Bill Illis: Clouds account for most of the variability in net radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere

While we are marveling at the recent revelation out of Serbia that shows a connection between cosmic rays, clouds and temperature, our own volunteer moderator, Roger (Tallbloke) noticed and collated some comments from Bill Illis which are well worth repeating here. Thanks Rog for catching this while I was otherwise engaged. I repeat his post here, which consists of a WUWT comment, but be sure to bookmark Tallbloke’s Talkshop

Over on the Spencer Good, Bad and Ugly response to Dessler 2011 thread on WUWT, Bill Illis quietly drops this little bombshell:

Bill Illis says:

While we are having no luck finding a good correlation between clouds and temperatures in a feedback sense (the scatters are providing r^2 of 0.02) which indicates there is probably NO cloud feedback either way (and the IPCC calculates that positive cloud feedback might be half of the total feedbacks so that is very clearly in question now) …

There is a very interesting relationship between the Net Cloud Radiation levels and the Total Global Net Radiation as measured by the CERES satellite (which I don’t think anyone has looked yet being busy trying to find the temperature feedbacks).

I’m getting Cloud variability being a very large part of the variability in the total Global Net Radiation Budget – anywhere from 65% to 100% (with R^2 between 0.29 and 0.77).

First the (not really convincing but better) scatter using the CERES data (that Steve McIntyre and Roy Spencer made available).

And then the (much, much better) relationship over time.

And then the versions of the data that Dessler provided (where adjustments where made according to the ERA reanalysis dataset which some think is actually a little more accurate). 100% of Net Radiation governed by Clouds with R^2 at 0.77 .

And then over time, a really tight relationship.

So, do Cloud Variations affect the Earth’s Energy Budget? – the title of Dessler’s new paper – His own data says: holy moley!

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108 Responses to Bill Illis: Clouds account for most of the variability in net radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere

  1. Derek says:

    If one thinks of a gas in terms of heat, or energy redistribution, rather than as a “GHG”,
    throughout the depth of the atmosphere,
    then is it surprising that the most powerful “GHG” redistributes by far and a way the best?
    Water vapour is reportedly 95% of the supposed Greenhouse Effect unproven hypothesis, after all.

    If one thinks of the earth’s surface as being “refrigerated” by water, then is it any surprise?
    ie, earth’s surface is a solar and geothermal powered “refrigerator”.

    Are clouds the cause of the cooling, or the effect of heating, causing extra cooling,
    so that, amazingly,
    nature keeps earth at -18C overall as seen from space?
    Just what it should be, “regardless” of variations. Seems to be a complex, self regulating, natural system,
    “we” do not understand, or are viewing incorrectly at present.

    Is there a “Radiation obsession” blinding anyone?
    Surely not…….

  2. Bill Yarber says:

    If this analysis holds up, coupled with the CERN data,we might see the final nail in the AGW coffin. It will be interesting to see how Dressler responds since his data gives such strong correlation.

    Bill

  3. Max Hugoson says:

    Bill, can you take your last graph and give us the version where the two values plotted are SUBTRACTED from each other?

    Thanks!

    Max (PS – Pointer to the dataset? Do we have to run some archane program to extract it?)

  4. A. C. Osborn says:

    The real Scientific understanding of Climate Controls is just starting, it is becoming more & more obvious that the IPCC Team do not really understand it at all, or if they do they are deliberately ignoring/hiding it.
    More of this please.

  5. kwik says:

    Oh, the irony!

  6. Rob Potter says:

    Without knowing anything about how CERES measures cloud radiation vs global net radiation, hard to know if this quite as stunning as it appears, but this kind of relationship is (R^2 of 0.77) is phenomenal in anything to do with climate.

    Can someone explain the CERES radiation measurements to me?

  7. tallbloke says:

    Thanks for flagging this one up Anthony, it definitely deserves wider attention than my own post on Bill’s observations can generate.

  8. commieBob says:

    Sorry for being a doofus but I assume that if I don’t understand something, lots of others are in the same boat.

    What precisely is being measured to produce:
    1 – Dessler CERES All-Sky Net Radiation
    2 – ERA Net Cloud Radiation

    When I google for precisely those things, I get no results. Before we get too excited, we should be really clear what we are talking about.

  9. Hoser says:

    Nice! Raw data somewhere? Looks like putting this together with the amazing Serbian paper and we could have some good ammo (especially if we can show the same effects in the US and elsewhere).

    I’ll see if I can stir up some interest in these issues in Anaheim next weekend. Typically, the elephant keepers are too interested in their own games and are usually unwilling to fight with bold ideas to improve prospects for the people. But I can try. There is a difference between what may be true, and what is practical.

    Success depends on what voters think. If you don’t win elections, you can’t do much to change how government operates. However, when you are elected, you should demonstrate you have a spine. We have to find a way to show bad science being deliberately misused to hoodwink the people. One problem is, it only takes a small minority of powerful leaders to give marching orders to rest who can’t evaluate what is true or not. Too many companies and other entities who would naturally be interested in opposing and exposing the lies are finding ways to profit from the game. Some very clever ploys have been used to buy off the opposition.

    Eventually, Nature will teach. The consequences of bad policy will certainly impact the system. Legislators in Sacto are going balls out to destroy the economy. They should know better, but they just can’t help themselves. Maybe we should let them have their way, just to show the rest of the country how bad their ideas are. As we know, some of the most dangerous policies are based on bad science. The problem is figuring out how to explain regulatory corruption to the voters. Who would be the most credible voice(s)?

    This is really good stuff! Thanks to the WUWT contributors for all you do.

  10. Hoser says:

    Ack! Elephants in LA. Anaheim is ACWA later this year.

  11. Lubos Motl says:

    Wow, unless there is some circular reasoning or the data really represent the same thing, it’s clear that the opposite of Dessler’s summary is the truth, and quite an important one.

  12. G. Karst says:

    Holy Moley!

  13. Economic Geologist says:

    That is impressive.

  14. Try to forget about the missleading terms “forcing” and “feedback”. Clouds are condensed water vapor that serve as “resistors” that slow the transfer of energy to space. Bill’s obsevations are consistant with mine. My OLR regressions on precipitable water and rain as resisters yield R^2 s better than 0.9. http://www.kidswincom.net/CO2OLR.pdf.

  15. extremist says:

    repeating commieBob’s question:

    “What precisely is being measured to produce:
    1 – Dessler CERES All-Sky Net Radiation
    2 – ERA Net Cloud Radiation”

  16. For heaven’s sake, peope. The point is, does “radiative forcing” (assuming they are measuring it properly, which I doubt) determine global temperature change? If anything, you should be graphing the all-sky net radiation vs global temperature, not vs. cloud radiation (oh, that’s right, this week everyone is hung up on clouds). But, since there is no correlation between clouds and temperatures (that is what an R-square of 0.01 means, for those too blind to judge from the scattershot graphs being shown on the internet), and the third figure above implies clouds are a good proxy for all-sky net radiation (and I agree with others — what the sam hill is all-sky net radiation, really, that the graph should look so good, better than anything else in climate science, and unheralded by peer-reviewed papers from competent scientists long ago), then it looks like there must not be a correlation between net radiation and global temperature. Except isn’t the data supposedly from the last decade, when the temperature hasn’t changed a statistically significant lick? And oh, look, at figure 2 above, the radiation also hasn’t changed a lick, either. At some point, someone has to stand up, right in the middle of the church, and say, “Hey, who’s in charge here? This is all horse-hockey.” Just a bunch of bitchy little girls, as a wise man once said. You’re all fired.

  17. gnomish says:

    is it being shown that what the sun shines on radiates proportionally to how much sun is shining?
    that wouldn’t be a cause for celebration, so I must not be understanding this.
    Help a dummy out, plz.

  18. Bill Illis says:

    Dessler 2010 is here.

    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler10b.pdf

    Fig 1A and 1B is the Dessler data I’m using above. (Anyone looking at those two charts should have noticed the similarity).

    All-sky net radiation includes All conditions (whether it is cloudy or clear). Another commonly used measure is just the Clear-Sky conditions which is when there are no clouds. All-sky net radiation is the incoming SW Solar radiation Minus the reflected SW solar radiation and Minus the LW radiation going out. These can be expressed in anomalies and still be the same amount.

    Dessler calculated the Cloud Net Radiation by subtracting the ERA Clear-Sky data from the CERES All-Sky data (noting there may be biases in the CERES Clear-Sky data). There are a few differences in the end but it might be an appropriate method.

    When the Net Radiation is positive, it means the Earth is accumulating energy, when it is negative, the Earth is losing energy. Generally, CERES is only accurate to +/- 2.0 W/m2 so that should be taken into account as well. All of the numbers available are smaller than the error margin.

  19. SteveSadlov says:

    If the scatter plot was for a process metric in high tech manufacturing, it would be actionable.

  20. Ian H says:

    The net radiation budget MUST be RELATED to global temperature. Energy is conserved yes? That a DIRECT correlation is not observed simply means that the mechanism linking the two is indirect.

    For a start you wouldn’t expect to see a direct correlation between radiation budget and temperature. You’d expect to see a correlation between radiation budget and the RATE OF CHANGE of temperature. And even here, much depends on which temperature is being measured. There is no such thing as the temperature of the earth. We measure temperatures of various bits of the earth. I would expect that changes to the global radiation budget would be likely to correlate with the rate of change of sea surface temperatures in the mixing layer. However variations in the rate of
    mixing will have a huge effect on average SST, and are likely to drown out the signal.

