin AGW theory and start developing a coherent solar-oceanic theory.

    I happen to have one half baked already. :-)

  20. This one is difficult to summarize. Is this how it works?

    1) GHG warming, including positive feedback amplification of intial warming from any cause, implies the existence of a hot spot.

    2) The hot spot would exist if there is GHG positive feedback, regardless of what the stimulus is that is being amplified.

    3) It would exist if the stimulus is increased heating due to cloud albedo changes, and it would also exist were it due to increasing CO2.

    4) Its existence therefore would not prove the existence of man-made CO2 induced GHG warming. Its existence would however prove the existence of water vapor positive feedback amplification of any warming of any kind.

    5) The evidence is mixed, but tends to show that there either is no hot spot or it is not as large as the models predict, which suggests that there is either no positive feedback from a water vapor GHG effect, or a lot smaller one than the models assume.

    ______________________________________

    By the way, these rants people are indulging in about socialism, world government, plans to wreck the economy, they add nothing whatever to our understanding of climate and the evidence. That sort of idiocy belongs on Real Climate and Tamino – its the same thing, just turned 180 degrees, and equally stupid.

    It must be quite probable (moderators please note) that these are in fact trolls. I have long suspected that the most plausible explanation for some of the wilder and more frenzied postings on Tamino and RC is that those who appear the most fanatical proponents of AGW are in fact trolls seeking to undermine it.

    So, moderators, why not follow Steve M’s example, and just snip all this irrelevant silliness? You’ll improve the quality of discussion and raise the credibility of the site, and avoid being taken in by trolls.

  21. kuhnkat (21:36:06) :

    Actions we take could, instead of improving the situation, actually exacerbate it through our ignorance.

    That is a huge problem with AGW. They are transfixed on taking drastic (and probably irreversible) actions against something that might be, not knowing what the consequences are due to the inability to understand how it works.
    And even if it were true, not knowing how much correction to apply and what to apply makes the chances of getting it right slim indeed.
    Uncertainty of lagtimes translates to a high chance of overdoing it.
    How can the Earth be warmed if it is cooled too much? No exit strategy.

    Sucking vast quantities of carbon out of the atmosphere and sucessfully sequestering it sound dangerous, and it likely is. Agriculture could teeter or simply fail, propelling stronger nations to attack thier neighbors in a desperate struggle for dwindling resources.
    It can be done from a single nation, and doing so may hit the panic button of other nations and ignite open warfare.

    Next up are the economic weakenings as the energy tax saps all recovery efforts, which are puny to begin with. Faltering nations are the playground of every anarchist.

    All that risk for so poor of a calculation.

    Reads like a Sci-Fi thriller with a very bad ending.

  22. I’ve made the following note in a couple of posts, including:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/07/polar-amplification-and-arctic-warming.html

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/another-look-at-polar-amplification.html

    Refer to RealClimate thread here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends

    Real Climate writes, “Whether the warming is from greenhouse gases, El Nino’s, or solar forcing, trends aloft are enhanced. For instance, the GISS model equilibrium runs with 2xCO2 or a 2% increase in solar forcing both show a maximum around 20N to 20S around 300mb (10 km):”
    #
    The following are two illustrations from the RealClimate thread. The first shows the tropical enhancement and polar amplification for a doubling of CO2 and the second illustrates the same effects for a 2% increase in solar irradiance.

    RealClimate continues: “The first thing to note about the two pictures is how similar they are. They both have the same enhancement in the tropics and similar amplification in the Arctic. They differ most clearly in the stratosphere (the part above 100mb) where CO2 causes cooling while solar causes warming. It’s important to note however, that these are long-term equilibrium results and therefore don’t tell you anything about the signal-to-noise ratio for any particular time period or with any particular forcings.

    “If the pictures are very similar despite the different forcings that implies that the pattern really has nothing to do with greenhouse gas changes, but is a more fundamental response to warming (however caused). Indeed, there is a clear physical reason why this is the case – the increase in water vapour as surface air temperature rises causes a change in the moist-adiabatic lapse rate (the decrease of temperature with height) such that the surface to mid-tropospheric gradient decreases with increasing temperature (i.e. it warms faster aloft). This is something seen in many observations and over many timescales, and is not something unique to climate models.” [My Emphasis]

  23. Oops! Forgot the next paragraph from my posts…

    To create the polar amplification profile illustrated in the above figures in the GCMs, there had to be a doubling of CO2 or a 2% increase in solar irradiance. Neither happened in the last 3 to 4 decades, so what created the polar amplification profile? Real Climate provides the answer. El Nino events.

  24. M White – the media have been speculating about how badly security failed in allowing so many demonstrators to gain access to Westminster. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that security turned a blind eye. I figure it’s just an escalation of the Government’s pathetic anti-sceptic (ha ha) propaganda offensive.

  25. Has anyone here ever seen the movie Braveheart?

    It is a movie about a person that saw that the government that he believed in and lived under was wrong. And he tried to change it by force. And he was captured and killed in an evil way.

    Oh…So you all have seen it! But some of you say that it is not factually true. That it is just a “movie”. And of course you would be right. Truth and action an uncomprendable in our modern society….”must move forward”…march , march , march.

  26. P.S.

    There is no such thing as a “global” temperature. So how does one measure something that is non-existent???

  27. If you theoretically change atmospheric conditions (CO2 consentration for example) you surely are not able to calculate how climate conditions and temperatures are affected. That is simply far too complex task to do at exact level. Althought “green house effect” is surely seen strengthen if you add CO2 from zero to present consentration, it is completely different initial condition to increase consentration from present.

    Models tell that temps at surface level should rise slower than temps in middle troposphere. However, what is happening is reverse. So either the models calculate wrong or measurements are wrong (UHI is not correctly removed from surface datasets). Or both. The intresting thing is that these scientific anomalies between theories and measurements seem not to cause any attention among mainstream climatologists or IPCC.

  28. Stephen Skinner (02:58:13) :

    tallbloke (00:39:01) :
    …It ain’t rocket science.

    I agree. It’s much more complex.

    I was talking about propositional logic, which doesn’t seem all that complex to me. Are you talking about logic, or the complexity of climate?

  29. I shared a graduate student office with another who’s project involved modelling.

    His classic statement on reviewing another run was “Real knowledge doesn’t increase at the rate of computer output”.

    It was immediately and eventually useful – immediately in helping to make a 3-student office look like it could only hold 2, eventually as he got his degree.

    Quote from Ned if he reads this.

  30. It has always been the case in the scientific method that while a theory can never be proved, a single falsification can render it invalid (Popper). As several posters have already remarked, the fact of the matter is, not only would the “fingerprint” not be unique to greenhouse gases, but the fact that it doesn’t exist, would count as a falsification.

    Of course, we don’t know that it doesn’t exist, and therein lies the rub. It may simply have escaped detection. This is the favoured explanation from the warmists, and have led to attempting to use windspeeds as a proxy for temperature, with some degree of success, if the results are to be believed.

    But there are no more reasons to believe that windspeed proxies indicate higher temperatures than there is to believe that radiosondes and satellite data indicate no higher temperature. In fact less so, since the windspeed proxies and another layer of uncertainty.

    However, if the windspeed proxies are in fact correct, indicating a net positive radiative imbalance, then the heat must be accumulating in the system, but this too has escaped detection. Roger Pielke snr. has already shown that the warming theory predicts that the ocean energy anomaly should now be showing (since 2003) somewhere between 10^22 tor 10^23 joules. But according to Argo based data, no ocean warming has been observed since 2003. So each predicition leads in turn to more and more contradicitory observations.

    Of course, the missing heat could have gone below the 750m Argo floor. It could have, maybe . . . just maybe.

  31. Natural cycles are all around us. Fact that proxies are not ideal, and do not correlate 100% to each other, it is no reason to reject them. I am inclined to take as good guide graphs produced pre 1990’s, before whole of AGW hysteria took off.

  32. erlhapp:

    The heating in the upper troposphere is not from water vapor at that level, but rising from below condensing and releasing latent heat. It is BECAUSE the specific humidity is limited at 200 mb that water ascending to the level must be precipitated out. Also, remember the heat capacity of air at 200 mb is only 20% of that at 1000 mb (less air to heat), which helps amplify a temperature rise.

  33. If a hotspot were to exist, however transient, it is comprised of water vapor, no? There isn’t enough C02 to create it. So, with the GE due to water vapor present in orders of magnitude beyond C02, one should think a doubling of C02 would behave like nothing more than a slight increase in humidity, which happens all the time.

  34. Bob Tisdale (01:42:58) :

    Real Climate writes, “Whether the warming is from greenhouse gases, El Nino’s, or solar forcing, trends aloft are enhanced. For instance, the GISS model equilibrium runs with 2xCO2 or a 2% increase in solar forcing both show a maximum around 20N to 20S around 300mb (10 km):”

    I am constantly amazed that people (climate “scientists”) actually use AOGCMs as poorly written and undocumented as Model E as proof of anything. For those who want to see how bad Model E is, please go here:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/modelEsrc/

  35. They want our tax money, that explains everything. The hoaxers believe they can get the taxes by guilt tripping. Remember the post racism gag?

    It’s going to be a bad winter for the hoaxers, if the sun keeps to it’s current plan, it will soon be so cold, the snow piled so high, the ice extent so large, that Al Gore will be the last true believer on the planet.

    Watch the food crops closely … http://www.missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_c1c13d5e-b6a4-11de-a09c-001cc4c002e0.html

  36. michel (01:09:57) :”By the way, these rants people are indulging in about socialism, world government, plans to wreck the economy, they add nothing whatever to our understanding of climate and the evidence.”

    Unfortunately, Michel, this is also a political debate. The IPCC is a political entity. It stands for “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”. It’s organizational statement claims: “Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization.htm

    Note the wording, “to provide rigorous and balanced information to decision makers”. That means the decisions makers will use the information, correctly or incorrectly, to inflict their policies on us. When Al Gore, a political figure, makes statements like “the science is settled” and wants us all to follow him without question, that is political. But the bigger question is why do they want to stifle open debate? Certainly not to increase our understanding of climate. No, the politicians have hijacked the scientific debate to force their agenda on us. The institution of cap and trade policies do nothing to further the science. It only redistributes wealth.
    Using a scientific agenda to force taxation on us is always political.

    michel (01:09:57): “It must be quite probable (moderators please note) that these are in fact trolls. I have long suspected that the most plausible explanation for some of the wilder and more frenzied postings on Tamino and RC is that those who appear the most fanatical proponents of AGW are in fact trolls seeking to undermine it. ”

    May I suggest that it appears the pot is calling the kettle black!

    I have been reading this site for almost 2 years. I have learned such a great deal. But also, I always question government and their authority over us. Being forced to do anyting by anyone goes against my nature. Especially when I am told by our “leaders” to simply trust and not to question. This is how freedoms are lost and dictators win. So as long as the stated solution to climate change involves government control and taxation it will remain political and we need to remain vigilant.

  37. michel (01:09:57) :</i?
    …I have long suspected that the most plausible explanation for some of the wilder and more frenzied postings on Tamino and RC is that those who appear the most fanatical proponents of AGW are in fact trolls seeking to undermine it.

    I take it you haven’t had the misfortune of being personally subjected to said fanatical proponents — I could introduce you to a few, but you’d probably try to strangle me afterwards…

  38. Roy – I came to the same conclusions in my book ‘Chill’. As a scientist, but an outsider in relation to climate, I simply could not believe the simplistic stance of the IPCC – they had a graph of their computer validation showing no increase in global temperatures from 1950 to 2000 if there had been no CO2 (and hence only natural variability – they did not really highlight the existence of ‘cycles’) – and then a match to the observed temperatures when CO2 was factored in. Yet in another section, they admit that their knowledge of natural cycles is very poor!

    Yet – this has been called ‘mainstream’ and ‘consensus’ and ‘authoritative’ by huge numbers of commentators as well as science institutions.

    It seems the BBC is turning and looking at the arguments instead of the ‘authority’. Hopefully, other TV channels will follow. But many are afraid to put their toes in the water – for fear of repeating Channel4’s mistakes and getting the backlash.

    There has been absolutely NO coverage of the Yamal controversy here.

    The grip of authority in the UK is really very disturbing – but more so because it now includes Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam and even the lowly Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. These organisations have all jumped on the bandwagon and colluded with authorities they would have historically been very wary or critical of. I know that WUWT readers tend to take a somewhat jaundiced view of the ‘green’ movement – but it consists very largely of decent folk concerned about their environment, and who rely upon the campaign offices to do a decent job of monitoring government actions and justifications. This ‘rank-and-file’ have been seriously let down and misled – but they get virtually no dispassionate analysis – all the normal channels of communication are subject to the collective spin of global warming and its deniers.

  39. Michel,
    >So, moderators, why not follow Steve M’s example, and just snip all this irrelevant silliness? You’ll improve the quality of discussion and raise the credibility of the site, and avoid being taken in by trolls.

    I see it differently.

    The reason that many people read and participate in discussions on this very fine site is that the political and social consequences are so important. When one side of a controversial issue uses “scientific” justifications for its political initiatives, the other side will counter with both “scientific” and political responses. (I used quotation marks because many high profile people spouting “science” on either side are not experts in the topics and most of the experts are not high profile. Or so I believe.)

    The science matters most when the consequences matter most. If this were a debate about the mating habits of the snail darter and our potential impact on them, the most vocal and committed debaters would be those who live near the habitat of the snail darter and those who depend on the snail darter for some part of their existence. The “global” nature of global warming means that everyone feels entitled to pronounce on the science, the forecasts and the policy responses.

    I love chaos-rich systems when they provoke debate, because we witness people hoping to comprehend based on simplistic interpretations and our insight grows as their models are debated. I fear when some of those simplistic interpretations are taken to be timeless truth and wisdom. If you want non-climate-related examples, think of OTC derivatives in the world’s economic markets, or failed models of organizational behavior, or any religious fanaticism at any period in human history.

    So I think your request that moderators begin suppressing the political comments that pop up on this site is mis-guided. The site is popular BECAUSE of the political implications of its topic, as well as its dedication to debate about the data, the science and the incomprehensible complexity of our climate. This stuff all matters, and while I can skim over the rants of the paranoid and the power-grabbers, I am shirking my duty as a citizen if I ignore the reality of the political currents that affect us all.

    Moderators, please stay the course.

  40. From Santer (G. Schmidt) et al 2005
    Amplification of Surface Temperature Trends and Variability in the Tropical Atmosphere

    “Tropospheric warming is a robust feature of
    climate model simulations that include historical
    increases in greenhouse gases (1–3). Maximum
    warming is predicted to occur in the middle and upper tropical troposphere.”

    Nowhere in the entire article is mention made of solar amplification. In fact, the crux of the article is the likelihood of observational error, not “warming can be from any source”.

    Wasn’t the whole purpose of Santer 08 to support the GCM “hot spot”?

  41. What is so hard to understand about this figure? It does not show the expected response to theoretical forcings. It does not show “that GHGs are the only agent that can cause substantial warming”. It shows the expected response to observed forcings.

    “a natural decrease in cloud cover would have had the same effect.”

    No, it wouldn’t. It would not cause cooling of the stratosphere. If we want to talk about ‘fingerprints’, then as you say, a tropical hotspot is not a useful ‘fingerprint’ because any positive forcing would be expected to result in a tropical hotspot. Stratospheric cooling is a fingerprint; positive solar forcing would cause stratospheric warming; positive greenhouse gas forcing would cause stratospheric cooling. I’m sure you know what is observed. Perhaps you can tell us what decreasing cloud cover would do?

    “What you find in the AR4 report is artfully constructed prose about how patterns of warming are “consistent with” that expected from manmade greenhouse gases. But “consistent with” is not “proof of”.”

    Would you prefer that they had said ‘proof’? If so, why? If not, what exactly is your problem with the term ‘consistent with’?

  42. anna v (22:49:44) : … proof requires conditions called necessary and sufficient.

    According to the authors of the IPCC reports, the hot spot is a necessary condition coming out of the model runs that give all the dire predictions that are stampeding politicians to destroy the western economies.

    ..They have not ..given us runs that show no hotspots and at the same time give dire predictions for the next 100 years…

    Bob Tisdale (01:42:58) :
    I’ve made the following note in a couple of posts, including:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/07/polar-amplification-and-arctic-warming.html

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/06/another-look-at-polar-amplification.html

    RealClimate .. “Whether the warming is from greenhouse gases, El Nino’s, or solar forcing, trends aloft are enhanced. .. the GISS model equilibrium runs with 2xCO2 or a 2% increase in solar forcing both show a maximum around 20N to 20S around 300mb (10 km):..The .. two pictures .. how similar they are. …that implies that the pattern really has nothing to do with greenhouse gas changes, but is a more fundamental response to warming (however caused). Indeed, there is a clear physical reason why this is the case – the increase in water vapour as surface air temperature rises causes a change in the moist-adiabatic lapse rate (the decrease of temperature with height) such that the surface to mid-tropospheric gradient decreases with increasing temperature (i.e. it warms faster aloft). This is something seen in many observations and over many timescales, and is not something unique to climate models.

    I agree with Anna v. If the hypothesis fails in a condition that is necessary for it to be true, then the hypothesis has to be rejected.

    According to Bob Tisdale/ RealClimate, however it seems that, in agreement with what Dr Spencer has written, this is not a necessary condition (in the sense unique condition) for CO2 induced warming, but would be a necessary condition for ANY induced warming, CO2, El Nino or Solar. Why? because “the increase in water vapour as surface air temperature rises causes a change in the moist-adiabatic lapse rate (the decrease of temperature with height) such that the surface to mid-tropospheric gradient decreases with increasing temperature (i.e. it warms faster aloft).”

    So what happens when this necessary condition for warming (any warming) doesnt appear? Doesnt the basis assumption that “the increase in water vapour as surface air temperature rises causes a change in the moist-adiabatic lapse rate (the decrease of temperature with height) such that the surface to mid-tropospheric gradient decreases with increasing temperature (i.e. it warms faster aloft)” be called into question? Either that is not true or else something else (maybe clouds) is happening to nullify that simple assumption?

    To my mind all this may not “prove” that the AGW hypothesis is wrong, but it would cast serious doubts on the reasons why IPCC (now) and the warmist alarmists are so sure that the warming is due to CO2 and nothing else.

    There is another bit of fundamental science, and the most important bit – if the predictions of your experiment fails, then the hypothesis on which these predictions are based, also fails.

    Has the warming been in consonant with the IPCC predictions? No.

    Normally the hypothesis should be rejected on these grounds, but the warmist / alarmist high priests, whose wealth and power depends on the tithes accruing from these prophesies of doom, and sacrifices demanded to appease the demon, are scrambling to say apocalypse is merely delayed not cancelled.

  43. “By the way, these rants people are indulging in about socialism, world government, plans to wreck the economy, they add nothing whatever to our understanding of climate and the evidence. ,,, So, moderators, why not follow Steve M’s example, and just snip all this irrelevant silliness?”

    I agree.

  44. Climate science needs to get back to basics — observe the real world, make an hypothesis, test, revise and repeat. Take the emphasis away from computer models and go back to working in the physical world.

  45. Roger, I agree about the rants, but the topic of political decisions that are being made entirely on the premise of anthropogenic CO2 climate warming must be included in the discussions here.

    Would that a more scientific discussion be its main form. Instead of rants, how about advanced level debate around the topic of political science? Rants just don’t do it for me, but nonetheless, the topic must be included.

  46. Your RSS feed is fixed … Thanks.

    It would appear that the last refuge of the UN IPCC is to use the ruse of correlation to show causation. That and very careful weasel wording — Most people will not understand the lies that can be told using that method.

    One fact is the upper atmosphere CO2 measurements destroy the models credibility.

  47. We must always remember that that CO2 tale is impossible:

    Air can not hold enough heat as water.

    Air volumetric heat capacity: 0.001297 J cm-3 K-1
    Water volumetric heat capacity: 4.186 J cm-3 K-1

    Once again, what a WUWT contribuitor said here a few days ago:

    Green house gases are gases in a greenhouse

  48. RW (06:12:35) If not, what exactly is your problem with the term ‘consistent with’?
    How about that it is a meaningless term, that amounts to ‘might be correlated with, but no causal attribution can be made’. They don’t use ‘proof’ because they have none. Their use of language exposes their tenuous grasp of climate.

  49. There is one item, mentioned in Bob Tisdale first post that I think needs clarifying.

    As RC states, the FINGERPRINT is made up of at least 3 components. The first 2 are the Hot Spot and the increase in the altitude of the Tropopause. Both of these items are common to most warming as they are mostly very basic physics of more heat causing more rising and expanding gasses especially in the tropics.

