Satellite measurements show our quiet sun is cooling the upper thermosphere

The TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission

Data from the TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission are being used to understand the climate of the upper atmosphere. Credit: NASA

From NASA News. New measurements from a NASA satellite show a dramatic cooling in the upper atmosphere that correlates with the declining phase of the current solar cycle. For the first time, researchers can show a timely link between the Sun and the climate of Earth’s thermosphere, the region above 100 km, an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere.

Scientists from NASA’s Langley Research Center and Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., presented these results at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco from Dec. 14 to 18.

Earth’s thermosphere and mesosphere have been the least explored regions of the atmosphere. The NASA Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission was developed to explore the Earth’s atmosphere above 60 km altitude and was launched in December 2001. One of four instruments on the TIMED mission, the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument, was specifically designed to measure the energy budget of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The SABER dataset now covers eight years of data and has already provided some basic insight into the heat budget of the thermosphere on a variety of timescales.

Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as infrared (IR) radiation in 2002 (top) and 2008 (bottom) -- In this SABER plot, Nitric Oxide (NO) is the IR emitter. Researchers are building a climate record of the thermosphere using this data. Credit: NASA

The extent of current solar minimum conditions has created a unique situation for recent SABER datasets, explains Stan Solomon, acting director of the High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The end of solar cycle 23 has offered an opportunity to study the radiative cooling in the thermosphere under exceptionally quiescent conditions.

“The Sun is in a very unusual period,” said Marty Mlynczak, SABER associate principal investigator and senior research scientist at NASA Langley. “The Earth’s thermosphere is responding remarkably — up to an order of magnitude decrease in infrared emission/radiative cooling by some molecules.”

The TIMED measurements show a decrease in the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun. In addition, the amount of infrared radiation emitted from the upper atmosphere by nitric oxide molecules has decreased by nearly a factor of 10 since early 2002. These observations imply that the upper atmosphere has cooled substantially since then. The research team expects the atmosphere to heat up again as solar activity starts to pick up in the next year.

While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide. As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.

The SABER dataset is the first global, long-term, and continuous record of the

Nitric oxide (NO) and Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the thermosphere.

“We suggest that the dataset of radiative cooling of the thermosphere by NO and CO2 constitutes a first climate data record for the thermosphere,” says Mlynczak.

The TIMED data provide a climate record for validation of upper atmosphere climate models, which is an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere. SABER provides the first long-term measurements of natural variability in key terms of the upper atmosphere climate.

Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as infrared (IR) radiation in 2002 (top) and 2008 (bottom) -- In this SABER plot, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the IR emitter. Researchers are building a climate record of the thermosphere using this data. Credit: NASA

“A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,” says Mlynczak. “Scientists need to validate that theory. This climate record of the upper atmosphere is our first chance to have the other side of the equation.”

James Russell III, SABER principal investigator and co-director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., agrees adding, “The atmosphere is a coupled system. If you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other – they’re intrinsically linked. To be as accurate as possible, scientists have to understand global change throughout the atmosphere.”

As the TIMED mission continues, these data derived from SABER will become important in assessing long term atmospheric changes due to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

TIMED is the first mission in the Solar Terrestrial Probes Program within the Heliophysics Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

TIMED is the terrestrial anchor of the Heliophysics Great Observatory. Learn more of TIMED’s Heliophysics contributions and its role as a bridge to Earth science missions. Link to lessons learned in terrestrial aeronomy.

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169 thoughts on “Satellite measurements show our quiet sun is cooling the upper thermosphere

  1. They go from reduced solar output, cooling atmosphere to GHGs being the cause! Can’t these people do any science at all withou blaming GHGs from the word go. I see nothing in this data that proves GHGs are cooling the atmosphere but somehow they have absolute proof, Where?

    Is it me? am I being obtuse? or what?

  2. Quite how anybody can deny the Sun’s substantial effect on the Earth’s climate is beyond me. More studies like this, based on sound science, are needed to demolish the ridiculous and over-hyped CO2 link to climactic variations.

  3. So…is the upper atmosphere being cooled from less solar activity or is it a result of greenhouse gases as AGW theory predicts? Reading the article seems to suggest both.

  4. It is great to get all of these satellites up there, but the data is still too new. It only goes back to 2002. In a few decades, these state of the art technologies are going to be quaint as compared to what future scientists will come up with. I just hope that today’s instruments gather enough data that will still be relevant in the coming decades.

    The caption under the first set of graphs says that, “Nitric Oxide (NO) is the IR emitter.” Since Nitric Oxide has a high reactivity, how wide spread is it in the upper atmosphere? Has its concentration changed significantly over the study period?

    John M Reynolds

  5. You’re kidding right?

    You mean NASA has discovered the Sun might have something to do with the climate?

    Who would have ever thought such a thing…

  6. Can a climate techie explain if there is any valid inference here to be made about CO2 driven warming? I understand each aspect of what was quoted but not its implications.
    Secondly, any link to the paper that was presented?

  7. So what are the implications? Do there now seem to be two mechanisms producing cooling, the solar one and the hypothesized GHG warming one, whereas we only require one mechanism? Or is the conclusion that both are at work, but the GHG warming must be smaller than thought? Or that the solar mechanism must be smaller than thought?

  8. I wonder how this new story is linked to a similar one almost from almost exactly a year earlier?:

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

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215121601.htm

  9. That in line with the second law of thermodynamics means the Earth’s lower atmosphere transfers more heat out into space during solar minima.

  10. Well blow me down! Who would have thunk it? Maybe that big bright burning ball in the sky does have something to to with it after all?

  11. Is this sentence correct?

    “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    Shouldn’t the density increase and as a result the drag increase?

    Thanks

  12. Would any such cooling be a result of less energy from the sun or less energy coming up from below the upper atmosphere ?

    If the variation in solar output is very small as maintained by Leif and others then presumably reduced solar power output would be insufficient to cause the observed cooling on it’s own.

  13. If the observed cooling correlates with changes in solar activity then presumably it would not be correlated with CO2 quantities in the atmosphere.

    I read elsewhere that the stratosphere has been warming since the mid 90s as the solar activity declined. Is the temperature of the stratosphere moving in the opposite direction to the temperature of the upper atmosphere and are both trends solar activity induced rather than CO2 induced ?

  14. From NASA News. New measurements from a NASA satellite show a dramatic cooling in the upper atmosphere that correlates with the declining phase of the current solar cycle. For the first time, researchers can show a timely link between the Sun and the climate of Earth’s thermosphere, the region above 100 km, an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere.

    Okay, I haven’t had coffee yet (hang on – that’s better), but even if this wasn’t described as being from NASA news, I’d say it was a NASA press release.

    What do they mean by a timely link? The only thing untimely about the Skylab space station was that the Space Shuttle arrived too late to boost it to a higher orbit.

    Perhaps they mean they can forecast temperature and density? Well, just a few days ago in Tips & Notes a link to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8408957.stm was posted and that says in part:

    Extended mission

    The [ESA] mission team also announced at the AGU meeting that Goce is likely to keep flying far longer than anyone had envisaged at launch.

    Even at its ultra-low altitude of just 254.9km, Goce requires little effort from its propulsion system to maintain a steady orbit and keep itself from falling out of the sky.

    “The air drag that we have experienced on orbit after launching has been very different from what any model was able to predict pre-launch,” said Dr Floberghagen.

    Besides the certainty that NASA press releases overstates whatever they’re trying to get attention, perhaps the story is that NASA doesn’t talk with ESA, a story that will never grace the text of a NASA press release.

    Hmm, a couple more notes from the press release:

    As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time. [Wow! NASA missed this understated comment. I note it was in the second half, maybe I'll have read that half first in the future.]

    The TIMED data provide a climate record for validation of upper atmosphere climate models, which is an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere. SABER provides the first long-term measurements of natural variability in key terms of the upper atmosphere climate. [Oh dear, now when we talk about global warming, we have to specify which which climate system we're talking about. This will lead to the dismissive retort, "Yeah, in the Thermosphere!" which will provide a handy exit from being brow-beaten by a hopeless AGW zealot.]

  15. The NASA press release does not mention the effect on the Stratosphere. But there is no strong boundary between the layers of the upper atmosphere as there is between the lower and upper atmosphere at the tropopause. So are NASA being coy here? They don’t want to upset the AGW applecart of co2 caused stratospheric cooling, but need to stay up with the latest results from expensive orbiting hardware.

    Caught between a rock and a cold place?

  16. Scratching my head..
    ok so If warm theory says the “pollutants” Co2 nitrous and methane get trapped and do Not? radiate to space, but stay low and heat us up..
    so theoretically they hardly make it that far..and Co2 is heavier that air, and its supposed to be falling and making oceans go acid..:-)
    aw come on!
    and the sun which,
    a) sends radiant heat and light, is low..
    and b)the earth is cooling in the troposphere.(but it still isn’t anything to do with the sun??) (stupid)
    well, how come they say here that its still? co2 etc causing this too?
    can we see 8 years of mid and low data to also compare?
    I seem to remember some of thats on this site and that! also wasn’t showing that huge red blip that IPCC tell us we should see..
    correct me if I am wrong by all means :-)
    PS if mayon volcano keeps dumping 7,000+- tonnes of sulphur dioxide + per day. how long will that take to alter weather patterns for the cooler?
    so cool above and below, folks, seriously, am I right in thinking this could be ugly.
    stop the world ,I wanna get off:-) ?

  17. Great stuff. I’m confident satellite data can give us a much better answer to the fundmental question of to what extent CO2 influences climate, than a set of homogenized wandering thermometers.

  18. “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,”

    So the cooling is proof of AGW?

  19. Still lot to learn about magnetic fields of the solar system.
    There is an apparent ‘correlation’ between the intensity of the Earth’s field and the Solar activity.

    Perhaps an odd coincidence, should it be ignored?

  20. If the upper atmosphere cools, does it follow that the lower atmosphere can also cool, assuming that the level of GCRs remain constant? Hope someone can explain, thanks.

  21. To the contrary, dynamicists have demonstrated the upper atmosphere is closely linked to the lower atmosphere and troposphere is included.

  22. So…my dear copenhagen fiascoed people, here you are again. Forget it, there is no way out !
    So you were expecting CO2 to accumulate heat in a piggy bank up there and now that there is cold you say CO2 is to blame too!, come on!

  23. So let me get this straight, they have data for the 8 last years. In the last 8 years global warming has failed to happen. But the cooling of the stratosphere is an important prediction of the theory behind climate change – the theory that failed to predict that the earth hasn’t warmed in the last 10 years.

    The scientists working in this sector are having to resort to ever more weasely sentences to avoid touching the sensitivities of the climate orthodoxy. Sooner or latter this will lead to a schism and we’ll see the orthodoxy split into two competing churches. From there the fun starts.

    Popcorn please.

  24. We must begin to bring pressure on Congress to rescind the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), H.R. 2454. This measure was passed on or about 26, June 2009 and involved votes by both Democrats and Republicans.

    Clearly, Congress enacted this legislation based on the fake, fraudulent and false data of those leading scientists and researchers (?) who were supporting the AGW (man-made global warming) theory. We know the data they used to support their theory was ‘cheery picked’ and false. Indeed, there is new information supporting the fact that our climate is influenced by the Sun and other solar activity. We are not all going to fry or be swept away by rising seas. .

