Statistics expert Briggs: Actually, Weather Is Climate

Guest post by William M. Briggs professional  statistician

It is statistically appropriate to point to this year’s frigidity as evidence that the theory of man-made global warming is suspect.

From NASA Earth Observatory: December temperatures compared to average December temps recorded between 2000 and 2008. Blue indicates colder than average land surface temperatures, while red indicates warmer temperatures. Click for source.

Sure is cold out there, unusually so. By “unusual,” I mean the temperature is on the low end of the observed temperatures from previous winters.

Of course, we don’t have any more than about 100 years of reliable measurements, so it’s possible that the freeze we’re experiencing now isn’t as unusual as we suspect. But, anyway, it still sure is cold.

If you recall, a lot of global warming models predicted it would be hot and not cold, and to risk redundancy, it sure is cold. Does this dissonance between the models’ predictions and what is actually happening mean that those models are wrong?

No. But it sure as ice doesn’t mean that they are right.

Here’s the thing: No matter how cold the winter is, no matter how much snow falls, the global warming models will not be disproved. In technical language, they cannot be falsified by the observations.

Another way to say this is that the winter we’re seeing is consistent with what the models have been predicting. Again — does this consistency mean that the models are right and that the theories of man-made warming are true?

No.

Consistency is such a weak criterion that almost any imaginable theory of climate will produce predictions that are consistent with observations. The term is probabilistic: It means that what actually happens had to have some chance of occurring according to a model. If global warming climate models said, “It is impossible that this winter will see temperatures below X,” and temperatures did, in fact, drop below this threshold, then the models would be inconsistent with the observations. The model would be falsified.

But global warming climate models never make statements like that. They say that any temperature is possible, even if this possibility is low. Certain temperatures have probabilities as low as you like, but they are never precisely zero. (To anticipate an objection: “that number was practically zero” is logically equivalent to “she was practically a virgin.”)

Man-made global warming is just one of many possible theories of climate. Another is the Business-as-Usual Theory (BUT), which states that whatever happened last year will more or less happen this year, and so on into the future.

The winter we’re seeing is consistent with the BUT, which like the man-made global warming theory, never says any temperature is impossible. Further, BUT is corroborated more strongly by this winter than is the man-made warming theory. BUT’s predictions are closer to what we actually see.

“Stop right there, Briggs! You’re making the classical mistake of confusing weather with climate. The global warming models make predictions of climate and not weather. This winter doesn’t mean anything!”

I am not making that mistake, and it is you who are confused. Weather is climate. More specifically, aggregations of weather are climate. Means, averages, and distributions of daily weather comprise climate. That is, climate is a statistical phenomenon and depends for its existence on defining a reference time frame.

For instance, if “climate” is defined as the yearly mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will produce a yearly mean temperature that is colder than average (as long as the coming summer isn’t abnormally hot: winter, of course, overlaps two calendar years and a hot summer can balance out a cold winter in the yearly mean).

So it is appropriate to point to this year’s frigidity as evidence that the theory of man-made global warming is suspect. If “climate” is defined as the decadal mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will push the decadal mean lower. And it is still acceptable to point to this year’s winter as evidence against the man-made global warming theory.

Just as it was appropriate when the media trumpeted each and every “record setting high!” as evidence for that theory.

The difference is that one day’s temperature has little influence on a yearly mean — it is just one out of 365 other numbers that make up the average. One day’s temperature is thus weak evidence for or against any theory of climate.

But a slew of months with higher- or lower-than-average temperatures will push that yearly mean higher or lower. A season’s mean temperature is stronger evidence for or against any climate theory than is a day’s.

Back in the 1990s, when the yearly mean temperatures were increasing, this was touted as evidence for the man-made global warming — but those years’ temperatures also corroborated the Business-as-Usual theory. Which theory was better?

For the past decade, we have had a string of years with mostly decreasing temperatures. This is strong evidence against the man-made global warming theory, but pretty good testimony for the BUT. So far, the BUT theory is winning on points (there are other climate theories the BUT doesn’t beat). This doesn’t mean that BUT is true and that the man-made global warming theory is false, but it does suggest that this is so.

You can’t have it both ways. It is a mistake to extol evidence that supports the man-made global warming theory and to cry foul when presented with evidence which weakens that theory.

That so many do this says more about their desires than it does about any theory of climate.



Reposted from:  http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/actually-weather-is-climate/

with permission from the author. Visit his website: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/

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125 Responses to Statistics expert Briggs: Actually, Weather Is Climate

  1. K. Bray says:

    EARTH”S INTERNAL FURNACE
    The real answer is within.

    Temperatures inside the Earth are close to those on the surface of the Sun, somewhere around 10,000 Degrees Fahrenheit.

    This internal Earth heat slowly dissipates through the Earth’s crust.

    This heat must logically play some role in surface temperatures, certainly keeping our orb from freezing. Temperatures only 1 Kilometer below most land masses are too hot to survive in without mechanical cooling.

    The heating process probably has cycles over time of hotter and cooler periods, or some kind of heat pulsing. Some change is happening inside our planet if our magnetic poles keep alternating from time to time, and super-volcanoes periodically explode.

    What if climate change is really related to variations in the heat being transmitted and released through the crust in pulses of decades or centuries or longer periods of normal fluxuations ?

    Has this been mentioned as a factor to be taken into consideration before we completely condemn carbon dioxide by humans as an alleged cause of irreversible warming destined to destroy the planet and our way of life as we know it ?

    There must be some deep mine temperature statistics somewhere to reveal this detectable component.

    I submit that Earth’s Internal Heat must play some role, even if minor, in climate variability.

    “Look more closely grasshopper, the real answer is within.”

  2. bucko36 says:

    I’m confused?? What did he say?????

  3. IsoTherm says:

    A very good article, and I’m beginning to wonder whether the distinction between climate and weather isn’t just a hangover from the days everyone thought the climate long-term weather was static.

    An area that really needs to be extended is the frequency analysis of the variability of the global warming signal. Evern the UK Met Office know that variation increases the longer the period you are considering, so that the noise signal INCREASES over longer periods and so it is HARDER to predict the long term rather than short term. So, how ironic it was for us in the UK to hear the Met Office exuse for their prediction of a mild winter when we had one of the coldest winters in 30 years: “its far more difficult to predict season to season than century to century” HAVEN’T THEY READ THEIR OWN PUBLICATIONS ON NOISE PROFILE OF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE.

    Any for anyone who wants to see a natural reproduction of the global temperature signal from purely natural noise have a look at this link: http://www.tursiops.cc/fm/pink.gif

    And the final noise, is that there is going to be a UK parliamentary investigation into climategate: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/s_t_pn14_100122.cfm

    AND IF THERE IS ANY NEED TO HELP CO-ORDINATE SUBMISSIONS I AM WILLING TO GIVE MY TIME TO THIS!

  4. dbleader61 says:

    Bravo! Some more cogent analysis with a bit of wit from Mr. Briggs. We skeptics/denialists are usually quite good at qualifying our comments about cold as “weather not climate” but maybe its not necessary.

  5. hunter says:

    Very good and very clear.
    Pielke Sr., I believe, said it this way: Climate is experienced as weather.
    Part of the dumbing down due to AGW theory is that many people implicitly believe that there is something called ‘climate’ that is seperate from weather.

  6. Jason F says:

    It’s ok, honest someone from the Met office is going to explaine why we had extreme snow

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/snowstorm-britains-big-freeze

    what do you think their explination is likely to be?

  7. IsoTherm says:

    We in the UK are in the middle of the fifth or sixth Iraq inquiry into WMD – an issue that is notorious for the “sexed up data”, the “dodgy dossier”, with “real and imminent threats of WMD”.

    Change Weapons of Mass Destruction to “Weather of Mass Destruction”, and the sexed up claims in the dodgy IPCC dossier of real and imminent threats of hurricanes snow, heat, rain, drought, and politicians in pink leatards pretending to be cats (google Galloway, big brother).

    The only concern I have about the analogy is that “weather isn’t climate” – but since the WMD – hurrucanes, droughts, etc. that constantly gets in the news isn’t climate but weather …

  8. James F. Evans says:

    It always a good ice breaker to talk about the weather…

  9. John Luft says:

    K Bray says “Temperatures inside the Earth are close to those on the surface of the Sun, somewhere around 10,000 Degrees Fahrenheit.”

    No…no…..you haven’t been listening. Al Gore says the temperature of the interior of the earth is “millions of degrees.” And they have special drill bits that can drill into that. Now go into the corner and repeat that over and over until it is true.

  10. Ron Dean says:

    This was exactly the point that I was trying to make on the story http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/14/spencer-a-demonstration-that-global-warming-predictions-are-based-more-on-faith-than-on-science/#comments.

    Of course, it comes out so much better when the person explaining it knows what they are talking about :)

    Thank you Mr. Briggs

  11. Kevin Kilty says:

    Briggs,

    Surely we can find some means of “updating” our belief one way or the other vis a vis AGW on the basis of seasonal outcomes. That is, an update on Bayesian grounds. If this is not possible then AGW is not a testable hypothesis. I haven’t given much thought to how to go about this, though.

    A consistent “experiment” should make more distinct the difference between a hypothesis and its alternative(s) with more data. I don’t see this as occuring with respect to AGW–if anything doubt is now growing and that is more like a “pathological” hypothesis–i.e. per Irving Langmuir.

    In engineering we run “factorial” experiments. Once our “table of contrasts” is filled and sufficiently replicated, we ought to be able to say what factors and interactions are significant and which are not. No one has tried this yet with regard to AGW, although I think it may be possible to look at instances of past climate change and do such a thing. However, as the outcome of temperature increase/decrease seems to not have a clear connection with historical changes in CO2, analysis of my hypothetical table of contrasts would probably throw it away as a factor.

  12. Timmo says:

    a breath of fresh air from a statistician!
    You are a credit to your discipline. Only someone with a deep grasp of his field could so succinctly expose such a widespread abuse, especially by warmers and their coterie.
    You’ve explained it so well that even I understand it.
    Common-sense, the bedrock of wisdom.

  13. Mike says:

    @bucko36

    He said if it’s cold, it suggests it’s not getting warmer.

  14. Kevin Kilty says:

    IsoTherm (13:56:14) : The link gives me an access violation.

  15. DocMartyn says:

    Is there any statistical test for a random walk? Could ‘average temperature’, what ever that is, be following a random walk? The lags that are evident in the auto-correlation statistics make me wonder.

  16. ShrNfr says:

    K. Bray, I’m confused. Al Gore assured me it was millions of degrees just under the surface. ;-)

  17. Gary Hladik says:

    ‘(To anticipate an objection: “that number was practically zero” is logically equivalent to “she was practically a virgin.”)’

    OK, now I’m reminded of a certain scene from the film “Chasing Amy.” Who knew Kevin Smith was a climatologist? :-)

    IsoTherm (13:56:14) : ‘[quoting the Met Office] “its far more difficult to predict season to season than century to century” HAVEN’T THEY READ THEIR OWN PUBLICATIONS ON NOISE PROFILE OF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE.’

    Just out of curiosity: back in 1909, what did they predict for the winter of 2009-2010?

    My take from this article: 21st Century temperature records are “consistent with” global warming, global cooling, neither, “…UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis.” (with apologies to “Ghost Busters”)

  18. D. Ch. says:

    There is a way of looking at the weather-climate distinction that should be easy for everyone to understand. When a student goes to class, in most school systems there is an overall course grade based on the average of the grades of a series of tests (and other graded activities). The weather is like the test grade for a single test, one of many in the course, and the climate — based as it is on “average” weather — is like the overall grade for the course. Hence it makes sense to say that unusually cold weather is like a failing test grade for global warming, and unusually hot weather is like a passing test grade for global warming. Just as one failed test does not necessarily mean a student fails the course, so one cold winter does not necessarily disprove global warming — but failing a test makes failing the course that much more likely, and a cold winter makes it more likely that global warming is false.