  21. Pete Olson says:

    So interesting that the so-called ‘team’ have so imprisoned themselves in their ideology that they cannot even glance at new, possibly contradictory, discoveries – meaning they will be the self-imposed victims of an end-run of knowledge (and wind up looking like fools).

  22. TimTheToolMan says:

    With an averaging period of a month, are you effectively noting that the much of the energy radiated by the earth originates from the clouds because of the latent heat that was released when they formed and subsequently (almost entirely) radiated to space?

  23. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Let’s see … strong correlation between cloud seeds and GCRs; strong correlation between radiation balance and clouds. Hmm …

  24. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Ian H writes something that follows my Hmm…. very well.

  25. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Bill Illis,
    When the Net Radiation is positive, it means the Earth is accumulating energy, when it is negative, the Earth is losing energy. Generally, CERES is only accurate to +/- 2.0 W/m2 so that should be taken into account as well. All of the numbers available are smaller than the error margin.

    We have found a use for NOAA! We need a satellite that has a polar orbit at 90 minutes, and measures directly albedo and OLR and clouds.

  26. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Maybe a series of satellites in identical orbits, spaced 10 minutes apart, or an even more complex series?

  27. Ian W says:

    Harry Dale Huffman says:
    September 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm
    For heaven’s sake, peope. The point is, does “radiative forcing” (assuming they are measuring it properly, which I doubt) determine global temperature change? If anything, you should be graphing the all-sky net radiation vs global temperature, not vs. cloud radiation (oh, that’s right, this week everyone is hung up on clouds). But, since there is no correlation between clouds and temperatures (that is what an R-square of 0.01 means, for those too blind to judge from the scattershot graphs being shown on the internet), and the third figure above implies clouds are a good proxy for all-sky net radiation (and I agree with others — what the sam hill is all-sky net radiation, really, that the graph should look so good, better than anything else in climate science, and unheralded by peer-reviewed papers from competent scientists long ago), then it looks like there must not be a correlation between net radiation and global temperature. Except isn’t the data supposedly from the last decade, when the temperature hasn’t changed a statistically significant lick? And oh, look, at figure 2 above, the radiation also hasn’t changed a lick, either. At some point, someone has to stand up, right in the middle of the church, and say, “Hey, who’s in charge here? This is all horse-hockey.” Just a bunch of bitchy little girls, as a wise man once said. You’re all fired.

    Harry – energy being radiated is not the same as temperature. Latent heat radiated from as cloud droplets condense does not equate to atmospheric temperatures. Energy being reflected by albedo of clouds does not equate to atmospheric temperature. Only the AGW converts believe energy is the same as temperature and all radiated energy follows Stefan Boltzmann.

  28. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Fred H. Haynie,

    Don’t understand your point. When clouds form, they do two things: they release the latent heat of vaporiztion and block incoming light in the day, and outgoing infra-red at night.

  29. Ian W says:

    Ian H says:
    September 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm
    The net radiation budget MUST be RELATED to global temperature. Energy is conserved yes? That a DIRECT correlation is not observed simply means that the mechanism linking the two is indirect.

    In the atmosphere Energy is NOT temperature

    Yes energy is conserved but that is not related to ‘temperature’. The enthalpy of moist air means that far more energy is required to raise its temperature than that of dry air.

    When water condenses it releases latent heat – this heat does not follow the Stefan Boltzmann radiation formula. It is not related to atmospheric temperature but to the saturation of the air volume.

  30. Douglas M. Chatham says:

    I think it’s good to calculate the amount of heat reflected by clouds, both above and below the clouds. I have yet to see anyone attempt to calculate the amount of heat involved in the complete water cycle from the amount of heat absorbed during the evaporation of water from the oceans to the amount of heat released at altitude when this water vapor is condensed to water in the form of clouds to the additional amount of heat released when the water droplets freeze.

  31. DirkH says:

    The way I understand it, what is shown here is that the variation of the radiation balance of Earth is determined to 90% by cloudiness; and only insignificantly by other factors. It has been SHOWN by Bill Illis; Dessler can pack it in right away.

  32. I trust Bill Illis. What I’ve seen and understood of his science and attitudes impresses me. If Bill says holey moley I think something important is up. But it would be nice for duffers to have it spelled out in simple language. Think of Nigel Calder writing his book on Svensmark.

    Is this about radiation to space from cloud tops linked directly to temperature loss below the clouds?? ie unequivocal proof of negative feedback?

    This “Berlin Wall moment” seems to be serendipitously continuing. First Wagner’s amazing actions. Then Dessler accepts Spencer’s corrections. Now Bill Illis may have his finger on a key proof undoing AGW thanks to… Dessler. And it also seems possible that Bart (at Climate Audit and Tallbloke’s blog esp) has quantified feedback delay to 4.8 years (looks like the delay is due to oceans lag time in accumulating/losing solar heat before flipping state and precipitating different cloud patterns – did I get that right??)

    Both Bill Illis’ notes and Bart’s stats work have been adopted at Talboke’s blog. Both need spelling out in simple language, IMHO. Anyone?

  33. The ongoing Berlin Wall breakthrough moment:

    I forgot to add the new Serbian paper that puts improved figures to another expected line of verification of Svensmark’s hypothesis, cloud responses to Forbush events – brilliantly flushed out by subtracting night temperatures from day temperatures.

  34. Bart at Climate Audit says

    Natural causal systems generally have decreasing phase response with frequency. If we tried to invert this system, we would get increasing phase. Ergo, we know we are indeed inferring the correct direction of causality.

    (my emphasis)

    Discussion with Bart at CA going great guns but with an amazing statement like this, I think Bart’s find really needs putting into common language. Tallbloke’s got a post on it but Paul Vaughan is complaining he cannot understand and I think he has a point insofar as he speaks for a lot of us.

    Anyone?

  35. Kozlowski says:

    This is exciting. We are watching citizen science, or blog science, or whatever you may call it, unfold before us. Even if it is a false lead, as science often taunts us, it is a remarkable process to observe. Lets hope that the ivory towers’ hold on science can be forever broken.

    Remember “Clovis First” and how hard that was to break? Remember H. Pylori causing ulcers and how hard that was to become mainstream. Or how many years Lancet took to finally accept that immunizations were not causing autism. It *should* be hard to overturn a paradigm. On the other hand, it often seems to be so hard because of the financially vested interests that feed off the status quo.

  36. Philip Bradley says:

    Look at the UAH global temperature graph and what do you see?

    Temperature changes on a month to month basis that are perhaps 2 orders of magnitude greater than allowed by the radiative forcing model (theory) of the Earth’s climate.

    I find the claim that the data is ‘noisy’ wholly unconvincing. Where does this noise come from?

    IMO this graph alone disproves the radiative forcing model.

    The only possible cause of this variability (on monthly and shorter timescales) is water vapour/cloud changes being driven from some non-radiative source.

  37. JFD says:

    Ian W
    I normally apply this logic to producing fossil groundwater that is not in equilibrium with the hydrological cycles i.e. new water added to the atmosphere, but it is the same for ocean water or any other surface water. Liquid water is in a state of potential energy. When water evaporates or evapotranspires it absorbs latent heat (1000 btu/lb) which changes the energy state from potential to kinetic – at constant temperature. The water vapor is lighter than air so rises until it is cooled enough to condense back to liquid water, undergoing a change in energy state from kinetic back to potential by releasing the latent heat as specific heat, which heats the surronding air ( one btu/lb/degree F).

    JFD

  38. DGH says:

    @Pete Olson
    Or they will deny they ever said otherwise, Gavin will have hissy fit at RC, and then they will claim they figured it out first by pointing to an obscure conditional statement in a paper written long ago.

    Just wait.

  39. Paul Vaughan says:

    Lucy, Bart doesn’t have anything.

  40. Paul Vaughan says:

    The series in Bill’s plot can’t help but be strongly correlated as they are deterministically related (one is a function of the other!)

    Now, after making time [that wasn't well spent] to investigate, I’m left wondering what all the fuss was about.

    I had been ignoring the whole Spencer-Dessler episode as it seemed so far off-track relative to my interest in natural climate variations. My initial instinct is reaffirmed.

    One thing came out of this red herring chase though:
    I followed Bill’s link to Dessler’s paper and learned that the untenable assumptions they use are even worse than I would have imagined. That approach is a hopeless avenue towards understanding of natural climate variations.

    At Tallbloke’s request, I’ve provided some more worthwhile notes over here [ http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/discussion-on-length-of-day-the-changes-in-the-speed-the-earth-spins-at/ ].

    Regards.

  41. Graeme says:

    Will Wagner ask for his old job as Editor back?

  42. mark t says:

    If you dont understand his causality argument then you are hardly in a position to comment.

    Mark

  43. Spector says:

    RE: “Clouds account for most of the variability in net radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere”

    I think what is being claimed is that cosmic rays have an impact on cloud-coverage so that any estimation of the impact of clouds also includes the impact of cosmic rays and other ionizing particles that may be striking the atmosphere. This is like saying that the rate of gasoline flow into an engine has a more important effect on engine power than foot-pressure on the gas-pedal.

  44. pat says:

    You know this is becoming the death knell of AGW. It is only a matter of time before real scientists start using heliospheric information and graph the same against good temperature information. And then using the deltas (the incredibly corrupted ‘anomalies’ ) against each other. Poof.

  45. davidmhoffer says:

    Spector says:
    September 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm
    RE: “Clouds account for most of the variability in net radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere”>>>
    This is like saying that the rate of gasoline flow into an engine has a more important effect on engine power than foot-pressure on the gas-pedal.>>>
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    No. It is more like saying that the foot-pressure on the gas pedal, and hence the rate of gasoline flow into the engine, accounts for MOST of the variability on the speed of the car. Wind speed and direction, uphill or downhill grade (and steepness), air pressure and humidity are all factors in how fast the car is going too…but MOST of the variability…is the gas pedal.