    The third part of the FINGERPRINT is the decrease in Stratospheric Temperatures. This is specifically caused by the increase in GHG’s. With more GHG’s in the Stratosphere to radiate away the heat, it cools due to the inability of the system to move the extra heat across the tropopause from the Hot Spot area into the Strat.

    WITH this third item we complete a real fingerprint. As the Stratospheric temps appear to have been flat for about 15 years with no measurable Hot Spot or increase in the Tropopause height, we also have the confirmation of no AGW!!!!!

    The RC claim is that we have all these items but our measurements are so poor that they do not show up.

    As the Hot Spot should be warming at a rate FASTER than the surface, possibly as much as 3x, according to the models, and the surface has alledgedly warmed about .5c in the last 30 years, I find their claims to be specious.

    If the actual warming was on the order of .2c then I might believe it. Of course, then we would STILL NOT HAVE A PROBLEM!!!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  50. OT

    Anthony, I tried to e-mail a couple of new updated pics from the Yosemite station, but the e-amil came back undelivered. Will get the pics posted at Surface…..org later today. BTW, nothing has changed for the better. In fact, it looks worse than before.

    Mike

  51. What is the thought process that more warming over land than ocean is a fingerprint of AGW? Less humidity over land?
    Could more warming over land than ocean also be a fingerprint of UHI and land use trends?

  52. It is claimed by the IPCC that there are ‘fingerprints’ associated with global warming

    Absolutely. This is irrefutable. Considering from where the IPCC pulls its supporting “scientific” evidence, it is absolutely no surprise that there are lots of smelly brown fingerprints associated with Global Warming. There are many brown noses in public funded climate research institutions too…

  53. Ray (08:50:21) :

    Maybe this is the hot spot they are looking for:

    http://www.breitbart.tv/mystery-halo-over-moscow-spooks-residents/

    Anthony posted something like that a while ago

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/27/when-airplanes-attack/

    “a hole punch cloud”
    “This relatively rare occurenvce is the result of an aircraft flying through a layer of high clouds that have precisely the right temperatre and moisture. As the jet aircraft flies through the layer it contributes just enough additonal moisture and exhaust particles for the ice crystals in the cloud to grow large enough to fall out as ”fall streaks”. This happens in a circular pattern around the path of the jet with a hole in the cloud layer being the result.”

  54. Moderators, stay the course, please. The two parts of the parcel should not be exclusive. There are reasons the IPCC came into existence and formulated/advanced the AGW theory and they are not scientific, or so most here believe.

  55. @Roy Spencer…

    Thanks a lot for this article which Phil. had been needing urgently for update his physics. I would like to bring the attention of bloggers on the next assertions from your article:

    “The AR4 authors are careful to refer to “natural external factors” that have been ruled out as potential causes, like those seen in the above figure. I can only assume this is was deliberate attempt to cover themselves just in case most warming eventually gets traced to natural internal changes in the climate system, rather than to that exceedingly scarce atmospheric constituent that is necessary for life of Earth – carbon dioxide.”

    As I have said in other threads at WUWT, most AGWer authors praise the accuracy of their models after some A Posteriori “adjustments” to their models. Mostly, they fail in their predictions, like this one on the heat spots and fingerprints.

    There is another good example when they refer to the effects of the warming of the troposphere on the middle and upper troposphere and in the stratosphere. I remember they were saying some years ago that the fingerprint of the anthropogenic global warming will be the warming of the middle and upper troposphere, which never in the last 20 years happened.

    You say at the end of your very explicit article:

    “…rather than to that exceedingly scarce atmospheric constituent that is necessary for life of Earth – carbon dioxide.”

    This assertion is absolutely true. Carbon dioxide is essential for life on Earth. Photosynthetic plants and phytoplankton depend absolutely on the current (and higher than current) concentrations of carbon dioxide, as in the atmosphere as in the oceans.

    Now this party of green activists pretends to eliminate the food for plants from the world’s atmosphere.

    On the other hand, the carbon dioxide at its current concentration wields a very low pressure in the atmosphere, which makes it to be a very inefficient greenhouse gas. For the absorptivity-emissivity (erroneously or purposely handled by AGWers) of around 0.3, the carbon dioxide would have to be at a concentration of 100%, at a uniform temperature, and with a partial pressure of 1 atmosphere. This is not the case in nature. The carbon dioxide barely reaches a 0.038% of the atmosphere, which means a Pp of 0.00038 atm, so it is impossible that this gas, at its current concentration in the atmosphere, could have a high thermal (or spectral, or monochromatic) absorbency-emittancy capacity higher than 0.001.

    Congratulations for your article, Roy…

    :)

  56. tallbloke (03:33:50) :
    Are you talking about logic, or the complexity of climate?

    Yes I was talking about climate, but I take your point, and yes the logic isn’t rocket science.

  57. Pamela Gray (07:09:17) :

    Politicians have been given what amounts to matches to play with, in AGW.
    The danger is not at all unlike the A-bomb. The scientists who gave it to them realized too late what they had unleashed.
    Until the day that it goes too far, it’s not too late to stop the opening of the AGW Pandorra’s Box that cannot be closed.
    Not all Politicians are so uninformed as to be naieve of the contents of the Climate Change box. The bad part is that those that see the danger of opening it are in the minority.

  58. Pascvaks (10:23:07) :

    For those who haven’t seen this entry (or same elsewhere), now Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have published in the current issue of Biogeosciences, “Key new ingredient in climate model refines global predictions”. Link at Brightsurf.Com for press release: http://www.brightsurf.com/news/headlines/49366/Key_new_ingredient_in_climate_model_refines_global_predictions.html

    Models, simulations. They think their models are more real than reality…

  59. Was snowing at 4AM when the cats got me up. Still snowing but now tapering to flurries. Snowed Saturday but only stuck on the grass as now. Damned warmening, where are ye?

  60. tallbloke (01:05:25):

    You’ve got the essential points entirely right. But oceanic mixing from near-surface thermalization of solar radiation readily extends downward only to ~100m, which is the ballpark thermocline level.

  61. michel:
    “By the way, these rants people are indulging in about socialism, world government, plans to wreck the economy, they add nothing whatever to our understanding of climate and the evidence.”
    ————-

    I completely agree. If everyone thinks that the only people questioning AGW are rabid right-wingers (of a type which would make most UK conservatives wince) and/or the paranoid then everyone else (which includes, for example, most of the opinion-formers in Europe) will tend to ignore the message and shy away from the messenger.
    It’s far too easy for warmists to point at the strident right-wing rhetoric of some sceptics in the US and put all sceptics in the same boat as creationists.
    If anyone wants to have any credibility in Europe they certainly don’t want to be seen as similar to a creationist.

    Not a single party of any size of the left or right in the UK is publicly sceptical of AGW and I think that’s true over most of Europe. That isn’t going to change as long as being sceptical is seen as a knee-jerk right wing political position rather than a considered opinion based on a disinterested examination of the evidence.

  62. Shou’dnt’ the data cause hot spots where the NASA AIRS satellite shows higher concentrations? This would be two bands, not around the equator, but close to in each hemisphere. In short, the top two and bottom left would be the fingerprint. However the biggest band is at the equator, from the acute angle of incidence of the suns rays.

  63. The BBC only allowed that article to be printed so that they could increase their audience. Always follow the money! If the BBC wasn’t losing money hand over fist, they would never have run that story. It is their deparate attempt to increase their earnings.

  64. Quite possible this is O/T, just didn’t know where to put it.
    Today, I read a paper titled ‘ Possible Atmospheric Transparency Studies on the Basis of Cherenkov Light Measurements,’ Mishev A.L. et.al. Oct 2009.
    Its a nice read. You can find it at eprintweb.org/S/article/physics/0910.1662 .
    In it, there is a paragraph worth noting:”The Cherenkov Light undergoes extinction in the atmosphere because of absorbtion on molecules by Rayleigh and Mei scattering by aerosols.”
    I have a question on this paper and maybe Dr. Svensmark could help answer (he was referenced twice) . Does the light spectrum analysis from the cherenkov light determine volume and density, between solar and cosmic spallation? I got a handle on most of the other statements from the paper, but I couldn’t determine exactly how much or how detailed the data would be from the telescope. Thanks in advance.

    -David Alan-

  65. “kuhnkat (08:42:43) :

    The third part of the FINGERPRINT is the decrease in Stratospheric Temperatures. This is specifically caused by the increase in GHG’s. With more GHG’s in the Stratosphere to radiate away the heat, it cools due to the inability of the system to move the extra heat across the tropopause from the Hot Spot area into the Strat.”

    I may be missing something, but this explanation does not make a lot of sense. It looks like the argument is that there is an impediment to conduction and convection transferring heat into the stratosphere and that the added CO2 in the stratosphere makes it a more efficient radiator. But heat also radiates from the lower layers of the atmosphere into the stratosphere, and the added CO2 in the stratosphere would capture more of that radiation. (And how does the CO2 get into the stratosphere absent convention)

    Also, I question the other premise; the stratosphere should not become a more efficient radiator because of a higher CO2 concentration. If that were true, then why do the lower atmospheric layers not become more efficient net radiators with higher greenhouse gas concentrations. My understanding is that CO2 and other GHGs are absorbers of IR radiation and thus, to re-radiate the absorbed heat, they have to increase in temperature according to the equation R(out) = kT^4. If I add more CO2 to a balloon that is held in an environment that receives all radiative energy from bands outside its absorbtion spectrum, it should not cool.

    One way that stratospheric cooling with more GHG emissions might make sense is to start from the premise that the radiation leaving the outer boundary of the stratosphere is unchanged with GHG emissions, under the equilibrium assumption that radiation into the earth equals radiation out, and if radiation in is unrelated to CO2 concentrations then the net radiation leaving the earth also must remain unchanged with CO2 concentration. If CO2 concentrations in the lower layers of the atmosphere grow at a faster rate than that in the stratoshpere, due to convention constraints, the large warming below produces more of an outbound (upward) radiation increase than can be captured by the stratosphere. Therefore, of the fixed amount of radiation exiting the atmosphere’s boundary into space, more of it becomes pass-through radiation from the lower atmoshpere, through the stratosphere, as opposed to radiation captured by the stratosphere and re-radiated into space. For the stratosphere to radiate less into space, it has to cool. But this is not a function of higher GHG concentrations in the stratosphere, it is a function of the stratosphere losing ground in relative CO2 concentration to lower levels of the atmosphere.

  66. kurt (12:59:57) : As I posted above:
    We must always remember that that CO2 tale is impossible:
    Air can not hold enough heat as water.
    Air volumetric heat capacity: 0.001297 J cm-3 K-1
    Water volumetric heat capacity: 4.186 J cm-3 K-1

    Would you warm your feet with a bottle filled with hot air or hot water?

  67. All of this makes for a very interesting discussion. But yet, no one contributing to this blog has published any of these refutations to AGW warming in a reputable peer review journal. If all of this is so obvious and easy to prove then who here is going to write and publish the refutation?

    Until that is done, then what we have here is people expressing their opinions and everyone has one of those. I look forward to the published article.
    Shiny
    William

  68. Adolfo Giurfa (13:25:52) :
    Would you warm your feet with a bottle filled with hot air or hot water?

    Adolfo,
    Isn’t the total volume of available air much larger than the total volume of water?

  69. Until that is done, then what we have here is people expressing their opinions and everyone has one of those. I look forward to the published article.
    Shiny
    William

    William,
    In case You haven’t noticed, I can read the published words right before my very eyes, right here at WUWT, on Climate Audit, and other non biased places right before my very eyes right now.

  70. Adolfo Giurfa (13:25:52) :

    “Would you warm your feet with a bottle filled with hot air or hot water?”

    Adolfo,
    Isn’t the total volume of available air much larger than the total volume of water?

  71. Michael (11:00:51) :

    Should we entitle that “The Return of the MSM”??
    The ideal situation in the debate is for ordinary people to be prepared, not scared.

  72. william (13:46:47):

    Refutation of AGW: click

    Show us that runaway globaloney, why don’t you. And enough appeals to authority. The climate peer review system has been gamed by a small clique of rent-seeking insiders. See the Wegman Report to Congress. Or John Daly on peer review. Or Bishop Hill on peer review.

    There are several others showing the same thing: we can not depend on what comes out of climate peer review. The real climate peer review happens right here. But since you claim, wrongly as it turns out, that there is no peer reviewed study falsifying AGW, see here: click. Climate models, on which the entire AGW edifice rests, have been discredited.

  73. Smokey
    1) I don’t believe there will be “runaway” global warming, but I do believe there will be warming caused by the CO2 we are dumping into the atmo. There are consequences for putting that CO2 into the air and we should not ignore those consequences the same way we did not ignore the consequences of polluting our waters until the clean air and water acts were enacted.

    2) So the peer review process is gamed? So it’s like a big “left wing conspiracy”? Let’s use Occam’s razor, skeptical articles don’t get published because there are so few skeptics, so few valid skeptical arguments and som many scientists across dozens of disciplines that do not agree with the skeptical argument. I’d suggest that it’s more likely that the skeptical argument does not “hold water”.

    3) Much as I love this site, CA, the Air Vent and the Pielke’s blog sites, that is not where science is being published and distributed to the rest of the world. Until skeptics can meet the AGW head to head in the journals these sites will just be nipping at the heels of what gets published and what the IPCC compiles next time around.

    As I have stated before, I’m a warmer in that I believe CO2 will cause some warming and the level of that warming will depend on feedbacks. If cloud feedbacks turn out to be positive then it will be game over for the skeptical argument. I do trust Dr. Spencer to get to the bottom of it but don’t be surprised if his findings in the long run validate the GCM’s and increases in temps over the next century.
    Shiny
    William

  74. Tom in Florida (05:40:29)

    …very well put. Sceptics have known for years that the science of AGW is certainly not settled, and have been aware that the most strident political proponents of AGW have a radical ideological axe to grind. Answering their increasingly hysterical announcements and climatastrophe predictions has necessitated taking them on politically too.

  75. rbateman (13:57:11) :

    Michael (11:00:51) :

    “Should we entitle that “The Return of the MSM”??
    The ideal situation in the debate is for ordinary people to be prepared, not scared.”

    Never let your guard down when it comes to the MSM. They do not have your best interest at heart.

    The (BSM) Blog Stream Media is the new authority, even though you have to pick through it to find the nuggets of truth and intricate details the MSM does not have to offer.

  76. William,
    “1) I don’t believe there will be “runaway” global warming, but I do believe there will be warming caused by the CO2 we are dumping into the atmo. There are consequences for putting that CO2 into the air and we should not ignore those consequences the same way we did not ignore the consequences of polluting our waters until the clean air and water acts were enacted.”

    What has the Clean Air Act done to stop the airplane emissions that cloud up the sky’s and makes a gray haze that lingers all day long. Have you looked up at the sky lately?

  77. “kurt (12:59:57)
    One way that stratospheric cooling with more GHG emissions might make sense is to start from the premise that the radiation leaving the outer boundary of the stratosphere is unchanged with GHG emissions, under the equilibrium assumption that radiation into the earth equals radiation out, and if radiation in is unrelated to CO2 concentrations then the net radiation leaving the earth also must remain unchanged with CO2 concentration. If CO2 concentrations in the lower layers of the atmosphere grow at a faster rate than that in the stratoshpere, due to convention constraints, the large warming below produces more of an outbound (upward) radiation increase than can be captured by the stratosphere. Therefore, of the fixed amount of radiation exiting the atmosphere’s boundary into space, more of it becomes pass-through radiation from the lower atmoshpere, through the stratosphere, as opposed to radiation captured by the stratosphere and re-radiated into space. For the stratosphere to radiate less into space, it has to cool. But this is not a function of higher GHG concentrations in the stratosphere, it is a function of the stratosphere losing ground in relative CO2 concentration to lower levels of the atmosphere.”

    Very similar to my climate description which suggests amongst other things that air circulations in the stratosphere regulate the rate of energy release to space whilst the speed of the hydrological cycle regulates the speed of energy transfer from the surface to the tropopause.

    The former ensures overall radiative balance so that energy from the sun always matches energy lost to space.

    The latter ensures that there is always an approximate equilibrium between sea surface and surface air temperatures.

    Both processes oppose each other and the tropopause is the region where each process fights for dominance.

    The end result is that variations in energy flow from ocean to air are countered by an equal and opposite response in the air to retain overall equilibrium.

    Hence climate variability, apparently most of the time a wholly internal process.

  78. william (14:12:31),

    I provided five links that show you’re wrong about peer review. I doubt that you read them. If you had, you would not have made the comments you did.

    Since you’re just winging it, I guess you’re not interested in how shoddy the peer review process is. There’s the Jan Hendrik Schön peer review fraud. Or the Wei-Chyung Wang shenanigans. And the fact that Michael Mann’s Hokey Stick was thoroughly peer reviewed — and later just as thoroughly debunked. And Briffa’s Yamal proxy was peer reviewed, and is in the process of being debunked.

    Skeptics’ papers have to jump through flaming hoops to be considered and then they don’t generally get published, while climate alarmist papers are simply hand-waved through with little or no scrutiny. Even getting a comment published is like pulling teeth if you’re not on the true believers’ side.

    Appealing to a peer review authority won’t always get you to the truth. Instead, think for yourself. The planet is cooling as CO2 rises. What does that tell you?

  79. Pascvaks (10:23:07) :
    For those who haven’t seen this entry (or same elsewhere), now Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have published in the current issue of Biogeosciences, “Key new ingredient in climate model refines global predictions”. Link at Brightsurf.Com for press release: http://www.brightsurf.com/news/headlines/49366/Key_new_ingredient_in_climate

    I’d like to read the methods for that paper. Got links?

  80. John S. (11:24:31) :

    tallbloke (01:05:25):

    You’ve got the essential points entirely right. But oceanic mixing from near-surface thermalization of solar radiation readily extends downward only to ~100m, which is the ballpark thermocline level.

    Or a bit less in the tropics. But much deeper in the temperate latitudes. James Annan (AGW oceanographer) thinks subducting currents in the poleward regions mix the heat downwards. I don’t know, but it seems to me that the ocean fluid is much more mobile than theory suggests, somehow.

  81. William,
    once the “peer-review” process re-opens itself to impartial submission and referees, perhaps Dr. Spencer will do so. However what has been educational in this exercise is to see a credibility transition from standard “peer-review” publications to online dialog between rational people – including scientists like Spencer – on blogs like this. Heartening for those who admire democratic debate.

    It takes a margin of intelligence to know when you’re being fed a one-sided argument. By attempting to co-opt the media and peer publication process, alarmists destroyed their own credibility. Open debate is the foundation of scientific method. When debate was silenced, alarmists sowed the seeds of their own demise.

  82. Roy Spencer (04:41:15) :

    You say:
    “erlhapp:
    The heating in the upper troposphere is not from water vapor at that level, but rising from below condensing and releasing latent heat. It is BECAUSE the specific humidity is limited at 200 mb that water ascending to the level must be precipitated out. Also, remember the heat capacity of air at 200 mb is only 20% of that at 1000 mb (less air to heat), which helps amplify a temperature rise.”

    Roy,
    Latent heat is released at cloud condensation level and at that point the energy goes into either radiation or convection. Most of that latent heat release is close to the surface as low as 850hPa.

    In the atmosphere above tropical rainforest areas that give rise to heavy daily cycles of evaporation (moisture transpired by plants) outgoing long wave radiation is as low as it is at the poles because the convective activity cools the air via decompression as you well know. (I learned this from you) The air at 200hpa is no warmer over the Amazon than it is over the East Pacific where warming is the result of compression (descending air) and the energy pickup from UV light exciting ozone which is in greater concentration in downdraft areas. Am I wrong? I will check it out using NCEP /NCAR data.

    I would suggest that there is a greater flux in temperature at 200hPa in the downdraft area over the cool ocean and this is a result of changing ozone content and changing OLR. It should be more in one half of the year than the other.

    I would further suggest that the flux in temperature at 200hPa will be reflected in a sympathetic change in sea surface temperature as a result of changing ice cloud density. Specific humidity at 200hPa is relatively invariable by comparison with temperature. So, as the air warms, reflective ice particles disappear and the ocean will warm.

    I would suggest that ,regardless of location, the amplification of the temperature rise at 200hPa is due to excitation of ozone by outgoing long wave radiation. That radiation is heaviest in the downdraft areas. The amplification over the east Pacific should be greater than over the Amazon.

    Just thinking out loud here but there are many things that can be easily checked.

  83. The Team has moved on. The Tropical Tropespheric Footprint is soooooo 2007. Like Gavin said a year ago or so, they weren’t really serious. Not even the iconic Artic Ice Melt is really that important. The Crisis De Jour is really just that. No need to spend all that time, effort and money attempting to verifying something that The Team really doesn’t think is all that important.