  19. DirkH says:

    The problem is, tell it to a warmer, point outside to the snow, and he says “So what?” The MSM have told him that the planet is warming and he trusts the MSM more than his own lying eyes. People really do, they are proud that their educated upbringing made them so good at abstracting away their own sensory experiences and suspend their disbelief and understand that it must be pretty hot EVERYWHERE ELSE.

    To shake up the belief system of warmers, i made good inroads telling them about the logarithmic nature of CO2 forcing (they usually don’t know that!), the tiny amount of the forcing compared to the sun’s radiative flux, and the fact that temperatures started rising BEFORE 1950 when CO2 started rising. It’s exhausting but i keep hacking away at the foundations of the believes of the ones that are still able to listen. Some are lost cases, though. They won’t find out of the believe in AGW even when they freeze to death in midsummer.

  20. Curiousgeorge says:

    Probability is just so damn “uncertain”.

  21. Neil Crafter says:

    Thankyou Dr Briggs for your very logical comments. Of course weather is climate and vice versa. The whole “weather is not climate” meme is very frustrating to me. After all climate is composed of statistical measures of weather, as Dr Briggs has clearly enunciated. Thankyou!

  22. Fernando ( in Brazil) says:

    Briggs…said:
    Man-made global warming is just one of many possible theories of climate. Another is the Business-as-Usual Theory (BUT), which states that whatever happened last year will more or less happen this year, and so on into the future.

    Right: 0.5 ºC in 150 years should be this

  23. JohnH says:

    Nice article, using statistics always gets them just look at Steve Mc, do any of ‘the team’ have maths qualifications or is enough to have a good imagination when deciding the latest temps.

  24. marchesarosa says:

    I know this is off topic but the first comment is of some interest to me. I, too, thought the internal heat of the earth’s core was bound to have SOME effect on global surface temperature. Just think what it’s like hugging a hotwater bottle (I’ve been doing a lot of that this last month). But then I thought, well, the effect is obviously not enough to prevent a snowball earth and all the extensive glaciations over the last 2 million years. But maybe there is a teensie bit of an effect to add to all the others – solar radiation, sunspots, cosmic rays, UHI etc. I really find it hard to totally discount all those undersea hydrothermal vents.

    Does anyone else have a view?

    p.s. I enjoyed the Briggs article, BTW, and am really cheered the UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee is shaking its feathers at last re CRU.

  25. Antonio San says:

    Marcel Leroux had convincingly demonstrated it a while ago…

  26. DirkH says:

    Re the pink noise graphics Isotherm mentioned:

    http://www.tursiops.cc/fm/

    Scroll down a little to see the pink noise picture. Looks damn like a temperature record. Nice.

  27. Pascvaks says:

    Ref – Gary Hladik (14:41:03) :
    “Just out of curiosity: back in 1909, what did they predict for the winter of 2009-2010?”
    _______________

    More of the same?

  28. K. Bray says:

    { John Luft (14:17:45) :} Thanks John.

    Damn, I didn’t know the internal temps had gone up so much !

    Thanks for the update from a trusted source like big AL.

    Well Hell, there’s the source global warming right there… straight from HADES !

    Millions and millions of degrees ! Where’s the confusion?

  29. George E. Smith says:

    Well actually, we only have about 30 years or less of reliable measurements; not 100.

    Prior to the polar orbit satellites, and the oceanic air/water sensing buoys; both dating to about 1979/80, the surface data comes mostly from ocean water data, which John Christy et al showed in jan 2001 is not correlated, between surface water temperatures, and near surface air temperatures.

    So all the ocean data prior to about 1980 is pure tripe in my book.

  30. Michael says:

    Trolling Huffington Post, I came across a post by the name of Fumes who said;

    “uh..

    God invented climate change..

    so those who try to stop it go to he!! not to heaven lol.”

    I just had ti give this person credit for this earth shattering quote.

  31. DirkH says:

    “marchesarosa (14:58:13) :
    [...]
    But maybe there is a teensie bit of an effect to add to all the others – solar radiation, sunspots, cosmic rays, UHI etc. I really find it hard to totally discount all those undersea hydrothermal vents.

    Does anyone else have a view?”

    My view is: If it’s a small bit, forget it. More CO2 also adds a tiny bit (1.5 W/m^2 according to the IPCC i think), and tiny bits are just compensated for by the earth’s built-in cooling system: the weather – convection, evaporation, precipitation (and a drop in humidity in the troposphere, see Ferenc Miskolczi). Negative feedback.

    The earth’s climate toggles from Ice Age to Interglacial ATM, two stable local minima, and it takes more than a tiny influence to lift the system through the local maximum in between these two local minima. What exactly causes the flip is not known ATM and is not researched because big science busies itself by exploring global meltdown. Never happened, never will.

  32. vjones says:

    Warming happens. So does cooling. But they are not necessarily global. The anomaly maps and graphs do a very effective job of hiding this. But the trends are very interesting, particularly if you start to think of 30/60 year cycles ENSO/PDO etc. see here

  33. rbateman says:

    I do agree that there is no precise dviding line between weather and climate.
    I prefer weather as an instance of climate: You add up enough instances – you get climate.
    Probablistically speaking, the chances of Global Warming overriding this cooling phase in the short term are slim pickins.
    With the oceans flipped to cold phases, I don’t see anything in the next 20 years to bail AGW out of the pit it’s dug for itself. These same AGW models were used to predict warmer than ever seasons, and they fell on thier collective faces in cold slush. The snail’s pace of Solar Activity, if indeed that has something to do with it, and the predicted even lower SC25 is no comfort for phantasmaGoracle warming either.
    With Trillion of bucks and scads of economies poised on the brink of monetary pits, the odds are very good that the AGW proposals to take on the Climate to smash it into submission… are doomed. Given the choice of watching to cooling proceed and betting on an outlier are foolish to the nth degree. And we know they have been busy bees fudging the records, so the presumpition of slight cooling is in serious doubt.

  34. As Briggs says: “More specifically, aggregations of weather are climate. Means, averages, and distributions of daily weather comprise climate.

    Seems correct. And if it gets colder one year there needs to be a real explanation for it. Many in both camps treat one year of climate data as “weather” and, therefore, as “noise”. And the AGW crowd point to papers which show that GCMs also predict a few years of declining temperatures in amongst the general warming. No specific years unfortunately!

    For more on this, see: http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/12/19/is-climate-more-than-weather-is-weather-just-noise/

    There are a lot of claims from the climate modeling community that the GCMs produce excellent results that are verifiable. Like the wonderful people over at realclimate.org for example.

    As a skeptic I can’t say they are wrong because I don’t know. But it would be very useful to see some specific claims that the rest of us can understand and review.

    “Go read some papers” is nice and probably meant in a spirit of healthy co-operation, but most papers are quite inaccessible to most non-modelers, and also it is hard to get a grasp of the “sum of knowledge” and “sum of known problems” that the climate modeling community is aware of.

    As an example, I find the Radiative Transfer Equations that model a 1-d climate and demonstrate a 2W/m^2 increase from 380ppm CO2 to be very convincing. But I wouldn’t have easily found that from papers without an existing background in the field. Instead I found a few reference books on the subject that started from the basics and worked through the subject in detail. I use this as an example not to make any claims about CO2 but for the difficulty of a non-specialist in getting to grips with what specialists know.

    As Briggs rightly points out, if we stay with the generalist claims made for climate models they are useless (as forecasts) because no event or year, or even decade will falsify them.

    So I believe it’s entirely possible that there are specific claims that climate modelers could make about what their models predict that might help to convince me and others that they have predictive value.

    So if any climate modelers or climate scientists who know lots about climate models do read this blog and want to help those with an open mind, it would be wonderful to see.

  35. Ian L. McQueen says:

    K. Bray (13:50:19) :

    EARTH”S INTERNAL FURNACE [snipped]
    This internal Earth heat slowly dissipates through the Earth’s crust.
    This heat must logically play some role in surface temperatures, certainly keeping our orb from freezing. Temperatures only 1 Kilometer below most land masses are too hot to survive in without mechanical cooling.
    What if climate change is really related to variations in the heat being transmitted and released through the crust in pulses of decades or centuries or longer periods of normal fluxuations ?
    There must be some deep mine temperature statistics somewhere to reveal this detectable component.
    I submit that Earth’s Internal Heat must play some role, even if minor, in climate variability.
    *****************
    K. Bray:
    See if you can google any information on temperatures inside South African mines. They go deep and the temperature at depth is uncomfortabloy hot, and the temperature varies quite regularly with depth.
    Water from an undergrond spring will be at ground temperature. Where I am, at 45°N in eastern Canada, the temperature is around 6°C. It should be this year-’round for, below a certain depth, the temperature is more-or-less constant throughout the year. Similarly, the air temperature inside deep caves will be relatively constant at the temperature appropriate to that depth.

    IanM

  36. Colin_d says:

    I’m no statistician but isn’t there a distinction to be had here- the proposition that globe is getting warmer and the further proposition that recent warming has anthropogenic origins?

    So the unseasonal cold weather in the NH can legitimately call into question the first proposition but has no bearing on the second.

    Pedantic?

  37. Kevin Kilty says:

    marchesarosa (14:58:13) :

    The average heat flow from the interior is about 40milliW/m^2 whereas average solar irradiance is 240 W/m^2. The former is infinitesimal compared to the latter.

    In a few places the internal heat is very important (Yellowstone in winter), and the indirect effects of volcanoes are possibly quite large, but the direct effect is nil.

  38. John says:

    Reading the clarity expressed by great minds such as Briggs and the Mc and Mac’s makes me think that the only people who should be allowed to call themselves “Climatologists” would be expert statisticians. I have long thought that climate does not exist, except as a statistical concept. The rest of them are Meterologists and not Climatologists at all. That particular “science” is in desperate need of overhaul.

  39. Thanks, Mr. William M. Briggs, for confronting the Global Warming Scam with yet another another inconvenient truth.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  40. Alan S. Blue says:

    Add one more theory to the repetoire:
    Iceage Contraction Epoch (ICE).

    ICE is basically the prevailing model prior to Dr. Mann’s temperature reconstruction of 1998. The simplest version is: there’s a vaguely linear rebound (1-2C/Century) from the Little Ice Age, andor the possibility we’re still slowly warming from the last true ice age.

    A completely flat historical temperature reconstruction basically rules ICE out. If there wasn’t a Little Ice Age, arguing about the rebound is quite silly. But if one isn’t comfortable with the methodology used for reconstructions extending beyond the instrumental period, then there’s nothing credible ruling ICE out as a competing method.

    It should be even more difficult to rule ICE out on statistical grounds with solid satellite data than it is to rule out BUT.

  41. George E. Smith says:

    Well the recent Haiti earthquake demonstrates that cataclysmic events can and do happen with considerable regularity.

    To argue that such events are consistent with some model; is not the least bit helpful; even with the caveat that the probablilies are not zero.

    But to offer such a model as a thesis for what the real world physics of the situation is doing, is just plain silly.

    It is well known in classical climatology, that the earth’s mean surface temperature is a logarithmic function of the atmospheric abundance of CO2. Dr Steven Schneider of Stanford evidently said so when he started his concept of “Climate Sensitivity”; one of the keystones of classical climatology, and central proposition of the AGW theory.