  46. David S says:

    “Bill Yarber says:
    September 11, 2011 at 10:43 am
    If this analysis holds up, coupled with the CERN data,we might see the final nail in the AGW coffin. It will be interesting to see how Dressler responds since his data gives such strong correlation.

    Bill”
    The CAGW theory will not die easily. Every time we think it’s dead it crawls back out of the coffin… like a vampire.

  47. Ian H says:

    Ian H says:
    The net radiation budget MUST be RELATED to global temperature. Energy is conserved yes? That a DIRECT correlation is not observed simply means that the mechanism linking the two is indirect.

    Ian W says:
    In the atmosphere Energy is NOT temperature

    Yes energy is conserved but that is not related to ‘temperature’. The enthalpy of moist air means that far more energy is required to raise its temperature than that of dry air.

    When water condenses it releases latent heat – this heat does not follow the Stefan Boltzmann radiation formula. It is not related to atmospheric temperature but to the saturation of the air volume.

    So energy may go into things other than an increase in temperature such as an increase in atmospheric moisture content. Granted. But you’ll have a very hard time convincing me that the atmosphere can be persuaded to increase its overall moisture content without ANY increase in average temperature. All your quibble does is complicate the response of temperature to heat. It doesn’t mean that temperature is not a function of heat. Arguing that increasing heat content in the troposphere is unrelated to temperature is a very silly position to take.

  48. davidmhoffer says:

    Paul Vaughan;
    I had been ignoring the whole Spencer-Dessler episode as it seemed so far off-track relative to my interest in natural climate variations. My initial instinct is reaffirmed.>>>

    Your instinct is wrong. Spencer-Dessler may not have anything to do with YOUR specific interest but it has EVERYTHING to do with the corruption of science for power and money. Is your specific interest of so much importance that you feel it is OK to ignore:

    1. A properly peer reviewed paper (by his own admission) being slagged by the Editor-in-Chief of the journal it was published in.
    2. The Editor-in-Chief, one Wolfgang Wagner, resigned when he failed to get the paper blocked or recalled on the excuse that it was actual data but should not have been published without first consulting…modelers.
    3. The resignation letter was a virtual apology to modelers for allowing Spencer’s work to be published, and his resignation was followed by his personal apology to Kevin Trenberth, who promptly bragged about receiving the apology, and making it clear that it was he who prompted the resignation of Wagner.
    4. Trenberth went on to brag that Spencer’s work, which heavily contradicts his own, was full of gaping scientific holes that would be exposed by Dessler’s paper. When Dessler’s paper was rushed through peer review and published with blinding speed, it turned out is was Dessler’s paper that was riddled holes and Spencer exposed those in a single day, prompting changes by Dessler to his own work.
    5. Wolfgang Wagner is responsible for the program at Vienna University of Technology that seeks to integrate the disciplines of remote sensing, physical modeling, and environmental modeling. It takes very little digging to figure out that Wagner’s credibility and ability to do his job both as that coordinator, and as the head of the global soil moisture database, was directly and/or indirectly beholden to Kevin Trenberth, chair of the global science committee of the body over seeing multiple precipitation and drought indexes,including Wagner’s soil moisture index.

    If you do not see the importance of one scientist using his personal position to destroy the career of another scientist, for failing to block the publication of science contrary to his own by yet a third scientist, let me spell it out for you:

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke

    “The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.” Ayne Rand

    “Don’t let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.” Oliver Goldsmith

    ” Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty.” Simon Weil.

    “No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.” Theodore Roosevelt

    If you still believe that the fuss over Spencer-Dessler is not meaningfull to you, then ask yourself this question:

    If Kevin Trenberth decides that your research, or you, should be discredited for daring to differ with him… will you ask others to come to your defence? How will you feel if they reply…sorry, not my area of interest?

  49. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    “I’m getting Cloud variability being a very large part of the variability in the total Global Net Radiation Budget – anywhere from 65% to 100% (with R^2 between 0.29 and 0.77).”

    ++++++++++
    I hope you read the comments I made on the previous story because this illustrates the problem very well: the GNRB is all frequencies, n’est pas? The cloud variability is only telling us about the visible portion of the frequencies. No wonder there are correlation imperfections. You should be looking at all clouds, visible and invisible to the eye. Otherwise only the visible portion of the global net radiation budget should be used. If you subtract visible clouds and visible light, you will still notice variations because other spectra are interfering with sub 0.1 micron particles – very effectively and you can’t see those clouds.

    Apples and apples, please.

  50. Philip Bradley says:

    It *should* be hard to overturn a paradigm.

    Max Planck said in his Scientific Autobiography: “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”.

    Psychologists call this phenomena ‘investment’ and it is extremely powerful, causing people to persist with a belief despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I studied this many years ago and IMO it is because evidence and phenomena are processed by the brain through a representation of the paradigm and if the evidence and phenomena don’t fit the paradigm they are rejected and a basis found for the rejection.

    Note the rejection precedes the basis for the rejection.

    In this case the paradigm is the Forcings Model of the climate.

  51. Socratic says:

    Is this supposed to be surprising? Even if the correlation were 100%, it wouldn’t prove anything other than the obvious. And no, it doesn’t come close to refuting Dessler. The point of Dessler is that short-term variation in TOA flux, regardless of the cause (and clouds are obviously a big part of that) don’t contain enough energy to cause short-term changes in oceanic heat content, and by a considerable margin.

  52. Roger Knights says:

    David S says:
    September 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    The CAGW theory will not die easily. Every time we think it’s dead it crawls back out of the coffin… like a vampire.

    It takes a lot of arrows to kill an elephant. But the CACA Cult is getting pretty pin-cushioned by now. It’ll start noticeably wobbling within a year.

  53. tallbloke says:

    Lucy Skywalker says:
    September 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm
    I trust Bill Illis. What I’ve seen and understood of his science and attitudes impresses me. If Bill says holey moley I think something important is up. But it would be nice for duffers to have it spelled out in simple language. Think of Nigel Calder writing his book on Svensmark.

    Is this about radiation to space from cloud tops linked directly to temperature loss below the clouds?? ie unequivocal proof of negative feedback?

    And it also seems possible that Bart (at Climate Audit and Tallbloke’s blog esp) has quantified feedback delay to 4.8 years (looks like the delay is due to oceans lag time in accumulating/losing solar heat before flipping state and precipitating different cloud patterns – did I get that right??)

    Both Bill Illis’ notes and Bart’s stats work have been adopted at Talboke’s blog. Both need spelling out in simple language, IMHO. Anyone?

    I’m working on it. :-)
    I’ll wait until the conversation has evolved further here and at CA and then attempt a write up in everyday language for the original protagonists to criticise and reshape if they can spare the time.

    Paul Vaughan is complaining he cannot understand and I think he has a point insofar as he speaks for a lot of us.

    Paul was complaining about the lack of metadata. Whether or not Paul understands Bart’s method I don’t know.

    Unfortunately, Paul’s unsubstantiated comment doesn’t add anything I can work with. I also think it is discourteous to rebut someone’s work with a one line dismissal without showing any supporting work they can respond to.

  54. tallbloke says:

    Paul Vaughan says:
    September 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm
    The series in Bill’s plot can’t help but be strongly correlated as they are deterministically related (one is a function of the other!)

    Paul, wouldn’t you need to assume the ocean has no independent internal variability (at the decadal timescale the dataset covers) for that to be true? Or is that variability being expressed in the difference between the datasets (along with errors)?

    At Tallbloke’s request, I’ve provided some more worthwhile notes over here [ http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/discussion-on-length-of-day-the-changes-in-the-speed-the-earth-spins-at/ ].

    I’d be grateful if you could find the time to answer the question I asked on that thread.

    Thanks.

  55. bushbunny says:

    However the Urban Heat Island effect is not explained either. Certainly concrete and glass reflect heat and concrete will keep heat and release it at night. I don’t know if any of you like gliding
    (the planes not hang gliding) but I was told the thermals over populated areas were different
    from open land or forests. I think if I remember rightly, the thermals went higher over open land, than they did over cities. I suspect this means more movement of air that cools.

    The AGW alarmists must be feeling the heat, but they are born liars anyway. At least the US of A
    hasn’t globally agreed to anything, although in Australia PM ‘Gillardia’ (yes – sounds like a bacteria that gives you a run for your money, if you get my gist’ ) still is saying the US is into carbon trading etc., and cutting carbon emissions. The thing here in Oz, the Greens are trying to silence anti-AGW journalists like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones by bringing a motion in the Senate
    to stop anti-AGW scientific debate reaching the public. If that isn’t a warning sign to anyone with a sense of democratic rights being abused, nothing will..

  56. Tallbloke, thanks.

    Yes, I notice that Paul Vaughan is not only incomprehensible himself at times, he is also abrupt with what he regards as others’ incomprehensibility. Real shame because I feel he has a lot to offer. I live in hope that he might learn better manners. I look forward to Bart’s wonders explained to non-stats folk – something between simply stating the conclusion, and following the convolutions of the threads at CA.

  57. Stephen Wilde says:

    Bill said:
    ” I’’m getting Cloud variability being a very large part of the variability in the total Global Net Radiation Budget – anywhere from 65% to 100% (with R^2 between 0.29 and 0.77).”

    Could the cloud variability be linked to the degree of zonality/meridionality in the mid latitude jets and/or changes in the globally averaged latitudinal position of ALL the main cloud bands?

