A Big Picture Look At “Earth’s Temperature”

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

Often in the climate debate, generalities are used to address more nuanced issues, e.g. “There is broad scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerating rate.” from the Wikipedia for Scientific Opinion on Climate Change. But is this true? Let’s take a look.

Global Surface Temperatures:

Generally, when referring to Earth’s “climate” warming, proponents of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) narrative, refer to Earth’s Surface Temperature, e.g. “Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels.” NASA Earth Observatory

As such, here’s NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Monthly Mean Surface Temperature Anomaly – 1996 to Present;

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) - Click the pic to view at source

NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC) Annual Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Over Land & Sea – 1880 to Present;

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) - Click the pic to view at source

the UK Met Office’s – Hadley Center – Climate Research Unit (CRU) Annual Global Average Land Temperature Anomaly – 1850 to Present;

Met Office - Hadley Center - Click the pic to view at source

and the UK Met Office – Hadley Center – Climate Research Unit (CRU) Monthly Global Average Land Temperature – 1850 to Present

Met Office - Hadley Center - Click the pic to view at source

Depending on the time frame, it certainly seems that Earth’s surface temperature has increased, though it does not appear to be “warming rapidly” and there are no indications of “an accelerating rate”. Furthermore, the surface temperature record is burdened with issues of questionable siting, changes in siting, changes in equipment, changes in the number of measurement locations, modeling to fill in gaps in measurement locations, corrections to account for missing, erroneous or biased measurements, and the urban heat island effect. Thus to see the big picture on the temperature Earth’s temperature, it helps to also look up.

Atmospheric Temperatures:

Since 1979 the temperature of Earth’s “climate” has also been measured via satellite. “The temperature measurements from space are verified by two direct and independent methods. The first involves actual in-situ measurements of the lower atmosphere made by balloon-borne observations around the world. The second uses intercalibration and comparison among identical experiments on different orbiting platforms. The result is that the satellite temperature measurements are accurate to within three one-hundredths of a degree Centigrade (0.03 C) when compared to ground-launched balloons taking measurements of the same region of the atmosphere at the same time.” NASA

The following are 4 Temperature Anomaly plots from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), each one increases in altitude as is illustrated here:

RSS Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

RSS Temperature Middle Troposphere (TMT)- Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

RSS Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) -Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

RSS Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present:

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

According to Remote Sensing Systems, “For Channel (TLT) (Lower Troposphere) and Channel (TMT) (Middle Troposphere), the anomaly time series is dominated by ENSO events and slow tropospheric warming. The three primary El Niños during the past 20 years are clearly evident as peaks in the time series occurring during 1982-83, 1987-88, and 1997-98, with the most recent one being the largest.” RSS

Also, the 2009 – 10 El Niño event is also called out on this RSS Latitudinal Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly from 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

and the 1998 El Niño event, along with the tropospheric cooling attributed to the 1991 eruption of Mt Pinitubo,  is called out on this University of Alabama – Hunstville (UAH) Lower Atmosphere Temperature Anomalies – 1979 to Present:

University of Alabama - Huntsville (UAH) - Dr. Roy Spencer - Click the pic to view at source

Note that in November the UAH Lower Atmosphere Temperature Anomaly was 0.12 degrees C above the 30 year average, and the RSS Lower Troposphere Brightness Temperature was 0.033 degrees C above the 30 year average. Keep this mind the next time you read that recent weather events were caused by Global Warming.

Furthermore, the Middle Troposphere, which follows a similar though flatter trend as the Lower Troposphere, recently dipped below the 30 year trend line i.e. RSS Temperature Middle Troposphere (TMT)- Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1979 to Present:

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

There are also regional variations in Lower Troposphere that contribute nuance to the picture. For example, RSS Northern Polar Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

shows a .338 K/C per decade increase, whereas the The RSS Southern Polar Temperature Lower Troposphere (TLT) Brightness Temperature Anomaly;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

shows a .007 K/C per decade decrease. I am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles.

The satellite record seems to show slow warming of Lower and Middle Tropospheric temperatures, overlaid with the El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, including four comparatively large El Niño events. Lower Tropospheric temperatures appear to have flattened since the large El Niño in 1998 and offer no indication of “accelerating” warming.

Moving higher in the atmosphere, RSS Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

has been incredibly flat since, with a trend of just -.004 K/C per decade. The 1997-98 and 2009 – 10 El Niño events are still readily apparent in the plot, as is a spike from the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Note that the effect of Mt. Pinatubo is the opposite in the Lower and Middle Troposphere versus the Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS), i.e. “Large volcanic eruptions inject sulfur gases into the stratosphere; the gases convert into submicron particles (aerosol) with an e-folding time scale of about 1 year. The climate response to large eruptions (in historical times) lasts for several (2-3) years. The aerosol cloud causes cooling at the Earth’s surface, warming in stratosphere.”
Ellen Thomas, PHD Wesleyan University

It is interesting that, incorporating the impact of three significant surface driven warming events, Troposphere / Stratosphere Temperatures (TTS) have been quite stable, however there is nuance to this as well.

RSS Northern Hemisphere Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

has been increasing by .054 K/C per decade, whereas the RSS Southern Hemisphere Temperature Troposphere / Stratosphere (TTS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly- 1987 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

has been decreasing by -.062 K/C per decade.

Moving higher still in the atmosphere, the RSS Temperature Lower Stratosphere (TLS) – Brightness Temperature Anomaly – 1979 to Present;

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) - Microwave Sounding Units (MSU) - Click the pic to view at source

“is dominated by stratospheric cooling, punctuated by dramatic warming events caused by the eruptions of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991).” RSS

The eruptions of El Chichon and Mt Pinatubo are readily apparent in the Apparent Atmospheric Transmission of Solar Radiation at Mauna Loa, Hawaii:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) - Click the pic to view at source

“The stratosphere” … “in contrast to the troposphere, is heated, as the result of near infrared absorption of solar energy at the top of the aerosol cloud, and increased infra-red absorption of long-wave radiation from the Earth’s surface.”