  84. tallbloke (15:20:15):

    Downward mixing well below the thermocline, which is seldom found much deeper than 100m anywhere before disappearing completely at high latitudes , is a very sluggish process, quite inconsequential in its climatic effect. Widespreasd subduction of surface waters is a red herring, accepted only by ignoranti in physical oceanography, such as Al Gore. What little sinking occurs is due purely to density differences developed in limited areas, under rather special conditions. The wind-driven circulation is orders of magnitude more important than the thermohaline in redistributing near-surface heat poleward, rather than downward.

  85. @ RW (06:12:35) :

    You beat me to it. How does a slight decrease in cloud cover cause stratospheric cooling? Increasing GHGs does even when ozone depletion is considered.

    See: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/greenhouse_gases.html#stratospheric_cooling

    Here is an excellent thread from Skepticalscience.com on the subject of measuring GHG influences on climate:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html

    Finally, if decreasing cloud cover is suggested as the reason for global warming what the heck is going on in the past century, especially the past few decades, that did NOT happen in the past 2000 years? Today’s warming climate is doing so at rates that “natural” forcings seem not to be able to explain.

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The claim of cloud cover has been made but where is the extraordinary evidence?

    @ william (13:46:47) :

    All of this makes for a very interesting discussion. But yet, no one contributing to this blog has published any of these refutations to AGW warming in a reputable peer review journal. If all of this is so obvious and easy to prove then who here is going to write and publish the refutation?

    EXACTLY! It never ceases to amaze me that if the anti-AGW points were so obvious then why do they not appear in journals? Most of the anti-AGW arguments are analogous to: “I see a bird flying so I just proved there is no gravity!”

  86. Scott Mandia:

    “EXACTLY! It never ceases to amaze me that if the anti-AGW points were so obvious then why do they not appear in journals?”

    Exactly NOT. I just provided a peer reviewed paper to william to read [of course he didn’t; his mind is already made up], debunking AGW in my 13:46 post above. You seem to ready to believe only what you want to believe.

    And please don’t link to clearly dishonest blogs, OK? When an alarmist blog calls itself “Skeptical science”, and then posts the same rubbish as realclimate, they are being disingenuous right off the bat. We’re not fools here.

    Alarmists hang their collective hats on the ridiculous presumption that a tiny trace gas controls the climate and will lead to runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. Is that silly, or what? They probably believe that CO2 controls the Sun, too: click

  87. Dr Spencer:

    I very much appreciate you making the point that the so-called “hotspot” is not a fingerprint that distinguishes the mechanism of AGW from other warming mechanisms. I have said this countless times on this site but people will probably be more receptive to you saying it. I do have a few comments / questions though:

    (1) As RW points out, the stratospheric cooling is a unique signature…or at least one that distinguishes it from an increase in solar irradiance. What about a decrease in low cloud cover…What would be the expectation for the stratospheric temperature trend in that case?

    (2) It is important to emphasize that if the models are wrong about the “hotspot”, then they are wrong in a pretty subtle way because (as pointed out by Santer et a. 2005), the amplification of the surface trends as one goes up in the troposphere is seen quite clearly in the data for temperature fluctuations on timescales of months to a few years. It has always seemed kind of difficult to me to explain why processes that operate on the timescales of hours to days lead to the amplification on this longer timescale but then not on the multidecadal timescales. And, of course, the fact that the amplification is clearly seen for timescales where the data is very trustworthy and only is difficult to detect on the multidecadal timescale where the data is less trustworthy (because you face the very difficult issue of dealing with artifacts that can affect the secular trends) seems to point in the direction of data problems, which was also what the CCSP report thought.

    (3) In regards to what the missing hotspot would mean, you say: “At most, it would be evidence that the warming influence of increasing GHGs in the models has been exaggerated, probably due to exaggerated positive feedback from water vapor.” Actually, it seems to me that the most direct effect of the hotspot missing would be that the NEGATIVE lapse rate feedback is being exaggerated…I can’t really see any way around that given that this feedback is based directly on the notion that the warming in the upper troposphere will be greater than at the surface! It seems to me that the implication about the water vapor feedback being incorrect is more indirect. I understand that a lot of the same convective physics goes into both of these feedbacks, but the argument to get from the temperature profile to the water vapor feedback is certainly more complicated with more room for other possible resolutions. Furthermore, we have independent evidence from the satellite record that the upper troposphere appears to moisten about as the climate models predict (e.g., from Soden and Dessler), although admittedly the evidence is again most persuasive for fluctuations on roughly annual timescales as opposed to for the multidecadal trends.

  88. O’s Peace Dividend Report (formerly Goreacle Report) from the GWN, the Land of the Broken Hockey Stick. (Go, Steve.)

    The frost moves up the window pane, Canuck Ned Pratt said.

    The “expert'” has more: Goreacle is “”shattering” them,”.
    …..

    “Cold snap grips B.C., sets dozens of records again on Thanksgiving

    The early-morning reading of 0.9 degrees Celsius was a low for Oct. 12 since weather records began being kept decades ago.

    “I’ve counted in excess of 80 cold-temperature records set throughout the long weekend [across the province],” said Environment Canada meteorologist and Global BC weather expert Mark Madryga on Monday.

    In many cases, the lows aren’t just slipping slightly below old records but “shattering” them, he said.

    He cites Williams Lake, where the morning low of minus 13 broke the old 2002 record of minus 6.5.

    “And most of these weather stations go back 50 or 60 years or more,” he notes.”

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/technology/Cold+snap+grips+sets+dozens+records/2092744/story.html

  89. Smokey says:

    And please don’t link to clearly dishonest blogs, OK? When an alarmist blog calls itself “Skeptical science”, and then posts the same rubbish as realclimate, they are being disingenuous right off the bat. We’re not fools here.

    Actually, I think it is you who are being disingenuous by calling yourself a “skeptic”. As I have illustrated many times, you seem to be about the least skeptical person on the planet when it comes to some supposed piece of evidence that supports your own pre-conceptions. I think it is great that the side which the real science is on should attempt to take back the use of the word “skeptic” or “skeptical”, which has been badly misappropriated by those who are just dead-set against entertaining the possibility that AGW is real.

    Alarmists hang their collective hats on the ridiculous presumption that a tiny trace gas controls the climate and will lead to runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. Is that silly, or what? They probably believe that CO2 controls the Sun, too: click

    What is silly…and actually quite frustrating…is that only yesterday I linked to a peer-reviewed paper that showed that the more recent data that your figure is based on shows that the correlation illustrated in that figure breaks down dramatically (and that it actually starts to break down even in the time period shown by that figure but is hidden by some errors in doing the interpolation at the endpoint). Thus, the warming over the last ~30 years cannot be explained by this supposed correlation between solar cycle length and temperature. Yet, you link to that figure again again! That seems like willful ignoring of evidence to me.

  90. Smokey, just to remind you, here is the link: http://magee.vsb.bc.ca/dsheldan/climate/pdf/Laut_2003.pdf It is worth noting that one of the original co-authors of the paper containing the data that you showed (Lassen) was on the new paper that updated that data in 2000 ( http://www.uwmc.uwc.edu/geography/globcat/globwarm/solar-00.htm ) and his co-author on that new paper notes, “The curves diverge after 1980 and it’s a startlingly large deviation. Something else is acting on the climate.” And, although he says they can’t be sure what is responsible, he says, “It has the fingerprints of the greenhouse effect.”

  91. William,

    “If cloud feedbacks turn out to be positive then it will be game over for the skeptical argument.”

    What if cloud feedbacks turn out to be negative? What would that mean to “the skeptical argument”? You are implying that the determination of the value of “the skeptical argument” lies in the future. WRONG! The skeptical argument is directed towards the lack of scientific method of today, regardless of what will be (scientifically) proven in the future.

  92. Joel Shore (17:50:05),

    I think you’re actually going to throw a tantrum if you can’t get skeptics to believe in your arguments. You haven’t provided any solid, real world evidence that CO2 causes anything more than minor warming. If that. And if CO2 only causes little or no warming [the jury is still out on that, despite stamping your foot about it], then it’s best if the world stops its crazy rush toward self destruction, led by AGW fanatics terrified of a real debate.

    For those who worship at the altar of climate peer review, here are a few of the many skeptical papers out there [and there would be plenty more if the peer review process wasn’t tightly controlled by a rent-seeking AGW grant clique]:

    CONCLUSIONS:

    • All examined long records demonstrate large overyear variability (long‐term fluctuations) with no systematic signatures across the different locations/climates.

    • GCMs generally reproduce the broad climatic behaviours at different geographical locations and the sequence of wet/dry or warm/cold periods on a mean monthly scale.

    • However, model outputs at annual and climatic (30‐year) scales are irrelevant with reality; also, they do not reproduce the natural overyear fluctuation and, generally, underestimate the variance and the Hurst coefficient of the observed series; none of the models proves to be systematically better than the others.

    • The huge negative values of coefficients of efficiency at those scales show that model predictions are much poorer that an elementary prediction based on the time average.

    • This makes future climate projections not credible.

    • The GCM outputs of AR4, as compared to those of TAR, are a regression in terms of the elements of falsifiability they provide, because most of the AR4 scenarios refer only
    to the future, whereas TAR scenarios also included historical periods.

    More on climate peer review:

    …what is important is that a paper on what is arguably the world’s most important scientific topic (global warming) was published in the world’s most prestigious scientific journal with essentially no checking of the work prior to publication… it is worth noting that Chuine et al. had the data; so they must have known that their conclusions were unfounded. In other words, there is prima facie evidence of scientific fraud. What will happen to the researchers as a result of this? Probably nothing. That is another systemic problem with the scientific publication process.[source]

    Another peer reviewed paper debunking AGW: link

    Exposé of UN “peer review”: link

    CO2 lags, does not lead, temperature [Peer reviewed]: pdf

    Climate models have no credibility [per reviewed]: link

    The real reason for the low number of skeptical papers being accepted by the AGW clique: click

    Many more peer reviewed papers here debunking AGW: click. [Cue the ad homs]

    It’s time for Joel to write his article, instead of always taking his impotent pot shots from the sidelines. Whaddya say Joel me boy? Got what it takes? Or is hit ‘n’ run always your style?

  93. Joel Shore (17:50:05) :
    “I think it is great that the side which the real science is on should attempt to take back the use of the word “skeptic” or “skeptical”, which has been badly misappropriated by those who are just dead-set against entertaining the possibility that AGW is real.”

    Joel – “real science” eh? I’m a skeptic when I see garbage like this:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

    passed off as “proof” of AGW for policy makers (i.e. our government), so they can fool the public into passing confiscatory taxes and burdensome regulations as a way to “fix” the global warming problem.

    But I really can’t blame the people in the climate industry for advancing the AGW meme – it has proven to be very lucrative for those involved…

  94. Scott. The problem with this conjecture is that c02 effects work to saturation in the lower troposphere – so adding or subtracting quantities (changing their concentrations) doesn’t affect what happens in the stratosphere, since the same amount of radiation comes through to the stratosphere anyway. Adding more c02 or water vapour doesn’t affect how much heat exits the atmosphere. At mid troposphere this heat is emited in different directions, so it doesn’t cause more heat.

    There is also a flaw with the notion that some 30% of c02 is anthropogenic – Oceans emit 27 times that of anthropogenic sources per year, and land emits 8 times as much, mainly through decay and respiration. that leaves anthropogenic at 4% max. The isotopic mass balance allegedly calculates it at that figure… However, if you’re using ice measurements from ice as the standard for how much c02 there is today as opposed to before measurements began -then there is much dubious science involved – from the method of measuring ratios of hydrogen and nitrogen – the method of how they are obtained (crushing ice in a vacuum causes gases to diffuse with the gases they are escaping with), and the fact that stability of molecules in ice changes over time – with the tendency of c02 to deplete to a lesser optimum. Not only the peaks, but the averages.

    The only way ot measure atmospheric c02 is direct measurement, and this has been going on for quite sometime

  95. The nominal conclusion of the above is that ice cores indicate a 30% increase today, whereas pre (and post) 1957 back to 1810 measurements by chemical and spectroscopic methods show similar figures, or excessive figures of today

  96. Ah, fingerprints to go with the carbon footprint ‘eh….. This whole AGW thing is loaded with comedy if one is in the mood… LoL:-)

  97. Smokey: I think thou dost protest too much. Having been caught red-handed using the same deceptive graph a day after I last shot it down, you have now gone off on a tangent!

    As for your post, I count 4 links to what you call “peer-reviewed” papers. Two of them are really links to the same paper (one a version that was apparently not peer-reviewed published in a conference proceedings and the other version published in a hydrology journal that I don’t think normally publishes on climate science). One is a link to something at ICECAP that comments on Hansen’s 1988 paper but I see no evidence of being peer-reviewed.

    And, the final one is a link to Caillon et al published in the journal Science no less. The problem, however, with the Caillon article is that it does not contradict AGW in any way. It just shows that temperature started to rise before CO2 levels did in the ascent out of the glacial period ~240,000 years ago. Since it has been understood since the mid-1970s that the trigger of the glacial – interglacial cycles is orbital oscillations, this was not really very surprsing. The last paragraph in their paper is worth quoting in full:

    Finally, the situation at Termination III differs from the recent anthropogenic CO2 increase. As recently noted by Kump (38), we should distinguish between internal influences (such as the deglacial CO2 increase) and external influences (such as the anthropogenic CO2 increase) on the climate system. Although the recent CO2 increase has clearly been imposed first, as a result of anthropogenic activities, it naturally takes, at Termination III, some time for CO2 to outgas from the ocean once it starts to react to a climate change that is first felt in the atmosphere. The sequence of events during this Termination is fully consistent with CO2 participating in the latter ~4200 years of the warming. The radiative forcing due to CO2 may serve
    as an amplifier of initial orbital forcing, which is then further amplified by fast atmospheric feedbacks (39) that are also at work for the presentday
    and future climate.

    “Skeptics” are in the awkward position of having to say, “Look at this paper but make sure you ignore the final paragraph!”

  98. Joel, Joel, Joel. Saying that your version of science can beat up his version is soooooo grade school. Your side does not have a monopoly on; what phrase did you use, “I think it is great that the side which the real science is on…”, what is real science. From what I have seen here, you have a Ph.D. in physics, but correct me if I am wrong. Regardless, please act as if it is more than a degree in Piled Higher and Deeper.

  99. Scott Mandia (17:12:24)
    “Today’s warming climate is doing so at rates that ‘natural’ forcings seem not to be able to explain.”

    These few words describe my picture. Consider the (non-Mann!) hockey stick graphs. Not only is the blade higher, it is also STEEPER than for other warmings in the past 2000 years.

    This would seem to reduce “the possibility that warming might have been simply part of a natural, internal fluctuation (cycle, if you wish) in the clilmate system.”

  100. Jan veizer was published in science mag – how he got through the peer reviewing / censorship process is a mystery.

    Perhaps he didn’t put the AGW disclaimer in the final paragraph to get past the censors, which they all seem to do!

  101. P Wilson (18:21:02) :
    Scott. The problem with this conjecture is that c02 effects work to saturation in the lower troposphere – so adding or subtracting quantities (changing their concentrations) doesn’t affect what happens in the stratosphere, since the same amount of radiation comes through to the stratosphere anyway. Adding more c02 or water vapour doesn’t affect how much heat exits the atmosphere. At mid troposphere this heat is emited in different directions, so it doesn’t cause more heat.

    Not true, CO2 absotption is not saturated in the troposphere, absorption in the atmosphere is approximately proportional to log([CO2]).

    See for example: http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/CO2spectra.gif

  102. Phil. (19:50:36) :

    P Wilson (18:21:02) :
    Scott. The problem with this conjecture is that c02 effects work to saturation in the lower troposphere – so adding or subtracting quantities (changing their concentrations) doesn’t affect what happens in the stratosphere, since the same amount of radiation comes through to the stratosphere anyway. Adding more c02 or water vapour doesn’t affect how much heat exits the atmosphere. At mid troposphere this heat is emited in different directions, so it doesn’t cause more heat.

    Not true, CO2 absotption is not saturated in the troposphere, absorption in the atmosphere is approximately proportional to log([CO2]).

    Carbon dioxide cannot absorb energy per molecule ad infinitum. There are limits for every level of concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, depending on the Pp it exerts for the whole. The greatest lie from AGW idea is that the carbon dioxide absorptivity at its current concentration in the atmosphere is the same as if the concentration of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 100%.

    Even if the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was 100%, its limit of absorptivity would be 0.3, which is nothing in comparison with methane and water vapor absorptivities at their current concentrations in the atmosphere.

  103. P Wilson (19:30:24) :

    Jan veizer was published in science mag – how he got through the peer reviewing / censorship process is a mystery.

    Perhaps he didn’t put the AGW disclaimer in the final paragraph to get past the censors, which they all seem to do!

    I cannot find Jan Veizer published in Science Magazine, but only a mention by Richard Kerr. Would you be so kind as to tell me the title of Veizer’s article?

  104. Sweet…

    So when is this going to be published and put up to peer review?
    I can’t wait!!!

    Also, note the blatant personal attack on what are supposed to be his scientific peers in the last paragraph. Is he arguing science or running for a political office?
    Publish your criticism and questions already….

    • danaappleloupe – did you see the offer to have your very own thread on WUWT? You seem to have missed that.

  105. Yes I did, breifly and have not had the time to respond. I gather it is a place for me on here where I can teach your readers about statistics, and time scale on climate, and how belief in an intelligent designer is actually relevant to how one thinks critically about the natural world (Im done on that topic). I work full time , volunteer at non profits and wouldn’t have the time to do that.
    I would yield to science.
    There is a place for questions, doubt and skepticism. It is called the scientific method, a big part of it today is publication and peer review. That’s how we do it, and it works.

    I have been look for this publication of RW Spencer, I can’t find a real title for it, just “Spencer et. al. 2007″. In his statement to Congress in March 2007 he mentions that it has been published for peer review. It has been over 2 years, plenty of time for this process…
    All I want. Seriously all I want, is scientific discussion on this topic, because the truth is very important.

    If anyone has information on what happened to the frequently mentioned in skeptic blogs (no mention in any journals) to “Spencer et. al. 2007″ please let me know. *Usually research, etc going out for publication and peer review have titles.

    The lack of peer reviewed research from climate change skeptics is shocking.

    REPLY: So I take that is a no?

  106. Hey Guys…

    Lysenkoism was politically endorsed “Real Science” for at least 30 years… At least as far as the Russians were concerned.

    Any claim to being the “Real Science” needs to keep that one in mind.

  107. “[…] authors are careful to refer to “natural external factors” that have been ruled out as potential causes […] deliberate attempt to cover themselves just in case most warming eventually gets traced to natural internal changes in the climate system […]”

    …so they appear doubly-wrong.

  108. John S. (17:02:44) :

    tallbloke (15:20:15):

    Downward mixing well below the thermocline, which is seldom found much deeper than 100m anywhere before disappearing completely at high latitudes , is a very sluggish process, quite inconsequential in its climatic effect. Widespreasd subduction of surface waters is a red herring, accepted only by ignoranti in physical oceanography, such as Al Gore. What little sinking occurs is due purely to density differences developed in limited areas, under rather special conditions. The wind-driven circulation is orders of magnitude more important than the thermohaline in redistributing near-surface heat poleward, rather than downward.

    Hi John S, I ws going by the following which I found on the net. I’m a learner so feel free to set me straight.

    http://www.esr.org/outreach/glossary/thermocline.html

    Thermocline: definition.
    … In the tropics, the thermocline can be quite shallow on average, as in the eastern Pacific (50m), or deeper as in the western part (160-200m). In extra-tropical regions a permanent (or main) thermocline is found between 200m and 1000m.

    And:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=bOg0EqqrDRgC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=depth+of+thermocline&source=bl&ots=X8ZvDPmUi2&sig=N4n7JHLZX9FyEczf_LRNtIQjBkQ&hl=en&ei=2S3UStznNNzajQe18vn2Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCcQ6AEwBzgU#v=onepage&q=depth%20of%20thermocline&f=false

    200-800m tropical and 400-1100m extra tropical according to this book.

    Cheers

  109. danappaloupe: “If anyone has information on what happened to the frequently mentioned in skeptic blogs (no mention in any journals) to “Spencer et. al. 2007″ please let me know. *Usually research, etc going out for publication and peer review have titles.

    The lack of peer reviewed research from climate change skeptics is shocking.”

    Spencer et. al. 2007, you say:

    Spencer, R. W., W. D. Braswell, J. R.
    Christy, and J. Hnilo (2007), Cloud and radiation budget changes
    associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations, Geophys. Res.
    Lett., 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698.

