High level clouds and surface temperature

Clouds Can Reveal Shape of Continents NASA Ear...

Global Clouds 2009. NASA Earth Observatory image by Kevin Ward, based on data provided by the NASA Earth Observations (NEO) Project. Instrument: Terra - MODIS Image via Wikipedia

Guest post by Erl Happ

The orbit of the Earth’s around the sun is slightly eccentric. The closest point is called the perihelion. On January 4th the Earth is just 147,098,291 km away from the sun. Aphelion occurs July 4th when the Earth is 152,098,233 km away from the sun, a difference of +3.3%. Naturally the power of the sun falls away with distance. Its radiation is 7% weaker in July than in January. Strangely, near surface air temperature for the Earth as a whole is 3.3°C warmer in July than in January. Yes, the surface is warmest when the Earth is furthest from the sun!

On a hemispherical basis total cloud cover increases as the surface warms but the loss of cloud in the southern hemisphere as the south cools and the north warms is much greater than the gain of cloud in the northern hemisphere. So, on a global basis cloud cover falls in mid year. Total cloud cover tells us nothing about global albedo because different types of clouds vary in their albedo and the mix of cloud types changes. Some cloud is actually supposed to trap radiation and warm the surface and this type changes a lot.

On the face of it, the warming process that occurs in mid year is only limited by the fact that the Earth moves about the sun on its tilted axis allowing cloud cover to recover between November and March.

This post explores where, why and what sort of cloud is lost as the global atmosphere warms in mid year. It turns out that there is a heavy loss of high level cloud in the southern hemisphere. The manner in which this loss occurs informs us as to the role of outgoing radiation in the climate system, the artificiality of our notions of what constitutes the troposphere and the stratosphere and the dynamics of the system that determines surface temperature and its variability from year to year and over time. It tells us about the impact of high cloud on surface temperature. The ‘natural’ dynamics described in this post are currently unrecognized in climate science as it is represented in UNIPCC reports.

All data for the graphs from http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

Figure 1 Surface air temperature (°C) and precipitable water (kg/m^2). Percentage change between minimum and maximum is indicated.

The increase in precipitable water lags the temperature increase by a couple of months. There is plainly more variability in the land rich northern hemisphere.

The maps below come from the invaluable JRA-25 Atlas at: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/atlas-tope.htm

Figure 2 Total cloud cover January

Figure 3 Total cloud cover July

It is evident that all the driest parts of the land in both hemsipheres have less cloud in July than they do in January. These dry locations are sources of potent surface radiation. There is less cloud as a whole in July (more dark blue) than in January. There is more dark blue between the equator and 30° south in southern winter (July) than in summer. But what type of cloud is lost?

Cloud is classified according to elevation:

High cloud 7.6km to 12 km (300hPa to 150hPa)

Medium level cloud 2.4 to 5.5km (700 to 400hPa)

Low cloud below 2.4km. Below 700hPa.

Figure 4 Annual cycle of relative humidity at 10-30°south and 10-30°north at 925hPa (near surface) and at 300hPa (8km)

In the topmost figure we see a marked reduction in relative humidity at 300hPa at 10-30° south in mid year. The same latitudes in the northern hemisphere experience an increase in relative humidity in mid year.

In the lowest figure we see only a slight reduction in relative humidity at 925hPa affecting the last half of the year. However there is a loss of humidity in the middle of the year that increases with altitude. Notice that humidity at 300hPa generally exceeds that at 700hPa and 500hPa.

Figure 6 Relative humidity between 50°north latitude to 50° south latitude

Figure 6 aggregates data for all latitudes between 50° north and 50° south. There is a gradual but small decline in relative humidity in the low cloud zone at 850hPa towards a low point in mid year. We see a marked trough in relative humidity at 300hPa between April and November. This establishes that the main inter-seasonal dynamic occurs in the upper troposphere. But at what latitude?

Figure 7 Relative Humidity by latitude

Figure 7 reveals that the slight loss of relative humidity at 850hPa between 50°north and south latitude is a product of diverse trends.

It is plain that the mid year loss of humidity at 300hPa that characterizes the latitude 50°north to 50° south as a whole is is driven by marked change in the southern hemisphere.

Why is it so?

Figures 8 and 9 illustrate the point that the great high pressure cells of the Hadley circulation produce copious amounts of thermal (infrared) radiation colored red. This is particularly the case in the winter hemisphere. Here is a conundrum. Why do the subtropical latitudes of the winter hemisphere give off more radiation when the surface is cooler than when it is warmer?

First, what’s a Hadley cell? At the equator the air ascends. As it ascends latent heat is released, the air becomes less dense is driven upwards and in the process it cools via decompression. Hence the paucity of outgoing radiation in near equatorial latitudes. The warm waters between India and New Guinea give off little radiation but they deliver much evaporation. Air that ascends at the equator ultimately returns to the surface at 10-40° of latitude. It descends over cool surfaces that support the process of descent by cooling the surface air. The sea is cooler, and the land is much cooler in winter. Extensive high pressure cells circulate anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere and clockwise in the northern hemisphere giving rise to the trades and the westerlies. These cells are largely free of low and middle troposphere cloud. The air in these cells warms via compression, the bike pump effect. So, as these high pressure cells occupy more space in the winter hemisphere the surface must receive more direct sunlight and the winter hemisphere at these latitudes must be warmer than it otherwise would be.

Figure 8 July outgoing long wave radiation

Figure 9 January outgoing long wave radiation

It is apparent that atmospheric processes determine where thermal radiation is released by the Earth system. It is released from the atmosphere rather than directly from the surface. The area of cloud free sky tends to be enhanced in winter. This must be considered a positive. We like to be warmer in winter. If this is what the greenhouse effect is all about I am all for it. But hang on, the greenhouse effect must be quite weak because there is little chance of water vapor amplification in dry air. What a bummer.

Figure 10 Air temperature at various elevations at 20-30°south

Figure 3 shows that the temperature of the upper troposphere at 20-30° south responds to enhanced radiation in winter just like the stratosphere at 50hPa. The response depends upon the ability of ozone to trap long wave radiation at a quite specific wave length, 9.6 micrometers. Infrared spans 4-28 micrometers. We see a strong response to just a small part of the total spectrum by a mass of tiny little radiators that populate this part of the atmosphere in the parts per billion range but sufficient to invert the seasonal temperature profile. Hang on, this is not in the rule book, the troposphere is supposed to be warmed from the surface and should move with surface temperature! But here we see the upper troposphere acting like the stratosphere in that it responds to long wave radiation. Do we need to alter our ideas of what the stratosphere starts? Where is the ozone tropopause?

A winter warming response at 250hPa, involving a marked loss of relative humidity in the ice cloud zone, tells us that the moisture supply to the upper troposphere is disconnected from the temperature dynamic at this altitude. Quite possibly, the supply of moisture to the upper troposphere in the southern hemisphere depends upon the temperature of the tropical ocean that falls to its annual minimum in mid year. Quite possibly, that moisture is moving north rather than south in mid year.

Climatologists have long wondered why a 1°C increase in temperature at the sea surface relates to as much as a 3° increase in temperature of the upper troposphere. They call this phenomenon ‘amplification’ as if the temperature of the upper troposphere in some way depended on the temperature at the surface and there was a transistor circuit between the two. Hey guys, its the other way round. Turn the telescope round. The presence of a long wave absorber namely ozone, is responsible for this phenomenon. The warming of the upper troposphere results in cloud loss and then, after a little time lag, the surface temperature increases.

In the mid and high zone, cloud is present as highly reflective interlacing micro-crystals of ice that we describe as cirrus and stratus. When the air warms these crystals sublimate. Ice cloud is the dominant cloud of the subtropical region. In IPCC climate science high altitude ice cloud is supposed to warm the surface by enhancing back radiation. But when radiation from the atmosphere increases in winter relative humidity falls. This radiation it is not bounced back by the cloud, the cloud disappears and lets the sun shine through. The surface temperature response is due to the disappearance of the cloud, not back radiation. Oops.

Figure 11 Southern Hemisphere locations exhibiting high altitude ice cloud on 26th September 2011

The evolution of surface temperature is intimately related to the coming and going of clouds. The animation at http://www.intelliweather.com/imagesuite_specialty.htm
reveals that the circulation of the air in the high cloud zone is independent of and quite contrary to the low cloud zone.

Figure 12 High cloud cover in January and July Source JRA-25 Atlas at http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/atlas-tope.htm

Figure 12 shows the latitudes of the southern hemisphere where high cloud is evaporated in July. There is a marked expansion in the area that has less high cloud by comparison with January.

Figure 13 The advance of global temperature in January and July


Figure 13 indicates that there is more year to year variability in the minimum global temperature (January) than the maximum (July).

The minimum is experienced when the Earth is closest to the sun. The Earth is coolest at this time because the atmosphere is cloudier in January. January is characterized by a relative abundance of high ice cloud in the southern hemisphere. Relative humidity peaks in April (figure 6) when tropical waters are warmest. I suggest the variation in the minimum global temperature is due to change in high altitude cloud. The southern hemisphere experiences the largest flux in ice cloud.That flux in high cloud is likely to be due to change in ozone content of the upper troposphere.

Variation in cloud cover should be the first hypothesis to explore when the Earth warms or cools over time. You would have to be very naive to think that the inter-annual change in temperature that is most obvious between November and March could be due to something other than a change in cloud cover.

Figure 14 Temperature of the sea and the upper troposphere at 250hPa at 20-30° south in January.

Figure 15 Temperature of the sea and the upper troposphere at 250hPa at 20-30° south in July.

In January we observe a close relationship between the temperature of the upper troposphere at 20-30°south and the temperature of the sea. The so called ‘amplification factor’ is plainly there.

In July we see a decline in 200hPa temperature between 1948 and 1978 in line with the decline in the temperature of the northern hemisphere during that interval and a strong increase in 200hPa temperature after 1978 as the northern hemisphere warmed strongly. We know that the temperature of the stratosphere at 20-30°south is linked to the extent of warming in the northern hemisphere in mid year. The greater the convectional updraft that occurs north of the equator in mid year, the more voluminous is the stream of air that descends in the winter hemisphere. So, as the north warms the greater will be the outgoing radiation and the warmer will be the stratosphere and the upper troposphere in the southern hemisphere. The warmer it is, the less extensive must be the reflective ice cloud.

Figure 16 Anomalies in temperature at 200hPa, 300hPa and at the sea surface 20-30° south. Three month moving averages of monthly data.

Looking now at departures from the 1948-2011 monthly average the dependance of surface temperature upon upper troposphere temperature is plain to see. In a warming cycle we see 200hPa temperature rising above 300hPa and sea surface temperature and falling below it in a cooling cycle. The shift of in 200hPa temperature between 1976-1980 had its origins in the increase in the temperature of the Antarctic stratosphere at that time and the commencement of the warming in the northern hemisphere.

The $64,000 question is what causes the change in the ozone content of the high cloud zone between November and March when the greatest variability in global surface temperature is seen.

The $164,000 question is what is causing cloud cover to rise and fall on decadal and centennial time scales.

The answer to both questions lies in the activity of the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere at the poles that feeds ozone into the troposphere. The upper troposphere warms or cools depending upon the feed rate of ozone. The feed rate changes over time.

The ozone content and temperature of the upper stratosphere depends in the first instance upon the activity of the night jet at the poles that introduces NOx from the mesosphere. Less NOx means more ozone. The activity of the night jet depends upon surface pressure and the concentration of NOx in the jet depends upon solar activity. In Antarctica, surface pressure has been falling for sixty years indicating a continuous increase in the ozone feed into the troposphere, the second major influence upon the ozone content of the polar stratosphere.

In that the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere over Antarctica changes surface pressure at 60-70° south it changes the strength of the westerly winds in the southern hemisphere, cloud cover and surface temperature on all time scales. Stratospheric ozone is wasted above and below the stratosphere, processes referred to as ‘unknown dynamical influences’ in the more respectable polar ozone studies.

These phenomena are the very essence of the Southern Annular Mode, arguably the fundamental mode of global climate variation on all time scales.

One thing is plain. High altitude ice cloud in the southern hemisphere is plainly a reflector of solar radiation. It does not promote warming (positive feedback). It promotes cooling (negative feedback). It’s presence depends upon the flux in ozone in the upper troposphere as governed by processes in the stratosphere. So the UNIPCC climate models are 180° out of whack.

If your brain is starting to hurt, just rest it for a moment while you consider the following.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:—

A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude,

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils…

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up— But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road . . . [S]ome rested their heads on [mossy] stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway… —Rain came on, we were wet. William Wordsworth 1815

Now that you have rested you might devise a mathematical model that mimics the behavior of the climate system as described in this post.

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138 thoughts on “High level clouds and surface temperature

  1. Erl, I’m going to have to disagree with you on the clouds you’ve circled in my company’s satellite images. This are IR images, not visible light, and they are low level based on their brightness, not high level,

  2. Erl, fascinating piece as usual.
    But mightn’t the temperature discrepancy have more to do with the fact that the Northern Hemisphere has got a much greater landmass than the Southern?

  3. Erl Happ writes: “First, what’s a Hadley cell? At the equator the air ascends. As it ascends latent heat is released, the air becomes less dense is driven upwards and in the process it cools via decompression. Hence the paucity of outgoing radiation in near equatorial latitudes. The warm waters between India and New Guinea give off little radiation but they deliver much evaporation. Air that ascends at the equator ultimately returns to the surface at 10-40° of latitude. It descends over cool surfaces that support the process of descent by cooling the surface air. The sea is cooler, and the land is much cooler in winter. Extensive high pressure cells circulate anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere and clockwise in the northern hemisphere giving rise to the trades and the westerlies. These cells are largely free of low and middle troposphere cloud. The air in these cells warms via compression, the bike pump effect. So, as these high pressure cells occupy more space in the winter hemisphere the surface must receive more direct sunlight and the winter hemisphere at these latitudes must be warmer than it otherwise would be.”

