There was shrinkage!

Apologies in advance…

From the University of Michigan press center

Shrinking snow and ice cover intensify global warming

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The decreases in Earth’s snow and ice cover over the past 30 years have exacerbated global warming more than models predict they should have, on average, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

To conduct this study, Mark Flanner, assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, analyzed satellite data showing snow and ice during the past three decades in the Northern Hemisphere, which holds the majority of the planet’s frozen surface area. The research is newly published online in Nature Geoscience.

Snow and ice reflect the sun’s light and heat back to space, causing an atmospheric cooling effect. But as the planet warms, more ice melts and in some cases, less snow falls, exposing additional ground and water that absorb more heat, amplifying the effects of warmer temperatures. This change in reflectance contributes to what’s called “albedo feedback,” one of the main positive feedback mechanisms adding fuel to the planet’s warming trend. The strongest positive feedback is from atmospheric water vapor, and cloud changes may also enhance warming.

“If the Earth were just a static rock, we could calculate precisely what the level of warming would be, given a perturbation to the system. But because of these feedback mechanisms we don’t know exactly how the climate will respond to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Flanner said.

“Our analysis of snow and sea ice changes over the last 30 years indicates that this cryospheric feedback is almost twice as strong as what models have simulated. The implication is that Earth’s climate may be more sensitive to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other perturbations than models predict.”

The cryosphere is the planet’s layer of snow, sea ice and permanent ice sheets.

In the Northern Hemisphere since 1979, the average temperature rose by about 0.7 degrees Celsius, whereas the global average temperature rose by about 0.45 degrees, Flanner said.

For every 1 degree Celsius rise in the Northern Hemisphere, Flanner and his colleagues calculated an average of 0.6 fewer watts of solar radiation reflected to space per square meter because of reduced snow and sea ice cover. In the 18 models taken into consideration by the International Panel on Climate Change, the average was 0.25 watts per square meter per degree Celsius over the same time period.

Flanner points out that the models typically calculate this feedback over 100 years—significantly longer than this study, which could account for some of the discrepancy. Satellite data only goes back 30 years.

To further put the results in context, each square meter of Earth absorbs an average of 240 watts of solar radiation. These new calculations show that the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere is reflecting .45 watts less per square meter now than it did in 1979, due mostly to reduced spring snow cover and summer sea ice.

“The cryospheric albedo feedback is a relatively small player globally, but it’s been a surprisingly strong feedback mechanism over the past 30 years,” Flanner said. “A feedback of this magnitude would translate into roughly 15 percent more warming, given current understanding of other feedback mechanisms.”

To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the scientific consensus is that the global average temperature should stay within 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, of pre-industrial levels. Scientists are still trying to quantify the extent to which the planet will warm as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere.

“People sometimes criticize models for being too sensitive to climate perturbations” Flanner said. “With respect to cryospheric changes, however, observations suggest the models are a bit sluggish.”

###

The paper is called “Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008.” This research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

For more information:

Mark Flanner:
http://aoss.engin.umich.edu/people/flanner

Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At $180 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments, numerous research centers and expansive entrepreneurial programs. The College plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world-class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. Michigan Engineering’s premier scholarship, international scale and multidisciplinary scope combine to create The Michigan Difference. Find out more at http://www.engin.umich.edu/.

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

I’m reminded of this:

…but I’m not so sure about the “shrinkage” of snow cover.

Rutgers snow lab shows it to be flat, that’s their trend line, not mine:

And for North America:

Of course then there’s the almost always ignored Antarctic ice and snow contrasting the Arctic:

Graph from NSIDC - no I don't know why they don't have 2010 data - click for source

 

But 30 years in the future, what will we see? Will the cycle reverse? Given NASA’s admission of inability to forecast the solar cycle, it illustrates how little we know about natural cycle forecasting. Also, where does the soot figure into the albedo change? There’s no mention of that.

OK I’m being lazy, but I’m just not motivated by this study to do much work, since it’s just old news rehashed. Suffice to say this entry is mainly for entertainment purposes only.

Now, we’ll watch the squabbling begin.

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108 thoughts on “There was shrinkage!

  1. If true and albedo effects from “shrinkage” have been underestimated, then it further shows CO2 forcing has been overestimated.

    Mr. Trenberth is really going to have a problem explaining the lack of recent warming now.

  2. I bet the Arctic ice trend is only a short-term facet of the 60- to 80-year cycle.

    As (albeit indirectly) evidenced by newspaper articles from 1920-40s, the Arctic ice exhibited a heavy decline then.

  3. Michael Jankowski says:
    January 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm
    “…it further shows CO2 forcing has been overestimated.”

    You and I might agree on this but I suspect that the actual temperature measurements will be “corrected” rather than the theoretical outcomes.

  4. Ignoring the obvious BS that annual snow coverage has been dropping, there is a serious problem with albedo feedback.

    That problem is plant life. Plants grow in places where snow isn’t. Comparing the albedo of snow to barren ground is what they do and the results of plants are completely different. Plants convert the sunlight into chemical energy, shade the ground. The entire Heat Island Effect is the difference between plants and barren ground.

    Aside from the problems of actual snow coverage being stable, barren ground vs. plants, the only other MAJOR flaw is that they only calculated the difference in albedo. There is no measurement or other actual climate data to back up their conclusions. All this really does is say they calculated a larger albedo feedback than the IPCC models already use.

    This article is about as impressive as the Patriots performance was on Sunday.

  5. It seems every time there’s a post here countering the claim of shrinking NH snow extent, the Rutgers chart for NH winter is used. What about other seasons? After all, winter is going to be cold simply because it’s winter. What of spring? The same Rutgers data seem to show a very significant decline in springtime snow cover in the northern hemisphere. Is there a reason Spring snow extent does not matter?

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=nhland&ui_season=2

    The decrease in springtime extent in North America would also seem to overmatch the advertised increase in winter snow extent there, implying that the snow is melting faster and/or earlier, despite the greater winter extent.