“The stratospheric warming in the region of the stratospheric cloud increases the latitudinal temperature gradient after an eruption at low latitudes, disturbing the stratospheric-troposphere circulation, increasing the difference in height of the troposphere between high and low latitudes, and increasing the strength of the jet stream (polar vortex, especially in the northern hemisphere). This leads to warming during the northern hemisphere winter following a tropical eruption, and this warming effect tends to be larger than the cooling effect described above.” Ellen Thomas, PHD Wesleyan University

The Lower Stratosphere experienced “dramatic warming events caused by the eruptions of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991).” RSS “The long-term, global-mean cooling of the lower stratosphere stems from two downward steps in temperature, both of which are coincident with the cessation of transient warming after the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo.” … “Here we provide observational analyses that yield new insight into three key aspects of recent stratospheric climate change. First, we provide evidence that the unusual step-like behavior of global-mean stratospheric temperatures is dependent not only upon the trend but also on the temporal variability in global-mean ozone immediately following volcanic eruptions. Second, we argue that the warming/cooling pattern in global-mean temperatures following major volcanic eruptions is consistent with the competing radiative and chemical effects of volcanic eruptions on stratospheric temperature and ozone. Third, we reveal the contrasting latitudinal structures of recent stratospheric temperature and ozone trends are consistent with large-scale increases in the stratospheric overturning Brewer-Dobson circulation” David W. J. Thompson Colorado State University

Above the Stratosphere we have the Mesosphere and Thermosphere, neither of which have I found current temperature time series for, but of note is that on “July 15, 2010″ “A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere” occurred when “high above Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called “the thermosphere” recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.”

“This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,” says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19th issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). “It’s a Space Age record.”

The collapse happened during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009—a fact which comes as little surprise to researchers. The thermosphere always cools and contracts when solar activity is low. In this case, however, the magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.

“Something is going on that we do not understand,” says Emmert.

The thermosphere ranges in altitude from 90 km to 600+ km. It is a realm of meteors, auroras and satellites, which skim through the thermosphere as they circle Earth. It is also where solar radiation makes first contact with our planet. The thermosphere intercepts extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photons from the sun before they can reach the ground. When solar activity is high, solar EUV warms the thermosphere, causing it to puff up like a marshmallow held over a camp fire. (This heating can raise temperatures as high as 1400 K—hence the name thermosphere.) When solar activity is low, the opposite happens.” NASA

In summary, Earth’s Lower and Middle Troposphere appear to have warmed slowly, overlaid with the El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, including four comparatively large El Niño events, and tempered by the cooling effects of the eruption of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991). Lower and Middle Tropospheric temperatures appear to have flattened since the large El Niño in 1998 and offer no indication of “accelerating” warming. Tropospheric / Stratospheric temperatures appear to have been influenced by at least three significant surface driven warming events, the 1997-98 El Niño, and the eruptions of El Chichon in 1982 and Mt Pinatubo in 1991, but to have maintained a stable overall trajectory. Stratospheric temperatures appear to have experienced two “dramatic warming events caused by the eruptions of El Chichon (1982) and Mt Pinatubo (1991).”, and “unusual step-like behavior of global-mean stratospheric temperatures” which has resulted in a significant stratospheric cooling during the last 30 years. Lastly, “during deep solar minimum of 2008-2009″ “the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years” occurred and “The magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.”

Ocean Temperatures:

“The oceans can hold much more heat than the atmosphere. Just the top 3.2 metres of ocean holds as much heat as all the world’s air.” Commonwealth of Australia – Parliamentary Library

As such, changes in Oceanic Oscillations, and Ocean Heat Content are critical to understanding “Earth’s Temperature”. Here is NOAA’s NODC Global Ocean Heat Content from 0-700 Meters – 1955 to Present;

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) - Click the pic to view at source

and here is the same from Ole Humlum’s valuable climate data site Climate4you.com, NODC Global Ocean Heat Content – 0-700 Meters – 1979 to Present.

- Click the pic to view at source

It seems apparent from the plots above that Global Ocean Heat has increased over the last several decades, however Global Ocean Heat doesn’t appear to be “warming rapidly”. Furthermore, there is no basis for the claim that warming is occurring at “an accelerating rate”. Decelerating would appear a more accurate label.

Ice:

A proxy often cited when measuring “Earth’s Temperature” is amount of Ice on Earth. According to the United States Geographical Survey (USGS), “The vast majority, almost 90 percent, of Earth’s ice mass is in Antarctica, while the Greenland ice cap contains 10 percent of the total global ice mass.” http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleice.html However, there is currently there is no generally accepted measure of ice volume, as Cryosat is still in validation and the accuracy of measurements from Grace are still being challenged.

As such, currently available global ice measurements are limited. Here is 20 Year Northern Hemisphere Snowcover with 1995 – 2009 Climatology

Florida State University - Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science - Click the pic to view at source

and here is Northern Hemisphere Winter Snow Extent – 1967 to Present:

Rutgers University - Global Snow Lab (GSL) - Click the pic to view at source

While neither plot offers a global perspective, when looking at the Northern Hemisphere, there appears to have been a slight increase in Snowcover and Winter Snow Extent over the historical record.

Another ice based variable often cited as a proxy for “Earth’s Temperature” is Sea Ice Area, however there is significant evidence that the primary agent of change in Sea Ice Area is in fact wind and Atmospheric Oscillations. With this said, here are Global, Arctic & Antarctic Sea Ice Area from 1979 to Present;

climate4you.com - Ole Humlum - Professor, University of Oslo Department of Geosciences - Click the pic to view at source

Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area Anomaly, 1979 to Present;

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois - Click the pic to view at source

Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area Anomaly, 1979 to Present;

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois - Click the pic to view at source

and Global Sea Ice Area Anomaly – 1979 to Present:

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois - Click the pic to view at source

There does appear to have been a negative trend in Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area, however there also appears to have been a positive trend in Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area. The resultant Global Sea Ice Area trend appears to be slightly negative, with no apparent acceleration. Based on the limited Global Ice measurements available, and noting the questionable value of Sea Ice Area as a proxy for temperature, not much inference can currently be drawn from Earth’s Ice measurements. However, there does not appear to be any evidence in Earth’s Ice measurements of rapid and/or accelerating warming.

Conclusion:

“Earth’s Temperature” appears to have increased during the last several decades, but there does not appear to be evidence that Earth’s climate is “warming rapidly”. Furthermore, there are no apparent signs of warming occurring “at an accelerating rate”.