    Fitting Erl wraps his post with some poetry because his description of atmospheric circulation is indeed a misleading poetic portrayal of the reality… Especially when this relaity has been observed and described in detail:

    http://www.springer.com/earth+sciences+and+geography/meteorology+%26+climatology/book/978-3-540-42636-3

    Further reading:

    http://ddata.over-blog.com/xxxyyy/2/32/25/79/Leroux-Global-and-Planetary-Change-1993.pdf

    http://www.springer.com/earth+sciences+and+geography/meteorology+%26+climatology/book/978-3-642-04679-7

  4. This is why I love this site. There will be more peer review here about a hour then has been done on the team in years.

  5. Ummm, everything was going fine until towards the end of the article…

    1. I like the conclusion – One thing is plain. High altitude ice cloud in the southern hemisphere is plainly a reflector of solar radiation. It does not promote warming (positive feedback). It promotes cooling (negative feedback). It’s presence depends upon the flux in ozone in the upper troposphere as governed by processes in the stratosphere. So the UNIPCC climate models are 180° out of whack.

    2. What the heck is the Southern Annular Mode.

    3. This:

    The ozone content and temperature of the upper stratosphere depends in the first instance upon the activity of the night jet at the poles that introduces NOx from the mesosphere. Less NOx means more ozone. The activity of the night jet depends upon surface pressure and the concentration of NOx in the jet depends upon solar activity. In Antarctica, surface pressure has been falling for sixty years indicating a continuous increase in the ozone feed into the troposphere, the second major influence upon the ozone content of the polar stratosphere.

    Should probably be a paper all by itself. It does not help here.

    4. I’m not sure this is the right place for a poem. My brain was fine until the poem hit.

  6. The information that the earth has a variable temperature that coincides with the seasons, and yet the warmer season is when the distance from the sun is new to me. But my instant idea as to why this is so coincides with charles nelson who says on October 6, 2011 at 11:43 am that the majority of the land mass is in the northern hemisphere and that might be the reason. Does the land, the albedo, or both influence the average temperature?

  7. Sir…. What you say here is totally great….
    In attempting to understand today’s climate…
    I keep going back to just after the last ice age, and that we have had, during “history” of
    Homo s., some six or seven swings between cold and warm. The very last being the swing
    between the LIA and present warming. How does this delightful “opinion” fit in..? Well, it
    tells me that nothing is settled….GOOD…! I mention c/w periods. Homo s. has progressed
    In w periods, had problems in c periods… Let’s keep studying this stuff..
    And thanks… Vern Cornell…Tierrasanta

  8. So water and solar energy are the predominant drivers of the Earth’s climate and not ppm of CO2, who would have thunk it?

  9. Sorry but I think the figure 11 are IR channel and the remarked zones are low clouds.. not high altitude ice clouds

  10. Well, Erl makes some answers for me and raises some questions. But it is good to read a cloud expose. The warmistas ignore them, or have them behave in “positive” ways :-)

  11. As Charles Nelson says, the southern hemisphere has less land than the northern hemisphere, and water has to be much more reflective of sunlight than earth at all angles, but especially so at any angle less than 90°.

  12. Just a minor point which does not affect the substance of the post: In Figure 1, the difference in temperature (in degrees Centigrade) is represented as a percentage. This is not correct, since the zero point of the Celsius scale is arbitrary (the freezing point of water). On scales with an arbitrary zero you can validly establish the width of a difference, but not a ratio or percentage between different values of the scale. However, percentages can be valid for the Kelvin scale, because it has an absolute zero at -273°C, but of course the percent difference would be much smaller than suggested by Figure 1.

  13. Erl Happ writes with respect to Figure 14: “In January we observe a close relationship between the temperature of the upper troposphere at 20-30°south and the temperature of the sea. The so called ‘amplification factor’ is plainly there.”

    I do not see a close relationship between the two datasets. What’s the correlation coefficient for the two datasets, something less than 0.5? Also, are you masking the lower troposhere temperature data over land? If not, are you sure the variations in lower troposhere temperature over land are not different than the varaitions in lower troposhere temperature over the ocean? And to what “amplification factor’ are you referring?

    You wrote in the post, “They call this phenomenon ‘amplification’ as if the temperature of the upper troposphere in some way depended on the temperature at the surface and there was a transistor circuit between the two.”

    Who is they, as in “They call this phenomenon ‘amplification’”?

    Also, the lower troposphere and sea surface temperatures respond to changes caused by ENSO, etc., at different lags and magnitudes. Nothing new about that, and you have provided nothing to illustrate and justify your hypothesis that variations in lower troposphere temperatures are causing the variations in SST.

  14. Erl Happ writes: “The evolution of surface temperature is intimately related to the coming and going of clouds.”

    And what data have you provided to confirm this claim? The link you provided in the next sentence does not do it. And I find nothing else in your post that confirms it.

    This appears to be yet another of your posts based on speculation–let me reword that with another word that seems more appropriate–This appears to be yet another of your posts based on conjecture.

  15. Peter says: “As Charles Nelson says, the southern hemisphere has less land than the northern hemisphere, and water has to be much more reflective of sunlight than earth at all angles, but especially so at any angle less than 90°.”

    The emissivity of ocean water is about .993 which is very close to an ideal emitter. That suggests that its absorptivity is also very close to 1.0. Unless you can cite some actual contrary data, I suspect you’ve been misled, somehow. Are you talking about zenith angles or azimuth angles? Water is certainly more reflective than land at zenith angles approaching 90° or even 70°. At 0° ZA, it’s almost a black body.

  16. As others have pointed out, the difference in land mass coverage is the major driver in the difference in surface temperature. The reason is the heat capacity of water versus most soilds, e.g. rocks, etc. The heat capacity indicates the amount of energy requried to raise the temperature of a material (in units like Joules per gram per degree Kelvin). Water has a rather large heat capacity which is 4-5 times larger than most solids. So, during northern hemisphere summer, i.e. northern hemisphere titlted towards the sun, the same amount of energy can raise the temperature more since it takes less energy to increase the temperature of the materials.

    This is also why cities/regions near bodies of water tend to stay warmer at night and into the winter months since bodies of water behave like sources of heat. Takes longer for the water to cool down relative to the land.

    And this is the reason people are concerned about melting ice caps/glaciers. It takes a lot of enery (nearly two orders of magnitude) to melt ice to water than it does to warm the water. So, once the ice has melted, it is much easier to warm the water. So, as a feedback, as the Arctic ice melts sooner, the water gets warmer for a longer time, which also means it takes much longer for ice to form (besides the ice on the skin of the water which can be influenced by wind), which leads to a decrease in “old” ice. And all of this has observed in the Arctic over the last 3 decades.

    Not strange. Just physics.

  17. TomRude says:
    October 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Fitting Erl wraps his post with some poetry because his description of atmospheric circulation is indeed a misleading poetic portrayal of the reality… Especially when this relaity has been observed and described in detail:

    Why the attack? Someone expresses an idea in a pleasant manner, not as a fact written in stone and gives us a chance to think about it and discuss it doesn’t deserve your vitriol. I learn as much on this site from ideas discussed and reputed as I do from ideas supported by folk here. The discussion is often better than the original posting.

  18. Like all models this one gets some stuff right, some stuff maybe and other stuff wrong. Like all models it raises more questions then it answers. Like all models it is dependent on both proper calibration and empirical data conformation. Thanks for sharing these ideas and poetry.

  19. “Strangely, near surface air temperature for the Earth as a whole is 3.3°C warmer in July than in January. Yes, the surface is warmest when the Earth is furthest from the sun!”

    There is nothing strange about this. It’s due to “continentality”, a 250 year-old scientific term that describes the difference in seasonal temperature variation of continents compared to oceans.

    Surface air temperature over continents gets much colder in the winter and much warmer in summer compared to same latitude over the ocean. There is twice as much continental surface in the northern hemisphere. So when it’s NH hemisphere summer the earth as a whole is slightly warmer and in NH winter it’s slightly colder.

    The dates for perihelion and aphelion are not fixed. They are currently early January and early July respectively but over the course of IIRC 25,000 years orbital precession will walk those dates all the way around the calander. Axial tilt also precesses from 21 to 24 degrees over a period of about 40,000 years. When orbital and axial precession line up so that NH summers are the coolest and winters the warmest this is what, in part, appears to trigger ice ages and is referred to as the Milankovich cycle.

  20. If the rest of tediously long bloviating post, Earl, was trying to explain why the earth’s average temperature is warmest when it’s farthest from the sun you get a great big huge FAIL because the reason is simple – continentality and only takes a paragraph to explain. Maybe you should stick to growing grapes and leave the science to others.

  21. Sensor operator says:
    October 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    “And this is the reason people are concerned about melting ice caps/glaciers. It takes a lot of enery (nearly two orders of magnitude) to melt ice to water than it does to warm the water. So, once the ice has melted, it is much easier to warm the water.”

    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! Wrong.

    Ice is a really good insulator. Once the ice is gone that exposed water can give up heat like a mofo on steroids.

    This is the reason amateurs and shallow thinkers should not speculate about what it means for the arctic ice cap to melt. The more that melts the slower futher melting proceeds due to the fact that tropical heat carried to the pole through oceanic conveyor belt can escape much more rapidly through open surface water versus ice covered water.

  22. Steven Kopits says:
    October 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

    “This should have been editted prior to posting.”

    There wouldn’t have been anything left to post in that case.

  23. Steven Kopits says: October 6, 2011 at 11:29 am
    This should have been editted prior to posting.
    Any corrections gratefully received. Unless you specify the nature of the editing that is desirable nobody is really informed. By the way, edited has one ‘t’.

    Anthony Watts says: October 6, 2011 at 11:34 am
    Thanks for the correction. Is it possible to identify high cloud from satellite imagery?

    charles nelson says: October 6, 2011 at 11:43 am
    But mightn’t the temperature discrepancy have more to do with the fact that the Northern Hemisphere has got a much greater landmass than the Southern?

    I’m sure it has. But how this plays out in the atmosphere is what interests me. Solar energy available at the surface has a role in determining surface temperature. Energy available at the surface depends upon cloud cover. If the energy falls on land it promotes a different surface temperature response to energy entering the ocean and the response times and the locations where the responses are to be found are very different between these two.

    Equally you could say that the lack of surface temperature response to the nearness of the sun in January is due to the energy being absorbed by the Southern Ocean rather than finding expression as an increase in surface temperature but again the energy available at the surface is a function of cloud cover.

    Surface air temperature is no indicator of energy acquired by the system, in particular that stored in the ocean. You might discover an inverse relationship if you could compare the two.That is really what ‘continental’ is all about. Water stores energy. Saying that a place has a ‘continental climate’ is a statement of fact, not a true explanation of the phenomena behind the expanded temperature range.

    The data on clouds shows a 3% decrease in ‘area’ in mid year. I am interested in explaining that in particular because ‘cloud area’ increases in the northern hemisphere as it warms. What ‘cloud area’ means in terms of albedo is anyone’s guess.

    End of the day, I want to explain why the temperature varies between one year and the next and over time. Cloud does vary in many ways and yet we seem to be unable to quantify what this means so far as albedo is concerned, and how it affects the energy that is acquired and lost in the system.

    Simple question, not easy to give a satisfying answer.

    The loss of high cloud over the ocean in the southern hemisphere in winter affects surface temperature there minimally and the energy entering the system in a much more significant fashion. What I am doing here is pointing to how that cloud is lost, as a function of outgoing radiation and the presence of ozone in the upper troposphere.That’s the matter of real interest to me and I hope to others. If cloud depends upon ozone content of the upper troposphere it introduces a new dynamic that relates to polar processes.

    Those mystified by NAM and SAM should look here:http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/ao/introduction.html Yes, it needs a separate post.

  24. Dave Springer says:
    October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm
    “This is the reason amateurs and shallow thinkers should not speculate about what it means for the arctic ice cap to melt”
    =========
    Back up this comment with data.
    Right now.

  25. The $164,000 question is what is causing cloud cover to rise and fall on decadal and centennial time scales.

    Indeed. Clouds are the elephant in the climate room.

    Small changes in cloud cover would swamp any effect from GHG forcings.

    Erl, I would look for evidence of changes in cloud cover leading temperature changes. This will demonstrate clouds are not exclusively a feedback.

    And I assume you are familiar with Svensmark’s work.

  26. u.k.(us) says:
    October 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Dave Springer says:
    October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm
    “This is the reason amateurs and shallow thinkers should not speculate about what it means for the arctic ice cap to melt”
    =========
    Back up this comment with data.
    Right now.

    As you wish:

    National Snow and Ice Data Center okay with you as a reference?

    http://nsidc.org/seaice/environment/global_climate.html

    Heat Exchange

    During winter, the Arctic’s atmosphere is very cold. In comparison, the ocean is much warmer. The sea ice cover separates the two, preventing heat in the ocean from warming the overlying atmosphere. This insulating effect is another way that sea ice helps to keep the Arctic cold. But heat can escape rather efficiently from areas of thin ice and especially from leads and polynyas, small openings in the ice cover. Roughly half of the total exchange of heat between the Arctic Ocean and the atmosphere occurs through openings in the ice. With more leads and polynyas, or thinner ice, the sea ice cannot efficiently insulate the ocean from the atmosphere. The Arctic atmosphere then warms, which, in turn influences the global circulation of the atmosphere.

  27. Arctic sea ice works just like a thermostat in an automotive water-cooling system.

    Water is heated by the engine block and ciculated to a radiator by a water pump. The thermostat is a passive device that restricts the flow of water from engine block to radiator. As the water gets hotter the thermostat opens wider allowing more water to flow to the radiator.