  110. Joel, the best Dessler paper I have found so far is here:

    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/Dessler2008b.pdf

    What is says is, yes, the UT is moistening, but it also says it is drying in other places. He and Soden then make the leap that it is ok to put constant RH into their models since they get the same result.

    The problem with that approach is that it can’t be used to conclude anything about future climate. How do we know what the NH subtropics will do with even more CO2 warming? Right now there is negative water vapor feedback (undoubtedly due to the land masses). What will the weather be like with more CO2 warming?

  111. danappaloupe (23:10:27) : “The lack of peer reviewed research from climate change skeptics is shocking.

    You know, I was thinking the same thing about anything that comes out of the mouth of Al Gore.

  112. Pamela Gray: You are right about my over-the top phrasing. It was a bit of rhetorical flourish…Smokey tends to get my blood boiling.

    Eric (skeptic): Yes, Dessler finds that overall the UT is moistening but that the behavior is not uniform everywhere, either in the real world or in the models. However, I don’t see where he or Soden say, “It is ok to put constant RH into their models since they get the same result.” What they do say is that the results for the strength of the water vapor feedback do seem to be about the same if you make the RH constant everywhere. However, the models are not normally run with that constraint and I don’t see where either Dessler or Soden is advocating that they be run with that constraint in the future.

  113. danappaloupe: To Spencer’s credit, he has been publishing or submitting for publication his work on the cloud feedbacks.

  114. danappaloupe (23:10:27) :

    If anyone has information on what happened to the frequently mentioned in skeptic blogs (no mention in any journals) to “Spencer et. al. 2007″ please let me know. *Usually research, etc going out for publication and peer review have titles.

    Are you seriously incappable of putting “Spencer et al. 2007″ into Google and pressing “search”? Because if you did, you would find this:

    Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical
    intraseasonal oscillations

    Roy W. Spencer,1 William D. Braswell,1 John R. Christy,1 and Justin Hnilo2
    Received 15 February 2007; revised 30 March 2007; accepted 16 July 2007; published 9 August 2007.

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698, 2007

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Spencer_07GRL.pdf

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL029698.shtml

    No, it wasn’t just mentioned in a journal, it was printed, too. Knock yourself out.

  115. tallbloke (00:40:24):

    The permanent thermocline has little to do with downward diffusion of near-surface heat, being unaffected by seaonal cycles. It is developed by advection of warmer water poleward and colder water equatorward. For active vertical heat transfer you have to look at the seasonal and diurnal thermoclines, which are always much shallower.

  116. Joel, if constant RH is false, then why mention it? It is the distribution of RH (which is weather at the small scale) that will determine climate sensitivity along with forcings like CO2 and unpredictable, but still modelable factors like PDO. Everything can be modeled to some extent, there is no need to ever mention or assume constant RH.

  117. The political dimension of AGW is very important. But not because it is about plots for global domination by shadowy forces.

    The important thing is the scale of the public policies being advocated, and the lack of any analysis of either their risks or their chances of success. This is the thing one should focus on. Motives and so on are difficult to prove and are not very material. The lack of evidence based justification for many of the proposals is fairly easy to prove.

    As an example, take the enormously valuable number of 1.8 million. This is the number by which you divide a given number of gigatons of CO2, to find out how much of a difference a reduction of that many gigatons would make to the global average temperature – in the view of the IPCC.

    You rapidly see if you use this number a few times that most proposals to do things to save the planet and avert global warming will have no such effect. The problem with Kyoto, for instance, was not that it was a plot for world domination. The problem was that it would have no more effect on future temperatures than if we all did 20 pushups every morning. Similarly the problem with Cap and Trade is not that its a filthy Democratic plot. The problem is it will at enormous expense make no difference that anyone will be able to measure to global temperatures. But the costs will be enormous.

    The problem with plans for huge reflecting mirrors in space or whatever is that the risks associated with doing projects with this level of effect on climate are simply huge.

    The problem with covering the West with windmills is that they do not generate any significant amounts of usable electricity, and cost a bomb. And probably be more dangerous than coal mining to the workers servicing them.

    The problem with proposals for draconian carbon emission reductions, and forecasts of it happening, is that they conflict with all the evidence we have of what industrial countries can actually do, and with what their policies say they are actually going to do. Pielke has made excellent contributions to the debate in this area, and he is a model of how to focus the debate on rational considerations, which, when you look at them calmly, all add up to the same thing: it ain’t going to happen anyway. One fact based posting from Pielke outweighs in usefulness and convincingness 1,000 rants about world government plots by shadowy groups.

    It is very important to assess public policy choices that are being urged on us on the basis of, initially, whether they are rationally justifiable in their own terms. If not, they fall at the first fence. If they make some kind of sense in their own terms, we can then start to discuss whether the terms are correct, what the risks are, what the alternatives are, are they cost effective, doable. But most of these hare brained schemes are non starters in their own terms.

    The really important public policy issue, which everyone involved needs to be called on, over and over again, is that anything labeled carbon reducing or green is given a free ride. If it were a proposal to build a new nuclear plant, or if it were put forward by Exxon, it would get intensive scrutiny as to safety, cost effectiveness, efficacy. If it is some totally unproven scheme to generate power in some untried way, to save the planet, it seems to get a free ride. The consequences, as with the disaster of the ecological consequences of the biofuel movement, while the corn lobby laughs all the way to the bank, are horrendous. Ask yourself, for instance, what the accident rate will be on the servicing of the 8,000 off shore windmills the UK is proposing to build. Has anyone even mentioned the idea that this might be a rather dangerous sort of thing to be doing?

    This is the right way to object to some of these outlandish and dangerous public policy proposals. It gets the debate down to concrete details, it focusses on the facts and the science and the uncertainties involves. Ranting about conspiracies and socialism is counterproductive. By all means think it. Just do not mistake such thoughts for serious arguments about what proposals should or should not be done. People in the end make decisions on the facts about particular proposals, not on the basis of our feelings about the motivations of the proponents.

  118. Nasif Nahle (20:13:45) :
    I didn’t say it was saturated in the troposhere – Its peaks are saturated in the lower troposhere whilst in the upper troposphere, its shoulders absorb radiation even beyond the troposhere. Shoulder molecules only do what nitrogen and oxygen do – 5% as effective as at lower tropospheric level – and there are nearly a million more nitrogen & oxygen molecules at this level

  119. John S. (17:02:44) “The wind-driven circulation is orders of magnitude more important than the thermohaline in redistributing near-surface heat poleward, rather than downward.”

    Thanks for this note. I know little of oceanography (at this stage), but my instinct (based on detailed analyses of many terrestrial time series over the past 2 years) has moved towards believing that much of what many around here seem to assume “must be ocean cycles & currents” is actually related to sustained patterns of atmospheric pressure, wind, clouds, & precipitation (and I believe Yu.V. Barkin is pointing us in the direction of the bull’s-eye – there are many miles to go with the math, which will have to push into the seemingly-intractable to go where he suggests).

  120. Eric (skeptic):

    Joel, if constant RH is false, then why mention it? It is the distribution of RH (which is weather at the small scale) that will determine climate sensitivity along with forcings like CO2 and unpredictable, but still modelable factors like PDO. Everything can be modeled to some extent, there is no need to ever mention or assume constant RH.

    Ah…Spoken like a typical engineer! ;-)

    Seriously though, they mention it because it is interesting to see that a simpler way of looking at things appears to give an excellent approximation to the answer for the strength of the water vapor feedback that one gets by considering the system in its full complexity.

    And, it is also true that climate calculations themselves are carried out at various levels of complexity (including one-dimension), so there may be sufficiently simple models that give more insight where it would be useful or even necessary (e.g., if you only have one dimension) to make an approximation like that of constant RH. Not everyone wants to do every calculation on one of the world’s largest supercomputers; sometimes you even want to do a calculation on the back of an envelope!

  121. “Scott Mandia (17:12:24) :

    EXACTLY! It never ceases to amaze me that if the anti-AGW points were so obvious then why do they not appear in journals? Most of the anti-AGW arguments are analogous to: “I see a bird flying so I just proved there is no gravity!”

    You have it completely backwards. Most of the arguments here are analogous to “just because a bird flies, doesn’t mean that there is no gravity.” I for one, have repeatedly argued on this site that the sum total of all AGW research is based on the illogical conflation of the validity of the scientific or mathematical procedures underlying a study or paper, with the accuracy of the result of that study or paper. Just because your methods are sound, by itself, tells you nothing about whether your answer is right, any more than the exposure of a methodological flaw demonstrates that the result is wrong.

    In truth, the measure of our knowledge of a system is what you are able to do with that knowledge. You don’t presume some level of knowledge and thus conclude that you have the ability to apply that level of knowledge to a particular problem. The flaw with climate science is that there is no practical application with which to adequately measure the level at which we really understand the climate. Certainly you can’t believe that a group of climate scientists gathered together in the Nevada desert on a star-filled night and called down a thunderstorm. Nor, given the fact that it takes decades to even measure changes in climate, from whatever origin, is it plausible that climate scientists have developed, or will develop in the forseeable future, a measurable track record of predicting climate change. It isn’t feasible for any climate scientist to demonstrate expertise at attributing a particular change in climate, once measured, to a particular cause given that there is no measurement instrumentation to test that expertise.

    The argument that greenhouse gasses significantly contribute to climate change boils down to the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority. We look at the letters after a person’s name, and assume that because they are very intelligent that they are ultimately right, even though we have no objective measure of that person’s actual expertise, and in fact objective evidence of their non-expertise.

    I don’t know how often I’ve seen climate scientists premise a study based on an “average” of the predicted results of computer models, which are basically the only evidence relied upon to quantify the effect of CO2. One particular instance was a study that predicted that Lake Mead would dry up in a couple decades, by first assuming an average of regional preciptation forecasts of the IPCC climate models. The IPCC itself, if I recall correctly, does nothing more than present the results of a number of models and just wave their hands to take the average as the “likely” result. This kind of averaging is a show of weakness, not of strength, the way a college football fan bets on a game by “averaging” the predictions of people they presume to be the experts. But in this case, the climate scientists, lacking the expertise to distinguish the accuracy of one model relative to another, just say, “hell, just take an average – don’t know what else to do.” But if they lack the expertise to evaluate the efficacy of one model relative to anther, how do they have the expertise to evaluate the efficacy of any model in absolute terms?

    Similarly, judging a model based on comparing its output to what is believed to be past climate is again an exercise in futility. NASA, prior to the start of solar cycle 24 issued two predictions of the beginning of, and strength of, solar cycle 24 using two models, both of which were calibrated to reproduce the past solar cycles to 90% accuracy or so. We all know how well those models turned out.

    Now, your logic seems to be that these arguments must be wrong either because I haven’t submitted them for publication in Nature, or that they did not or would not accept them if I did. Once again, this demonstrates the logical fallacy of the appeal to authority – since the arguments weren’t accepted by the experts, they must be wrong. But, of course, no scientific journal is going to bother publishing something that has the sole point of arguing the futility of relying on its prior content due to its status as unadulterated conjecture.

  122. ****************
    Joel Shore (15:07:01) :

    Seriously though, they mention it because it is interesting to see that a simpler way of looking at things appears to give an excellent approximation to the answer for the strength of the water vapor feedback that one gets by considering the system in its full complexity.
    ******************8
    So, Joel. Which climate model has modeled water in all its complexity. It’s my understanding that none can and it will be 10 – 40 years before computers are powerful enough to do it. What say you, Joel?

  123. I must go back to a comment made by Bob Tisdale (01:42:58), quoting RealClimate and seconded by RW, Joel Shore and Scott Mandia- That the tropospheric “hot spot” is simply a signature of any warming including Solar warming and not a specific signature of Anthropogenic Global warming.

    The explanation for the hotspot given was that an increase in water vapour as the surface air temperature rises causing this.

    This statement (that the tropospheric “hot spot” is simply a signature of any warming) was generously offered Dr Spencer and seized upon by all the warmists, as it this “hotspot” that is supposed to exist, does not.

    RW (06:12:35), Joel Shore (17:40:35), Scott Mandia (17:12:24)

    There are 2 points that have not been addressed:

    1. That I raised at Richard (06:24:21) – If the hotspot does not exist then either the basic assumption/ explanation is wanting OR something else is happening to nullify that explanation.

    This is very important as it points to a negative feedback – something that the warmists say doesnt exist and are very uncomfortable with, as it may nullify any dangerous warming claimed due to CO2.

    2. Real Climate may claim (to the hear hears, amens and head noddings of RW, Joel Shore and Scott Mandia) that the tropospheric “hot spot” is simply a signature of any warming, but the IPCC AR4 report says that that this hotspot is a SPECIFIC signature of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    This was in fact pointed out in the first sentence of Dr Spencer – “It is claimed by the IPCC that there are ‘fingerprints’ associated with global warming which can be tied to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions…”

    The graphs shown above are from the IPCC AR4 report which SPECIFICALLY show this.

    The models in these graphs show “the effect of GHG’s as distinctly different from that of solar or volcanic forcings. In particular: The tropical tropospheric hotspots appears in the plate discussing heating by GHG’s and does not appear when the warming results from other causes”.

    For a more complete discussion/ explanation see here

    If IPCC is wrong here – could they possibly be wrong elsewhere? Maybe the science is NOT settled after all?

  124. PS

    The corollary to my argument above, Richard (04:28:03), is :

    If IPCC is correct that the appearance of a tropospheric “hot spot” is specifically due to Anthropogenic Global Warming and does not appear when the warming is due to other causes, and since the hot spot has not appeared, then our current warming is not due to Anthropogenic Global Warming and is due to “other causes”.

    According to the IPCC.

    I wonder what the warmists have to say about that?

  125. @ kurt (16:13:39) :
    Just open your eyes to what is happening in the past few decades and what has happened in the past 2,000 years. What you will see today has not happened in the past 2,000 years.

    It is easy to criticize the models but they represent the best knowledge that scientists have to date and they predict many aspects of climate change quite well.

    Because we cannot create a new planet and test climate change on it, we must use models. They are far from perfect but they are much, much better than chance.

    BTW, there have been measurements of the greenhouse effect and they do match models fairly well. See:

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/greenhouse_gases.html

    and go to the section titled: Measuring the Greenhouse Effect

    @ Richard (04:28:03) :

    Regarding the “hot spot” controversy please see Chris Colose’s thread which is the best I have seen on the subject:

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/skepticsdenialists-part-2-hotspots-and-repetition/

  126. Jim says:

    So, Joel. Which climate model has modeled water in all its complexity. It’s my understanding that none can and it will be 10 – 40 years before computers are powerful enough to do it. What say you, Joel?

    As I have noted, the models seem to be modeling water vapor well enough to be in very good agreement with the available satellite data that can be used to study water vapor in the troposphere and hence provide strong evidence that the water vapor feedback is being modeled correctly. Clouds are much more difficult to model.

    But the larger point is that models are never perfect. I don’t think even in 40 years we will have perfect models. The only perfect model is a complete duplicate earth. That doesn’t however mean that models are useless…in fact, far from it.

    Richard says:

    This is very important as it points to a negative feedback – something that the warmists say doesnt exist and are very uncomfortable with, as it may nullify any dangerous warming claimed due to CO2.

    As I have pointed out, the most direct implication of the “hot spot” not being there would in fact be that a negative feedback that is currently included in the models, the lapse rate feedback, should not be there. The lapse rate feedback occurs because, under the assumption that the warming is larger in the upper troposphere than at the surface, the earth’s surface doesn’t have to warm as much as the effective radiating level in the upper troposphere does in order to restore radiative balance. If the assumption is wrong, the models have a negative feedback in them that should not be there.

    Now, it is true that a lot of the same convective dynamics that are expected to control the lapse rate feedback also control the water vapor feedback. So, in principle, one might expect that the lack of the “hot spot” could also mean the models are wrong about the water vapor feedback. However, this is a more indirect consequence of the hot spot being absent and, furthermore, it seems to be contradicted by the satellite evidence of upper tropospheric moistening.

    Real Climate may claim (to the hear hears, amens and head noddings of RW, Joel Shore and Scott Mandia) that the tropospheric “hot spot” is simply a signature of any warming, but the IPCC AR4 report says that that this hotspot is a SPECIFIC signature of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    I don’t think that is correct. You can tell me where you think that they say that but I seem to recall that this claim involves considerable interpretation of what they actually say. I agree that the IPCC should have been clearer in explaining how the hot spot arises but I don’t think they said anything directly incorrect about it.

    The graphs shown above are from the IPCC AR4 report which SPECIFICALLY show this.

    This is absolutely incorrect. The technical definition of the “hotspot” is that it is amplification of the surface temperature trend or fluctuation as you go up in the tropical troposphere. The graphs that the IPCC shows are simply not sufficient to resolve the spatial pattern of the warming for the mechanisms that are not believed to have contributed very much to the 20th century warming. For example, if you look at the solar mechanism, the color shading indicates a warming of between 0 and 0.2 C at the surface and 0.2 to 0.4 C at altitude in the tropics. That is compatible with any amplification factor between 1 and infinity (and, in particular, is not incompatible with the factor of about 2 or 2.5 that is expected for greenhouse gas mechanism). That is why Gavin Schmidt did an experiment where he ran the models with solar and GHG forcings that produce about the same magnitude of response and showed how the pattern through the troposphere is nearly identical…with the only dramatic distinction being the pattern in the stratosphere ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/ ). [The second largest forcing in that figure is the negative forcing due to aerosols and you can in fact see a little clearer evidence than for solar how there is indeed an amplification of the temperature response in the upper troposphere of the tropics relative to the surface. (In this case the temperature response is, of course, a cooling.)]

    People are using that figure from the IPCC AR4 report to try to determine something that it simply was not designed to distinguish…and are getting confused because they don’t understand the subtleties of contour plots.

  127. “Scott A. Mandia (05:24:21) :

    @ kurt (16:13:39) :
    Just open your eyes to what is happening in the past few decades and what has happened in the past 2,000 years. What you will see today has not happened in the past 2,000 years.”

    There are two problems with this argument. First, everything I said in my last post applies in spades to climate reconstructions. The procedures may well be theoretically valid, but there is no way to confirm that the results are accurate. More specifically, to determine the rate at which climate changes on a decadal time scale, you need a climate reconstruction that preserves temperature samples at a time resolution of five year intervals (twice the frequency of that of the signal you want to preserve). A good tree may be able to give you yearly measurements, with a lot of assumptions, but I find it hard to believe that, on a global scale that includes bare earth, oceans, ice, etc. you can preserve this sampling frequency at enough of a spatial resolution and a sufficiently small error metric to really be confident that your average annual temperature samples preserve temperature fluctuations at a frequency of a decade or two for times earelier than say 1800. Essentially, there may well have been steep changes in average global temperature over the last 2000 years, but the sampling that we can do would not preserve them.

    Second, even supposing that the current rise in temperatures is a unique event over the last 2000 years, the linkage to CO2 is still based on coincidence, or correlation rather than causation. Random cancer clusters, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and a whole host of other events have severites measured by 100 year events, 500 year events, millenia events etc. The fact that something unusual is happening is not an actual demonstration of a causal link to something only hypothesized to be related to cancer, etc. Moreover, you still have the quantification issue. How can you determine how much is due to CO2 and how much is due to natural variations? What if 90% of the temperature rise we saw from 1988 to 1998 was only a 400 year event in the climate reconstructions; can you then conclude that CO2 is rersponsible for 10% or less and assume the rest is nature? Of course not.

    “It is easy to criticize the models but they represent the best knowledge that scientists have to date and they predict many aspects of climate change quite well.

    Because we cannot create a new planet and test climate change on it, we must use models. They are far from perfect but they are much, much better than chance.”

    There may well be legitimate excuses as to why data is inconclusive, but that doesn’t change your basic facts. My criticism isn’t in using models per se, it is in relying upon them well before sufficient time has elapsed to judge their accuracy. Also, climate models may be tweaked to simulate current, and what we presume to be past climate, but again, saying that they have been shown to accurately “predict” any given aspect of climate change is simply untrue given that it takes too long to verify that their predictions were borne out

    “BTW, there have been measurements of the greenhouse effect and they do match models fairly well. See:

    http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww2.sunysuffolk.edu%2Fmandias%2Fglobal_warming%2Fgreenhouse_gases.html

    Color me unimpressed by the impact this study. At best it shows that qualitatively, models are able to reproduce the CO2 absorbtion of LW radiation that are inferred by satellite instrumentation. Although there are some who argue that the atmosphere is already saturated and that added CO2 won’t trap any more outgoing radiation, these were never very good arguments. It is inconceivable that the models weren’t designed and tweaked using the satellite data measuring outgoing longwave radiation, hence I really doubt the model’s output is truly predictive. Also, this study does nothing to either quantify the effect on temperature or quantify feedbacks.