    Those who still support the AGW theory and those who wish to profit from the sale of junk bonds (carbon credits) or gain control of industry will continue to beat their AGW dead horse down the road. They must be challenged. Thanks to the brave folks at WUWT and other blogs we have the ammunition to provide our elected representatives with this true information.

    We must make members of the House and Senate aware of the new scientific information concerning global warming and global cooling, something that humans must deal with but have little or not control over.

    Congress must repeal the Clean Energy and Security Act.
    TComa

  25. “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere”

    I would appreciate some extra words around this counter-intuitive statement.

    On the one hand, the greenhouse reduces radation re-radiated. On the other hand, heat conduction and convection should increase if the greenhouse does its job as a warmer.

    I would expect that laying in the sun on the roof of a hot greenhouse would feel warmer than laying in the sun on top of an ambient sheet of glass.

    Is there a scientist out there with more words on this?

  26. Doesn’t it appear that this news release contains a non sequitur in its description of the study results? The first few paragraphs discuss the lower radiative balance due to changes in solar radiation, then the next few paragraphs talk about how climate models predict the same changes due to increases in CO2 predicted in climate models.

  27. I just had to look this up FYI
    “The thermosphere is a layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The thermosphere is directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. It extends from about 90 km (56 miles) to between 500 and 1,000 km (311 to 621 miles) above our planet.

    Temperatures climb sharply in the lower thermosphere (below 200 to 300 km altitude), then level off and hold fairly steady with increasing altitude above that height. Solar activity strongly influences temperature in the thermosphere. The thermosphere is typically about 200° C (360° F) hotter in the daytime than at night, and roughly 500° C (900° F) hotter when the Sun is very active than at other times. Temperatures in the upper thermosphere can range from about 500° C (932° F) to 2,000° C (3,632° F) or higher.

    The boundary between the thermosphere and the exosphere above it is called the thermopause. At the bottom of the thermosphere is the mesopause, the boundary between the thermosphere and the mesosphere below.”

    Above From

    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Atmosphere/thermosphere.html

  28. With my terrestrial appetites sated from the feasts (multiple) of Christmas, my upper atmospheric (intellectual) hunger is being fed as usual by WUWT. Thanks, Anthony, for the variety of scientific information you offer your international readers. I thoroughly enjoy following each and every link.

    Question. Since TIMED is a NASA product, does it operate in the realm of scientific method and truthful raw data? How reliable is the Hampton, Va research center? It seems to me that the Boulder, CO center (NCAR) leaves something to be desired as a “scientific” facility???

    Since TIMED was launched in 2001, that period coincides with the worst of the ClimateGate conspiracy activities. What about TIMED as a co-conspirator? (The SABER dataset now covers eight years of data….”)

    And Stan Solomon of Colorado, “acting director” — is he a pseudo-scientist? How about Marty Mlynczak? Is he a brainwashed “assoc. principle investigator”? The ClimateGate Conspiracy has done great damage to all scientists’ reputations. Until they clear themselves of “cooked books” or “fellow traveling”, aren’t they all under suspicion?

  29. Is there a simple explanation for this: “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,”.

    That does not make sense, to me. I must be missing something.

  30. “While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere,…”

    “The atmosphere is a coupled system. If you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other – they’re intrinsically linked. To be as accurate as possible, scientists have to understand global change throughout the atmosphere.”

    – These two contradictory statements in the article mean either these guys don’t know what they’re talking about or the press release writer is terribly confused. Why can’t an editor pick up on this and make it sensible?

  31. Thanks for the article. It’s funny how they have to (1) tie the research into global warming; and (2) imply that they are NOT trying to undermine the “consensus.”

  32. Very interesting.

    By convention, the TOA (Top Of the Atmosphere) is taken to be the tropopause.

    But this indicates significant radiative variation ( ~ 10 W / m^2 )
    much higher up!

    What does this say about radiative forcing if the TOA is taken
    as the THERMOPAUSE instead of the TROPOPAUSE?

  33. this is fascinating…but i need some of you who understand this better to try to unpack it for us. will this cause any cooling at our levels in the next couple of years or with the sun starting to act up a little (verdict is still out, but the last few weeks have been the most active weeks of cycle 24 to date.

  34. While this **warming** has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide.

    Shouldn’t this be “cooling” ?

  35. Of course, they hope to spin this 10 fold drop in radiative emission to a 7ppm (less than 2%) increase in C02.

  36. The article above said:

    “While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide. ”

    Yet a less active Sun will cause that–can someone explain how additional CO2 will cause it?

    Then they stated:

    “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease,…”

    Generally, as things get colder they contract (density INCREASES); as they warm up they expand==it’s called a positive coefficient of thermal expansion.

    I know of only a few things that get less dense with colder temperature (water ice is less dense that it’s liquid counterpart; bismuth metal expands as it cools from a molten liquid to a solid), so what are they talking about?

    And the last sentence exposes their error by stating the obvious:

    “…which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    This means the atmosphere will get smaller by contracting as it gets cooler; it DOESN’T expand (“decrease in density”! With less atmosphere on the outer edges of the atmosphere, satellites have less to run into, thereby preserving their orbits.

    Obviously the writer doesn’t understand what the word “density” means.

  37. By my reading of the article it confirms current global warming theory. I portends heating as the sun becomes more active.

  38. Climatologists rely on astrophysicists for the basic assumptions they employ in their climate models. In particular, it is assumed that the Sun is a steady source of radiant energy and that the Earth and its atmosphere have been a closed, undisturbed system for longer than man has walked the Earth. However, the theory of how the Sun works is of Victorian vintage. It was formulated in the gaslight and horse and buggy era, long before the space age showed that space is not empty.

    http://www.holoscience.com/news.php?article=8pjd9xpp

  39. From NASA News. New measurements from a NASA satellite show a dramatic cooling in the upper atmosphere that correlates with the declining phase of the current solar cycle….[cooling there only "correlates"]…

    “We suggest that the dataset of radiative cooling of the thermosphere by NO and CO2 constitutes a first climate data record for the thermosphere,” says Mlynczak.

    I suggest they’ve just proven that they don’t need CO2 to explain upper atmospheric cooling, especially since it’s been increasing – or even to explain anything at all about atmospheric temperatures.

    Someone help me out here. The article reads like nonsense to me regarding what it says about CO2 concentrations as a factor in significantly controlling any atmospheric temperatures, except that in the “upper atmosphere” it helps to register a temperature there by its electromagnetic emissions. Or something!

  40. It’s the sun! No, it’s increasing CO2, just as are models predict!

    They seem to want to have it both ways.

    Mike Ramsey

  41. “The research team expects the atmosphere to heat up again as solar activity starts to pick up in the next year.”

    I’ve heard this one before.

  42. Interesting, but also depressing that CO2 is dragged in yet again as a rationale. I don’t see how atmospheric science is going to make much progress without keeping an open mind. Well, I did slug my way through Kuhn when I was a student, so may be I protest too much.

  43. Please forgive the lackof proper terminology, I am far from a physical science major. I see a more than tripling of the watts/m(3)x10(-8) scale in the NO band at the 140 KM altitude when the sun is active. On the CO2 data, while the magnitude is not the same, the shift toward a cooler band is unmistakeable, especially at about the 112 KM altitude.

    To me, it makes more sense that this might be an effect of the decrease in the sun’s magnetic activity, thereby lowering the “strength” or “power” of the solar wind. And, in turn, allowing the entry of more cosmic rays, which,if Svensmark et. al. are correct, should increase low level cloud formation, thus cooling the lower atmosphere. Somewhere in all this are the negative feedback systems, such as water vapor, which according to Spencer and others, the CRUtape Letter crowd seems to have conveniently ignored. So my question is, why is it that the “upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere”?

  44. Somehow I am lost, first an order of magnitude cooling due to the sun at minimum then an expectation of CO2 cooling due to climate change theory.

  45. Damn!

    I had to read this twice to make sure I wasn’t suffering the aftereffects of too many Christmas drinks.

    It starts off speaking in the language of science of lessened solar activity and its impact on the upper atmosphere. The tale then shifts into the religious mantra of AGW and how greenhouse gases cool the upper atmosphere.

  46. perhaps the headline should be
    ” our quiet sun is not heating the upper….”
    and by the way…did it ever??
    wasn’t it a theory of co2 adsorption that there should be a cooling upper atmosphere??

  47. NASA:”While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide.”

    and then,

    “The TIMED measurements show a decrease in the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun. In addition, the amount of infrared radiation emitted from the upper atmosphere by nitric oxide molecules has decreased by nearly a factor of 10 since early 2002. These observations imply that the upper atmosphere has cooled substantially since then. The research team expects the atmosphere to heat up again as solar activity starts to pick up in the next year.”

    To conclude – climate models predict cooling of the upper atmosphere as a consequence of the warming of the lower atmosphere. Since 2002 we have both cooling in the lower and in the upper atmosphere that correlates well with the measured decrease in solar activity. And this proves – what? That models are wrong? Oh, no.

    I don’t see the point in posting their announcements. Always when I see some NASA announcement suggesting some, however loose, link between the Sun’s activity and the temperature I just start counting paragraphs until the caveat appears that “this does not disprove anthropogenic global warming”. It becomes frustrating in its predictability.

  48. Anotherford,

    The article does imply the cooling could be from CO2. But it also sets the stage to destroy the AGW theory around CO2. If the cooling is CO2 driven, then when the Sun’s activity rises again there should be no warming (radiative cooling) in these upper layers of the atmosphere. For AGW to be truly the larger driver over the solar output, then we should not see the atmosphere radiating heat as the Sun’s output increases.

    Which of course it will.

  49. Actually, a careful reading of the article will show that they present no results in regards to CO2. At the point the article talks about CO2, it’s mentioning the primary reason for the mission in the first place. Which makes sense, there’s a feast of funding for alarmist research and crumbs for practically anything else.

    Nowhere in the article did the researchers mention that they had further confirmed alarmist theory. However, they were quite specific in regards to the sun.

  50. They should have just left it at the Sun’s activity correlates to the temperature and not got into trying to boost the AGW nonsense with illogical statements. It only took moments for a couple of posters to point out that the temperature has not changed since this satellite record started and hence there’s no way this supports AGW.

    This only makes NASA look political and foolish.

  51. richb313 (05:18:19) :
    Is this sentence correct?
    “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”
    Shouldn’t the density increase and as a result the drag increase?

    It is correct. Look at it this way: A given satellite orbits at a certain height. As the atmosphere cools it contracts and the density at the height of that satellite decreases as more atmosphere is now below the satellite, and therefore the drag decreases.

  52. pyromancer76 (06:48:53) :
    And Stan Solomon of Colorado, “acting director” — is he a pseudo-scientist? How about Marty Mlynczak? Is he a brainwashed “assoc. principle investigator”?
    I can vouch for Stan and Marty.

  53. “Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (07:29:11) :

    Michael Crichton vindicated.”

    Thanks for the link. He say he went to Germany in 2005 – “very hostile environment”… That takes guts, going to the Greens heartland and confronting them with facts that contradict their worldview.

    And he says “If global warming were a company, you couldn’t buy it – they won’t let you do due diligence.” Great quote.

  54. Galen Haugh (07:41:31)
    Generally, as things get colder they contract (density INCREASES); as they warm up they expand==it’s called a positive coefficient of thermal expansion
    That is absolutely true!. PV=nRT. Then they are simply LYING. It´s once again the same business! and it is not that they don´t know what density is, it´s that they have to lie to live (which seems to be the current status of scientific research now).