    In the ocean the water is heated in the tropics and circulated to the pole by convection. Sea ice serves as insulation between the ocean and atmosphere. Where the ice is thick the heat from the tropics can’t escape through the atmosphere to space as quickly as where the ice is thin. So basically what happens is the tropical current eventually melts the ice from beneath and once the ice is gone it quickly cools down, sinks, and returns to the tropics. The increased rate of cooling of course decreases the amount of heat in the system which then allows the ice to return. This is just one of many other negative feedback systems that serve as a thermostat to regulate the earth’s temperature inside the friendly-to-life range it has had for billions of years.

  28. Bob Tisdale says: October 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm
    I do not see a close relationship between the two datasets. What’s the correlation coefficient for the two datasets, something less than 0.5?

    In this case correlation means nothing. Temperature increases in the upper troposphere, cloud goes, and temperature increases more, no further cloud response.

    Also, are you masking the lower troposhere temperature data over land? If not, are you sure the variations in lower troposhere temperature over land are not different than the varaitions in lower troposhere temperature over the ocean?

    No, I am not masking for land and sea. I am looking for first order effects in a part of the globe where there is much more water than land. I am interested in upper not lower troposphere because this is where relative humidity exhibits the winter depletion. In the upper troposphere the effects of land and sea are minimal. But feel free to apply the land and sea masks to both sets of data and see what you get.

    The latitudinal variations in climate process are of great interest to me because unlike you I do not see ENSO driving the system. I have checked and discovered that SST responses at this latitude frequently precede ENSO 3.4. You should do this too.

    Re amplification: It has been observed that “The month-to-month variability of tropical temperatures is larger in the troposphere than at Earth’s surface” .

    ‘They’ are ‘The Team’. Here is a sample
    Amplification of Surface Temperature Trends and Variability in the Tropical Atmosphere
    1. B. D. Santer1,*,
    2. T. M. L. Wigley2,
    3. C. Mears3,
    4. F. J. Wentz3,
    5. S. A. Klein1,
    6. D. J. Seidel4,
    7. K. E. Taylor1,
    8. P. W. Thorne5,
    9. M. F. Wehner6,
    10. P. J. Gleckler1,
    11. J. S. Boyle1,
    12. W. D. Collins2,
    13. K. W. Dixon7,
    14. C. Doutriaux1,
    15. M. Free4,
    16. Q. Fu8,
    17. J. E. Hansen9,
    18. G. S. Jones5,
    19. R. Ruedy9,
    20. T. R. Karl10,
    21. J. R. Lanzante7,
    22. G. A. Meehl2,
    23. V. Ramaswamy7,
    24. G. Russell9 and
    25. G. A. Schmidt9

    Google ‘amplification of surface temperature in the troposphere’.

    you have provided nothing to illustrate and justify your hypothesis that variations in lower troposphere temperatures are causing the variations in SST.

    Its upper, not lower troposphere that is influential. That’s where the humidity is relatively invariable and the temperature is highly variable. Its the place where a small volume of water can create a very large surface area of reflective cloud. Understanding the relationship is a matter of perception, understanding of process and judgement. But, lacking any of these it is a simple matter to look at the anomaly data and see which series leads and which follows.

    Bob Tisdale says: October 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    This appears to be yet another of your posts based on conjecture.

    Guilty. When I open my eyes in the morning I look around to see whether I am in the same place where I went to bed. Until I open my eyes and take in the surroundings it’s just conjecture. But you may be different.

  29. Dave Springer says: October 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm
    Maybe you should stick to growing grapes and leave the science to others.
    This level of antagonism surprises me. You seem to imagine that grape growers are a sub species.

    Perhaps you need to read this: http://www.cdeclips.com/en/world/fullstory.html?id=69685

    According to this week’s Nobel Prize winner, who has experience in both areas, grape growing is harder than astrophysics.

    Saying that a climate is ‘continental’ does not us any more than that the annual range of temperature is greater. As to why, we need more information.

    Dave, go write a post. Let me come and get stuck into you. What you seem to be doing here is hit and run.

  30. @ Jim Lindsay, in a previous discussion Erl Happ claimed he understood Leroux’s work. This post demonstrates he did not and he keeps rehashing old concepts as pointed out. It is annoying especially when he is not unaware –like you were- that someone else had done the real work, compiled all the data and generated a coherent picture of tropospheric circulation, first over tropical Africa for his PhD published by the WMO and then in subsequent university text books and papers. “It is in Man’s nature to err, but only the fool persists in his fault” Cicero.

    @ Bob Tisdale, FYI, I don’t. But let’s recognize that these discussions would be grandly more educated if his books were more widely read.

  31. Erl, thanks for the post. As usual I will need to read it a couple of times as you offer a lot to digest. I’m a slow learner, but a good one, and I hope that others more knowledgable than me will seriously evaluate the concepts that you present. It would be a shame to ‘miss the boat’ over a few details if that is the case.

    I am somewhat skeptical of everyone and everything. I hope to see a lot of discussion on the atmospheric issues that you have presented in this post and others previously.

    As for the poem, my brain was then needing a break. Involved concepts. Much to ponder.

  32. Erl, please give a good source of info on the night jet flow. In a previous post you directed me to Columbia University I believe. Unless I missed it, there was not much of an explanation that I was looking for. I’m a little behind, but catching up.

  33. eyesonu says: October 6, 2011 at 7:54 pm
    Night jet flow into the stratosphere and its effect on ozone must be gauged by observation here: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat_a_f/
    Look in particular at “NCEP/GFS Analyses and Forecasts” for ozone at the different pressure levels. You can gauge the penetration of the night jet that corrodes ozone by looking at the distribution of ozone at each level and comparing it to temperature and GPH.

    The penetration of the jet and its flow increase in winter but it is there all year.

    The interaction of the stratosphere and troposphere at high latitudes is frontier stuff for climate science. You will find a lot of misleading information in this area of study. Basically you are on your own. Its good to ask yourself questions like: Where is the cold point in the polar stratosphere, how does ozone content vary across the year, What drives convection and why does the entire atmospheric column heave? Why is convection not confined to the ‘troposphere’ at high latitudes? Where is the troposphere at high latitudes and can it be distinguished from the stratosphere? What happens when the coolest part of the stratosphere descends into the area where we think the troposphere should be? How does this affect the atmospheric column and surface pressure. If pressure changes at the pole where does the atmosphere go to? How does this affect the planetary winds? Why does surface temperature increase in the mid latitudes when pressure falls in the area known as the ‘annular mode’.

  34. I am using a data-driven approach and modeling from first principles to see how far I can get in duplicating changes in our environment. I made a start in the link on my handle, but I am working it again from scratch with everything documented in a series of blog posts at http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/

    My initial thrust is getting the CO2 rise well explained. I use a first-principles derivation for the CO2 diffusional sequestration described here:
    1. http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/derivation-of-maxent-diffusion-applied.html
    2. http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/missing-carbon.html
    of which I applied it to fossil fuel emissions and modeled the Mauna Loa rise here with a convolution-based approach:
    3. http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/fat-tail-impulse-response-of-co2.html

    The only adaptable parameters were baseline CO2, which I took as 290 PPM and a single parameter disordered diffusion coefficient.

    What I also gather is that some of the CO2 rise is caused by a warming of the global temperatures, which I documented here with a control-systems-based proportional-derivative model:
    4. http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/sensitivity-of-global-temperature-to.html
    After identifying a convincing cross-correlation, I measured that the rate of change of CO2 concentration with temperature anomaly is about 1 PPM per degree change.
    Since we have reliable temperature records from as far back as 1850, I could integrate the temperature anomaly and estimate the CO2 rise forcing function due to positive temperature feedback effects.
    This time I modeled an impulse response function which matched the IPCC Bern CC/TAR standard (http://unfccc.int/resource/brazil/carbon.html) very accurately.
    The results are documented in this post from last night:
    5. http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/10/temperature-induced-co2-release-adds-to.html

    So I used a single parameter that matches the standard IPCC impulse response and a single parameter for the baseline CO2, 290 PPM. Everything else is data driven or comes from solid first-principles physics modeling (i.e. Fokker-Planck, convolution, conservation of matter). The leap that I made in the latest model is that I assume that an elevated global temperature anomaly will cause a continuous outgassing of CO2, following Henry’s Law and until the ocean catches up with the temperature. Since the ocean is slow to respond, the CO2 releases corresponding to the temperature change and stays in the atmosphere for the adjustment time just as fossil fuel emissions do.

    good luck

  35. Well I’m happy to learn that the sun doesn’t have anything to do with it; and we know that’s right, because we are coldest when we are closest to the sun.

    So now what were those cloud types again that warm up the surface ? Given an average surface Temperature of 288 K, and a normal (standard) atmosphere Temperature lapse rate, it is reasonable to believe that any cloud type at any altitude would have a global average Temperature that is lower than 288 K.

    Of course nothing stops EM radiation from travelling from the coldest cloud to the warmest surface; or vice versa; but given the other thermal processes of conduction and convection that tend to propagate heat ONLY in the upward direction (global average), it seems odd that the clouds could actually warm the ground, rather than the ground warming the clouds.

    But it is reassuring to learn that incoming sunlight is not invloved in this effect; well or to learn NOTHING about any effect it MIGHT have.

  36. Peter says:
    October 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    As Charles Nelson says, the southern hemisphere has less land than the northern hemisphere, and water has to be much more reflective of sunlight than earth at all angles, but especially so at any angle less than 90°.

    If the sun was beating down on the ocean at a 90° angle, it would not hit the surface of the ocean at 90°. The ocean is not flat.

  37. “”””” jorgekafkazar says:

    October 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Peter says: “As Charles Nelson says, the southern hemisphere has less land than the northern hemisphere, and water has to be much more reflective of sunlight than earth at all angles, but especially so at any angle less than 90°.”

    The emissivity of ocean water is about .993 which is very close to an ideal emitter. That suggests that its absorptivity is also very close to 1.0. Unless you can cite some actual contrary data, I suspect you’ve been misled, somehow. “””””

    Well there is NO way that ocean water can have an emissivity of 0.993.

    Water has an average Refractive index of around 1.333. From that it is trivial to calculate the normal reflection coefficient [(N-1)/(N+1)]^2 = 0.02 (2%)
    It s equally trivial to compute the Brewster Angle = arctan (N2/N1) = 53 degrees for refraction from air into water. The Brewster angle is important, because the polarisation with the electric vector in the plane of incidence goes to zero there, and the component normal to the plane of incidence about doubles. The net result is that the total reflectance remains fairly constant at its normal value (2%) up to the Brewster angle, and then climbs rapidly to 100% at 90 deg incidence, or at the critical angle for incidence from the water side.

    So cetainly as far as any energy from the sun is concerned the water emissivity cannot be greater than 0.98, and over the full hemisphere of incidence, it averages about 0.97.

    The result for LWIR emissions from the water surface, may be different. The water absorptance is certainly very high; so it is a near black body absorber and emitter; But the emissivity is a function of reflectance; not absorptance.

  38. Dave Springer says: October 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm
    If the rest of tediously long bloviating post, Earl, was trying to explain why the earth’s average temperature is warmest when it’s farthest from the sun you get a great big huge FAIL because the reason is simple

    If. …….But the post was about something else entirely as the heading at the top of the article suggests. Looks like you missed the heading and the central point by a country mile. Hence when it comes to editing you would take out the lot.

    There wouldn’t have been anything left to post in that case.

    Just for you. Here is what the post is about:
    This post explores where, why and what sort of cloud is lost as the global atmosphere warms in mid year. It turns out that there is a heavy loss of high level cloud in the southern hemisphere. The manner in which this loss occurs informs us as to the role of outgoing radiation in the climate system, the artificiality of our notions of what constitutes the troposphere and the stratosphere and the dynamics of the system that determines surface temperature and its variability from year to year and over time. It tells us about the impact of high cloud on surface temperature.

    Take your blinkers off Dave.

    Philip Bradley says: October 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm
    Erl, I would look for evidence of changes in cloud cover leading temperature changes. This will demonstrate clouds are not exclusively a feedback. And I assume you are familiar with Svensmark’s work.

    Yes, I am familiar with the Svensmark hypothesis. Trouble is that there is little evidence that surface temperature varies in line with cosmic rays so as to produce an unambiguous rise and fall in temperature over the course of a solar cycle. Instead we commonly see a La Nina cooling tendency at solar maximum and an El Nino warming tendency when irradiance is at a minimum.

    The trouble with trying to assess cloud cover per se is that the presence or absence of cloud is tied in with the origin of the cloud bearing air and the atmosphere is in constant movement. In my part of the world the surface temperature warms as the cloud appears and it goes down when the cold air blows from the south, the cloud starts breaking up and people observe that it’s too cold to rain. In the build up they are led to observe that it’s getting warm with the wind coming from the north west and they can ‘smell the rain coming’.

    On a month by month basis if surface pressure falls at 60-70°south two things happen. The westerlies strengthen and sea surface temperature increases. The fall in surface temperature at 60-70° south is the essence of the Southern Annular Mode, a process that has its origin in the coupling of the troposphere and the stratosphere over the pole. Pressure falls as ozone is driven into the troposphere.

  39. “Its radiation is 7% weaker in July than in January. Strangely, near surface air temperature for the Earth as a whole is 3.3°C warmer in July than in January. Yes, the surface is warmest when the Earth is furthest from the sun!”

    Strangely, too, most of earth’s landmass lies on the northern hemisphere. Could this have something to do with it?

  40. The surface temperature response is due to the disappearance of the cloud, not back radiation. Oops.

    Just a thought. Would carbon dioxide that has absorbed radiation convect upwards in the atmosphere?

  41. erl happ says: “In this case correlation means nothing. Temperature increases in the upper troposphere, cloud goes, and temperature increases more, no further cloud response.”