    The primary issue I have with the global warming hype isn’t the qualitative science behind the theory, it’s the quantitative science. The case that added CO2 will delay more outbound radiation, and that the earth must respond by increasing temperature is a sound one. It’s basic radiative physics. But the climate system is just that – a system, and an extraordinarily complicated one as well. The idea that after only a few decades (only one and a half to two measurment cycles) of crude study (we can’t control any inputs to the system but have to wait for nature to provide input changes in it’s own increments) we are nonetheless able to accurately quantify the response of one of a multitude of variables to changes in another is a monstrously silly proposition.

  128. kurt says:

    Although there are some who argue that the atmosphere is already saturated and that added CO2 won’t trap any more outgoing radiation, these were never very good arguments.

    Could you please put this in a bold large font and tell it to P Wilson. It is rather painful having to constantly revisit arguments that were settled in the scientific literature half a century ago!

    It is inconceivable that the models weren’t designed and tweaked using the satellite data measuring outgoing longwave radiation, hence I really doubt the model’s output is truly predictive.

    I don’t understand what you mean here. Certainly, the radiative properties of CO2 were understood; however, I think the 2001 Nature paper by Harris et al. really was the first paper to us satellite data to look at how the absorption lines for the trace gases had changed over time. So, yes, I think it was a prediction. True, it was a prediction that there was not really much controversy about in the scientific community (although there still seems to be around here), but it is still always nice to see things work out as one has predicted they must.

    But the climate system is just that – a system, and an extraordinarily complicated one as well. The idea that after only a few decades (only one and a half to two measurment cycles) of crude study (we can’t control any inputs to the system but have to wait for nature to provide input changes in it’s own increments) we are nonetheless able to accurately quantify the response of one of a multitude of variables to changes in another is a monstrously silly proposition.

    True that it is complicated and may hold some surprises in store for us. However, the assumption amongst most around here seems to be that the surprises will be pleasant ones, that the feedbacks will miraculously be negative, the climate will prove to be extremely insensitive to radiative perturbations, and that the increase in temperatures that we have seen in the last several decades will just turn out to have been some combination of a coincidence due to internal variability and bad data.

    Unfortunately, we know that this notion of net negative feedbacks goes against our current understanding of the various feedbacks and for the case of the water vapor feedback, we now have some pretty good evidence from satellites that the upper tropospheric humidity is behaving as the models predict with this feedback and definitely not how they predict if we turn the feedback off in the models; cloud feedbacks are admittedly more difficult to verify. However, we do understand from the paleoclimate record that the earth’s climate has been quite sensitive to what appear to have been quite small perturbations…In fact, the best single-source estimate of climate sensitivity probably comes from looking at the difference between the Last Glacial Maximum and now. Other estimates derive from the climate response to the Mt. Pinatubo (which Jim Hansen actually predicted quite well in a paper written immediately after said eruption had occurred) and the rise in temperatures over the instrumental record (although this last piece of empirical data turns out to constrain the sensitivity only weakly mainly because of the large uncertainties in regards to the aerosol forcing).

    All in all, it seems to me that there is a lot of evidence you are betting against when you conclude that the increases in CO2 are unlikely to have much of an impact on climate.

  129. Paul Vaughn (13:30:20):

    Basic physical processes are much too often overlooked in the AGWers’ IR-radiation-dominated view of the climate system and attendant energy (or power) budgets. With uneven thermalization of insolation on the globe, an appreciable fraction of available power goes into creating and maintaining mechanical pressure gradients, which drive the geostrophic wind. A conservative estimate for a global annual average would be ~30W/m^2.

    I’m not acquainted with Barkin’s work. Perhaps you can characterize it briefly and point to a handy reference.

  130. Joel Shore (17:44:11):

    I don’t have time for a prolonged debate, but there’s nothing “miraculous” about negative feedback. Such is par for the course in actual physical systems that exhibit true feeback, as opposed to mere recirculation. What is utterly fantastic is the notion that any positive feedback is to be found in the Earth’s climate system. It would would have gone ballistic billions of years ago.

    Cheers!

  131. “John S. (18:09:58) :

    I don’t have time for a prolonged debate, but there’s nothing “miraculous” about negative feedback. Such is par for the course in actual physical systems that exhibit true feeback, as opposed to mere recirculation. What is utterly fantastic is the notion that any positive feedback is to be found in the Earth’s climate system. It would would have gone ballistic billions of years ago.”

    I largely agree with this except for the last couple sentences. As long as positive feedback is less than 1, you have a stable system. Having said that, feedback is not a constant function and in the real world is subject to a limited source of the feedback. In a cold climate, e.g. an ice age, there are lots of sources for positive feedback to warm the climate, but not cool it. Take albedo for example. If 45% of the earth is covered with ice, that’s a huge source of potential warming feedback as the ice slowly melts and exposes all that bare earth or water underneath it. But ice isn’t infinite. As you move into the interglacial and most of the ice has melted, the warming feedback from that mechanism slows down considerably. When the earth moves back into an ice age, all that bare earth is now a source of positive feedback to reinforce a cooling signal until the ice age is in full swing at which point there isn’t much more bare earth that can change to reflective ice. My own personal opinion is that since we are well into an interglacial, whatever positive feedback might exists to reinforce further warming should have mostly depleted itself already. But again, while that’s just an opinion I don’t think that it would be surprising at all if at the end of an interglacial the balance had shifted to net negative feedback.

    Back to Joel Shore’s point, however, I was never counting on a “miracle” that all feedbacks were negative, my point was that we don’t really have much information to assess whether the net feedback is positive or negative, much less quantify the net feedback effect. Proving that mechanisms for positive feedback still exist (and I do think there are positive feedbacks still around), but without quantifying them, gains little ground in what is essentially the ultimate question.

    Last, let’s also mention the speculative nature of all the catastrphic impacts of global warming. I could easily make a case that a warmer world will be a boon for mankind, causing a decrease in hurricane intensity, less drought, more food, and less energy consumption. And this is coming from someone who actually prefers colder climates to warmer ones.

  132. “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

    — Nobel Laureate Sherwood Rowland (referring then to ozone depletion)

    I do not believe we can afford to “gamble” that the science and the models are incorrect.

    I suggest you watch the lengthy video series by Greg Craven which is pure common sense:

    http://manpollo.org/education/videos/videos.html

    • Scott Mandia:

      Greg Craven’s video logic is nothing more than a reframed Pascal’s Wager.

      If you concur with his logic, then I also expect to find you in Church every Sunday for the rest of your life.

  133. “Scott Mandia (20:42:45) :

    I do not believe we can afford to “gamble” that the science and the models are incorrect.

    I suggest you watch the lengthy video series by Greg Craven which is pure common sense.”

    I’m assuming your referring to the Oregon science teacher who laid out a case for the precautionary principal. I did watch that, and it was so full of logical holes that I cringed that this guy was teaching our children. Basically, his point was that the nightmare scenarios of global warming were so, so awful that we just had to take action against it because no matter how small the risk, the consequences of being wrong were just, well, so so awful.

    The first logical flaw in that is that if you can’t asses the risk of the consequence occurring in the first place, you can’t rationally act on it. By his logic, the only rational choice of all mankind is to fervently believe in God, because the ultimate risk of not doing so is spending an etermity in purgatory, if not hell, which is well, too, too awful to take a chance on. That drive we all take to go out to eat rather than have the food in the refrigerator -stupid move given that the consequences of dying in a car wreck is simply not worth the transitory and insignificant satisfaction of having the food you crave at the moment. When making these kinds of decisions you simply cannot ignore the step of assessing the risk of a consequence occurring.

    Second, he failed to evaluate the nightmare consequences of curbing CO2 emissions. Burning energy does have its benefits in economic growth, standards of living etc. Preventing the third world from economic development using cheap, abundant fossil fuels is essentially condemning them to a perpetual existence of disease, etc. Using the same logic of ignoring risks and just looking at the worst imaginable scenarios, anyone could come up with some pretty good nightmares on the other side.

    Finally, about every nightmare scenario of global warming has an opposite possibility. Hurricane intensity could decrease in a warmer world due to the reduction in the temperature differential between the sea surface and the air aloft. Increased evapration could speed up the hydrogeological cycle and reduce droughts, and let us feed the world. By counteracting global warming, we could be preventing all these so, so wonderful things from happening. Again, under Craven’s logic, assesment of the probability of global warming lessening the occurrence of natural disasters is a no-no. We just look at the consequences and ask whether it is worth the gamble.

    But, of course this just proves how silly it all is because the analysis just boils down to how creative you can get in stringing together a sequence of events without regard to their plausibility.

  134. Joel Shore (08:45:00)
    Richard says: “This is very important as it points to a negative feedback – something that the warmists say doesnt exist and are very uncomfortable with, as it may nullify any dangerous warming claimed due to CO2”.

    Joel Shore – “As I have pointed out, the most direct implication of the “hot spot” not being there would in fact be that a negative feedback that is currently included in the models, the lapse rate feedback, should not be there. The lapse rate feedback occurs because, under the assumption that the warming is larger in the upper troposphere than at the surface, the earth’s surface doesn’t have to warm as much as the effective radiating level in the upper troposphere does in order to restore radiative balance. If the assumption is wrong, the models have a negative feedback in them that should not be there.”

    You may have pointed this out, but respectfully you are not the oracle at Delphi, and in this case have got the issue completely by the tail.

    The “negative feedback” that I am referring to is NOT the negative feedback that you are suggesting, which suggests that the scientific experts of the IPCC have got the science wrong on this.

    Nor am I arguing that the lack of the “hot spot” show that the models are wrong about the water vapour feedback.

    Of the 6 graphs shown above the only one that shows a cooling rather than warming is the effect of aerosols. If anthropogenic GHG’s cause tropospheric warming and this warming is not there then, if we assume that the “forcings” shown in the models are correct, the effect of Anthropogenic Aerosols correspondingly generated have been grossly underestimated. These very aerosols also would offset any warming effects of GHG’s and provide some of the missing negative feedback that must be there, which has caused the Earth not to warm despite rising CO2 levels.

    There must be other negative feedback mechanisms fundamental to the warming caused by any means.

    Me – “Real Climate may claim (to the hear hears, amens and head noddings of RW, Joel Shore and Scott Mandia) that the tropospheric “hot spot” is simply a signature of any warming, but the IPCC AR4 report says that that this hotspot is a SPECIFIC signature of Anthropogenic Global Warming.”

    Joel Shore – ”I don’t think that is correct. You can tell me where you think that they say that but I seem to recall that this claim involves considerable interpretation of what they actually say. I agree that the IPCC should have been clearer in explaining how the hot spot arises but I don’t think they said anything directly incorrect about it.”

    You may not think so but this is what the IPCC says “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings..” I don’t think they could be clearer than that.

    Me – “The graphs shown above are from the IPCC AR4 report which SPECIFICALLY show this.”

    Joel Shore – This is absolutely incorrect. …The graphs that the IPCC shows are simply not sufficient to resolve the spatial pattern of the warming for the mechanisms that are not believed to have contributed very much to the 20th century warming. For example, … …. Blah blah blah … absolute mumbo jumbo and irrelevant stuff involving the Great Gavin etc…

    The 6 graphs are temperature changes due to (a) solar, (b) volcanoes, (c) GHGs, (d) ozone changes, (e) aerosols and (f) the sum of all the forcings.

    These are all from the IPCC AR4 report. They are well labeled and perfectly clear. Does the GHG graph look like any of the other 4 “forcings”?

    The sum is obviously wrong but that is probably due to wrongly estimating the relative influences of the various forcings.

    Joel Shore – “People are using that figure from the IPCC AR4 report to try to determine something that it simply was not designed to distinguish…and are getting confused because they don’t understand the subtleties of contour plots.”

    Excuse me there is nothing “subtle” about those contour plots, and they are perfectly clear, despite your efforts to mystify and obfuscate the matter.

  135. Scott Mandia (20:42:45):

    I do not believe we can afford to “gamble” that the science and the models are incorrect.

    India and China are doing exactly that, wagering that the greater disaster will be for them to not modernize, using fossil fuel energy sources.

    The ipcc actully made the same “gamble” by not requiring countries containing ~5 billion of the Earth’s ~6.5 billion people to adhere to its own Kyoto Protocols.

    Apparently, the alleged cure to GW is taken to be worse than the alleged disease – the Precautionary Principle must also be applied to the “precautions”.

    The idea that GW, regardless of cause, will be a net disease has not been established: no one has spent billions of dollars having scientists “prove” the likely and wildly optimistic benefits of GW.

    The planetary experiment which the Models suggested to prove AGW resulted in the failure of the Models – the predicted “hot spot” did not materialize.

  136. For help in spotting, here is an official link to radiosonde data:

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/sap1-1-final-chap5.pdf

    figure 5.7 E should actually be included under the IPCC figure above.
    It is the IPCC report that is being waved as a bible to stampede the hoi polloi, and it should be clear it is wrong.

    After the fact, that reality does not have a hot spot, models and modelers can scramble and play with their numerous parameters ( five parameters can fit an elephant) to fit the data, but that is all they are doing. And, BTW, when they are doing that they should give us for THE SAME RUNS the temperature projections to 2100. I strongly suspect that when they fit the measured hot spot, temperatures are rolling along reasonably.

  137. ********
    kurt (18:39:49) :

    I largely agree with this except for the last couple sentences. As long as positive feedback is less than 1, you have a stable system. Having said that, feedback is not a constant function and in the real world is subject to a limited source of the feedback. In a cold climate, e.g. an ice age, there are lots of sources for positive feedback to warm the climate, but not cool it. Take albedo for example. If 45% of the earth is covered with ice, that’s a huge source of potential warming feedback as the ice slowly melts and exposes all that bare earth or water underneath it. But ice isn’t infinite. As you move into the interglacial and most of the ice has melted, the warming feedback from that mechanism slows down considerably. When the earth moves back into an ice age, all that bare earth is now a source of positive feedback to reinforce a cooling signal until the ice age is in full swing at which point there isn’t much more bare earth that can change to reflective ice. My own personal opinion is that since we are well into an interglacial, whatever positive feedback might exists to reinforce further warming should have mostly depleted itself already. But again, while that’s just an opinion I don’t think that it would be surprising at all if at the end of an interglacial the balance had shifted to net negative feedback.

    Kurt, your thoughts are similar to mine. The dominate positive feedback is the ice/albedo effect — especially in the temperature “mid-range” of the glacial periods. Right now there’s practically no ice except at the highest latitudes where the effect is minimal due to low solar input in those areas, so the positive feedback is mostly absent. This shows up in the ice-cores as our relatively “stable” interglacials. Once glacial conditions return & snow/ice advances into lower latitudes, temp swings are much greater (the drastic temp swings of 1500 yr period in Greenland’s cores). What causes the apparent “cap” at the bottom like the LGM (last glacial max)? This is unclear to me, but conditions could reach a point where summer snow/ice cannot survive into lower latitudes no matter how much winter snow/ice occurs — too much sun. But the essence should be the same — running out of positive feedback.

    This raises a point — tho negative feedback dominates overall, especially at the high and low “caps”, positive feedback dominates in the middle temp ranges during glacials. Some positive water-vapor feedback seems to add to the ice/albedo feedback — glacial periods are also much drier than interglacials & even tropical rainforests recede to mere localized patches compared to today. During the LGM conditions were exceedingly dry & dusty.

    As to what triggers transitions to/from glacial periods, the only thing I can think of to cause such rapid, global changes are ocean-current changes (atmospheric changes follow that). Milanchovich forcings are just too slow and gradual to do it by themselves. I don’t think we’ve seen in modern history the range of possible ocean-current changes — they could be dramatic.

  138. Richard says:

    These very aerosols also would offset any warming effects of GHG’s and provide some of the missing negative feedback that must be there, which has caused the Earth not to warm despite rising CO2 levels.

    Aerosols are not a feedback but a forcing. And, yes, aerosols are offsetting part of the warming. Unfortunately, the more that they offset, the higher the climate sensitivity likely is to CO2 on the basis of the instrumental temperature record. (And note that the aerosols won’t keep offsetting the warming forever since CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere whereas aerosols in the troposphere wash out quickly so their concentration is basically just proportional to the current emissions. For obvious reasons, we don’t want to keep increasing these emissions.

    You may not think so but this is what the IPCC says “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings..” I don’t think they could be clearer than that.

    Well, apparently it wasn’t clear enough because you have misinterpreted what they said. Let me give you a fuller quote of what they say and then explain it to you:

    Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in the troposphere, cooling in the stratosphere, and, for transient simulations, somewhat more warming near the surface in the NH due to its larger land fraction, which has a shorter surface response time to the warming than do ocean regions (Figure
    9.1c)

    The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings described above. Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced
    warming extends throughout the atmosphere (see, e.g., Cubasch et al., 1997).

    So, in other words, the way the natural forcing of solar is distinct from the anthropogenic forcings is that the former warms the whole atmosphere while the latter warms the troposphere but cools the stratosphere (as is seen in the real world). There is no discussion there of whether or not tropical tropospheric amplification is expected to be different for each.

    These are all from the IPCC AR4 report. They are well labeled and perfectly clear. Does the GHG graph look like any of the other 4 “forcings”?

    Excuse me there is nothing “subtle” about those contour plots, and they are perfectly clear, despite your efforts to mystify and obfuscate the matter.

    Well, I didn’t think the point was that subtle personally, but since so many people including you seem confused by it, it is apparently more subtle than I had realized. You can’t tell from looking at the graph how similar the pattern is because the pattern is not very well-resolved for the forcings like solar that don’t contribute very much. It is as simple as that. If they replotted the solar forcing with a spacing between contour levels of, say, 0.04 C instead of 0.2 C, I expect it to look very much like the one for GHGs except without the cooling in the stratosphere. And, in fact, Gavin made this sort of plot here http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/ , except instead of changing the contour levels between the two, he adjusted the two forcings so the magnitude of the temperature effects are about the same. (This may in fact be better for detecting the spatial structure due to a forcing since I am not sure how small you can have a forcing by before noise tends to overwhelm the spatial structure.)

    Even Roy Spencer says in this post, “the hotspot is not a unique signature of manmade greenhouse gases. It simply reflects anomalous heating of the troposphere — no matter what its source.” If you don’t want to believe me, maybe you can believe him.

    J. Peden says:

    The planetary experiment which the Models suggested to prove AGW resulted in the failure of the Models – the predicted “hot spot” did not materialize.

    (1) The models did not suggest this as an experiment to prove AGW since it does not distinguish between warming due to greenhouse gases and other warming mechanisms.

    (2) It is still unclear whether tropical tropospheric amplification (what people loosely call the “hot spot”) occurs or not. For temperature fluctuations such as that which occur due to El Nino, where the satellite data is reliable, this amplification is clearly there. For the multidecadal temperature trends, it has been more difficult to detect; however, given the difficulty in the datasets due to contamination of these trends by artifacts (plus the fact that the prediction itself has errorbars associated with it for trends over such a time interval), one cannot really make a conclusion one way or the other at this point.

    (3) The cooling of the stratosphere that is a specific prediction of the effect of greenhouse gases (and also decreases in stratospheric ozone, although the pattern of the cooling due to these two effects is somewhat different) has been seen and this cooling is so large that the signal-to-noise issues that plague the tropospheric multidecadal trends are not a problem.

  139. kurt says:

    As you move into the interglacial and most of the ice has melted, the warming feedback from that mechanism slows down considerably. When the earth moves back into an ice age, all that bare earth is now a source of positive feedback to reinforce a cooling signal until the ice age is in full swing at which point there isn’t much more bare earth that can change to reflective ice. My own personal opinion is that since we are well into an interglacial, whatever positive feedback might exists to reinforce further warming should have mostly depleted itself already.

    Yeah, this might be so…However, the problem is, as James Hansen has pointed out, the calculation that gives you a climate sensitivity of ~0.75 C / (W/m^2), which translates to a sensitivity of ~3 C per CO2 doubling, considers the land ice and vegetation changes to be a forcing and not a feedback. What this means is that essentially the 3 C sensitivity in fact assumes no changes in land ice or vegetation that further lower the albedo.

    Proving that mechanisms for positive feedback still exist (and I do think there are positive feedbacks still around), but without quantifying them, gains little ground in what is essentially the ultimate question.

    True enough…but that’s what looking at the climate’s response to different events and also that numerically modeling the feedbacks (and testing those models in various ways, such as against satellite data for upper tropospheric humidity in the case of the water vapor feedback) helps us to determine.

    I could easily make a case that a warmer world will be a boon for mankind, causing a decrease in hurricane intensity, less drought, more food, and less energy consumption. And this is coming from someone who actually prefers colder climates to warmer ones.