  55. “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease” – I don’t understand this anomalous expansion of the atmosphere….

  56. Now that other comments have appeared, it is reassuring that others are having problems with this.

    I just watched a video on “Tips and Notes to WUWT”, “Cosmic Rays and Climate. Part V: Cosmoclimatology” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9zjYCjdjbg&feature=player_embedded). At the end is this quote from Henrik Svensmark:

    “The bottom line seems to be that instead of thinking of clouds being a result of climate, it actually is sort of upside down. It is that the climate is a result of changes in the clouds.”

    I’ll take that over NASA’s politically driven press releases anyday.

  57. I get it, CO2 blocks radiation from re-radiating to space, so the atmospheric layers further away are presumed to cool. But the thermosphere is cooling because of reduced solar output, according to NASA’s own article. What exactly are they trying to say here? It is very muddled.

    Also, if the thermosphere cools, why would more heat not leave through convection? If the system is looking to stay in equilibrium, would it not force heat out through convection?

  58. Dr Svalgaard – I for one, am happy to see you posting here. Inane comments will always crop up, but people with your standing and credentials are too few and far between. Please say you’ll be coming back?

  59. Leif Svalgaard (08:51:34) : (in response to richb313 (05:18:19) : “Is this sentence correct? – As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time. – Shouldn’t the density increase and as a result the drag increase?”

    (Leif): “It is correct. Look at it this way: A given satellite orbits at a certain height. As the atmosphere cools it contracts and the density at the height of that satellite decreases as more atmosphere is now below the satellite, and therefore the drag decreases.”

    Thanks Dr for clearing that up, why couldn’t they have just said it that way in the first place?

  60. To me it looks as the variation on UV radiation and variation in the solar wind excite the molecules in the upper atmosphere.

    Question?
    Is there enough energy in the solar wind so that this can cause the observed variation in temperature of the upper atmosphere?
    Has anyone made calculation on this?

  61. It is remarkable that this short record would lead to such generalizations: what is the frequency of the phenomenon? In 30 y time this data will likely have something to tell…

  62. I still don’t get it. I read every comment hoping someone would explain it better.

    So maybe the upper atmosphere cools in response to a few extra ppm in GHG grabbing heat, staying low and heavy and not letting go of it when it would otherwise spread upward?
    Seems to me there’s an infinite amount of cold out there. But then again, my furnace is broken this week.

    Is the paradoxymoron in the article or is it just me?

  63. AJStrata (08:36:40) : ” But it also sets the stage to destroy the AGW theory around CO2. If the cooling is CO2 driven, then when the Sun’s activity rises again there should be no warming (radiative cooling) in these upper layers of the atmosphere. For AGW to be truly the larger driver over the solar output, then we should not see the atmosphere radiating heat as the Sun’s output increases.”

    So, as LW is radiated away from the surface of the Earth and makes it’s way out of the atmosphere some of it gets absorbed and reradiated in all directions by the CO2 and other trace “greenhouse gases” (excluding water vapor for now), the actual amount of LW reaching the upper atmosphere will be less as CO2 absorbtion increases and the upper atmosphere will be cooler without any regard to solar activiity. Is that correct? If so, then your statement could truly be a real life test for that expectation.

  64. Free the data! NASA, release all data, adjustments and code within 20 days in response to any and all FOIA requests. Stop the propaganda. Let the people have the information they have been paying so dearly for…

  65. Thanks for that clarification on the density question Leif. So if I’m now understanding the big picture of the AGW model correctly, it is heavily focused on the CO2 molecule quantity, vertical distribution in the atmosphere, energy absorption and radiation characteristics, etc. This seems like a reasonable thing to study but shouldn’t our intuition lead us to a first assumption that CO2 is a minor player in the climate system? With the availability of all this new satellite data I would expect all legitimate climate scientists to now say the science is NOT settled and more research is needed.

  66. “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    So, this implies that the satellite orbit parameters were planned based on a certain “drag”. Less drag means some adjustments needed for the satellite data? Heads up on data changes.

    John

  67. nofate (08:01:16) :
    So my question is, why is it that the “upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere”?

    Since no-one else has responded, I’ll have a stab. The key to it, I believe, is the temperature profile throughout the various layers of the atmosphere. In the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) we are familiar with the temperature lapse rate, i.e. higher means colder. It is this fact that underpins AGW theory.

    In the drier, colder regions of the troposphere IR emission to space is dominated by CO2. With constant CO2 concentrations the average altitude at which emission takes place will remain broadly the same which means it will take place at a similar temperature (since temp is governed by altitude).

    Now then, if we add more CO2 to the troposphere, the average height at which IR is emitted will increase. This means it will be emitted from a colder region which means that, according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law (Energy emitted is proportional to T^4), the amount of energy emitted will be reduced. So we now have an energy imbalance, i.e. we have more incoming than outgoing, so the atmosphere will heat up until balance is restored.

    This is why the troposphere is expected to warm despite a relatively small increase in absorption near the surface.

    The stratosphere, on the other hand, has an ‘inverse lapse rate’, i.e. the higher the warmer. More CO2 in the stratosphere will raise the average emission height to a warmer region which, in this case, means that the amount of energy emitted will increase. This will give us an energy imbalance where we have more outgoing than incoming (i.e. the opposite to that of the troposphere) and so the stratosphere will cool down in order to restore equilibrium.

    Hence, if additional ghgs are responsible for global warming, the troposphere should warm while the stratosphere cools. AGWers point out that that if the Sun were responsible for recent tropospheric warming then the stratosphere should have warmed also. They probably have a point.

    I think this more or less provides a simple summary of the theory. I hope it makes sense.

  68. They probably had to mention that CO2 dribble just to get the paper through the peer review process.

    hehe

    Otherwise its nice to see that NASA is putting instruments into space now to really measure whats going on.

    Thats whats NASA needs to work with forwards.

    I just saw this Svensmark youtube series again. So refreshing to see him talk about his theories.

    He also mentions how difficult it was to get his papers into the journals. Now we all know why.

    6 episodes of pure joy;

  69. Leif Svalgaard (08:51:34) :

    richb313 (05:18:19) :
    Is this sentence correct?
    “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”
    Shouldn’t the density increase and as a result the drag increase?

    It is correct. Look at it this way: A given satellite orbits at a certain height. As the atmosphere cools it contracts and the density at the height of that satellite decreases as more atmosphere is now below the satellite, and therefore the drag decreases.

    It would have been more clear had they said “As the atmosphere cools and contracts the density will decrease at the satellite, which ultimately may will impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    I’d quibble with the word “impact” too as few satellite operations are improved by atmoshperic drag. The major exception is using it to save fuel to get planetary probes into circular orbits from high-kinetic energy, highly eccentric orbits. A few satellites may use drag for attitude control, though usually drag messes that up more than it helps. “Affect” is milder and more accurate, “improve” is almost always the case for satellites that aren’t studying the the high atmosphere.

  70. The dramatic upper atmospheric cooling is due to the Sun’s lesser activity, but rising CO2 concentration is thereby proven to explain the upper atmospheric cooling.

    With thinking like that, it’s no wonder that hardly any “Climate Scientists” have spoken out against what the leaked emails show: Everything that happens forever, is “consistent with” AGW, and therefore proves it.

  71. Per Strandberg (09:37:29) :
    Is there enough energy in the solar wind so that this can cause the observed variation in temperature of the upper atmosphere?
    Has anyone made calculation on this?

    Yes there is, but take note that UPPER means from 100 km on up, where the atmosphere is so thin [millions to billions times thinner than at the surface] that the actual amount of heat is minute, and it has no significant impact on the troposphere where we live.

  72. richb313 (05:18:19) :

    Is this sentence correct?

    “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    Shouldn’t the density increase and as a result the drag increase?

    Thanks
    *************************************

    I believe that they are referring to the fact that as the atmosphere cools and contracts the density decreases AT THE ALTITUDE OF SATELLITES or at its outer “edge”. You are correct that it increases the density of the lower atmosphere, but that increase has to come from somewhere, which in this case is the upper atmosphere.

  73. Oops!

    Scrolling up, I see others have already addressed richb’s question.

    “Nevermind”

    /Emily Littella

  74. (quote) James Russell III, SABER principal investigator and co-director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., agrees adding, “The atmosphere is a coupled system. If you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other – they’re intrinsically linked. To be as accurate as possible, scientists have to understand global change throughout the atmosphere.” (end quote)

    If the atmosphere is a coupled system, using a basic thermodynamic law of heat goes to cold, regardless of direction, then how is it possible that a “order of 10″ cooling at the top of the atmosphere has no effect on the lower part of the atmosphere?

    It may not have a radiant effect, but surely there has to be a convective effect does there not? If climate is based on 30 year intervals, then we may see the effect of this new finding in the next 10-20 years in a cooling earth?

    Ah well, back to making my turkey soup! (now that reaction I DO understand! LOL!)

  75. livescience.com had this interesting point in their story on this …

    http://www.livescience.com/space/091217-agu-earth-atmosphere-cooling.html

    This same cooling effect is expected to happen (somewhat counterintuitively) as carbon dioxide concentrations increase from emissions at Earth’s surface. So understanding the natural variability of this layer is important to detecting any changes from carbon dioxide increases.Anyone care to explain the counterintuitive part ?

  76. The article started out by stating the Sun’s activity was affecting the upper atmosphere and ended with statements how CO2 and GHGs were creating a cooler upper atmosphere.

    Czar Chu will be pleassed that yet another NASA study confirms his views

  77. A careful reading of the release summarizing the TIMED/SABRE report as it was presented at the AGU meeting in ‘Frisco shows it to be a compact, coherent and comprehensive news report.

    The confusion comes from the single paragraph not in keeping with a report on findings from the mission related scientific instruments.

    :This paragraph appears to have been inserted into the main TIMED/SABRE release by some NASA public relations hack:

    “While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide. As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    I seem to recall this caveat (slightly reworded) coming from a totally different report a year or two ago
    As some commenters have noted above, there appears to be a rift in NASA between the believers and the folks who still know how to read instruments and thermometers.

    As some commenters have noted above, there appears to be a rift in NASA between the believers and the folks who still know how to read instruments and thermometers

  78. “kwik (09:44:33) :
    [...]
    I just saw this Svensmark youtube series again. So refreshing to see him talk about his theories

    Didn’t see this before. What makes me grin is he says “In Science you don’t only have to have a theory, you also have to have an experiment to support the idea.”
    (part 3 at 05:50)
    Look clima scientists, maybe you can still learn a thing from a physicist. :-)

  79. Now then you lot look up and listen, this is NASA talking.

    We have told you before, the increase in CO² at the surface caused by all you SUV drivers traps the heat that all you SUV drivers emit from your engines. Right, got it. Good. Now, the heat cannot get out of the atmosphere because the CO² at the surface keeps it in and so cannot reach space. Right? So the top of the atmosphere cools, see? CO² Global warming. oh sorry, cooling, no warming. Ah Thats it. Now the sun is less active now than for a few years, but it’s perfectly normal, nothing unusual. So, although the sun may be not be heating the top of atm., the CO² is definately cooling it. Got it you lot?

    There you are simples, send me my new funding please.

    Merry christmas and a happy new year Anthony and all his little elfs, and thank you for you work this last year.