    There is only one problem with Dr Schneider’s thesis. There simply is nowhere to be found any data sets of simultaneous earth surface temperature, and atmopsheric CO2 abundance that have been shown to be related either logarithmically; or the reverse; exponentially. Not only are there no such simultaneous data sets; but there are not even any time delayed data sets, that show earth surface mean temperature to be logarithmically related to any earlier time epoch CO2 atmospheric abundance; nor to an data sets where the CO2 abundance changes follow after the Temperature changes, as Antarctic ice cores seem to show, with a time delay of about 800 years, between temperature rise and CO2 rise.

    No such data for any time scale in the last 600+ million years, can be shown to fit a lograthithmic function. Yet many very common physical phenomenon most certainly do follow a logarithmic/ exponential relationship; depending on the order of the variables.
    Radioactive decay, forward current of semiconductor diodes, and resistive charge decay of a capacitor held charge, are all known to be logarithmic, or exponential over many orders of magnitude of the wider range variable.

    Well actually there really are two things wrong with Dr Schneider’s thesis. Not only is there no experimentally observed data sets that follow his theory; but there isn’t even any physical cause and effect relationship between atmospheric CO2 abundance, and mean earth surface temperature.

    And any high school science student would be able to suggest why such a postulate is rather silly to say the least.

    The purported mechanism by which CO2 via the “Greenhouse effect” warms the earth, rests on the selective absorption of Long Wave Surface Emitted thermal Infra-Red Radiation. (LWIR).

    Now nobody that I know, who knows any physics at all, has any doubt that CO2 and indeed other molecules such as H2O do in fact absorb such radiant energy from the earth’s surface, and in turn warm the rest of the atmosphere via molecular collisions. It simply is not rational to claim this is not so.

    It is far less certain that this heated atmosphere in turn warms the earth’s surface. Certainly a warmer atmosphere at any altitude, will of course radiate thermal radiation into outer space more effectively, and thereby add to the cooling effect of the earth. It can be argued that the cascade process of reabsorption and re-emission of LWIR in the atmosphere, favors the escape to space, rather than the warming of the surface, since the upward path traverses through ever less dense and colder atmosphere and GHG gases, thereby narrowing the width of the IR absorption spectrum lines as altitude increases, and both temperature and pressure broadening subside.

    On the downward path, however, the density and temperature both increase, so the absorption band widens, as you go lower, increasing the probablility of recapture, and so lowering the probability of reaching the surface.

    And when it does reach the surface; most of it is going to be absorbed in the top 10 micorns or less of surface waters; and that concentrated surface warming is going to promote prompt evaporation from the surface.

    This prompt evaporation increases the atmospheric H2O concentration; which already exceeeds CO2 abundance virtually everywhere in the atmosphere, and conveys huge amounts of energy into the upper atmosphere in the form of latent heat of evaporation; thereby resulting in surface cooling of a substantial amount. The resulting cloud increases result in further cooling of the surface due to increased albedo, and more blocking of solar radiation to the surface.

    So almost nobody pooh poohs the GHG mechanism.

    The trouble is that the extreme range of earth surface temperatures, most of which can be present simultaneously, covers the range from about -90 deg C, to about +60 deg C or more.
    Over that range, the emittance of LWIR from the surface will vary by more than an order of magnitude; closer to a range of about 11:1.

    So the putative driver of climate sensitivity; CO2 absorption of surface emitted LWIR varies by more than an order of magnitude depending on where you are on earth; and virtually nowhere on the earth is such a relationship even sampled; so there is not any measured real world data, to even establish some global average; of what is a highly ranging variable; namely the heating of the atmosphere by CO2 capture of LWIR from the surface.

    So no; there isn’t any physical mechanism to support Schneider’s thesis; nor is there any recognised data sets that demonstrate his logarithmic “climate sensitivity” notion.

    As I said, any high school science student, can see it is a ludicrous idea.

    But then dozens of University faculties have a vested interested in indoctrinating new generations of mushheads, into this bizarre dogma.

  42. Erik says:

    I just had ice land on my balcony in downtown San Diego, California. I’m pretty damned sure that wasn’t in the models..

  43. latitude says:

    Thanks Will, very well done.

    We have a 50% chance of rain tomorrow. ;-)

  44. AnonyMoose says:

    Incidentally, the newest PhD Comics is about basic statistics.

  45. DirkH says:

    “John (15:38:23) :
    [...]
    That particular “science” is in desperate need of overhaul.”

    The major shortcoming is that clouds and humidity are not computed by their models but preset by parameters as far as i could find out.

    A while ago i found von Storch’s institute on the web and while trawling it i found an offer for a Diplomarbeit or Master’s thesis to model the effect of clouds. I find it striking that even by 2010 they still don’t have that. I mean their grid cells are too large to model local phenomena but how difficult can it be to add a cache that at least approximates cloud formation by getting a best match to the state of the grid cell and retrieves the best observed data for that state. That wouldn’t be perfect but way better than what they have.

    This is really poor given that they cry wolf since at least 1988 now. My impression is that they did not try in earnest to model the earth’s climate but tried in earnest to milk the system for all it’s worth.

  46. Gail Combs says:

    marchesarosa (14:58:13) :

    “I know this is off topic but the first comment is of some interest to me. I, too, thought the internal heat of the earth’s core was bound to have SOME effect on global surface temperature….

    Does anyone else have a view?”

    For what it is worth, I was an avid caver and spent a lot of time underground. Cave temperatures are usually close to the average yearly temp. For example caves in Indian were 55.5F in 1970, caves in Texas were around 70F and caves in Vermont and England were around 45F (BRRrrr) To see warming in mines you need to go deep so I do not think there is much surface effect. However the internal heat of the earth’s core does effect climate through volcanoes, and plate tectonics.

    Hope that helps

  47. K. Bray says:

    Overcast skies trap heat and keep temperatures warmer all night.

    Clear skies let the ground heat quickly dissipate off earth at night allowing significant cooling.

    This is observable and obvious, even by just sleeping “under the stars.”

    Perhaps a solution to warming, (if that is a “problem”) would be dehumidifying atmospheric air. The drought issue however would be seriously problematic, but it would be cooler.

    Water vapor appears to be the biggest obvious factor in temperature regulation.

    The other factors like co2, methane, internal heat, etc. are incidentals.

    Let’s get back to manufacturing things and controlling the toxic chemicals… leave CO2 alone… CO2 is beneficial and necessary for life.

    How to “UNSETTLE” the “SETTLED” science ? That is what is necessary and is slowly being done. I want to help however I can… even if just with humor…

  48. Mike Ramsey says:

    K. Bray (13:50:19) :

    “Indications from temperature profiles and from modeling are that these temperature bands are controlled by the a vection of fluids from the deep basin upward along the growth-fault zone. The source of the fluids appears to be quite deep, over 12,000 ft (4,000 m) below the surface. In addition, temperatures generally increase from the northeast to the southwest within the area. This trend is presumably created by variation in basement heat flux.”

    http://payperview.datapages.com/data/open/offer.do?target=%2Fbulletns%2F1988-89%2Fdata%2Fpg%2F0072%2F0001%2F0000%2F0021.htm

    I don’t recall reading any papers that talk about the variation over time in the heat flux rising up from the earth (as a whole) into the atmosphere.  Can you point me at any?

    Uranium and thorium within the Earth produce a major portion of terrestrial heat.  I don’t know how much this production varies over, say, a century or two.  Nor how much the heat flux is influenced by the flow of fluids through faults.

    Interesting questions.

    Mike Ramsey

  49. DirkH says:

    “George E. Smith (16:02:09) :
    [...]
    The trouble is that the extreme range of earth surface temperatures, most of which can be present simultaneously, covers the range from about -90 deg C, to about +60 deg C or more.
    Over that range, the emittance of LWIR from the surface will vary by more than an order of magnitude; closer to a range of about 11:1.”

    Very good, i didn’t think of that.
    George, when you say that nobody has observed the logarithmic relationship: My guess is that it exists but is obfuscated by the water vapour content. When CO2 concentrations rise, LIR rays are more likely to be reflected back closer to the surface. This means more energy at the surface and less energy higher up, leading to a cooling higher up and a drop in air humidity higher up. That’s how i interpret Miskolczi. The overall greenhouse effect is thus constant even when CO2 varies.

    You say that the direction upwards for a LIR ray is easier because the absorption bands get narrower. True, but consider that a LIR ray is absorbed after 10m or 30ft on average. For the LIR band, the atmosphere is a very dense fog. Imagine the atmosphere to be made of layers each 10m thick: It will take a lot of absorptions and re-emissions until a LIR ray reaches space. I think it’s very unlikely.

    Look into these slides by Miskolczi :

    http://miskolczi.webs.com/ZM_v10_eng.pdf

    Slide 62 is interesting, ED for downward emittance is the LIR flux emitted downwards. It’s practically ALL of the LIR flux that goes downward; and it has been so in pre-industrial times if Miskolczi is right. It’s always been a saturated greenhouse effect, mostly caused by water vapour.

  50. Leo G says:

    {For instance, if “climate” is defined as the yearly mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will produce a yearly mean temperature that is colder than average (as long as the coming summer isn’t abnormally hot: winter, of course, overlaps two calendar years and a hot summer can balance out a cold winter in the yearly mean).}

    Fine. Then let us staighten this out and start collating yearly data from March 21 of the year, to March 20th of the next year. Start from the sun over the equator. We can call it the equitorial year!

    Actually, has anyone tried this?

  51. K. Bray says:

    { Kevin Kilty (15:36:02) :} Thanks Kevin.

    Any one of a number of obscure sources of earth’s heat could be latched onto by a group of “believers” to choose it as a scape goat and promote the idea for punitive legislation, as we see happening worldwide.

    Shameful and foolish rules are coming out of formerly sacred halls of reason and freedom. “Settled Beliefs” will come to no good, only accurate science will correct it.

    If they don’t listen, we must vote them out… think MA, “Let’s beam ‘em out Scotty !”

  52. Nick Stokes says:

    “You can’t have it both ways. It is a mistake to extol evidence that supports the man-made global warming theory and to cry foul when presented with evidence which weakens that theory.”

    Well, try it this way:
    “You can’t have it both ways. It is a mistake to extol evidence that supports the BUT and to cry foul when presented with evidence which weakens that theory.”

    Both ways? Must be a mistake. There’s plenty of extolling at WUWT. And crying foul.

  53. John F. Hultquist says:

    From the text: [if “climate” is defined as the yearly mean temperature]

    Historically, it has not been defined in this manner.

    Type Köppen climate into your search box and look at a few of the reports and images that are returned. To me, these patterns that are defined would have to change noticeably before we start talking about climate change. Anything else is simple variability.

  54. Phil's Dad says:

    From the article “In technical language, [models] cannot be falsified by the observations”. From my understanding of the scientific method this makes the models – well – unscientific.

    What struck me was that I had understood the SH to be warm recently and the NH cold. The diagram seems to show both South America and the part of Australia we can see as unseasonably cold. WUWT?

  55. Phil's Dad says:

    Sorry – my mistake – not Australia but the Tip of Borneo which is still technically NH

  56. Bernd Felsche says:

    “Climate” is what? The average weather over an arbitrary period of 30 years?

    Where does the 30 years come from? It doesn’t coincide with any observed natural cycle. Surely one would try to include a whole observable cycle for signal analysis.

    Has 30 years been chosen to select noise?
    Is it just a coincidence that it’s about half of a distinct cycle?

  57. John F. Hultquist says:

    Bernd Felsche (17:03:38) :

    This 30 year issue has been raised and commented on a number of times in the past year. Here is an example:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/20/antarctica-warming-ice-melting-not/#comment-191302

    Ubique of Perth WA (17:55:26) :

    Why is the NSIDC still making comparisons with a 1979-2000 average? Twenty one years is a pretty ordinary baseline – why aren’t we seeing a 1979 – 2008 average?