    There could be some winners, especially for small changes. However, as a general rule, change…especially quite rapid change…tends to be bad because both we and the other species that inhabit the planet are adapted to the current climate and especially the current sea levels. Also, the other species have stresses on them and limitations on them from us (due to habit fragmentation, for example) that will likely limit their abilities to adapt.

    Finally, the modeling suggests that you are not correct, for example, on your hopes for less drought. In fact, drought is expected to increase in many places (especially the American Southwest). This is true due both to changes in weather patterns and due to increasing drying out from the higher temperatures. At the same time, there is also expected to be increasing in the highest magnitude precipitation events, which can lead to more flooding too.

  140. P Wilson: Every time I think you can never say anything sillier than what you have already said, you prove me wrong. You don’t even have to plot that data to see that there has been a strong cooling trend. And, any least-squares fit through the data would confirm it.

    I would say that you can’t just eliminate data that you don’t like but what you are doing is actually much worse than that. In fact, if you just eliminated data around 1991 and didn’t include it in the fit, you would still get a significant negative trend. What you are doing is presumably eliminating the whole drop by shifting the data up after 1991 or down before 1991 or something like that.

  141. In fact, if you don’t want to believe me, just look at the “decadal trend” kindly put into that file by the Spencer and Christy UAH team themselves.

  142. kurt (18:39:49):

    My last two sentences point to the quintessential features of bona fide feedback: the need for an INDEPENDENT source of of power for physical implementation and the RUNAWAY instability of positive feesback in all cases. It appears that both of you (and you are not alone) harbor the analytically unsupported notion that finite accumulation of energy, such as a capacitor acquiring a charge, or some step-wise process expressed by the sum of the binomial series, constitutes “feedback” in a system. This is simply a vague misappropriation of the term from rigorous system analysis.

    Genuine feedback requires 1) a transducer to sense the system output signal without disturbing it, 2) external power to replicate it (with or without filtering) , and 3) a loop feeding the replicated signal to the system input for algebraic addition to the driving input signal. Nothing in the climate system is capable of doing that. It would lead to violation of energy conservation principles. There simply are no power plants or operational amplifiers in the sky. Only redistribution and/or storage of energy ultimately received from the Sun is possible. Nothing on Earth can change the TSI; thus no genuine feedback (positive or negative) is possible. But the climate system can affect insolation.

    What you’re calling “feedback” appears to be little more than a simplified version of the response characteristic of the system. That characteristic is generally frequency dependent, thus not reducible to the simple notion of “sensitivity” or “gain.” It indeed changes with changing albedo due to clouds and snow/ice distributions on the globe. But, if one hopes to analyze the climate system rigorously, using the well-developed mathematics of system analysis, then such changes and their consequences should not be confused with feedback.

  143. Joel Shore:

    Even Roy Spencer says in this post, “the hotspot is not a unique signature of manmade greenhouse gases. It simply reflects anomalous heating of the troposphere — no matter what its source.” If you don’t want to believe me, maybe you can believe him.

    What Dr. Spencer says and the ipcc said are two different things.

    As Richard directed above: For a more complete discussion/ explanation see here
    a link to Lucia’s discussion.

    The issue was also discussed at Climate Audit a while back, but I can’t access CA’s search engine right now.

  144. Joel Shore (09:49:33) : Aerosols are not a feedback but a forcing.

    Joel Shore if the blasted Aerosols are a result of the anthropogenic production process of CO2 then it becomes a feedback. And if that feedback works in opposition to the effect of CO2 it becomes a negative feedback – can you understand this simple concept?

    “Our best scientific understanding is that:..Human-induced changes in the atmospheric burdens of sulfate aerosol particles cause regional cooling of the surface and troposphere.”

    Besides this I have said there must be other negative feedback mechanisms fundamental to the warming caused by any means, such as cloudiness. You do not like to consider this possibility because it would upset your belief that CO2 will cause unstoppable run-away warming.

    The reason why I say this must be so because the Earth’s climate says so. If CO2 goes up and temperatures do not then your hypothesis is wrong – you must discard it – not cling onto it for dear life, fudge the data and argue that white is black.

    Me – You may not think so but this is what the IPCC says “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings..” I don’t think they could be clearer than that.

    Joel Shore – Well, apparently it wasn’t clear enough because you have misinterpreted what they said. Let me give you a fuller quote of what they say and then explain it to you:

    (Let me tell you how when the IPCC says that the simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings they do not mean that they are in fact distinct. They mean instead that they are in fact indistinguishable and this is obvious from the above statement.)

    (In fact, dont you understand the IPCC says “Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in the troposphere, cooling in the stratosphere, and, for transient simulations, somewhat more warming near the surface in the NH due to its larger land fraction,..”

    and only then do they go on to say that “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings described above. Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere

    So whereas a moron would understand from this that GHG’s would produce a tropospheric “hotspot”, solar “forcing” would not, you, who are not a moron, understands from this that what they in fact mean is solar forcing WILL produce a tropospheric hotspot, indistinguishable from the CO2 “forcing”. How very brilliant you are Joel Shore.

    Joel Shore – So, in other words, (other words? they are the same words jumbled up why are you waffling you ……!!!!!?) the way the natural forcing of solar is distinct from the anthropogenic forcings is that the former warms the whole atmosphere while the latter warms the troposphere but cools the stratosphere (as is seen in the real world). There is no discussion there of whether or not tropical tropospheric amplification is expected to be different for each.

    Discussion? Maybe not, (I cant be bothered to hunt around) but there are two graphs which are quite distinct from each other. The GHG graph shows a tropospheric hotspot whereas the solar one doesnt. Maybe they think this is clear enough to not warrant further discussion?

    Joel Shore – Even Roy Spencer says in this post, “the hotspot is not a unique signature of manmade greenhouse gases. It simply reflects anomalous heating of the troposphere — no matter what its source.” If you don’t want to believe me, maybe you can believe him.

    The final appeal to authority? I have pointed out that THE IPCC SAYS THAT THE HOTSPOT SHOULD EXIST DUE TO ANTHROPOGENIC WARMING and ANTHROPOGENIC WARMING ALONE. That is the point – cant you comprehend????? Not whether it is actually so or what RealClimate or the you or the great Gavin or anybody else says.

    They have said so in black and white (and red and yellow and blue).

    This is my last “discussion” with you Joel Shore. After what you have written I do not have a very great opinion of your logical powers or your ability to understand simple English or an elementary understanding of graphs.

  145. Joel Shore (10:03:46) :

    Yeah, this might be so…However, the problem is, as James Hansen has pointed out, the calculation that gives you a climate sensitivity of ~0.75 C / (W/m^2), which translates to a sensitivity of ~3 C per CO2 doubling, considers the land ice and vegetation changes to be a forcing and not a feedback. What this means is that essentially the 3 C sensitivity in fact assumes no changes in land ice or vegetation that further lower the albedo.

    Joel, please don’t cite statements by J Hanson. His irrational media statements & other acts make him out to be some kind of pious kook. Please cite other sources — there must be many more.

    Do you think global “sensitivity” is constant in time? If it isn’t, extrapolating present interglacial conditions to past glacial won’t work. Something as profound as the presence of continental glaciers and particularly global ocean-current changes will change the inner workings of the global “heat engine”, and the characteristics like sensitivity will change. Models may incorporate some aspects of ice/albedo feedback, but have no clue of large-scale ocean-current changes.

    John S. (12:11:46) :

    The long-used term “feedback” in control/electrical systems analysis has been usurped by climate modellers to have its own new meaning.

  146. Richard says:

    Joel Shore if the blasted Aerosols are a result of the anthropogenic production process of CO2 then it becomes a feedback. And if that feedback works in opposition to the effect of CO2 it becomes a negative feedback – can you understand this simple concept?

    There are several reasons why they should be considered a separate forcing even though many of the same processes that produce CO2 also produce aerosols and vice versa:

    (1) The ratio of aerosols to CO2 produced can vary considerably. For example, biomass burning essentially produces no net CO2 (if you grow the biomass that you burn) but can produce a lot of aerosols. And, in Western countries, we have used technologies to significantly cut aerosols but not CO2 so our aerosol emissions have been dropping significantly while our CO2 emissions continue to increase.

    (2) Even if the emission of aerosols and the emission of CO2 were directly proportional, the forcing due to each would not remain proportional over time. This is because CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere whereas aerosols wash out quickly, so the forcing due to CO2 depends mainly on the cumulative emissions (with some dependence on how fast they are being emitted) whereas the forcing due to aerosols only depends on total emissions. (The forcing also probably has a different dependence on concentration for aerosols and CO2…For CO2 it is roughly logarithmic in concentration whereas I think for aerosols it is closer to linear.)

    The basic point is that, assuming that we want reasonable air quality, we are not going to want to keep increasing our aerosol emissions at the rate necessary to try to counterbalance the warming due to our CO2 emissions. There have been some proposed geo-engineering schemes where we inject aerosols into the stratosphere, where they will remain longer and have much less impact on near-surface air quality; however, there are various difficulties with this as a realistic solution.

    So whereas a moron would understand from this that GHG’s would produce a tropospheric “hotspot”, solar “forcing” would not, you, who are not a moron, understands from this that what they in fact mean is solar forcing WILL produce a tropospheric hotspot, indistinguishable from the CO2 “forcing”. How very brilliant you are Joel Shore.

    They don’t directly say that the tropospheric hotspot for the two will be indistinguishable but they certainly don’t say or imply that it won’t. Their statement is quite clear on what the difference is: “but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere”. So, we have one forcing where the warming extends throughout the atmosphere, i.e., warms both the troposphere and the stratosphere and another where the troposphere warms and the stratosphere cools.

    You basically come up with the most convoluted interpretation of what the IPCC says as possible, ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. Maybe the IPCC could have been a little clearer but most people try to interpret statements in the way that seems most sensible; you simply do so in the way that suits you. I have noticed this trend in a lot of “skeptics”…To make the most uncharitable possible interpretation of what some scientific source says, no matter how convoluted, and then attack that statement as you have interpreted it as if no other interpretation…in fact a much better interpretation…exists.

    The GHG graph shows a tropospheric hotspot whereas the solar one doesnt. Maybe they think this is clear enough to not warrant further discussion?

    Which part of my previous discussion of this, which I will repeat here, are you having trouble understanding? Which part of Gavin’s figure are you having trouble understanding? I said:

    You can’t tell from looking at the graph how similar the pattern is because the pattern is not very well-resolved for the forcings like solar that don’t contribute very much. It is as simple as that. If they replotted the solar forcing with a spacing between contour levels of, say, 0.04 C instead of 0.2 C, I expect it to look very much like the one for GHGs except without the cooling in the stratosphere. And, in fact, Gavin made this sort of plot here http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/ , except instead of changing the contour levels between the two, he adjusted the two forcings so the magnitude of the temperature effects are about the same. (This may in fact be better for detecting the spatial structure due to a forcing since I am not sure how small you can have a forcing by before noise tends to overwhelm the spatial structure.)

    Richard says:

    The final appeal to authority? I have pointed out that THE IPCC SAYS THAT THE HOTSPOT SHOULD EXIST DUE TO ANTHROPOGENIC WARMING and ANTHROPOGENIC WARMING ALONE.

    No, what you have shown is that you can come up with an interpretation of what the IPCC says that you think suggests this. The problem with said interpretation is it doesn’t really make sense when you look closely at what they actually said and the context in which they were saying it.

    As for the figure, why do you think that Roy Spencer looks at that same IPCC figure and does not seem to think that it shows that the “hotspot” is a unique signature of the GHG mechanism? Could it be that he understands the issue of resolution in contour plots, like I do, but apparently you do not?

  147. Richard: Here’s a little exercise for you – From looking at that figure from the IPCC (and it is probably best to go to the IPCC website and download Chapter 9 so you can blow up the figure), what possible values of tropical tropospheric amplification are each of these three mechanisms compatible with:

    (1) solar
    (2) aerosols
    (3) GHGs

  148. @Dr. Shore,

    Joel, here is a little exercise for you:

    It’s fairly well accepted that there was a rather sudden Arctic warming from 1930-1940. Bengtsson et al (2004) surmised that the warming was due to the NAO and other atmospheric and oceanic circulation changes…

    During the peak period 1930–40, the annually averaged temperature anomaly for the area 60°–90°N amounted to some 1.7°C. Whether this event is an example of an internal climate mode or is externally forced, such as by enhanced solar effects, is presently under debate. This study suggests that natural variability is a likely cause, with reduced sea ice cover being crucial for the warming.

    […]

    By analyzing climate anomalies in the model that are similar to those that occurred in the early twentieth century, it was found that the simulated temperature increase in the Arctic was related to enhanced wind-driven oceanic inflow into the Barents Sea with an associated sea ice retreat.

    […]

    Observational data suggest a similar series of events during the early twentieth-century Arctic warming, including increasing westerly winds between Spitsbergen and Norway, reduced sea ice, and enhanced cyclonic circulation over the Barents Sea. At the same time, the North Atlantic Oscillation was weakening.

    A decadal Arctic anomaly of +1.7°C and a global anomaly of about 0.4°C during a 30-year warm PDO phase totally not cause by CO2.

    McConnel et al (2007) presented a fairly solid case for black carbon soot as the main driver of the early 20th century Arctic (and by extension global) warming…

    Black carbon (BC) from biomass and fossil fuel combustion alters chemical and physical properties of the atmosphere and snow albedo, yet little is known about its emission or deposition histories. Measurements of BC, vanillic acid, and non–sea-salt sulfur in ice cores indicate that sources and concentrations of BC in Greenland precipitation varied greatly since 1788 as a result of boreal forest fires and industrial activities. Beginning about 1850, industrial emissions resulted in a sevenfold increase in ice-core BC concentrations, with most change occurring in winter. BC concentrations after about 1951 were lower but increasing. At its maximum from 1906 to 1910, estimated surface climate forcing in early summer from BC in Arctic snow was about 3 watts per square meter, which is eight times the typical preindustrial forcing value.

    If the NAO and black carbon can both be modeled to have accounted for the early 20th century Arctic warming… Which was it? The Arctic only wamed as much as it warmed… Yet there is strong evidence that two different things caused all of the observed warming,

    And… If black carbon could have driven the early 20th century Arctic warming, how can this IPCC chart be accurate? It shows black carbon to have accounted for about 1/9 of the radiative forcing as CO2 from 1750-2005. If CO2 didn’t drive the early 20th century warming or prevent the mid 20th century cooling, how could it possibly have been the dominant radiative forcing mechanism since 1750?

    How could it even be the dominant radiative forcing mechanism since 1978, when there is ample evidence that cloud cover and albedo changes can account for most, if not all, of the observed warming of the late 20th century?

    Palle et al (2004)

    Recent analysis of monthly mean cloud data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project uncovered a strong correlation between low cloud and the cosmic ray flux for extensive regions of the Earth. Additional data have been recently released covering the period up to September 2001 with which we have made a new study of the geographical variation of the correlation between low cloud and predicted ionization level from cosmic rays at an altitude of 2 km. When analysed globally, we find that the correlations do not correspond to the latitude variation of cosmic ray flux and they are not field significant. Nonetheless they appear to be marginally field significant over broad latitude and longitude bands with a peak positive correlation at 50 degrees North and South and a tendency to negative correlation at lower latitudes. The correlation is strongest over the North and South Atlantic. Several of these features are consistent with the predictions of the electroscavenging process. We use a simple model to calculate the climatic impact should the correlation be confirmed. We show that, under the most favorable conditions, a reduction in low cloud cover since the late 19th century, combined with the direct forcing by solar irradiance can explain a significant part of the global warming over the past century, but not all. However, this computation assumes that there is no feedback or changes in cloud at other levels.

    Courtillot found a strong correlation between geomagnetism and climate up until the mid-1980s (Courtillot et al. (2006)) and a strong correlation between solar activity and climate in (Le Mouël et al. (2008)).

    If there are multiple other radiative forcing mechanisms that can account for most, if all, of the observed climate change… CO2 cannot be as powerful of a climate driver as the IPCC says it is.
    Of course, the fact that the Medieval Warming and Roman Warming Periods were as warm or warmer than today means one of two things: Modern CO2 levels aren’t warming the planet. Or, CO2 levels in the MWP and RWP must have been a lot higher than the ice cores indicate. The same thing applies to the Sangamon Interglacial (~125 KYA)… Either the Earth wasn’t really warmer back then than it is now… Or CO2 levels were higher back then than the ice cores indicate. The Mid-Pliocene Warm Period (~3.2 MYA) was also significantly warmer than today; yet there’s no evidence of CO2 levels being much higher than today’s levels.

    The Earth doesn’t suddenly start doing things that it has never done before just because James Hansen makes a computer model and Al Gore gets a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar.

  149. P Wilson says:

    Try it. All you need is to plot the graph – do it from 1993 instead

    It is true that the most dramatic cooling is in the early part of the record. The overall rate over the whole satellite period since 12/1979 is -0.407 C per decade. However, even if you start in 1/1993, the trend is -0.113 C per decade. (Starting in 1/1993 lowers it to -.042 C per decade.) I don’t know what the errorbars are on these trends; to compute those correctly would involve taking into account the time correlations in the temperature data…As the time intervals get shorter, of course, the errorbars get larger.

    One complication here is that ***lower*** stratospheric temperature is probably not the best thing to look at since this part of the stratosphere is more sensitive to changes in ozone than to CO2. (And, ozone was getting depleted more rapidly before we started to phase out CFCs and other ozone-destroying chemicals.) The middle and upper stratosphere is a better indicator of changes in CO2; it is also probably wise to restrict oneself to lattitudes of less than 60deg, particularly for the southern hemisphere, so that you avoid the most ozone-depleted regions, and I am not sure where the data for that is. (See Scott Mandia’s page for discussion: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/greenhouse_gases.html )

  150. John S. says:

    My last two sentences point to the quintessential features of bona fide feedback: the need for an INDEPENDENT source of of power for physical implementation and the RUNAWAY instability of positive feesback in all cases.

    There is a confusion between how the net feedback is often discussed in climate and how it is apparently discussed in control theory / system analysis. If you want to define the net feedback in a way where positive feedbacks lead to an outright instability, then you have to include the strong negative feedback that occurs on the radiative imbalance as described by the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation. I.e., an increase in temperature causes an increase in outgoing radiation, which reduces the radiative imbalance.

    However, in climate science, people have often described the rise in temperature that the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation implies without any other changes in the climate system as the first-order effect and then talked about the net feedbacks beyond this and how they change the first-order effect. By this definition, a negative feedback reduces the temperature response relative to what the S-B Equation predicts (without feedbacks due to other changes in the atmosphere) and a positive feedback that is less positive than the feedback due to Stefan-Boltzmann is negative will result in a magnification of the first-order temperature response. However, only if the positive feedback due to these other factors is more positive than the feedback due to Stefan-Boltzmann is negative would you get a net positive feedback in the sense that you are talking about and hence outright instability.

    To see a discussion in which the response given by the S-B Eq is considered as a negative feedback, see Dennis Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”. You can read part of the relevant section on the web here: http://books.google.com/books?id=Zi1coMyhlHoC&pg=PA231&lpg=PA231#v=onepage&q=&f=false This way of talking about the climate system and its feedbacks is apparently more closely aligned with the control theory / system analysis way of talking about things (at least as far as I can judge from the comments of you control theory / system analysis people).

    It appears that both of you (and you are not alone) harbor the analytically unsupported notion that finite accumulation of energy, such as a capacitor acquiring a charge, or some step-wise process expressed by the sum of the binomial series, constitutes “feedback” in a system. This is simply a vague misappropriation of the term from rigorous system analysis.

    Well, in the common sense of the word, something like the water vapor feedback is called a feedback because the rise in temperature causes an increase in water vapor which feed back on the temperature, causing it to rise more. Not being familiar enough with system analysis lingo, I don’t know exactly how this compares, but it seems like a reasonable use of the term “feedback” from just a basic English language standpoint.

    But, if one hopes to analyze the climate system rigorously, using the well-developed mathematics of system analysis, then such changes and their consequences should not be confused with feedback.

    The problems are ones of translating terminology between different disciplines. They are not problems with the actual mathematical calculations themselves.

  151. Those familiar with analog computations using operational amplifiers will tend to compare these types of circuits with climate visualized as a great analog computer. This is misleading, as there is nothing in climate equivalent to an operational amplifier. A better electrical analog to climate would be a network of resistors, capacitors and inductors with the number of elements tending toward infinity and the values of each element varying in time. The only assurance we have of stability is the observation that we are here today in spite of all the disruptions in the climate record.

