Spencer on his AGU presentation yesterday

Little Feedback on Climate Feedbacks in the City by the Bay

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) here in San Francisco this week is amazing for it’s sheer size: many thousands of Earth scientists presenting talks and posters on just about every Earth science subject imaginable.

Today was my chance (PDF of presentation) to try to convince other scientists who work on the critical issue of feedbacks in the climate system that some fundamental mistakes have been made that have misled climate researchers into believing that the climate system is quite sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions. A tough sell in only 14 minutes.

It was standing room only…close to 300 scientists by my estimate. There were only a couple of objections to my presentation…rather weak ones. Afterward I had a number of people comment favorably about the ‘different’ way I was looking at the problem.

And while that should be comforting, it is also disturbing. Since when in science did the issue of ‘causation’ become a foreign concept? When did the direction of causation between two correlated variables (in my case, clouds and temperature) become no longer important?

If temperature and clouds vary together in ‘sort of’ the same way in satellite observations as they do in climate models, then the models are considered to be ‘validated’. But my message, which might not have come across as clearly as it should have due to time constraints, was that such agreement does NOT validate the models when it comes to feedback, and feedbacks are what will determine how much of an impact humans have on the climate system.

Andrew Lacis, who works climate modeling with Jim Hansen, came up and said he agreed with me that, in general, the feedback problem is more difficult than people have been assuming. In a talk after mine, Graeme Stephens gave me a backhanded compliment when he agreed with at least my basic message that the way in which we assume the climate system functions (in my terms, what-causes-what to happen) IS important to how we then deduce how sensitive the climate is to such things as our carbon dioxide emissions.

The three organizers of the session were very gracious to invite me, since they knew my views are controversial. One of the three was Andrew Dessler, who works in water vapor feedback. I had never met Andy before, and he’s a super nice guy. They all agreed that there needs to be more debate on the subject.

But most of the talks presented followed the recipe that has become all too common in recent years: analyze the output of climate models that predict substantial global warming, and simply assume the models are somewhere near correct.

There seems to be great reluctance to consider the possibility that these computerized prophets of doom, which have required so many scientists and so much money and so many years to develop, could be wrong. I come along with an extremely simple climate model that explains the behavior of the satellite data in details that are beyond even what has been done with the complex climate models…and then the more complex models are STILL believed because…well…they’re more complex.

Besides, since my simple model would predict very little manmade global warming, it must be wrong. After all, we know that manmade global warming is a huge problem. All of the experts agree on that. Just ask Al Gore and the mainstream news media.

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163 Responses to Spencer on his AGU presentation yesterday

  1. Henry chance says:

    Great post. It alludes to the experimental bias greenie weenies load into their models and “experiments”

  2. Baike says:

    This whole thing must be extremely frustrating for you skeptical scientists (sad that I have to make that distinction). Heads high, guys. Some of us really appreciate all you are doing. There will be vindication somewhere down the line.

  3. Dan Lee says:

    >…Just ask Al Gore and the mainstream news media.

    Most of us would prefer to ask people like you. Thanks Dr. Spencer.

  4. JER0ME says:

    It was standing room only…close to 300 scientists by my estimate. There were only a couple of objections to my presentation…rather weak ones. Afterward I had a number of people comment favorably about the ‘different’ way I was looking at the problem.

    And while that should be comforting, it is also disturbing. Since when in science did the issue of ‘causation’ become a foreign concept? When did the direction of causation between two correlated variables (in my case, clouds and temperature) become no longer important?

    If temperature and clouds vary together in ‘sort of’ the same way in satellite observations as they do in climate models, then the models are considered to be ‘validated’. But my message, which might not have come across as clearly as it should have due to time constraints, was that such agreement does NOT validate the models when it comes to feedback, and feedbacks are what will determine how much of an impact humans have on the climate system.

    I for one would be extremely happy if the debate were to continue along these lines. Even if we discover CO2 is a dangerous driver of climat, and we need to curb emissions, I would still be happy (at least content, not happy as such).

    May dialogues such as this prosper and draw both fruit and other real scientists into the light once more.

  5. Edbhoy says:

    At least you were invited to give a presentation. My one reason for optimism at the moment is the fact that the AGW proponents are increasingly having to admit that the science is not “settled”. Climategate has provided us with an opportunity to force the mainstream to revisit the basic thesis of AGW at every level from feedback mechanisms in climate models to temperature reconstructions from tree rings.

  6. Allan M says:

    “I come along with an extremely simple climate model that explains the behavior of the satellite data in details that are beyond even what has been done with the complex climate models…”

    Which is how it usually is. There’s nothing like a mass of complexity to hide the fact that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  7. Nice, Roy. At chemistry meetings, it’s pretty much the same– 20 minutes to get your information across. It’s about the minimum time any scientist has to make a concrete point. Sorry your was cut short by “protests”, which cut into your time.

  8. NK says:

    Dr. Spencer–

    Many thanks for posting here. THIS is real science, because it is assembling feedback data first and then going about deducing the right hypothesis from the data. The AGW movement has been doing the opposite for over 20 years.
    It is, as you say disturbing, that your work is controversial. Your work is sound science, and frankly sound logic. It’s what all scientists should be doing. Your work is controversial because by challenging AGW orthodoxy, you put their funding at risk. The AGW movement is driven by carbon trading schemers and ‘Gaia’ kooks. The scientists are along for the ride because of the grant funding the money changers line up for them. That’s how AGW rolls. So wrong.

  9. Wayne Richards says:

    As to science, I am no more than a fascinated voyeur. My stronger points are logic and history, which I taught at the college level.
    As a logician, it bothers me that we do not ask Question #1: would warming be bad?
    As an historian, I know the answer: the warming periods our race has experienced have been joyous, positive, halcyon days for humanity.
    Harumph!

  10. thethinkingman says:

    Bullshit baffles brains.

    This is nice and simple and very clear unlike the AGWarriors.

    Now when will charges be laid against Jones, Mann et al?

  11. Third Party says:

    Did Ben punch anybody yet?

  12. John Wright says:

    “There seems to be great reluctance to consider the possibility that these computerized prophets of doom, which have required so many scientists and so much money and so many years to develop, could be wrong. I come along with an extremely simple climate model that explains the behavior of the satellite data in details that are beyond even what has been done with the complex climate models…and then the more complex models are STILL believed because…well…they’re more complex.”

    There is a French saying that goes: “Pourquoi faire simple quand on peut faire compliqué? (Why do simple when you can do complicated?)

  13. TQS says:

    For those looking for more details on the content of Dr Spencer’s presentation:

    This appears to be a draft/background from his blog:

    Can Global Warming Predictions be Tested with Observations of the Real Climate System?
    December 6th, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/12/can-global-warming-predictions-be-tested-with-observations-of-the-real-climate-system/

  14. Tom FP says:

    Seems that at Al Gore and Goldman Sachs’ Chicago Carbon Exchange, you can buy carbon credits for 10USC/MT, down from a dollar in June. That is they have lost 90% of their nominal value.

    http://www.chicagoclimatex.com/

    Next time you meet a warmist, ask them if they have any “green” investments. If they say yes, point out politely that their interest may be colouring their view.

    If they say no, ask them why not? After all, at 10c they can hardly fall much further. Hell I might buy myself a coupla hundred Mt just for the hell of it.

  15. samhopkinson says:

    I can’t help feeling that you might as well have stood before a flock of Archbishops, who were discussing the 7 days of creation, stating that there is evidence that the earth is actually several billion years old – and giving evidence to support your idea. The religious elite smile and nod, and say encouraging words.. “interesting way of seeing things, young man…” before moving on to discuss whether The Almighty drank coffee or iced tea during work breaks.

  16. Tom says:

    Spencer should consider writing another post to explain this a bit more. It seems as if the role of clouds is a key to the question of how much CO2 matters, and I get the sense that Spencer has a different way of thinking about this, but I honestly found the PDF to be incomprehensible.

  17. I think it is important when he said, “I’m trying to spread the word: Let’s go back to basics and look at what we can and cannot do with measurements of the real climate system to validate both climate models and their predictions”. Now if even that could be achieved it would be a breakthrough. It is sad that it would constitute a breakthrough – imagine that, examine measurements with a view to validation of models and predictions. Who’d of thunk.

    Well done Roy.

  18. dearieme says:

    “..and then the more complex models are STILL believed because…well…they’re more complex.” Spot on: I spent too many hours of my career listening to talks on mathematical models by twerps who, when asked why their work should be viewed as being superior to what had gone before, would say it was because their models were more “sophisticated”. Partly, I suspect, this just reflects a typical character defect of the sort of p[eople who get absorbed by mathematical modelling, but partly it was a lack of good judgement caused by their narrow experience – typically they did no experimental work.

  19. boballab says:

    @Tom

    Here is a link to the what Dr. Spencer was presenting at the meeting in SF. This is very easy to read and understand, especially when you see the satellite graphs where it clearly shows the loopback from cooling.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/satellite-and-climate-model-evidence/

  20. James W says:

    Great read Dr. Spencer……What happened to the KISS method? It would seem that the more complicated you make something the bigger the chance that there will be an error or break down with in it. If it is to complicated then one runs the risk of not being able to find it especially if you are not well versed in modeling or computer programing as shown in the e-mail leaks. But if you need to hide something with in the model or program then complicated is the way to go. I have read your blog many times Dr. thank you for being a voice with fresh ideas even if they are considered ” controversial”.

  21. Tom FP says:

    Wayne Richards, you ask a good question, but perhaps in logic the question “what is the correct temperature of the earth, and why?” would have priority?

    Also, am I right in logic in asserting that the simplest explanation for the continued existence, after however many billion years, of the biosphere, is that the globe does NOT contain a mechanism for runaway catastrophic climate change? As one always has to point out to warmists, that does not DISprove AGW, but it places the onus on them to make their case, not on the sceptics to refute it.

  22. photon without a Higgs says:

    Since when in science did the issue of ‘causation’ become a foreign concept?

    Scientists are people too. They believe what the tv and Hollywood tells them.

  23. Chris Rowan says:

    If the earth is “sick” and climate scientists are the the diagnosticians, then you’d think they would greet less alarming diagnoses with relief, not scorn. The patient may not be dying, after all. It’s certainly worth investigating. But the clergy of climate science are not interested in accurate diagnoses. Not anymore. They stopped being scientists a long time ago. They are planetary saviors now. Like the Blues Brothers, they are on a mission from God. Ends justify means, and the issue of anthropogenic global warming is not the issue. The issue is CONTROL. The issue is CONTROL. The issue is CONTROL.

  24. Frank K. says:

    “But most of the talks presented followed the recipe that has become all too common in recent years: analyze the output of climate models that predict substantial global warming, and simply assume the models are somewhere near correct.”

    I’ve been working in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for over 20 years, and this recipe is used in our discipline as well. That is, run a flat plate boundary layer with your CFD code, show how great the agreement is with experiment, then run your code on a full jet aircraft aerodynamics simulation and assume your results are equally as accurate! However, nature and non-linearity have a funny way of humbling you…

    Since I know how difficult even some very basic fluid dynamics problems are to solve with standard Navier-Stokes solvers, I am amazed that people doing climate modeling ascribe so much validity to their models given that the problem they’re attempting to solve is 10 times more complex – particularly when it comes to predictions (or projections) that are supposed to represent the state of the climate 50 years from now. There is no way, in my mind, that those solutions can remain uncorrupted by numerical error given they utilize essentially the same time-marching approaches as used for numerical weather forecasting. And I’m convinced it takes a lot of tuning to even get the hindcasts right.

    Then, of course, there is the issue of code documentation and validation, which (in my opinion) groups like NASA GISS do very poorly, lending little confidence in their results…

  25. Dave UK says:

    Our supreme leader Gordon Brown PM leading the world.

  26. polistra says:

    “And while that should be comforting, it is also disturbing. Since when in science did the issue of ‘causation’ become a foreign concept? When did the direction of causation between two correlated variables (in my case, clouds and temperature) become no longer important?”

    And equally important, when did negative feedback become incomprehensible? Any time you have a system that remains nearly stable over long periods of time despite all sorts of inputs, you KNOW you’ve got multiple negative feedback loops. Before the digital age, this was both obvious and familiar to everyone. Now it’s a foreign and radical idea.

  27. edward says:

    Frank K.
    If you go to the Nasa GISS website the code for their Climate model is completely documented and accessible. I did not believe it was there myself until I found a link at Realclimate. I cannot even begin to understand the code, how it operates or if it operates properly, but I have not seen anyone indict the NASA GISS GCM models as lacking documentation or transparency.

    I’m interested to hear if someone can demonstrate otherwise.
    Shiny
    Ed

  28. lichanos says:

    Very interesting post. I have felt for a long while that the transformation of the study of climate into the study of climate models (as it was described more than twenty years ago in a nice book, Ice Time, by Tom Levenson) is a degradation of the scientific method. You have fingered that problem very well in your post.