    Climate normals are set by international treaty to be an average over 30 years with the last year ending with a zero. After 2010 there will be updates.

    Has anyone ever wondered about the choice of years for averages or normals of climatic variables? In case you have but haven’t found the answer, here is one:
    “Climatologists define a climatic normal as the arithmetic average of a climate element such as temperature over a prescribed 30-year interval. The 30 year interval was selected by international agreement, based on the recommendations of the International Meteorological Conference in Warsaw in 1933. The 30 year interval is sufficiently long to filter out many of the short-term interannual fluctuations and anomalies, but sufficiently short so as to be used to reflect longer term climatic trends. Currently, the 30-year interval for calculating normals extends from 1971 to 2000.”
    http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~sco/normals.html
    Also, here: http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/26747.pdf
    ps: I re-post this about once a month.

  58. Phil's Dad says:

    “So far, the BUT theory is winning on points (there are other climate theories the BUT doesn’t beat).”

    What are they Mr Briggs?

  59. pat says:

    meanwhile, back at the UN ranch:

    ww Jan: UN: Senior UN climate change official calls for united global action to forge rapid accord
    The failure of last month’s United Nations summit in Copenhagen to agree on ambitious and immediate global action to combat climate change means that the task has become more, not less urgent, a senior UN official said in an opinion piece published today.
    “The window of opportunity to tackle the climate problem closes more rapidly the longer nations delay to act together,” UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer wrote in the Bangkok Post. “But Copenhagen has raised the challenge to the highest level of government policy, the level where it must ultimately be resolved.”…
    “It will take time for countries to digest the implications,” he said. “This is well and good, for they must come to terms with the challenge ahead. Now, industrialized countries can resume discussions to raise their collective mid-term emission cuts into the minus 25 to 40 per cent range that science has indicated would avoid the worst climate impacts. Failure to achieve this can only mean the need for greater ambition later.
    “Countries need to discuss how the long-term finance will be raised. Let us also not forget that in Copenhagen, nations pledged $28 billion in short-term finance for immediate action, and this money is sitting in national budgets. Countries need to find how this money can be used as soon as possible to launch immediate action.”
    Mr. de Boer stressed that multilateral agreements are the only tool the world has to agree on laws, regulations, accounting norms and market mechanisms for global action in curbing climate change and keep it honest.
    “It is increasingly impossible for nations to act confidently without these reference points, in a world where no one bloc calls the shots,” he said. “If countries follow up Copenhagen’s outcomes calmly and with their eye on the collective advantage, then they have every chance of completing this promise.”
    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33565&Cr=climate+change&Cr1=

  60. George E. Smith says:

    “”” K. Bray (16:18:19) :

    Overcast skies trap heat and keep temperatures warmer all night.

    Clear skies let the ground heat quickly dissipate off earth at night allowing significant cooling.

    This is observable and obvious, even by just sleeping “under the stars.”

    Perhaps a solution to warming, (if that is a “problem”) would be dehumidifying atmospheric air. The drought issue however would be seriously problematic, but it would be cooler.

    Water vapor appears to be the biggest obvious factor in temperature regulation. “””

    Well K. here we are back to the “correlation is not causation” question.

    You associate high clouds at night with warmer surface temperatures; and clear skies with cooler surface temperatures. Ergo the high clouds must cause the surface warming.

    Say what happened to that prominent greenhouse gas CO2 which was present day and night, regardless of cloud cover. Howcome the CO2 isn’t keeping it warm at night.

    Moreover, if you check out the height of those high clouds, and the strength of the surface warmth, you likely will find that the higher the clouds are, the warmer are those overnight surface temperatures. Don’t you find that a little weird ?

    The higher those night clouds are, the lower is the local atmospheric pressure and density, and the cooler is the local temperature in the vicinity of those high clouds. So the number and temperature of the local GHG molecules, whether CO2 or H2O or anything else gets less and less as those clouds move higher. That means that the LWIR absorption spectra of those high GHG molecules lines, keeps getting narrower and narrower, due to the reduction in both pressure (collision) and Doppler (temperature) broadening. So those ever higher clouds and other GHG molecules absorb an ever narrowing width out of the surace emitted LWIR outgoing radiation.

    Yet the higher those clouds go at night the warmer is the ground or lower air temperature at night; well you said it, you sleep out under the stars and you experience it. Of course if it is warmer at ground level during the day; and maybe also less humid too, the water vapor in the atmosphere, will have to rise higher in the atmosphere, before it finally cools down to the dew point and starts to form high clouds, of either water droplets or ice crystals. That too would associate higher clouds with warmer surface temperatures.

    So how is it, that an ever diminishing mass of GHG materials, with ever narrowing absorption bands, keeps on blocking and re-radiating an increasing amount of LWIR energy to make the ground warmer. At what point does this process stop; presumably somehwere lower in altitude than the 17 billion light year height of the earth’s outermost atmospheric layers.

    What if those ethereal high clouds with less and less moisture content, and ever lessening LWIR absorption, are actually the result of those warmer near ground conditions that persisted during the day, and remained over night.

    One thing is for sure; absent the influx of a new warmer air mass from somewhere else; it never actually warms up over night; it continues to cool once the sun goes down; so whatever surface heating effect those high clouds are supposed to have; it isn’t very effective.

    To me the surface warming effect of high clouds, is another myth of the standard climatology, which according to one Japanese climate scientist, is akin to “ancient astrology”.

    Peronally, I think the gentleman is most unkind to “ancient astrology.”

    Yes the science is settled, and academic institutions will continue to teach it, so long as the grant money continues to pour into their establishments.

    You have to follow the money, to see what the current state of the science is.

  61. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Anonymouse, thanks fore the link to PHDCOMICS; a great find; Very nice.

    BTW Do you post eslewhere as AnonEUmouse?

  62. Dr Anthony Fallone says:

    Kevin Kilty
    ‘In engineering we run “factorial” experiments. Once our “table of contrasts” is filled and sufficiently replicated, we ought to be able to say what factors and interactions are significant and which are not. No one has tried this yet with regard to AGW, although I think it may be possible to look at instances of past climate change and do such a thing. However, as the outcome of temperature increase/decrease seems to not have a clear connection with historical changes in CO2, analysis of my hypothetical table of contrasts would probably throw it away as a factor.’
    As an experimental psychologist I taught statistics for around 20 years and what you have described closely resembles what we taught our more advanced students: Factor Analysis. In this we would gather together the variables we were interested in (in this case, those likely to affect climate). Given at least 100 data points for each variable the FA would look for all possible interrelations between variables and our trusty SPSS would churn out the answer. What is called ‘the first principal component’ would be the variable which has the greatest variance (in this case, contribute the most to imputed climate change). The other variables would then be tabled in order of diminishing contribution of variance (and, as has been suggested by Kevin Kilty, CO2 would be likely to be the variable with the least variance to contribute). A closely related test we teach psychology students is Multiple Regression, where a number of variables can be assigned that may provide greater or lesser contributions to a target variable (in this case, global temperature). Unlike the Factor Analysis, this is a significance test which would generate a p value of confidence in our findings.
    I have read most of what has been published here and until Kevin Kilty mentioned testing that resonated with my own knowledge I have been puzzled why such tests haven’t been used to try to clarify matters.

  63. Alan F says:

    Turns out forgetting to close the lid on a really great old deep freeze in my garage was the tipping point. Sorry all.

  64. Brute says:

    This guy is arguing the point that I attempted to make a while back, being that weather is climate. “Weather” is a compilation of temperature datasets/events/cycles that comprise climate and the absence of heat that the globe has been experiencing in the last 12 years (with CO2 increasing all the while) disproves the global warming theory.

    The “weather is not climate” sophistry that the disciples of global warming propound is another prevarication the Alarmists use to explain the failure of their apocalyptic prophecies (case in point……“climate change”).

  65. richard verney says:

    I am a layman and may be I have lost the plot but isn’t it a central issue of the AGW theory that CO2 is a ‘greenhouse’ gas such that with ever increasing concentrations/quantities, the global temperature WILL increase? Warmists continually assert that the physics that this is based on dates back 150 years and is certain and sound. That physics does allude to the possibility that with increasing concentrations/quantities of CO2, the global temperature will cool. If that is the fundamentals of the physics, it follows that if there are any periods (even of just a year) when global temperatures have not increased even though CO2 concentrations/quantities have increased, then there MUST be other factors at work which factors have cancelled out the predicted increase. This is important since unless the Warmist can (i) identify what those other factors are; and (ii) explain how those other factors have cancelled out the predicted increase (during the relevant time frame), all one is left with is unexplained natural variation in the climate system. In these circumstances, one is forced to conclude that one does not fully understand the climate system which system contains unexplained natural variation affecting global temperatures. Once one accepts that summary of present day knowledge, it is impossible to assert that the ONLY explanation for the observed warming since the mid 1800s/early 1900s is the introduction of man made CO2 and the whole case behind the AGW theory does not pass even a balance of probabilities test, ie., an equally plausible explanation for the observed increase in global temperatures since the mid 1800s.early 1900s could be the unexplained natural variation in the system.
    I fully concur that when testing the AGW theory, colder than average (predicted) years are more significant than warmer years since colder years runs counter to the theory and therefore these years require some explanation which explanation is still consistent with the underlying premise that increasing levels of CO2 will increase global temperatures. It is not sufficient for proposers of the theory to say we do not know what went on, it is just natural variation. When the cold years extend to more than 1 year, it causes ever more problems for the theory since the odds against this happening increase dramatically. In the UK we have had two cold winters in succession notwithstanding the MET office advising us that cold winters will become a distant thing of the past.

    PS. I have been reading the posts for many months on many of the relevant sites but I have never seen anyone suggest that since CO2 concentrations appear to lag warming by about 800/1000 years, may be the observed increase in measured CO2 during the last 100 years is nothing more than the signature of the MWP or Roman warm period, ie., it has nothing to do with burning of fossil fuels during the last 100 years. Does anyone have a view on this?

  66. George E. Smith says:

    “”” DirkH (16:35:48) :

    “George E. Smith (16:02:09) :
    [...]
    The trouble is that the extreme range of earth surface temperatures, most of which can be present simultaneously, covers the range from about -90 deg C, to about +60 deg C or more.
    Over that range, the emittance of LWIR from the surface will vary by more than an order of magnitude; closer to a range of about 11:1.”

    Very good, i didn’t think of that.
    George, when you say that nobody has observed the logarithmic relationship: My guess is that it exists but is obfuscated by the water vapour content. “””

    Well Dirk, let me assure you that I HAVE thought about it; long and hard.

    But remember that the assertion IS that the logarithm of the CO2 atmospheric abundance matches the rise in mean global surface temperature; so please don’t invoke some other process that is not CO2 even though that might in fact be a more logical cause of any warming.

    My assertion was that there is no data for any period, which shows a logartihmic CO2/mean surface temperature mathematical observed relationship. And I further opined that not only is there no such observational data, but there also is no theoretical physics mechanism that would even follow such a logarithmic function.

    Mathematics is basically pretty simple; either a relationship is logarithmic or it isn’t; there isn’t any almost logarithmic; just as there is no such thing as almost pregnant.