  58. tallbloke says:

    Paul assuredly has much to offer in terms of statistical analysis, and I agree with the general thrust of his argument that the causation of climate variation will be found in Earth’s orientation parameters. The very first post on my blog was crudely attempting to highlight that same hypothesis.

    However, as an engineer, I recognise the importance of estimating scale of effects when trying to piece together lines of evidence for causation, and that’s why I think Bart’s analysis of response time between cloud change and temperature change could be important in assisting our understanding of the mechanisms by which and the rates at which the ocean sequesters, transports and releases energy. This, as Paul constantly emphasises, will also require a better approach to the spatio-temporal distribution of energy and the transcending of the reliance on global averages.

  59. Richard S Courtney says:

    davidmhoffer:

    re. your post at September 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm:

    Excellent. Well said. And it needs repeating again and again and ….

    Richard

  60. Philip Bradley says:

    “I studied this many years ago and IMO it is because evidence and phenomena are processed by the brain through a representation of the paradigm and if the evidence and phenomena don’t fit the paradigm they are rejected and a basis found for the rejection.”

    In a shameless plug, I suggest you might be interested in my article: FM radio an global warming nonsense in which I discuss a possible analogy between Phase Locked loops and … I suppose you could say “paradigms”.

    One of they key efficiencies of the PLL, is that it allows the circuitry to zero-in on the expected signal – in effect it says: “the expected signal will be a little different from such a such a frequency, so I will ignore all other signals apart from one which is changing (almost precisely) when I expect to see a change. In effect it filters out all the unnecessary information and creates an internal model which predicts what it expects to “see”.

    In that way, it avoids the problem of having to examine all evidence and consider all evidence, instead it looks only for evidence that it expects to have an impact on the model.

    In effect, warmists will be much more receptive to a statement like:

    CO2 warming will be 10% less than expected and 10% less damaging than anticipated

    Than e.g.

    CO2 warming will benefit … 10% of the population.

    Because the idea that anyone will benefit from warming is so alien to their mental construct of its affect that they will simply reject the idea, but they are more than willing to listen to how much worse it will be, so they already have a sense that it could be “worse … or not so bad” as thought.

  61. bushbunny says:

    Richard S. Courtney, I agree wholeheartedly. But it isn’t getting through to the Australian government. What can we do?

  62. Richard S Courtney says:

    bushbunny:

    I am an Engishman and not an Australian so I think it would be hubristic for me to suggest answer(s) to your question. Sorry.

    Richard

  63. Jeff Larson says:

    I think I will buy stock in a nail company. There have been an unbelievable quantity of nails in coffins regarding AGW. Or I might be better off keeping garlic and a silver cross in my pocket. ;) Thanks everyone for all the effort to get the truth out.

  64. Keith says:

    @Scottish Sceptic: How’s this for getting the warmists away from CAGW?

    CO2 cannot warm the planet overall, but can aid the spread of heat from warmer to cooler parts of the planet. As evidenced by the lack of temperature difference between day and night on Venus (96.5% atmospheric CO2), CO2 is not an insulator of heat, but merely a conductor. This could explain why warm parts of the world aren’t warming or are cooling, but cool parts of the world are warming, primarily through higher minimum temperatures in winter and at night.

    When this is accepted, we can then get onto how this effect is lost in the noise of natural variation, and how the recording of it by land-based thermometers is exaggerated by UHIE and microsite issues.

  65. LazyTeenager says:

    commieBob says:
    September 11, 2011 at 11:46 am
    Sorry for being a doofus but I assume that if I don’t understand something, lots of others are in the same boat.

    What precisely is being measured to produce:
    1 – Dessler CERES All-Sky Net Radiation
    2 – ERA Net Cloud Radiation

    When I google for precisely those things, I get no results. Before we get too excited, we should be really clear what we are talking about.
    ————
    A good point to raise since I can’t translate these terms accurately either.

  66. Paul Vaughan says:

    Some misunderstandings above. Apologies. I did not accept my seat on the carrot train. I work overtime 6 to 7 days per week now. Addressing things the way people might like would require at least 20 times more free time (or the kind of freedom I had in the past when I worked in academia). The choice is between issuing a terse alert where I see a problem or an opportunity and not commenting at all. Regards.

  67. Paul Vaughan says:

    Here’s a tip for someone with a tremendous amount of free time:
    There appears to be something very seriously wrong the sampling design &/or aggregation criteria upon which the data summaries in Bill’s plots are founded.

  68. LazyTeenager says:

    Robert of Ottawa says:
    September 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    Let’s see … strong correlation between cloud seeds and GCRs; strong correlation between radiation balance and clouds. Hmm …
    ———–
    corrections: proven cause and effect between cosmic rays and a particular kind of cloud seed. There are many kinds of cloud seed.

    Proven cause and effect between radiation balance and clouds; which is only one contribution among many. Clouds at different altitudes can have the opposite effect.

  69. LazyTeenager says:

    Ian W says
    Only the AGW converts believe energy is the same as temperature and all radiated energy follows Stefan Boltzmann.
    —————
    They don’t believe any such thing. [snip]

  70. Paul Vaughan says:

    Can anyone point to concise material on how the satellite samples? (I suspect serious spatiotemporal aliasing.)

  71. P. Solar says:

    Bill Illis says:
    September 10, 2011 at 10:11 amBill Illis says:
    September 10, 2011 at 10:11 am
    >>
    While we are having no luck finding a good correlation between clouds and temperatures in a feedback sense (the scatters are providing r^2 of 0.02) which indicates there is probably NO cloud feedback either way

    While we are having no luck finding a good correlation between clouds and temperatures in a feedback sense (the scatters are providing r^2 of 0.02) which indicates there is probably NO cloud feedback either way
    >>

    Well until climate science manages to climb out of the first grade science class and stops doing completely *invalid* OLS fits to data that have huge noise levels , no correlation and significant error in the independent variable they will find nothing.

    This in no way suggests that there is no feedback.

  72. LazyTeenager says:

    Let me see if I have this correct. You take a quantity x – nearlyconstant and plot it against x and you get a gradient very close to 1.00 and a very high correlation coefficient.

    That’s amazing. I am absolutely gobsmacked. It is beyond belief. I can hardly credit my own eyes. I am going to become a skeptic right this minute.

  73. mark t says:

    Lucy, though technically based on a correlation, the concepts Bart employed are just basic Fourier theory, not really statistics per se. He is simply doing system identification the way people that do system identification do it (as a start at least.)

    Mark

  74. DirkH says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    September 12, 2011 at 5:31 am
    “Let me see if I have this correct. You take a quantity x – nearlyconstant and plot it against x and you get a gradient very close to 1.00 and a very high correlation coefficient.

    That’s amazing. I am absolutely gobsmacked. It is beyond belief. I can hardly credit my own eyes. I am going to become a skeptic right this minute.”

    You didn’t understand it. The fact that the variation in Cloud Net Radiation does not only correlate, but is close to identical to the variation in Total Net Radiation means that THERE IS NO OTHER major influencing factor. Clouds modulate the radiation; little else does.

    Comprendre?

  75. DirkH says:

    Paul Vaughan says:
    September 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm
    “The series in Bill’s plot can’t help but be strongly correlated as they are deterministically related (one is a function of the other!)
    Now, after making time [that wasn't well spent] to investigate, I’m left wondering what all the fuss was about.”

    Two things are important besides the correlation:
    There is no significant time lag.
    The scale of the two variables IS THE SAME – meaning the cloud-caused radiation anomaly covers practically all the total radiation anomaly.

  76. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    DirkH says:
    September 12, 2011 at 7:14 am
    LazyTeenager says:……

    “Let me see if I have this correct. You take a quantity x – nearlyconstant and plot it against x and you get a gradient very close to 1.00 and a very high correlation coefficient.

    >…The fact that the variation in Cloud Net Radiation does not only correlate, but is close to identical to the variation in Total Net Radiation means that THERE IS NO OTHER major influencing factor. Clouds modulate the radiation; little else does.

    ++++++++
    Recall that cloud condensation nuclei interact with higher frequency radiation prior to growing large enough to interact with visible light.

    I am adding that if you looked for Net Cloud Radiation and if the number of small particles is large because of their being created by a burst of incoming GCR, the correlation might be even better. As I understand it, the NCR and TCR measure different spectra, the NCR being a sub-set of the TCR so the correlation can’t be perfect.

    What UVsees as a ‘cloud’ is invisible to the naked eye. But it is there, (re)radiant in all its glory.

  77. Spector says:

    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm)
    “No. It is more like saying that the foot-pressure on the gas pedal, and hence the rate of gasoline flow into the engine, accounts for MOST of the variability on the speed of the car.”

    Actually, I left out any mention of ‘speed’ as the imaginary car might not be in gear. The point I was trying to make was that while cloud variation does account for most of the variability in net radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere, *some* of that variation is thought to be caused by the rate of ionizing radiation, such as cosmic rays, penetrating our atmosphere.

    Thus, I think, to properly evaluate the role of this radiation as a climate driver, one should compare the cloud formation potential of this radiation with other factors affecting the formation of clouds.

    Clouds contribute to cooling by two mechanisms. First, they reflect incoming solar radiation back out to space and second, they often are indicators of an ongoing convective process that is bringing warm air from the surface up to high altitudes, where thermal radiation from H2O and H2O molecular aggregates (water/ice) can escape to outer space.