    A preoccupation with computer models tips the balance in the competition between the technicians of science and the thinkers in favor of the technicians. This tension always exists, it’s part of science’s history, but it is mostly the thinkers who advance things because science is, after all, about ideas. The computer give technicians super-credibility in our “digital age,” but they don’t deserve it. I’ve posted on this general topic: http://iamyouasheisme.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/those-climate-models/

    I share the astonishment of Frank K. (06:08:03) at the authority granted these models. I too have worked for years with computer simulations (mostly hydrologic), and it was my surprise at the confidence with which people announced results of dubious precision at GISS meetings that got me started on my questions.

  29. Kath says:

    I’m not sure any of this makes a difference. The climate issue seems to be under tight political control and any scientific evidence that is contrary to that view will likely be ignored.

    In the Telegraph, today, Secretary of State Clinton apparently declared that:
    “the science for climate change is now “undeniable” and the world must agree a deal in the next 48 hours.”

    “she said the US would be willing to pay into a global fund of $100 billion (£60bn) per year by 2020 to help the “most vulnerable” adapt to floods and droughts”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6832656/Copenhagen-climate-conference-Hillary-Clinton-backs-idea-for-100bn-global-fund.html

  30. Jack Green says:

    Thank you for being a normal scientist. This is exactly what should take place. A breath of fresh air is contagious.

  31. Jim Clarke says:

    Glad to here that Andrew Dressler is “a super nice guy”. I recall his blogs from a few years ago often had the same tone and quality of some of the crutape letters. In other words, he was sarcastic and dismissive of anyone suggesting that increasing CO2 was not a dire emergency.

    It may well be that he is becoming more open minded, but if I were you, Dr. Spencer, I would watch your back…just in case.

  32. Doug in Seattle says:

    Models are used in my field. Like climate models they are tuned to existing conditions and then run off into the future to gain insight into “what if”.

    Very few policy makers understand what a model does or how it works internally, and a clever modeler can easily hide an agenda within the model code, fudge factors or assumptions.

    While these models don’t have trillions of dollars resting on their output, policy makers often make important decisions based on their results. All too often when shown that a simple approach to the problem addressed by the models provides a quite different (and often less costly) approach, the policy makers will defer to model simply because it is complex. Their reasoning being that the complexity allows for a more thorough analysis.

    Dr. Spencer’s simpler model, which directly addresses the core issue, is similar to above example. By not being complex, the policy makers are able to dismiss it because it doesn’t have enough complexity to address the more complex issue of climate.

  33. Stephen Wilde says:

    I like Roy’s work but am a little uncomfortable with the use of cloudiness alone as a major negative feedback in itself.

    Clouds being made up from condensed water vapour and the presence of that vapour being a consequence of a combination of sea surface temperatures (mostly) and the rate of evaporation I feel the need to take a further logical step.

    I would expect changes in levels of cloudiness to be a direct consequence of changes in sea surface temperatures and then a subsequent ocean driven change in the speed of the hydrological cycle.

    That idea has an impact on Svensmark’s hypothesis as well because he selects changes in cosmic ray intensity as a cause of changes in cloudiness and thus comes around to Roy’s ideas from that direction.

    I imagine that cosmic rays might have an effect but I cannot see them being the driver of the observed multidecadal shifts in sea surface temperature trends or the resulting sea driven changes in overall cloudiness.

    Nor the cause of the ITCZ apparently having been on the equator uring the LIA as some have suggested it was.

    Mere variability in cloudiness would not be enough shift air circulation systems latitudinally in such a profound manner.

    I’m still forced to the conclusion that the primary cause of temperature changes in the troposphere is changing rates of energy release from oceans to air over a number (at least 3) of cyclical changes in the rate of ocean energy release on different timescales.

    Nothing that I see in climate observations seems likely to trump the effect of such oceanic changes and all those observations (including changes in cloudiness) would follow naturally from such oceanic driving forces.

    As previously suggested, keep it simple.

    The temperature regime above the stratosphere seems to be driven by entirely separate mechanisms as the SABER satellite is showing us.

  34. Smokey says:

    edward (06:23:22),

    Here’s a blink gif of the NASA/GISS “adjustments” of the raw temperature data: click

    [It takes a few seconds to load.]

    GISS always shows more rapid and greater warming than the actual recorded temperatures; their adjustments never show more cooling.

    And if you get your info from realclimate, you will be misinformed.

  35. Jeremy says:

    Heavy Snow is forecast in the UK on Friday…thank goodness that nature does not listen to the whims of prideful men who believe we control our climate (Cnut was right)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8416010.stm

    Heavy Snow should be just in time for the end of COP15 – people can read about the warming propaganda whilst stuck at home because of snow drifts…what irony.

    Will the media try to downplay the weather? Will the snow be relegated to the back pages of news, as the media pretends it is not cold?

  36. pochas says:

    Dr. Spencer will cause most people to pause as soon as he asserts what seems to be an alternative reality: clouds cause temperature change instead of temperature change causes clouds. He should stop doing this. For most people there is only one reality.

    And that is: The sun warms the surface and the temperature change causes evaporation. The warming and evaporation causes convection which results in clouds forming at the altitude where adiabatic cooling causes saturation. The clouds cause a radiative effect, often cooling. Since clouds move with the atmospheric circulation, they may have their radiative effect at a location different from where they were formed.

    Now, the clouds may move from place A where they are formed to place B where they have their radiative effect, but does this give the appearance of a reversal of cause and effect? It should not. It is simply part of the process at work here.

    Dr. Spencer must stop asserting that we have confused cause and effect. He must rethink his concept of what is going here so that it includes all of the processes involved.

  37. stephen richards says:

    Dave UK (06:20:58) :

    Your Brown is someone who believes that as long as he is leading the world you will vote for him. He does it all the time. Look, look at me I’m leading the world. It doesn’t seem to matter to him that it might be over the edge of a very high cliff. He is a lemon or is it leeming.? :)

  38. Pascvaks says:

    “Check the math!”

    When so called “scientists” can’t check their own math (or computer programs) their theories and knowledge aren’t going to fly very far. Are they? (Well.. unless they have a bunch of politicians, investors, and media types behind them for any number of dubious reasons.)

    Climatologists, etc., who must rely on “experts” called computer programmers to do and check their math aren’t really scientists by the classical definition. Are they?

  39. Frank K. says:

    Edward:

    “If you go to the Nasa GISS website the code for their Climate model is completely documented and accessible. I did not believe it was there myself until I found a link at Realclimate. I cannot even begin to understand the code, how it operates or if it operates properly, but I have not seen anyone indict the NASA GISS GCM models as lacking documentation or transparency.”

    I do applaud GISS for making their code (or some form of it) available – but their documentation is BS. For example, here is a paper from the GISS website that purportedly provides code documentation:

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2006/Schmidt_etal_1.html

    Please examine this paper and tell me what specific differential equations the code solves. in fact, count the total number of equations in this paper (you can do so on your fingers…).

    In numerical analysis, it is NOT enough to simply “describe” your modeling – you must actually show your work! That’s what real documentation does – it describes your work in great detail, enough so that other researchers can replicate your findings. This is impossible with Model E in it’s current state.

    If others can discover what equations Model E is actually solving and write them down for us, that would be a monumental step forward. We could then begin to discuss the numerical algorithms that are being used to solve these equations.

    As it stands, Model E is a poorly documented junk FORTRAN code…

    Maybe someday G.S. will retire from blogging and actually address this issue seriously…

  40. KeithGuy says:

    Dr Spencer

    Your work in this area always demonstrates balance and integrity. It is good to know that the true scientific principle of asking questions is alive and well.

  41. Well, it is good that the presentation seemed to be accepted. I had noticed this presentation, but not put any effort into comprehending it – I am not more inclined to take another look, but I get the impression that this is quite a specialised area. It will be difficult to reach a conclusion about it’s likely accuracy without much more background information. I would certainly appreciate more of a follow up on this if it is going anywhere.

  42. Cathy says:

    Thank you for your service to humanity – to Science – to Truth.

  43. jdwill07 says:

    edward,

    I did and found “ModelE1″ at

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

    The frozen version used for upcoming IPCC simulations (see below) and the controls for upcoming model description papers is denoted as ModelE1 (internal version number 3.0, dated Feb. 1, 2004). This code can be freely downloaded (as a 1.2 MB gzip-ed tar file) from modelE1.tar.gz.

    Note that this public domain version of the code does not contain some of the more experimental tracer submodules (chemistry, aerosols, dust, cosmogenic isotopes, etc.) and only one of the dynamic ocean models. If you are interested in using or working with these components, please contact the scientists involved directly.

    further down:

    GISS submitted a number of different configurations to the IPCC AR4 model data repository at PCMDI. Information about the configurations and about updates and known issues are provided on the ModelE AR4 simulations page.

    However, that link leads to a blank page.

    In any case, there is over 4 megabytes alone of fortran source code (might take good analyst a year to learn if said analyst was well versed in the science) with references to header files not in this distribution. And then there is the matter of the data used for starting conditions.

    Now wait for it…

    Please address all inquiries about the ModelE code to:

    Dr. Gavin Schmidt
    NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 USA
    gschmidt@giss.nasa.gov

  44. I understand and agree! You are talking about occam’s razor: “When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.”

    The IPCC’s complex models rely upon many free parameters. In July 2009, Geophysical Research Letters published a study by Reifen and Toumi, “Climate projections: Past performance no guarantee of future skill?” which found that each IPCC model could only predict the period of the 20th Century that it was designed to predict. When applied to a different period without changing its parameters, it did no better than chance. In other words, these models predict nothing.

    You can read that study here:

    http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009GL038082.pdf

  45. me says:

    @Dr Spencer

    nice to hear that you are nicely getting along with Andrew Dessler. You have quite different opinions in some areas (cloud feedbacks or dominating negative feedbacks, in general), in other areas similar (strong positive Water vapor feedback, for example, as I read). That is science about, isn’t it?

    Is it possible to include your ideas of cloud feedback into a GCM and do some testing? Normally, the different physical models of climate processes are tested separately and together. So, if you work together with others, may be some things could be improved. What do you think, is this possible?

    A question: how many scientists in your session mentioned Al Gore? I mean, you are one. Any others?

  46. Ian L. McQueen says:

    dearieme (06:00:38) :

    “..and then the more complex models are STILL believed because…well…they’re more complex.” Spot on: I spent too many hours of my career listening to talks on mathematical models by twerps who, when asked why their work should be viewed as being superior to what had gone before, would say it was because their models were more “sophisticated”. Partly, I suspect, this just reflects a typical character defect of the sort of p[eople who get absorbed by mathematical modelling, but partly it was a lack of good judgement caused by their narrow experience – typically they did no experimental work.

    Not for nothing did the word “sophisticated” originally mean “adulterated”.

    IanM

  47. Green Sand says:

    Is there something wrong with NSIDC Sea Ice Index for yesterday? At present Standard View – Arctic – Daily – Extent shows data for 15th Dec http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/ if you try to enlarge (click on the picture) the enlarged view shows data for 16th Dec http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png which appears to have a section in grey rather than white, with the grey area considerably larger than the previous day’s extent. Provided that is that the grey arearepresents the extent.

    Apologies if links do not work, new to this

  48. Jonathan Dumas says:

    Reference?

    “I come along with an extremely simple climate model that explains the behavior of the satellite data…”

    Anyone knows where this simple model is described in details?

  49. stan says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Just let us know when you’ll release your raw data.

    We want to take a look at it ourselves.

    Thanks.

  50. Neo says:

    I keep wondering why nobody seems to deal with these problems more like a signal processing problem. Looking at 1st order effects seems .. backward .. equivalent to using “using stone knives and bear skins.”

    I mean, many of these sorts of systems have multiple phase delays to the looping components (i.e the oceans would have very long delays while the gases in the atmosphere very short delays) I would expect that there is some sort of impulse response to the system that could account for the phase delays or lags. The components could then be separated from the impulse response based on lag and their magnitudes examined.

    Frankly, my observations of “climate science” gives me the impression that these scientists have missed the last few decades of engineering advancement. I suggest that you folks find a signal processing guy with experience in signal cancellation.

  51. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Dr Spencer

    A gracious article by a true adherent to the scientific method. Many thanks.

    If I might be so bold, as an impecunious non-specialist, it would appear to me that £50m globally in 3 – 5 year grant awards to study this key aspect of climate science might be the necessary catalyst to return science to where it should be, namely a rigorous evaluation of competing evidential claims, out of which comes partial agreement, partial controversy and partial agreement that no answer is yet achieveable with current methodologies.

    I remain totally open to modifying the £50m up or down based on HONEST indications of what needs to be investigated, what levels of concurrent duplication might be prudent and what outcomes can be demonstrated through such a financial investment.