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=namgnld&ui_season=2

  6. How can so much attention be focused on a single causal agent – CO2? It is sure folly to pick one substance and then relate all subsequent actions to that substance. I am reminded of the linkage between toilet paper and cancer.

  7. Another piece of trash for the ‘worse than expected bs bin’.
    Now containing about 17.8 million pieces of trash.

  8. The U of M has quite a reputation. I very nearly attended that school but passed for a lot of very stupid reasons. Instead I ended up at the Creighton University Health Science Center in Omaha (and to think…I could have been in Ann Arbor for the annual hash bash). Turns out I received a better (although more expensive) education. Eventually I was in the position to hire residents. What I discovered about UM grads is that they seemed to have been taught more about how ‘special’ they were for being UM grads than they did about the science they were supposed to know. No doubt, they turn out a number of brilliant grads (all schools do), but quite a sizable proportion of their grads and faculty are mediocre at best. If Mark Flanner didn’t have the “U of M” associated with his name I seriously doubt such drivel would have been published.

  9. Obviously with this new information GISS will need to recalculate the temperature record for the past 100 years since it clearly has been worse than we thought.

  10. John Kehr:
    January 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    You know, it does snow on plants. Ever heard of Evergreen forests? My lawn is greenest in Winter here in Western Washington. So when the snow melts, there’s a drastic change in albedo.

    having said that, I don’t really see albedo having much of an effect. otherwise major snow cover like we’ve had in recent years would cause another ice age. It doesn’t seem to get colder BECAUSE of the snow, the snow comes BECAUSE it gets colder.

  11. analyzed satellite data showing snow and ice during the past three decades in the Northern Hemisphere, which holds the majority of the planet’s frozen surface area”
    This is like analyzing human behaviour based solely on female responses, because females make up a majority of the world’s population… You can’t just leave out an enormous chunk of data because it weakens your argument (or can you these days?)

  12. Well Elaine may discover that George’s private parts shrink when they freeze but every time I leave a bottle of beer in the freezer it blows the top off.

    Also, I hope that there are no icebergs like the one in the picture on the present tax funded jolly to the Mertz Glacier for the ABC’s Karen Barlow:

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/news/breaking-the-ice/

    as it seems that all she has had to look at so far is icebergs and she might be get the wrong idea.

    But, can’t wait for some ice shattering news from this expedition although after watching the video at Jan 4 post with Dr Steve Rintoul, I can’t help wondering if most of these expeditions already have their conclusions written and they are just going along to collect the evidence to back them up.

  13. “People sometimes criticize models for being too sensitive to climate perturbations” Flanner said. “With respect to cryospheric changes, however, observations suggest the models are a bit sluggish.”

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

    Hey Flanner, why don’t you take that up with Richard Lindzen, and report back to us?

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  14. So, we have had..possibly….maybe…could be….and now we have….implication! Thank goodness my old science master is long gone! He would have had a screaming fit reading this garbage!

  15. I got involved in the climate by mistaking a word while looking for lurid web sites. The site’s introduction was about the earth’s reflection of the sun. I got interested before I realized this wasn’t just a come-on before the good stuff. I then realized the word that got me started wasn’t libido but albedo. I’ve been hooked on WUWT ever since and don’t have time now for those other pages. God works in mysterious ways. :)

  16. I don’t understand why there is thought to be a significant feedback effect when sea-ice melts because according to a branch of NASA, and as demonstrated when watching a sunset over the sea, when the sun is low in the sky, there is greatly increased reflection; about the same or more than old snow:

    Definition [albedo]
    A ratio of the radiation reflected by a surface to that incident on it.
    Clouds are the chief cause of variations in the Earth’s albedo since clouds have highly varying albedo, dependent upon thickness and composition. Old snow is about 55% (0.55), new snow around 80% (0.8). water surfaces vary from very low about 5% (0.05) at high sun elevation to at least 70%(0.70) at low sun angles.

    http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/data-holdings/PIP/albedo.shtml

    Sea ice tends to have old snow atop, (?) and when it melts, there is loss of insulation of the water, and increased evaporative cooling of the water. (and Trenberth reckons that 49% of total average surface heat loss is from evapo-transpiration.
    It’s a travesty really.

    I mentioned this to our friend eadler on an earlier thread, but he seems to have “not seen it”

  17. Reposted from previous thread:

    Dear me.

    Sometimes people reveal things in writing that they probably wish they hadn’t.

    A commenter self-named “democracy” over at The Daily Progress, speaking of the Cuccinelli Probe, says, “What the Cooch fails to cite is that it is climate change atheists like himself who are the ones with the ‘criticism’ of Mann’s findings.”

    Oh my, “climate change atheists”!

    What is an atheist? One who does not believe in a given concept of the divine; a denier of religion.

    Rarely does one see so bald an admission that climate change, for the vast majority of its innumerate adherents, is merely a belief.

    How dare anyone not believe in Gaia! Or Thor! Or Quetzalcoatl!

    I wish to propose to our esteemed friends in the IPCC cheerleading squad that they immediately replace the offensive term “global warming deniers” with “climate change atheists”. It’s so much more civil, and what’s even better, it’s far more accurate.

    The ones with open but skeptical minds could even be called “climate instability agnostics”. There might even be hope for some of them. Call it Pachauri’s Wager…

  18. For once I agree to a cetain point.

    It seems to me related to Willis’s posts on GISSE forcings, see:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/19/model-charged-with-excessive-use-of-forcing/. In absorbing what Willis was saying I did a small side analysis to see what forcings would have to change to best fit the GISSTemp records from a copy of Willis’s spreadsheet. See:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/19/model-charged-with-excessive-use-of-forcing/#comment-554252 . What that seems to imply is that the models are underestimating the snow/ice albedo effect by 400% not merely half.

    It also equally implies that greenhouse gas forcing should be at the same time reduced to 25% of what the GISSE model assumes. In other words, if you raise snow/ice effect by 4 times and reduce GHG effect by 1/4 yiou get the very tightest fit and highest r^2.

    I thought that was so curious.