Additional information on “Earth’s Temperature” can be found in the WUWT Reference Pages, including the Global Temperature Page and Global Climatic History Page

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184 thoughts on “A Big Picture Look At “Earth’s Temperature”

  1. “I am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles.”

    Well, then you should read the literature a bit more thoroughly.

    “there does not appear to be evidence that Earth’s climate is “warming rapidly””

    You showed it, repeatedly. Look at your graphs again.

    “Furthermore, there are no apparent signs of warming occurring “at an accelerating rate”.”

    Again, you showed them, repeatedly.

  2. gnomish says: January 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    image host can’t manage the traffic. many charts missing.

    Yes, it seems like we might have overloaded RSS’s FTP server. Not sure what to do about that…

  3. I ran it up TWICE in Internet Exploder and Firefox.

    Second time bringing things in in Firefox, worked FINE!

    Just be patient, and learn about Modzilla!

    Max

  4. I am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles.

    Reduced NH aerosols over recent decades.

    This explains both the reduced Arctic ice and increased snow cover because of the different effect aerosols have between summer/day and winter/night. Reduced aerosols result in increased solar insolation during the summer/day = warming and increased outgoing LWR during the winter/night = cooling.

    The reduced aerosol warming in the Arctic was particularly pronounced post-1991 as highly polluting Soviet era industry was progressively shutdown as this rather striking graphic illustrates.

    Aerosols are largely absent from Antarctica (compared to the Arctic).

  5. Where’s the graph of ocean heat data down to 2000 metres? Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, and over 90% of global warming goes into the oceans. Is there a recent update for the 2000 mtr data?

    No handwaving required. Just the data.

  6. Philip Bradley says: January 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Reduced NH aerosols over recent decades.

    That’s an interesting hypothesis, can you provide any empirical data or citations to support it?

  7. Cannot see/download about half of the charts. You seem to be directly linking to other websites’ graphic elements. This would seem to represent a “bad” practice. You might want to consider using a copy of the graphic located on WUWT and link to the source image location through clicking on the image itself.

  8. Rob Painting says: January 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Where’s the graph of ocean heat data down to 2000 metres? Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, and over 90% of global warming goes into the oceans. Is there a recent update for the 2000 mtr data?

    I am not aware of one. If you look on our Ocean Reference Page;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/ocean/

    you’ll see all of the currently updated ocean temperature plots and graphics I could find. At the bottom of the page is the Source Guide, feel free to check to see if any of them have added it, but based on the questions surrounding the accuracy of ARGO data;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/31/krige-the-argo-probe-data-mr-spock/

    I don’t think any of the reputable data sources offer current temperature plots down to 2000 meters. 700 meters seems to be the limit. If you find a one please post it here in comments and I will review it for addition to this article and the WUWT Reference Pages.

    No handwaving required. Just the data.

    I agree, there is no need for handwaving when presenting the facts. The facts speak for themselves.

  9. This is an excellent piece, and thanks for it. I’ve a good deal more confidence in satellite data vis-a-vis what meteorologists can do on the ground … especially when it comes to measuring experimental error and applying corrections. Seems to me that credible climate models should explain the relatively straightforward satellite data FIRST, then make predictions about climate on the ground SECOND. Doing it the other way around seems a bit twee (unless the objective is to talk up a grant application, or get published in a big journal). Are there climate models which forecast/backcast satellite data? If not, why not? And if so, what do they have to say on the subject?

  10. Rob Painting says:
    January 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm
    Where’s the graph of ocean heat data down to 2000 metres?

    Here – there is a whole series. Use the newer/older buttons at the top.

    argo2

  11. Alan

    You say there has been increasingly rapid warming when there has been no warming for the last 13 years. How is that possible ?

  12. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 5:45 pm
    If you find a one please post it here in comments and I will review it for addition to this article and the WUWT Reference Pages.

    Feel free to use the one I posted above.

    note: Some of the graphs are in dbars, not meters. Dbars translate roughly into meters. The Argo viewer sometimes has problems with meters.

  13. Let’s look at the chart: NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC) Annual Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Over Land & Sea – 1880 to Present;

    Approximately half the warming occurred in the time period from 1900 to 1940, then there was a lull till about 1975 when the temperature started up again till 2000.

    If I understand the CO2 CAGW hypothesis correctly then the first increase was before CO2 had a major effect on the temperature, but the second was caused by CO2. So one rise due to magic followed by one due to only CO2. So the earth is warming at the same rate that it was prior to CO2 becoming an issue.

  14. David Hagen, keep in mind that the IPCC was started by the UNFCCC(?) to “gather and evaluate the scientific evidence for global warming caused by human activities such as CO2 emissions”(that’s a paraphrase). Hardly a scientific enterprise, since the resutl was assumed and the only evidence evaluated was papers that supported AGW, primarily caused by CO2. Most of these papers are filled with questionable use of statistics. I find it especially questionable to use statistics to “fill in” holes in the data. It makes the “filled” data easier to analyze, but there is no scientific reason at all to make up numbers to be used as data.

  15. Alan Statham says: January 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    “I am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles.”

    Well, then you should read the literature a bit more thoroughly.

    Please cite the specific references in the literature that support your supposition, whatever it may be.

    “there does not appear to be evidence that Earth’s climate is “warming rapidly””

    You showed it, repeatedly. Look at your graphs again.

    Please indicate the particular graphs that you think demonstrate “rapid warming”.

    “Furthermore, there are no apparent signs of warming occurring “at an accelerating rate”.”

    Again, you showed them, repeatedly.

    Please indicate the particular graphs that you think demonstrate “an accelerating rate”.

  16. Philip Bradley: “Reduced NH aerosols over recent decades. This explains both the reduced Arctic ice … ”

    No it doesn’t. Even though carbon dioxide is supposed to be having greatest effect in the Arctic, temperature records there show this: http://climate-change-theory.com/arctic1880.jpg which is very obviously not correlated at all. As Prof. Claes Johnson has proved back radiation cannot warm the surface http://climate-change-theory.com/johnson_quote.jpg

    Arctic ice usually melts and forms from the underneath side as solar radiation is oblique and mostly reflected. The faster the water moves in currents under the ice the more it melts. Of course the water temperature also has an effect. These currents enter the Arctic Ocean primarily from the North Atlantic Ocean. As you can see from the above plot, Actic temperatures were warmer around 1940 than they are now, and so were those of islands like Jan Mayen Island about 550km (350 miles) NE of Iceland, confirming the effect of ocean currents on Arctic temperatures. North Atlantic temperatures also have natural cycles similar to ENSO.