    If it means nothing then there is no reason for the graph and no reason for your including in your post the misleading statement “In January we observe a close relationship between the temperature of the upper troposphere at 20-30°south and the temperature of the sea.” But apparently you belived they meant something because you included both the graph and the statement.

    erl happ says: “No, I am not masking for land and sea.”

    Then I’ll return to the question I posed in my earlier comment (and correct my typos): Are you sure the variations in upper troposphere temperature over land are not different than the variations in upper troposphere temperature over the ocean?

    erl happ says: “I have checked and discovered that SST responses at this latitude frequently precede ENSO 3.4.”

    Please provide an illustration to show that the SST response at, I assume, 30S-20S often precede ENSO. Please note which longitudes and dataset you’re using as well.

    erl happ says: “Google ‘amplification of surface temperature in the troposphere’.”

    I Googled “amplification of surface temperature in the troposphere” in quotes as you had noted and there are zero hits. This is typically what happens when someone tells someone else to Google something. They cannot provide a direct link so they stall for time with misdirection.

    erl happ says: “Its upper, not lower troposphere that is influential.”

    Excuse my repeated typographical errors. It’s force of habit. I’ll rewrite my statement, “you have provided nothing to illustrate and justify your hypothesis that variations in upper troposphere temperatures are causing the variations in SST.”

    And thank you for confirming that your posts are nothing more than conjecture on your part. We can see that your recent posts have little bases in data and little bases in reality. I’m sure Anthony will not be pleased that you are continuing to use his science blog to promote your unfounded and, based on many of the comments above, incorrect hypotheses.

  42. my-oh-my! Did I really read this? Do I need glasses maybe? So when the sun is closest, and 7% more energy reaches earth, IT IS COLDEST!! (in the USA, duh) You got to be kidding, right? Have you ever been to Africa? Not strictly necessary, just ask someone, or check teh internets – it is HOTTEST there in December/January!!
    Winter/summer has very little to do with perihelion/aphelion, because earth’s orbit is as round as it can get. It has to do with earth’s tilt.

  43. Chek out Svensmark’s wikpedia page there are several references to studies that show a GCR temperature link.

    The trouble with trying to assess cloud cover per se is that the presence or absence of cloud is tied in with the origin of the cloud bearing air and the atmosphere is in constant movement. In my part of the world the surface temperature warms as the cloud appears and it goes down when the cold air blows from the south, the cloud starts breaking up and people observe that it’s too cold to rain. In the build up they are led to observe that it’s getting warm with the wind coming from the north west and they can ‘smell the rain coming’.

    What you are describing is the passage of a cold front. Cold air replaces warmer air and this is the primary reason temperatures drop. Not because clouds associated with the front clear.

    I live not too far from you and can state that clouds from any direction including the north cool temperatures dramatically in the summer daytime and have a modest cooling effect in the winter daytime for the simple reason they block more solar insolation than they reradiate LWR back to the ground.

  44. The poem was fine a favorite of mine. Sir if your facts are even 90% true the BS about the ozone being our fault is put to bed. Then another slant on heat pump Earth, or a piece of the puzzle of heat pump is also nailed. Thank you sir.

  45. Kelvin Vaughan says: October 7, 2011 at 2:35 am
    Just a thought. Would carbon dioxide that has absorbed radiation convect upwards in the atmosphere?

    A very interesting question. Carbon dioxide would not ascend as a separate entity but the parcel of air containing the CO2 might ascend. Let’s think it through.

    I think of a radiation absorber as acting like a mini radiator, delivering energy to the rest of the atmosphere as fast as it is received. As soon as the temperature increases the air either becomes unstable and is forced to ascend losing energy via decompression or else it radiates that energy away in the same way as the original absorber. And it radiates in all directions. If the air that is warmed in this way stays warm because it is receiving more radiation than it is emitting it will be forced to ascend.

    The process of convection changes the location where the air radiates in the infrared from a part of the atmosphere that is ascending to a part of the atmosphere that is descending. Descending air is generally dry and cloud free. There is little chance of positive feedback from water vapour or cloud in this circumstance. The second thing to consider is the relative ease with which radiation is transmitted to space when the atmosphere thins. So air that has ascended reaches an altitude where radiation to space is less impeded with the result that the air cools quickly, with little impact on the temperature of the molecules lower in the atmospheric column.

    In this post I point to a part of the upper troposphere in the southern hemisphere that reaches its seasonal maximum in winter as does the stratosphere above. The surface is colder at this time. If we examined the thermal profile and found a smooth transition with increasing elevation from a summer maximum at the surface to a winter maximum in the upper troposphere I would consider that excellent evidence that a greenhouse effect is effectively warming the air all the way to the surface. We don’t see that smooth transition. In my view that’s good evidence that the mooted greenhouse effect is a figment of the imagination rather than a reality.

  46. Something’s wrong here. Some seem to be thinking/saying, “the closer we are to the Sun the cooler it gets, and the farther the warmer”. Daaaaa… I’m hearing “the Sun is bass ackwards” or “the Sun has nothing to do with it” (whatever ‘it’ is, and _of course_ whatever the meaning of ‘is’ is). It seems rather obvious that we’re looking at this upside down. Perhaps there is a significant difference between a hemisphere of saltwater and one of continents and vegetation, one with a huge continent of ice and one with a seasonal sea of ice? Maybe? If the Earth’s orbit were perfectly circular, might things be a might different? Daaaa… (maybe I read this all backwards, I am a little dislexic, I’ll go back and try again..)

    PS: I’ve heard it said that it’s always a good idea to write, edit, proof, walk away, take a break, have a snack or cup of joe, re-read, edit, touch-up, and publish. I also hear good wine is more than just squashing grapes. There were a few seeds in here.

  47. Bob Tisdale says: October 7, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Let me try again. The relationship between the temperature of the upper troposphere and the surface at 20-30°south latitude is best examined as departures from the monthly averages for the entire period which I show in figure 15.

    Before I get into a description of that relationship let us acknowledge the loss of high cloud at 20-30°south seen in figure 6 that is associated with the winter temperature maximum in the upper troposphere figure 10 and the reduction in relative humidity in figure 7 together with the increase in radiation shown in figure 8.

    One viewpoint is that the temperature of the upper troposphere varies with and in response to surface temperature. Please click on figure 15 so as to enlarge it. The temperature at 200hPa gyrates rather more than the temperature at the surface and the movement at 200hPa does generally precede that at the surface. In figure 10 I showed the response to enhanced OLR in the upper troposphere is the same as in the stratosphere, a peak in the middle of winter. I infer that the response in the troposphere is due to ozone in which case it perfectly explicable that the upper troposphere experiences wider swings in temperature than the surface. This is so because ozone content varies and so does the amount of radiation. By inference, cloud cover changes as temperature changes but not necessarily in proportion. I suspect therefore that the surface temperature response is due to a change in cloud cover. The fact that the correlation is imperfect says to me that something else other than surface temperature is driving the temperature of the upper troposphere.

    Now, other factors affect the correlation. The ocean moves and this changes surface temperature and this in turn will affect 200hPa temperature so in some instances it is entirely possible that the movement at the surface precedes that at 8-12 km in elevation. Equally, the atmosphere moves. Furthermore it may take only a small temperature change in the upper troposphere to see all the cloud disappear. Further temperature increase is possible but once the cloud is gone it is gone and we would not expect to see a further response at the surface.

    If you accept or reject a hypothesis on the basis of a correlation coefficient without thinking about the forces involved you will throw the baby out with the bathwater. In my view we rely too much on ‘climate science’ produced by mathematicians who have little understanding of process and how it varies with location.

    Perhaps you could venture a different explanation for the relationship shown in figure 15?

    Are you sure the variations in upper troposphere temperature over land are not different than the variations in upper troposphere temperature over the ocean?
    I expect they would be because land is an immediate emitter of OLR.

    I have checked and discovered that SST responses at this latitude frequently precede ENSO 3.4.”

    http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/wherefor-art-thou-nino/

    I Googled “amplification of surface temperature in the troposphere” in quotes
    Please try without the quotes.

    you have provided nothing to illustrate and justify your hypothesis that variations in upper troposphere temperatures are causing the variations in SST

    I try again above. If that makes no sense to you please tell me why the upper troposphere peaks in temperature in the middle of winter.

    If there are typos you can take your pick as to whether its due to several glasses of very nice Cabernet Franc, two finger typing or senility.

  48. Philip Bradley says: October 7, 2011 at 3:23 am
    What you are describing is the passage of a cold front. Cold air replaces warmer air and this is the primary reason temperatures drop. Not because clouds associated with the front clear.
    I agree and I hope we meet one day to explore ideas.

  49. erl happ wrote (October 7, 2011 at 12:08 am)
    “Trouble is that there is little evidence that surface temperature varies in line with cosmic rays so as to produce an unambiguous rise and fall in temperature over the course of a solar cycle.”

    This is a fundamentally misdirected argument.

    Take the time to understand:

    1) Le Mouël, J.-L.; Blanter, E.; Shnirman, M.; & Courtillot, V. (2010). Solar forcing of the semi-annual variation of length-of-day. Geophysical Research Letters 37, L15307. doi:10.1029/2010GL043185.

    Here’s some help:
    Semi-Annual Solar-Terrestrial Power

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/23/confirmation-of-solar-forcing-of-the-semi-annual-variation-of-length-of-day/

    2) The implications of differential (since Earth does not have an 11 year clock) solar-pulse position modulation:

    same pattern for whole Pacific (no graph up on net yet)
    SCL’ = rate of change of solar cycle length = solar cycle deceleration

    charles nelson (October 6, 2011 at 11:43 am) & RR Kampen (October 7, 2011 at 1:18 am) get it. It’s about north-south ocean-continent contrast. Thermal wind patterns are neither symmetric across basins nor hemispheres.

    AnimPolarWind200hPa

    AnimWind200hPa

    AnimWindZonal

    For those who want to understand:
    STOP THINKING IN ANOMALIES and look at the fractal geometry of ABSOLUTE temperature gradients:

    Anim2mT

    Supplementary:

    AnimWind850hPa_

    AnimPolarWind850hPa

    AnimMSLP

    Regards.

  50. Erl –

    Yes, ‘edited’. (But wouldn’t that make the “i” long?)

    Re: the piece:

    – it’s too long
    – I couldn’t find a succinct conclusion
    – the poetry at the end is unnecessary and just makes a long piece longer

    By allowing this piece in as is, Anthony is facilitating the positioning of WUWT as an “amateur” or “unprofessional” site by its opponents. The most important attribute of this site is its credibility and its balance. It has to earn that every day. It’s OK to be either a skeptic or a believer–but document it thoroughly and present it professionally. If you need to make a smaller point and document it better, do so.

    As Don Coreleone says in The Godfather: “I spent my whole life trying not to be careless. Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.” He meant, if you are in a business where others are gunning for you, don’t be careless.

  51. With an as yet undetermined appendage Earl Happ writes:

    “This post explores where, why and what sort of cloud is lost as the global atmosphere warms in mid year. It turns out that there is a heavy loss of high level cloud in the southern hemisphere.”

    Give me a friggin’ break Earl. Even Anthony had to point out you used the wrong map for high level cloud cover and instead used an infrared view. I generally don’t read much past the first glaring error and that first glaring error was you saying it was strange that the earth is warmer at aphelion. This is NOT strange and the reason is glaringly obvious to anyone with a smattering of knowledge in earth science. The northern hemisphere has twice the landmass of the southern and land is colder in winter and warmer in summer than ocean at same latitude. This easily explains why the northern hemisphere summer, even though it currently occurs at aphelion, imparts the highest global average temperature.

    You are too ignorant in the sciences to be writing articles for this website, Earl. Give it up. You make a fool of yourself and detract from the credibility of the website. Your ego is writing checks that your knowledge of science can’t cash. Stop it. Go post somewhere about grape growing which one would hope you actually are qualified to write about as an expert.

  52. Suggestion for everyone:
    Take a look at the first few google hits for “thermal wind“:
    e.g.:


    Thermal Wind

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

    “Jet Stream

    A horizontal temperature gradient exists while moving North-South along a meridian because the curvature of the Earth allows for more solar heating at the equator than at the poles. This creates a westerly geostrophic wind pattern to form in the mid-latitudes. Because thermal wind causes an increase in wind velocity with height, the westerly pattern increases in intensity up until the tropopause, creating a strong wind current known as the jet stream. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres exhibit similar jet stream patterns in the mid-latitudes.

    Using the same Thermal Wind argument, the strongest part of the jet stream should be in proximity where temperature gradients are the largest. Due to the setup of the continents in the North America, largest temperature contrasts are observed on the east coast of North America (boundary between Canadian cold air mass and the Gulf Stream/warmer Atlantic) and Eurasia (boundary between the boreal winter monsoon/Siberian cold air mass and the warm Pacific). Indeed, the strongest part of the boreal winter Northern Hemisphere jet is observed over east coast of North America and Eurasia as well. Since stronger vertical shear promotes baroclinic instability, so the most rapid development of extratropical cyclones (so called bombs) is also observed along the east coast of North America and Eurasia.

    A similar argument can be applied to the Southern Hemisphere. The lack of continents in the Southern Hemisphere should lead to a more constant jet with longitude (i.e. a more zonally symmetric jet), and that is indeed the case in observations.”