    Also you talk of LWIR being “reflected back closer to the surface”. There really isn’t any such reflection process at all; neither water vapor, nor CO2 is reflective, at virtually any wavelength. The process is one of selective absorption, in the 13.5 to about 16.5 micron range for CO2. and plenty of other regions for H2O. The rest of the entire surface LWIR spectrum simply escapes to space; well unless it runs into something else namely a cloud; which is not a green house gas. The absorption process which requires the passage of a suitable wavelength LWIR photon within the capture crossection of the CO2 or other GHG molecule, at lower altitudes, such as your bottom 10 metres then results in general warming of the lower atmosphere by collision of the CO2 or other GHG molecule with the normal N2 and O2 and Ar molecules of the ordinary atmosphere.

    FDor today’s CO2 abundance, CO2 molecules are one in every 2576.7 molecules of the atmosphere. That averages out to about 13.7 layers of atmospheric gas molecules between any two CO2 molecules, in any direction. So the CO2 pirates, are not even aware of each other’s presence; they interract only with the ordinary atmosphere gases.
    Only at much higher altitudes with long enough mean free paths or excited state lifetimes can it be said that the GHG molecule re-radiates the capture LWIR photon.

    In any case, such re-emission where it occurs; or thermal emission from the ordinary atmosphere at lower altitudes; must inherently be isotropic; there is no mechanism for focussing such emission in a downward or any other direction. So the transmission has to be ruled by something like the gauntlet run I described; and that favors escape over return to the surface.

    As for Miskolczi : I am not aware of either him or his researches, so I will look into that. I am always ready to learn of the existence of any new physics that describes a focussed downwards atmospheric thermal emission.

  67. rabidfox says:

    We may see AGW fade away as a UN concern – Fox is reporting that the UN wants to get involved with controlling health care world wide. Frankly, that sounds like a more promising avenue to one world government than the climate.

  68. Pascvaks says:

    Weather is like a daily data graph? Climate is like a trend line?

  69. George E. Smith says:

    Well I just checked out your Miskolczi reference Dirk, and it looks like a nice dissertation; whcih I will have to digest.

    But nowhere in it did I find any assertion that most of the atmospheric emission goes downwards.

    In several places, the author asserts that the atmospheric upward emission is always half of the surface upward emission. That would make the upward and downward each half ot the total surface emission; which is about what a simple isotropic atmospheric emission would suggest.

    A lot of good stuff in there to think about, and some stuff I have no confidence in, such as the Trenberth earth energy budget. Anybody knows that the incoming solar TSI is more like 1366 Watts per m^2 and not any 342 number which Trenberth asserts.

    And no 1366 W/m^2 time shared over the surface does not produce the same effect as 342 received 24/7 by each square metre of the earth from pole to pole.

  70. Michael says:

    It’s sort of a battle against the subtle innuendos concerning man-made climate change. Man has nothing to do with climate change. The Chevron commercials on FOX are constantly pushing the climate change subtle innuendo that it is man’s fault.

    Man has nothing to do with climate change. The climate changes all by itself due to the cycles of the Sun, the changing wobble of the earth on it’s axis while it travels through space, the changing eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, and a few lesser influential things that happen over millions of years.

    http://hosting11.imagecross.com/image-hosting-26/1079God-Invented-Climate-Change-1.JPG

  71. davidmhoffer says:

    But remember that the assertion IS that the logarithm of the CO2 atmospheric abundance matches the rise in mean global surface temperature

    I thought that the assertion was that CO2 causes small rise in temp that results in exponential rise in water vapor as max water vapour in atmosphere about doubles for every 10 degree rise in temp, approximately tripling CO2 direct effect?

    That said my understanding is that the energy emitted by an ideal black body is determined by Stefan’s Law which is

    P(w/m2)=5.76*10^-8*K^4

    If we use temp of earth average at 300K, and get a 3 degree rise, earth radiance would go up by 18 w/m2? But IPCC estimate is CO2 doubling = 3.7 watts, tripled by H2O = 11.1 watts. so unless they are claiming another 7 watts from somewhere else? Or I am missing something else?

  72. J.Hansford says:

    …….. “(To anticipate an objection: “that number was practically zero” is logically equivalent to “she was practically a virgin.”)”

    …. Perhaps even. A little bit pregnant also?……… LoL.

    Statistic speak… So illogically imprecise in it’s exactitude….;-)

  73. Tim Groves says:

    According to the Danes (DMI Polar Temperature on the sidebar), mean temperature and climate north of the 80th northern parallel is now lower than at any time since 2004, meaning this winter still has plenty of punch left in it. Nice weather for young polar bears!

    REPLY: I have a story coming up on this – Anthony

  74. ozspeaksup says:

    OT But Important!
    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/keeping-it-in-family.html
    possible? link pachauri and NZ weather chappy..

  75. Newt Love says:

    “Weather is not Climate”
    Okay, let’s see:
    The Northern Hemisphere Summer 2008 was cooler.
    The Southern Hemisphere Summer 2008 was cooler.
    The Northern Hemisphere Winter 2008 was cooler.
    The Southern Hemisphere Winter 2008 was cooler.
    The Northern Hemisphere Summer 2009 was the “Summer that never was.”
    The Northern Hemisphere Winter 2009/2010 is the coldest in 100 years.
    The Southern Hemisphere Summer 2009/2010 has twice had snow, even down to the 3,000 foot level In Australia, which is uncommon. even in their winter.

    Umm, how long does a “weather” pattern have to exist before it becomes “climate” ? ? ? ?

    How many kilometers of species treelines have to move {south in the northern hemisphere, or north in the southern hemisphere} before the Climate Scientologists realize that the Climate Zones have shifted?

    Perhaps when Michael Mann and Phil Jones are in police custody and making plea-bargain deals for leniency, we will see a modicum of reality hitting the politicians who would believe tea entrails instead of actual science.

    BTW, where are the peer-reviewed studies listing the names of the “30% of the species will become extinct” mentioned in the last IPCC report? Where are the peer reviewed studies on the drought-driven crop failures that are in the last IPCC report? Which crops are going to fail? Publish them so Farmers can avoid failures of those crops! The IPCC were “spot-on” about the peer-reviewed science journal papers on glacial melting the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. Wait, they lied about that. Never mind, they said we could belive them on everything! “Trust Me!”

    LAUGH OUT LOUD!

    Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
    Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & Analysis
    “The most famous person nobody has heard of!”

  76. Baa Humbug says:

    Mr Briggs you left the barn door wide open. I have to drive my truck thru it.

    “(that number was practically zero” is logically equivalent to “she was practically a virgin.)”

    Was the number derived “digitally”?

  77. For George E. Smith:

    “..Anybody knows that the incoming solar TSI is more like 1366 Watts per m^2 and not any 342 number which Trenberth asserts.

    And no 1366 W/m^2 time shared over the surface does not produce the same effect as 342 received 24/7 by each square metre of the earth from pole to pole.

    It’s pretty simple. And the theory matches the measurements. It’s not, on average 340 W/m^2

    The TSI is received against the “2d radius” of the earth, so the total energy incoming is:

    E(total) = S x pi x r^2

    where S is the solar “constant” of 1367W/m^2 at the distance of the earth from the sun
    r is the radius of the earth

    Some is reflected out by the clouds, earth’s surface – the planetary albedo, A – which is about 30%

    And the 70% received in is shared out (unevenly) over the area of the earth which is 4 x pi x r^2

    Actual average shortwave solar radiation absorbed by the earth’s surface =

    S/4 (1-A)

    = 240 W/m^2

    The actual number at any one time depends on real angle of the sun at the particular point so is dependant on latitude, time of year and time of day.

  78. continuing.. for George E. Smith:

    I’d be amazed if Trenberth had got such a basic number wrong- what are you citing?

    The averaged value across the globe is 240W/m^2. At a given point at a given time, it is quite possible to be 340W/m^2.

  79. Max Hugoson says:

    Good Morning Mr. Briggs:

    Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to take several of the “Average Temperature” data sets, to analyze them in terms of their “standard deviation” over time.

    You are to show that changes over the last 10, 50, 100, 150 years DO NOT FALL
    far enough outside of 2 SD’s to have ANY statistical significance.

    Should you, or any of your “SM” (Statistical Methods) team be denounced, or derided, you may safely dispense of your critics as complete statistical morons.

    Good Luck Mr. Briggs, this Email will Phil Jones delete in 5 seconds…

    5

    4

    3

    2

    1

    Psssstttt!!! —-

  80. Frank says:

    “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” and statisticians without data.

    Briggs writes: “For instance, if “climate” is defined as the yearly mean temperature …”

    We know that weather is going to change in a fairly predictable way as the earth circles the sun. These SEASONAL changes do not represent changes in what scientists call “climate”. One year’s average annual temperature is a single data point that tells us almost nothing about “climate”. From a statistical point of view, if we don’t know anything about the natural variation in average annual temperature, we can’t say anything meaningful about how average annual temperature is changing.

    Briggs does better with: “If “climate” is defined as the decadal mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will push the decadal mean lower.”

    With ten years of average annual temperature, we can say something meaningful about the mean and standard deviation of the average annual temperature and therefore talk sensibly about how the climate is changing. So how cold has “this year’s cold weather” been? What does Briggs mean by “this year’s cold weather”? Briggs appears to be referring to the cold weather shown on the map of the Northern Hemisphere for December of 2009 (without any temperature scale). December 2009 represents about 0.4% of the data needed to compute the global climate for a decade (120 months times two hemispheres). If the blue color on the map represented December temperatures that were an absurd 5 degC colder than average and that blue color covered a remarkable 50% of the Northern Hemisphere, the mean land temperature for the whole decade would be reduced by only 0.01 degC by the December data. (Current data shows global warming averaging about 0.2 degC per decade between 1975 and 1995 and IPCC projections of future climate change are at least this big.)

    If “this year’s cold weather” means December 2009 weather, Briggs IS making the classic mistake of confusing weather and climate. Confusing weather and climate is wrong when either the alarmists or the skeptics do it.

    If “this year’s cold weather” means a longer period than December 2009, where is the data? Compared with the rest of this decade, every reader of this blog should already know that 2009 was not an usually cold or hot year. The decade’s climate isn’t changed by a normal year. Compared with the previous century’s or half-century’s climate, 2009 was unusually warm.

  81. Newt Love says:

    Let me put it another way:
    Black walnut wood is beautiful. Back in the early 80s, When weather changed, and the permafrost layer marched south during the late 1970s, the “climate zones” in North America shifted south. Many Black Walnut trees growing near St Louis, Missouri were killed by the “cold-line” moving south. A local saw mill harvested these “southern” trees, and processed their wood into T&G flooring, and I did my whole house in the hardwood floors.

    Why did the “climate zones” — where trees grow — shift, if not a climate change. Well, in the late 80s and 90s, the climate zones shifted north. Now, in the “20-teens” we are seeing the climate zones shift south again.

    Why aren’t moose wandering around in Palm Springs? Why do southern pine trees not grow in Connecticut with the northern pine species? It’s the climate, stupid!”

    Yeah, “weather isn’t climate” but long-term cold weather moves the climate zones south, and long-term warm moves them north.

    BTW, since we are warmer than the Little Ice-Age, isn’t that a good thing? We are not as warm as the MWP. Is that bad? Why is it that, even though the AGW crowd has yet to prove that rising CO2 forces rising temps, that they get a free-pass on their assertion that “change is BAD!” What a normative load of BS propaganda. Are they saying that the 1970s were the most perfect for the planet? Was it the 1980s that were “perfect.” Please tell me so I can laugh out loud!

    Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
    Aerospace Technical Fellow: Modeling, Simulation & Analysis
    “The most famous person nobody has heard of!”

  82. Rob Vermeulen says:

    And nevertheless, the UAH global January temperarure is breaking all records… So if a “frigid” earth (which is not happening) would be a sign of the planet going colder, is a “sizzling” earth a sign that warming is actually well confirmed?