    It is to be hoped that those in Copenhagen will consider THAT to be high enough on their agenda as they slosh out £100bn or more to move closer to scientific agreement in the area of the greatest intrinsic uncertainties of computer models of climate currently…….

  52. Jason O'Connell says:

    It’s been my experience that for any given simulation, the number of user defined (preprocessing) inputs increases proportionally with a given code’s “complexity.” An increase in user defined inputs increases the probability of a “tweaked” solution.

    A very smart CFD person once told me this is called the “power user problem.”

  53. Robert Wood says:

    Tom (05:46:16) :

    He has earlier, Tom. Search the archives or go to his web page and download his paper

  54. Jeff Medcalf says:

    This is one of the things that has long bothered me about climate models (and financial models for that matter). As someone who does a huge amount of modeling in a different field, I expect that if I’m modeling some system with complex emergent behavior, I should get the behavior to arise without directly modeling it. For example, if I am making a climate model, I should not have to model the effects of ocean currents: ocean currents should arise from my ocean model. If they don’t, my ocean model is wrong, I don’t understand the problem, and my other results are thus likely to be off, perhaps dramatically so.

    Any time you have a system with simple inputs, complex outputs and high sensitivity to initial conditions – in other words a chaotic system – you have emergent behavior – behavior that is not predicted by simple observation of the inputs and the system’s characteristics, but emerges from the interactions of large numbers of “particles” within the system. Climate science appears to be such a system: the inputs are energy from the sun, energy from the Earth’s still-hot core, and tidal energy; the system is open due to radiative heating into space, which is the only output that crosses the system boundary; the environmental conditions are gravity, the fluid characteristics (like viscosity) and chemical composition of the air and water, the resistance various kinds of ground cover to fluid movement, the shape of the ground at any given point, and albedo at any given point. There may be a few other, but not many: the basic conditions of the model are simple to understand – hard to calculate and sometimes hard to measure, but simple to understand. Currents, jet streams, clouds and the like should emerge from the model regardless of initial conditions, or the model is not valid.

    Once the model is validated, specific input conditions need to be determined, and the divergence of the model from reality over time has to be quantified. Then, and only then, can you start to trust the outputs of the models.

    We don’t even appear to have climate models that predict known phenomena; they have to include those as part of the model. Thus, I cannot take seriously the outputs of any of the models.

  55. JonesII says:

    The fact that invalidates climate change science is precisely those CASH FEEDBACKS, as shown here, as those from DOE to CRU.

  56. R Taylor says:

    Causation seems to disappear when you view lead and lag through an emotional filter. It is good to hear that Andrew Dessler is a super nice guy, but why isn’t he nice enough to pay out of his own pocket for his saviour suit.

  57. JonesII says:

    …and when it comes to cooling all that water vapour feedback falls FROZEN to ground .

  58. Tenuc says:

    I’m a firm believer in KISS when it comes to doing science and I think this model clearly demonstrates that less is more, in terms of information content.

    The current crop of GCM’s and linear models fail the future predictability tests – doing hind-casting is much simpler, of course, although using the synthesised CRU/GISS/IPCC global average temperature anomaly data as a benchmark means that this has no information content.

  59. Mike says:

    Is there a version of this presentation with some explanatory text? I would be grateful for any pointers.

  60. Barry Foster says:

    Met Office’s CET hasn’t been updated since the 13th (usually 2 days behind). http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/cet_info_mean.html

  61. Gene Zeien says:

    Links to unadjusted GHCN data, and an initial analysis http://justdata.wordpress.com
    I was quite surprised by the result. Feel free to read my code & leave suggestions.

  62. Dave UK says:

    Sorry off topic:
    Kevin Rudd the Australian PM reads out letter from a scared 6 year old too COP15 delegates.
    Isn’t mental cruelty listed under child abuse?
    How else could a scared naive 6 year old be motivated to write a letter without it?
    In my opinion Kevin Rudd may as well have read a statement written by a torture victim.
    The rights and wrongs of AGW are one thing but to USE and SCARE kids is plumbing new depths for the warmists.

  63. Tom G(ologist) says:

    I am predominantly a groundwater geologist, which, similar to climate systems, involves modeling fluid flow systems. My own experience is similar to Roy Spenser’s. I recently developed a new method for modeling groundwater flow in complexly fractured bedrock aquifer systems which is based on a relatively simple principle and comes from a completely different perspective from the existing models, all of which are not only expensive and almost impossible to run and calibrate, but they also NEVER produce field verifiable results.

    My most recent model is simple, inexpensive and has been verified by making predictions which have been tested in the field and confirmed. I presented a paper at the GSA meeting in Portland this past Ocotber and had the same kind of responses as Spencer – some good positive comments, a general lack of enthusiam by the big computer based modelers – overall some encouragement but a lot of missing the point.

    It seemed to me that even practicing scientists seem to like to bung some figures (mostly assumed) into a box and get a result out the other end. My model, although simple in concept, requires knowledge of the system and REAL data and it makes verifiable predictions. Hmmmmm. Many people liked the idea but came up short because it would have required them to go out in the field and get DATA to use as input rather than assumed numbers.

    I did get an invite to submit a full paper to Environmental and Engineering GeoSciences out of the short presentation however, so that’s something.

    Keep plugging away Roy and remember Occam’s Razor.

    New paradigms do not come from conformists.

  64. boballab says:

    For those that want to read the Abstract of the paper that is the basis of Dr. Spencers presentation here is the link to Dr. Spencers Site, it explains what you are seeing in the PDF:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/satellite-and-climate-model-evidence/

  65. mrpkw says:

    Good work Dr. Spencer !!!

  66. Jeff B. says:

    Sounds like many other scientists are waking up. The fact that Dr. Spencer got positive comments from others shows that the reluctance to break stride withe the AGW crowd is loosening.

    People everywhere sense the wall beginning to crumble. Onward!

  67. alamo says:

    ??? internet sceptical prohibition ???
    http://motls.blogspot.com/
    LUMO blow out lamp ???

  68. Frank says:

    The following email from Climategate gives a candid look at how J Shukla, an IPCC Lead Author for Chapter 8 (Climate Models and Their Evaluation), views the utility of current climate models. Interestingly, 90+% of the chapter discusses technical details of models and comparisons between models, but says almost nothing about how well models compare with observations (ie the scientific method).

    In Item 2), the phrase “model fidelity and model sensitivity are related” comes from a Shukla paper that shows that high sensitivity models do a somewhat better job of reproducing CRU’s 20th century seasonal temperature record. Does this mean “model democracy” will lead to the abandonment of low sensitivity models?

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=861&filename=1202939193.txt

    From: J Shukla
    To: IPCC-Sec
    Subject: Future of the IPCC:
    Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 16:46:33 -0500
    Cc: [Many names. probably AR4 WG1 Lead Authors]

    Dear All,

    I would like to respond to some of the items in the attached text on
    issues etc. in particular to the statement in the section 3.1.1
    (sections 3: Drivers of required change in the future).

    “There is now greater demand for a higher level of policy relevance in
    the work of IPCC, which could provide policymakers a robust scientific
    basis for action”.

    1. While it is true that a vast majority of the public and the
    policymakers have accepted the reality of human influence on climate
    change (in fact many of us were arguing for stronger language with a
    higher level of confidence at the last meetings of the LAs), how
    confident are we about the projected regional climate changes?

    I would like to submit that the current climate models have such large
    errors in simulating the statistics of regional (climate) that we are
    not ready to provide policymakers a robust scientific basis for “action”
    at regional scale. I am not referring to mitigation, I am strictly
    referring to science based adaptation.

    For example, we can not advise the policymakers about re-building the
    city of New Orleans – or more generally about the habitability of the
    Gulf-Coast – using climate models which have serious deficiencies in
    simulating the strength, frequency and tracks of hurricanes.

    We will serve society better by enhancing our efforts on improving our
    models so that they can simulate the statistics of regional climate
    fluctuations; for example: tropical (monsoon depressions, easterly
    waves, hurricanes, typhoons, Madden-Julian oscillations) and
    extratropical (storms, blocking) systems in the atmosphere; tropical
    instability waves, energetic eddies, upwelling zones in the oceans;
    floods and droughts on the land; and various manifestations (ENSO,
    monsoons, decadal variations, etc.) of the coupled ocean-land-atmosphere
    processes.

    It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make
    billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected
    regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and
    simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate
    variability. Of course, even a hypothetical, perfect model does not
    guarantee accurate prediction of the future regional climate, but at the
    very least, our suggestion for action will be based on the best possible
    science.

    It is urgently required that the climate modeling community arrive at a
    consensus on the required accuracy of the climate models to meet the
    “greater demand for a higher level of policy relevance”.

    2. Is “model democracy” a valid scientific method? The “I” in the IPCC
    desires that all models submitted by all governments be considered
    equally probable. This should be thoroughly discussed, because it may
    have serious implications for regional adaptation strategies. AR4 has
    shown that model fidelity and model sensitivity are related. The models
    used for IPCC assessments should be evaluated using a consensus metric.

    3. Does dynamical downscaling for regional climate change provide a
    robust scientific basis for action?

    Is there a consensus in the climate modeling community on the validity
    of regional climate prediction by dynamical downscaling? A large number
    of dynamical downscaling efforts are underway worldwide. This is not
    necessarily because it is meaningful to do it, but simply because it is
    possible to do it. It is not without precedent that quite deficient
    climate models are used by large communities simply because it is
    convenient to use them. It is self-evident that if a coarse resolution
    IPCC model does not correctly capture the large-scale mean and transient
    response, a high-resolution regional model, forced by the lateral
    boundary conditions from the coarse model, can not improve the response.
    Considering the important role of multi-scale interactions and feedbacks
    in the climate system, it is essential that the IPCC-class global models
    themselves be run at sufficiently high resolution.

    Regards,
    Shukla

  69. Steve Schaper says:

    I’ll talk about the philosophy later, but if you need more complex, try adding all the known cycles and amplitudes together, then use the software used to find planetary orbits around other stars for fits for additional cycles. Add that in. It will be more complex ;-) and it just might be very useful.

  70. Tim Clark says:

    It was standing room only…close to 300 scientists by my estimate.

    As it is here on WUWT, with perhaps more scientists but plenty of room.

    Good KISS model. Let me suggest, however, that the presentation lacks contorted, Machiavellian “tricks” that are a prerequisite for peer-reviewed publication.
    /sarc

  71. hunter says:

    Chris Rowan’s comment is actually quite profound.
    If people really thought the Earth was facing an impending climate catastrophe, and got credible evidence it was not, they would greet the news with joy.
    Instead, we see the reaciton Dr. Spencer gets.
    That is a big ‘tell’ that those promoting AGW really know that things are not any where close to as bad as they claim.

  72. Thank you Dr. Spencer for keeping objectivity in climate science. What you are observing among your “peers” is politically motivated subjective research. They are searching for “positive feedback” that would create an unstable run away process that they can blame on CO2. In engineering, Feedback is a control mechanism that puts limits on the the output. It promotes stability.
    From my study of climate data, I believe that water in all it’s forms is the earth’s thermostat that regulates the global distribution of temperature. CO2 is just going along for the ride. The energy transfer in the processes of evaporation, condensation, freezing, and thawing is orders of magnitude greater than the absorbtion of a couple of IR vibrational frequancies of a relatively low concentration of CO2. The tail isn’t waging the dog.

  73. Jim says:

    **********Stephen Wilde (06:36:23) :

    I like Roy’s work but am a little uncomfortable with the use of cloudiness alone as a major negative feedback in itself.

    Clouds being made up from condensed water vapour and the presence of that vapour being a consequence of a combination of sea surface temperatures (mostly) and the rate of evaporation I feel the need to take a further logical step.

    I would expect changes in levels of cloudiness to be a direct consequence of changes in sea surface temperatures and then a subsequent ocean driven change in the speed of the hydrological cycle.

    That idea has an impact on Svensmark’s hypothesis as well because he selects changes in cosmic ray intensity as a cause of changes in cloudiness and thus comes around to Roy’s ideas from that direction.

    I imagine that cosmic rays might have an effect but I cannot see them being the driver of the observed multidecadal shifts in sea surface temperature trends or the resulting sea driven changes in overall cloudiness.

    Nor the cause of the ITCZ apparently having been on the equator uring the LIA as some have suggested it was.

    Mere variability in cloudiness would not be enough shift air circulation systems latitudinally in such a profound manner.

    I’m still forced to the conclusion that the primary cause of temperature changes in the troposphere is changing rates of energy release from oceans to air over a number (at least 3) of cyclical changes in the rate of ocean energy release on different timescales.

    Nothing that I see in climate observations seems likely to trump the effect of such oceanic changes and all those observations (including changes in cloudiness) would follow naturally from such oceanic driving forces.