  78. Richard Garnache says:

    I have just read two very interesting article about the supposed greenhouse affect. The first describes the philosophy of the study relative to current thinking. The second article is the mathematical development of the theory. I can follow the logic and physics, but at my age, the math makes my head ache. I would greatly appreciate if one of you younger folks would look and critique the article.

    http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/Copernicus_Meets_the_Greenhouse_Effect.pdf

    http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/The_Model_Atmosphere.pdf

    Dick G

  79. lgriffith says:

    Almost all of the confusion expressed in this blog comes from the lack of clarity and specificity of understanding of the four terms: Heat, Energy, Radiation, and Temperature. The terms apply individually to very different things. They can be related but what that relationship is, is very much conditioned by the specific details of the system being discussed – ie. CONTEXT. I suggest for those who are confused, get grounded on the actual physical meaning of these four terms AND the actual physical context to which they are to be applied. Then and only then will the comments you make be distinguishable from total nonsense.

    The AGW fraud exists BECAUSE there is wide spread ignorance about what Heat, Energy, Radiation, and Temperature actually are and how one can properly apply and interrelate them. The tendency is to drop context, equate the terms sometimes, emphasize their differences when it is conventional to do so, and embed the discussion in self serving techno babble that is devoid of reality based content or context.

  80. davidmhoffer says:

    Spector says:
    September 12, 2011 at 8:27 am
    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm)
    “No. It is more like saying that the foot-pressure on the gas pedal, and hence the rate of gasoline flow into the engine, accounts for MOST of the variability on the speed of the car.”>>>
    Actually, I left out any mention of ‘speed’ as the imaginary car might not be in gear.>>>

    And I added the concept of speed in order to make the analogy meaningful.

    Spector says:

    Clouds contribute to cooling by two mechanisms. First, they reflect incoming solar radiation back out to space and second, they often are indicators of an ongoing convective process…>>>

    You claim TWO mechanisms, but then you list ONE mechanism and one INDICATOR.

    Clouds are just resistors. They resist incoming solar radiation from getting to earth surface, and they resist outgoing longwave radiation from earth escaping to space. In situations where they resist more in coming than out going, they have a net cooling effect. In situations where they resist more out going than in coming, they have a net warming effect (in both cases, as compared to there being no clouds at all). The following are all examples that you need little science background to understand and you can find data to support these examples from thousands upon thousands of temperature records, not to mention millions… nay billions… of people who will tell you these are correct from personal experience:

    1. On a hot day, in coming cloud has a cooling effect… in the day time.
    2. But on that same day, if there is cloud at night, temps will cool off only a little. If there is no cloud, temps drop dramaticaly. Happens every freaking day in the desert.
    3. Change the day to a cold one. Say, intead of mid summer, mid winter at a high latitude. Cloud cover results in warmer temps during day AND night. Why? Because at high latitude in winter, there’s diddly squat for solar radiation coming in even at mid day, and only for a few hours. The amount of outgoing longwave from the earth surface becomes much more significant. So clouds result in warmer temps during the day AND during the night.

    Ask any farm boy from a high latitude why he hates clear blue skies in the middle of January. He’ll tell you why. He’s got to get up at 6:00AM to feed the cattle before going to school and it is -30C or worse outside, he doesn’t even have to look at the thermometer to know that. Ask that same farm boy why he rushes to get the cattle fed first thing in the morning in mid July when there is a clear blue sky. Why not sleep in a couple of hours, there’s no school in July… He’ll tell you why you silly city slicker. First of all, the cattle are hungry. Second of all the temps are going to hit +30C or higher by noon. Best to start tossing those 80 pound hay bales over that 8 foot fence while the temp is still only +18C.

    Regards,
    ex-farm boy

  81. Paul Vaughan says:

    DirkH (September 12, 2011 at 7:23 am)
    “Two things are important besides the correlation:
    There is no significant time lag.
    The scale of the two variables IS THE SAME – meaning the cloud-caused radiation anomaly covers practically all the total radiation anomaly.”

    Even for an alarmist that shouldn’t come as a surprise. That’s just common sense.

  82. davidmhoffer says:

    Paul Vaughan says:
    September 12, 2011 at 11:51 am
    DirkH (September 12, 2011 at 7:23 am)
    “The scale of the two variables IS THE SAME – meaning the cloud-caused radiation anomaly covers practically all the total radiation anomaly.”>>>
    Even for an alarmist that shouldn’t come as a surprise. That’s just common sense.>>>

    If that were the cause Paul, then the alarmist would be admitting that CO2 variance is not significant. Which they don’t. And common sense isn’t common. Anyone with an ounce of common sense know THAT.

  83. davidmhoffer says:

    case not cause.
    I hate my fingers. they make so many spelling mistakes and everyone blames ME.

  84. Spector says:

    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 12, 2011 at 10:56 am)
    “You claim TWO mechanisms, but then you list ONE mechanism and one INDICATOR.

    “Clouds are just resistors. They resist incoming solar radiation from getting to earth surface, and they resist outgoing longwave radiation from earth escaping to space. “

    Point taken about ‘clouds’ per se, I was thinking of the two cooling effects of water vapor in the atmosphere. In general, clouds are good reflectors, both up and down. However, any process that facilitates cloud formation also makes convection more likely. Convection allows escaping thermal energy to do an ‘end run’ around the strong greenhouse effect of water vapor.

    At high altitudes, clouds can also be emitters IR characteristic of the temperatures of the cloud tops. The tropopause, at -55 deg C, is typically the coolest region of the lower atmosphere and this is also the normal upper limit of rising condensing convection.

  85. davidmhoffer says:

    Spector;
    Agree for the most part. But clouds are emitters of IR at ALL temps and at ALL altitudes. The only question is how much. and compared to how much they absorb (which is different from what they reflect). OK, so that’s two questions, not one. Blame my fingers, it isn’t my fault.

  86. ECEGeorgia says:

    Again, what a wonderful thread, which is why as a biological scientist I come here every day.

    Lucy and Tallbloke for asking clarification and to davidmhoffer trying to relate everything.

    Thanks for asking for clarification. The hitcounter at the top of the page, as well as the blog award indicate that MANY more people who come here are not climate scientists, perhaps not scientists at all, and are sometimes a bit confused. I would suggest that even though I am not a climate scientist, I AM a ‘motivator’ of people at the grassroots level, which is why I love this site so much. This site ‘arms’ me with pretty balanced knowledge. Everything from hearing aids to the polar icecaps! Diverse.

    So please. I need help on this ‘paper’ to compare and contrast what is presented and how it relates to Spencer and Dessler.

    maybe davidm did it but this ‘dummy’ didn’t quite understand!

    A power point someone?

    Thanks

  87. UncertaintyRunAmok says:

    I’ve pointed to it before on this blog, but the proof is simple and uncomplicated, and
    does not require a degree in physics. There is only one single constituent of the atmosphere
    that can cause the observed “trapping” of energy referred to as the “Greenhouse effect”.
    For the description given of the cause of this effect to be true for any ideal gas or
    mixture of ideal gasses (and that includes H2O if it existed ONLY as an ideal gas), would
    require that both Kirchoff and Beers be invalidated. I know that they haven’t been, because
    that news would have made the cover of every scientific journal in the world. Since there is a
    linear relationship between absorption and concentration (Beers law), and the total
    concentration of any collection of bodies cannot exceed 100%, absorption can never exceed 100%. Yes, there is one, and ONLY one exception, and that requires increasing the path length but does NOT require increasing the concentration of any of the absorbing species.REFLECTION.
    In my field – spectroscopy – this method has been used for decades to increase the path
    length, and thereby increase the amount of absorption ABOVE THE LEVEL OF THE INPUT ENERGY, in IR spectrometer sample chambers using MIRRORS, which only has an effect on the wavelengths which have already been absorbed (Kirchoffs law). REFLECTION is the ONLY effect that is capable of “trapping” EM waves.
    There is only one condensable gas in the earths atmosphere. It fiercely maintains a
    spherical shape as it does so, and as a spherical dielectric, its scattering and absorption
    properties are described by Mie theory. Mie theory calculations are what is buried in the
    infamous line-by-line codes that are based on radiative transfer THEORY. There are also
    modified Mie calculations used to describe ice crystal absorption and scattering properties.
    Since the single-scattering albedo of the majority of cloud droplet size parameters vs.
    the wavelengths emitted by the atmosphere and surface yields ~0.54 or higher, it is easy to see that extending those results to the number of water droplets and ice crystals in a typical
    cloud easily yields backscatter of ~100%. This is the reason these “gentlemen” keep on so
    desperately contradicting any suggestion that clouds are a cause, or the sole cause, of the
    “greenhouse effect” or global warming, going back at least to the Wang, et.al. paper nearly a decade ago.
    Simply stated, only reflection can increase the path, and only the already absorbed
    wavelengths can be absorbed again, causing an increase in the internal energy, or TEMPERATURE, of the absorbing species. The calculation is simple. Averaged over a sufficiently long time period, the absorption times the cloud fraction + the original absorption = the long term absorption of the surface and the near surface atmosphere.
    As an aside, it is MY belief that anyone who believes that a computer model can
    simulate cloud microphysical properties that change both locally and globally on the order of
    femtoseconds, and then extend those calculations out decades or centuries over the entire
    planet, should likely be ascribed the title of “delusional”.
    A final word, this bit on the cloud project; there is an overlooked aspect of atmospheric interaction with the rest of the heliosphere that is also affected by the solar cycle; an oversight that is caused by the age-old closed-system, and in my opinion, closed-minded, view of the atmosphere. If you haven’t heard of the IBEX project yet, I strongly encourage everyone to look at it and consider the implications. New water forming in the atmosphere via H&O ENA’s entering it from particle streams the earth intersects, coinciding with the spring in the respective hemispheres, and which are modulated by the solar cycle? – hmm, I feel an hypotheses forming? Several, in fact. Perhaps more theoretical windmills to tilt at lie just around the corner. IBEX hasn’t been orbiting long enough or collected enough data yet to yield any long term statistical correlations and charts, but based on the small amount of information collected in just a couple of years, this AGW nonsense should be buried in one of those CO2 sinks they are always worrying about.