  83. ginckgo says:

    I think this is the only time I’ve ever seen “Business as Usual” defined as a climate model in itself. Everyone else uses it to describe an unchanged rate of human GHG emissions. There are them climate models based on BAU emissions, but they certainly don’t say “whatever happened last year will more or less happen this year, and so on into the future”.

  84. Dr Anthony Fallone says:

    Climate versus Weather
    Perhaps this is a false dichotomy: ‘weather’ is the steady accumulation of individual numbers (days and their particular conditions) while ‘climate’ is a category decision (‘cooling’, ‘warming’). An old philosophy conundrum is ‘How many hairs do you have to pluck from a man’s head before you can call him bald?’ To decide when the climate is category ‘cooling’ or category ‘warming’ a particular threshold has to be decided beyond which the definition is moved from one to the other; this is achieved by the steady accumulation of individual ‘weathers’ (hairs). The decision to be made is simply at what figure do you set the threshold? The figures bandied about that I have seen are so small they seem to enter into the pettiness of Swiftian ‘Big Endians’ versus ‘Small Endians’. Without a definition of where the threshold lies this pettifogging (weather pun) controversy will run and run.

  85. Daniel H says:

    OMG… but…but… if we can’t draw a clear distinction between weather a climate then all of Stephen Schneider’s precautionary principle doomsday “insurance policy” scams/metaphors will become forever muddled and meaningless. Say it ain’t so!

  86. 40 Shades of Green says:

    I never understood why the fact that a particular day, say January 20th,was the hottest or coolest in 150 years was worth talking about, and might even make the headlines on the evening news.

    It strikes me that a record for a running 31 day average would make a lot more sense and provide something to lead the nightly news with.

  87. Vincent says:

    Davidmhoffer,

    “If we use temp of earth average at 300K, and get a 3 degree rise, earth radiance would go up by 18 w/m2? But IPCC estimate is CO2 doubling = 3.7 watts, tripled by H2O = 11.1 watts. so unless they are claiming another 7 watts from somewhere else? Or I am missing something else?”

    Yes, you are missing the fact that in order to get a 3c rise from 3.7 watts, the climate models incorporate positive feedbacks which supposedly add to this value.

  88. Vincent says:

    scienceofdoom,

    “Actual average shortwave solar radiation absorbed by the earth’s surface =

    S/4 (1-A)

    = 240 W/m^2

    The actual number at any one time depends on real angle of the sun at the particular point so is dependant on latitude, time of year and time of day.”

    This is true, but it is important to remember that the actual value received at specific points on the earths surface will vary enormously. At night there will be zero insolation, but during high noon in the tropics on a clear day the value will be close to the maximum – probably > 1000watts.

    When you consider this variation taking place all the time – zero to 1000watts and everything in between – going up and down each time clouds come and go, then the idea that you can somehow cause the planet to overheat by adding a couple of watts to the mix, is somewhat fancifull.

  89. davidmhoffer says:

    Yes, you are missing the fact that in order to get a 3c rise from 3.7 watts, the climate models incorporate positive feedbacks which supposedly add to this value

    I included that. CO2 doubling = 3.7. Positive feedback from water vaper = 7.4 watts. IPCC mentions other feedbacks, NONE of which are in the same order of magnitude as those two. Now earth isn’t an ideal black body, but with radiance increasing commensurate with temperature raised to power of FOUR…. the negative feedback from plane old physics ALONE is larger than the temp change the IPCC claims is possible. so either I missed something else, or their claim is WAY over stated.

  90. bob says:

    Are you looking at the graph for the DMI temperatures for the last 10 years or so?

    I wonder as the area of the curves above the green line and below the red line has been consistently greater than the area of the curve above the red line and below the green line for the last 10 years or so.

    This information is linked on this website.

    It shows evidence that the north polar region is warming.

  91. Milwaukee Bob says:

    Excellent article Mr. Briggs. One small correction though, where you say, “Weather is climate.” Weather is NOT climate, because climate does not exist as a separate entity. Climate is merely the word we use to identify the average of weather. The fact of the matter is you can NOT see climate. You can not see or measure climate. You can only see AND measure weather. You can then average your measurements and call the average anything you want, i.e., “climate” in this case, but whatever you call it still does NOT exist as a separate entity. It IS an average. Measure it again, and you have a NEW, DIFFERENT average. Additionally, as “weather” by anyone’s definition consists of many components, only one of which is air temperature, if all that you are measuring IS temperature (by what ever means) at relatively few points in the total atmosphere, you don’t even have a close approximation of “average” global weather or, if you want to name that figment of our collective imaginations something, global “climate”.

  92. Ben D says:

    Just as I thought climate science comes out of the BUT

  93. Big Al says:

    Good work Briggs, I guess your not bored after all.

  94. John F. Hultquist says:

    Could we back off from the “climate is an average” notion. If you look up the common labels for types of climate, such as Mediterrian or Marine West Coast, you will find a very interesting set of “patterns” – such things as dry summers, wet summers, cold winters, mild winters, and so on. A “hot summer” doesn’t become non-hot because someone has calculated a global average temperature (from garbage data) that is a half a degree larger or smaller than 50 years ago. Show me that the yearly pattern of weather is different in Athens, Greece (or Athens, GA), or Forks, Washington than it was 50 years ago. This monstrosity of a number called global average temperature anomaly, to be of any use at all, would have to be based on good data. No one has such.

  95. DirkH says:

    “davidmhoffer (06:13:15) :
    [...]
    the negative feedback from plane old physics ALONE is larger than the temp change the IPCC claims is possible. so either I missed something else, or their claim is WAY over stated.”

    Exactly. The small extra wattage induced by man-made GHG rise completely drowns in the natural fluctuation.

  96. Neven says:

    ‘This monstrosity of a number called global average temperature anomaly, to be of any use at all, would have to be based on good data. No one has such.’

    Are you forgetting the University of Alabama in Huntsville?

  97. JT says:

    The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines:
    Main Entry: re·ify
    Pronunciation: \ˈrā-ə-ˌfī, ˈrē-\
    Function: transitive verb
    Inflected Form(s): re·ified; re·ify·ing
    Etymology: Latin res thing — more at real
    Date: 1854
    : to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing

    “Climate” is a reification of Weather. Weather is real. The atmosphere is real. Solar radiation is real. Evaporation of water from the oceans is real. A whole host of other processes are real. They produce Weather on an ongoing basis. Making measurements on the Weather and computing statistics on the measurements and choosing among the statistics which ones you think are important gives you Climate.

  98. Kevin Kilty says:

    richard verney (17:56:54) :

    PS. I have been reading the posts for many months on many of the relevant sites but I have never seen anyone suggest that since CO2 concentrations appear to lag warming by about 800/1000 years, may be the observed increase in measured CO2 during the last 100 years is nothing more than the signature of the MWP or Roman warm period, ie., it has nothing to do with burning of fossil fuels during the last 100 years. Does anyone have a view on this?

    Good post. Don’t discount the laymen. We know the CO2 from burning goes someplace, and I think the isotope signature shows the increase to be coming principally from burning, but, having said that, there are undoubtedly places where rising ocean deep water, rich in dissolved CO2, becomes warm at the surface and releases CO2. So a trend of additionally cold and CO2 rich water reaching the surface might have some bearing on the trend of observed CO2 concentration, yet I doubt it is very significant.

    There are many people who argue that the amount of CO2 we produce through burning is small compared to the seasonal variation thus it matters not, but this isn’t a very pertinent point–no one can deny that we produce a fair amount of “new” CO2. The ultimate pertinent point is…does it all matter enough to justify the alarm and expense of rescue missions?

  99. Kevin Kilty says:

    davidmhoffer (06:13:15) :

    Yes, you are missing the fact that in order to get a 3c rise from 3.7 watts, the climate models incorporate positive feedbacks which supposedly add to this value

    I included that. CO2 doubling = 3.7. Positive feedback from water vaper = 7.4 watts. IPCC mentions other feedbacks, NONE of which are in the same order of magnitude as those two. Now earth isn’t an ideal black body, but with radiance increasing commensurate with temperature raised to power of FOUR…. the negative feedback from plane old physics ALONE is larger than the temp change the IPCC claims is possible. so either I missed something else, or their claim is WAY over stated.

    The issue might be that the Stefan Law does not apply in this case. The LWIR goes out though a narrow “water vapor window” and in order to get a temperature to the fourth power factor for emitted power, you need the full spectrum. Depending on how the spectrum peak fits within this window or not results in effects ranging from a temperature to the 4.6 power to almost no effect at all.

  100. Kevin Kilty says:

    Dr Anthony Fallone (17:32:02) :

    I know of factor analysis in social sciences and biology although I have never engaged in it. It seems the difference is that we engineers identify the factors with specific physical causes, or interactions, and you social scientists can see the influence of factors in the data, but may not be able to connect them with a specific physical effect.

    We can learn a lot from one another, though, can’t we?

  101. davidmhoffer says:

    suggest that since CO2 concentrations appear to lag warming by about 800/1000 years, may be the observed increase in measured CO2 during the last 100 years is nothing more than the signature of the MWP or Roman warm period

    maybe yes maybe no. There are multiple cycles at play, each with its own latency. Solar energy has lots of shortwave, and so penetrates the ocean up to 300 meters. a 1 watt/m2 rms increase in solar would take 36 years to increase 300 meters of ocean 1 degree…. so yeah, that could set in motion all kinds of things that may not show up for decades or centuries. But greenhouse effect is all longwave which only penetrates the first few mm of water where the resulting heat would promote evaporation into the atmosphere…so CO2 variation ought to be much shorter term than solar, methinks.

  102. John Finn says:

    davidmhoffer (06:13:15) :

    Yes, you are missing the fact that in order to get a 3c rise from 3.7 watts, the climate models incorporate positive feedbacks which supposedly add to this value

    I included that. CO2 doubling = 3.7. Positive feedback from water vaper = 7.4 watts. IPCC mentions other feedbacks, NONE of which are in the same order of magnitude as those two. Now earth isn’t an ideal black body, but with radiance increasing commensurate with temperature raised to power of FOUR…. the negative feedback from plane old physics ALONE is larger than the temp change the IPCC claims is possible. so either I missed something else, or their claim is WAY over stated.

    David

    You haven’t missed anything. The ~3.7 w/m2 CO2 forcing refers to the forcing at the TOA (top of the atmosphere). This does not map 1-to-1 to surface forcing. There is some amplification at the surface (even ignoring feedbacks).

    I can probably show this with a simple model but I’ll need about 20 mins to think it through. If you’re interested I’ll give it a go. It’ll be a good exercise for me.

  103. John Finn says:

    Davidmhoffer

    Re: TOA/Surface forcing

    I’ve come up with a crude calculation which I hope illustrates the amplification of the TOA forcing at the surface.

    Let G be the amount of energy emitted from the earth’s surface.
    Let A be the amount of energy emitted from the atmosphere.
    Another way of thinking of A is that it is the amount of energy that is transmitted through the atmosphere.

    If there were no absorbing gases in the atmosphere then we would have the trivial result that: A = G, i.e. all energy emitted from the surface is emitted directly to space.

    But we do have absorbing gases in the atmosphere. If T is the Transmission factor (i.e. the proportion of G which is transmitted) then the amount of energy emitted to space from the atmosphere is given by

    A = G x T (i) so that

    240 = 390 x T

    i.e. T = ~0.62 or ~62% of G is transmitted

    If CO2 doubles, outgoing energy would be reduced by 4 w/m2 (again using easy numbers) so the energy emitted (transmitted) from the atmosphere, i.e. A = 236. Substituting this new value into (i) we have

    236 = 390 x T or T = 236/390 = ~0.605

    Now only 60.5% is transmitted. But the earth still needs to get rid of 240 w/m2 which means the surface will need to warm. To find out by how much we can rearrange (i) as follows

    G = A/T i.e.