  17. Please at least note that thermometry giving temperature is not the same as energy, the latter being of more importance. Even though the thermosphere can record some very high temperatures, the rate at which molecules and atoms hit the thermometry sensor is exceedingly low, compared to ground level, so one has to question the physical significance of ‘temperature’ in rarified atmospheres and the difficulty in feeling it as energy, or placing it in the context of importance to physical mechanisms.

  18. For the first time my Android Asus TF-101 cannot see the charts: No applications can perform this action. I downloaded a picture viewer but no dice. What to do?

  19. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm
    Do you know how to link directly to plots from Argo

    No. I’ve not seen anything to indicate they produce any. At least not for the public. Makes sense. It isn’t the sort of message “climate science” wants to show the public.

    Having spent a ton of $$ to implement Argo, they aren’t going to want to tell the governments involved: “oops we made a mistake – things aren’t warming after all”. The various ministers that approved the expenditure aren’t going to want the message publicized either. The very first question will be “who approved this expenditure in the first place?” It isn’t likely to play well with taxpayers struggling to make ends meet. So, no graphs should be expected.

  20. justthefactswuwt responds to Alan Statham:

    “Please indicate the particular graphs that you think demonstrate ‘an accelerating rate’.”

    The problem is that by using a chart with an arbitrary baseline, it appears that there is accelerating warming. But that is just an artefact of that type of chart.

    When a non-arbitrary trend line chart is used, we see that the gradual warming trend from the LIA remains intact. The same data, but when misused in a chart with an arbitrary baseline it looks as though temperatures are accelerating. But temperatures are are not accelerating, as Alan Statham mistakenly assumed.

    Charts with arbitrary baselines are used deliberately, because they wrongly appear to show that temperatures are rising fast; they’re not. It is simply the natural warming trend from the LIA.

  21. WUWT is one of the most respected climate sites because of its credibility. I note that Justthefacts is a regular contributor and often posts quite technical information.
    Two questions
    Given that he is not prepared to put his name to his contributions, what credibility can I put on his work?
    What credibility can I put on a website that publishes supposedly informed comment without informing us who the poster is?

  22. wermet says: January 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Cannot see/download about half of the charts. You seem to be directly linking to other websites’ graphic elements. This would seem to represent a “bad” practice. You might want to consider using a copy of the graphic located on WUWT and link to the source image location through clicking on the image itself.

    I thought about saving all of the graphics on WUWT/Wordpress, but prefer to use live links to the data sources, so that people can easily validate the source and consider the accuracy of any chart. This is the way that all of the WUWT Reference Pages are set up and everything usually works fine. The current issue seems to be with RSS’s server, as all of the other images come up fine. I think we may need to let Remote Sensing Systems know how valuable their data is:

    http://ssmi.com/terms_of_data_use/terms_of_data_use.html

    and hopefully they will get more funding and a better server. :)

  23. Rab McDowell,

    One question: Would knowing the author’s identity change the truth of what he wrote?

    Facts matter, not ad-homs.

  24. steven mosher says: January 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-causes-Arctic-amplification.html

    “The warming trend in the Arctic is almost twice as large as the global average in recent decades. This is known as Arctic amplification. What’s the cause? Changes in cloud cover, increases in atmospheric water vapour, more atmospheric heat transport from lower latitudes and declining sea ice have all been suggested as contributing factors.”

    Well I think that the Arctic Oscillation and Arctic Polar Vortex are probably contributing factors as well, so now we have 6 to choose from. Which one’s do you like?

    And that’s only Arctic Amplification, what about the Antarctic Dampening, i.e. why is there a .007 K/C per decade decrease in Southern Polar Lower Troposphere Temperature?

  25. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Yes, it seems like we might have overloaded RSS’s FTP server. Not sure what to do about that…

    Copy the images to wattsupwiththat.com is what I’d do. I can probably help, at least I think I can get images up that you can use.

    Elsewhere:

    I am not aware of one. If you look on our Ocean Reference Page;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/ocean/

    You created that page, right? I was looking at it yesterday and noticed that some NASA links are stale. E.g. Global Sea Surface Height – 30 Day Animation – Naval Research Laboratory (NRL):

    says “The requested URL /global_ncom/anims/glb/ssh30d.gif was not found on this server.” Hmm, worse than I thought! Yesterday it went to a new URL automatically, namely

    See also http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/global_ncom/glb8_3b/html/index.html for confirmation the URL should be available.

  26. Rab McDowell says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    Given that he is not prepared to put his name to his contributions, what credibility can I put on his work?

    There is a long and noble history of “Nom de Plume” exposing the facts under an atmosphere of fear and repression.

    The climategate emails have exposed what had previously only been surmised. Leading climate scientists from around the world conspiring to ruin the careers of those with opposing points of view.

    As a result of this “State of Fear”, most of the scientists that have spoken out publicly are older. Either financially independent or retired. Younger scientists and technicians cannot be expected to publicly identify themselves under such conditions.

  27. Rab McDowell says: January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Given that he is not prepared to put his name to his contributions, what credibility can I put on his work?

    I would put none. I would verify every fact for myself. The point is that it should not matter who I am, the facts should stand on their own.

    What credibility can I put on a website that publishes supposedly informed comment without informing us who the poster is?

    A website should only be as credible as the information that it provides. Can you identify any error or omission in the article?

  28. http://climate-change-theory.com says:
    January 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    BTW, it would be good if we could insert HTML code in posts and have a preview as on SkS for example.

    Yes, it would be, but WordPress’ free blog host doesn’t offer it. The other choices are pay for a commercial service or run WordPress yourself. Anthony did that for a while – The heavy load and and potential DoS attacks are why WUWT is now set up as it is.

    BTW, your “name” is http://climate-change-theory.com but clicking on that goes to different site of yours, http://earth-climate.com/ . Is that an error or are you trying to get two links in a single space?

  29. You can joke with the Alan Statham’s comment above by the childish lack of arguments. Now try to read the discussions made in the reviewing process in the latest AR’s from the IPCC. You will see that counter-comments made by “unidentified persons from inside” to almost every comment from reviewers, that could be considered skeptical from the AGW thesis, are almost similar to Alan Statham’s ones. It’s an impressively distorted process, the should be deeply analysed.
    It’s also interesting to see that, lately, there’s always a 1st or 2nd post in every article by someone deeply engaged with the AGW ideas. It’s interesting to see that they pay attention to WUWT.