  19. …no I don’t know why they don’t have 2010 data -
    Hide the decline.. gang, strikes again.
    Maybe all the “rotten ice” , can be color coded to disappear.

  20. CO2Insanity : I think the warmist have done a Climate Masturbation to that Iceberg. Anthony a good poster on the berg, good thing i had put my drink away from my computer. ROTFLMAO and cannot stop!

  21. Woops above…

    “What that seems to imply is that the models are underestimating the snow/ice albedo effect by 400% not merely half.”

    shoudl have read:

    “What that seems to imply is that the models are underestimating the snow/ice albedo effect by 1/4 not merely half.” or they should raise the effect by 400%, not 200%.

  22. When it is stated “Watts/meter squared”, what time frame does it take to accumulate those watts?
    One second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year???

  23. Perhaps flat is the new flaccid?

    ….. That appears to be what was blocking the sun from shining over Greenland….

  24. rbateman says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    When it is stated “Watts/meter squared”, what time frame does it take to accumulate those watts?
    One second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year???
    —–

    Watts is the rate, in joules per second.

  25. Of course the last three years have shown the just the exact opposite, lots and lots of snow and ice… I’m sure these intelligent climatologers even know exactly what that means… expansion!
    (please Anthony, no graphic necesary, leave it to their imaginations) ☺

  26. Winter snow extent hardly matters given there’s little of no sunlight to reflect and that part of the world when extent may have once existed and which is painted by the sun is done with a very grazing angle – which is to say it was never going to get a lot of solar energy to reflect or absorb. More importantly when you consider albedo, is the percentage of ice/snow cover (not extent, square miles) when sunlight is present (and therefore matters) because ice was not pervasive in extent, but thick where it exists. There are reasons besides solar heating that affect extent. If the area of sunlit ice/snow is in decline over time because it is thin then albedo is also going to change. Forget extent – what is happening in the late fall and early spring regarding ice and snow cover? Is that in decline?

    But wait – there’s more. You have to consider shrinking ice over multiple seasons – this leaves bare ground to be exploited by plants, so there should be a lessening impact of ice shrinkage as the barren surface is populated over time.

    Then there’s that issue of heat releasing water vapor into the atmosphere. If clouds are formed the feedback is negative. If it just gets stinking humid but clear there will be some heating. But with all that heat in the atmosphere, quite a bit of it is going to disappear into the void between the stars, never to be seen again, when the sun goes down. Hotter things radiate more energy per unit of time than do colder things assuming the temperature of the night sky is not also changing, so the rate of heat loss will go up, too.

    And that leads to the changing temperature of the night sky. Earth’s alignment with and exposure to the galactic plane provides for seasonal changes in the average temperature of the night sky.

    The precession of the Earth’s axis has created a situation where, for example, the galactic center can be viewed from the south pole but is over the horizon for the north pole. There will come a time when that changes and at that point the average temperature of the night sky ceases to be seasonal. That has to matter. Not in my lifetime, of course, but I do expect any decisions we make to our carbon footprint now will be unnoticed by the climate dynamics of that time in the future and through all the intervening years until then.

  27. But 30 years in the future, what will we see? Will the cycle reverse?

    30 years from now the Arctic will be ice free in the summer for extended periods of time. 4 weeks by the mid 2030s according to the Navy’s chief Oceanographer Rear Admiral David Titley’s report to congress. Sooooome reversal!

    http://democrats.science.house.gov/Media/file/Commdocs/hearings/2010/Energy/17nov/Titley_Testimony.pdf

    30 years from now you will see a whole different set of rationalizations by skeptics who will have, in Orwellian manner, forgotten everything that they were saying today and replaced it with the oil company paid for cliche of the day.

    REPLY:Ah Trollobolo is back. My goodness, listen to yourself. NASA was just as certain about solar cycle 24 two years ago and today ate some serious crow. You are going to believe that our government science can forecast 30 years ahead? It’s like a streetcorner seerer proclaiming the second coming. It keeps getting pushed into the future. Is was 2013, then 2015, now 30 years out…whatever. If you believe what you write, have the courage to put your name to it, otherwise go back to haunting Romm – Anthony

  28. Travis S. says:
    January 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    It seems every time there’s a post here countering the claim of shrinking NH snow extent, the Rutgers chart for NH winter is used. What about other seasons? blather, blather, blah, blah……..
    ======================================================
    First, winter is used because that is when snow is suppose to be on the ground for most of the NH, snow in the NH in spring tells you what? That there may or may not be snow on the ground in April in some places of the NH? No doubt. But, let’s go to point at hand …….. Look at the graph your presented.

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=nhland&ui_season=2 No, really look at it. Now, let’s go back and see what the assertion was……… He seems to be saying, “The Northern Hemisphere sea ice and snow cover has responded quite sensitively to warming over the last 30 years,….”….in fact, he did say that. You can read that here.

    Now, the graph. Correlate it to temperatures. You notice how the graph peaks around the late 70s-early 80s? The ebbs about 1990? Then peaks again late 90s and then decreases towards the present? You notice how well the correlates with this graph? Me either. You can turn this upside down, on its side, flip it around, or whatever. One has nothing to do with the other. Snow isn’t a thing of the past, the lack of snow doesn’t hot things up, the snow extent in the winter isn’t caused by warmcold, its simply a blathering of bs. It turns out, the albedo effect has been over-sensationalized for years. BTW, did you see this graph? http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=namgnld&ui_season=4 Can you reconcile that? Anyone else see an oscillation?

  29. rbateman says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    When it is stated “Watts/meter squared”, what time frame does it take to accumulate those watts?
    One second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year???
    ========================================================

    Thank you! That expression irks the heck out of me. Watts. Watts what? Do the climatologists not have an electric bill? Watts and watts over time are very different things. Is this a constant energy expression? If not, then time has to be declared, else, there is no way to quantify the energy.

  30. “To further put the results in context, each square meter of Earth absorbs an average of 240 watts of solar radiation”

    My problem with these albedo studies is that largest increase in temperatures that contribute to the calculated global warming happens in the Arctic in the winter, when the average solar radiation is closer to zero. How big an impact can albedo have then?