    G = 240/0.605 =~397 w/m2 which is an increase of ~7 w/m2 compared to a 4 w/m2 forcing at the TOA. The 1.7 factor (deltaG/deltaA) looks to be pretty consistent with the numbers mentioned in earlier posts, so we have some confidence that the explanation is valid.

  104. davidmhoffer says:

    illuminating. But still doesn’t quite work…but my wife insists we are leaving for dinner now so my follow up question will not be posted until the AM.

  105. Warren Bonesteel says:

    The claim that the climate isn’t weather is like saying that food isn’t strawberries. …and then arguing that strawberries aren’t food.

  106. John Finn says:

    davidmhoffer (15:03:08) :

    illuminating. But still doesn’t quite work…but my wife insists we are leaving for dinner now so my follow up question will not be posted until the AM.

    I’ll look forward to it. But as I’m in the UK and I’m not sure which US timezone you live in – I’m not sure when I’ll read it.

  107. JoseMaGo says:

    The real problem is that they had falsified data and the “warming is man made” by GISS and CRU. Is this climate or weather?

  108. UncertaintyRunAmok says:

    “G = 240/0.605 =~397 w/m2 which is an increase of ~7 w/m2 compared to a 4 w/m2 forcing at the TOA.”

    Once again, no, no, and most emphatically, NO.

    IR cannot violate the rules simply because someone wishes it to be so. The emission/absorption lines are still quantized and discrete, they only appear as “bands” because the instruments used to measure it do not have sufficient resolution to see the individual lines. If a CO2 molecule radiates energy at 2349cm, the only molecule which will absorb that wavelength is another CO2 molecule. For this calculation to apply, the atmosphere would have to be 100% CO2. Near the surface, much of the transfer of energy between molecules is due to collision induced absorption, so this makes such a simplistic calculation all the more irrelevant.

  109. Pamela Gray says:

    I’ve been sayin this for years. Averaging daily weather-related temp readings and then coming up with an anomaly over time and calling it anthropogenic climate change as if it were different from the weather-related temperature data it is derived from cannot be supported by this kind of statistical figuring. It is not an explained mechanism. It is not a cause and effect explanation. It is not a correlation of any kind. What would be interesting is to also report median and mode as well as high and low anomaly.

  110. John Finn says:

    UncertaintyRunAmok (07:19:10) :

    “G = 240/0.605 =~397 w/m2 which is an increase of ~7 w/m2 compared to a 4 w/m2 forcing at the TOA.”

    Once again, no, no, and most emphatically, NO.

    I think if you set up a simple energy balance model you’ll find it’s yes, yes and most emphatically yes.

    I agree my explanation is crude but it’s only intended to illustrate the point.

  111. davidmhoffer says:

    John Finn
    I’ll look forward to it. But as I’m in the UK and I’m not sure which US timezone you live in – I’m not sure when I’ll read it.

    Time zones being a Canadian invention, and I being in Canada, there’s no need to drag the Americans into it :-) I’m Central Time. That said, my follow up question got really complicated and turned into more of a position paper, but please read it as a question:

    In brief, I treated the whole planet, atmosphere included, as a Black Body. Your explanation treats the earth land and sea surface as a Black Body with a layer of atmosphere around it. To make up for a deficit of 4 watts at Top of Atmosphere, the Black Body needs to radiate an extra 7 or so. Fair enough as the atmosphere makes for an awful correlation to Black Body since the bulk of the energy spectrum goes right through it. Even then, any energy increases would eventually propagate through the system as a whole making the model valid given sufficient time to achieve equilibrium, but let’s put that aside for a moment.

    CO2 molecules make for an excellent Black Body correlation provided that you remember that they are suspended in the atmosphere. So energy captured by a CO2 molecule is radiated in all directions as opposed to the earth Black Body only having one way to go. So energy radiated by a CO2 molecule heated up by LW from the earth can wind up in one of three places. The portion radiated downward will either collide with another molecule in the atmosphere, or earth. The energy radiated sideways or upward will either collide with another molecule in the atmosphere, or escape into space.
    So the physics really falls apart again. If all we were looking at was CO2, about 20% of its radiation would be down. To get an extra 4 watts going down you would need to radiate about 20. Of course that’s not fair. The other 80% gets radiated in other directions, some of which escapes into space and some of which hits other molecules. Of the energy that hits other molecules, 20% would be radiated down and 80% would either escape or hit other molecules and so on in a law of diminishing returns. So you still need CO2 to radiate an extra 16 watts or so (guesstimate mine) to raise the over all atmosphere temperature to deliver 4 down. What temperature rise does that require?

    In the Troposphere at an average of -20 C, you would need a temperature increase of 4 degrees C to correspond to a 1 degree C rise at earth surface to get 7 watts going out to get back to equilibrium. Even if I over guesstimated by double, we would still need to see Troposphere temperatures varying from mean by over double that of surface temperatures. Amsu-A only has about 10 years of data, but they pretty much track together, suggesting once again that the rise in earth radiance for a given temperature increase would over whelm contribution from CO2. That’s only a 1 degree rise. Since earth radiance goes up with T^4, an exponential rise in CO2 contribution would be required to keep up. Further, how long would it take? The stratosphere has 2500 times as many other molecules as CO2…. So a very long time for the CO2 to heat up the rest of them even if you include conduction as well as radiance. One could, I suppose, calculate the transmission spectrum of CO2 for a given temperature and then determine if molecules beyond the troposphere absorb in that spectrum but not in the one the earth normally radiates at…. But we’re starting to talk pretty thin atmosphere there, so a lot would just escape, and the rest…20% down, 80% sideways or up….

    OK, I’m sure I blew it somewhere back there in the logic chain…. But the energy balance doesn’t seem to add up either way. If the whole thing, atmosphere included, is a Black Body, then we’d need to see exponential rises in CO2 contribution to keep up with increased earth radiance? If we look at it as two layers, we would need an exponential rise in CO2 contribution to keep up with earth radiance?

  112. Richard says:

    Always a pleasure to read an article so clearly and simply put.

    bucko36 (13:55:44) : I’m confused?? What did he say?????

    I think what he said was, whereas it is possible that the AGW Emperor is clothed in the fine garments its learned courtiers are fussing over, it does appear that he is buck naked.

  113. John Finn says:

    davidmhoffer (12:16:22) :

    John Finn
    I’ll look forward to it. But as I’m in the UK and I’m not sure which US timezone you live in – I’m not sure when I’ll read it.

    Time zones being a Canadian invention, and I being in Canada, there’s no need to drag the Americans into it :-) I’m Central Time. That said, my follow up question got really complicated and turned into more of a position paper, but please read it as a question

    David

    Sorry about my “american” assumption. It’s just that there’s rather a lot of them about – and a good few post on WUWT.

    I’ve read your post but will need to go over it again before I could give a reasonable response to your points. However, I’d just like to make the following couple of points of my own.

    1. In your original post, you queried the apparent discrepancy between IPCC value of ~18 w/m2 and the CO2 forcing figure (amplified by feedback) of ~11 w/m2. I believe I gave a simple illustration as to why the IPCC use the higher figure. I did not attempt to justify it. However, it does seem reasonable that if an extra 4 w/m2 is to be emitted from the TOA then the surface will need to emit more than 4 w/m2 since some of the extra energy emitted from the surface will be absorbed by the ghgs in the atmosphere.

    2. I don’t doubt your 80% : 20% absorption figures but ultimately some goes up and some goes down. OK – 80% is not radiated to the surface (immediately) but some of that 80% will be re-absorbed and 20% of that will be radiated down and 80% radiated elsewhere … and so on. In a column of the atmosphere there is the potential for lots of absorptions and emissions.

    If I am able I’ll try and give a more considered response to your post later (I am quite definitely not able at the moment :-) )

    PS I hoped you enjoyed dinner.

  114. Roger Knights says:

    Richard (12:57:25) :

    I think what he said was, whereas it is possible that the AGW Emperor is clothed in the fine garments its learned courtiers are fussing over, it does appear that he is buck naked.

    Anthony: Please re-post that hilarious cartoon of the pompous naked emperor walking along under a shade held up by four 18th century flunkies and labeled “IPCC”. It’s so perfect, now more than ever.

  115. davidmhoffer says:

    Sorry about my “american” assumption. It’s just that there’s rather a lot of them about – and a good few post on WUWT.

    no need to apologise, apparently we look like them too :-)

    1. In your original post, you queried the apparent discrepancy between IPCC value of ~18 w/m2 and the CO2 forcing figure (amplified by feedback) of ~11 w/m2. I believe I gave a simple illustration as to why the IPCC use the higher figure. I did not attempt to justify it. However, it does seem reasonable that if an extra 4 w/m2 is to be emitted from the TOA then the surface will need to emit more than 4 w/m2 since some of the extra energy emitted from the surface will be absorbed by the ghgs in the atmosphere.

    I wasn’t actually disputing your numbers, I sort of accepted them. In reading your comment above I may have misunderstood though. If IPCC calculates 3.7w/m2 at TOA, there would be amplification at earth surface due to the difference in the area of the TOA sphere vs the seal level sphere – but only about 3%. At end of day though, I don’t think you can calculate baed on the extra energy being modeled as starting at TOA and coming down. It “starts” at earth surface as normal level of earth radiance and goes up. The “normal” amount gets retained and the rest escapes. IPCC claim is double the amount of CO2 and retain an extra 3.7 w/m2 = 1.1 degree temp increase. But at 0 C that would only be enought to sustain about .75 degrees. At 20 C, that would only be enough to sustain 0.64 degrees. At 30 C, it would sustain only .58 degrees. In brief, the warmer it is, the less effect a given change in energy input gets. If I magnify as per your estimate, I still have the same disconnect between the steepness of the two curves, and at some point, radiance MUST over whelm CO2 forcing. At the same time as that is happening, the curve from CO2 forcing has to go the other way. If going from 280 ppm to 560 ppm adds 3.7 watts, does adding another 280 to toal 840 ppm add 7.4 watts? No, it can’t. The last 280 can only capture a certain percentage of what is coming at it, and since the first 560 already got some of it, the last 280 gets the same percentage of a smaller number.

    So…as temperature goes up, the effect of a given energy input decreases. As CO2 concentration goes up, the effect on energy input decreases. No?

  116. Rhys Jaggar says:

    You’re right about the fact that ‘choosing the suitable time period’ is critical to all arguments in climate change. I noted many times that 1961 – 1990 was not perhaps optimal, but I’m surprised that no debates about this take place regularly. It’s great that you were asked to write this piece, as it adds considerably to the discussions taking place.

    What I think people will soon understand and accept is that our earth’s climate has many recurring ‘beats’ and is, therefore, like a Fourier signal with multiple ‘beats’ of different frequency. Each ‘beat’ may be subject to particularly modulations through external or internal factors (solar output, oceanic heat content, winter snow etc etc) and, only by coming to understand those beats and how they integrate, will we start to really understand climate.

    When you know there are beats of:

    months (lunar);
    2-3 years (quasi-biennial oscillation);
    5 – 7 years (ENSO)
    11 and 22 years (solar/Hale cycle)
    20 – 30 years (PDO etc)
    50 – 70 years (Gleissberg)

    and many more, you’ll see that getting a coherent picture without a few hundred years of rigorous collation of data is going to be tricky.

    That’s why folks try short-cuts using proxies. If it works it’s great. But if not? Seems like we finding out right now……..