  30. That’s an interesting hypothesis, can you provide any empirical data or citations to support it?

    There are significant issues in assessing aerosol impacts on the Arctic, including few surface stations, poor satellite coverage and that a very large proportion of the heat flux goes into melting/freezing ice. So air temperatures aren’t a reliable guide to warming and sea ice extent might be a better measure.

    The Arctic, which had shown limited warming previously (see below), suddenly started rapid warming in 1995.

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/dmi-arctic-temperature-data-does-show-increasing-temperature-trend/

    Its implausible that GHGs suddenly started warming the Arctic in this year and a consequence of the fall of the Soviet Union seems more likely.

    The problem for my decreasing aerosol hypothesis is all the warming (in the surface temperatures) is in the autumn/winter, the exact opposite of what I would predict (but see below). Sea ice extent does support the aerosol hypothesis with larger reductions in summer than winter. The sea ice extent also casts doubt on the reliability of the Arctic temperatures

    Perhaps there is another effect at work. Drilling and production of Siberian gas fields went thru a rapid expansion starting around 1995 with likely increases in methane emissions. There is evidence to support this.

    http://www.aari.ru/projects/methane/docs/AtmEnv-34_5319.pdf

    Its interesting to read analyses of the Arctic climate using data up to 1995, which are consistent with aerosol cooling, for example

    The presented analysis shows that the observed variations in air temperature in the real Arctic (defined on the basis of climatic as opposed to other criteria, e.g. astronomical or botanical) are in many aspects not consistent with the projected climatic changes computed by climatic models for the enhanced greenhouse effect. The highest temperatures since the beginning of instrumental observation occurred clearly in the 1930s and can be attributed to changes in atmospheric circulation. The second phase of contemporary global warming (after 1975) is, at most, weakly marked in the Arctic. For example, the mean rate of warming for the period 1991–1995 was 2–3 times lower in the Arctic than the global average. Temperature levels observed in Greenland in the last 10–20 years are similar to those observed in the 19th century

    http://www.arctic-predators.uit.no/biblio_IPYappl/PrzybylakIntJClim00.pdf

    There is another issue which I have discussed previously, which is the minimum temperature is sensitive to changes in early morning solar insolation and this effect will be particularly large at high lattitudes in winter. Less aerosols = more solar insolation = higher minimum temperature. The higher winter temperatures post 1995 may be a spurious consequence of this effect.

    All of this needs more detailed exploration, which I intend to do.

  31. Rab McDowell says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    “What credibility can I put on a website that publishes supposedly informed comment without informing us who the poster is?”

    Your attack on the person shows that you can’t attack the content.

  32. long url shortened

    http://is.gd/UIIQxE

    Note the map of predicted temperatures by 1990 and 2020. It clearly shows the South Pole region as the warmest region on the globe. These were predictions made by Hansen & colleagues based on ‘GHE’ physics, which we’re told is settled science that nobody can be skeptical of.

    This so called “science” of AGW is made up as it goes along. As observations disagree with predictions, the goal posts are moved and the rules change. The game is rigged.

  33. Ric Werme says: January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Copy the images to wattsupwiththat.com is what I’d do. I can probably help, at least I think I can get images up that you can use.

    Yes, if you can get the pics up on RSS, please feel free to drop them in the article.

    You created that page, right? I was looking at it yesterday and noticed that some NASA links are stale. E.g. Global Sea Surface Height – 30 Day Animation – Naval Research Laboratory (NRL):

    says “The requested URL /global_ncom/anims/glb/ssh30d.gif was not found on this server.” Hmm, worse than I thought! Yesterday it went to a new URL automatically, namely

    See also http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/global_ncom/glb8_3b/html/index.html for confirmation the URL should be available.

    Yep, NRL changed their naming convention. Fixed. Thank you

  34. NetDr says: January 1, 2012 at 5:54 pm
    …there has been no warming for the last 13 years. How is that possible?

    Hi NetDr. Please refer to Foster and Rahmstorf 2011 http://www.skepticalscience.com/foster-and-rahmstorf-measure-global-warming-signal.html. Temperature is affected by short term effects such as ENSO (El Nino’s, La Nina’s), volcanic eruptions and solar activity. It is also affected by longer term effects like changes in aerosol load and composition, green house gas concentration, orbital change etc. When short term changes are backed out, the underlying trend for global temperature is statistically significant (and consistent) at +0.16C/decade for both terrestrial and satellite based measurements since the beginning of the satellite era. The globe is warming, consistent with AGW theory.

  35. On the AO

    http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/6A/SpecialEdition/1/_pdf

    It is concluded that the arctic warming before 1989 especially
    in winter was explained by the positive trend of the AOI. Moreover
    the intensified Beaufort High and the drastic decrease of the
    sea ice concentrations in September after 1989 were associated
    with the recent negative trend of the AOI. Since the decadal variation
    of the AO is recognized as the natural variability of the global
    atmosphere, it is shown that both of decadal variabilities before
    and after 1989 in the Arctic can be mostly explained by the natural
    variability of the AO not by the external response due to the
    human activity.

    I didn’t see that referenced over at unScrupulousScience

  36. I hadn’t looked at the GISS chart in many moons, assuming that the integrity of someone with a growing arrest record might also extend into his data manipulation. Given that Hadley, UAH, and RSS all show 1998 as the last year of the Holocene, I’m not disappointed to find Dr H has doctored up three more years to be warmer. He’s had to be more selective in his station homogenization technique lately, throwing out a few Siberian stations and tossing in a few from Venus.

  37. “A website should only be as credible as the information that it provides. Can you identify any error or omission in the article?”

    Thank you. Names are little more than fodder for ‘appeals to authority’. This name is better than that name. Asking the name of the messenger is usually done by someone with a loaded gun in hand.

    An atmosphere of ‘fear and repression’? Well, fear and loathing is more like it. When it becomes more widely known that the gas industry players, like Enron were financing CAGW propaganda through hirelings, the public may quite suddenly turn on those businesses hoping to profit from a diminution of the value of coal and oil and a global carbon tax. Plus the whole carbon futures trading scene. Ah, how the plans of mice and men are brought to naught.