  31. Albedo from snow and ice? So the important factor isn’t ice volume, but ice area? Geez, that pea bounces from thimble to thimble. I swear, this is like playing with an octopus.

  32. Jim Steele says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    “To further put the results in context, each square meter of Earth absorbs an average of 240 watts of solar radiation”

    My problem with these albedo studies is that largest increase in temperatures that contribute to the calculated global warming happens in the Arctic in the winter, …..
    =======================================================

    Or the other way around. They think snow should be on the ground in June in most parts of the NH.

  33. Since people keep missing it…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watt

    Watts are joules per second.

    It is not a time indeterminate value. It’s defined in the term watt. The reason you talk about kilowatt-hours when you’re determining things like your energy bill is because they don’t bill you on seconds used. They could (conceivably) but it’d be a pretty large number, and a very low value per watt. kW/h translates out as a kW applied for a full hour.

  34. In the interest of fairness, you could show your readers data from the Rutgers snow lab indicating that spring snow extent has dropped about 10% over the last 30 years. And it would be fair to point out that the diminishing Arctic sea ice, but not stable Antarctic sea ice, contributes to the NORTHERN hemisphere cryosphere. Finally, if you look at Flanner’s Figure 1, which is not behind a paywall, you can see that there is a negligible change in the cryosphere in the winter and that the largest reduction (both snow and sea ice) occurs in the spring. (I had the impression the sea ice has been lower year round and the greatest drop was in the late summer.) Is it possible Flanner and the scientists who reviewed his paper actually know what they are doing?

    It’s too bad all of the details are behind a paywall.

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=nhland&ui_season=2

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1062.html

  35. I note that the “Hockey Stick” is alive and well in the minds of the Warmista community. Nature Geoscience published an article which claims that the “historical record” confirms the models…

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1057.html

    I can’t make up my mind whether to laugh or cry, or take up arms. Of course the diaries of monks, temperature readings and other data confirm the “models” – that’s what the damned things are constructed on in the first place!

  36. James Sexton says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm
    rbateman says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm
    When it is stated “Watts/meter squared”, what time frame does it take to accumulate those watts?
    One second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year???
    ========================================================

    Thank you! That expression irks the heck out of me. Watts. Watts what? Do the climatologists not have an electric bill? Watts and watts over time are very different things. Is this a constant energy expression? If not, then time has to be declared, else, there is no way to quantify the energy.

    James… surely you jest! Watts IS energy per time, you know, power, not just energy, that’s joules or BTUs or calories. Watts aleady have the time you are searching for within, seconds, it’s joules/second.

  37. Another in the long line of “it’s worse than we thought” arguments.

    What my scientific eyes see is how poorly they understand what’s going on. The models either overpredict or underpredict. Either way it’s strong evidence they have absolutely no clue what’s going on. Yet they “know” that reducing CO2 emissions will fix everything. How are they so certain of this idea when there’s so much uncertainty with everything else they spout?

  38. Why is it that I just know that an analysis like this is just a piece of flawed BS ??? As Anthony says, I can’t even be bothered to look into it …..

  39. “Also, where does the soot figure into the albedo change? There’s no mention of that.”

    Here you go.
    Nasa says “…aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades.”

    Soot:
    “We conclude that decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades.”
    Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century
    [Full pdf paper]

    “Plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ~2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature.”
    Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos

  40. pat says:
    January 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm
    And how about those clouds, you morons?

    Here you go!

    NASA – Arctic
    “So in addition to changing sea ice, we can kind of guess that something must be happening in the atmosphere over the Arctic, too.” Clouds are bright, too, and an increase in clouds could cancel out the impact of melting snow and ice on polar albedo.”http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector2.php

    “Although sea ice and snow cover had noticeably declined in the Arctic from 2000 to 2004, there had been no detectable change in the albedo measured at the top of the atmosphere: the proportion of light the Arctic reflected hadn’t changed. In other words, the ice albedo feedback that most climate models predict will ultimately amplify global warming apparently hadn’t yet kicked in.”

    “According to the MODIS observations, cloud fraction had increased at a rate of 0.65 percent per year between 2000 and 2004. If the trend continues, it will amount to a relative increase of about 6.5 percent per decade. At least during this short time period, says Kato, increased cloudiness in the Arctic appears to have offset the expected decline in albedo from melting sea ice and snow.”

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector4.php

    University of Columbia – Arctic
    “The predicted substantial decrease in Arctic summer sea ice concentrations during the twenty-first century may favor cloud formation, which should diminish or even cancel the ice-albedo feedback by shielding the surface.”

    “Water droplets are more effective in reflecting and absorbing solar radiation than nonspherical, typically larger ice crystals (Dong et al. 2001).”

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/pub/gorodetskaya/irina_ipccpaper.pdf

  41. Frank says: Wrote
    January 18, 2011 at 11:09 pm
    “In the interest of fairness, you could show your readers data from the Rutgers snow lab indicating that spring snow extent has dropped about 10% over the last 30 years.”

    We had global warming back then. Now we have global co[o]ling.
    Get with the program.

  42. Jimbo, thanks for those two links. Those darn clouds! No overall albedo effect at all and that is surprising how they cancel out. Little ice, lots of clouds, lots of ice, little clouds. Antarctica too though the process is totally different as shown by one of those.

  43. Michael, your video presentation about the Precautionary Principle, invented by and beloved of the Greens, is excellent and should be shown in movie theatres following Gore’s claptrap to provide somme background and balance. Congrats!

  44. Reminds me of an old joke. Q: In a room full of people, how can you tell who the Michigan grad is? A: He tells YOU.
    In the church of global warming, it’s blasphemous to even question a study such as this.

  45. If there is less snow cover/sea ice in the northern hemisphere making it get warmer and more snow and sea ice in the southern hemisphere making it get colder then on the balance of probabilities does that mean it’s all down to global warming?

    If so is this inversely proportional to the angle of dangle?