    What is the thermal wind?

    http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints2/407/

    “The first word in the term is thermal. Thermal as you may have guessed deals with temperature. The thermal wind is set up by a change in temperature over a change in distance. When thinking of how the thermal wind sets up think of the polar jet stream. To the north of the polar jet stream the air is cold. Since the air is cold the thickness values (and heights) are lower since cold air is more dense. To the south of the polar jet stream the air is warm. Since air is warm the thickness values are higher since warm air is less dense. A north to south temperature gradient is set up and the height values slope over this distance. When height values slope (think of height contours close together on upper level charts) the pressure gradient force is put into action. It is the Pressure Gradient Force that causes the wind to blow. Whether it is the jet stream, a mid-latitude cyclone or a sea breeze it is the change in temperature over distance that sets the wind in motion. The thermal wind occurs above the boundary layer since friction is not an influence on altering the wind direction aloft.

    The wind direction in association with the jet stream generally travels from west to east. This is because the Pressure Gradient Force moves air from higher heights toward lower heights and the Coriolis deflection deflects the air to the right of the path of motion in the Northern Hemisphere. Thus, air moving from south toward north is deflected to the east due to Earth’s rotation. [...]

    The thermal wind flow parallel to thickness lines. Remember that thickness is a function of temperature. [...]

    The magnitude of the wind will be a function of how strong the temperature gradient is. When the height contours or thickness values of packed close together then the wind will be strong.

    [...] The thermal wind can be thought of as a steering influence for the direction and magnitude that storms move.

    [...] the thermal wind is a wind that flow parallel to the temperature gradient in the troposphere. The thermal wind explains the magnitude and direction the wind will take when a temperature change occurs over a horizontal distance.”


    Thickness and Thermal Wind

    http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~aalopez/aos101/wk12.html

    “Summary of the Thickness and Wind presentation [ http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~aalopez/aos101/wk12/ThermalWind.ppt ]:

    • Cold air is more dense, therefore thinner
    • Warm air is less dense, therefore thicker
    • Temperature is the only factor that changes the thickness of a layer
    • When you have a temperature contrast, you create height variations for a layer
    • Height variation create a pressure gradient
    • Pressure gradient creates a PGF [pressure gradient force]
    • The change in the Geostrophic Wind is directly proportional to the horizontal temperature gradient
    This is the Thermal (temperature) Wind relationship”


    Fronts and the Thermal Wind Equation
    Narrowing the Jet Stream

    http://www.mit.edu/~predawn/jetstream/thermalwind.html

    “One can combine the equations for the geostrophic wind and the hydrostatic balance as discussed in previous sections to obtain the Thermal Wind Equation as shown below. The thermal wind equation states that the change in wind speed with height (here expressed in pressure coordinates) is equal to the (-R/f) times the change in temperature across the front on a constant pressure surface, divided by the pressure. The most important concept from these relations, is that the the steep temperature gradients created by the fronts generate winds to satisfy this thermal wind equation, proportional to the strength of the front. The winds are geostrophic and flow along the constant pressure isobars around both poles [2].”

    “The effects of these polar fronts are two fold: they concentrate the west to east geostrophic flow at the frontal boundaries where the large temperature gradients induce large thermal winds. Secondly, they also increase the flow with altitude, creating the very fast Jet Stream at high levels around 250mb. [...] The strong, high altitude wind centers indicate the location of the Jet Stream!”

    =
    Digesting the preceding is prep for understanding Le Mouël, J.-L.; Blanter, E.; Shnirman, M.; & Courtillot, V. (2010) and the simple implications (asymmetric multidecadal aliasing).


    One more supplementary animation:

    AnimVerticalVelocity

    Credit: Climatology animations have been assembled using JRA-25 Atlas [ http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/eng/atlas-tope.htm ] images. JRA-25 long-term reanalysis is a collaboration of Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) & Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI).


    Best Regards.

  53. I live close to the Arctic circle where the temperature differs by 60°C or so during a year. In my experience, in summer clear days are warm and cloudy days are cold, but in winter cloudy days are warm and clear days are cold. The sun is hardly visible during winter so the solar energy input is very low. It seems that in winter the clouds are trapping/”backradiating” heat from the surface and in summer they are blocking the sun’s energy input by reflecting the solar energy back to outer space. Or maybe it’s the other way around, the temperature change causes changes in cloud cover, I don’t know, but I think it is interesting.

  54. erl happ: Please correct your reply. You have italicized portions of your reply, indicating you’ve quoted me, when in fact you are quoting yourself. In other words, you are attributing to me things that I did not write. AND I DO NOT APPRECIATE THAT.

    Also, in glancing at your reply, I did not find answers to many of my very basic questions.

    With respect to your using your consumption of alchohol as an excuse for errors in your replies, can we also attribute the lack of clarity and reality in your posts to that as well?

    Good bye, Erl. You are wasting my time and the time of others who blog here,

  55. “If there are typos you can take your pick as to whether its due to several glasses of very nice Cabernet Franc, two finger typing or senility.”

    Sheesh, Erl. Drinking while writing posts here? Publication privileges revoked.

    I apologize to my readers that this happened.

  56. “”””” Dave Springer says:

    October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Sensor operator says:
    October 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    “And this is the reason people are concerned about melting ice caps/glaciers. It takes a lot of energy (nearly two orders of magnitude) to melt ice to water than it does to warm the water. So, once the ice has melted, it is much easier to warm the water.” “””””

    Well the latent heat of freezing(melting) is 80 calories per gram so two orders of magnitude less than that would be 0.8 calories per gram. Well would “nearly” two be say 1 1/2 orders or 31.62 times (less). Well maybe not; 1.5 is exactly halfway between one and two , so not nearly two.

    Maybe we should adopt the IPCC approved fudge factor of 3:1 for climatism results, so how about 1 3/4 orders of magnitude, which is 56.2 leading to about 1.42 calories per gram. So this could warm that one gram of water by 1.42 deg C. Well a problem with that is that once the gram of ice becomes a gram of water it will diffuse into the surrounding masses of liquid water, and that 1.42 extra calories would be widely dispersed. While the 80 calorie (shortage) of energy in the ice was locked up there, it was under control; once the hole is filled from external sources, there are millions of gallons of water to supply the 1.42 calories..
    Incidentally, the one gram of ice, will melt at zero+ degrees C since ice is fresh water, but it is floating on salt water which is at a lower temperature than zero, so it will rapidly cool the new gram of fresh water.

  57. anna wrote (October 7, 2011 at 9:59 am)
    “In my experience, in summer clear days are warm and cloudy days are cold, but in winter cloudy days are warm and clear days are cold.”

    Same for Norway, Pacific Northwest of North America, & Patagonia, as can be seen in this animation:

    AnimWaterVaporFlux_
    (column integrated water vapor flux with their convergence)

    Indeed, there’s nothing critical riding on the CERN CLOUD experiment. We already have the info we need from Atmospheric Angular Momentum & Earth Orientation Parameter records.

    Regards.

  58. Bob Tisdale says: October 7, 2011 at 10:23 am
    You have italicized portions of your reply, indicating you’ve quoted me

    Not at all. Those portions are italicized to indicate the nature of the query that I am addressing.
    I used inverted commas to enclose the words that I was suggesting that you Google. Google informs me that the query ‘amplification of surface temperature in the troposphere’ yields about 50,400 hits. Why enclose the words in commas when you query? I gave you the title of one paper and a list of authors attached in reply to your query ‘Who are they’? Does this impress you. Not at all.

    It seems to me that you attempt to destroy by whatever means, fair or foul. Your typos indicate to me that you are having trouble with accuracy. I act in good faith in addressing the questions that you raise. Would that you could do the same for me.

    If I do answer your question in a manner that is ‘half adequate’ in your view why not acknowledge it instead of simply launching into another attack?

    A sense of equity and balance is a good thing to cultivate.

  59. Erl; Taking a bit of a beating here. I have to admire your courage, albeit fortified with wine.

    In response to Steven Kopits notion that the value of this site is “its credibility and its balance.”, I have to respectfully disagree.

    This site is great because of it’s (largely) un-censored comments. Disagree? Fine. Anything other than Ad-Hominem is acceptable in the discourse.

    We can have discussions about whether the clouds of ice prevent the warming, etc. We can talk about why Milankovitch cycles are important. The Cloud project at CERN. We can discuss the latest antics of the hockey team. And we can do it without name calling or censorship.

    When somebody makes an earnest effort to further the understanding, many here are more than happy to point out there errors. Erl may be wrong, but he’s put more effort into thinking about it this week than I have, wine not withstanding. (Erl, you may have a problem.)

    And with the gracious efforts of everyone else; his understanding is improved. I would be willing to bet he’s not the only person who has learned something, either from his article, or from the comments.

    I myself couldn’t quite follow his article, my BS meter was blinking a bit here and there, and the comments confirmed some things tugging at my brain while I read it.

    Either way; do you want the site to be about understanding climate change, or just about skepticism of the AGW dogma? Because we’ve got plenty of sites available for that. This site prospers exactly because Anthony has chosen to allow discordant views and ideas to be expressed. There are a lot of articles here about science and astronomy and so forth that have little to do with climate.

    It is a testament to the web-site and to Anthony that such unfounded ideas can be discussed and either forwarded for consideration or placed in file 13, as appropriate.

    If only the climate science establishment could be so open minded, they wouldn’t have to worry about being assailed by people who honestly want to understand. That is what science is supposed to be about. Not shouting down people who’s ideas you don’t agree with or fully understand.

  60. Oh, and I’m not recommending we allow any comments or articles about con-trails. Those people ARE crazy.

  61. Bob Kutz says: October 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm
    Erl; Taking a bit of a beating here. I have to admire your courage, albeit fortified with wine.

    Bob, the comment about wine was in jest. I mentioned also the possibility of inaccurate typing and approaching senility. I could see that other people were having trouble getting their point across accurately and posing a query. Too subtle perhaps?

    I see frequent references to my occupation by people keen to do damage and the suggestion is frequently made that I should get on with my grape-growing and leave the ‘science’ to others better qualified. I ignore the insults. The resort to insulting comments identifies a person who has trouble addressing the argument. I have a tough hide.

    In point of fact I rarely imbibe. I am particular about what I drink and it has to be special. I like to keep my wits about me, particularly in the evenings when I have some free time.

    I don’t have any regrets about my foray into climate science. There is work to be done and I intend to get on with it.

    I like the idea of a forum that is available to all in a thoroughly democratic fashion. The topic I am discussion here is not why the Earth is warmer when the sun is furthest away as some are keen to assert. Its the vexed question as to the role of clouds in relation to surface temperature. Its a pity that the data in figures 7-10 and 12 and 13 has not excited a bit more curiosity and interest. Plainly my assertion in relation to the nature of the cloud in figure 11 is incorrect and that I accept. That figure could be removed without damage to the argument which is adequately supported by figure 12 that clearly establishes the loss of high cloud in the middle of the year when increased radiation from the atmosphere produces warming in the high cloud zone.

    Does anyone want to dispute the idea that radiation from the atmosphere excites ozone in the high cloud zone within the troposphere. This is the truly radical observation/inference in the post.

    Does anyone want to dispute the idea that radiation primarily emanates from descending columns of dry air? That has big implications for greenhouse theory.

    Apparently not. Progress is slow. I am a patient man.

  62. Many people here including the very assertive Dave Springer tell us that ‘continentality ‘ , the observed increase in the range of temperature experienced with distance from the sea can be cited as the reason why the Earth is warmer when the sun shines on the northern hemisphere.

    Let’s think about this.

    There is no doubt that land in general returns energy very quickly to the atmosphere raising the temperature of the air. This, in the absence of increased evaporation should reduce relative humidity and cloud cover. But in the northern hemisphere ‘cloud cover’ as defined by the ISCCP actually increases in mid year. Figure 7 shows some differences in relative humidity according to latitude. We don’t know whether ‘cloud cover’ as a statistic is related to surface temperature at all. On the face of it this increase in cloud cover should reduce insolation at the surface. But cloud cover includes lots of cloud types at different levels and porosities so we cannot assume that this is the case.

    It would be of interest to look at the lag in the build up of cloud cover. If it always lags surface temperature then it’s not going to be that influential. Cloud cover will peak a month or two after the solstice as the energy input from the sun begins to decline and perhaps accelerate the decline in temperature.

    We know that inland locations warm quickly during the day and cool quickly at night. That’s the reason for the greater ‘range’ and the greater daily range is another measure of ‘continentality’. The greater daily range is due to the inability of land to store energy, unlike the sea that is very efficient at absorbing and storing energy. Low overnight minima are evidence that the energy is lost overnight. But the ramping of temperature in the northern hemisphere is evidence that, at least in the first half of summer less is lost overnight than is gained during the day. And that is the reason for the steep increase in temperature in northern summer. Do clouds play a role in this by trapping long wave energy? If they do, then add that to the reasons why the northern hemisphere warms so strongly in summer.

    ‘Continentality’ is just a label we use for a statistic. In itself it doesn’t explain anything.

    Now, it so happens that there is a second hemisphere that adds its own weight to the global statistic. And in the southern hemisphere there is a very strong loss of humidity in the high cloud zone at low and middle latitudes likely to result in an increase in the energy available to the oceans. And the ocean is very extensive. It so happens that in the Pacific a lot of that energy is moved north by ocean currents affecting surface temperature, particularly in winter when the land gets very cold. This is likely to reduce the ‘continentality’.

    ‘Continentality’ is just a useful statistic. By itself it tells us nothing about the underlying physics and any paper that suggested that the temperature of the globe in June is due to ‘continentality’ would get a C minus from me. And I am talking school kids, not adults who take an interest in the subject and should know better.

    I would be more inclined to give higher marks to a person who tried to explain the physics behind the statistic, even though he might say at the end of the essay: too hard, I just don’t know.

  63. Kudos to Erl who makes interesting assertions that (to a lowly unwashed non climate scientist) are wroth pondering. IMO, a few people need to lighten up.

  64. George E. Smith says

    The result for LWIR emissions from the water surface, may be different. The water absorptance is certainly very high; so it is a near black body absorber and emitter; But the emissivity is a function of reflectance; not absorptance.
    ————
    It’s not clear to me that a simple reflectance argument is sufficient to account for the emissitivity. And the different angular dependence of emission and refraction would appear to the kill the idea dead.