    Carry on messenger. Knowledge shared is a virtuous.

  38. Just the Facts,

    Thanks for the informative post and genteel manner, but as wermet more softly implied: hotlinking is rude. Just because it usually “works” doesn’t make it right.

  39. Statements to keep in skepical tool kit regarding AGW:

    ‘accelerating rate’
    ‘rapidly accelerating rate’
    ‘ever accelerating rate’ (yes I have heard this one, which is physically impossible)
    ‘its worse than we thought’
    ‘unsustainable’ (how about useful, until we use something else)
    ‘environmentally unsustainable’
    ‘the rivers/forests/oceans/coral reefs are dying’ (how can a river die, actually, when it isnt alive in the first place?)
    etc

    So, if something is said to be environmentally unsustainable, occuring at an ever accelerating rate that is worse than we thought, and causing the rivers/oceans/forests/coral reefs/ to die, you can be sure the lunatics are running the asylum.

  40. In 2008, I did some work using Surface Temperature (ST) and Satellite Temperature Lower Troposphere (LT) data.

    I primarily used Hadcrut3 ST data and UAH LT data. Some of this data can be seen at

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf

    There appears to be a significant warming bias of about 0.15C to 0.2C in ~30 years in the Hadcrut3 ST data, or about 0.05C to 0.07C per decade.

    I would not use any ST data for serious analysis – ST coverage is sporadic, the data is often corrupted by poor instrument siting, and the satellite LT data has been independently verified by weather balloon radiosonde data.

    When examining the UAH Lower Atmosphere temperature data as displayed in this article, and also recent solar activity (or lack thereof), it appears probable that Earth is exiting a naturally-caused warming half-cycle of ~30 years and is entering a cooling cycle that could also last several decades.

    Let’s see if my prediction of imminent global cooling stands against all the dire predictions of runaway global warming from the IPCC and its acolytes.

    BTW, I made this global cooling prediction in an article published in 2003.

    Let’s compare track records:

    To date, not one of the IPCC’s dire predictions of global warming and extreme weather have proven correct. To suggest otherwise is to rely upon clearly inferior data.

    In 2002, I made 8 predictions related to the flawed Kyoto Protocol that have all proven correct to date.

    Based on track record alone, I’d suggest that Earth’s immediate future is more likely to encounter global cooling rather than global warming.

    I’m much more concerned about future food production shortfalls due to natural global cooling than any of the IPCC’s dire predictions related to global warming.

  41. What i find rather interesting is in every thread recently there are a few posts and then a heavy IPCC following information line from one poster.. Strange that this same poster then wants real names of those delivering data and thoughts to the conversation which continue to rip apart the Global warming lie.

    why would a scientist want names of those who disagree with them? what purpose would that serve? considering the history of intimidation, defunding, removal from staff, and other bully tactics used by the global warming alarmists I find this disturbing… now they are coming where discussion is actually happening and attempting the same thing.. to silence it…

    instead of addressing the facts of the matter they are concerned with who is saying it….

    The attacks on WUWT are now beginning… please dont give them what they want…

  42. Mike McMillan says:
    January 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I hadn’t looked at the GISS chart in many moons, assuming that the integrity of someone with a growing arrest record might also extend into his data manipulation. Given that Hadley, UAH, and RSS all show 1998 as the last year of the Holocene, I’m not disappointed to find Dr H has doctored up three more years to be warmer.

    Here’s more information on the latest at GISS:

    Walter Dnes says:
    December 27, 2011 at 6:20 am

    GISS monthly anomalies URL has changed from
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    To 
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/_tabledata3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    See http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/updates_v3/ for details. It’ll be interesting to see which way the adjustment goes.

    Here’s what I’ve detected from the new data:

    The revised data in the new link has been adjusted upward within the current year, most notably in the four preceding months of July thru Oct. They were/are:

    July 59/65
    Aug. 61/65
    Sep. 48/50
    Oct. 54/55

    The total anomaly for the first six months of the year is 292 under both methods, or a monthly average of 48.7.

    The yearly figures for 2006 thru 2011 (6 years) are unchanged. The old/new figures for the earlier years in the noughties are:

    2000 33/35 (Up 2 points)
    2001 47/48 (Up 1 point)
    2002 56/57 (Up 1 point)
    2003 55/56 (Up 1 point)
    2004 48/49 (Up 1 point)
    2005 63/62 (The only decline in this group: 1 point)

  43. Just The Facts,
    Good Greetings,
    In your third HadCrut figure please note that they use a 21-point or if you like, 20-year centre point smoothing that is rather unusual. (like GISS use 5 year smoothing). Notice that the final 10 years are depicted as a broken line which does not sensibly match what to me, an engineer, I can see in the trend of the raw data, or, put more bluntly, it is imaginative self serving crap. The background is that with a 20-year CPA smoothing, at the end of the available time series data you need an additional 10 years into the future to compute the 21-point smoothing to the end, which is impossible. So, what do they do? They make it up to what they would like it to be.
    For more whoopsey information, see:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut3/smoothing.html

  44. Rab McDowell says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    WUWT is one of the most respected climate sites because of its credibility. I note that Justthefacts is a regular contributor and often posts quite technical information.
    Two questions
    Given that he is not prepared to put his name to his contributions, what credibility can I put on his work?
    What credibility can I put on a website that publishes supposedly informed comment without informing us who the poster is?

    ______________________________________________________________

    interestingly you want names… or you wont discuss the facts? why?

    do not the facts speak for themselves? or is it you feel that someone who is beneath you shouldn’t be able to speak? this is a position that the IPCC and Climategate emails exposed in the game of who is the bigger bully…

    the facts deny the “rapid” warming.. yet you dont want to discuss them… then to attack WUWT because they put out the facts for discussion.. all because YOU want a name….. how about we address the facts…. and stop the stupid game…

    Just an opinon from someone who is tired of the liberal control games

  45. As more and more years pass with no return to the halcyon days of rapid warming that characterized the end of the 20th century, more and more people of the 21st century are starting to drift away from the fear-mongery of the AGW alarmism movement.

    Every month seems to bring more bad news for the warmists, and even politicians are starting to back away from the panic-stricken carbon strangulation policies so vehemently touted by special interest groups.