  46. I dare the author to take his Albedo modelling back to the ice ages.

    Global warming theory doesn’t work unless the Albedo impact from all the extra glaciers, sea ice, deserts, grassland and tundra in the ice ages results in only -3.5 watts/m2.

    Here we have a constant snow extent resulting in -0.6 watt/m2. There is no way the small changes we have today should be in the same ballpark as the ice ages. Either one of them is way off.

    A little logical consistency for once would make one trust the numbers a little more.

  47. So which is it, global warming reduces snow cover or global warming increases snow due to more moisture in the atmosphere. I bet AGWers say they can have it both ways.

  48. In the 18 models taken into consideration by the International Panel on Climate Change, the average was 0.25 watts per square meter per degree Celsius over the same time period.

    If I recall correctly, the number of models cited by the IPCC fourth assessment is 23, not 18. 22 of them used a different estimate of climate sensitivity.

  49. Alexander K says:
    January 19, 2011 at 1:51 am
    Michael, your video presentation about the Precautionary Principle, invented by and beloved of the Greens, is excellent and should be shown in movie theatres following Gore’s claptrap to provide somme background and balance. Congrats!
    ………………………………………………………..

    I too enjoyed the video posted by Michael. It is strange how reason is thrown to the wind. The extent to which action should be taken in the name of the precautionary principle is limited only by the boundaries of one’s imagination. However, it is strange that in pursuing this path, one does not also imagine the position that arises if one’s imagined position is wrong (in the climate debate lets say a positive feedback to one’s previously imagined position). People come up with half baked problems and half baked solutions precisely because they have only half thought things through.

    To me the precautionary principle in the global warming context dictates a policy of adaption rather than a policy of mitigation.

    Lets run with the program and assume that the world is warming (a possibility) and lets assume that a warmer world spells disaster (a highly unlikely scenario but one we have to play along with). We then imagine a situation where this is due to the evils of CO2 and the solution to our ills is to decarbonise the developed nations’ economies. We will also have to stop the developing world from developing since failing which they will become emitters of the evil CO2. We take that action and we imagine that the world is now saved and becomes some sort of utopian paradise where all are living under benign skies close to and under the protection of mother nature, just as she intended her children to live.

    However, my imagination has another thought and continues, what if our steps of mitigation do not solve the problem and what if the world continues to warm and what if the imagined disasters still ensue. To meet this imagined scenario, we now need to adapt. But there is now a problem. We have bankrupted the world in taking the unsuccessful steps of mitigation. The developed nations have run out of cash and energy and industry and we have prevented the developing nations from developing such they do not possess these either. Consequently, we no longer can throw sufficient and mobilize resources quickly in adapting to the problems being caused by the continuing warming world. As a consequence of the steps that we took in mitigation and its knock on effect of being then unable to act properly in adaption, we all die in unprecedented heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes and the like.

    So what is the correct policy to adopt to a warming world? Mitigation only works if we are correct that the cause of the warming is CO2. If this is not the cause of the warming, mitigation is ineffective but more than that, it is counterproductive and dangerous. On the other hand, adaption works irrespective of the cause of the warming, ie., irrespective of whether the warming is or is not caused by CO2, irrespective as to whether the warming is due to natural causes or not (eg., manmade causes other than CO2). Thus adaption, is by far the better policy since it works in all scenarios.

    Of course as soon as reason is applied, this is not the only benefit of a policy of adaption. What if the world is not warming? What if the world is warming but warming far from being dangerous is actually beneficial? In either of theses scenarios, there is no need to adapt. There is no need to spend any money. No need to curtail our life styles etc.

    Thus any sane person can see that adaption wins hands down over mitigation as the correct outcome of the precautionary principle. As I see it. The problem is twofold: are politicians sane (I will leave readers to come to their own conclusions on that – I know where I stand on that); and adaption does not feed the pigs in the trough and is not immediately (and indeed may never become) a revenue stream.

  50. wayne says:
    January 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    James Sexton says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm
    rbateman says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    James… surely you jest! Watts IS energy per time, you know, power, not just energy, that’s joules or BTUs or calories. Watts aleady have the time you are searching for within, seconds, it’s joules/second.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I keep reading Ohm’s law and can’t find that anywhere. Maybe you should take another run at that. Joules/second is what is typically used in conversion, but it isn’t the same.

  51. Here, best explanation I can find.

    Others have correctly identified “Joule” as a unit of energy. However, it was incorrect to express a Joule in terms of “Watts/second.” The correct relationship is

    (1 Joule) = (1 Watt) TIMES (1 second)

    Looking at it from the other direction, “power” is the rate at which energy is being generated, transmitted, or used. This could be expressed as follows (actually, this is the definition of a “Watt”)

    (1 Watt) = (1 Joule) / (1 second)

    Taking it one step further, consider your home electricity bill. It is based on energy usage in units of “kilowatt-hours.”

    * (*) (1 kilowatt-hour) = (1000 watts) times (1 hour)
    (*) (1 kilowatt-hour) = (1000 watts) times (3600 seconds)
    (*) (1 kilowatt-hour) = 3,600,000 Joules

    And just in case you have not yet had enough, consider the following definitions:

    * (*) A “volt” is the amount of energy (in Joules) that it takes to move one unit of charge (in Coulombs) from one point to another.
    (*) An “Amp” is one unit of charge (in coulombs) passing a given point in one second.
    (*) Multiplying (1 volt) times (1 amp) is the same as (1 Joule/1 Coulomb) times (1 Coulomb/1 second).
    (*) Therefore (1 volt) times (1 amp) gives (1 Joule/1 second)
    (*) This is the basis of the formula P = V x I

    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle

  52. Of course I am sure they take into account that most of the weak (3% in the summer due to atmospheric absorption and low angle) solar input in the Arctic ocean would be realized as evaporation almost immediately and that evaporation is not heat in the atmosphere. The energy has gone to cause a phase change, not heating of the atmosphere, making it a zero sum effective temperature effect. And, I’m sure they include the fact that albedo is meaningless in the dark.