    Also on a slightly different point the refractive index at IR wavelengths is certainly not going to be 1.33.

  65. Also, my scorn is saved for those who are trying to gain permanent advantage for themselves and their friends using bad models and even worse reasoning. Better a billion faulty opinions than 1 bad theory foisted on the backs of all.

  66. Erl, why is it that you so frequently refer to pressure levels without so much as a nod to thickness?

  67. AnimCloudLow

    I suggest some commenters think about winds blowing offshore from warm land and the capacity of warm air to hold more moisture than cold air.

    View the low cloud animation in conjunction with the following to gain insight:

    Anim2mT: http://i55.tinypic.com/dr75s7.png
    AnimPrecipitableWater: http://i52.tinypic.com/9r3pt2.png
    AnimWind850hPa_: http://i52.tinypic.com/nlo3dw.png

    Erl, you might pay more attention to circulation and asymmetrically leveraged pattern aliasing (both reflection [meridional] & translation [zonal]).

    One of my many past occupations required that I teach symmetry to Education students to prepare them to teach Elementary School Mathematics. These university students struggled with the symmetry concepts, as well as with most other fundamental concepts. It didn’t take long to develop a good sense of what’s going wrong with western math education systems.

    The distribution of continents on Earth is a source of more than one kind of asymmetry. A refresher on the different types of symmetry appears needed by many commenters as a prerequisite to ever being able to get a handle on natural aliasing.

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

    Best Regards.

  68. erl happ suggested (October 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm):
    “Paul, go right ahead and make the point that you think I am missing.”

    Already done above (October 7, 2011 at 9:00 am).

    Maybe it’s not missing from your conception, but you make no explicit mention of thickness. Thus I became curious to ask:

    Erl, why is it that you so frequently refer to pressure levels without so much as a nod to thickness?

  69. Edit:
    Something odd about this sentence: This radiation it is not bounced back by the cloud, the cloud disappears and lets the sun shine through. Remove the “it”?
    ________
    Paul Vaughan;
    “• Cold air is more dense, therefore thinner
    • Warm air is less dense, therefore thicker”
    Say what? Density and thickness are pretty close to synonyms AFAIK, not opposites. WUWT?

  70. @Brian H (October 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm)
    Those aren’t my words. Climate Science has supplied the conceptual framework. Other conceptual frameworks are possible, but cross-disciplinary communication goes smoother if we have a handle on the paradigms of others. If you follow the links I provided, you’ll find that they’re talking about vertical distances between pressure levels …which I’m sure intro-level teachers have to stress should not be confused with density ….hazards of discipline-specific jargon vs. other disciplines and common non-specialist usage in the general population — “Something must have been lost in translation…”

    Best Regards.

  71. [trimmed]

    ‘Continentality’ is just a useful statistic. By itself it tells us nothing about the underlying physics and any paper that suggested that the temperature of the globe in June is due to ‘continentality’ would get a C minus from me. And I am talking school kids, not adults who take an interest in the subject and should know better.

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/02jul_aphelion/

    “But there’s more to the story: Says Spencer, “the average temperature of the whole earth at aphelion is about 4oF or 2.3oC higher than it is at perihelion.” (See the global temperature data at the GHCC web site.) Our planet is actually warmer when we’re farther from the Sun. Strange but true. This happens because continents and oceans aren’t distributed evenly around the globe. There’s more land in the northern hemisphere and more water in the south. During the month of July the land-crowded northern half of our planet is tilted toward the Sun. “Earth’s temperature (averaged over both hemispheres) is slightly higher in July because the Sun is shining down on all that land, which heats up rather easily,” says Spencer.”

    So we got unlettered, scientifically illterate Earl Happ giving me a grade of C- for telling him the same exact thing that PhD Climatologist Roy Spencer, senior climate scientist at NASA, and frequent contributor to WUWT has said when asked about it.

    [trimmed, Robt]

  72. Just to be clear “Robt” cut out who I was quoting because I called him [Happ] a fool.

    So much for the “light touch” on censorship on this blog. “Fool” and far worse has been used without hesitation or censorship on people like Joe Romm, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Phil Jones, and countless others. But try just a mildly denigrating moniker on one of the insiders here and it gets snipped.

    Shame on you, Robt, and shame on this blog.

  73. Sensor operator says:
    October 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    “And this is the reason people are concerned about melting ice caps/glaciers. It takes a lot of energy (nearly two orders of magnitude) to melt ice to water than it does to warm the water. So, once the ice has melted, it is much easier to warm the water.”

    You still don’t get it. Water doesn’t get warmed in the arctic circle. It gets cooled. Write that down.

  74. In yet another display of earth science illiteracy, Happ writes:

    “Does anyone want to dispute the idea that radiation from the atmosphere excites ozone in the high cloud zone within the troposphere. This is the truly radical observation/inference in the post.”

    Ozone concentration in the troposphere is 50 parts per billion. A truly imbecilic observation (not smarter than a fifth grader) would be to suppose a concentration that minute could have any climatological effect whatsoever.

    Ozone concentration in the stratosphere is 100 times greater. Clouds are as rare as hen’s teeth in the stratosphere, by the way, in the almost certain case that you didn’t know that either.

    First rule of holes, Erl. When you’ve dug yourself into one, stop digging.

  75. @Dave Springer (October 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm)

    And it’s not just north-south reflection asymmetry.
    It’s also west-east translation asymmetry.

    The combination results in a higher multivariate fractal dimension for the northern hemisphere. Natural upscale spatiotemporal aliasing is inevitable due to low heat capacity leverage. However, the northern wave is riding on the more stable southern one (loosely speaking, for economy of words). I’m willing to tentatively speculate that 30S-90S SST has been related to the integral of solar activity in recent times – (to re-emphasize: the preceding is speculation). In contrast, I’m past speculation (into assertion) about the northern & Pacific wave, but until the topology of interannual variability is revealed publicly, it’s clear that few will acknowledge the nature of dominant multidecadal variations.

    Regards.

  76. “Does anyone want to dispute the idea that radiation from the atmosphere excites ozone in the high cloud zone within the troposphere. This is the truly radical observation/inference in the post.”

    Ozone has no radiative absorption bands at any frequency emitted by the atmosphere. It is beyond dispute.

    FAIL

  77. Dave Springer:
    From the introduction:

    “This post explores where, why and what sort of cloud is lost as the global atmosphere warms in mid year. It turns out that there is a heavy loss of high level cloud in the southern hemisphere. The manner in which this loss occurs informs us as to the role of outgoing radiation in the climate system, the artificiality of our notions of what constitutes the troposphere and the stratosphere and the dynamics of the system that determines surface temperature and its variability from year to year and over time. It tells us about the impact of high cloud on surface temperature.”

    You just did not want to know. The knowledge must have been unpalatable to you. And nor did you want to actually contest the substance of what I wrote. Scare-Dy Cat.

  78. Dave Springer says: October 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm
    Congratulations. You are actually engaging the argument, But you start with an insult, insert a couple more in the body and finish with another. Lots of heat. You must be hurting. And you are not reading very well. Where did I mention ‘clouds in the stratosphere’?

    Clouds are as rare as hen’s teeth in the stratosphere, by the way, in the almost certain case that you didn’t know that either.

    You may not be aware but 300hPa to 100hPa is upper troposphere in mid latitudes. But since you are interested in whether there are clouds in the stratosphere let me help you:
    Clouds in the stratosphere, a useful discussion: http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/5/4037/2005/acpd-5-4037-2005-print.pdf

    Of course we have polar stratospheric clouds that are supposedly implicated in the destruction of ozone.

    Cirrus near Tawan: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0469%281998%29055%3C2249%3ALOOTCC%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    Ozone concentration in the troposphere is 50 parts per billion. A truly imbecilic observation (not smarter than a fifth grader) would be to suppose a concentration that minute could have any climatological effect whatsoever.

    The upper troposphere at 20-30° south peaks in temperature in mid winter as does the stratosphere. Why? How could this be unless there were ozone there and it were being excited by long wave radiation?

    This map of tropospheric ozone that shows high concentrations at 20-30° south in October might be of interest. http://acdb-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/Data_services/cloud_slice/gif/Oct04.gif

    Here’s a climatology of ozone in the troposphere in Dobson units. http://acdb-ext.gsfc.nasa.gov/Data_services/cloud_slice/gif/clim25.gif

    It’s a pity to see that the tactics you employ get the results that you desire. Your behavior is uncouth.

  79. I absolutely do not understand the level of antagonism direct toward Erl in the response to his post. He discusses many interesting things and if he is wrong about some of them and you are sure that he is make the point so that we can all learn. Dave and Bob what on earth is the matter with you?

    This is the sort of “if it’s not my idea then it must be wrong” mentality we expect from the team. Then when Erl tried a little levity because everyone was turning ogrish, he is accused of being alcoholic? Even Anthony made remark that was possibly sarcastic but could easily be taken not to be.

    Exploring ideas like this is what makes science fun – to a large extent it IS science. Most new ideas or unexplored avenues turn out to be dead ends but the process of exploring them is valuable. I understand the points Erl is making AND the objections and it would have been extremely interesting and enlightening to see these play out with a proper discussion.

    Some of you really really need to get a grip.

  80. erl happ says: October 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm
    ” But the ramping of temperature in the northern hemisphere is evidence that, at least in the first half of summer less is lost overnight than is gained during the day.”

    Being that summer begins at the summer solstice (Jun 21/22), I think it would be more accurate to say that what you describe begins at the spring equinox.

  81. I need to correct myself where I said ozone has no absorption bands in atmospheric emission range. Technically it does have such a band 9-10 micrometers. The caveat is that atmospheric emission in the 10um region peaks in the lower troposphere at temperatures substantially above freezing. Ozone concentration in the troposphere is less than 100 parts per billion which is too little to have any significant climatologic effect although it can have serious health effects at miniscule concentration. By the time we reach the stratosphere where ozone concentration suddenly rises 100-fold to 10 parts per million the temperature has dropped to -50C and atmospheric radiative emission has shifted to frequencies longer than 10um so there’s very little atmospheric emission for it to absorb.

    The well known effect of ozone is of course absorption of high energy ultraviolet radiation in the stratospheric “ozone layer” and serves to protect living things from the mutagenic effects of high energy UV. The absorbed UV has to go somewhere of course and this energy is reemitted at infrared wavelengths and this reemission does have some small climatologic effect but the magnitude of the effect is tiny compared to methane and CO2 which have broader and more numerous absorption bands in atmospheric emission regions as well as far higher concentrations. Water vapor of course still makes all non-condensing greenhouse gases into bit players in comparison accounting for some 90-95% of all greenhouse gas forcing.

  82. Agnostic says:
    October 8, 2011 at 2:31 am

    “Dave and Bob what on earth is the matter with you?”

    A piker with a very shallow knowledge of the science he’s writing about is posing as a deep thinker on the subject and making this website look bad in process for allowing it to be published.

    Some of us are concerned about the credibility of WUWT and prefer that original work posted here be vetted to some extent before publishing rather than afterward.

  83. Happ employs argumentum ad ignoratum:

    “The upper troposphere at 20-30° south peaks in temperature in mid winter as does the stratosphere. Why? How could this be unless there were ozone there and it were being excited by long wave radiation?”

    There isn’t enough ozone in the troposphere to have any significant climatologic effect. What part of 50 parts per billion don’t you understand?

    Try water vapor, dummy.

  84. Dave Springer
    Ozone concentration in the troposphere is less than 100 parts per billion which is too little to have any significant climatologic effect

    And yet we see peak temperature in the upper troposphere at 20-30° south in the middle of winter just as it is in the stratosphere.

  85. Dave,
    So, lets be perfectly clear about this. Are suggesting that extra water vapor in the upper troposphere at 20-30° south is responsible for the warming of that region in winter sufficient to invert what would be a winter minimum, just as it is at the surface?

  86. Lest we forget, UV varies a lot, stratospheric ozone varies a lot, pressures vary a lot, explanations vary even more. Salud to Antnee’s curiosity.
    ============

  87. Agnostic says:
    October 8, 2011 at 2:31 am

    I absolutely do not understand the level of antagonism direct toward Erl in the response to his post.

    This is the sort of “if it’s not my idea then it must be wrong” mentality we expect from the team The Hokey Team.

    I understand the points Erl is making AND the objections and it would have been extremely interesting and enlightening to see these play out with a proper discussion.

    Some of you really really need to get a grip.

    Hear! Hear! Forgive my ‘correction’.
    ________
    Paul;
    Yes, re: “thickness”; I wasn’t thinking of altitude. But what do you claim are the consequences? # of molecules surface to space or within a layer is not altered by density changes. Only air flows (winds) can do that.

  88. Erl & Dave seem to be having some sort of disagreement about the climatology reversal ~200hPa depicted here [ http://climatechange1.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/t-at-20-30s1.jpg ].

    I want to suggest that _circulation not be ignored. Note the reversals near that pressure level for both the vertical & the horizontal:

    Looking at slices further clarifies opposing flows:

    vs.

    Note that the latter supports Dave’s point about water flux.

    The JRA-25 Atlas sure is raising the level of discussion of natural climate variability here. Thanks again to Erl for drawing our attention to it.

  89. Agnostic says: “Dave and Bob what on earth is the matter with you?”

    I assume the question is directed at me. In reply, there’s nothing wrong. I asked reasonable questions and made simple requests of Erl (for example: “Please provide an illustration to show that the SST response at, I assume, 30S-20S often precede ENSO. Please note which longitudes and dataset you’re using as well.”) and did not get replies. In response to Erl’s rely, I noted that I did not get answers. Or in the case of the example, I got the run around. My request was simple. The reply was bogus.