  88. bushbunny says:

    Can anyone explain how the Jet Stream effects weather? Or the Gulf Stream? Certainly when the Gulf Stream slows or even is diverted, this brings on colder weather to the North Atlantic?
    When I was studying at Uni, it was said, that the glacial periods were preceded by warmer temps.
    As more fresh water came from the Arctic, this forced the warmer salt water down. The same
    effect was found by the first submarine that traveled under the polar ice.(1957) They found that for the first 30 or so feet (might be more, can’t remember), there were no fish they had gone deeper because the surface water contained less salt.

    I don’t think you can say that cosmic rays are the only factor, certainly they can increase cloud
    cover and therefore rain fall. But the main thing is and this is important, this or these studies discount the effect of CO2 on climate, or even carbon emissions/pollution. Julia Gillard keeps lumping pollution, CO2 and climate change in the same bag. Certainly in the 1950s when London experienced SMOGS, and thousands died as a result, they declared London a smoke free zone. This meant you could not burn coal, anthracite, domestically. They had smoke
    inspectors and if they spotted smoke coming from chimneys, they knocked on your door, explained that if spotted again, they would be fined two hundred pounds (heaps of money in early 1963). Some still burned coke, but that doesn’t produce smoke, but sulphur dioxide. They then introduced coal lite, a smokeless fuel, before central heating took over of course.

  89. Spector says:

    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm)
    “Spector;
    “Agree for the most part. But clouds are emitters of IR at ALL temps and at ALL altitudes. The only question is how much. and compared to how much they absorb (which is different from what they reflect). OK, so that’s two questions, not one. Blame my fingers, it isn’t my fault.”

    As I see it, the altitude determines how much of the emitted radiation will succeed in escaping to outer space without encountering another absorber–the higher the altitude, the shorter the gauntlet. At the tropopause altitude, according to MODTRAN, it looks like 90 percent of the emission band is open, but there is a 10 percent hole around the primary CO2 absorption frequency.

    The chart below shows the absorption coefficient for water. The peak absorption of 10,000 per 1/cm indicates that, at a wavelength of 3 microns, the radiation will be reduced to 1/e or down to about 36.79 percent of its initial value by absorption after going 1/10,000 of a centimeter through a water droplet. The reference number ‘e’ is the base of the ‘natural’ or Napierian logarithms.

    File:Water absorption spectrum.png – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Also of interest:
    London South Bank University;
    Water Structure and Science – Martin Chaplin;
    Water Absorption Spectrum

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html

  90. davidmhoffer says:

    Spector;
    I find this wikipedia graph a bit easier to use in terms of illustrating the issue:

    However, you have to spend some time understanding a lot of the issues that the graph itself doesn’t explain fully, nor the article. For example, it is easy to see that the absorption spectrum of water vapour over laps that of CO2 for the most part. But note that the efficiency with which CO2 will absorb a photon in the 9 to 12 micron range is much higher for CO2 than it is for water vapor. Let’s guestimate it at 4:1 more likely that a CO2 molecule will absorb any photon in that wave length than H2O will. Is that significant?

    Well…yes and no. At sea level in the tropics, water vapor is in the 40,000 PPM range. So at 400 PPM, it really makes little difference if CO2 is 4 times as efficient. But at higher altitude (ie cold), or higher latitude (ie cold) water vapor concentration drops off in a hurry, so CO2 becomes a bigger piece of the puzzle. A very small puzzle piece, and one that is subject to the law of diminishing returns as CO2 is logarithmic, but technicaly…more important at cold temps than warm temps for that reason.

    As for your note about altitude of the cloud, sure, the higher the altitude the more likely that any given photon emitted will escape to space…. IF it is emitted in an upward direction in the first place. The cloud is really just water droplets (not vapor!!!!) and each droplet emitts based on its temperature, but any given photon can be emitted in ANY direction. On average, just as many photons are emitted “downward” as are emitted “upward”. So…how would clouds make any difference at all then?

    It is a matter of absorption versus emission. Clouds absorb and/or reflect upward bound photons from below, and the same for “downward” bound photons from above. Most of the “downward” bound photons would come from the Sun. So, in day time, the cloud absorbs/reflects a lot more “downward from above” photons than it does “upward from below”. Hence, cooling. But at night, there’s no “downward from above” photons to absorb, so “upward from below” becomes the dominant factor. Photons are absorbed from ANY direction and are emitted again in ANY direction.

    Hence at night, the cloud absorbs upward bound photons from earth surface, and emitts them again. Since roughly half wind up going “up” and the other half going “down”, it is like the cloud is sending half the photons (and the energy they carry) home again…hence warming. If the cloud wasn’t there, those upward bound photons that would have been absorbed by the cloud simply escape 100% instead of 50% being sent home. Hence, warming isn’t exactly the right term, more like “less cooling”. The reverse is true in day time, as photons from the sun that are absorbed by the cloud will be re-emitted…some up and some down. But if the cloud wasn’t there, they would ALL continue on downward. Unless they hit something else, lol.

  91. davidmhoffer says:

    ECEGeorgia;
    Thanks for the compliment, sorry it didn’t become clear for you. Unfortunately, physics text books are 500 pages for a reason…. But let me take a shot at your question which was:

    “I need help on this ‘paper’ to compare and contrast what is presented and how it relates to Spencer and Dessler.”

    OK, so we have to start at the beginning for the middle and the end to make sense. A big part of AGW theory is that CO2 raises temperatures by aborbing and re-emitting photons carrying energy that would otherwise have escaped to space. No argument there. But how much? Without going into the physics and all the nasty math, the IPCC estimate is that doubling CO2 will result in an extra 3.7 watts/m2 which in turn results in a 1 degree C increase in temperature “on average”. Three problems here.

    FIRST, if one DOES all the nasty math, it takes 5.5 watts/m2 to raise the “average” surface temperature of the earth (15 C) by one degree. Yikes, how does the IPCC get to claim 1 degree then? The answer is that temperature is NOT directly related to watts/m2! Watts/m2 is related to the temperature in degrees Kelvin RAISED TO THE POWER OF FOUR. So, seen from space, the earth isn’t 15C, it is an “average” of the surface to the TOA (Top of Atmosphere) which is more like -20C. At -20C, it would only take 3.7 w/m2 to raise the temp one degree, BUT, at earth surface, that would mean…more like 0.6 degrees.

    SECOND, CO2 is logarithmic. Hence the use of the term “doubling”. I liken it to sun glasses. If you had several pairs of sun glasses, each of which absorbed 50% of any light that hit them, would putting on two pairs make it completely dark? Of course not. The first pair would absorb 50% of the light, and the second pair would absorb 50% of what was left, still allowing 25% through. Put on a third pair, and they would aborb 50% of what got through the first two pair, leaving 12.5% of the light still coming through. So…CO2 ought not to be a big deal by that measure. Since we started burning fossil fuel big time in 1920, CO2 had gone from 280 PPM to 400 PPM. So…if we were to get 1 degree C more warming out of CO2 than we are RIGHT NOW, we would have to get to…. 800 PPM. If everyone leaves their cars running all the time and drives like maniacs, we should get there in about…300 years. So what’s the big deal?

    THIRD, FEEDBACKS! Herein lies the ENTIRE argument. (I’m getting to Spencer and Dessler and Illis, just bear with me). Here is a handy place to get solid data from, in this case water vapor. Scroll down the page a bit and you will see a graph showing how much water vapor air can hold at any given temperature:

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/water-vapor-saturation-pressure-air-d_689.html

    As one can see, at cold temps, the amount of water vapor drops off dramatically. So AGW theory is founded on the idea (amongst others) that the 1 degree rise in temperature from CO2 doubling (over the next 300 years, giggle) would result in more water vapor, which is also a greenhouse gas, so would add still more warming. I’ll reserve my sarcastic comments regarding getting something for nothing, perpetual motion, smoke and mirrors…oops. Anyway, the IPCC commonly quotes CO2 doubling as having a net effect of plus 3 to plus 4.5 degrees based on a number of different feedbacks.

    (When posts get long the editor starts jumping around so I’m going to continue this in another coment)

  92. davidmhoffer says:

    CO2 => Feedbacks => Spencer => Illis PART TWO.

    This all has to do with clouds…how? Clouds are formed of water droplets which in turn are formed from water vapor, which the IPCC assumes will increase because of the one degree C increase from CO2 doubling. Then they make ANOTHER assumption, which is that clouds are a positive feedback.

    So ends the “three problems” explanation we need as background… on to the papers.

    SPENCER

    Spencer’s paper looked at earth’s radiance to space compared to what the “computer models” have estimated. He found that more energy was being released to space than what the models were assuming. That, dead stop, invalidates the models by itself (assuming his data and analysis are correct, which I believe they are). Why are they getting it wrong? Spencer’s paper suggests that while the models are built on the assumption that clouds are a net positive feedback, they are in fact much lower thanthe models assume, are possibly even NEGATIVE feedback rather than positive. If Spencer is correct, then one may as well nail the AGW coffin shut. Without a big positive feedback from +1 degree = more water vapor = more clouds = another +3… CO2 is a pretty feeble scare story.