    Just wondering how they do this. The IPCC models are famous for exaggeration and they are claiming the IPCC is low here? That’s really suspicious.

    I love it when the try to paint the IPCC as not being alarmist enough@

  53. In my last post, I omitted to deal with the scenario: what if the world is warming and what if this is due to manmade CO2 emissions and what if a warmer world far from being bad is in fact good (personally, I believe that a warmer world would be beneficial to all life on earth)? Once again, mitigation is the wrong policy. In this situation we bankrupt developed nations and prevent developing nations from developing which is bad enough in itself, but further this action prevents everyone from enjoying the comforts and benefits which a warmer world would have brought. Accordingly, we have not only hurt ourselves in taking steps associated with mitigation, we have also deprived ourselves of a benefit that we could have enjoyed had we not sought to mitigate.

    Once again adaption works best. Since as the world warms and as the evidence comes in that this is not disastrous but to the contrary appears beneficial, we do waste time energy and money needlessly adapting to a problem that does not in fact exist (since for the main part no adaption is necessary). Eventually, this policy (ie., not seeking to mitigate but rather to adapt as and when and to the extent necessary) leads to us all enjoying the benefits of a warmer world that we have created by continuing to emit CO2 which far from being harmful is actually beneficial.

  54. co2insanity says:
    January 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    Yeah ……………… but before big-oil paid for the research and the lube! And for the PC; the condoms…………
    Mauvine dye was applied in a fun way but not sure on the value-add of flavours later on.
    What a waste of human talent to spin all this great history into something promulgated negatively as human caused ……….. ‘pathetic science’ is mirrored in them. But they say prostitution is one of the oldest in human hisotry.

    Layne Blanchard says:
    January 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm
    In your dreams baby …………..

    and boys, I ain’t reading that huge earth shattering humour that had me cracking up laughin’ with tears down my face one weekend with the commentary ……………….

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/04/environmentalist-marries-gaia-in-e-ceremony/

  55. Really? Really? This article got funded and published at the University Level?

    Snow and ice cover in the NH trends quite nicely with the AO. There is correlation as well as well-researched mechanism. This article is such a bad attempt at describing climate change, I wouldn’t give it a passing middle school grade. Since no attempt was made to discuss this well-known non-AGW connection, I would venture to say that if they reported ants marching in a row, their cause and effect WAG would be related to AGW.

  56. In 2005, scientists at Caltech/New Jersey Institute of Technology calculated that Earth’s albedo had increased from 2001. (See Science, May 28, 2005). Another article, which I can’t find now, claimed that lunar observations showed albedo rising from 1999. Help!

  57. This graphic is very disappointing. Is there nowhere to escape the pornogrification of our culture? Despite the many excellent and though-provoking articles, I will no longer be able to refer people to this site if this is the new standard here. Please reconsider.

  58. “People sometimes criticize models for being too sensitive to climate perturbations” Flanner said. “With respect to cryospheric changes, however, observations suggest the models are a bit sluggish.”

    Good grief, you can’t go building actual observed, tested forcing factors into the models! If you did it for one forcing, you’d have to do it for all of them (fig 6 onwards). Besides sullying our model’s elegant, complex functionality with dirty old reality, that would obviously throw the painstakingly hindcast temperate curve all out of whack and cast doubt on CO2 being the central driver of climate change. Since we all know it is, we have to tailor the forcings in the models to reflect this fact and demonstrate that CO2 is the most important driver of climate change. Then equilibrium would transient climate response and catastrophic CO2 emmissions therefore inertia lagged thermal forcing 2.7 0.4 3.14259… Syntax error on Line 15..

  59. The implication is that Earth’s climate may be more sensitive to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other perturbations than models predict.

    Just insert this ‘worse than we thought’ type statement into the conclusions section of your paper and you will be awarded with a press release and some increase in funding.

  60. Mother Earth must belong to the Judeo-Christian arm of the Church of Gobal Warming, because the iceberg looks circumcised to me.

  61. I’ll be the mom here and give you a scolding–I’m disappointed to see that kind of image on this site. Be set apart, don’t lose that intelligent edge.

    I actually scrolled back to the top of the post to see the author thinking it must be a guest post and saw Anthony’s name. Very,very disappointed.
    Mary

  62. @John Kehr you also should include the cooling of the transpiration of water from plants that would otherwise just runoff and head off to the ocean. The latent heat of evaporation is non-trivial in foliated areas. It is part of what gives the UHI its punch. The rain goes into the sewer and out to sea.

  63. Karl Hren says:
    January 19, 2011 at 6:13 am
    This graphic is very disappointing. Is there nowhere to escape the pornogrification of our culture? Despite the many excellent and though-provoking articles, I will no longer be able to refer people to this site if this is the new standard here. Please reconsider.

    ——————————

    It’s an iceberg.

    It’s your mind that made it pornographic.

    Don’t blame this site because you’ve got a vivid imagination.

  64. Karl Hren says:
    January 19, 2011 at 6:13 am

    This graphic is very disappointing. Is there nowhere to escape the pornogrification of our culture? Despite the many excellent and though-provoking articles, I will no longer be able to refer people to this site if this is the new standard here. Please reconsider.

    That’s hilarious. Do it again.

  65. Me thinks the good folks at U of M Engineering should turn their attentions to the smack-you-directly-in-the-face problems at home.

    Detroit is bankrupt and in functional collapse, with other Michigan cities teetering on the brink. The State of Michigan has huge looming deficits and total debt combined with a rapidly shrinking tax base, as both citizens and businesses flee in droves. Yet these supposedly intelligent holders of advanced degrees waste precious capital on chimera and fevered fears of the future, while their present day house is burning down around their Globally Warming ears!

    Nero could take fiddling lessons from these empire-in-collapse fools!

  66. pardon if someone else has mentioned this (I didn’t have time to read all the posts)

    I read a study about a year ago that calculated that Arctic sea ice loss is a net negative feedback. To paraphrase:

    For most of the year the sun is so low to the horizon that little energy even reaches the ground to be reflected. Yet, open ocean is a superb emitter of long wave radiation during the long and cold Arctic nights. Final tally is a net loss of heat.