  90. Any debate that includes repeated ad hominems is no longer a debate but petty bickering. I’m left with two impressions: Erl’s presentation has flaws, and Tisdale is prone to petty bickering and because of that it does not matter that he may be right. Erl can correct his errors and I look forward to those corrections. Tisdale needs additional parenting – I suppose I should look forward to that, too.

  91. @Brian H (October 8, 2011 at 9:25 am)
    Even though I’m not 100% clear on what you’re asking, I’ll link to a few images to see if that helps pinpoint the nature of the clarification you seek.

    The atmosphere is thinner (vertical distance between pressure levels) at the poles:

    The annual thermal insolation tide alternately puffs up opposite poles:

    vs.

    Animation: http://i52.tinypic.com/cuqyt.png

    Where the GPH isolines are tightly packed, there’s a strong jet stream. Gradient steepness is a function of absolute temperature contrast (NOT to be confused with anomalies). Near the surface, friction shapes the pattern [ http://i54.tinypic.com/29vlc0x.png ].

    I’m still hoping Erl will be able to find time to address my question on these basic fundamentals which he has not yet emphasized [or even acknowledged, which leaves me wondering if, like the mainstream, he has fallen victim to the spatiotemporal version of Simpson's Paradox].

    Regards.

  92. I, for one, do not get the impression that Erl claims to know or understand everything. I see an inquiring mind that has gone to a lot of effort. His post illustrates how very complicated it all is and he is not afraid to suggest answers and ask questions. This is not my field at all, but I nevertheless appreciated the effort and marvelled at the extent thereof. In that light, I found the attitude of certain contributers to the discussion distasteful. It reeked of selfimportant hubris and was not in the spirit that I have come to expect from this blog, and believe me, I spend hours here every day attempting to broaden my understanding. For that, thank you Anthony, and also thank you Erl for your courage.

  93. Erl, looking at your tropo O3 charts provided in the links to Dave, they are for the vertical column of the troposphere, and really don’t reflect the upper pressure levels you are working with. Even if they do, you have noticed, I hope, that ozone is still increasing and peaking in Oct.(between 20-30S) when temps between 150 and 50 hpa(figure 10) start to decrease by Sept.

    What would be really helpful is if you took the lat and long of this area in the Atlantic over into the Indian Ocean where ozone is highest and along with temps for this same area to somehow show what you are saying is truly happening. Is stratosphere ozone higher in this region as well?

  94. @Dave

    “Some of us are concerned about the credibility of WUWT and prefer that original work posted here be vetted to some extent before publishing rather than afterward.”

    Sorry, but that really isn’t good enough. What did he run off your wife or something? The credibility of WUWT is undermined by YOUR attitude and approach to taking on Erl Happs ideas. He may well be wrong, but the ideas are worth exploring, and the process of eliminating them as valid hypotheses is very much to my mind what science is about and is what is personally very interesting to me, and I imagine to many other denizens.

    We have only just had a Nobel prize winner whose ideas initially made him a laughing stock. There is absolutely nothing crazy about what he is proposing. It is interesting, and in explaining why he is wrong we may ALL learn something.

    @Bob

    I have no axe to grind here, I am marginally familiar with your work and have found it interesting when I have encountered it. Likewise I have read a couple of interesting posts from Erl, whose perspective has been intriguing. I have no dog in this fight other than I do not believe a fight is justified! From my neutral perspective it looks very much to me that:
    ” In response to Erl’s rely, I noted that I did not get answers. Or in the case of the example, I got the run around. My request was simple. The reply was bogus.”

    …is nonsense. I understand perfectly what he is trying to say and also your objections. His reply was not bogus and there is no justification for saying that.

    No I am really dissappointed. There is just as much to learn from an incorrect supposition as there is for a correct one. You have wasted an opportunity it seems to me, maybe not for yourself but certainly for myself and others who are interested.

  95. One other thing to mention; Erls post here is not a peer reviewed, prime time, A list White paper. It’s an exploration of an interesting set of issues. It’s purpose I would have thought is to stimulate discussion, and further explortation. If it reduced some or all of the ideas put forward to nothing it would not have been a wasted effort. Science is full of dead ends and blind alleys.

  96. Brian D says: October 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm
    you have noticed, I hope, that ozone is still increasing and peaking in Oct.(between 20-30S) when temps between 150 and 50 hpa(figure 10) start to decrease by Sept.

    I did note that ozone concentration was increasing till October in the climatology. I have not given that data the inspection that it needs. Unfortunately I had little time to do that yesterday and less today.

    A couple of things occur to me.
    1. The climatology is based on a very few years and as you note its the atmospheric column rather than the upper troposphere. The notion that ozone in the upper troposphere could be important and the effort and ability to monitor it is very new.
    2. Ozone concentration in the upper troposphere shows strong variation by latitude and appears to relate to meteorological dynamics. It shows strong variation over time.
    3. The annual cycle of temperature will depend upon water vapor amplification as well as ozone.
    4. In line with the relative strength of ozone concentration in the Arctic it shows a strong variation in the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere. Is this related to the coupled circulation in the Arctic? I need to check.
    5. The coupled circulation at both poles is active in determining tropospheric ozone concentration all year depending upon the flux in surface pressure and night jet activity so there is a dual driver with the Arctic tending to be much more influential as far as 50° south between November and March.
    6. It is my observation that the temperature of the lower stratosphere relates much more to OLR than to any other factor like the absorption of UVB. We have this thing called ozone that has the ability to change local temperature at one fortieth the concentration of CO2. The existence of absolutely tiny amounts can change thermal, pressure, wind and cloud dynamics in the interaction zone between the stratosphere and the troposphere. And don’t think for a moment that there is no interaction, Recent studies reports pockets of ozone well below the tropical tropopause.
    7. Ozone in the upper troposphere is difficult to measure. But if you are aware of what it does in changing local temperature you can infer its presence. And it seems we have the ability to measure temperature at all levels quite well.

    I can’t at this moment look at sub sets of data for oceans and land by latitude but I have done it in the past in relation to the South East Pacific and had acrimonious arguments with Leif Svalgaard as to how a high pressure cells of descending air would react if the top of the atmospheric column in the troposphere were independently heated. I used the analogy of a chimney at that time. In a downdraft potters kiln you get the circulation moving by heating the air in the chimney. If you simply light the fire in the kiln the smoke comes back in your face.

    Gotta Go. Back tomorrow. Meanwhile thanks for the support from courageous contributors with a true sense of decorum.

    By the way, here is the annual cycle in specific humidity at 300hPa: http://climatechange1.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/sh-20-30s1.jpg

    And Bob can do those land and sea masks just as easily as I can. If he does them he might actually take some notice of what they say.

  97. Paul, the basic fundamentals that you speak of can also be inferred from temperature at level, surface pressure and sea surface temperature data. How are you going with the vortex animations? Do you understand that vortex dynamics are a function of surface pressure? Have you worked out that the coupled circulation itself modifies surface pressure, air temperature and the dynamics in your animations.

  98. Erl, I’m not so sure that your conceptions of what other contributors know & do not know are anywhere near being accurate. I encourage a rethink and advise more openness to learning. Best Regards.

  99. Agnostic says: “I have no dog in this fight other than I do not believe a fight is justified!”

    There is no fight.

    Many parts of Erl’s post have no basis in data, He’s admitted that in this thread, and he admitted it in the thread of his preceding post. The recent history of Erl’s posts indicates he misrepresents what data he actually does present and misrepresents the studies he cites as reference. In other words, his posts are based on conjecture and misrepresentations. You may be interested in reading posts based on conjecture and misrepresentation. There are other WUWT visitors who are not. Erl’s posts add confusion to already complex subjects. His conjecture and misrepresentations are not helping those who are attempting to learn.

  100. erl happ says:
    October 8, 2011 at 6:35 am

    “So, lets be perfectly clear about this. Are suggesting that extra water vapor in the upper troposphere at 20-30° south is responsible for the warming of that region in winter sufficient to invert what would be a winter minimum, just as it is at the surface?”

    I’m not suggesting I’m informing.

  101. This has been an interesting and intense discussion.

    To fully evaluate the differences in opinions/facts requires following a lot of links and understanding many other related concepts. I would need a few months of research to prove or disprove any of the arguments presented here. Should I choose to do so, my not having a ‘title’ would only leave me with a vast wealth of knowledge that would be useless as I would not get paid for it. Thus I would have a vast wealth of useless knowledge!

    It has been a challenge to follow this and has left me confused, but I have enjoyed it.

  102. Paul Re Polar Night Jet: and your links.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_stream#Polar_night_jet

    Polar Vortex: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_vortex

    Same phenomenon but the explanation of the origin and importance of the phenomena is abysmally deficient and will not help you.

    Bob Tisdale says: October 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm
    That smells and looks like vitriol to me.

    Dave Springer says: October 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm
    “I’m not suggesting I’m informing.”

    So an annual minimum in specific humidity can give rise to an annual maximum in temperature at 300hPa. Fine Dave, if that’s what you believe we will all respect it. It’s your reality.

    eyesonu, Agnostic, GabrielHBay, Paul Vaughan, Brian D, dp, kim, Eric Barnes, Bob Kutz
    You all get a mention in dispatches for sticking around and trying to insist on equity and fair play.

    It’s time for a wrap up from my point of view.

    Today’s climate science gives us no satisfying explanation as to why surface temperature varies as it does on inter-annual, let alone longer time scales. In responsible rather than evangelical circles it is acknowledged that we do not have a satisfying answer as to the origins of the change in sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean that is described as the El Nino Southern Oscillation or related phenomena in other parts of the tropical oceans. Bob Tisdale has done an excellent job of tracking the change in sea surface temperature in the various ocean basins and pointing to the patterns of variability that he sees.

    If you study the patterns of temperature variability by latitude and by season (as I have) you soon realize that trends vary by hemisphere, by latitude and by season and there is no way that a so called atmospheric forcing like Carbon Dioxide, that is well mixed and pretty uniform within the global troposphere can produce the patterns of change that are observed. For instance, we see the Antarctic warming in winter but cooling in summer. In the Arctic summer temperatures are stable and winter temperatures increase. The warming in the northern hemisphere is most uneven depending upon latitude and is mainly in winter. In the southern hemisphere most of the warming occurred prior to 1978 while the northern hemisphere cooled at that time. The cooling of the northern hemisphere at that time had nothing to do with aerosols it was the low AO regime. High polar pressure strong polar easterlies weak westerlies considered as meridional flows.

    Cloud albedo is estimated to account for a 30% loss in the solar energy that reaches the surface globally. Observably the surface at any particular place warms and cools according to the strength of radiation that is received (if we ignore transfers of energy by the ocean and the moving atmosphere). So, it is plain that the intermediary, the variable sunshade if you like, is cloud cover.

    Ozone is not distributed in a homogenous fashion within the atmosphere. Ozone absorbs powerfully at 9-10 μm (micrometers) towards the shorter end of the infrared spectrum. Water vapor and carbon dioxide absorb in various parts of the infrared spectrum between 4 μm and 25 μm but most effectively at longer wave lengths. Much of the infrared spectrum is not absorbed at all because the atmosphere does not have a molecule that absorbs at the particular wave length that is moving through. An absorber at one wave length emits at a higher wave length so an absorber at a short wave length much enhances the ability of the atmosphere to absorb in general. Take away half the absorbers at the shorter wave end (4-10μm) and the total absorption must fall away by much more than half. Put ozone into a part of the atmosphere that is devoid of ozone and absorbance suddenly increases in a wholly disproportionate fashion. How much ozone is necessary? Well, the lower stratosphere at 100hpa shows warming sufficient to reverse the decline of temperature with altitude (that is about 6 degrees C per kilometer in elevation) and it possesses less than 1 pm ozone (less than molecule for every 400 molecules of CO2). So, the rate that is effective must be accounted for in the parts per billion range. (If we were chemists we would be talking catalysts)

    So, you see the potential for the addition of very small amounts of ozone to the upper troposphere to account for a radical change in temperature and therefore a change in high cloud cover. This notion is new to climate science. What happens at 20-30° south in terms of a reversal of the winter minimum to become a winter maximum in temperature is strong evidence that this process is influential. This, and the fact that the upper cloud zone varies in temperature by two or three times the amount at surface tells you what is doing the driving and its not surface temperature. I repeat, the temperature of the upper troposphere is not driven by surface temperature change. It is driven by greenhouse gas content and ozone content in particular. I thought greenhouse theorists like Dave would love that idea. Apparently not, because he behaves like a baby who has just had his lolly snatched out of his hands.

    But the entry of ozone into the upper troposphere at 20-30° south is not half as interesting as the impact of the coupled circulation of the stratosphere and the troposphere at the poles that injects ozone into the troposphere heating it in a wholesale fashion, reducing the weight of the atmospheric column and therefore lowering surface pressure over the ocean on the margins of Antarctica at 60-70° south and also in the northern hemisphere over the North Pacific and the North Atlantic at 50-60° north.

    When pressure falls in these zones sea surface temperature increases in mid and low latitudes and to a diminishing into the other hemisphere. The most spectacular instance is in the northern hemisphere where stratospheric ozone concentrations are higher and the response of the winds (and evaporation) to change in pressure is much less than in the southern hemisphere. If you can use a spreadsheet and calculate anomalies you can check this for yourself using the data at: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

    The high latitude mechanism for surface temperature change is described as the Northern Annular Mode and the Southern Annular Mode after the ring like (hence annular) pattern of surface pressure and wind response that is characteristic. The penny has yet to drop that these annular modes relate to sea surface temperature change. That will come in time.

    The very nice thing about the annular modes is that they can and do explain the diverse patterns of surface temperature change by hemisphere, latitude and season. At the tropics the trade winds aggregate and mix the waters that show the thumbprint of the processes that are influential where those waters originate.