  80. John Finn:
    ”… if additional ghgs are responsible for global warming, the troposphere should warm while the stratosphere cools. AGWers point out that that if the Sun were responsible for recent tropospheric warming then the stratosphere should have warmed also. They probably have a point. ”

    The primary determiner of temperature in the stratosphere is ozone and oxygen absorption of solar UV so the observed stratosphere cooling is believed due to a combination of the decrease in solar UV flux in recent years (the UV decreases more than the overall TSI during solar min) and ozone depletion. The lower stratosphere is also influenced by volcanic emissions which might increase any moment now

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26528145-954,00.html

  81. OK, saw Lief’s comment about the upper atmosphere being basicaly vacant of molecules. Understood.

    Also, John Finn, thanx for your explanation, filled in a few holes in my knowledge about re-radiation theories. Now if we could only tap into that excess “heat” up above us, me thinks that that would be a good solution :)

  82. JB (04:23:41) :

    Quite how anybody can deny the Sun’s substantial effect on the Earth’s climate is beyond me. More studies like this, based on sound science, are needed to demolish the ridiculous and over-hyped CO2 link to climactic variations.

    I agree.

    And it’s not just co2 climate change believers who think the sun doesn’t have this kind of effect on earth. You’d be surprised….

  83. CO2 is supposed to be holding heat in the earth. Manmade co2 levels continue to rise but the earth is cooling. So can we finally file the co2 hypothesis away?

  84. dave (05:55:53) :

    “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,”

    So the cooling is proof of AGW?

    ==================================

    Ya, sheesh, everything is proof of global warming.

    [REPLY - I feel your pain. But, to be fair, lower stratosphere cooling is part of AGW theory. If Lindzen's observations turn out to be correct, however, that would not appear to be demonstrably linked with AGW. What confuses me is that a.) they are not talking about the stratosphere, and b.) they link the cooling to solar flux -- so what's with the AGW routine? ~ Evan]

  85. Joel (06:47:12) :

    Doesn’t it appear that this news release contains a non sequitur in its description of the study results? The first few paragraphs discuss the lower radiative balance due to changes in solar radiation, then the next few paragraphs talk about how climate models predict the same changes due to increases in CO2 predicted in climate models.

    ========================================

    We have ClimateGate now we need NASAGate.

  86. Allan Kiik (10:21:01) :

    Ferenc M. Miskolczi’s…

    I still haven’t heard anyone disprove his math. The challenge is still out there for any takers.

  87. stephen richards (11:24:20) :

    Now, the heat cannot get out of the atmosphere because the CO²

    I know, it’s getting soo hot!

  88. The thermosphere and mesosphere are way above the troposphere. See …

    http://www.ucsd.tv/moleculesforthemedia/lesson_atmosphere_study.shtml

    These are the parts of the atmosphere discussed in the article. My take on it (as a layman) is that these layers don’t much come into play in AGW.

    It looks like the lapse rate is in effect in the troposphere. You can see the temp steadily decrease from the surface to the bottom of the stratosphere. So, to me, it looks like this article does not matter to climate science much. The upper-most layers of the atmosphere are very tenuous and can’t hold much heat energy (internal energy for you physicist types :) , so unless there is some radiative mechanism, I don’t see that it matters.

    If anyone can correct me if I’m wrong or just give a good explanation of the layers of the atmosphere, I would be grateful.

  89. Jim (12:28:03) :
    If anyone can correct me if I’m wrong or just give a good explanation of the layers of the atmosphere, I would be grateful.
    You are quite correct in your explanation.

  90. “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere
    will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,” says Mlynczak

    This seems like it would only be true if there is also heating of the troposphere. Greenhouse gases would provide a “blanket” between space and the surface of the earth. If that “blanket” is missing altogether (no atmosphere) , the planet becomes a black object radiating into space. The thicker that “blanket”, the greater the temperature differential, but it’s going to heat both sides of the “blanket”.

  91. Leif Svalgaard (10:15:27): Yes there is, but take note that UPPER means from 100 km on up, where the atmosphere is so thin [millions to billions times thinner than at the surface] that the actual amount of heat is minute, and it has no significant impact on the troposphere where we live.

    Indeed. Perhaps the most useful science and engineering skill I learned in my physics studies is the ability to judge what is significant and what is insignificant? In order to decide, we need to acknowledge that it’s not possible to do such approximations without any insight into the phenomenon a hand – what is large and what is small in this case? Journalists, lawyers and politicians make notoriously poor approximations in physics.

    While the present study certainly is interesting, remember that the ocean has 700 times more thermal mass than the atmosphere – focusing on the 100 km on up seems quite out of focus in other to explain climate variations. ARGO ocean data seems more useful. Also the last 300 years the TSI has been constant equal 1366 ± 0.5 W/m². Possibly understanding natural ocean oscillations with varying periods from a couple of years (El Niño and La Niña) to decades (AMO and PDO) and maybe even centuries is more important?

  92. Right. The slight change on CO2 since 2002 is responsible for the dramatic change in emitted energy shown in the plots. GMAFB.

  93. Q) So if the sun ramps up and the upper atmosphere warms up while manmade Co2 continues its upward trend then AGW is falsified?

    Or are they saying the quiet Sun has caused cooling in the upper atmosphere while at the same time AGW’s C02 also causes cooling in the upper atmosphere? If so which is the greater and by how much?

    We have seen this kind of press release / paper before. Its called contradict AGW then give a nod and pay homage to AGW.

    These guys are painting themselves into a corner and I love it. :o)

  94. “”” richb313 (05:18:19) :

    Is this sentence correct?

    “As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    Shouldn’t the density increase and as a result the drag increase?

    Thanks “””

    I believe if you read the story carefully you will see that as the upper atmospher cools, those gas molecules descend to lower altitudes, and that results in less material left at the higher altitudes; which si where the satellite orbits will be, so the drag will be less because there is less material in molecular form where the satellites live. Just think about it; if it wasn’t for molecular heating, all the molecules would crash onto the surface off the earth.

    So they have it correct. Hams and others that foolow the diurnal behavior of the ionospheric layers, are familiar with the effect.

  95. Leif Svalgaard (12:38:03) :

    What about convection? If the lower atmosphere is warm, and the upper atmosphere cool, wouldn’t the lower convect more heat to the upper?

  96. Leif Svalgaard (10:15:27) :
    Yes there is, but take note that UPPER means from 100 km on up, where the atmosphere is so thin……….

    At 100km height (known as Karman line) atmospheric pressure
    is approx. 3E-7 (?). If solar wind temperature is 100,000K or 1E5 K, and assume that all air molecules at this altitude are heated to the same temperature, and all this was than radiated inwards (but in practice would be less than half) and absorbed by rest of atmosphere than contribution to the global temperatures would be:
    3E-7 x 1E5 = 3E-2, or 0.03 degree C, i.e. negligible.
    I hope someone can better on this?

  97. The statement that the cooling will cause lower not higher density at the upper atmosphere is correct if you understand how it all works. At first the cooling will increase the density of th air but the air due to its higher mass per volume will fall down due to gravity. This results in the air being pulled closer to the ground. Imgine if the air suddenly turned into lead. It would quickly fall to the ground.

    As for cooling, this is not news. Upper atmospheric measurements of air temperature by satellites over the past few years have shown cooling. In fact ever since the satellites were put there, the temperature has been falling. It’s just that the cooling has accelerated of late. Will be interesting to see if this trend continues what impact it will have on the surface air temperature. There are two competing forces initially. One, the “falling” air will increase the pressure at the surface which leads to warming. However, the air is much cooler to begin with so the “falling” colder air should cool the surface air. Not sure if anyone can really work out the net effect given there are many other factors involved, such as convection, evaporation of water from the oceans, etc., etc.; in other words it’s back to the climate model issue. We simply do not have a good enough understanding of how the climate works loet alone the computing power to make the necessary calculations. The only thing we cna do is wait and see, and measure the temperature, hopefully without tampering form the usual suspects.

  98. I’m confused. How could these upper atmospheric temperature changes have “no implications for climate change in the troposphere,” if this is a “coupled system” that’s “intrinsically linked”? Since when do CO2 molecules radiate in only one direction?

  99. I read this as an indication that the blanket has shrunk.
    With a more rarified upper atmosphere, there is less C02 and NO to intercept and slow down the escaping energy at night. During the day, there is less output in IR and UV to strike the Earth. There is at least less distance to travel for outgoing to escape.
    Question is: Which factor exceeds the other?
    The last 10 years of global temps (raw rural measurement) seem to imply that the amount of incoming is less than the outgoing.
    Is it?

  100. Jim (12:28:03) :

    > The thermosphere and mesosphere are way above the troposphere. See …

    > http://www.ucsd.tv/moleculesforthemedia/lesson_atmosphere_study.shtml

    This has an image, http://www.ucsd.tv/moleculesforthemedia/images/thermosphere.gif , which is think has a mjor flaw. It shows the temperature declining through the tropopause, which is very wrong. (Well, at the very least the decline becomes less than the dry adiabatic lapse rate).

    > If anyone can correct me if I’m wrong or just give a good explanation of the layers of the atmosphere, I would be grateful.

    As Leif said, you have the right idea.

    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Atmosphere/layers.html&edu=high has links to better images. (The Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced buttons don’t seem to do anything worthwhile.)

    It also mentions the ionosphere, which near as I can tell got kicked out in favor of the term “Thermosphere” and the stack becomes oriented around temperature changes and the different sources of heating. (The stratosphere heats up thanks to ozone absorbing UV, the thermosphere heats thanks to solar wind and magnetic effects.)

    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/atmos/layers.htm has better text. It has a little on the ionosphere, but very little. (Hey, it’s a NWS site, not ARRL.)

    http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/atmosphere/q0090.shtml shows approximate air pressures with the various layers.

  101. But, didn’t the AGW theory predict that the cooling in the upper atmosphere was to be confined to the tropics? So, if the solar minimum induced thinning/cooling is global, then AGW has failed it’s test, and should proceed directly to trash can, do not pass GO, do not collect $200x grant funding.

  102. Whilst acknowledging Leif’s correct assertion that the topmost layers of the upper atmosphere are exceedingly tenuous I cannot accept that there are no implications for the lower layers which become steadily denser as one descends.

    Something I learned here is that once one gets past the tropopause the layers are stratified and very stable so all energy loss from stratosphere upwards is radiative.

    What we have from the top of the stratosphere upwards is a series of layers each with a boundary layer between it and the next layer up.

    My proposition is that if those boundary layers are stable then the surface area of each boundary layer is minimised and the upward radiative energy loss is reduced.

    If they are unstable then the surface area of each boundary layer increases and upward radiative energy loss increases.

    We see the same sort of phenomenon with wind causing waves on the surface of water which increases sea surface area and so increases energy loss from sea to air via a variety of mechanisms including upward radiation, convection and evaporation.

    Evaporation and convection certainly doesn’t get involved from the stratosphere upwards but radiation most certainly does.

    So I suggest that during a period of an active sun the disturbances introduced into the topmost layers of the atmosphere could well affect all the boundary layers down to the top of the stratosphere thus increasing surface area at each boundary and accelerating radiative energy loss to space.

    We currently seem to have a quieter sun allowing a more stable stratification throughout the upper layers of the atmosphere so the topmost layer appears to cool as a result of a slower rate of radiative energy transfer from below.

    At the same time the stratosphere is warming a little and started doing so in the mid 90’s. That is also consistent with a slower rate of radiative energy transfer upwards to space.