    I find this Michigan “study” incomplete, at best. It seems to have ignored the increase in outbound energy from open waters.

  67. villabolo says: “30 years from now you will see a whole different set of rationalizations by skeptics who will have, in Orwellian manner, forgotten everything that they were saying today and replaced it with the oil company paid for cliche of the day.”

    Oil company paying for cliche of the day? I haven’t gotten my oil company check for the 19th of January. Who do I call to complain about this?

  68. Northern hemisphere albedo is important in spring and summer, when the sun is high in the sky. I didn’t find a plot for summer snow cover at Rutgers. The spring plot is
    here. The 44-year trend is clearly downward. A 12-month running mean of the snowcover anomaly is here. The 45-year trend is clearly downward.

  69. John Kehr says: January 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    John, the land in cities is not barren. Many cities have plenty of trees and plants, especially in their residential areas. The urban heat island is caused by the amount of asphalt, brick, cement and other heat absorbing/slow releasing mass and concentrated heat sources inside the urban area combined with the lack of plant mass as compared to rural areas.

    I live in the country. It is often 10F degrees warmer in town than at my house, especially in Winter. However, it doesn’t take long for the effect to disappear as you get just a short distance out of town.

  70. @Karl Hren says:
    January 19, 2011 at 6:13 am

    You don’t get out much do you? You still living with your parents? Nowhere to escape??? For goodness sake, get a life, and get a sense of humour.

    Btw, no listing for “pornogrification” in the Oxford Dictionary.

  71. Linear thinking to go with all these linear effects. If new uncovered land is exposed, plants spring up and suck up both incident solar energy and CO2. Darn this foxy contrary planet. It clearly resists change vigorously no matter which way climate is headed at a given time. I see this feature as becoming a nobel prize winning central law of climate sometime later in this revealing century. The obvious cycles of ice ages, temp, rainfall, snowfall, sealevel,… Have a pendulum (complex) formula about a mean. We will discover this mean during this century – probably found to be calculable by disinterested physics – a discipiine that seems to be so impotent and ideological these days.

  72. It has intrigued me how those concerned with CAGW will point out the reduced Arctic albedo via water vs. ice at via low angles; yet, they do not mention the reduced albedo of roads, pavement and rooftops. If I believe #s on the internet, the total of these areas of manmade alteration is about equal to the decrease in ice coverage in the Arctic. Plus roads, pavements and roofs have more direct sunlight than the Arctic. Add on to that, the practices of farmers to plow up land, exposing black dirt. If albedo matters, anthropogenic influences on climate come from more than CO2!

  73. Looking at the whole year and not just winter, a different picture emerges.

    http://nsidc.org/sotc/snow_extent.html

    from the NSIDC

    “The 28 year trend in snow extent derived from visible and passive microwave satellite data indicates an annual decrease of approximately 1 to 3 percent per decade with greater deceases of approximately 3 to 5 percent during spring and summer. Precipitation in regions of seasonal snow cover appears to be constant or increasing slightly in some locations over the same time period, which suggests that diminishing snow cover is the result of increasing temperatures. ”

    And Ann Arbor can be found under a streetlight near the bus depot most evenings.

  74. “In the Northern Hemisphere since 1979, the average temperature rose by about 0.7 degrees Celsius, whereas the global average temperature rose by about 0.45 degrees, Flanner said.”

    That means that in the Southern Hemisphere since 1979, the average temperature rose by only about 0.2 degrees Celsius. Obviously the Northern Hemispere is heating much more rapidly than the Southern Hemisphere. What do the models tell us about such disparity in the warming of a single planet?

  75. JeffT says:
    January 19, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Northern hemisphere albedo is important in spring and summer, when the sun is high in the sky. I didn’t find a plot for summer snow cover at Rutgers. The spring plot is
    here. The 44-year trend is clearly downward. A 12-month running mean of the snowcover anomaly is here. The 45-year trend is clearly downward.

    —-

    So what Jeff? In NASA article below NASA shows it doesn’t matter, nada. Take you complaints on decreased albedo up with them. Learn. Read:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector4.php

  76. Anthony Watts, maybe you should put at the top of this blog a definition of what a Watt is. You could call it “Watts Up With That with what a watt is.”

  77. Wayne Reur January 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm & JeffT

    The author, Kato of NASA does not mention the relative albedo of sea ice versus water at high latitudes. According to another branch of NASA, and as demonstrated when watching a sunset over the sea, when the sun is low in the sky, there is greatly increased reflection; about the same as or more than old snow, (atop sea ice):

    NASA Definition [albedo]
    A ratio of the radiation reflected by a surface to that incident on it.
    Clouds are the chief cause of variations in the Earth’s albedo since clouds have highly varying albedo, dependent upon thickness and composition. Old snow is about 55% (0.55), new snow around 80% (0.8). water surfaces vary from very low about 5% (0.05) at high sun elevation to at least 70%(0.70) at low sun angles.

    http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/data-holdings/PIP/albedo.shtml

    Thus it would seem that the assumed feedback alleged in the models is exaggerated and may even should be of opposite sign.

  78. Further my post above, just to make the Kato arguments more incomplete, if it is cloudy, the sunlight would be more diffuse, so that there would be less reflection from the water.

  79. James Sexton says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    QUOTE: “First, winter is used because that is when snow is suppose to be on the ground for most of the NH, snow in the NH in spring tells you what?”

    There’s snow in the winter. I get that. There’s sea ice in the winter, too. It’s winter, it gets cold in the winter, and that’s not going to change for a while, with or without your derisive “warmcold.” But you miss a point. There’s supposed to be snow on the ground in Spring, too–maybe not as much as during the winter, but if you look at the Rutgers graph, we’re still talking about 75% of the winter’s snow extent. That means that spring snow means something, despite your dismissal.

    What does snow in NH spring tell me? Well, given that the snow extent is decreasing at a more significant rate than the changes in winter or fall, I’d say that it means that snow is melting earlier than it has in decades past.