    DESSLER

    In what appeared to be a very hastily put together paper, Dessler disputed Spencer’s results. It took two years for Spencer to get his paper through peer review to publication. Dessler managed to read Spencer’s paper, analyze it, write his own paper disputing Spencer’s, and get it published in just six weeks. Spencer promptly published a critique of Dessler on WUWT about one day later, poking gaping holes in Dessler’s paper, which Dessler HIMSELF contacted Spencer to coordinate fixing. Climate Audit, where statistical analysis id done in excrutiating detail (the only way to do it right!) pretty much trashed Dessler and showed that properly analyzed, his data agreed with Spencer. Dig into that political mess and you’ll get a zillion versions of that story, but here’s the only part I need to know. Dessler’s original paper contained blatantly personal attacks on Spencer that had nothing to do with science. In my books, that’s discrediting itself, and Dessler has since withdrawn those remarks.

    ILLIS

    OK, my fingers are getting sore. While I have followed this thread with interest, I didn’t read Illis work in detail, but his bottom line isn’t hard to understand. Spencer and others have long argued that clouds dominate earth’s climate variations to the point that other factors such as CO2 are simply insignificant by comparison. Illis appears to have simply done the obvious, which is to compare the variations in earth’s radiance to space over all to variations in radiance due to clouds. The result? It is right in the post’s title. MOST of the variation is due to clouds. There’s hardly anything left for CO2…or methane…or etc etc etc.

    So…Co2 is insignificant (like we knew 20+ years ago) compared to clouds, clouds are not a major positive feedback and are probably even a negative feedback, making any additional cloud cover from extra water vapor a cancelling effect on what ever warming CO2 actually causes.

  93. Keith Battye says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    September 13, 2011 at 12:15 am (Edit)

    CO2 => Feedbacks => Spencer => Illis PART TWO.

    Well said.

  94. phlogiston says:

    CAGW models have at their core the issue of radiation budget and balance – the Arrhenius paradigm. However now Illis has made clear that cloud cover dominates earth’s radiance to space.

    And cloud cover was one thing that the CAGW models FAILED to include and account for.

    Now it is clear – as it should have been for a long time – that research into earth radiation balance is synonymous with research into cloud cover – the two are one and the same.

  95. Paul Vaughan says:

    Tallbloke,

    I tried to warn you on your blog, but you resorted to censorship (which is extremely offensive).

    Seeing you chase this red herring (“the Bart thing”) is further proof that you have not yet invested the time necessary to understand the ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL message of Tomas Milanovic.

    The variables ARE related. This is NOT news. The variables are NOT linearly related. They are COMPLEXLY related. Bart’s methods canNOT handle the job. He appears inexperienced and GROSSLY UNAWARE of the spatiotemporal nature of the variability.

    I wasted a good portion of my half-day off this week getting acquainted with the variables under discussion to try to figure out what all the misunderstanding & fuss was about. [My plan for that time was to proofread a 25 page article I might volunteer to WUWT (an activity which ends up taking months since I have so little free time).]

    Putting new ideas in the spotlight is a great way to stimulate exploration. You & I agree there. However, we have to place a value on peoples’ time & attention.

    My concern is that if a breakthrough comes along, your judgement is insufficient to distinguish it from a crapshoot – i.e. you’ll put the crapshoot & the breakthrough on a “level playing field”.

    You & others can’t be blamed for what you don’t know in general, but in specific I’ve warned both you & the community over and over AND OVER to read Milanovic – AND YET PEOPLE CONTINUE TILTING AT WINDMILLS – and I assure you this is an exact analogy.

    This is about FUNDAMENTALS of sampling design & summary aggregation criteria. Anyone who chooses to ignore it will be tilting at windmills ad infinitum. Anyone who thinks it’s about “mysterious” “unknown” physics is ignorantly misdirecting their hunt, like this:

    “On comprend, mais cela équivaut à chercher ses clefs au pied d’un réverbère parce que c’est là qu’il ya de la lumière.”

    http://www.pensee-unique.fr/theses.html#lod

    From Google Translate (for those who can’t read French):
    “It is understandable, but it is like looking for his keys at the foot of a street lamp because that’s where there’s light.”

    Recently I’ve been extending a collegial hand offering help to you & your readers. You’ve responded with nervous jitters, which have again (this happened before) escaped your control and escalated into the hammer of alienating censorship.

    See Judith Curry’s stimulating piece on decision-making under ignorance:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/08/22/can-we-make-good-decisions-under-ignorance/

    Ignorance plays into the hands of those who need the perception & persuasion of so-called (but fundamentally mislabeled) “uncertainty”.

    Moreover, it fosters suspicion, undermining trust.

    Bart has rediscovered the windmill about which Milanovic has lucidly & sternly warned us.

    Sincerely.

  96. Spector says:

    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 12, 2011 at 11:)

    “On average, just as many photons are emitted “downward” as are emitted “upward”. So…how would clouds make any difference at all then?”

    From the point of view of the cloud, there are five emissive/absorptive possibilities:
    1.) Energy lost by radiation to a higher altitude.
    2.) Energy gained by absorption of emissions from higher altitudes.
    3.) Energy retained by internal re-absorption of internal emissions.
    4.) Energy lost by radiation to a lower altitude.
    5.) Energy gained by absorption of emissions from lower altitudes

    if a fly, just *above* the cloud, were to see more IR photons coming up out of the cloud below than those coming back down from higher altitudes above, then we can assume that the cloud, and by implication the Earth, is losing energy to outer space in this frequency range. Cloud tops provide an equivalent surface that can radiate to outer space when there are no higher clouds above–the cooler temperature signature of IR radiation from cloud tops is often cited as the mechanism for IR satellite imagery.

    The Earth could not keep cool unless it could radiate more energy in the IR band than it was receiving from the sun. However, since the Earth is so far away from the sun, solar IR is minimal, and the Earth can expel all the white-hot energy received from the sun by terrestrial thermal radiation.

    The graph that you referenced shows the comparison between solar energy received and the terrestrial energy transmitted. I believe that transmission index shown (blue) is only for heat radiated from the surface. In tropical clear air conditions, MODTRAN seems to indicate that twice as much energy is also being radiated from the upper troposphere. Presumably this energy reached that area by off-line average convective activity.

  97. davidmhoffer says:

    Spector;
    Your five points are idnetical to mine save for 3) which nets to zero and hence is meaningless anyway. From there however, you are getting yourself into trouble:

    “The Earth could not keep cool unless it could radiate more energy in the IR band than it was receiving from the sun. However, since the Earth is so far away from the sun, solar IR is minimal,”

    Wrong. Wrong. OH SO WRONG!

    How much IR the earth gets from the sun means diddly squat. How much TOTAL ENERGY ACROSS ALL BANDS earth gets from the sun is the first thing you need to measure. In order for the earth temperature to be stable (in equilibrium), the amount of energy lost to space must equal the amount of energy absorbed from the sun. It matters not one whit what band the absorption is in, nor what band the radiance to space is in.

    Most of the energy absorbed by earth from the sun is SW (short wave). Most of the energy radiated from earth to space is LW (long wave, which includes IR). What wavelength the energy rode in on and what wavelength it rode out on are two different things.

    This is what happense when they teach students how to use calculators before they teach them how to do math. MODTRAN is just a fancy calculator.

  98. Robert of Ottawa says:

    September 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Robert,
    My point is that clouds are not a source of energy (force). The rates of evaporation, condensation, and convection are controlling the rate of energy lost to space, and like current flow, clouds should be consider as resistors. The “blocking actions” you suggested are high resistances: but remember, clouds do not blanket the earth and when there are no clouds, there is very little resistance. Think about parallel resistances. Click on my name.

  99. ECEGeorgia says:

    davidmhoffer

    Thanks so very much for verbally illustrating this complex set of ‘claims’!!! I do understand your logic and the illustration without the scatterplot! I also thank you from the ‘laypeople’ here who do dilligence at reading and attempting to understand what is being presented. I also thank you for forgoing any character assination of Dessler, I think we can all see the BIG POLITICS of this ‘science”.. We do need a ‘nailgun’ instead of a ‘hammer’ to seal this hydra into the coffin’.

    I do also see your summary of the three positions as you present. them.

    We the People are out here in droves, watching everything.

    i do have one other question, if it is too ignorant don’t bother responding.

    Your example cloud hanging from the surface of the earth to the top of the atmosphere emits photons (energy) everywhere! totally unknown vectors of emmision. A blob! Assume the middle of the night. At the top energy escapes into space. Does this escape not induce a potential difference and a flow of eneregy (photons?) from bottom to top?

    Thank you for your time and information! You and Willis and Anthony and Lucy and the scientists here “Make my Day” I have conviced otheres to read! I love the Weather!

  100. ECEGeorgia says:

    david!

    CO2 => Feedbacks => Spencer => Illis PART TWO

    Keith said ‘Well said”.

    Nope PERFECTLY said! I missed the meaning of the math the first readthrough

    Illis > I’m looking forward to it!

    eric

  101. davidmhoffer says:

    ECEGeorgia;
    Thanks again for the compliment. Just for the record, I’m not a scientist, I’m just a salesman (I sh*t you not). Mind you, I’ve spent a considerable number of years selling very high tech products to solve bleeding edge problems in both industry and academic work. I picked up a lot of science from a lot of different disciplines over the years. At days end though, the science I’ve been expounding upon in this thread isn’t exactly bleeding edge. You need some understanding of calculus to understand how the formulas are derived, but applying them is just plain math coupled with some 1st and 2nd year university physics. Every number I quote, every formula, can be found on wikipedia or in the IPCC reports themselves, it just takes some wading through the minutia to get a grip on it. But that’s what makes the debate so frustrating. Try and get an alarmist into a discussion about the physics, and they (for the most part) run and hide. You’ll get responses like “the polar bears are going extinct” and “the blue toed sloth is running out of habitat” or “the glaciers are shrinking” and on and on…but the actual DIRECTLY MEASURABLE PHYSICS? They don’t want to discuss that, and it takes very little self education to figure out why.