  152. There is one aspect of climate feedback caused by water vapor that I have not seen mentioned anywhere. This is the consideration of the relative contribution of the two most important greenhouse gases, namely water vapor and CO2. It seems intuitively obvious that the greatest impact of CO2 on the temperature is in the regions where it is the dominant GHG, namely in the polar regions and really dry deserts. Conversely, in the tropical regions, where vater vapor is dominant GHG, the effect of CO2 increase on the temperature would so small that would not be detectable. This presents a problem in postulating a water vapor caused positive feedback. In the regions where the CO2 caused temperature increase is the greatest – polar and desert regions – there is no water to evaporate. Conversely, in the tropical regions, where there is plenty of water vapor generated, the CO2 contribution is so small in relative terms that it would not be noticeable. There are the intermediate temperate regions where both water vapor generation and CO2 caused temperature increase co-exist, so such a simplified argument cannot be used, but the amount of water vapor created positive feedback is likely to be much smaller if the two most important regions – the regions responsible for the most water vapor generation, the tropical regions and regions experiencing the greatest temperature increase due to CO2 increase – are not contributing to it.

  153. Tom: Whether you are correct in where you believe each feedback will be the greatest (which I am not so sure you are), your whole analysis is predicated on the idea that the response to a feedback tends to be localized near where the forcing is. In fact, this is not generally the case. Rather, the predicted temperature response tends to depend only rather weakly on the distribution of the forcing. This is because of the processes that mix the air in the troposphere.

    Also, to the extent that such regional variations in forcing do matter, they should in principle be captured and simulated in the full climate models.

    By the way, you may be able to find some plots showing the distribution of the radiative forcing due to a change in CO2 over the planet. The book “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey shows a plot of the zonally-averaged forcing (and actually shows it generally higher in the lower latitude than the polar regions in some contradiction to what you hypothesize, although one would presumably have to see the full global data to distinguish deserts from tropical regions). The caption implies that the full global data is in principle available (i.e., it says this is from climate model data that has then been zonally average).

  154. Joel Shore I will address the pertinent points in Joel Shore (07:59:13)
    Joel Shore (07:59:13) : ..The basic point is that…

    The basic point is that there exist negative feedback mechanisms, quite apart from aerosols, that are fundamental to our climate system which keep our climate within certain temperature boundaries. Our temperatures are still well within these boundaries, despite efforts of some alarmists to fudge the data. This negative feedback mechanism the warmist alarmists strenuously try and deny as it goes against their apocalyptic hypothesis.

    There was a point I had raised initially if the model simulations point to a hotspot in the troposphere and to a warming of the surface and observations show both to be cooler then this points to negative feedback mechanisms (negative because it works opposite to the “forcing” – though convoluted Joel Shore may say negative is positive and quibble over terminology)

    Joel Shore “They don’t directly say that the tropospheric hotspot for the two will be indistinguishable but they certainly don’t say or imply that it won’t.”

    Oh really?

    What the IPCC says about GHGs is “Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in the troposphere,..“. Combine this statement with the GHG graph Figure 9.1 (c), which shows the temperature at 300 hPa as 0.4C warmer than the surface, which could be taken as a “hotspot” and the statement makes sense.

    What the IPCC says about solar is “Solar forcing .. (Figure 9.1a) ..in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere” Figure 9.1 (a) shows that temperature at 300 hPa as, at most, 0.2C warmer than the surface and far more diffused that the distinct GHG hotspot, which really looks like a “hotspot”, not unlike the red spot of Jupiter and unlike the solar “forcing”.

    The contrast between the GHG and solar “forcings” above is consistent with the IPCC statement “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings

    Joel Shore – You basically come up with the most convoluted interpretation of what the IPCC says as possible, ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. Maybe the IPCC could have been a little clearer but most people try to interpret statements in the way that seems most sensible; you simply do so in the way that suits you. I have noticed this trend in a lot of “skeptics”…

    No sir the above is the most straightforward interpretation of what the IPCC has said and it is you and other warmist alarmists like you who ignore evidence. Your interpretation is the most convoluted, in essence saying that what the IPCC clearly have said, they do not in fact say. And its funny but I have noticed this trend in a lot of warmist alarmists.

    The IPCC graphs and the RealClimate/ Gavin Schmidt graphs are not about the same things. The IPCC graphs show what is to be expected now, whereas the Gavin Schmidt graphs are when certain conditions are fulfilled (such as a doubling of CO2 – well into the future, or an increase of 2% in the Sun’s irradiance – which will happen god knows when, if ever).

    Convolution is in fact what RealClimate and Gavin Schmidt resort to in order to make the GHG and CO2 figures look similar.
    1. Maybe someone could check out his graphs from the source he has quoted to verify that they are in fact correct.
    2. He has assumed a doubling of CO2
    3. He has assumed a 2% increase in Solar “Forcing” .
    4. In order to attack the observation that the data does not match model simulations what does he attack? The possibility that the models maybe wrong? Heavens no! How could that possibly be? -Its the data of course. Thats wrong. Do you know what the uncertainty is in the data? How on Earth, with those uncertainties, can you question the certainty of the models?

  155. Joel,
    I think you are missing my point. I am not talking about localized feedback effects. I am merely pointing out that the source of postulated positive feedback – and you can take that either globally, or regionally – i.e. water evaporation due to increased CO2 driven temperature increase is not likely to take place at either of the two extremes, i.e the region of the greatest amount of water vapor generation, the tropics, or the greatest relative impact caused by CO2 which are the deserts and polar regions. I am not claiming that the temperate regions may not show some effect, but I am merely subjecting the theory of positive feedback caused by increased water evaporation caused in turn by CO2 driven temperature increase to a very simple sanity check. While I cannot say that the theory fails the sanity check totally, but it does not pass it either.

  156. What I really really need to recognize is that it is impossible to teach people who don’t want to learn. It is simply impossible. When a person’s whole world-view is dependent on thinking about things in a certain way, you can’t break them out of it.

  157. (My last vent applied to Richard’s post, not tom’s.)

    Tom, I think that you are missing the point. My point is (1) I don’t even think your estimate of where the CO2 forcing is the greatest is correct and (2) the warming that occurs in response to the CO2 forcing is not localized to where the CO2 forcing is. At the end of the day, what is most important is the radiative imbalance between the Earth’s emission and what it is absorbing from the sun. How that radiative balance is distributed in terms of the location of temperature rises involves more complex atmospheric dynamics. And, then it is those temperature rises that will lead to the water vapor feedback.

    Also, to the extent that it is true that, say, a lot of the warming occurs in the polar regions where it is dry, this should be reflected in climate models, so it is not like you are proposing some way in which the models have things wrong. (Or, at least you are not providing evidence that they have it wrong.) You may be right that if the models had more of the warming occurring in the tropical areas, the water vapor feedback would be even stronger. I’m not sure.

  158. Joel Shore (10:49:09):

    It’s not just a matter of terminology, but of something much more fundamental. The concepts and mathematical methods of system analysis, which indeed have their historical roots in electrical circuit analysis, have been successfully adapted and assimilated quite intact in wide variety of studies of both inaminate and animate real-world systems. The singularly peculiar exception is “climate science,” whose misguided use of system science terminology (and oversimplified equations) indicates a failure to grasp the basic concepts. This often leads to erudite-sounding, unscientific gobbledygook in explaining system behavior that cannot withstand analytic scutiny. Hartman’s equations and your hand-waving notions of endless chains in explaining “water-vapor feedback” are but two such examples of analytic cluelessness. Increases or decreases of global thermalization relative to the simplistic S-B formulation have nothing to do with feedback, in any scientific sense of the word.

    There is a universality to good science that “climate science” does not partake in. It will not advance far beyond its primitive stage in understanding the complexities of climate by standing far apart from the rigorously analytic mainstream.

  159. Re: John S. — (Q about Barkin)

    Barkin argues that conventionally-accepted (modeling) assumptions regarding the sphericity, concentricity, & uniformity (of physical properties) of Earth’s shells (core, mantle, hydrosphere, etc.) are overly-simplistic (i.e. they are [for some purposes] insufficient first-order approximations). He appears to be pioneering enhanced models of mutual gravitational interactions (based on relative non-spherical, eccentric mass-centre displacements) between shells and between shells & celestial bodies (sun, moon(s), & planets), with an aim of also accounting for heterogeneous & dynamic elasticity in interactions between shells. Barkin is thus providing a more realistic framework for conceptualizing the spatiotemporal patterns over which factors such as insolation, pressure, & wind integrate. For example, if one shell or some combination of shells shifts north (very slowly) over some decadal-timescale era, this coincides with a north-south asymmetry of pressure (& temperature) in other shells (as dynamic equilibrium adjusts), explaining (to some extent) roughly-see-sawing north-south temporal patterns. Barkin gives specific examples for Earth & other celestial bodies.

    Sidorenkov appears to have picked up on the significance of Barkin’s work.

    I still have a lot more work to do sifting-through, sorting, & summarizing dozens of Barkin papers, but my impression (at this stage) is that the following Barkin paper is considered seminal:

    Barkin Yu.V. (2002). An explanation of endogenous activity of planets and satellites and its cyclisity. Isvestia sekcii nauk o Zemle Rossiiskoi akademii ectestvennykh nauk. Vyp. 9, VINITI, pp. 45-97.

    If anyone knows of a free, publicly-available translation of this work, please let us know.

    Many of Barkin’s papers deal with the relative motions of solid & interior layers of Earth & other celestial bodies, but I’ve found some evidence that in recent years some of his attention has been devoted to the (terrestrial) hydrosphere & atmosphere (which are the shells Sidorenkov investigates). For example, he refers to the dynamics of 1998 as a “gallop”.

    When I have my notes & links more organized (in the weeks & months ahead), I hope to share more with WUWT readers.

  160. Joel Shore (16:19:48) :
    You may be right that if the models had more of the warming occurring in the tropical areas, the water vapor feedback would be even stronger. I’m not sure.
    ———-
    If I’m interpreting Tom’s comment correctly, your interpretation is 180 degrees off.

    It appears to me that Tom is saying that there is very little or zero anthropogenic CO2-mediated warming occurring in the tropical areas because there is so much water vapor there. The additional CO2 is not capable of additional forcing. Ergo, if there is no warming, there can be no local feedback, either positive or negative, so there is nothing new to incorporate into the “complex atmospheric dynamics” that existed pre-anthropogenic CO2.

    I think that passes the sanity check as evidenced by data from one site, at least, in the tropics, as shown:

    You said “How that radiative balance is distributed in terms of the location of temperature rises involves more complex atmospheric dynamics. And, then it is those temperature rises that will lead to the water vapor feedback.”

    It would follow from Tom’s argument then that any temperature rise and feedback in the tropics would be driven by “complex atmospheric dynamics” from the temperate zones to the tropics. I find that concept somewhat ridiculous on its face.

    I’m not suggesting that you said that, or think that, but if Tom is correct, then I for one think that you need a new explanation.

    Lastly, surely it is known mathematically what ppms 285 – 385 of CO2 can do in the face of typical water vapor concentrations in the tropics at local temperatures of 80 – 90 F ??

  161. White is black according to the convoluted warmist alarmists. If the IPCC says ““The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings” do they mean it? Certainly not!. How on Earth can you be so naive? That apparently is the most convoluted interpretation of what the IPCC says.

    This has to be interpreted by the High Priests of the AGW religion. Because, whereas the IPCC could have been “a little clearer”, there is no difference between the GHG Hotspot and the Solar “Hotspot”, despite the fact that the graphs show that the GHG hotspot is well defined over tropics and the solar is not and the GHG hotspot is at least 0.2C warmer than the solar “hotspot”. But this of course amounts to “no difference”.

    The IPCC further says ..the spatial response of surface temperature to solar
    forcing resembles that due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing ..Distinct features of the vertical structure of the responses in the atmosphere to different types of forcing further help to distinguish between the different sources of forcing.

    Then the IPCC goes on to say “The temporal evolution, and to some extent the spatial and vertical pattern, of the climate response to natural forcings is also quite different from that of anthropogenic forcing. This makes it possible to separate the climate response to solar and volcanic forcing from the response to anthropogenic forcing

    To the uninitiated the above might seem as if they are saying the the spatial and vertical pattern of the GHG hotspot is different to the Solar one but then again you would be horribly naive and foolish to assume so.

    Then the IPCC goes onto say in the same document “..a detection and attribution analysis using 13 models from the MMD at PCMDI (Stone et al., 2007a) and an analysis of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate System Model (CCSM1.4; Stone et al., 2007b)… the response to solar forcing in the model was inferred by fitting a series of EBMs to the mean coupled model response to the combined effects of anthropogenic and natural forcings. In addition, a combined analysis of the response at the surface and through the depth of the atmosphere using HadCM3 and the solar reconstruction of Lean et al. (1995) concluded that.. [in my opinion the conclusion was wrong but is in any case irrelevant to what follows]. This conclusion is also supported by the vertical pattern of climate change, which is more consistent with the response to greenhouse gas than to solar forcing (Figure 9.1)

    This again you might assume to be saying that the vertical pattern of change as given in Figure 9.1 between Solar and GHG forcings is different. If they were the same how could the responses be said to be more consistent with one rather than the other. But of course it is actually saying just the opposite.

    You have to learn this. And also recognize that it is impossible to teach people who don’t want to learn. It is simply impossible. So you gotta try.

  162. Richard says:

    ““The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings” do they mean it?

    Yes, they mean it. And, from the context in which that statement is imbedded it is clear that they are talking about the fact that the solar forcing warms both troposphere and stratosphere while the anthropogenic forcings warm only the troposphere and cool the stratosphere. Hence the statement, “Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere.”

    To believe your interpretation, one has to believe that a hotspot in the troposphere is incompatible with the description “warming extends throughout the atmosphere”, which makes no sense at all. The correct interpretation is that cooling of the stratosphere is what is incompatible with the description “warming extends throughout the atmosphere”.

    Because, whereas the IPCC could have been “a little clearer”, there is no difference between the GHG Hotspot and the Solar “Hotspot”, despite the fact that the graphs show that the GHG hotspot is well defined over tropics and the solar is not and the GHG hotspot is at least 0.2C warmer than the solar “hotspot”.

    The IPCC estimates that most of the warming that has occurred is due to GHGs, so the GHG response is larger than the solar response EVERYWHERE, i.e., at the surface, in the mid and upper troposphere, etc. What is important for looking at whether the pattern of warming is different is, however, the RELATIVE warming, e.g., by what factor does the mid-upper troposphere warm relative to the surface in the tropics. For GHGs, the graph shows 0.4-0.6 C warming at the tropical surface and 0.8-1.0 C further up in the troposphere…Hence, the amplification factor is somewhere around 2. For solar, the graph shows 0.0-0.2 C warming at the tropical surface and 0.2-0.4 C further up in the troposphere…Alas, this doesn’t tell us much about the amplification factor. It says it is at least 1 but is compatible with any number greater than that. If the surface actually warmed only 0.06 C and the mid- and upper-troposphere warmed 0.30 C, that would be an amplification factor of 5, which is much larger than is seen for GHGs, and such a scenario is compatible with the figure. (In reality, because Gavin has been kind enough to provide a contour plot that is better designed to distinguish the patterns of solar and GHGs, we know that the amplification factor is really about the same for GHGs and solar.)

    By the way, if this still confuses you, go to Fig. 9.1 and imagine that you replot the GHG panel but use a contour spacing of 0.6 C instead of 0.2 C. I think you can then see that the GHG panel will look very much like the solar one does now (except for the behavior in the stratosphere, of course). In other words, the reason for the apparent difference between the patterns in the troposphere is that the solar has a lower total magnitude of response and hence the contour intervals are such that the pattern is not well-resolved. This is what can make contour plots a little subtle. You can’t just look at the pretty picture. You have to look closely at the contour interval and think about what the picture means.

    To the uninitiated the above might seem as if they are saying the the spatial and vertical pattern of the GHG hotspot is different to the Solar one but then again you would be horribly naive and foolish to assume so.

    It says that they are different but that sentence alone does not say how they are different. When you read the previous discussion in the chapter and when you look at Fig. 9.1 and you are able to understand contour plots, you understand that the difference is in the stratospheric response.

    This again you might assume to be saying that the vertical pattern of change as given in Figure 9.1 between Solar and GHG forcings is different. If they were the same how could the responses be said to be more consistent with one rather than the other.

    They are not the same. The solar forcing shows warming throughout the atmosphere. The anthropogenic forcings (GHGs alone but even moreso in the case when combined with stratospheric ozone depletion) show a warming in the troposphere and a cooling in the stratosphere. The latter is also what the data show.

  163. John S. says:

    It’s not just a matter of terminology, but of something much more fundamental. The concepts and mathematical methods of system analysis, which indeed have their historical roots in electrical circuit analysis, have been successfully adapted and assimilated quite intact in wide variety of studies of both inaminate and animate real-world systems.

    So, can you give us a concrete example of how the terminology used in climate science…or the terminology or concepts from system analysis that they have not used…has led the climate scientists astray or has not allowed them to see something important?

  164. philincalifornia says:

    It appears to me that Tom is saying that there is very little or zero anthropogenic CO2-mediated warming occurring in the tropical areas because there is so much water vapor there. The additional CO2 is not capable of additional forcing.

    And, I am saying that I don’t think this statement about the forcing is correct. In fact, I pointed to a figure (unfortunately not available online as far as I know) that shows that in fact the calculated radiative forcing due to increasing CO2 is larger in the tropics than near the poles. (Since the forcing was latitudinally-averaged in the figure, I don’t know how the forcing compares in dry vs moist areas of the tropics though.)

    And in addition to this calculation, I think the logic for arguing that the CO2 is not capable of additional forcing is weak. For one thing, CO2 absorbs at some wavelengths where water vapor is not as major a player. For another, the issue for the greenhouse effect ends up being not whether the absorption is saturated near the surface where the atmosphere is dense but rather what happens high up in the atmosphere where it is much less dense.

    Ergo, if there is no warming, there can be no local feedback, either positive or negative, so there is nothing new to incorporate into the “complex atmospheric dynamics” that existed pre-anthropogenic CO2.

    Even if tom is correct on the distribution of the forcing, it simply does not follow that the pattern of warming in the atmosphere is proportional to the local forcing. The troposphere is a strongly coupled system. So, even if there is little forcing in the moist part of the tropics, it does NOT follow that there is little warming there and hence little water vapor feedback.

    I think that passes the sanity check as evidenced by data from one site, at least, in the tropics, as shown:

    http://img162.imageshack.us/img162/6073/timcurtintempandco2char.jpg

    It’s a huge mistake to use a graph from someone like Tim Curtin. First of all, one station does not represent the whole tropics. For another, Tim has not plotted the temperature but rather the change in temperature from one year to the next, so a graph of temperature that showed a steady linear rise (nonzero first derivative but zero second derivative) would be flat on Tim’s graph. For a graph of the temperature anomaly itself at Mauna Loa, see here: http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/09/first-krammed-then-curtained-one-of.html You will see that there is indeed an upward temperature trend. In fact, the trend is ~0.22 C/decade over 30 years, which is a bit larger than the global trend (although I am sure that there are large errorbars for such an individual station record).

    It would follow from Tom’s argument then that any temperature rise and feedback in the tropics would be driven by “complex atmospheric dynamics” from the temperate zones to the tropics. I find that concept somewhat ridiculous on its face.

    I don’t see why changes in the temperate zone would not tend to affect the flow of energy from the tropics into those zones. However, I also noted that the whole chain of reasoning is incorrect, starting with the assumption that the forcing is lower in the tropical zones.

    And, of course, this whole line of argument is basically mute unless you can show that the climate models are getting an aspect of this incorrect. I.e., even if it were true that the pattern of the warming means that there is less feedback from water vapor than if the pattern of the warming were different (which probably is true, in fact), what does it matter as long as the climate models are correctly estimating the pattern of the warming? I.e., if they show less warming in the tropics, then they will naturally have less water vapor feedback occurring there.

  165. “So, can you give us a concrete example of how the terminology used in climate science…or the terminology or concepts from system analysis that they have not used…has led the climate scientists astray or has not allowed them to see something important?”

    They dare not estimate error bars like a real scientist would because any error going into a re-iterative GCModel gives an output of pure error bar.
    Frankly to talk about a ‘Global Temperature Anomaly’ is simply farcical given the paucity of measuring stations and their uneven spread, and that is before considering the accuracy of their readings in the light of local effects. While on the subject the average of Tmin and Tmax for a day would be an extremely inaccurate approximation to an integrated average with 5 min sampling periods.
    These inaccuracies are all of the order of degrees and yet papers get peer-reviewed claiming ‘significant trends’ of tenths of a degree.
    It is polite to call climatology a science but I see none of the rigour, discipline and rational thinking that I’d require in a Science. Sadly those climatologists attempting to behave scientifically (ie. providing their raw data) are ostracized by the grant-hunters.