    As previously suggested, keep it simple.

    The temperature regime above the stratosphere seems to be driven by entirely separate mechanisms as the SABER satellite is showing us.
    *******************
    As a simple thought experiment, how much energy would the ocean absorb if the Earth were totally enshrouded in clouds? Eventually, there would be negligible ocean heat (internal energy for you physicist-types ). The ocean can’t fundamentally drive temperature, but it can store from the Sun and release it later. Ultimately, ocean heat comes from the Sun and clouds can shield the Earth from its radiant energy. Therefore it seems clouds could be very important moderators.

  74. observa says:

    As a small businessman for some 25 years, I’ve experienced all too frequently the Groupthink of Big Biz. That’s not to denigrate their value to us all where economies of scale and large complex systems need a complexity and organisation SMEs clearly lack in capacity and capability. Think steel mill, car plant, oil refinery or power plant here. Nevertheless they ultimately face the same taskmaster as we do and forget that and the consequences are the same, albeit on a greater immediate scale. As well we both share the risks of becoming a Kodak in a digital camera world. The difference is they can become too convinced of their own importance, particularly as they have the ear of Govt and a larger, cosier Groupthink can develop beyond their corporate walls. Whilst Big Biz would initially share SME’s overall skepticism to Big Govt on the workability of a global ETS and a public sector vision splendid or Grand Plan, that antithesis has dissolved over time as the political impetus grew. Big Corpora is now totally convinced that global emissions trading is the way forward for them, having leapt the initial uncomfortable leap of faith hurdle surrounding AGW theory and its deliberately conflated prescriptive medicine. In any case they have long been convinced an ETS is the best of a bad lot and are largely on board with the new Groupthink. They are all too big to fail now. Gruesome Greaseum has long ago absorbed Big Oil and all the other Mr Bigs, including Big Media and now represents a formidable alliance.

    However as this formidable edifice grew, rest assured SMEs have remained true skeptics with each large Corporation that jumped on board the bandwagon. The sight and sounds of the moral posing of their mission statements and ludicrous green accounting shenanigans simply hardened that stance. It’s particularly galling in the white collar service sector. Hardly a day has passed without some legal, accounting, computing or media company going ‘carbon neutral’. Basically add up the power bill and the comapny car petrol bill and then go looking for some cheap offsets. Never mind the implicit carbon in everything from the building, fixtures and furnishings, computers, office supplies, company cars, etc. Somebody elses problem, along with their share of the power stations, factories, roads, rail, telecommunications, transport and Govt infrastructure that makes their little slice of the action truly function. Nor could they even begin to contemplate accounting for their share of their employees’ carbon footprints attributable to their share of their working hours. What you mean the food, clothing and shelter alone attributable to employees’ working lives?

    We in small business don’t have the time or inclination for such mental masturbation and neither do our workers and I’d remind you that we far outnumber those in Big Biz who do indulge in it. That’s where those unconvinced poll numbers really come from and that’s the great benefit and lesson of Jones, Mann, et al now. They demonstrate the pure folly of belief in some overarching, unelected elite to guide us all from the commanding world heights. Then as if to reinforce the very point, we see the caravan of true believers in this new world order demonstrate how they can’t even organise a decent piss up in a brewery at Hopenchangen. Hold your breath now for MessyCo all you little people!

    There’s nothing the little people like better than a bunch of self-important, pompous gits deflating rapidly before their very eyes and we do have the power to help pull the plug on these inflatables. Do what I did and click that donation button here and elsewhere as you think appropriate and send a message to them all, the mouse is beginning to roar and understand mice roar best when employed full time at it. (Disclaimer: No relation or business association but I can’t honestly deny a strong vested interest)

  75. Ian L. McQueen says:

    Stephen Wilde (06:36:23) :

    I like Roy’s work but am a little uncomfortable with the use of cloudiness alone as a major negative feedback in itself.

    Clouds being made up from condensed water vapour and the presence of that vapour being a consequence of a combination of sea surface temperatures (mostly) and the rate of evaporation I feel the need to take a further logical step.

    I would expect changes in levels of cloudiness to be a direct consequence of changes in sea surface temperatures and then a subsequent ocean driven change in the speed of the hydrological cycle.
    *****

    It is my understanding that the sea temperature is quite constant. Increased radiation received is matched by increased water evaporated, with consequent transport of latent heat toward the poles and into space (gross simplification!!), and no change in water temperature. What I have read indicates that open tropical seas don’t exceed 28-30°C.

    IanM

  76. Calvin Ball says:

    It’s pretty sketchy, but interesting. I think that it would be a very good idea for Dr. Spencer to collaborate with someone in the electrical engineering dept. to determine the real meaning of the loops and striations. What it seems to be saying to me (not completely understanding what he’s saying in that sketchy PDF) is that there are a couple of second-order processes with different time constants. But possibly not. He really needs to go over this in detail with a signal processing expert, and get to the bottom of exactly what order of process and time constants this implies. That, in turn, might suggest the nature of the processes themselves.

  77. Mike says:

    boballab – much appreciated

  78. Calvin Ball says:

    OK, having read his website, scratch the last comment. He’s already there.

    It seems like he’s discovered what EEs knew 100 years ago – that the product of two cyclical variables integrates out to a higher value when they’re in phase, and goes to zero when they’re 90 degrees out of phase. I’d say this is a productive line of inquiry. It explains in fairly straightforward terms how a phenomenon can appear to have a high feedback, but in the long term, not amount to much.

    Which leaves a lot of 20th century warming unattributed.

  79. Phillip Bratby says:

    Many years ago the USNRC started to produce codes for use to compare with the vendor codes used by the nuclear industry. The USNRC codes were supposed to be ‘hands-free’ (I can’t remember what the exact term was) in that all the eqautions were in the codes and everything was solved from first principles. Thus the user defined the problem to be analysed, set the code running and out would pop the results. They soon realised that the codes could not replicate the results from experimental facilities. Very soon the codes were full of ‘user-inputs’, so that the codes could be tuned to every situation. This made it very difficult to validate the codes and ensure that the codes would be used correctly. Sounds like the climate models are going through the same process, only an order of magnitude more complex and without experimental facilities to validate against, it is an impossibility.

  80. syphax says:

    Keep up the good work, Dr. Spencer.

    I’m interested in commentary the Richard Alley lecture: “The biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History” Preferably, something beyond “he’s a fraud”.

  81. Plato Says says:

    OT James Delingpole’s first major Climategate story makes review of the year.

    What a gent – he came second to a virgin :D

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/review-of-2009/6789700/Telegraph-Zeitgeist-Most-popular-review-of-2009.html

  82. Dave says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    If you’re reading these comments, I’d appreciate it if, time permitting, you could write a post on your site (or here) about the NASA AIRS observations (link below) and how they relate to your research.

    Thanks,
    David

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/16/nasa-says-airs-satellite-data-shows-positive-water-vapor-feedback/

  83. Andreas says:

    I´m for the moment studying modeling in GIS and isn´t the ground rule: The simpler the model, the better it is? It would be interesting to do an sensitivity analysis on a climate model and from the result it gives se which variable is important and remove the minor factors and find out what the basic structure is. I´m certain it would be quite small and reveal them for the bogus that they are.

  84. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Neo (07:16:23) :
    I keep wondering why nobody seems to deal with these problems more like a signal processing problem. Looking at 1st order effects seems .. backward .. equivalent to using “using stone knives and bear skins.”

    I mean, many of these sorts of systems have multiple phase delays to the looping components (i.e the oceans would have very long delays while the gases in the atmosphere very short delays) I would expect that there is some sort of impulse response to the system that could account for the phase delays or lags. The components could then be separated from the impulse response based on lag and their magnitudes examined.

    Frankly, my observations of “climate science” gives me the impression that these scientists have missed the last few decades of engineering advancement. I suggest that you folks find a signal processing guy with experience in signal cancellation.’

    I read a book many years ago about statistical searches for weather cycles. It was effectively the use of Fourier Transform analysis on datasets and it highlighted most of the repeating ‘cycles’ flagged up today. But it didn’t go into mechanisms too much, as the author was a mathematician.

    Your post suggests that an interaction between climatologists, engineers and electronics guys might be valuable.

    Perhaps it is already happening somewhere?

  85. Stephen Wilde says:

    Ian L McQueen (08:42:17)

    “It is my understanding that the sea temperature is quite constant.”

    That’s what we all thought before the advent of knowledge about ocean oscillations (PDO et al). In fact they are variable enough to make large differences to global air temperatures.

    You don’t seem to realise that solar radiation penetrates sea surfaces to over 100 metres and enough is subducted and transported elsewhere within the oceans to build up and be released at a later time.

  86. Stephen Wilde says:

    Jim (08:37:39)

    Clouds are indeed effective moderators but the process is driven by solar energy into oceans.

    If it were cloudy all the time solar energy would still get in but very much less. Unless, that is the, clouds were dense enough to exclude ALL solar energy. There would still be some geothermal energy though.

  87. Ken Nelson says:

    Maybe I’m cynical, but perhaps the new found interest in alternate theories by non-skeptic scientists reflects not a broadening of the mind but a search for more grant $? The only consistency I’ve seen in this science is that their research results seem to be what works best to get grants. As the grant environment changes, so do they.

  88. crosspatch says:

    This whole thing must be extremely frustrating for you skeptical scientists (sad that I have to make that distinction).

    Yes, that is sad. It was the way I was taught that science works that scientists were by nature to be “skeptical”.

  89. I believe clouds tend to regulate the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and distrubute it globally. They are made up of realitively pure, cool water droplets that readily absorbs CO2. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 in clouds is expected to be close to equilibrium with the partial pressure of CO2 in the water droplets. Thus, clouds are most likely the the first primary sink for CO2. However, that’s not the end of the story. Clouds are dynamic. Some produce rain that transports dissolved CO2 to land or sea. On the way it falls through warmer air and some drops evaporate and release CO2 back to the atmosphere. Other clouds rise and tower into the stratosphere and jet streams where water freezes and releases CO2. A single molecule of CO2 may cycle through many of these processes before it is eventially sequestered by a sink like the Arctic Ocean. This hypothesis can also explain the latitude sensitive seasonal variations and isotope depletion.

  90. boballab says:

    @Andreas

    It’s not so much looking at what they got in the model that can be kicked out, its actually the opposite. Dr. Tim Ball on Climate Audit related what happened at a seminar that a climate modeler put on. At the end of the presentation a Physictist got up and wrote a very long equation on a chalkboard and asked the modeler if that is the formula hs model was based on. The Modeler answered yes, then the Physictist started asking if a certain factor in the equation was taken into account in the model and for each No he scratched it off the board. By the time he was done 80% of the equation was scratched out, ie not taken into account in the model. Oh the Modeler is that Dr. in Copenhagen that used the UN security to get the guy to quit asking him pesky questions.

  91. Mike Lorrey says:

    Roy Roy Roy, you HAVE to remember that when describing your model its NOT SIMPLE, it is ELEGANT. Scientists love elegance but put down simple….

  92. Frank K. says:

    crosspatch (09:48:40) :

    Actually, skepticism comes quite easily with modern AGW climate science, given that they have come to rely upon the *** hysterical press release *** as a means of disseminating their message to the masses…

  93. Jim says:

    ********
    Stephen Wilde (09:40:23) :

    Jim (08:37:39)

    Clouds are indeed effective moderators but the process is driven by solar energy into oceans.

    If it were cloudy all the time solar energy would still get in but very much less. Unless, that is the, clouds were dense enough to exclude ALL solar energy. There would still be some geothermal energy though.
    *********
    Could a fairly good analogy be that clouds are like a governor and the ocean is like a flywheel?

  94. Plato Says says:

    Interesting perspective – signs of retreat as seen in the use of argument.

    http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2009/12/climategate_the_1.html

  95. lmg says:

    Is anyone considering the effect that jet contrails may be having on the level of cloudiness? While each contrail is a cloud in itself (perhaps transient), I’ve seen satellite images where the contrails seem to act as seeds for more extensive cloud formation.

  96. George E. Smith says:

    Well I’m not an AGU member; but if I had been, I would have gladly crawled on hands and knees, naked, over broken glass in a howling blizzard; to get from San Jose up to San Francisco, just to hear and support Dr Roy and his thesis.

    In fact I don’t even need the good Dr or John Christy to convince me; “Hey, it’s the Water dummies !”

    In fact, I just got an e-mail response this morning from the chap who is heading that global CO2 AIRS satellite program, after telling him that Water vapor is a perfectly good greenhouse gas; that simply puts CO2 to shame. For a start, it always exceeds the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere; and by a long way, and it absorbs a much greater percentage of the total Solar Spectrum radiation and the surface emitted LWIR thermal radiation, and thereby warms the atmosphere; just like CO2, only moreso.