    In the troposphere the primary method of upward energy transfer is convective which is reflected in the speed of the hydrological cycle and that is governed not by the state of the sun but by the rate of energy release from the oceans.

    In effect the stratosphere is a buffer between the two systems of energy transfer and will vary in temperature from both solar variability and oceanic variability with the temperature of the troposphere merely going along for the ride being sandwiched as it is between the rate of energy release from the oceans and the speed at which upward radiative energy transfer can occur from the stratosphere upwards.

    Consequently that is why the phasing of solar and ocean cycles is so important.

    They can either be timed so as to offset one another and reduce climate variability as during an interglacial or they can be timed so as to supplement one another producing the huge climate swings of glacial epochs.

    Unless someone can see a fatal flaw in the above hypothesis.

  103. Further to my above post, on reflection, it may not even be necessary to invoke disturbances caused by solar activity to increase the surface area at each boundary. The simple expansion and contraction of the entire atmosphere (which we do observe) would be sufficient to increase the surface areas sufficiently to significantly alter the rate of energy loss to space.

  104. I think that if we are to see any type of relationship between the sun and climate we need to look at the ionosphere and tropical thunderstorm zone connection.

    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2006/09/14_weather.shtml

    Speculation;
    This connection may have to do with large Earth directed flares and CMEs interacting to influence cloud cover over the tropical thunderstorm zones. CMEs and flares that are large enough (X-type and C+ ) to interact with the these zones create RF and then may cause more or less cloud cover. A small amount of energy causing a larger effect in albedo changes.

  105. re michael crichton:
    funny (not) how hollywood has seemingly never even considered doing a movie of ‘state of fear’.
    also strange how a man so famous was criticised in most obituaries for his stance on ‘agw’.
    funny (not) how MSM have not mentioned crichton since climategate exploded!
    sad (yes) how online it’s impossible to know if he died from colon cancer or throat (lung) cancer. diagnosed in april 2008 supposedly, having chemo in LA (where, i’d like to know) and according to his brother was unnable to speak two weeks prior to his ‘unexpected’ death november 4, 2008. family were shocked at his sudden passing.
    it does make u wonder!

  106. The satellite shows a change in upper atmosphere temperatures from 2002 to 2008, but as long as the 2008 observations match the model predictions CO2 must be causing the change. . . .

    NASA is placing some useful tools in space. Now they need to recruit some people who can interpret the data that’s being gathered and get rid of some of their inadequate tools.

  107. Looking at Spencer’s AMSU satellite data for 36 km altitude you see a yearly sinusoidal trace of temp. with a max around Jan/ Feb which I guess is related to the earth being at its closest distance to the sun? There have been a couple of recent blips which I am wondering may be due to the recent increase in solar activity?

    For the lower atmosphere (4.4 km) the yearly temp is also sinusoidal, only peaking around July. I speculate that this is due to the large land masses and deserts of the Nth hemisphere being aligned to the sun during the NH summer? As far as SSTs go there is a slight increase around March, and is probably related to the heating of the southern oceans in the SH summer.

    If there is such a thing as AGM I will put my money with land use changes such as urbanization and deforestation causing land surface heating.

  108. Above the tropopause one is in the stratosphere and temperature begins to rise as altitude increases. There is little water as it is condensed out at -50 C at the top of the troposphere. In the stratosphere radiation becomes the dominant form of energy transport as there is little convection or transport of latent heat in water vapor.

    Ozone becomes important as it absorbs UV. When the atmosphere is still dense enough, the ozone will collide with O2, N2, and the rest before re-emitting a photon. Thus the energy is shared through this layer of the atmosphere and the uv is converted to heat. This is why the temperature goes up in the stratosphere. At much higher altitudes the decay time for re-emitting a photon becomes shorter than the mean time between collisions.

    Adding CO2 to the stratosphere adds a molecule that will emit long wave infrared photos at that temperature. O2 and N2 cannot. So adding CO2 to the stratosphere creates a mechanism for the stratosphere to cool by increased IR radiation. Ozone absorbs the short wave UV, shares the energy with the O2 and N2, which share it with the CO2, that emits IR back into space.

    James Hansen, being a stellar atmosphere physicist, could explain how the very first stars grew to enormous sizes because the proto-stellar atmospheres could not emit IR to cool themselves because they consisted of only H2 and He. These are known for historical reasons as population 3 stars because the had no metals in them. The enormous 50 solar mass population 3 stars emitted so much strong UV that the intergalactic H2 became re-ionized throughout the early universe.

  109. [REPLY - I feel your pain. But, to be fair, lower stratosphere cooling is part of AGW theory. If Lindzen's observations turn out to be correct, however, that would not appear to be demonstrably linked with AGW. What confuses me is that a.) they are not talking about the stratosphere, and b.) they link the cooling to solar flux -- so what's with the AGW routine? ~ Evan]

    They supplied two hints,a) That the stick suggests a coupled system,b) comparative analysis of the equations LHS=RHS (the inverse relationship) and how does it compare with theory.

    eg Solomon, S., Crutzen, P. J., and Roble, R. G., Photochemical coupling between the
    thermosphere and the lower atmosphere (1982)

    In away from equilibrium ( in chemical systems) small changes in properties of the composition (microscopic values) can produce macroscopic values eg Prigogine 1977 Kondepudi 2001,and as such gross ” flux” values such as TSI may be less important then species with symmetry breaking properties eg such as the N oxides where the “emergent’ theory (with its dynamic response) that cause heating (cooling) in different geographical locations,or disruption to the dissipative systems ( equatorial polar transport etc) or phase mode locking synchronization (enso ao etc)
    offer some reasonable explanations of phenomena.

    Unfortunately “polarization” of issues,has invoked pythonesque responses from each side of the question (where each phenomena is a ‘sign “) of “biblical catastrophe” from a heating (cooling) POV for weather type events.

    Returning to the theory (tirade off) there are a number of lines of evidence that changes in the composition of middle and upper atmosphere gases,induce dynamic (mechanical) responses in the lower atmosphere ie weather.

    The underlying theory has been around for some time eg

    Sensitivity of Surface Temperature and Atmospheric Temperature to Perturbations in the Stratospheric Concentration of Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide

    V. Ramanathan, L.B. Callis, and R.E. Boughner

    Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

    Article: pp. 1092–1112

    ABSTRACT
    The present paper examines, with the aid of a radiative-convective model, the sensitivity of the globally-averaged surface temperature and atmospheric temperature to perturbations in the concentration of O3 and NO2 within the stratosphere. The analysis considers reductions in stratospheric O3 with and without a simultaneous increase in the stratospheric concentration of NO2. Ozone is reduced uniformly in a region between 12 and 40 km within the stratosphere. The ratio of the percentage change in NO2 to the percentage change in O3 is denoted by δ; three values of δ (0, −6 and −10) are considered..

    For all the cases considered, it is shown that reducing stratosphere O3 cools the atmosphere and the surface. If the reduction in O3 is accompanied by a simultaneous increase in NO2, the increase in solar absorption by NO2 partially compensates for the reduction in solar absorption due to a decrease in stratospheric O3. Consequently, the decrease in atmospheric and surface temperatures is smaller for larger values of −δ. The results for the surface temperature changes depend on the adopted cloud model. The change in the surface temperature for the constant cloud-top temperature model is 1.6 times larger than that for the constant cloud-top altitude model.

    The model also indicates that the surface temperature is sensitive to the vertical distribution of O3 within the atmosphere. Increasing (or decreasing) the altitude at which O3 density is maximum has a cooling (or warming) effect an the surface temperature. The consequences of O3 reduction to the latitudinal energy distribution are also discussed.

    The results should be considered as reflecting the sensitivity of the present model rather than the sensitivity of the actual earth-atmosphere system. However, the present results should be indicative of the potential environmental consequences due to perturbations in the stratospheric concentrations of O3 and NO2

    A number of papers have identified solar signals in O3 and N2O eg

    Gruzdev A.N. Latitudinal structure of trends and effect of solar activity in
    stratospheric NO2. Doklady Earth Sciences 2007.

    Gruzdev A.N. and G.P. Brasseur. Effect of the 11-year cycle of solar
    activity on characteristics of the total ozone annual variation.
    Izvestiya, Atmos. Oceanic Phys2007

    The signals are latitude dependent,and response regional so extrapolation (generalizations) for a global signal are not tenable.however they provide some good answers to the polar amplification (attenuation) problem.

    It is only through accurately quantifying and partitioning the natural variability and agw can we get a handle on the pco2 exponent,the alternative argument irreducibility is still an equal possibility .

  110. Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (07:29:11) :

    Michael Crichton vindicated. Listen at 24:00 minutes in

    For some reason both YouTube and Google Video are blocking access to this video. PBS may be having a hissy fit.

  111. JaneHM (11:29:47) :

    John Finn:


    ”… if additional ghgs are responsible for global warming, the troposphere should warm while the stratosphere cools. AGWers point out that that if the Sun were responsible for recent tropospheric warming then the stratosphere should have warmed also. They probably have a point. ”

    The primary determiner of temperature in the stratosphere is ozone and oxygen absorption of solar UV so the observed stratosphere cooling is believed due to a combination of the decrease in solar UV flux in recent years (the UV decreases more than the overall TSI during solar min) and ozone depletion. The lower stratosphere is also influenced by volcanic emissions which might increase any moment now
    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26528145-954,00.html

    Agreed. There are a number of possible reasons why the stratosphere has not warmed over the past ~30 years which have nothing to do with the increase in ghgs. El Chichon (1982) and Pinatubo (1991) certainly mess things up a bit. But the fact remains that the troposphere has warmed while the stratosphere has not which means that the sun’s role in recent warming remains questionable.

  112. pat (15:35:38) :

    re michael crichton:
    funny (not) how hollywood has seemingly never even considered doing a movie of ’state of fear’.

    Movies are a little slow at picking up trends. And with the orthodoxy at the moment – they’ll shy from State of Fear. But you can be sure there are scripts cranking up that follow the climategate story. Slow, not blind.

  113. OMG how many contradictions can you make in one article.

    Lets look at how they show you the cooling “might” be linked to Solar activity, how it is part of the AGW models and theory, what they predict for the near future and how it doesn’t invalidate the models when it clearly does.

    Statement one:

    “From NASA News. New measurements from a NASA satellite show a dramatic cooling in the upper atmosphere that correlates with the declining phase of the current solar cycle. For the first time, researchers can show a timely link between the Sun and the climate of Earth’s thermosphere, the region above 100 km, an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere.”

    Ok here they show the link between the sun and the upper atmosphere and how by watching the solar activity you can predict what the upper atmosphere is going to do. Notice so far nothing is stated about AGW and CO2.

    Statement Two:

    “The TIMED measurements show a decrease in the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun. In addition, the amount of infrared radiation emitted from the upper atmosphere by nitric oxide molecules has decreased by nearly a factor of 10 since early 2002. These observations imply that the upper atmosphere has cooled substantially since then. The research team expects the atmosphere to heat up again as solar activity starts to pick up in the next year.”

    Now here they make their prediction that the upper atmosphere is going to warm up as Solar activity increases. Now watch what happens when they start throwing out the tired old AGW line.

    Statement Three:

    “While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide.”