    There’s a few more things which would merit discussion:

    1. Any correlation between cold winters and hot summers? 1947 and the early 1980s in the UK come to mind….I hold no position on this one, just interested in other’s experiences around the world…….
    2. For farmers, is ‘annual mean temperature’ less important than extremes at the wrong times (late frosts, deluges, droughts etc etc)? Please try to link the debate about food supplies to realities of agriculture……

    After 25 years in IPCC ‘warm mode’, perhaps the next 25 years will be in ‘neutral mode’?

  117. davidmhoffer says:

    1. Any correlation between cold winters and hot summers?

    I think this is a much more important question than people realize. For starters, farmers are, as you pointed out, far more governed by the growing season fluctuation than the annual fluctuation. My personal observation is that “less cold” winters are often coupled with “less warm” summers and vice versa. Its hard to find data broken up that way, but what little I’ve seen suggests that. The other reason I think it important is that most long term temperature reconstructions rely on tree ring and other similar data. This assumes that any fluctuation in growing season is mirrored by the non-growing season. The farther north you go, the shorter the growing season and the longer the part of the year that the tree ring data doesn’t measure, so any divergence becomes more significant. Given that the recent controversy has been over tree ring data from Siberia, I just don’t see how it can be considered valid unless studied from that perspective.

  118. George E. Smith says:

    “”” UncertaintyRunAmok (07:19:10) :

    “G = 240/0.605 =~397 w/m2 which is an increase of ~7 w/m2 compared to a 4 w/m2 forcing at the TOA.”

    Once again, no, no, and most emphatically, NO.

    IR cannot violate the rules simply because someone wishes it to be so. The emission/absorption lines are still quantized and discrete, they only appear as “bands” because the instruments used to measure it do not have sufficient resolution to see the individual lines. If a CO2 molecule radiates energy at 2349cm, the only molecule which will absorb that wavelength is another CO2 molecule. For this calculation to apply, the atmosphere would have to be 100% CO2. Near the surface, much of the transfer of energy between molecules is due to collision induced absorption, so this makes such a simplistic calculation all the more irrelevant. “””

    Well what you say as to the “discrete lines” may be true of the pure gases (CO2) at low temperatures and pressures.

    But in practice, the intrinsic line width associated with these lines is substantially broadened by other phenomena, such as the Doppler effect, which will shift the line frequency due to the thermal motion of the CO2 molecule (Temperature broadening) and also due to the collisions between the CO2 and ordinary air molecules.

    So how do you know that the observed CO2 spectrum seen through say the bottom 10 meteres of atmosphere, really does show those sharp lines that are calculated. The same of course applies for the main greenhouse gas like H2O

  119. George E. Smith says:

    “”” scienceofdoom (21:09:02) :

    continuing.. for George E. Smith:

    I’d be amazed if Trenberth had got such a basic number wrong- what are you citing?

    The averaged value across the globe is 240W/m^2. At a given point at a given time, it is quite possible to be 340W/m^2. “””

    Well then be amazed.

    The official NOAA chart which evidently is attributed to Trenberth shows an incoming solar radiation component of 342 W/m^2, which gets divvied up in various ways.

    Well that may happen on some planet, but not on this one. On Earth, we have a TSI value of about 1366 W/m^2, which is 4 times Trenberth’s number.

    Evidently he takes into account that only a bit more that half of the earth surface is sunlit at any time; actually about 51-52% because of atmospheric refraction, the sun’s angular diameter and other scattering effects.

    The earth surface unfortunately only respoonds to what it sees, and when it sees actually 4 times Trenberth’s figure, arriving at the surface, the heating of the surface is much faster (even four times as fast), and it reaches a higher peak temperature, because of that 4X irradiance. The higher temperature reahced results in a much greater amount of thermal radiation from the ground, and moreover it is spectrally shifted to shorter wavelengths because of the higher surface temperature (Wien’s Displacement Law). Consequently the outgoing LWIR is both greater in intensity than with Trenberth’s model, and also spectrally shifted further away from the CO2 absorption band.

    The integrated result is that the earth cools much more in reality than it would if bathed continuously at 1/4 the irradiance. The surface emittance is going to roughly follow a 4th power of T law, while the surface emitted spectral peak emmittance follows more of a 5th power of T law; which is of more interest when figuring GHG (CO2) absorption.

    Averaging a function which is highly non-linear, always yields a lower value that the integral of the effects of that non-linear function.

    And in Trenberth’s model, the surface irradiance of 198 W/m^2 is the same everywhere including on the noonday sun lit North African Deserts, and at the South Pole during the peak of winter midnight.

    Total nonsense.

    If they are going to create “Climate models” they should at least model something akin to the planet we live on; which does not enjoy a constant never ending low value solar insolation; but a highly variable and cyclic one which creates totally different physical effects.

  120. davidmhoffer says:

    “The earth surface unfortunately only respoonds to what it sees, and when it sees actually 4 times Trenberth’s figure”

    Sorta only worse. At equatorial region at high noon it would see the whole thing, 1366 watts. Moving north and south from there it would decline to pretty much zero at the poles. during course of day it would start at zero at dawn, surge to max at noon, and fall back to zero at dusk for the duration of the night. At mid latitudes similar curve but with more like a 683 watts/m2 max. Take 30% off for deflected radiation if you like, but the variation in energy input is huge at equator and declines as you approach the poles. Further, your comment on radiation varying with T^4 is right on. A daytime surface temperature increase from 25 C to 35 C would be about 64w/m2 swing in radiance, about what you would see equatorial, but north temperate zone we might see 12 to 22 degrees, which is the same temperature differential, but a radiance increase of only 56w/m2. there is no way that you can just average all those curves out and call it 240 watts across the board.

  121. George E. Smith says:

    “”” davidmhoffer (18:28:17) :

    But remember that the assertion IS that the logarithm of the CO2 atmospheric abundance matches the rise in mean global surface temperature

    I thought that the assertion was that CO2 causes small rise in temp that results in exponential rise in water vapor as max water vapour in atmosphere about doubles for every 10 degree rise in temp, approximately tripling CO2 direct effect? “””

    Well actually ANY rise in mean global surface temperature will result in increased H2O in the atmosphere. CO2 has no special dispensation to produce warming that selectively leads to more water vapor. Water vapor itself is perfectly capable of doing that. CO2 is merely a small incremental increase in total atmospheric GHG; which is totally dominated by H2O.

    And we have Wentz et al, July 7 , 2007 SCIENCE “How much more rain will Global warming bring ?”
    And their measured answer, :- one degr C rise in mean global surface temperature results in 7% increase in total evaporation, total atmospheric water content, and total precipitation. Total precip always has to equal total evap over time, or else we would end up with the oceans over our head, instead of under our feet.

    And if this 7% per degree were valid over the whole range of atmospheric moisture from zero upwards, you would expect, the evap/precip and total atmospheric water content to each grow the same. If the rate constant varied widely over a large temperature range, you would still expect evap and precip tyo be equal, but you would not expect atmospheric total water to grow at the same rate; but it does according to Wentz.

    As for the GCM view of the situation; they agree that precip equals evap; they’d be silly not to, and it so happens they also agree on the same 7% per degree growth in total atmospheric water. BUT ! according to the GCMs, the rate of increase of evap/precip, is only 1-3%; not 7% as Wentz et al observed on a real planet called earth.

    So there is your 3:1 mandatory computer model fudge factor; but more importantly the models are in error from the observation by as much as a factor of 7 : 1.

  122. George E. Smith says:

    “”” davidmhoffer (13:00:56) :

    “The earth surface unfortunately only respoonds to what it sees, and when it sees actually 4 times Trenberth’s figure” “””

    Well David; you and I seem to be among the few, who seem to understand that you cannot simply average a non-linear function and get the right answer.
    If you take a cyclic varying function of the form Y = (1 + a sin 2.pi.t/T) and integrate it over any number of complete cycles of period T, you end up with an integral of 1.000. By extension, any repetitive cyclic variation containing only harmonics of the base period, also integratews to 1.000 over any complete number or cycles of the fundamental.
    But if you now raise that expression (1+a.sin2.pi.t/T)^4 and integrate that you ALWAYS get a POSITIVE increase over 1.000 over any complete cyle or multiples. It comes from the integral of the term +6a^2.sin^2(2.pi.t/T). Well there also is another term a^4.Sin^4(2.pi.t/T), but that is usually negligibly small compared to the other term. The remaining two terms in sin^1, and Sin^3 also integrate to zero over any complete cycle.

    So the earth’s surface emitted cooling radiation is alsways higher than that computed from the average temperature because of this offset, and that happens twice every day, and on an even larger sacale over the annual cycle.

    But when it comes to the effect of this on the GHG absorption, particularly CO2; you have to do it differently, because of the Wien’s Displacement Law; which incidently is not mentioned in that Miskolczi paper.

    The surface emitted thermal radiation; approximating a black body spectrum (emissivity modified) has a spectral peak emittance that increases as the 5th power of the temperature; not the 4th power. And it moves to a shorter wavelength since Lambda max . T is a constant. The CO2 absorption band, however stays at pretty much the same wavelength, so it moves further down the tail of the emitted spectrum. BUT !!, ewven thoguh it is further down the tail, the spectral emittance at the CO2 absorption band is still higher than it would be at the lower surface temperature; but when you compare it to the total surface emission over the full spectrum, the CO2 loses effect as the surface emitting temperature increases.

    Over earths surface temperature extremes, the thermal emission spectral peak moves from around 8.7-8 microns at the highest temperatures, to around 15.0 at the coldest. This is one of the reasons why one would expect GHG(CO2) warming to be greater at the poles, where the emission temperatures are lower, but the spectrum sits right on the CO2 band.

  123. George E. Smith says:

    “”” scienceofdoom (21:09:02) :

    continuing.. for George E. Smith:

    I’d be amazed if Trenberth had got such a basic number wrong- what are you citing?

    The averaged value across the globe is 240W/m^2. At a given point at a given time, it is quite possible to be 340W/m^2. “””

    Well SoD, I’m quite familiar with how they get the number they use; it’s just that nobody bothered to inform planet earth about Trenberth’s rule. So Earth does not calculate it’s total incoming solar energy that way, so naturally it gets a different answer. And moreover, there is nowhere in place any system capable of measuring Trenberth’s number; so it is a bit disingenuous to say his number agrees with measurments.

    And even though the total surface area of the planet, is about four times the total interception disk, the actual amount of the earth surface that is soalr irradiated at any time (absent cloud cover) is about 51-52% of the total earth surface; not 25%. This comes from a sun angular diameter of about 0.5 deg, and a horizon atmospheric refraction of at least the same order of magnitude at each end of the day. When the sun’s lower limb is sitting on the visible horizon, the entire sun disk is completely below the horizon. Then atmospheric scattering conducts sunlight into the night sky at admittedly a lower level for the duration of morning and evening twilight.

    The earth surface takes all of this detail and more into account; but Trenberth’s model does not.

    Why not model what earth really does, rather than some “artist’s impression” ?

  124. With regard to Pachauri and the IPCC science y’all may be interested in my E-Mail exchange with him in April and May 2008. see my blog at
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

  125. davidmhoffer says:

    Well David; you and I seem to be among the few, who seem to understand that you cannot simply average a non-linear function and get the right answer

    That and energy must increase exponentially to achieve a linear temperature increase, claiming expontial increase in future CO2 emmissions due to fossil fuel consumption would run the planet out of oil in 3 years, linear increases in CO2 forcing are impossible since the amount of energy to contain is finite and so incremental CO2 forcing must diminish even if exponential CO2 increases were possible, same rule applies to water vapour….

    What I really dont get is how hard it is to get a basic discussion of physics going when even a simple understanding of these issues is 100 times the proof that glacier melting was a fabricated story.

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