    And once the atmosphere is warmed, it pays no heed to whether it was warmed by H2O, or CO2, or O3 or any other method; nor whether the warming was due to absorbed solar spectrum radiation (longer than about 750 nm ) or LWIR in the 5-100 micron range. Warming is warming, and both H2O and CO2 are permanent constituents of the atmosphere.
    And surface warming from the atmosphere; specifically ocean surface warming (only 70% of the total area is oceans) results in both Carbon dioxide feedback (ocean outgassing) and water vapor feedback (evaporation), so CO2 is just as much a feedback effect as H2O is.

    If earth’s atmosphere contained not a single CO2 moelcule; nor an Ozone molecule, we would still be enjoying about the same comfortable temperature range; we would notice a little less cloud cover most of the time.
    Well of course we wouldn’t even be here to care, if there was no CO2 in the atmosphere; but when we put it all back, all that is going to happen, is that the average global extent of cloud cover will increase.

    You see H2O is the ONLY GHG that exists in the atmosphere in all three phases; vapor, liquid, and solid. While in vapor form it exhibits both negative feedback cooling (absorbs incoming solar spectrum energy, thereby cooling the ground), and positive feedback warming effects (capture of LWIR photons).
    But when water vapor turns to liquid or solid, and forms clouds; well nobody ever observed it to warm up in the shadow of a cloud that just passed in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools in the shadow zone.

    And as for high level clouds (noctilucent) causing surface warming; well that goes right to Dr Roy’s comment on causality.

    It makes sense doesn’t it; the higher altitude at which a cloud forms, the lower is the atmospheric density, and hence the lower is the amount of water vapor needed to reach the dew point. The temperature also drops for about thefirst 25 km, then rises to about 0C then drops again up to about 90 km where the density is less than 10^-5 of the surface density.
    So the amount of water in those high clouds, is miniscule, which explains why just a small amount of energy can raise the temperature substantially; but there isn’t much thermal capacity to be heating the surface; and the higher you go, the less of that there is. Yes I’m sure that the higher clouds form, the hotter they warm the surface.
    Alternatively one might consider that it is the warm or warmer surface, that is the cause of those high and higher clouds; not the result of them.
    Well of course we do know that dry desert air cools rapidly at night, but less rapidly if there are clouds. So how come that evil CO2 doesn’t keep the desert air warm at night, when there is no water.

    So I don’t buy that water is a feedback servant of CO2, any surface warming caused by any atmospheric warming (damn little) results in an increase in both CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere, but either one can do without the other.
    So the AGW crowd needs to get off this kick that water is not a GHG but a mere feedback slave to CO2.

    So right on Dr Roy; you tell them how it is. Well it would take one hell of a big attraction (Like Dr Spencer) to get me to ride to SanFrancisco, in a luxure Limo with Champaigne and Caviar laid on, and a red carpet reception.

    I generally don’t go to that place for any reason. Last time was probably the King Tut first exhibit about 20 years ago.

  97. SteveSadlov says:

    Fraction of record is the same as frequency of occurrence. Not exactly an FFT, but nonetheless a very interesting representation. Indeed, when looking at feedbacks and filtering (e.g. classical Systems Engineering) this type of representation is a good way to observe actual system performance.

  98. SteveSadlov says:

    RE: “Now it’s a foreign and radical idea.”

    The percent of the population in most Western countries these days, who know what a Fourier or Laplace Transform are, let alone know how to use them, must be around 1%.

  99. Dave F says:

    samhopkinson (05:42:04) :

    Just to clear up an obvious misconception about Catholics, we do not believe the creation theory you are thinking of. Not appropriate discussion for this board, but since the first comment got through, I had to say something.

    REPLY: and let’s leave it at that – A

  100. john welch says:

    Thanks for trying to maintain the integrity of Science in the face of the current climate of ‘manufactured consensus’. (Is his analagous to Chomsky’s ‘manufactured consent ?)

  101. Dave F says:

    George E. Smith (10:58:46) :

    If it worked the way it has been postulated other places, wouldn’t the whole durn thing become unstable? Warming -> more water vapor -> more GHGs -> more trapped radiation -> more warming -> more water vapor -> and so on?

  102. Paul Vaughan says:

    Why you don’t need to be a publishing climatologist to have a superior view of climate:

    “[...] recipe that has become all too common in recent years: analyze the output of climate models that predict substantial global warming, and simply assume the models are somewhere near correct.”

  103. Dave F says:

    To go further on my own idea, that water vapor has to come down at some point, so wouldn’t precipitation go up? Precip falling as snow has an albedo effect after the clouds move away also, so there is a feedback, probably not huge, but still a feedback.

  104. vukcevic says:

    Rhys Jaggar (09:35:08) :
    “……I would expect that there is some sort of impulse response to the system that could account for the phase delays or lags. The components could then be separated from the impulse response based on lag and their magnitudes examined.”

    Very good point.
    An impulse and the response of a dumped oscillating system.
    Central England Temperature Anomaly (H. Lamb).
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETAnomaly.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Damped_spring.gif

  105. Claude Harvey says:

    I share your pain, Dr. Spencer. After I once quit a job in frustration, my colleagues who had never once sided with me in the corporate wars started telling me how they needed me there to “Speak the truth”. Your colleagues’ distracted behavior was likely caused by their hearing their dinner bell chime about that time. The AGW dinner bell actually plays a little song that goes:

    Acting on Spencer’s rant
    Will cause you to lose your grant
    Going with the flow
    Is the smart man’s way to go
    Why risk the pain of speaking true
    When Spencer’s there to do it for you

    CH

  106. old construction worker says:

    George E. Smith (10:58:46
    ‘Well of course we do know that dry desert air cools rapidly at night, but less rapidly if there are clouds. So how come that evil CO2 doesn’t keep the desert air warm at night, when there is no water.’

    Back went I started looking into “Co2 drive the climate” thing, I did a comparison between Yuma, Arizona and Shreveport, Louisiana. Both have/had about the same populations number. Both are with in miles of being along the same latitude. The elevation is close to being the same. Both are about the same distant from a large body of water.
    The average temperature lows were about the same, but Yuma’s average highs were 12 degrees F warmer than Shreveport. Why? Water vapor, clouds, and precipitation.

  107. hunter says:

    Dr. Spencer,
    The reaction you experienced is the calm before the storm. AGW theory (CO2 driven catastrphism) is falling apart after incresingly dominating the public square for the past ten years.
    The storm that is coming is people moving on from yet another failed apocalyptic vision. Reasonable and transparent presentations such as yours gives people a lot to ponder. They have to think about this, since the drama they have been promised is failing. It is in effect a period of mourning. You have delivered a eulogy to an apocalypse, as it were. Don’t be surprised at muted responses.

  108. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Dave F (11:28:09) :

    George E. Smith (10:58:46) :

    If it worked the way it has been postulated other places, wouldn’t the whole durn thing become unstable? Warming -> more water vapor -> more GHGs -> more trapped radiation -> more warming -> more water vapor -> and so on? “””

    Well no it wouldn’t. Positive feedback can increase the gain; but only in certain conditions does it become a runaway situation.

    Easier to describe in a simple Voltage amplifier feedback system (not necessarily a typical one)

    Say I have a Voltage amplifier with a forward gain (A) =10, so if I apply a one Volt step to the input, the output will step up 10 Volts (which would saturate modern Op amps that may run off 5 Volts or less).

    So now I apply some positive feedback by picking off 1% of the output Voltage and adding that to the input in such a way as to increase the input. My loop gain (A.beta) is 10 x 0.01 = 0.1 so my 10 Volt output signal will generate a 0.1Volt feedback signal (beta = 0.01).
    So not my total input Voltage is 1 + 0.1 = 1.1 Volts. (I’m doing this in slow time, but my amplifier really has a much shorter propagation delay).
    So after the forward propagation delay and the feedback delay, my total input signal is now 1.1 Volts, and my Amplifier gain of 10 dutifully turns this into an output Voltage of 11 Volts, and the feedback facto of 0.01 changes the feedback signal to 0.11 Volts, so now my totla input is 1.11 Volts after two prop delays. This now produces an output Voltage of 11.1 Volts, and a 0.111 Volt feedback signal giving a total input signal of 1.111 Volts.

    Well you can see how this is going. After an infinite amount of time, it all quits changing, and the total output swing is now 11.11111111… Volts, or 100/9 Volts. So it is like the tortoise and the hare.

    Now this happened because my loop gain (A.beta) is less than 1.000

    so the ouput was definitely increased by the positive feedback; but it didn’t run away.

    Because of the propagation delay (all physical processes take time to act), the feedback signal is slightly delayed from the original input signal that created it, and you have to vector sum the components, instead of simply straight line add them as I did.

    so real feedback systems also involve a time response; and you can’t really define the stability criteria of a feedback system unless you know what that time response is.

    Guess who was the last climate scientist to actually put the time (frequency) response into his feedback model. Well don’t ask me because I have never seen anyone do it.

    In the case of our GHG system, the water cheats, and before the heating gets too far out of whack, all that water vapor starts to form clouds which blocxk out more and more sunlight (as well as reflect some back into space), so it is impossible for our system to runaway; well not untill we boil away all of the oceans to eliminate clouds.

    And as to more water vapor causing more precipitation; it is well known that over time (climate) total global precipitation must equal total global evaporation. That has the advantage of keeping the oceans here on the ground, instead of up in the sky.

    sell SCIENCE July-7 2007 Frank Wentz (RSS) et al; “How much more Rain Will Global Warming Bring?”

    The answere is (he actually measured it) is a one degree rise in mean global surface temperature causes a 7% increase in evaporation, Precipitation, and total atmospheric water.

    Those highly accurate computer climate models (well they call them GCMs) agree completely with the 7% increase in total atmospheric water content; but they say that the evap/precip, is only 1% to 3% per degree C. Well that is only a factor of2 2/3 to 7 times error from what the RSS team measured with actual satellites.

    It is left up to the reader to decide whether to believe those high speed computer models, or to go with what was actually measured here on planet earth.

  109. Paul Vaughan says:

    Rhys Jaggar (09:35:08) “[...] interaction between climatologists, engineers and electronics guys might be valuable.”

    Administrative structures do more than interfere with such interdisciplinary endeavors. Oh sure, every institution has some “Interdisciplinary Centre for …” with a webpage peppered with flowery language, but the reality is that interdisciplinary research-needs infinitely exceed the limited resources not earmarked for “pure” studies that fit nicely into the traditional slots which academia likes. It’s a turf war – & the catch-all “interdisciplinary” (a HUGE category) has to compete with the mutually autonomous kingdoms-of-old, as if it is merely an equal category. In short: Despite flowery language, it doesn’t work (for more than a lucky few projects at this (unevolved) stage).

    You are right to raise the issue for revisiting as often as necessary.

  110. George E. Smith says:

    “”” old construction worker (13:35:56) :

    George E. Smith (10:58:46
    ‘Well of course we do know that dry desert air cools rapidly at night, but less rapidly if there are clouds. So how come that evil CO2 doesn’t keep the desert air warm at night, when there is no water.’

    Back went I started looking into “Co2 drive the climate” thing, I did a comparison between Yuma, Arizona and Shreveport, Louisiana. Both have/had about the same populations number. Both are with in miles of being along the same latitude. The elevation is close to being the same. Both are about the same distant from a large body of water.
    The average temperature lows were about the same, but Yuma’s average highs were 12 degrees F warmer than Shreveport. Why? Water vapor, clouds, and precipitation. “””

    Lemme guess, Shreveport LA also has exactly the same humidity as Yuma AZ does. And I am sure photgraphs taken around shreveport show the typical terrain looking exactly like Yuma.
    Strange what causes places to be different.

  111. Norman says:

    RealClimate really does suck when it comes to answering questions!!

    I posted a link to the NASA carbon Dioxide map and a link to U.S. vs Global Temps and asked the question. The U.S. temperatures for the last 100 years look mainly cyclic. Warm in the 1930′s followed by some cooling and then again some warming just now reaching the 1930′s decade of warmth.

    My question was how come, if the data is valid, does the Global average temp spike up drastically but the U.S. temp cycles? I stated that if Carbon dioxide were the primary driving force for the Global warming then the U.S. should show a drastic upward spike since the Carbon dioxide concentration is highest in the U.S. (before it globally diffuses). The removed the post after moderation. I actually thought that was a good question that they might consider answering. Maybe someone on this site has an answer, if possible try to explain the data in terms of AGW theory. Thanks!