    Re your question above, yes you’ve got the right idea. Energy can get moved around the system as a whole as lot of different ways. Convection for example. Rain. Snow. Wind. Energy gets transferred by conduction (molecules actually hitting each other) and so on. But let’s just focus on photons for the moment. Photons just being uhm… light. Not particles, not waves, photons share the characteristics of both. Wavicles, each carrying a bit of energy and travelling at…the speed of light.

    So, at earth surface, if you think about if for a moment, photons can only be released in one direction. Up. Every photon has (in theory anyway) a small percent chance that it will hit nothing, and just zip on out to space. In practice, it will probably hit something, and be absorbed. That something then gains the energy of the photon, and becomes warmer. The warmer something is, the more photons it emmits. But it doesn’t emmit the SAME photons, it emmits “new” photons based on the temperature. The sun being very hot, emitts short wave, high energy photons, while the earth surface being cool by comparison, emitts long wave low energy photons. So, SW goes in, LW comes out. The total amount of energy equals out over time though.

    Back to your question, imagine a photon (for the sake of simplicity) having a 50% chance of getting to space, and 50% being absorbed. The ones that are absorbed, get re-emitted, but since they are now in the atmosphere, in a water droplet or a CO2 molecule, or what ever, the “new” photon gets emitted in ANY direction. again, for saked of simplicity, let’s pretend they can only go “up” or “down”. Any given photon could be aborbed instantly upon leaving earth surface, or at the very last molecule at TOA, but “on average”, half way up. So, upon being absorbed and a “new” photon being emitted, half go up, half go down. Of the half that go up, they would have a 75% chance of zipping straight out to space. 25% would be absorbed again, but their average absorption altitude would be 75% of the way to TOA. Of the ones that went down, each would have a 75% chance of being absorbed by earth surface, 25% would be absorbed by something else. Keep in mind that this all happens, literaly, at the speed of light, and the number of photons is big. How big? I don’t know. Ten to the Big.

    So, per your question, insert cloud at night. Being made of water droplets, it is much more likely to block the path of a photon than plain old air. Since there is no significant downward bound photons coming from space at night, the only possible effect the cloud can have is to absorb photons from below, temporarily store them before emitting new phtoons to space, and emitting some back downward…where they contribute to the temperature of the earth surface. Not warming per se, I call it “less cooling”.

    Day time rolls around, and the sun starts beating down on them thar clouds with massive amounts of shortwave. Without the clouds there, the SW would have a MUCH higher chance of getting to earth surface. With the cloud there…some gets absorbed, and re-emitted (as LW) back to space, and some gets to keep going down toward eaerth. Not cooling per se… more like “less warming”.

    Hope that helps!

  102. Spector says:

    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 13, 2011 at 11:23 am)

    “Wrong. Wrong. OH SO WRONG!
    “How much IR the earth gets from the sun means diddly squat.”

    Quite true, but to keep cool, the Earth must be able to radiate *all* energy it receives from the sun back out in the IR band, more particularly in that band characteristic of current ambient temperatures. If we were in close orbit around a cool star, it would get a little more complicated as we might have a significant overlap of stellar and terrestrial radiation. The hypothetical fly might have a problem telling the difference between back radiation and stellar radiation–perhaps he would not care.

    On Earth, I believe the -55 deg C temperature of the tropopause indicates that the narrow absorption/emission frequency range at this altitude intercepts such a small slice of the total solar energy spectrum, that extreme cooling is allowed in the otherwise transparent atmosphere. This extreme cooling may be critical to life on Earth.

    RE: Clouds

    If a static cloud were being cooled by radiation from above and below, then it is reasonable to assume that this cloud would gradually lose altitude unless that heat loss were made good by radiation from below. If the cloud were a marker for a rising column of condensing air, the lost energy would be replaced by fresh convection and heat from the condensation process. Ionizing radiation may increase the likelihood of the initiation of such processes

  103. Dave Springer says:

    Fred H. Haynie says:
    September 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Try to forget about the missleading terms “forcing” and “feedback”. Clouds are condensed water vapor that serve as “resistors” that slow the transfer of energy to space. Bill’s obsevations are consistant with mine. My OLR regressions on precipitable water and rain as resisters yield R^2 s better than 0.9. http://www.kidswincom.net/CO2OLR.pdf.

    Well Fred, that’s an incomplete analogy. The top of the cloud acts like a diode in series with the resister.

    Let’s call the ocean a battery. It charges during the day and discharges at night. A cloud acts like a resister limiting current flow at night but during the day the cloud top acts like diode blocking the charging current. The crux of the matter is which effect is greater – limiting discharge current or blocking the charging current. My bet is on the latter.

  104. Dave Springer says:

    Fred H. Haynie says:
    September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    “The “blocking actions” you suggested are high resistances: but remember, clouds do not blanket the earth and when there are no clouds, there is very little resistance. Think about parallel resistances. Click on my name.”

    Clouds cover is about 50-60% of the earth’s surface on any given day. Think about a diode in series with each of the resisters.

  105. Dave Springer says:

    September 14, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I agree. I think that such a model would be useful in quantifying the energy flow rates both ways.
    Data from the Arctic where days and nights are six months long and clouds are fewer and less dense than at the equator can reveal the relative resistance.

  106. Spector says:

    Just for reference, MODTRAN, a program generated by the Air Force, intended to predict IR levels that might be observed by aircraft flying at various levels in the atmosphere, (as measured in energy flow, W/m2 over the wavenumber range of 100 to 1500 cycles per centimeter) seems to be indicating that most of the clear-air outgoing IR energy originates in the atmosphere. This is based on the assumption that the net outgoing radiation is radiation seen coming up from below minus energy seen coming down from above.

    This data was obtained using the web tool provided by Dr. Archer at the University of Chicago. It somewhat complicates the determination of the effect of clouds as they can only block or ‘resist’ the escape of energy emitted by the Earth from below.

    Sensor     **** Radiation, Io ****    Net Radiation
    Altitude   Looking Down   Looking Up    Outgoing
      km          W/m2           W/m2          W/m2
      0         417.306        348.226        68.080
      1         406.316        295.694       110.622
      3         374.916        214.902       160.014
      7         327.188        101.296       225.892
     10         306.433         42.704       263.729
     15         291.863         11.144       280.719
     30         286.651          4.807       281.844
     70         287.844          0.050       287.794
    Transcribed by Hand
    MODTRAN Default Conditions
    CO2=375 PPM
    Wx=Clear Air Tropical
    Thermal Offset=0
    Ground T, K=299.70
    
  107. davidmhoffer says:

    Spector;
    You are putting your trust in a calculator without understanding what it is calculating.

    You are of course correct that as the altitude of the cloud increases, the less resistance is presents to upward bound LW. I said as much in my explanations above. Now, here’s some problems to think about:

    CO2 is at 398.ot the 375 you used. You also used Clear Air Tropical which has massive amounts of water vapour, a completely diffwerent story over land at high altitude in the winter (as one example). But you are also ignoring time of day. The resistance the cloud represents to incoming solar is at a MINIMUM at high noon and at maximums at dawn and sunset. The sharper angle of the sun means more solar gets reflected instead of absorbed and more gets absorbed ALSO, the cloud casts a longer shadow so to speak.

    So yes, any given cloud, at any given altitude, at any given TIME, might be positive as a feedback…or negative. Sorry, but running some numbers through MODTRAN only gives you what a pilot needs to know about his plane, and that is it.

  108. Spector says:

    RE: davidmhoffer: (September 15, 2011 at 9:00 am)

    “Spector;
    “You are putting your trust in a calculator without understanding what it is calculating.”

    If someone has a better description for what this is indicating, I would be glad to hear it. The 375 PPM CO2 setting is the normal MODTRAN web tool default. I limited my changes to sensor altitude and viewing directions. This data was only intended to illustrate an apparent principle of the atmosphere.

    The results, as returned, seem to be indicating that water vapor is a leaky greenhouse gas. While it does trap heat very effectively near the surface, it would also seem that water vapor does allow an important fraction of that trapped heat to be radiated out at all altitudes where water vapor is a significant component of the atmosphere. I am restricting my comments to water vapor because MODTRAN shows a deep hole in the outgoing radiation spectrum around the CO2 absorption wavenumber of 667 cycles/cm.

    If there were a perfect mirror just over the surface, I assume that one would also see 417 W/m2 looking up as well as looking down and thus there would be no heat gain or loss. As there are no clouds in this model, I assume the reading of 348 W/m2 must come from atmospheric IR radiation emitted above. Thus it seems that net *radiative* ground level cooling can only be about 69 W/m2. But the program also says that looking down at 70 km we should expect to see about 288 W/m2 actually escaping to outer space. If most of this radiation does not come from the surface, it must come from the atmosphere. Looking level by level seems to confirm that this is the case–at least in the MODTRAN universe.

    As the upper air cannot be a continuous source of heat, the outgoing radiation would cause continual cooling, eventually forcing dry air parcels to the ground where they could cool the surface by absorbing moisture and heat and perhaps once again rise to form clouds.

    For this type of static calculation, MODTRAN should be assuming a typical atmosphere as established by normal convective activity.

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