    Now here you see the old as CO2 rises the upper atmosphere is suppose to cool line. So far no problem between the this statement and the first two….except for in statement one they linked the cooling to the Sun not CO2 and in Statement two they said it was going to WARM UP, which according to AGW theory it can’t do as long as the CO2 level keeps increasing. So of course we have to say that the warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere to distract you from the fact that it proves the GCM’s wrong. You know how can the Upper Atmosphere warming up due to the sun fit the whole “as CO2 rises the upper atmosphere will cool” prediction of the GCM’s.

    Statement Four:

    “We suggest that the dataset of radiative cooling of the thermosphere by NO and CO2 constitutes a first climate data record for the thermosphere,” says Mlynczak.

    I think they realize the OH S*&^ they are in from the first part of the story and are scrambling to show they are good little warmers still. Its a “forget we mentioned the Sun we are really looking at CO2 and NO honest!”

  114. ‘Radio comms’ aside, the ‘UV window’ is the best direct connection to ‘deep ocean warming’. Deep ocean surface and deep ice surface are the best atractors to warming from UV, any other albedo has a tendency to result in ionisation.

    With fewer CME events etc. deep ocean temps will tend to reduce causing less energy at the ocean surface for evaporation to take place (due to lower UV absorption). Thus, increasing cloud (due to lowering atmospheric temps) and reduced activity within the hydrocycle regeneration (‘drying out’ of the atmosphere). So I would expect that we can, on average, expect fewer hurricane/cyclone events near a solar minimum.

    From the above in this thread, CO2 below an altitude of ~4 kilometres only ‘insulates’ because it’s caught up with the local ‘mass’. However, as altitude increases CO2 (and other ‘radiative gasses’) is increasingly able to radiate to the cosmos, if only because the ‘statistical’ angle and ‘other mass interaction probability’ of re-emission to Earth reduces with altitude (does this follow an inverse square law? Not one you’d recognise as such!).

    Let’s get over this. ‘Back-radiation alteration’ is only a changing ‘insulation factor’ for radiation per se!

    Best regards, suricat.

  115. The stratosphere does not warm or cool as a homogeneous unit. Since 1978 it has warmed in southern high latitudes and to a lesser extent at northern high latitudes. It has cooled at low latitudes. The cooling of the stratosphere at low latitudes is likely due to the effluxion of water vapour into the stratosphere due to greatly enhanced evaporation and convection in the tropics. The phenomenon of overshoot into the stratosphere is well documented. Ozone has a very short life in the presence of water vapour. The industrial production of ozone demands that the air that is to contain it is dried at temperatures of minus 80°C. Such temperatures are achieved at the tropopause over the equator but tropopause temperatures are more like minus 55°C away from the centres of major convection. The centres of convection at the equator do not form a continuous ring around the Earth. The tropical rain forests in the Congo and the Amazon are the main engine rooms for equatorial convection.

    Ozone in the stratosphere is responsible for the increase in temperature with ozone content above 300hpa, well inside the troposphere and well short of the tropopause. A major factor in the rate of heating of ozone (and the temperature of the stratosphere) is the absorption of long wave energy from the Earth. In areas where the ocean is cool, evaporation is consequently diminished. The major cooling process over areas with cool ocean is direct long wave radiation rather than de-compressive cooling from a convecting atmsophere. This produces a hot spot in the local stratosphere immediately above the cool ocean.

    The notion that convection is confined to the troposphere is nonesense regardless of what is said at Leif Svalgaard (15:07:39) : In the mesosphere there is a circulation from the summer to the winter pole. There is a marked seasonal change in the temperature of the stratosphere at different latitudes mainly driven by change in ozone content emanating at the poles.

    The circulation of the stratosphere depends in part upon convective influences emanating from the troposphere. This influences the ozone content of the upper troposphere.

    Our notions of atmospheric layers where different forces drive temperature and air movement suffers from compartmentalized thinking. Transitions are never sudden. There is strong mixing between layers and the forces that drive exchange are gradually rather than suddenly attenuated.

    These observations can be supported by the temperature record for different altitudes in the atmosphere.

    Change in ozone content in the upper atmosphere is the key to natural climate variation as asserted at maksimovich (16:43:46) :

    ‘Keep it simple stupid’ is the watchword of the warmers. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is not simple. If there were a better understanding of the forces driving temperature change in the atmosphere the warmers would not get away with the simplistic concepts they put forward.

  116. Silly simpletons still think mankind is warming the world. I can’t believe how many people simply lack common sense. It’s sad really.

  117. “A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere,” says Mlynczak.
    ———
    We are not seeing warming of the troposphere in this period, as the stratosphere continues to cool. So, what theory does that validate?

  118. “The research team expects the atmosphere to heat up again as solar activity starts to pick up in the next year”

    As solar activity was expected to “pick up” three years ago? Or as solar activity was expected to “pick up” two years ago? Or as solar activity was expected to “pick up” a year ago?

    Along about 1860, Charles Dickens wrote a book about that sort of thing. He entitled the book, “Great Expectations”.

  119. As an educated layman it is encouraging that the scent of incoherence I found in this press release wasn’t due to my ignorance. Makes a change…
    Thanks to all contributors for the open and accountable discussion in this thread.

  120. Indiana Bones (17:17:08) :
    Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (07:29:11) :

    Michael Crichton vindicated. Listen at 24:00 minutes in

    For some reason both YouTube and Google Video are blocking access to this video. PBS may be having a hissy fit.

    ———

    I’ll upload the videos on to my account soon to make sure there is more than one place to watch.

    As for the Daily Mail article today about tracking down the climategate emails to Chinese hackers or Malaysian email servers, it is all BS. The article is full of errors and the investigators are trying to deflect attention away.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1238638/Chinese-hackers-linked-Warmergate-climate-change-leaked-emails-controversy.html

    It is implied Chinese hackers stole all those emails and data, then sent all those hundreds of files via email through a Malaysian email server. The lack of technical knowledge in the article is astounding. It has been very well documented here on WUWT that it would be impossible for hackers to read the contents of dozens of computers in a high security facility and then take the time to catalogue and archive everything relevant to a FOI request.

    The files were leaked from the inside and sent through a Turkish proxy server to a Russian file sharing site. I stand by that. The media is adamant to condemn those who want to grow their economies for obvious and very imperialist reasons.

  121. Thanks for posting Svenmark’s video again. I have asked the BBC on about 60 occasions why they have not broadcast this documentary – with no rational response so far. Perhaps you might be more lucky.

  122. Only the first 64 words of the article are worth reading (the first paragraph). Solar minimum is cooling the upper atmosphere. Surprise surprise! After this the author leaves a stream of consciousness which tries to fade out the solar influence and fade in CO2 (perhaps imagining falsely that he/she has the skill of a DJ mixing tracks). But the result lacks any coherent logical thread and is almost childish nonsense.

  123. Stephen Wilde

    Concerning atmospheric “layers” above the stratosphere – perhaps you can educate me a bit here. The question of whether boundaries between layers are laminar (flat) or turbulent is an interesting one that I raised on a previous thread. I’m not quite clear how the stability or otherwise of a boundary can affect radiation. Take an “air” atom somewhere in the outer mesosphere or whateversphere – its tendency to radiate must depend on its own heat energy. How can the status of atoms distant from the original atom affect the radiation behaviour of that atom (I presume we’re not talking about entanglement here). So radiation across a boundary – is this a matter of statistics, the sum of radiation from layer A to B minus that from B to A? i.e. a statistical consequence of temperature gradient. If this is the case, then indeed the topography and complexity (total surface area) becomes important. But how is this “statistical” radiation exchange different from convective exchange? I’m probably sounding like an idiot here :-) Do the layers above the stratosphere have real boundaries of some kind like temperature inversions – or are they just descriptive terms without physical meaning?

  124. This article contradicts itself: At first it says the thermosphere has cooled, then it says that CO2 is an IR emitter. Surely if there is an increase in CO2 in the troposphere, and thus an increase in the emitted IR from this layer, does it not follow that there will be an increase in temperature in adjacent layers and not a decrease?

  125. They are so desperate after this Climategate calamity that they are trying to trash the elementary logic; Sun is less active and upper atmosphere is rapidly cooling. So the Sun is cooling the upper atmosphere. But, somehow this is at the same time a great validation of AGW that predicts the cooling of the upper atmosphere as a consequence of lower atmosphere warming. Since 2002 upper part cooled. But wait a minute, in the same time frame (2002-2009) lower atmosphere up to 4,5 km hasn’t warmed at all, at the contrary it cooled rather dramatically as well http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2002/to:2009/trend.

    So, basically, all propaganda tricks notwithstanding, what NASA satellites tell us is: since 2002 solar activity declined dramatically. In the same period, the entire atmosphere, from the surface up to the 100km and more, cooled as well. The only plausible inference from there is that Sun probably has something significantly to do with Earth’s atmospheric temperature. End of story.

  126. Phlogiston (07:15:01)

    The boundaries between the layers of the upper atmosphere appear to be delieated primarily by temperature discontinuities. In one layer the temperature will decrease with height, in the next layer it will increase with height.

    http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Atmosphere/layers.html

    Furthermore they do not seem to all change temperature as one. For example during the recent spell of a less active sun the topmost layer is cooling but the stratosphere has been warming since the mid 90s.

    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/5/0/53/_pdf

    I suspect that as Erl Happ points out the boundaries between each layer are not sharp but nonetheless there are boundaries present and the observation of differential warming and cooling across the boundaries suggests variable rates of upward radiation of energy supplemented perhaps by a little convection or circulatory movement but for simplicity I have ignored those smaller effects.

    Logically the lapse rate within each layer must be a reflection of the balance between energy coming up from below and energy released upward by, primarily, radiative transfer.

    So if the oceans and the hydrological system pump energy faster up into the stratosphere than energy can be radiated from the stratosphere upwards then the stratosphere will warm. The same principle would apply to each layer.

    I am not an expert in the reasons why the energy content of each layer varies as it does. Those variations are newly observed due to the sophistication of modern satellite sensors and I don’t think anyone yet has the answers.

    As a first step I am proposing that the (clearly erratic) upward flow of energy through all the layers must be a combination of oceanic influences from below and solar influences from above.

    I suspect that it is the erratic nature of the upward flows of energy through each layer of the entire Earth system (to include the oceans) and from one layer to another that combine to create temperature variability and thus climate variability within the troposphere.

  127. Dave F (09:26:07) :

    I get it, CO2 blocks radiation from re-radiating to space, so the atmospheric layers further away are presumed to cool. But the thermosphere is cooling because of reduced solar output, according to NASA’s own article. What exactly are they trying to say here? It is very muddled.

    Also, if the thermosphere cools, why would more heat not leave through convection? If the system is looking to stay in equilibrium, would it not force heat out through convection?
    *****************************************************

    Partially, Long wave radiation (earth night time) is not effected by CO2 to any great extent. thus in areas where the atmosphere is compressed and thinned (Poles) the cooling convection is the greatest.

    you have several little bubbles touching each other and at the poles they are flattened and thin. the circulation within will allow heat to escape. only low to mid level cloud cover will retain the heat.

    Polar cooling is always first and polar warming is also first. the inter-planet systems will then try to balance statically.

    This new revelation basically throws CO2 theory out the window.. simply because of the cooling of both sides of the thermosphere…. those pesky little unintended consequences….

  128. Ivan (08:27:23) :

    I mean, this is directly inconsistent with the AGW since there was not tropospheric warming.