    Quote: “He seems to be saying, “The Northern Hemisphere sea ice and snow cover has responded quite sensitively to warming over the last 30 years,….”….in fact, he did say that. You can read that here.”

    Yes, but you seem to assume that he means the snow and ice extent in winter. Nowhere in the article you linked does it specify that they’re looking ONLY at winter extents. The significance of the drop-off in spring extent is reinforced by the fact that it is happening in North America AND Eurasia. The slight increase in North America’s fall extent is offset and slightly outdone by a drop in Eurasian fall snow extent. The resulting NH trend is insignificantly negative. That suggests to me that the slight upward linear trend in North American fall extent has much more to do with shifting weather patterns than global cooling. Take a look again.

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=eurasia&ui_season=4

    Quote: “You notice how well the correlates with this graph? Me either. You can turn this upside down, on its side, flip it around, or whatever. One has nothing to do with the other.”

    Shall I suppose, then, that you have done that? Can I further suppose that you have copied the data into Excel along with the NH temperature data during the same period and run a regression analysis? If you’re going to use a statistical word, show me the calculations that go along with it.

    Quote: “Anyone else see an oscillation?”

    Perhaps I lack your imagination, but no, I don’t see an oscillation in the North American fall chart. I defy you to find a coherent physical model beyond simple ENSO effects (which are year-to-year anyway, and presumably not what you were talking about) that sufficiently explain that irregular variation. If you can, I will happily eat crow.

  80. Many of our most venerated religious paintings, frescoes, sculptures, and sacred text consider unadorned body parts to be wonderful things. So do I. Let’s not be disingenuous in our moral purity. Human parts, made in the image of the Creator, and as depicted in the ice, are no more pornographic than Michelangelo’s David.

    To me, a woman covered from head to toe in a burka and being sold to another man to pay for some debt, is so much more pornographic than this.

  81. villabolo says:
    January 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm
    But 30 years in the future, what will we see? Will the cycle reverse?

    30 years from now the Arctic will be ice free in the summer for extended periods of time. 4 weeks by the mid 2030s according to the Navy’s chief Oceanographer Rear Admiral David Titley’s report to congress. Sooooome reversal!

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

    Sooooome quote!

    You use as a reference ANOTHER TAXPAYER-FUNDED ALARMIST who puts James Hansen to shame at times.

    And yes the TAXPAYER-FUNDED was in CAPS for a reason.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  82. Dear mods a post I just sent might have gone to spam. Thanks for checking.

    Chris

    [Rescued & posted. ~dbs]

  83. BTW I guess we can come to one unanimous agreement here:

    There is such a thing as a circumcised iceberg. LOL

    ~Chris

  84. By the way, it is now politically correct, important, and will become law to caution all the cracked nuts and fruitcakes out there to NOT take this stuff literally. So do NOT stick your “member” in the freezer. It is metaphor. There. Just thought I should help Anthony out by posting the now required warning label.

    Here’s yer sign (thank you Jeff Foxworthy and friends).

  85. Pamela Gray says:
    January 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Pamela, touche.
    Though still a little worried about the hole in the ozone.
    Equatorial circumference allows for much more expansion in dialogue and dollar. The N-S tips, well they are pin pricks in comparison. Admittedly though, have funded themselves well over the past few decades.

    Can you help out there please?

  86. “But because of these feedback mechanisms we don’t know exactly how the climate will respond to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Flanner said.”

    So on the one hand the science is settled, and on the other they do not know, but do know that it is worse than they predicted…

    And yet when ice-sheets melt more in one year than the last, the ice-melting albedo feedback is spoonfed to us as an ever growing danger. They never take the opposing view when the melt is less than the previous year with dire warnings of an increasing ice albedo feedback leading to an ice age do they!

    And they wonder why ordinary rational people do not believe them anymore?

  87. Karl Hren says: January 19, 2011 at 6:13 am
    This graphic is very disappointing.

    maryr says: January 19, 2011 at 7:11 am
    I’ll be the mom here and give you a scolding–I’m disappointed to see that kind of image on this site.

    If you don’t like what goes through your mind, change how you think.

  88. “”””” Jimbo says:
    January 19, 2011 at 12:26 am
    pat says:
    January 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm
    And how about those clouds, you morons?

    Here you go!

    NASA – Arctic
    “So in addition to changing sea ice, we can kind of guess that something must be happening in the atmosphere over the Arctic, too.” Clouds are bright, too, and an increase in clouds could cancel out the impact of melting snow and ice on polar albedo.”http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector2.php “””””

    Thanks for the links Jimbo; I added both papers to my stack; so I’m about 1/3rd of the way to the moon now.

    Makes my hair bristle to think my tax dollars pay for such stuff; well it’s the loose terminology that gripes me. That statement about liquid drops reflecting and absorbing sunlight more effectively than ice crystals.

    Liquid water has a solar spectrum reflectance of about 2% for normal incidence, and about 3% for total ; so that isn’t much reflectance in anybody’s book. And the 1/e extinction depth in water for the peak energy wavelengths of sunlight is about 100 metres; and cloud droplets usually don’t get to that size; so nyet on the absorption also.

    Clouds NO NOT reflect sunlight, specially liquid droplet clouds. They DO SCATTER the sunlight because of simple ordinary Geometrical Optics Refraction. I recently ray traced a raindrop optics for an incident beam that covered the zero to Brewster Angle of incidence range (just to pick a number), and the focussed light beam that emerges from the droplet, extends over a cone angle that almost reaches 90 degrees (half angle). So refraction from two or three rain drops is all that is needed to deflect sunlight by 180 degrees. The result is that water droplet clouds scatter sunlight into an almost isotropic secondary source of solar radiation; that is not reflection.

    But in any case; why are these people so mystified by the cloud effect in adjusting the earth albedo. Even the Raleigh scattering contribution to albedo has to be larger than the puny surface snow and ice reflection; after all, there is a fundamental reason why all that ice and snow is there in the first place; there isn’t much sunlight of any consequence to get reflected.

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