    My next post will be at http://climatechange1.wordpress.com

    I made a bad mistake in assuming that the satellite photos were showing me high cloud when apparently that cloud is not high cloud. I have no answer yet as to whether satellite imagery can identify high cloud. I suspect it lacks the density to show up. The mistake did not affect the veracity of what came before figure 11 or after it because there was plenty of data to support what I was saying anyway.

    My second mistake was to suggest that any typos of mine (there were none in that particular comment but plenty in those of an opponent) might have been due to wine, two finger typing or senility. The jest misfired and I got burnt.

    The course of the commenting was much affected by the choice of the wolves to harry me about things that were unrelated to the central theme, my observations and theories as to the relationship between ozone, cloud cover and surface temperature.

    For those of you with an interest in the sort of comments and techniques that can be used to cast doubt on credibility, divert the argument and win debates, you can learn a lot by examining the ebb and flow of comments in this thread.

    Let me commend Dave Springer for his admission that he was wrong when he wrote: “I need to correct myself where I said ozone has no absorption bands in atmospheric emission range.” He had to swallow his tongue to do that. It’s a big tongue.

    I look forward to an admission that the seasonal minimum in specific humidity is inconsistent with a seasonal maximum in temperature in mid year at 300hpa at 20-30° south if the greenhouse effect of water vapor is the suggested to be the temperature driver. If moisture levels peak in summer then so should temperature. But in fact temperature peaks in winter.

    Progress comes in very small steps. Some must be dragged, kicking and screaming as they come.

  103. Bob Tisdale wrote (October 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm):
    “Erl’s posts add confusion to already complex subjects. His conjecture and misrepresentations are not helping those who are attempting to learn.”

    For the unwary, I agree …and that could be a lot of readers, I acknowledge.

    Some of us pay little attention (maybe others don’t know this) to Erl’s excessively lengthy expositions and use the graphs as a stimulant to dig deeper & synthesize. Erl is one of the few contributors here who directs our attention to material that, when synthesized carefully (regardless of whether Erl is or is not carefully synthesizing himself) enables us to better visualize complex atmospheric topology. Indeed, the synthesizing exercise alone might undermine the confidence of a casual reader looking for a simple linear narrative. However, we’re a diverse audience. Erl has directed me to material & terminology that is of value for translating what I know from Earth Orientation Parameters into a language that might be more accessible to meteorologists & climatologists.

    However, many of the complaints leveled in this thread have weighty merit and overall the balance appears out of whack at present. Perhaps things will settle down with the passage of time. We’ve seen other contributors tone it down to something more sober after a stay in the penalty box. In the meantime, perhaps other volunteers will step forward and raise the bar.

    Bob, if/when you ever get a chance, I’d be curious to see what you can dig up on northwest Indian Ocean SST patterns. If I remember correctly, you indicated in the past that the sharpest ~1940 spike was in that area. And looking at this animation has focused my curiosity further: AnimWind850hPa_: http://i52.tinypic.com/nlo3dw.png

    It may be necessary to look at absolute (not anomaly) temperature gradients to make further insight advances – (for example, see dT/dx maps on Kessler’s website [in relation to MJO]).

    It may also be interesting to look at temperature contrasts across local maxima visible here: AnimWind200hPa: http://i52.tinypic.com/zoamog.png (most readers will be aware of your familiarity these areas…)

    Regards.

  104. erl happ wrote (October 9, 2011 at 8:21 am):
    “[...] (if we ignore transfers of energy by the ocean and the moving atmosphere). So, it is plain that the intermediary, the variable sunshade if you like, is cloud cover.”

    This is where you’re going wrong. As you yourself have pointed out, some times/places are more efficient at absorbing or bleeding heat. Ignoring circulation is patently not an option. I strongly advise you to deeply familiarize yourself with the EOP literature. There is no escaping the need for multidisciplinarity.

    erl happ wrote (October 9, 2011 at 8:21 am):
    “The high latitude mechanism for surface temperature change is described as the Northern Annular Mode and the Southern Annular Mode after the ring like (hence annular) pattern of surface pressure and wind response that is characteristic. The penny has yet to drop that these annular modes relate to sea surface temperature change. That will come in time.”

    You’re very seriously out of touch with your audience if you think they’ll buy the notion that no one has a clue that NAM & SAM are related to temperature.

    erl happ wrote (October 9, 2011 at 8:21 am):
    “The very nice thing about the annular modes is that they can and do explain the diverse patterns of surface temperature change by hemisphere, latitude and season.”

    In your focus on reflection asymmetry, you’re overlooking translation asymmetry, which introduces Simpson’s Paradox into northern hemisphere aggregations in particular. I do see seeds of awareness in what you write: “The warming in the northern hemisphere is most uneven depending upon latitude [...]“. However, there’s no escaping the need for greater multidisciplinarity. You like teaching, but are you willing to learn from others in areas where you have weaknesses?

    Once again: Thanks for pointing at JRA-25 Atlas — MUCH appreciated.

    Best Regards.

  105. Erl Happ relied: “That smells and looks like vitriol to me.”

    The statements I made in my October 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm comment are the truth. Would you like me to document and illustrate them for all to read on this thread? I’d be happy to do it. I’ve got the time today.

  106. Erl often refers to “polar vortex” & “polar night jet”. To help folks visualize:

    AnimWind550K

    In layman’s terms, this is “up high”. For those wishing more technical understanding (than simply “up high”), the first step:

    “Potential temperature

    In the atmosphere, where vertical variation in pressure is much larger than in a room, the situation is complicated by adiabatic temperature change: as a parcel of air moves upward, the ambient pressure drops, causing the parcel to expand. Some of the internal energy of the parcel is used up in doing the work required to expand against the atmospheric pressure, so the temperature of the parcel drops, even though it has not lost any heat. Conversely, a sinking parcel is compressed and becomes warmer even though no heat is added.

    Air at the top of a mountain is usually colder than the air in the valley below, but the arrangement is not unstable: if a parcel of air from the valley were somehow lifted up to the top of the mountain, when it arrived it would be even colder than the air already there, due to adiabatic cooling; it would be heavier than the ambient air, and would sink back toward its original position. Similarly, if a parcel of cold mountain-top air were to make the trip down to the valley, it would arrive warmer and lighter than the valley air, and would float back up the mountain.

    So cool air lying on top of warm air can be stable after all (as long as the temperature decrease with height is less than the adiabatic lapse rate); the dynamically important quantity is not the temperature, but the potential temperature—the temperature the air would have if it were brought adiabatically to a reference pressure. The air around the mountain is stable because the air at the top, due to its lower pressure, has a higher potential temperature than the warmer air below.”

    Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivalent_potential_temperature

    I would animate the cycle vertically [ http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/isentrop-1/zm_u_isentrop_JAN.png vs. http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/jra/atlas/isentrop-1/zm_u_isentrop_AUG.png ] but as viewers can see (at the time of this posting), the images are (presumably accidentally) truncated. Perhaps someone will write to JRA-25 Atlas and ask them to fix the images. I’ll assemble the animation after the images are fixed.

  107. Bob Tisdale (October 9, 2011 at 10:41 am) addressing Erl:
    “The statements I made in my October 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm comment are the truth. Would you like me to document and illustrate them for all to read on this thread? I’d be happy to do it. I’ve got the time today.”

    Can I suggest we not squander precious free time by allowing ourselves to be tied up at committee with protracted exchanges that do nothing innovative to advance insight?

    A good example: Svalgaard, vukcevic, tallbloke, & Geoff Sharp filling threads with “too much” discord with “too little” content — amounts to “watered down” thread value.

    As one of my former online students aptly labelled such exchanges: “Wasteland of tangled messages”.

    Can I suggest we keep our eye on the ball (instead of the red herrings)?

    Bob: You can rest assured that some of us will acknowledge your correct points regardless of your writing style & tone as perceived by others.

    Sincerely looking forward to your next article…

    Best Regards.

  108. erl happ says:
    October 9, 2011 at 8:21 am
    “My second mistake was to suggest that any typos of mine (there were none in that particular comment but plenty in those of an opponent) might have been due to wine, two finger typing or senility. The jest misfired and I got burnt.”
    ========
    I’ll miss your writing, respectful comments, humor, and obviously well researched posts.
    I’m too stupid to understand, but it seems like you got the “short shrift”.

  109. “”””” LazyTeenager says:

    October 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    George E. Smith says

    The result for LWIR emissions from the water surface, may be different. The water absorptance is certainly very high; so it is a near black body absorber and emitter; But the emissivity is a function of reflectance; not absorptance.
    ————
    It’s not clear to me that a simple reflectance argument is sufficient to account for the emissitivity. And the different angular dependence of emission and refraction would appear to the kill the idea dead.

    Also on a slightly different point the refractive index at IR wavelengths is certainly not going to be 1.33. “”””

    Well thanks for all that useful information LT; particularly that it is not clear to you. There of course is no relationship at all between refraction and emission. The first is a property of geometrical and Physical Optics, and its origin in the velocity of light change in a medium.
    Emission on the other hand is a thermal process that originates right down at the atomic level, and it is universally recognised that thermal emission from surfaces, is esentially Lambertian, so the emissivity of the water surface has little to do with refraction.

    As to the refractive index of water for the LWIR; the Infra-Red Handbook prepared for the US Navy gives a plot of the index for water from 1 micron to 14 microns. The plot shows two distinct resonances that yield “anomalous” index values.at 3.0 microns, and again at 6.0 microns. The 3.0 micron resonance results in the highest spectral absorption of water, with an asorption coefficienct of at leats 8,000 cm^-1, and not surprisingly there is another prominent peak at 6.0 microns at about 3,000 cm^-1
    At the 3 micron edge, the index goes from about 1.14 up to 1.47, in just a fraction of a micron. The six micron edge goes from 1.25 to 1.34. from 8 microns the index drops from about 1.30 to 1.20, at 11.0 microns, and then rises to 1.45 at 14 microns. The reflectance of water ranges from 30% to 40% over the 1 to 14 micron range, averaging 35%. for 80 degree incidence angle, and for normal incidence, it averages around 2% just as I said; that is the 2-15 micron average value.
    I’m always happy to entertain more authoritative sources of scientific information; so let’s hear about your sources; or are you really that lazy ?

  110. Seen Lockwood’s latest on the variability of UV? I’m amused by Richard Black’s attempt to present this as a new finding, and his need to say several times that it has nothing to do with global warming, only regional variability.

    Methinks he protesteth overly much. There’s going to be a lot of that coming, I expect.
    ———————–

  111. Kim,
    It’s obvious they don’t have a clue whats going on. I do see some mention of the coupling of the stratosphere and the troposphere and that’s really about the Arctic Oscillation and the relative strength of the meridional flows….whether winds from the south or the north are dominating, or in more conventional terminology whether the South Westerlies or the Polar Easterlies are holding sway. The silly thing is they are not looking at the long term trend in the AO index. winters have been on a cooling trend since the mid 1990s as Arctic polar pressure has gradually increased. As I see it, while the sun remains quiet polar pressure will increase and the trend to colder winters will intensify.

    If the models are showing up an increased tendency for higher polar pressure they must be incorporating an external influence without telling us about it or how it works. But they are still talking low probability of cold winters so I doubt it.

  112. http://www.tehrantimes.com/index.php/science/3394-solar-cycle-can-influence-winter-weather

    It seems that in years of low UV activity, unusually cold air forms over the tropics in the stratosphere, about 50km up. This is balanced by a greater easterly flow of air over the mid latitudes. The pattern spreads down to the surface, bringing easterly winds and cold winters to northern Europe.

    When solar UV output is higher than usual, the opposite occurs, with strong westerlies bringing warm air.

    Getting close. but the clarity of the exposition leaves a lot to be desired.

  113. Kim,
    As reported here http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1282.html the observations are consistent with my theory. The AO and the NAO go negative when atmosphere returns to the pole. That’s what these indices mean and the wind flows (and surface temperature) follow the change in pressure balances. The graphs are too small to get much information from them.Its a winter phenomenon because that is when the stratosphere and troposphere most strongly couple, in part because the cold point of the polar atmosphere moves up to 20hPa or thereabouts in winter, assisting convection.

    But the return of of the atmosphere to the pole depends upon three variables:
    1. UV and short wave radiation in general that inflates the atmosphere affecting plasma density in the interaction zone.
    2 Geomagnetic activity that makes the plasma move away from the pole carrying the neutral atmosphere with it.
    3 The concentration of ozone in the polar atmosphere, also depending upon 1 and 2 in influencing the concentration of NOx in the night jet.

    So, yes it looks as if progress is being made in understanding polar processes, albeit in a limited fashion as perceived by those of orthodox persuasion i.e. those who would maintain that down-welling radiation affects surface temperature.

  114. Erl, there’s some discussion of this here [ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/10/bbc-the-little-ice-age-was-all-about-solar-uv-variability-wasnt-an-ice-age-at-all/ ]. I’m not seeing it how you’re seeing it. It would be great to discuss things further, but it’s another busy work week – and even if it weren’t, everyone’s moved on from this thread. Perhaps there will be future opportunities – and hopefully at a manageable pace. I look forward to those discussions when the time is right. Best Regards.

  115. It’s funny to read the Ineson et al. 2011 paper and see how they are unable to propose a process that would control circulation in the lower troposphere. They use means, indexes that are themselves based on means but cannot come up with a synoptic process!

  116. Reciprocating Bill says:
    November 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    The fact that DS hasn’t been pounded into an oil stain and banned is plenty of evidence of the “light touch”!

  117. “A piker with a very shallow knowledge of the science he’s writing about is posing as a deep thinker on the subject and making this website look bad in process for allowing it to be published.”
    Did this truly come from DaveScot/Springer?

    Dave “Gravity is the most powerful fundamental force” Springer?

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