  166. Sandy: I am not sure what your post has to do with system analysis.

    At any rate, there are errorbar estimates given for the global temperature anomaly trend in the IPCC report. The errorbars can be smaller than the precision in each measurement because non-systematic errors will tend to average out. Furthermore, the reason that you don’t need that high a density of stations is that temperature anomalies tend to be correlated over a fairly large reason, which is why it is much better to use the anomalies than the absolute temperatures themselves. (See discussion here: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ )

  167. Joel Shore (06:51:50) : The GHG graph shows a distinct hotspot and the solar graph doesnt.

    The fact is all the models come up with what should be a hotspot over the tropics between 30 N and S and at a height of 10 km (figure 9.1 f ), which is not there.

    The IPCC admits that observations show more warming at the surface than in the troposphere in stark contrast to the models and says that a possible reason is an error or errors common to all models.

    I would tend to agree with this explanation and think that the simplest explanation would be feedback mechanisms that work against warming.

  168. Terms get used differently in different fields. I’ve meandered through 7 different fields and people have challenged me to a lot of unnecessary, pedantic discussions. Clear & careful communication is the work-around; people with different mother-tongues find a way. If someone wants to argue that one language should dominate all others on the grounds of universality, that is also a discussion I might evade in favor of more practical pursuits (particularly if all involved parties already appear to understand each other perfectly-well and disagree only on semantics).

    Thank you John S. for heightening my awareness of the ‘anomalous’ application of the term “feedback” in Climatology.

  169. Richard says:

    Joel Shore (06:51:50) : The GHG graph shows a distinct hotspot and the solar graph doesnt.

    You have no way of saying that the solar graph doesn’t. As I have explained, the contour lines are too widely spaced to resolve the structure of the warming for solar. Gavin’s plots show that in fact both mechanisms lead to the same structure of warming in the troposphere.

    The fact is all the models come up with what should be a hotspot over the tropics between 30 N and S and at a height of 10 km (figure 9.1 f ), which is not there.

    This first fact is true but independent of the mechanism causing the warming. Also, for both the models and the data, there are errorbars…and for the data in particular, there are some important systematic errors due to artifacts that can affect the measurement of the long-term trend.

    Furthermore, the amplification of fluctuations that occur on monthly to yearly timescales as one goes up in the tropical troposphere is in fact seen in the data. Hence, the basic mechanism that produces this does appear to be operating on this timescale. It is difficult to understand how it could be operating on such timescales but not on the longer timescales (since the convective mechanisms that are important in determining the vertical structure in the troposphere operate on timescales of hours to days). This, combined with the known problems with the data for trends on multidecadal timescales is why both the IPCC and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Report concluded that data errors are the most likely explanation for any remaining discrepancy.

    The IPCC admits that observations show more warming at the surface than in the troposphere in stark contrast to the models and says that a possible reason is an error or errors common to all models.

    Actually, what exactly the data predicts depends on which analysis of the satellite data or which radiosonde analysis or re-analysis you believe. And, yes, it is possible that it can be due to some error in the models, although the U.S. CCSP concluded that this was less likely than residual errors in the data and for good reasons, as I discussed above.

    It is also worth reviewing the history of this field. When the satellite data was first analyzed by Spencer and Christy, it showed cooling globally and this was used as evidence that the surface record was wrong and we were not warming at all. Then, the combination of a longer record and the elimination of errors changed it to warming…but still less warming than at the surface. Then, a still longer record and the elimination of more errors plus the independent analysis by RSS turned it into as much warming as at the surface, at least to within errorbars. The only possible significant left at this point is the trend in the tropics only.

    I would tend to agree with this explanation and think that the simplest explanation would be feedback mechanisms that work against warming.

    Great. So, explain to me this:

    (1) What mechanism do you propose that would have the models and data agree with tropical tropospheric amplification for fluctuations on monthly to yearly-timescales but not for the multidecadal trends?

    (2) Given that the most direct effect of there being no “hotspot” is that the models have a negative feedback, the lapse rate feedback, that is not justified if no hotspot exists, why do you think the lack of a hotspot means the feedbacks are more strongly-negative?

    (3) In an indirect way, the lack of “hotspot” could be indicative that processes involving the transport of water into the upper troposphere, and hence the water vapor feedback, might not be operating as expected. However, more direct data from the satellites regarding the water vapor feedback show the upper troposphere moistening as predicted. Why would you choose to not believe this data?

  170. Joel Shore (6:56:48):

    A clear example of misguided sysytem reasoning is provided by the imputed “positive water-vapor feedback.” For water vapor to enter the atmosphere, evaporation has to take place to begin with, which is invariably a cooling process that correspondingly reduces the surface LW radiation. Once in the atmosphere the vapor does increase the thermal capcitance (though not necessarily the content) of the atmosphere. But it cannot lead to an endless chain of increases, simply because vapor content is physically limited by saturation. And cloud formation invariably reduces the effective insolation, while blocking the return path to the surface for any inceases in atmospheric LW radiation due to the release of latent heat during condensation aloft. Ultimately, precipitation returns the condensation to the surface as cool rain or snow. This, the common hydrological cycle viewed in its entirety, is far from the myopic cry of “tipping points” and “runaway greenhouse.”

    For those who might be more familiar with differential equations than with the formal methods of system analysis, an elementary example suffices to illustrate an important point about genuine feedback systems. Let the system be an ideal integrator responding to a forcing signal f(t). It’s output Q(t) then is governed by

    dQ(t)/dt = af(t) +bQ(t)

    where a is some characteristic response constant and b is the feedback gain. It is readily shown that, for any bounded forcing, the output is bounded only if b is negative. That’s the reason DE texts treat only that case. Positive-feedback control systems are man-made and invariably incorporate artificial limiters. Such systems are nowhere to be found in nature, which operates by its own design.

    I hope this puts to rest the present debate, to which I cannot devote more time.

  171. John, excellent post. The water cycle must be too simple for highly educated scientists who have a biased point of some kind to prove.

  172. Paul Vaughn (17:56:11):

    Thank you for the precis of Barkin’s work. I must confess that its relationship to analysis of climate variations escapes me at the moment, unless you’re thinking of n-order effects of geomagnetism upon the solar wind etc.

    I’m also acquainted with different jargon in different disciplines. The deliberate reliance of AGWers upon the inapplicable runaway instability of positive feedback, however, goes well beyond the scientific pale. It reminds me of the Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” who claimed that “words mean what I want them to mean.”

  173. Pamela Gray:

    In their singular preoccupation with the radiative effects trace gases, they don’t seem to want to understand the life-history and the multiple true effects of the major greenhouse gas. Earth is not a black body.

  174. John S.: I don’t think the problem is the scientists lack of understanding of some aspects of system theory but is instead your lack of understanding of some aspects of climate science.

    A clear example of misguided sysytem reasoning is provided by the imputed “positive water-vapor feedback.” For water vapor to enter the atmosphere, evaporation has to take place to begin with, which is invariably a cooling process that correspondingly reduces the surface LW radiation.

    True, although this is really just a transfer of energy from the surface to further up in the troposphere where the water condenses and releases latent heat. At the end of the day, what matters is how much energy is transferred out of the earth-atmosphere system into space and this can only happen by radiation. That said, the fact that the mid- and upper-troposphere is expected to warm more than the surface does introduce a negative feedback called the “lapse rate feedback” (because to restore radiative balance, what is important is the rise in temperature in the upper troposphere and because that area is expected to warm more than the surface, the surface doesn’t have to warm as much as the upper troposphere in order to restore radiative balance). This negative feedback is included in all of the climate models…and, in fact, because much of the same convective physics controls it and the water vapor feedback, the sum of these two feedbacks tends to vary less from model to model than the strength of each of these feedbacks individually.

    Once in the atmosphere the vapor does increase the thermal capcitance (though not necessarily the content) of the atmosphere. But it cannot lead to an endless chain of increases, simply because vapor content is physically limited by saturation.

    I’m confused. In what way do you think that the scientists don’t recognize the limits imposed by saturation? They understand this very well.

    And cloud formation invariably reduces the effective insolation, while blocking the return path to the surface for any inceases in atmospheric LW radiation due to the release of latent heat during condensation aloft.

    Now you are getting into the cloud feedback issue, which is quite complex. As both the amount of water vapor increases and the temperature (and hence the saturation vapor pressure) increases, it is not entirely clear from first principles what clouds will do. You are correct that increases in clouds tend to reduce insolation although they also reduce the transfer of of infrared radiation to space. (I suppose that they might block some of the infrared radiation coming at them from above as you suggest, although there will be less of this because of the decrease in temperature with height.) In general, low clouds block more energy from the sun than they reduce infrared radiation from leaving the earth whereas high clouds block less energy from the sun than the amount by which they decrease infrared radiation leaving the earth.

    Ultimately, precipitation returns the condensation to the surface as cool rain or snow. This, the common hydrological cycle viewed in its entirety, is far from the myopic cry of “tipping points” and “runaway greenhouse.”

    I don’t actually hear very many cries of “runaway greenhouse”. It can occur in theory (with Venus as a likely example) but in practice it is not the regime we are likely to be in. Tipping points are a different story and involve issues of nonlinear dynamics and hysteresis. For example, the process of building up land ice sheets and breaking apart land ice sheets is not reversible because the ice sheets don’t just decrease by melting but can break up and disintegrate or slide into the sea. There are also possible tipping points involving ocean currents and the release of stores of carbon into the atmosphere (e.g., due to melting permafrost).

    Positive-feedback control systems are man-made and invariably incorporate artificial limiters. Such systems are nowhere to be found in nature, which operates by its own design.

    I don’t think this is really correct. There are in fact lots of cases in nature of positive feedbacks that lead to instabilities. Pretty much whenever you see an interesting pattern such as a snowflake, sand dunes, a “washboard” effect on a dirt road, or the stripes on a zebra, what you are seeing is the result of a linear instability leading to pattern formation. (Of course, nonlinear terms come in and eventually restabilize the system so it doesn’t run off forever. Even Venus did not rise to infinite temperature!) Here is a rather famous review article on the subject within the field of crystal growth from the physics literature, circa 1980: http://prola.aps.org/abstract/RMP/v52/i1/p1_1

    Anyway, this is pretty much irrelevant for the question of current climate change because we are not talking about instabilities. As I noted, in what is apparently the system theory lingo, the net feedbacks in the climate system are expected to be negative when the radiative feedback described by the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation is included in the sum of feedbacks (and, indeed, it is very much a feedback on the original radiative perturbation). However, the net feedbacks excluding the radiative feedback due to the S-B Equation can be positive, which means that the temperature change due to a change in CO2 can be larger than that predicted solely by applying the S-B Equation to the radiative effect of the change in CO2 alone.

    I hope this puts to rest the present debate, to which I cannot devote more time.

    In fact, I don’t think you have shown any evidence that climate scientists do not understand their system because they don’t understand system theory.

  175. ” it is not entirely clear from first principles what clouds will do”
    It is entirely clear when you look at ITCZ Cu-Nims and consider the vertical wind-speeds within them.
    Evaporation removes heat from the surface of the water very effectively due to the latent heat of vaporization, this damp air is flung 15 miles upward where it reflects incoming radiation as it radiates away its extra heat. While the reflection of incoming heat stops at sundown surface evaporation and stratospheric radiation continue into the night.
    Thus logic and observation of those living in the tropics confirm that Cu-Nims have an important cooling effect, and hence strong negative feedback. That this is an inconvenient truth to alarmists, like the MWP, does not entitle it to be ignored for their convenience.

    “In fact, I don’t think you have shown any evidence that climate scientists do not understand their system because they don’t understand system theory.”
    The evidence that the modellers have no idea is in the fact that their predictions fail. That they cannot model the effects of Cu-Nims so they ignore them shows they don’t actually take science seriously.
    I don’t understand how anyone claiming to be a scientist can support these charlatans.

  176. Sandy says:

    Evaporation removes heat from the surface of the water very effectively due to the latent heat of vaporization, this damp air is flung 15 miles upward where it reflects incoming radiation as it radiates away its extra heat. While the reflection of incoming heat stops at sundown surface evaporation and stratospheric radiation continue into the night.
    Thus logic and observation of those living in the tropics confirm that Cu-Nims have an important cooling effect, and hence strong negative feedback. That this is an inconvenient truth to alarmists, like the MWP, does not entitle it to be ignored for their convenience.

    From “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey (2000):

    The greater warming of the upper troposphere at low latitudes is a consequence of the increase in latent heating by the condensation of water vapour, which in turn is a result of an increase in the upward pumping of water vapor by cumulus convection…Different AGCMs differ substantially in the extent to which cumulus pumping increases as the climate warms, depending on how cumulus convection is parametrized (Cunnington and Mitchell, 1990).

    The increase in warming with increasing height in the tropics has two, and possibly three, important consequences. First, it represents a decrease in the lapse rate, which serves as a negative feedback on surface temperature warming…

    So, while I commend you guys for your intuition on this, it is always good to be sure that you are not re-inventing the wheel. These effects are understood and are included in the models. While there may be some technical arguments to be made about how well they are parametrized, to claim that they are not included is simply incorrect. (Note also that since the parametrization of this convection tends to influence both the positive water vapor feedback and the negative lapse rate feedback in the same way, the differences that the models with the different parametrizations have in the individual feedbacks tends to be larger than the differences in the sum of the feedbacks, since models with a larger positive water vapor feedback also tend to have a larger negative lapse rate feedback and vice versa.)

  177. By the way, the irony in all this, as I have noted before, is that those people who are arguing that “the hot spot doesn’t exist” in the tropical troposphere are essentially arguing against the negative lapse rate feedback that Sandy was describing.

  178. Joel Shore (13:54:33):

    Nothing you present is news to me. It might be news, however, to nature itself. In a nutshell, “climate scientists” confuse the a-term with the b-term in the demo DE I presented, thereby jacking up the response effects of what are really minor changes in the a-term. The treatment of cloud effects in GCMs is far from realistic, as field measurements amply show. Don’t have time for a treatise. Cheers!

  179. Joel Shore (07:13:11) :
    Richard says: “The fact is all the models come up with what should be a hotspot over the tropics between 30 N and S and at a height of 10 km (figure 9.1 f ), which is not there.
    The IPCC admits that observations show more warming at the surface than in the troposphere in stark contrast to the models and says that a possible reason is an error or errors common to all models.
    I would tend to agree with this explanation and think that the simplest explanation would be feedback mechanisms that work against warming”.

    ..So, explain to me this:

    .. Given that the most direct effect of there being no “hotspot” is that the models have a negative feedback, the lapse rate feedback, that is not justified if no hotspot exists, why do you think the lack of a hotspot means the feedbacks are more strongly-negative?

    Joel Shore I am an engineer, not a climate scientist, I cant be bothered trying to explain why exactly the hot spot is not there. I am pointing out that the models show it and the observations show it is not there. The theory says it should be. The theory is wrong here and in many places. There are more things in the atmosphere and on earth than are thought up by you or the IPCC. That is what I am trying to get you to understand.

    The lapse rate is not the only negative feedback one can think of. If warming causes more water vapour, it is conceivable that more water vapour can cause more clouds. More low clouds can be a negative feedback. There are somethings that keep our climate stable within certain bounds and it fluctuates naturally between those limits. So far we are within those limits.

    Find out the facts and then theorise why this is so. Do not try and fit the facts into the hypothesis.

    CO2 may cause a slight additional warming to any natural warming taking place. But CO2 is not a driver of our climate, just an impotent follower of the natural processes. It has consistently failed to stop the earth cooling when it has cooled repeatedly during the ice ages and the cool periods in between, like the little ice age.

    Why cant you understand these simple things?

  180. Richard says:

    Joel Shore I am an engineer, not a climate scientist, I cant be bothered trying to explain why exactly the hot spot is not there. I am pointing out that the models show it and the observations show it is not there. The theory says it should be. The theory is wrong here and in many places.

    If you are expecting there to never be any puzzles or disagreement between theory and data then you are asking way too much because no theory and no observational data set are ever without their problems. The fact is that historically there was initially major disagreement between the satellite data and the models and over time, both as errors in the data were found and the data set became larger, the disagreements essentially all disappeared…resolved in favor of the models.

    The only one that still possibly remains is the “hotspot” (tropical tropospheric amplification) in the tropics and even here it is not clear if the disagreement is statistically significant once the spread in the models and the errors, including possible systematic errors, in at least some of the observational satellite and radiosonde data sets are accounted for. And, as I have noted, the fact that the tropical tropospheric amplification clearly does occur for the temperature fluctuations on the order of several months to a few years time scale considerably limits the possibilities for how the models could be incorrect. In fact, I have yet to hear of a coherent conjecture of what could be wrong that could be fixed so as not to mess up the agreement with models at those timescales while curing the supposed problem at the multidecadal timescales.

    it is conceivable that more water vapour can cause more clouds. More low clouds can be a negative feedback. There are somethings that keep our climate stable within certain bounds and it fluctuates naturally between those limits. So far we are within those limits.

    Well, many things are “conceivable”. But, there has been no convincing evidence for such a feedback. And, contrary to your claims, those people who study paleoclimate do not conclude that the climate is too stable relative to what the models suggest but rather, if anything, somewhat the opposite: “that the climate system is very sensitive to small perturbations and that the climate sensitivity may be even higher than suggested by models” ( http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5697/821 )

    Over the timescales of hundreds of millions of years to billions of years, there may be some need to explain why our climate has remained within certain bounds (e.g., the Faint Young Sun Paradox http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_young_Sun_paradox ). However, on these timescales there are likely to be geochemical feedbacks involving greenhouse gases that can explain this…and in fact are likely needed to explain how the earth recovered from a snowball or slushball earth scenario ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_earth ).

    Find out the facts and then theorise why this is so. Do not try and fit the facts into the hypothesis.

    Our current understanding of climate and the role of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in affecting it did not come about because of some massive collusion of scientists. It came about because it best explains the facts and data…and, in fact, despite the fact that there was a lot of resistance to various aspects of it for quite some time. (For example, there were questions about whether the CO2 from burning fossil fuels would actually accumulate in the atmosphere and questions regarding how increases in CO2 would translate into increases in radiative forcing.) The theory had to win over many skeptics, in the true sense of the word over the last century or so…and, unfortunately, many of the arguments today made against it relate to scientific issues that were settled decades ago.

    Why cant you understand these simple things?

    Perhaps for the same reason that most scientists in the field can’t – because most of the available evidence does not support them.

  181. Joel Shore (18:41:56) : no theory and no observational data set are ever without their problems.

    The AGW has much more than its fair share of its “problems” to be classed as a theory and hence cannot be looked upon as the gospel truth – in fact far from it.

    Joel Shore: The only one that still possibly remains is the “hotspot” (tropical tropospheric amplification) in the tropics

    Thats not the only one that “possibly remains. Others are Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviewed studies predicting a continued lack of warming; a failed attempt to revive the discredited “Hockey Stick”; inconvenient developments and studies regarding rising CO2; the Sun; Clouds; Antarctica; the Arctic; Greenland’s ice; Mount Kilimanjaro; Causes of Hurricanes; Extreme Storms; Extinctions; Floods; Droughts; Ocean Acidification; Polar Bears; Extreme weather deaths; Frogs; lack of atmospheric dust; Malaria; the failure of oceans to warm and rise as predicted and many others.

    Joel Shore: Over the timescales of hundreds of millions of years to billions of years, there may be some need to explain why our climate has remained within certain bounds

    I am not talking about Hundreds of millions or billions of years but just ,10,000 years of our present Holocene interglacial. Our present warming is nothing unusual withing this period and some so called “scientists” have attempted fraudulently to concoct evidence to refute this which makes the AGW hypothesis all the more suspect.

    The Holocene Climatic Optimum (wonder why it was called optimum? which means the best or most favourable), which lasted for 4,000 years the temperatures were upto 4 C warmer near the North Pole, 6 to 9 C warmer in northern central Siberia. The Medieval Warm period was upto 1.2C warmer than today.

    So not only only are we less warm today than we have been naturally in the past, but these much warmer temperatures caused the Earth no catastrophe. Today we are jumping up and down because it is alleged, by a highly suspect hypothesis, that the Earth might warm by 3C.

    Joel Shore: Richard: “Why cant you understand these simple things?”
    Perhaps for the same reason that most scientists in the field can’t – because most of the available evidence does not support them.

    That is not true the evidence does not support the AGW hypothesis and we do not know what most scientists think about this matter.

    The hypothesis needs to explain these past warming and subsequent cooling events first before it can have any credibility about its future predictions.

    And the perpetrators of this fraud need to be held to account.

    Bernie Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years for defrauding investors of $18 billion. The perpetrators of this fraud have defrauded the public of much more.

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