  112. AlexB says:

    Dr Spencer,

    I am a great fan of your work and believe you have a very rare approach in climate science, that is to say the traditional scientific approach. I was very interested on your last comment of simplicity. I really like the simple model you have developed. It is unfortunate that the advent of high computing power has led scientists to suddenly favour complexity simply because we now can. It is completely against science to favour complexity in my view. Science demands that we go for the simplest model possible. Simple models are easier to disprove or falsify than complex models, being of a higher empirical content, and therefore should be naturally favoured by science. The more complex a model is the easier it is to account for a wider range of observations and the harder it is to falsify. F = ma is easy to falsify and therefore a very favourable scientific model. F = ma + ma^2 + ma^3 + ma^4 +va + va^2 + qa is not easy to falsify and should be a last resort for any scientist. Thankyou for your stimulating posts (here and on your blog) and for your refreshingly conventional scientific approach.

    Regards,
    Alex Buddery

  113. Keith Minto says:

    Stephen Wilde (09:35:32) :

    “You don’t seem to realise that solar radiation penetrates sea surfaces to over 100 metres ………….”

    Do you have evidence for that statement ?

  114. old construction worker says:

    George E. Smith (13:48:45) :
    ‘Lemme guess, Shreveport LA also has exactly the same humidity as Yuma AZ does. And I am sure photgraphs taken around shreveport show the typical terrain looking exactly like Yuma.
    Strange what causes places to be different.’

    Yep. If it was all based on CO2, both places would look the same

  115. George E. Smith says:

    “”” George E. Smith (13:48:45) :

    “”” old construction worker (13:35:56) :

    George E. Smith (10:58:46
    ‘Well of course we do know that dry desert air cools rapidly at night, but less rapidly if there are clouds. So how come that evil CO2 doesn’t keep the desert air warm at night, when there is no water.’ “””

    According to my Handy dandy Black Body Radiation Charts (Warren Smith Modern Optical Engineering), almost exactly 25% of BB radiation is emitted at wavelengths shorter than the peak wavelength, and about 47% of it is emitted at wavelength longer than 1.5 times the peak.
    For the solar spectrum peaking at about 500 nm, that means that 25% is at less than 500nm, and only 1% is at below 250 nm (1/2 peak); 47%a bov 750 nm, and only 1% beyond 4 microns (8xpk) In that 750 nm to 4 micron range, water vapor has many absorption bands, while CO2 has a few starting at about 1.5 microns, above which only 12% exists. The water vapor takes out a little bit less than half of that spectrum, probably accounting for 20% of the total solar radiation.

    That 20% of soalr radiation removed by water vapor over Shreveport LA, warms the atmosphere, whcih allows it to hold more water, but it cools the ground sicne that 20% never makes it to the ground (as solar spectrum radiation).

    In Yuma on the other hand, which is as dry as a T-Rex fossil, the ground gets the full benefit of that extra 20% of solar radiation; whcih is why the high temps are so much higher than in Shreveport.
    Same goes for any dry desert; not only does the temperature crash at night but the ground (surface) temperatures are much higher during the days, because of the higher solar radiation at ground level.

    Bear in mind, in the Weather is not climate vein; that when you talk about more clouds bringing more cooling; you are talking about an increase in average cloud coverage, over climate time scales; last night’s weather doesn’t matter much.

  116. old construction worker says:

    George, as I have said before the only thing worst than being cold and hungry is being WET, cold and hungry.

  117. xyzlatin says:

    The initial question should be; where does the Earth get its heat? From the inside molten core, or from something outside the Earth? Perhaps both?

    Another question might be; when there is an ice age, what happens to the molten core? Has it cooled down? Is it affected at all? If it cools, what mechanism heats it up again?

    The molten core seems to have an effect on climate when it erupts through volcanoes, which affect the climate by cooling it with the clouds formed on the sulphur particles.

    With regard to the outside heat, daily the earth is heated by the sun, our closest star.
    What cools the earth? Well, shadow does, as the parts of the earth experience night when they are on the other side of the earth from the sun.
    The next thing that cools the earth is clouds.
    How do clouds form?
    Lower altitude clouds and higher clouds seem to form in different ways.
    The lower clouds are being shown to form around electrons set free by cosmic rays. More cosmic rays, more clouds.
    What affects the number of cosmic rays reaching the earth?
    The solar wind deflects a lot. There is more solar wind when there are sunspots.
    The sun, as it travels on its orbit through the Milky Way meets up with areas where there is more cosmic rays, and areas where there is not.
    Ni Shaviv’s work on the course of the sun through the Milky way, and Svensmark’s work on cloud formation by cosmic rays at the Danish National Space Center, and the SKY and CLOUD experiments, to me explain the major and minor ice ages and the current interglacial warm period.
    I cannot find any theoretical work done on the molten core contribution to our climate, although I am sure someone will be able to point me to some.

    The computer climate models using CO2 as the driver of climate, do not appear to be able to explain the ice and warming periods of the past, whereas increasingly research is showing that the time frame of cooling and warming has a correlation with the earth’s position in the solar system, and the cosmic rays hitting the earth.

  118. Nic says:

    Norman;
    “I(Norman) stated that if Carbon dioxide were the primary driving force for the Global warming then the U.S. should show a drastic upward spike since the Carbon dioxide concentration is highest in the U.S. (before it globally diffuses).”

    Is it ? In terms of humans per square mile the USA is at about 1/10th of the UK and about 1/15th of Belgium.

    So I might suggest that since Europe is running at about 10 times the number of humans per square mile the CO2 concentration should be higher in Europe than the USA (before it globally diffuses).

    Adding that CO2 production is caused not just directly by humans but human activity – industry, intensive agriculture, etc.

    Roughly;
    Canada 8 persons per square mile
    USA 82
    UK 651
    Germany 594
    France 305

  119. To old construction worker.
    To add to George E. Smith’s explanation. Weather may not be the same as climate if you define climate in terms of long term averages, but the processes that govern both are the same. Radiation heat transfer in space is for practical purposes “line of site and speed of light”. On a clear, calm, and dry night the surface of the earth cools just as fast as heat can be conducted from the ground below to the surface. That rate is directly proportional to temperature differences while radiation to space is essentially proportional to the difference between the surface temperature and outer space temperature to the fourth power. It is possible that any green house gases may reduce the coefficient (Stephan-Boltzman constant), but it is not likely that it will ever be to the extent that conduction is not the rate controlling factor (think resistances in series).

  120. tallbloke says:

    Norman (14:13:55) :

    My question was how come, if the data is valid, does the Global average temp spike up drastically but the U.S. temp cycles?

    Because there are mny parts of the world we don’t hear from, so GISS and CRU can get away with being selective about the station records they use. In the U.S. they can’t, so you see a more realistic picture.

  121. tallbloke says:

    Keith Minto (14:24:48) :

    Stephen Wilde (09:35:32) :

    “You don’t seem to realise that solar radiation penetrates sea surfaces to over 100 metres ………….”

    Do you have evidence for that statement ?

    I’d say several tens of metres rather than over 100. It varies depending on the amount of turbidity caused by biota and tidally stirred silt. 70 metres seems to be about the limit for measurable opacity.

  122. Mike Ramsey says:

    Dr. Spencer,

     Really good models, like theories, should predict an observation not yet made. What predictions does your model make that others can experimentally verify?

    BTW, I am a big fan. Keep up the good (and difficult but much appreciated) work.

    Mike Ramsey

  123. Steve Short says:

    Stephen Wilde (06:36:23) :

    pochas (06:45:26) :

    Jim (08:37:39) :

    There are some major effects at play here which will tend to deeply confuse the attributions of cause and effect.

    On the oceans the blooming of cyanobacteria (phytoplankton) at/near the surface is a complex function of SST, PAR (photosynthesis band SW IR flux) and nutrient availability. When phytoplankton bloom they emit dimethyl sulfide which transfers into the air and decomposes to form sulfates i.e. cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). All other atmospheric factors being equal (lapse rate etc) this (at a minimum) increases the rate of low cloud formation.

    In addition, the bloom is subsequently often predated by zooplankton and cyanobacteriophages (lierally viruses) so the sea surface is soon covered with mono- and multilayers of lysed cell membrances and their contents – lipids, isoprenes etc – some of which are volatile and also transfer to the air to be (biogenic) CCNs.

    The organic layer itself increases surface albedo lowering SST. Some majoe blooms are of coccoliths (carbonate-containing cyanobacteria). This also increases surface albedo.

    These blooms are commonplace and easily visualised with satellites – especially in the mature phase (= aformentioned organic layer). Their extents are often massive.

    Several years ago there was a major review of about 9 mainstream GCMs. I can’t remember the leading author’s name (Japanese though). They were all shown to be very poor at low level oceanic cloud prediction, particularly in the equatorial zones and those other parts of the ocean where cyanobacterial primary productivity is known to be (albeit sporadically) high.

    One might also note that roughly analogous effects occur over large forested areas. Rises in SST and PAR lead to spurts of leaf or needle growth, increased ET and increased emissions directly into the air of volatile isoprenes etc i.e. biogenic CCNs. This is why forest create clouds and rain. This particularly occurs where there is a high forest biomass and also essentially contiguous forest cover right up oceanic coasts for reason I don’t have space to elaborate here (e.g. good Russian paper last year mentioned in New Scientist).

    In a nutshell I am implying that the global climate system is not purely physical. It incorporates very significant biogenic physical and physicochemical effects which have evolved over Gyr and Myr timecales.

    GCMs are particularly poor at incorporating these complex biogenic effects – even e.g. where they have had ‘bolted on’ oceanic biogeochemical sub-models (the latter are still at a relatively low level of development climate -wise).

    We should therefore not be at all surprised, with Roy Spencer, that the chain(s) of causation between clouds and temperature are not well understood.

    This is why Roy’s ‘back to basics’ approach (of comparing satellite data very closely with GCM performance) is so sensible.

    In a world culture and science milieu awash with late 20th century post-modernist arrogance we are still, as yet babes, both in the woods, and on the painted ocean.

  124. Norman says:

    Nic (15:14:26) :

    “So (Nic) might suggest that since Europe is running at about 10 times the number of humans per square mile the CO2 concentration should be higher in Europe than the USA (before it globally diffuses).”

    Thank you for your reply to my question. I was looking at the NASA map (on a previous article on this web site) but here is a link that shows how much each Nation emits of Carbon Dioxide. China is now #1, United States is #2 and the Entire European Union is #3.

    The link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

    My basic question, if carbon dioxide is the primary driver for Global Warming then the United States temp for the last 100 years should be the one spiking, not the Global temp. Currently United States and China should have by far the biggest spikes of temp on any other spots on Earth if carbon dioxide is a primary warming driver.

  125. bill says:

    Smokey (06:39:00) :
    GISS always shows more rapid and greater warming than the actual recorded temperatures; their adjustments never show more cooling.
    And if you get your info from realclimate, you will be misinformed.

    These plots of randomly selected long term stations I made some time ago show otherwise:
    http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7440/gissrawtemps.jpg

  126. HR says:

    Interesting post. given that you often identified as one of the prominent ‘skeptic’ scientists I’ve always wondered how you (and others) are treated in private/professional setting especially given the vitriol that can be found so quarters. Also what proportion of climate/earth scientists are motivated in their work by their own environmental politics or basic scientific curiosity.

    It’s interesting you mention Dessler, I ended up on one of his papers yesterday after reading the posting about the AIRS data on WUWT.

    The paper is Dessler, A. E., Z. Zhang, and P. Yang (2008), Water-vapor climate feedback inferred from climate fluctuations, 2003’2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L20704, doi:10.1029/2008GL035333.

    and as you mention it’s focus is feedbacks between water vapour and temp. I felt he was mixing cause and effect with this work. Identifying anomalies in temp caused by ENSO and then doing analysis of the temp/vapour relation ship. He comes with a conclusion of positive feedback between temp and vapour (the common sense conclusion) but seems to forget that it is ENSO (changes in ocean and atmosphere currents) that is driving this process rather than temperature per se.

  127. Keith Minto says:

    Tallbloke (15:37:00)
    Research follows the money and most is involved in looking at UVB penetration into seawater. The Spectral distribution of solar energy at sea level was reported to be 3% for UV, 44% for visible and 53% for IR. Sea water albedo at low to mid latitudes was reported to be 0.06.
    An interesting report by Ohlmann, et al. http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~davey/MyPapers/Ohlmann_etal_JClimate_1996.pdf claims that the amount of energy in the deeply penetrating spectral wavebands (relative to total solar energy) can be at least 14% larger under clouds!. They claim that clouds shift energy into the blue green spectrum that penetrates to greater depth. By eyeballing some charts it seems to me that 520nm has the greatest depth penetration.
    Steve Short (16:16:09), those comments were interesting, most research is involved in the physics and not the biological/chemistry of seawater.
    The upper limit for solar penetration I have seem is 50m, my understanding was that it was a lot less.

  128. Steve Short says:

    Keith Minto (17:36:01) :

    “Steve Short (16:16:09), those comments were interesting, most research is involved in the physics and not the biological/chemistry of seawater.
    The upper limit for solar penetration I have seem is 50m, my understanding was that it was a lot less.”