    At some point those in the van of the AGW credo will have to follow Scheer’s example and perform their own Gefechtskehrtwendung to try to save their careers from the onslaught.

  46. Well JTF, I am having a bit of difficulty assimilating my body to your graph scales. The first one for example, from NASA GISS shows ther Temperature wildly gyrating all over the map; yet I have no memories of my comfort having reacted in any such fashion over the years.
    Perhaps you could redraw your graphs, using a more realistic Temperature scale; something that one might observe on an ordinary thermometer for example, which we are all familiar with.

    I hesitate to suggest a scale referenced to zero Kelvins, since I have never actually experienced anything near that point, so I wouldn’t be able to put it in context.

    Perhaps if you used a scale that ranged from the lowest (peer reviewed) earth surface Temperature to the highest (peer reviewed) earth surface Temperature, then we could put your graphs in proper perspective. You could use round numbers for the limits, which would then be from about -90 deg C to + 60 deg C. Temperatures over almost all of that range can always be found somewhere on earth at the same time; at least at the midwinter/midsummer times when the range is largest.
    I think I could then see your graph data in a more realistic light. I know that I have personally experienced earth surface Temperatures at or above that max number; but I can’t say I have ever been below about half of the minimum number; but the major concern seems to be the high Temperatures anyway.
    That would give your thesis a more hands on feeling that ordinary lay folks coud appreciate.

  47. Ric Werme says: January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Copy the images to wattsupwiththat.com is what I’d do. I can probably help, at least I think I can get images up that you can use.

    I have had no luck in accomplishing this, your assistance, as well as a brief tutorial would be most appreciated.

  48. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Ric Werme says: January 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Copy the images to wattsupwiththat.com is what I’d do. I can probably help, at least I think I can get images up that you can use.

    I have had no luck in accomplishing this, your assistance, as well as a brief tutorial would be most appreciated.

    ___________________________________________________

    easier method…

    Use the windows snipping tool and save the original window/graph as a Jpeg.. post it here as the base file to be seen and hyperlink it to the source…. that way the data can be seen and the source verified..

    Bill

  49. Bill H says: January 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    easier method…

    Use the windows snipping tool and save the original window/graph as a Jpeg.. post it here as the base file to be seen and hyperlink it to the source…. that way the data can be seen and the source verified..

    Ok, so I did that for the first two RSS graphs and while it worked, the graphs/images are now blurry. I uploaded the TLT graph “Full Size” into WordPress, so I am not sure what I can do to avoid the blurriness. Any thoughts?

  50. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    unfortunately size matters… reduce the overall size of the image and the blur will go away. or enlarge the image before snipping and save the bigger size. you can open JPEG’s in windows photo manager and sharpen the image as well..

    its a bit cumbersome, i admit… but it works where i post data and images as well..

    Bill

  51. Jim Carson says: January 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm (Edit)

    hotlinking is rude

    I can see why hotlinking can cause issues in certain circumstances, such as RSS’, however in general, wouldn’t most data providers prefer hotlinks so that they can effectively track and measure usage of their data products?

  52. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Open PNG in web browser… ZOOM IN to size you want.. Snip the image and save JPEG.

    sizing downward will prevent blur…

  53. George E. Smith; says: January 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm (Edit)

    Well JTF, I am having a bit of difficulty assimilating my body to your graph scales.
    Perhaps you could redraw your graphs, using a more realistic Temperature scale; something that one might observe on an ordinary thermometer for example, which we are all familiar with.
    Perhaps if you used a scale that ranged from the lowest (peer reviewed) earth surface Temperature to the highest (peer reviewed) earth surface Temperature, then we could put your graphs in proper perspective. You could use round numbers for the limits, which would then be from about -90 deg C to + 60 deg C.
    I think I could then see your graph data in a more realistic light. I know that I have personally experienced earth surface Temperatures at or above that max number; but I can’t say I have ever been below about half of the minimum number; but the major concern seems to be the high Temperatures anyway.</i<
    That would give your thesis a more hands on feeling that ordinary lay folks coud appreciate.

    But they’re not “my graphs” they are linked directly from their sources, hence the variations in graph scales, structures, etc. Please feel free to direct your graphing critiques directly to the sources, i.e.:

    Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois:
    Home Page – http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/
    Products Page – http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
    Images Indexed By Date – http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/

    DrRoySpencer.com – Dr. Roy Spencer
    Home Page – http://www.drroyspencer.com/
    Current Temperature Page – http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/
    Uploads Page – http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/

    climate4you.com – Ole Humlum
    Home Page -http://climate4you.com/
    Ole Humlum Bibliography – http://climate4you.com/Text/BIBLIOGRAPHY%20OLE%20HUMLUM.pdf

    Met Office – Hadley Center
    Home Page – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/
    Products Page – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/
    Global Temperature Products Page – Products Page – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut3/diagnostics/comparison.html

    National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
    Home Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/
    Products Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/
    Monitoring and Data Products Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/MD_index.shtml
    Atmospheric & SST Indices Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/
    Regional Climate Maps – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring/
    Monitoring and Data Page – http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/monitoring_and_data/
    FTP Page – ftp://ftp.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
    Home Page – http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/about/about.html?bandwidth=high
    Products Page – http://www.ncdc.noaa.govgov/oa/ncdc.html?bandwidth=high
    FTP Page – http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/?bandwidth=high

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)
    Home Page – http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
    Products – http://data.giss.nasa.gov/

    National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration – (NOAA) – National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC)
    Home Pagehttp://www.nodc.noaa.gov/
    Products Page – http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/General/NODC-About/NODC-Major-Products.html
    Data Page – http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/General/getdata.html
    Heat Content Page – http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

    Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)
    Home Page – http://ssmi.com/?bandwidth=high
    MSU Page – http://ssmi.com/msu/msu_browse.html?bandwidth=high
    MSU FTP Page – ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/msu/?bandwidth=high
    FTP Page – ftp://ftp.ssmi.com/?bandwidth=high

    Rutgers University – Global Snow Lab (GSL)
    Home Page – http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/index.php?bandwidth=high
    Products Page – http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=eurasia&ui_season=1?bandwidth=high

  54. alcheson says: January 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Should add sea level changes to the presentation as well.