    *******************************************************

    That would be correct. Dang it the jig is up :-)

  129. Well if the thermosphere is emitting lower amounts of IR to space at an order of magnitude , and we know IR is emitted down as well as up, what are the implications for the middle atmosphere (stratosphere) radiation balance receiving less IR from the thermosphere. Perhaps these emissions are insignificant in relation to the total?.

    If the stratosphere is cooling from above (less IR from the thermosphere and mesosphere), and not just from below, then it would seem it’s air exchanges with the troposphere (read somewhere stratosphere air is completely exchanged with the troposphere over 5 years) would have a cooling effect below, or perhaps I should say less of a warming effect since it is at a higher temperature than the troposphere. Again, the amounts may be insignificant, so maybe it’s a moot point, but then a 100 ppm of CO2 seem insignificant too.

  130. Speaking of convection in the stratosphere:

    Documented events of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) that are powerful enough to blow apart the 10mb vortex that likes to sit over the north pole.

    The warming events are very obvious when they happen, and they suppress the tropopause, cooling the troposphere.

    Convection both ways: heating…and….cooling.

    It is theorized that SSWs can lead to major cold outbreaks following.

    Interestingly, this latest major warming [now], while not centered completely in the stratosphere, is a remarkable one anyways, and it may be why the main populated areas in the NH, over the next few weeks, will see some pretty good cold outbreaks.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/hgt.shtml

    And this is most likely directly related to why the AO has disappeared below the floorboards:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao.shtml

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  131. stephen richards (04:16:35) :
    They go from reduced solar output, cooling atmosphere to GHGs being the cause! Can’t these people do any science at all withou blaming GHGs from the word go. I see nothing in this data that proves GHGs are cooling the atmosphere but somehow they have absolute proof, Where?

    Is it me? am I being obtuse? or what?

    Yes you are being obtuse. The cooling effect of the important GHGs was what was measured by these satellites and was what was being reported, but you’re unable to see it! To quote Jonathan Swift: “There is none so blind as they that won’t see”.

  132. tim (07:47:18) :
    This article contradicts itself: At first it says the thermosphere has cooled, then it says that CO2 is an IR emitter. Surely if there is an increase in CO2 in the troposphere, and thus an increase in the emitted IR from this layer, does it not follow that there will be an increase in temperature in adjacent layers and not a decrease?

    No, because in the lower atmosphere the energy in excited CO2 molecules is primarily lost by collisional exchange to the rest of the atmosphere, which being N2 and O2 cannot lose energy radiatively. In the thermosphere (and stratosphere) collisions are infrequent enough to allow radiational cooling of the CO2 molecules. This is a long-standing prediction (and observation) of the ‘Greenhouse gas theory’.

  133. Phil. (07:58:17) :

    You are being obtuse.

    The article states, “While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide. As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.”

    Or, “Scientists need to validate that theory.”

  134. DeNihilist (10:47:23) :
    (quote) James Russell III, SABER principal investigator and co-director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., agrees adding, “The atmosphere is a coupled system. If you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other – they’re intrinsically linked. To be as accurate as possible, scientists have to understand global change throughout the atmosphere.” (end quote)

    If the atmosphere is a coupled system, using a basic thermodynamic law of heat goes to cold, regardless of direction, then how is it possible that a “order of 10″ cooling at the top of the atmosphere has no effect on the lower part of the atmosphere?

    It may not have a radiant effect, but surely there has to be a convective effect does there not? If climate is based on 30 year intervals, then we may see the effect of this new finding in the next 10-20 years in a cooling earth?

    Convection occurs when you have a lower density fluid below a higher density fluid, under the influence of gravity they try to exchange positions to give a density gradient of high to low. This typically occurs in the troposphere where heating is from below. However, in the stratosphere and thermosphere heating is from above therefore the density gradient is stable and there is no convection. Also in the thermosphere the molecules are so far apart that they no longer act as a bulk fluid (mean free path order 10km as opposed to ~1μm at sea level).

  135. Stephen Wilde (09:15:03)

    Thank-you for your clear answer. There are as you say heat transfer processes in both directions that are far from being well understood. Its quite exciting in a way to think that once the suffocating influence of the AGW dogma is removed or at least restricted, a new body of theory more respectful of the highly complex nature of these processes can emerge. The sun and ocean indeed are probably dominant – the heat in the troposphere is small by contrast.

    BTW if you look at the global temperature record since the 70s particularly from UAH and RSS (e.g. at the http://www.climate4you site) in the 37-month averaged curve there is the appearence of regular “steps” or jumps of 7-8 years (1985-1993; 1993-2000;2000-2008). Does this relate to the “heat time constant” of the climate system? This is close to 8 years according to Nicola Scafetta 2008. Is heat added to then released from the system with a periodicity determined by this constant? Or is this pattern a coincidence?

  136. phlogiston (10:03:10) :

    BTW if you look at the global temperature record since the 70s particularly from UAH and RSS (e.g. at the http://www.climate4you site) in the 37-month averaged curve there is the appearence of regular “steps” or jumps of 7-8 years (1985-1993; 1993-2000;2000-2008). Does this relate to the “heat time constant” of the climate system? This is close to 8 years according to Nicola Scafetta 2008. Is heat added to then released from the system with a periodicity determined by this constant? Or is this pattern a coincidence?

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1967/offset:-250/scale:0.001/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1965/mean:37/detrend:0.6

  137. phlogiston (10:03:10)

    I can’t explain every apparent periodicity arising from the data. An 8 year ‘pulse’ could arise from a combination of solar cycle and ENSO events but that’s just a guess at present.

    I’m concentrating on the biggest features and working backwards by proposing an overall scenario that fits as many observed phenomena as possible and amending it as necessary when new data comes available. The opposite approach to that involved in AGW theory. Essentially I’m doing what the established climatologists stopped doing 20 years ago when the CO2 aspect turned out to be a gold mine.

    So far I’m finding that new data fits rather well so my overall approach seems to be valid.

    The problem for Phil above is that the timing and scale of stratospheric cooling and warming is not well correlated to CO2 quantities so again we are forced back to a combination of solar and oceanic effects to explain such phenomena.

    For example someone mentioned those rather noticeable and sudden stratospheric warming events which seem to be precursers to colder outbreaks in the higher latitudes.

    My scenario would explain such events as follows:

    i) A quieter sun would result in more stability in the layers of the atmosphere from stratosphere upwards and so a reduced rate of energy loss to space.

    ii) A positive ocean phase would energise the hydrological cycle and push more energy into the stratosphere where it would accumulate because of the reduced rate of radiation to space.

    iii) the warmer stratosphere would in turn inhibit the speed of the hydrological cycle allowing more powerful polar high pressure systems that would try to push the jets equatorward against the influence of the positive oceans trying to push them poleward.

    Thus I think sudden stratospheric warming is a consequence of energy being pumped up into the stratosphere by the oceans and the energised hydrological cycle and not in itself a primary cause of anything. However a warming stratosphere will induce cooling of the air in higher latitudes because the air that went up to dump it’s energy in the stratosphere then has to descend again in high pressure cells.

  138. tallbloke (11:07:14)

    Thanks, one could have a lot of fun at this site. I had thought of the sunspot cycle with its (usually) 11 year periodicity. However both global temps and the sea surface temps, as well as troposphere above oceans, all show apparent minima at around 1985, 1993, 2000 and 2008, suggesting a cycle of just under 8 years (this made me think of the 8 year time constant of the climate system as derived by Scafetta 2008). I’m sure in reality there are a number of cyclical forcings with various periodicities all jostling for influence. Scafetta in her paper puts it very well: “it is very well known tht climate is the combination, coupling and superposition of several phenomema. some phenomena respond quickly as the atmosphere, others as the deep ocean respond very slowly”[1]. In a later paper she adds the solar influence, identifying two time responses to solar forcing with 8 and 12 year lengths [2].

    Small mismatch between for instance the solar forcing and an intrinsic periodicity or timecourse of some negative feedback system for instance could cause intermittent resonance and forcing as the two move in and out of synchrony.

    1. Comment on “Heat capacity, time constant and sensitivity of earth’s climate system” by Schwartz. Nicola Scafetta, Geophysical Research Letters 2008. (draft, actual reference not known)
    2. Scafetta N, Empirical analysis of the solar contribution to global mean air surface temperature change. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
    Volume 71, Issues 17-18, December 2009, Pages 1916-1923

  139. Stephen Wilde (11:12:52)

    Referring to my reply above to tallbloke, its tempting to see your i-ii-iii sequence as corresponding to Scafetta’s time constant. A negative feedback cycle with a periodicity. However this runs into the objection that you repeatedly raise, how can the atmosphere significantly affect or “push around” the ocean. I guess if its only surface temperature then it might just be possible.

    “My scenario would explain such events as follows:

    i) A quieter sun would result in more stability in the layers of the atmosphere from stratosphere upwards and so a reduced rate of energy loss to space”

    This reminds me nostalgically of my marine biology at University – stability in the surface water column resulting in nutrient depletion of the surface layer and a strong temperature discontinuity, with the opposite happening in the presence of mixing and energy input to the system. Returning to my earlier question, would the mechanism of reduced heat movement in a stable upper atmosphere be reduced surface area of interface (flat) for radiative exchange?

    The last 20 years have indeed been disastrous for many scientific disciplines, with the tendency for herd-like stampedes after faddish buzzwords or political, commercial or other agendas, and consequent great damage to the systematic search for and custodianship of real scientific knowledge.

  140. Oliver Ramsay: “We are not seeing warming of the troposphere in this period, as the stratosphere continues to cool. So, what theory does that validate?”.

    I see this hasn’t been addressed yet.

    This is a ‘tale of two cities’, or should that be ‘a tale of one city with two influences’?

    In the stratosphere, ozone is undoubtedly a ‘radiative gas’ that interacts with outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) that could provide ‘added insulation’, but in the stratosphere its ‘added insulation’ factor is denied by the sparsity of mass (not enough molecules to collide with before emission is achieved). Thus, ozone aids cooling in the stratosphere by emitting OLR (though it does warm in the lower troposphere).

    The other city, or influence? Oxygen is an attractor for the UV and soft X-ray component of this ionising solar insolation as the interaction causes the molecule to split into its single atom form of ozone (O). The ‘wandering’ oxygen atom often finds its way to form a loose connection with an oxygen molecule to generate the other, more stable, form of ozone, O3 (though oxides of other elements can also be formed [NOx as an example]). These processes actually ‘generate’ heat during their processing and are the main source of elevated temps in the stratosphere.

    Choose which dynamic you want to be ‘first past the post’. My bet is on solar insolation of UV on oxygen. There’s more energy there.

    Best regards, suricat.

  141. phlogiston.

    “i) A quieter sun would result in more stability in the layers of the atmosphere from stratosphere upwards and so a reduced rate of energy loss to space”

    ‘How on Earth’ can you justify this?

    Best regards, suricat.

  142. suricat (18:11:28)

    The quote from phlogiston that you query comes from my earlier post and the issue is discussed by me at some length here:

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/The%20Missing%20Climate%20Link.pdf

    Observations over time do, rather counterintuitively, suggest that an active sun gives a cooling stratosphere and a less active sun a warming stratosphere and it also seems that reversing the normally assumed sign of the solar effect (cooling of the upper air rather than warming) on the rate of energy loss to space from the atmosphere has the potential to explain a number of other observations, as I explain.