    Thanks Keith. If interested, please see a post of mine on Nichel Modeling some time back:

    http://landshape.org/enm/oceanic-cayanobacteria-in-the-modern-global-cycle/

    (I’m not responsible for the misspelling in the URL ;-)

  129. bill says:

    Here are a few satellite derived plots.
    Nothe that CHLT was removed a few months ago and the complete series renamed sea surface temperature. Strange!

    It is probably worth reminding some on here that the energy of sunlight entering the ocean is being absorbed from the surface downwards – the energy in the sunlight decreases as the depth increases. The greatest penetration depth is where the last of this energy gets transfered to the water. The penetration depth is not a point where all the energy in the sunlight, striking the surface, suddenly gets transfered to the water in a single block!!

  130. Alvin says:

    Just throwing this out there, OT. I saw the report of the most recent underwater volcano. Do we have even a close/accurate count of underwater volcanoes? How can we understand how CO2 interfaces with warming when we can’t have an accurate count of undersea activity and the amount of CO2 being added to the ocean at depth? Another component to consider when trying calculating how much CO2 the ocean will absorb from the atmosphere.

    You guys always get me thinking :)

  131. Keith Minto says:

    Steve Short (19:01:46) :
    Steve,I don’t want to stray too far off topic but have bookmarked the URL, and will read more thoroughly later. James Lovelock uses DMS in his cloud formation concept but I don’t think he quantifies its effect. Wonder how the Phytoplankton are doing in the continual iron rich dust storms we are having in SE Australia ?
    You have hit upon an under-explored area of study in the CO2 cycle.

  132. old construction worker says:

    Fred H. Haynie (15:17:15) :
    George E. Smith (14:37:30)
    ‘Bear in mind, in the Weather is not climate vein; that when you talk about more clouds bringing more cooling; you are talking about an increase in average cloud coverage, over climate time scales; last night’s weather does’t matter much.’
    We don’t live in a black box and true last night’s weather does’t matter much. But what would happen if wind patterns change a little and Yuma received more moist air from Baja and Shreveport started getting more dry air out of the northwest. Day by day, week by week, year by year, their climate condition for their area would change. Some times, I think people forget, we don’t live in a calm atmosphere. It is violent. Always changing. Co2 has very, very, very little to do with it.

  133. lgl says:

    Keith Minto (17:36:01) :

    Here’s one suggestion:
    http://www.science-class.net/Lessons/Ocean/CharacteristicsOcean.pdf
    Less than 50% energy left at 1 meter
    20% at 10 meters
    0.5% at 100 meters

    But this doesn’t matter much since temperature is quite uniform through the mixed layer, which is from a few to several tens of meters.

  134. old construction worker says:

    Just throwing this out there, OT. I saw the report of the most recent underwater volcano. Do we have even a close/accurate count of underwater volcanoes?

    The team’s “heat in the pipeline” has been found.

  135. cba says:


    Keith Mento
    An interesting report by Ohlmann, et al. http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~davey/MyPapers/Ohlmann_etal_JClimate_1996.pdf claims that the amount of energy in the deeply penetrating spectral wavebands (relative to total solar energy) can be at least 14% larger under clouds!. They claim that clouds shift energy into the blue green spectrum that penetrates to greater depth. By eyeballing some charts it seems to me that 520nm has the greatest depth penetration.
    Steve Short (16:16:09), those comments were interesting, most research is involved in the physics and not the biological/chemistry of seawater.
    The upper limit for solar penetration I have seem is 50m, my understanding was that it was a lot less.

    Admittedly the paper was quite muddled there but it doesn’t say that clouds can shift power from one wavelength to another. What it appears to be trying to say by the mention of ‘greater attenuation’ is that the solar spectrum hitting the surface after some or all has gone through clouds has been attenuated more strongly outside the deep penetrating band so that what is left has a greater fractional amount of the deep penetrating wavelengths. Think along the lines of a crude bandpass filter where in the passband (of blue green penetrating light) only 10% of the original sunlight was lost while outside this area, 24% was lost, thus enhancing the fraction of blue green by 24% relative to the total even though there is a 10% loss in the blue green as well. Note the numbers 10% and 24% are mine for the example but the number 14% is from the paper and from your post.

    Also, clouds toss in more problems than selective attenuation as they discuss in the paper where the diffuse light source is probably going to attenuate things further as the ocean albedo is highly dependent upon angle of incidence and as the angle of incidence gets further from the zenith, that albedo can really start to rise. However, the surface area over which the incoming light is spread also starts to rise which reduces the power density as well. While the authors discuss some of these factors, they also state they do not take all of them into account in their analysis.

    Another curiosity of the paper was the use of D/Dt rather than d/dt to represent a time derivative. I’ve never seen that before as D is rather universally accepted as a derivative while d is the differential and d/dt is the differential expression of the derivative. Fortunately, they did clarify the meaning there.

    On the surface (no pun), it appears that the paper is a serious attempt at science and not another of those feeding trough CAGW abominations. If they are on track with their ideas and efforts, it might start to explain some of the goings on that does affect weather and climate, in the form of powering ENSO and the like. Whether they can get away with chlorophyl rather than biosphere plankton in their dealings with energy budget is maybe another matter.

    One thing it helps show is that there is not going to be factor of increased heating at depth due to some increase in far IR radiation. Whatever IR induced radiation is going to stop at the surface in a microscopically thick layer and go into increased evaporation (my view, not covered in this paper). The other thing it indicates – despite being a bit muddled – is that cloud presence will reduce the total amount of power deposited deeper in the ocean despite their observation that it may not be attenuated as much as the total flux at the surface will be attenuated although the change in average angle of incidence may also alter this by altering the albedo as well so the consequences are not so clear cut as one might initially imagine.

  136. cba says:

    last I heard, they took a small survey of undersea volcanoes in that region of the world and were shocked to find that there were many that were unknown. Extrapolating outward from the small survey region, these people thought there could be thousands of them currently active that have never been observed. Unfortunately, I don’t recall any details about where I saw this, only that there could many thousands spread out around the pacific. Whether that could result in serious amounts of co2 being injected into the deep water or whether it could cause a significant amount of heating in the lower areas when averaged over the oceans are two good questions. The skeptic in me causes me to doubt at least the warming factor as being insignificant and to be doubtful that the co2 injection could have much of an effect either but not enough for me to have an opinion one way or another.

  137. Smokey says:

    cba (08:25:13):

    Two years ago it was reported that over 200,000 new undersea volcanoes have been discovered: click

  138. George E. Smith says:

    “”” cba (08:13:13) :


    Keith Mento
    An interesting report by Ohlmann, et al. http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~davey/MyPapers/Ohlmann_etal_JClimate_1996.pdf claims that the amount of energy in the deeply penetrating spectral wavebands (relative to total solar energy) can be at least 14% larger under clouds!. They claim that clouds shift energy into the blue green spectrum that penetrates to greater depth. By eyeballing some charts it seems to me that 520nm has the greatest depth penetration.
    Steve Short (16:16:09), those comments were interesting, most research is involved in the physics and not the biological/chemistry of seawater.
    The upper limit for solar penetration I have seem is 50m, my understanding was that it was a lot less. “””

    “”” They claim that clouds shift energy into the blue green spectrum that penetrates to greater depth. By eyeballing some charts it seems to me that 520nm has the greatest depth penetration. “””

    Now do they by any chance disclose the Physics of this “shift of energy to the blue green part of the spectrum”

    They are certainly correct that the blue green part of the spectrum penetrates deepest in the oceans. But what exactly causes the spectrum energy shift ?
    It is possibly true that scattering in the clouds eliminates other portions of the spectrum; but what kind of freuency shift could actually increase the total energy in the blue green. Sounds like a sloppy statement to me. What are the Watt’s per square metre in the blue green, before the clouds, and after the clouds ?

    As for trapping for 9 months; anything that warms the deeper waters is going to create expansion and a vertically upward convective current. So I would like to see more proof that the thermal energy stays down there for nine months before it can return to the surface. But an interesting paper.

  139. George E. Smith says:

    “”” old construction worker (00:29:12) :

    Fred H. Haynie (15:17:15) :
    George E. Smith (14:37:30)
    ‘Bear in mind, in the Weather is not climate vein; that when you talk about more clouds bringing more cooling; you are talking about an increase in average cloud coverage, over climate time scales; last night’s weather does’t matter much.’
    We don’t live in a black box and true last night’s weather does’t matter much. But what would happen if wind patterns change a little and Yuma received more moist air from Baja and Shreveport started getting more dry air out of the northwest. Day by day, week by week, year by year, their climate condition for their area would change. Some times, I think people forget, we don’t live in a calm atmosphere. It is violent. Always changing. Co2 has very, very, very little to do with it. “””

    Well you won’t get any disagreement from me on that score. I was merely pointing out that just because some high clouds at night may slow the evening cooldown, does not negate the fact that the increased cloud cover will block far more solar energy from the surface during daylight hours; so ANY cloud increase ALWAYS causes cooling over time.

    The movement of hotter or colder air masses into a region does not negate the simple fact that when a cloud passes in front of the sun, it gets colder in the shadow zone; ALWAYS.

  140. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Keith Minto (17:36:01) :

    Tallbloke (15:37:00)
    Research follows the money and most is involved in looking at UVB penetration into seawater. The Spectral distribution of solar energy at sea level was reported to be 3% for UV, 44% for visible and 53% for IR. Sea water albedo at low to mid latitudes was reported to be 0.06.
    An interesting report by Ohlmann, et al. http://www.icess.ucsb.edu/~davey/MyPapers/Ohlmann_etal_JClimate_1996.pdf claims that the amount of energy in the deeply penetrating spectral wavebands (relative to total solar energy) can be at least 14% larger under clouds!. They claim that clouds shift energy into the blue green spectrum that penetrates to greater depth. By eyeballing some charts it seems to me that 520nm has the greatest depth penetration.
    Steve Short (16:16:09), those comments were interesting, most research is involved in the physics and not the biological/chemistry of seawater.
    The upper limit for solar penetration I have seem is 50m, my understanding was that it was a lot less. “””
    Don’t know who wrote what above.

    From the Infra-Red Handbook (Wolfe & Zissis)

    Sea water has its minimum attenuation at about 470 nm (definitely blue) at about 0.0001 Absorption coefficient (cm^-1) That means 470 nm blue light (aka blue LEDs) will be attenuated to 1/e (37%) in 10,000 cm or 100 metres. So the 50 metre limits is way too shallow. Any scuba diver can tell you the surface is still visible easily at 150 ft depth (open ocean water). The absorption coefficient increase to 0.01 at about 770 nm in the deep red, and about 300 nm in the UV, so that would be just one metre penetration to 1/e intensity. Water is most sea opaque at 3.0 microns wavelength in the IR at about 8000 cm^-1, giving a 1.25 micron penetration depth to 1/e, but the general absorption coefficient away from that 3.0 micron max is about 1000 cm^-1 which puts the 1/e depth for most of the IR longer than 2.5 microns at about 10 microns depth.

    Sunlight penetrates much deeper in the ocean than many people think.

  141. George E. Smith says:

    “”” old construction worker (14:54:22) :

    George, as I have said before the only thing worst than being cold and hungry is being WET, cold and hungry. “””

    Man! Old CW, have I ever been cold and wet; don’t even remember if I was hungry. back in the late 1950s some Swiss company built a very long ski chair lift on Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand; it was designed to take 40 tons of ice distributed along its more than one mile length. Well it ws built across a historically wet snow region of the mountain, and so during a blizzard it starte icing up, till the weight of the ice on the chairs and the cable was pulling some chairs off the lift. So they decided to run the lift during the storm, so they could keep the cable free of ice, and knock it off the chairs as they came around the bottom. Unfortunately, they had waited too long and they couldn’t start the lift because of all the foot thick ice on the cable. So somebody whacked the cable with a sledge hammer to dislodge the ice; and it all came off at once from a long stretch of cable, and in the rebound the cable jumped off the pulleys; so now they couldn’t run it at all.

    So they asked us poor University of Auckland slobs to help them knock ice off the towers to try and stop them collapsin; some of them had been turned into a solid block of ice.
    So here I was up there in the blizzard with a small sledge hammer, chipping ice off the bottom of the tower, and then climbing up a notch to work on the next section, holding the frozen tower steel in one gloved hand and swinging a three pound hammer at the ice with the other, and every time a big chunk came down, well it whacked you on your arm or elbow. I think I cleared three towers all together. Together we knocked over 200 tons of ice off just the middle thrid of that chair lift, that had been designed for 40 tons over the whole length. I was soaked to the sking, but fortunately was wearing New zealand unscoured woolens under my parka.
    We did eventually get a free days lift pass out of the deal after the storm. That summer they broke the lift into two sections, to make it more maintainable.
    While climbing down the mountain backwards in the dark (the sleet was blowing up the slope and cut into ones face, a came withing about six feet of stepping off the top of a 500 fot cliff to nowhere. I thought that those crossed skis in the snow, I just passed was a bit strange, so I stopped and turned around to look down into oblivion. Lucky me!

  142. old construction worker says:

    George E. Smith (11:12:44) :
    ‘Well you won’t get any disagreement from me on that score. I was merely pointing out that just because some high clouds at night may slow the evening cooldown, does not negate the fact that the increased cloud cover will block far more solar energy from the surface during daylight hours; so ANY cloud increase ALWAYS causes cooling over time.’

    I wasn’t disagreeing with you, but sometimes people do not realizes how over time nothing remains the same. The Rocky mountains are getting higher while at the same time Appalachian Range is washing out to sea. In the great lakes area the crust is still up lifting from the Ice Age. Each will have an effect on local climate. The question is how many other parameters must be accounted for just to pin point how hard or where the wind blows.

    I would have been more impressed with the “Co2 drives the climate” thing if a young meteorologist looking at weather balloon data and wonder why the upper troposphere was warming than a politician wanting a reason to build nuclear power plants.

  143. cba says:

    George E. Smith
    “”” They claim that clouds shift energy into the blue green spectrum that penetrates to greater depth. By eyeballing some charts it seems to me that 520nm has the greatest depth penetration. “””

    This is a misconception by Kieth Minto. As I mentioned, the paper itself is muddled and a bit hard to understand there, but it does appear to claim that it’s merely a wavelength preferred attenuation that leaves more of the original sunlight at these preferred penetrating wavelengths than it leaves of the outsdie of the bandwidth, thus permitting about 14% more of the penetrating radiation to get through than the nonpenetrating radiation BUT that all of these are attenuated going through the clouds. There is no wavelength shift of any of the radiation in the article. That is simply a misunderstanding made by Kieth Minto and probably the fault of the article authors because of their muddled explaination that can permit the misconception.

  144. sky says:

    Solar irradiance clearly provides the power that drives the climate system. Can anyone provide a clear physical explanation of the power-source for all the other right-hand terms in Spencer’s feedback model? There are no op-amps to be found anywhere in the oceans or the atmosphere! The climate system does, however, respond differently to irradiance , depending on its own state (e.g., cloudy or clear). It seems that the concept of “feedback” is being conflated with changes in the state of the system, which should be modeled as a time-varying response characteristic, rather than a feedback loop operating on system output.

  145. srp says:

    The funny thing to me is that the discipline that thinks the most about the sorts of statistical causality questions Dr. Spencer highlights is…economics. Much of econometrics–simultaneous equation models, instrumental variable analysis, search for natural “experiments,” etc.–was developed specifically to address the problems of endogenous regressors and reverse causality. Yet econometricians are treated as outsiders and pests when they try to repair the statistical errors of the climate science orthodoxy (I am thinking more here of the proxy reconstruction literature, but the ignorance problem extends to the issue Dr. Spencer is highlighting.)

    The intuition for what Dr. Spencer says is pretty clear: If 1) clouds change for reasons other than temperature and 2) clouds lower the temperature, then the historical record will have lots of periods where small cloud cover and high temperatures are observed together. To then use these correlations to say “When temperature goes up due to CO2 we don’t see big cloud cover, hence negative feedback is small” is thus a fundamental error. The argument ignores that high temperature episodes are selectively sampling from periods when cloud cover is exogenously small. Any economist will grasp this point immediately, but apparently Dr. Spencer’s natural science cohorts find it hard to wrap their heads around.

  146. Keith Minto says:

    cba and George E Smith. T
    The chart that I ‘eye balled’ was figure 4,a and my 520nm on second sight looks like 490nm, close to the 470nm stated by George. cba I agree that clouds would attenuate and not frequency shift. I guess my interest in this is how much heat is going into the ocean from sunlight and it appears that clouds would decrease IR reaching the ocean. The light penetration issue is interesting but complex,turbidity and backscattering would influence depth penetration and well as light wavelength. The fact that IR penetrates only the surface layer (prior to mixing) is probably the part that interests me and thanks for that info.
    Part of the conclusion to the linked article is interesting, “Values for solar penetration computed here for 10deg N,10deg S,140-170E, mean solar flux penetration is 12wm2,a figure 40% less than that produced by Ramanathan”.

  147. Roger Knights says:

    Claude Harvey (13:26:48) :

    ”I share your pain, Dr. Spencer. After I once quit a job in frustration, my colleagues who had never once sided with me in the corporate wars started telling me how they needed me there to “Speak the truth”. Your colleagues’ distracted behavior was likely caused by their hearing their dinner bell chime about that time. The AGW dinner bell actually plays a little song that goes:

    “Acting on Spencer’s rant
    Will cause you to lose your grant
    Going with the flow
    Is the smart man’s way to go
    Why risk the pain of speaking true
    When Spencer’s there to do it for you”

    Here’s a version of the above that’s got more swing:

    Second Dr. Spencer’s rant?
    –There goes my grant.

    Speak truth to power?
    –Peers will turn sour.

    I haven’t the moxie,
    Let him be my proxy.

    There’s no hurry;
    So why not curry?
    A turn-with-the-tider,
    Outlasts an outsider.

    I’m sticking with the paradigm,
    Biding my time,
    And drawing my dime.

  148. Roger Knights says:

    Oops — now I’ve improved the 2nd stanza, thusly:

    Speak truth to power?
    –My peers will glower.

  149. Roger Knights says:

    2nd oops — I’ve improved the last stanza to:

    So I’m fine
    With the paradigm,
    Biding my time,
    And drawing my dime.

  150. Roger Knights says:

    Here’s the revised version in full:

    Second Dr. Spencer’s rant?
    –There goes my grant.

    Speak truth to power?
    –My peers will glower.

    I haven’t the moxie,
    Let him be my proxy.

    There’s no hurry,
    So why not curry?
    A turn-with-the-tider,
    Outlasts an outsider.

    Hence I’m fine
    With the paradigm,
    Biding my time,
    And drawing my dime.

  151. Roger Knights says:

    4th oops — I’ve changed “There’s no hurry” to “It’s unsafe to hurry”. Here’s the last version:

    Second Dr. Spencer’s rant?
    –There goes my grant.

    Speak truth to power?
    –My peers will glower.

    I haven’t the moxie,
    Let him be my proxy.

    It’s unsafe to hurry,
    So why not curry?
    A turn-with-the-tider,
    Outlasts an outsider.

    Hence I’m fine
    With the paradigm,
    Biding my time,
    And drawing my dime.

  152. cba says:

    Keith Minto,

    You can forget IR having any penetration into the ocean. Even Red goes away quickly. Having clouds overhead significantly increases the IR coming down rather than decreasing it overall as the clouds may block solar IR but they have their own longer wave IR to emit.

    There has been some effort made by some to harp on the skin effect with claims that it blocks or reduces heat flow. What is really going on with that is the fact that at the surface, there is insufficient heat flowing in to maintain a higher temperature and that it is losing too much heat by evaporation and radiation. The give away to that is that in conduction and convection, the heat flow quantity down lower depends upon the temperature differential down lower and nowhere else. If the skin warms up some, that cannot affect the flow of heat down below the skin unless it affects the temperatures down below as well. If the warmer skin could warm the area immediately below it, then it could reduce the flow of heat from lower down. But then, there wouldn’t be a skin effect. Heat flow in conduction is modeled just like current flow in electric circuits where there is a thermal resistance, a heat flow ‘current’ and a temperature (voltage equivalent) difference. Where there is a temperature difference (like voltage) it’s because of a resistance to the flow of heat (electric current) and the heat (current) is restricted more at that point than elsewhere. What’s happening to the skin is that it is getting rid of more heat than is coming in when it is at a higher temperature so it cannot by conservation of energy maintain that temperature.

  153. Stephen Wilde says:

    I’ve done a lot of work on the IR and ocean skin issue here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4245

  154. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Good work Roy.

    This feedback cannot be strongly positive and is most likely moderately negative.

    Otherwise, we would not be having this conversation.

    And we know that CO2 lags temperature at all time scales.

    So warmists say that “the future causes the past”.

    Don’t shake their religion too hard Roy – they are only being polite on the surface.

  155. Bart says:

    What causes looping is phase lag. And, the lag appears on the flux, i.e., temperature drives flux, not the other way around (counter-clockwise loop). E.g., suppose temperature is

    T = A*cos(omega*t)

    Then the flux is

    F = B*cos(omega*t – phi)

    The phase plot is counterclockwise if phi > 0, which indicates F lags T.

    Thus, the data are consistent with a rise in temperature creating an increase in radiative flux at some time later, which could be due to a dominant negative cloud feedback, which increases outward radiated flux.

  156. Bart says:

    Forgot the other half…

    Thus, the data are consistent with a rise in temperature creating an increase in radiative flux at some time later, which could be due to a dominant negative cloud feedback, which increases outward radiated flux, rather than a dominant positive water vapor feedback which would decrease radiated flux.

  157. Jim says:

    *******************
    Steve Short (16:16:09) :
    One might also note that roughly analogous effects occur over large forested areas. Rises in SST and PAR lead to spurts of leaf or needle growth, increased ET and increased emissions directly into the air of volatile isoprenes etc i.e. biogenic CCNs. This is why forest create clouds and rain. This particularly occurs where there is a high forest biomass and also essentially contiguous forest cover right up oceanic coasts for reason I don’t have space to elaborate here (e.g. good Russian paper last year mentioned in New Scientist).
    ***********************
    Steve – I am with you on the biological factors in climate. It should be discussed and explored more. People tend to focus only on the pure physics of climate. For example, a dark fungus with long hyphae, long enough to gather nutrients from the ice or the underlying soil, could trigger an exit from an ice age.

    I used to live near the Smokey Mountains. They are “smoky” due to the volatile organics of which you speak. I never made the connection that these trees are actually creating their own rain. Fascinating.

  158. Dennis Wingo says:

    I was at the AGU on Thursday and there were a LOT of great posters and papers there, most of them showed the MWP and the Holocene optimum and not a hockey stick in sight!

  159. cba says:

    There was an excellent explaination of how the hockeystick may have come about, either around here or over at CA a while back. It’s simply picking enough random data sets whose last several entries ‘reflect the instrument record’ (as presumed) regardless of whether that instrument record reflects the actual conditions present at the tree’s location (or other proxy’s location). That way, all the results come out to reinforce and show the hockey stick blade but all the other data points average out to a flat line. Whether or not it’s possible to really get a measure of the temperature record has nothing to do with the selection process of this approach. It’s the flatline that’s the dead give away that one has random noise outside the selection area.

  160. Roger Knights says:

    “There was an excellent explanation of how the hockeystick may have come about, …. It’s simply picking enough random data sets whose last several entries ‘reflect the instrument record’ (as presumed) regardless of whether that instrument record reflects the actual conditions ….”

    No tricky, no sticky.

  161. M. Simon says:

    Jim Clarke (06:30:55) :

    Glad to here that Andrew Dressler is “a super nice guy”. I recall his blogs from a few years ago often had the same tone and quality of some of the crutape letters. In other words, he was sarcastic and dismissive of anyone suggesting that increasing CO2 was not a dire emergency.

    It may well be that he is becoming more open minded, but if I were you, Dr. Spencer, I would watch your back…just in case.

    Which points up something that I think is a not unexpected fall out of the UEA CRU doc dump. A moral reawakening in science. Not perfection by any means but certainly a tightening up of the ship.

  162. Roger Knights says:

    Oops — “sticky” has a meaning already! Change to:

    No trickee, no stickee.

  163. Jensen says:

    Only a matter of time before the U.N. starts sending around those Black G-Wagons and people start walking into soft, slow, bullets……….watch out for the Danes!!!! There‘s only 6 million of them, but they’re all bad asses. :)

    That said, I did some control theory studies in university for my degree in electrical engineering. I have a tough time believing in positive feedback anything for a device that has worked fairly well for 50 million years or so. Positive feedback is unstable, and with no driving input what so ever, it explodes (typically). So I started reading chapter 13 of Judth Curry’s thermo text (one of the links on Climate Audit article JC review of Lindzen & Choi 09). Sure enough, right there on page 6, Find the parameters using the simulations……
    I am confused. I hope this was meant only to illuminate a method for finding loop and forward path parameters, and not to Imply that the simulation models are to be used to determine these parameters. Using the simulation models will only result in providing the parameters that were originally programmed into models.
    Or am I missing something….
    I absolutely agree, beware of models and simulations, they are frequently wrong. Given we can’t even do a fair job at a statistical analysis of the earth’s temperature, I wouldn’t place any faith in the models what so ever.

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