  143. phlogiston (16:33:44) :

    tallbloke (11:07:14)

    Thanks, one could have a lot of fun at this site. I had thought of the sunspot cycle with its (usually) 11 year periodicity. However both global temps and the sea surface temps, as well as troposphere above oceans, all show apparent minima at around 1985, 1993, 2000 and 2008, suggesting a cycle of just under 8 years

    You probably need to consider the effects of El Chichon and Pinatubo too.
    By the way, Nicola Scafetta is a he not a she. ;-)

  144. Stephen Wilde.

    Thanks for that. It looks promising, but I think it lacks a little depth.

    For example: Ocean heat content is the mainstay for OLR rate, even if some of it ‘is’ latent (water vapour is ‘lighter than air’, so it is convected ‘invisibly’ to the TP anyhow); When you speak of “an active sun” do you mean ‘solar surface insolation’, or ‘solar activity per se'; On ‘in phase’ and ‘out of phase’ I think you begin to understand the phase lag/lead determined by the ~11 year sunspot/CME propensity and its effect on our upper/lower atmosphere (ozone generation/depletion).

    All in all, we’re looking at the periodicity of an ~11 year sunspot cycle against an ~8 year Earth reaction cycle. The ‘reaction’ cycle must be the subordinate cycle, so the nearest periodicity between these two proponents will be ~’11:8′.

    This not only doesn’t work out well, it also suggests that the Earth system reacts much more slowly to the solar cycle than the solar cycle alters. Thus, the subordinate Earth cycle reacts so slowly to the solar cycle that its ‘out of phase’ reaction time results in a shorter response time to the overall solar phase by responding to ‘partial phase changes’ in the solar phase.

    Well, let’s look at the solar phase to start with. The ~11 year solar cycle is really only half the story (half cycle). Sol actually takes ~22 years to go through a full cycle, but each half phase is roughly the same for sunspots etc. Thus, the 11 year acceptance for a solar cycle.

    If we take a full solar cycle against the ‘natural Earth cycle’ we end up with a ratio of ~’22:8′, which is pretty close to ‘3:1′. This suggests that Earth’s system slips one phase in four of the sun system’s ‘forcing’ episodes. Where is this lag caused? Is it the ocean? Is it the atmosphere (ozone alteration)? Is it both, or something completely different?

    Whatever your decision, climate can change its course every three years (or so it seems) dependant on the current circumstance and recent forcings to weather for the long term.

    Best regards, suricat.

  145. sory if this is covered earlier :
    in regards to the veriation in sun cycle not fiting with earth cycle has anyone looked into the planetary alinements interfearing with cosmic rays as a factor in the cycle and posible reason for the time line veriations?

  146. tallbloke (02:14:33)

    Thanks, should have suspected this. I know an Australian-Italian professor (male) also called Nicola, we all call him Nick.

  147. suricat (20:14:27)

    By ‘solar activity’ I mean solar turbulence as observed in the form of sunspots and flares. I tend to downgrade the short term cycle to cycle variation in total solar insolation because the amount of variation from the peak to trough of each cycle is so small as per Svalgaard, Lean and others. However over 500 years or so from, say, Mediaeval Warm Period to Little Ice Age the total insolation would become more significant but even then the effect of variations in solar turbulence would appear to be far greater.

    The SABER satellite is showing us that substantial solar induced changes in the thermosphere occur and Leif concedes that but departs from me in considering whether that could have an effect on climate in the troposphere.

    As has been pointed by someone else out I do not accept that changes in the upper atmosphere could be transmitted downward to affect the oceans. The oceans are in supreme control of energy transfers up to and into the stratosphere.

    I do though believe that from the top of the stratosphere upwards the solar effects would be in control not directly but by influencing the rate at which upward energy transfers can occur from one layer to another upwards from the top of the stratosphere to space.

    That upper level rate of energy transfer could be affected by variations in solar turbulence by altering the surface areas of the boundaries between each layer in the upper atmosphere.

    So that is my current view as to what is going on as regards the main variable components of the Earth’s energy budget as a whole and that explains a lot of real world observations as per my article that I linked you to.

    I am not yet sufficiently advanced with that concept to extend it to all the apparent correlations which affect the different components of the system on shorter timescales i.e. less than one full 22 year solar cycle.

    Nor am I yet in a position to be specific about how or why oceanic rates of energy release vary as they do. I think Vincent Grey and Bob Tisdale and others are on the right track there.

    The ‘phases’ I refer to can operate on several different timescales as follows:

    i) ENSO interannual variability equates to variations in solar surface turbulence from year to year.

    ii) PDO variability equates to such solar variability over 2-4 decades.

    iii) The oceanic (I think) variability from MWP to LIA to what may be a recent peak of warming equates to the solar variability we have observed from the Maunder Minimum to the Modern Maximum.

    Now the point I am driven to in order to make all this fit to the observed phenomena (including the difference in the scale of climate swings from glacial to interglacial) is that we are currently in a 10,000 or so year interlude when solar and oceanic effects are in phase. By ‘in phase’ I mean that low solar activity tends to coincide with periods of low rates of energy transfer from oceans to air.

    By reversing the sign of the solar effect (quiet sun means less, not more, energy loss to space) that means that when sun and oceans are in phase they offset one another and reduce the size of the climate swings that can occur.

    When oceans are causing the troposphere to warm then generally a more active sun is cooling the stratosphere thus allowing faster energy transfer into the stratosphere (thence to space) and mitigating the ocean warming effect. When oceans are cooling the troposphere then generally a less active sun is warming the stratosphere thus reducing energy loss from troposphere to stratosphere and mitigating the ocean cooling effect.

    Leif previously mentioned that in his view the timing of the inactive sun with the coolness (presumably ocean induced coolness) of the LIA is coincidence and not cause and effect. At the moment I am going along with that because if the solar and oceanic cycles can go out of phase then we have a means by which they can then start supplementing each other rather than offsetting each other thus giving rise to the huge and violent climate swings of glacial epochs.

    That deals reasonably well with medium and long term climate variability.

    As regards shorter term variability I have been getting some predictive success by reviewing the interaction between and the timing of the current level of solar surface turbulence and oceanic ENSO phase. That seems to work on a seasonal basis but not on a month to month basis where the background chaotic behaviour of day to day weather starts to dominate and hides the background signal.

    Having put all that together I am actively looking for an observed phenomenon that does not fit because if there is even one then either my scenario needs to be extended or in extremis it might need to be abandoned.

  148. If we have a quiet sun does this mean we have increased comic rays bombaring our oceans?
    Would this increacing there temerature?

  149. Stephen Wilde.

    I think I pretty much understand what you say and I only hope that my gobbledegook can be understood. I’m no scientist.

    Granted that greater temperature difference encourages an increase in radiated energy, but OLR still encounters an identical total mass on its way to space when the upper atmosphere contracts and the GHE (greenhouse effect) is dependant ‘mostly’ on total column mass. Does OLR really undergo alteration and make that much difference to the upper atmosphere? I don’t believe it does, otherwise the upper atmosphere wouldn’t contract so much when it encounters reduced ionising radiation levels from Sol. In fact, I believe that this phenomenon has little impact on OLR.

    With all due respect Stephen, you would be well advised to take a look at the processes that regulate solar insolation at the other end of ‘the budget’ before committing yourself solely to OLR for changes. I realise that you take sunspot activity into account, but there is greater definition than this which involves ‘changing’ attractors in the stratosphere that affect surface insolation (and deep ocean energy).

    For example: “By ‘in phase’ I mean that low solar activity tends to coincide with periods of low rates of energy transfer from oceans to air”. Why? Well UV will penetrate down to 700m of pure water, or ice, but the vis spectrum is < a 10th of this and IR (including IR 'back radiation') has only a few metres of penetration. Water doesn't interact well with UV, but it does absorb energy from it because UV does achieve extinction here. Thus, water does attenuate UV, but isn't ionised, so it's a thermal attractor. Moreover, it forms part of the attractor for deep ocean energy increase due to the length of UV's 'survival to extinction' in water. I hope this establishes UV as a major contributor to deep ocean energy and temps!

    Wouldn't it now be a good idea to look into the processes that can increase, or reduce, the effects of solar insolation to deep ocean (etc.) that affects the OLR process?

    Best regards, suricat.

  150. suricat (17:02:17)

    I think I have dealt with ‘the other end’ by noting that the oceans do vary in the rate at which they release energy to the air above and also that although the sun and oceans tend to be ‘in phase’ during the current interglacial they need not be in phase at all times and their becoming out of phase (so that they then supplement each other) could explain the extreme climate swings during glaciations.

    I am only proposing a significant solar effect on OLR from the top of the stratosphere upwards. I accept that the total column mass remains the same but what I have suggested is turbulence at the layer boundaries increasing the surface areas at those boundaries and thereby changing the rate of energy flow through the boundary. If there is a sound rebuttal for that proposition I would like to hear it.

    We know that OLR changes in response to solar surface turbulence such as solar flares from the SABER measurements. The issue is to ascertain why and how and whether the changing rates of energy transfer between layers can affect the energy content of the layers above and below.

    It seems logical to me that if energy stays longer in the stratosphere then the flow of energy to the layers above will be reduced and those higher layers will then cool as has been observed.

    Indeed AGW theory itself says that CO2 causes energy to stay longer in the troposphere thus cooling the stratosphere so the general principle is accepted. What I am saying is that CO2 need not be a significant factor because the combined effects of ocean variability from below and solar variability from above seem to be having just that effect on the different layers of the upper atmosphere on a far greater scale than anything that CO2 variations could achieve.

  151. Stephen Wilde (08:29:37)

    While I respect your POV there is a common denominator here that can also be ‘in, or out, of phase’ with both solar insolation and OLR. I think that ozone fits this particular category.

    If you look at the ozonosphere (placed low in the ionosphere and high in the stratosphere) you can see that a propensity of ozone both reduces the insolation of UV to Earth’s surface as it also reduces the penetration of OLR to space when ozone levels are high. The inverse is also true. I would consider this a stabilising factor. Would you?

    If you concur, any ‘phase change’ that may be apparent between insolation and OLR can only be due to the time scale invoked between insolation and the reactionary atmospheric response.

    Best regards, suricat. (BTW, happy new year)

  152. suricat (17:41:55)

    Yes, I’m aware of the opinion of various posters here concerning the power of ozone reactions to affect temperatures.

    However so far I’ve been unable to attribute a primary function to it in the face of the power of solar and oceanic forcings.

    I see it as comparable to the cosmic ray issue, an undoubted influence but not paramount in driving or initiating global temperature trends in the face of solar and oceanic.

    If you could have a go at persuading me to the contrary then I would reconsider.

  153. Stephen Wilde.

    There is no way that I’d presume to make your mind up. This is your responsibility.

    If I had my data at my fingertips then I’d offer it. However, since my mother (97 YOA) broke her pelvis last year I’ve been a carer 24-7 for just over a year now. If you’ve done this then you’ll know that it’s ‘tough’, but for me there are also added complications (sod’s law).

    There’s an online ‘bible’ of UV on the net, but I can’t link to it without booting my local network at home (I’ve only got my laptop at mum’s just now). If you can find this it gives a good grounding and insight.

    Can someone please give a link to this online ‘UV bible’?

    Let’s just see if the ‘bible’ materialises before we go any further.

    Best regards, suricat.

    [REPLY - Gosh, yes, it's tough. I cared for my father for his last four years, after he broke his hip. Best of luck to you and yours. Hang in there. All caretakers have a common bond. ~ Evan]

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