    I thought about it, but was worried that I was getting too wide-ranging. According to the IPCC, as referenced by the NSIDC;

    “Global sea level is currently rising as a result of both ocean thermal expansion and glacier melt, with each accounting for about half of the observed sea level rise, and each caused by recent increases in global mean temperature. For the period 1961-2003, the observed sea level rise due to thermal expansion was 0.42 millimeters per year and 0.69 millimeters per year due to total glacier melt (small glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets) (IPCC 2007). Between 1993 and 2003, the contribution to sea level rise increased for both sources to 1.60 millimeters per year and 1.19 millimeters per year respectively (IPCC 2007).”

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

    Global Mean Sea Level Change – 1993 to Present:

    Global Mean Sea Level Change Map with a “Correction” of 0.3 mm/year added May, 5th 2011, due to a “Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)” – 1993 to Present:

    Global Mean Sea Level Change Graph with a “Correction” of 0.3 mm/year added May, 5th 2011, due to a “Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)” – 1993 to Present:

    I will include Sea Level in the next version of this article.

  55. Isn’t soot also playing a role in sea ice cover or is it not possible to give a good estimate of it’s effect? I remember there was an article here on soot in the past.

  56. justthefactswuwt: Image problems? Be sure to turn off all settings such as Clear Type or text/image smoothing both on the desktop settings and in Advanced Settings within the browser. See if the blurring does not disappear. If clipping from PDFs, Adobe Reader also has such a setting. That has worked for me before to get a pixel-by-pixel copy.

  57. Rab McDowell says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    WUWT is one of the most respected climate sites because of its credibility. I note that Justthefacts is a regular contributor and often posts quite technical information.
    Two questions
    Given that he is not prepared to put his name to his contributions, what credibility can I put on his work?
    What credibility can I put on a website that publishes supposedly informed comment without informing us who the poster is?”

    Rab“, how do I know that is your name? Sites like this allow any name to be used, only the validity of the e-mail address is tested. Your argument is based upon false logic, I therefore suggest you reconsider you value system in judging the value of information and comment on this site..

  58. @ Rab McDowell
    ‘What credibility ……….’
    Other posters have given answers to you and I will try to give some other reasons for this.
    In commerce when dealing with Clients or customers it is best to stay away from politics and religion. This avoids offence being caused and also keeps the relationship on a professional level and is good policy. Of course as the relationship changes views may be expressed however it is best to avoid these types of discussions.
    In the uk an aggressive climate prevails in the fourth estate and public sector against skeptics which discourages fair debate and discriminates against those who do not follow the herd.
    If I say to you that Pi is 22 divided by 7 and Pi times the diameter is the circumference of a circle, is it any less true because I remain anonymous?
    Now turning to credibility does all of the public utterances of Honest Phil and his mates on the Fiddlestic Team make their statements credible? Of course not.
    Happy New Year

  59. Rab McDowell says:

    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    WUWT is one of the most respected climate sites because of its credibility. I note that Justthefacts is a regular contributor and often posts quite technical information.
    Two questions
    Given that he is not prepared to put his name to his contributions, what credibility can I put on his work?
    What credibility can I put on a website that publishes supposedly informed comment without informing us who the poster is?

    Oh Oh the brainless trolls are out in force after xmas. They must be bouyed by the turkey. Why can’t you people think for yourselves, too difficult?

  60. Justthefactswuwt

    I am missing a lot of the graphics as well.

    I reconstructed CET back to 1538 and included a lot of graphs which will help to put your interesting article into its broader context.
    .
    Figure 15a shows GISS/Hadley/BEST and the hockey stick.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

    Temperatures have been gently increasing for 350 years-with numerous advances and retreats-Glaciers have been melting since the 1750′s. The hockey stick is not a true representation of the long term temperature trend.

    tonyb

  61. So translated this means ~80-90% of the recent warm cycle (~150 years) is due to natural climate cycles, which increasingly look like they are about to trend negative, and ~10-20% due to the activities of man, which may include the impact of increased carbon dioxide levels.

    Looks like a problem, which needs urgent action. We need to change the climate cycles, it will only cost a few trillion dollars per year, but we need to do it now!!!!!

  62. Jee, thanks for this Ant’s. Basic question here wrt to your graphs – and golly gee whiz, there are a lot of them.
    For all of your graphs for the middle to upper troposphere. and lower stratospherere., have you incluuded allowances for adjustments to these numbers on the basis of the cooling impact on temperature records of Stratospheic cooling

  63. I just looked at my trusty hadcrut3 annual average global temperature dataset and calculated the trend in the 2nd derivative (acceleration) for the whole dataset ie 1850 to 2010 and I get -0.00518 deg K/year^2. So the rate of increase of temperature is slowing on average over the period and to look at more recent periods respecting the wishes of the 30 and 60 year brigades I looked at those trends a well

    Whole period -0.005181275 deg K/year^2
    Last 30 years -0.019668817 deg K/year^2
    Last 60 years -0.002342623 deg K/year^2
    Last 90 years -0.00454823 deg K/year^2

    So warming is consistently decelerating not accelerating and that is in the face of rising anthropogenic CO2.

    Good article “Just The Facts”

  64. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    “alcheson says: January 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm
    Should add sea level changes to the presentation as well.

    I thought about it, but was worried that I was getting too wide-ranging.”

    Glad you plan on adding it to the next update and look forward to it.. Seems to me that sea levels may be one of the most important metrics as to whether the earth is gaining or losing heat. If the earth is warming the sea levels should definitely be rising since the oceans expand with temperature and glaciers will be melting. I would also expect there to be a some lag between when the earth quits warming and the seas begin to contract again. When they do start falling again it is hard to imagine any way to explain it other than the earth must be cooling. Recent slowing in sea level rise and a possible start of sea level fall is totally consistent with no warming in the past several years. I would expect the climate scientists will do their utmost to hide and delay for as long as possible any indication of sea level reduction. Maybe I am a bit paranoid, but I can find no evidence of any sea level data from Envirosat for over 4 months.

  65. “am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles”

    Really Anthony? Maybe a little less bloging and a bit more reading….

    Multiple papers published in the last 24 months. The BAS, and others. All around a central theme. The Antarctic Ozone hole, due to CFC’s. So less energy is absorbed in the stratosphere due to a lack of Ozone. As a consequence, more energy is making it down to energise the major lower atmosphere circumpolar air flow. The so-called Southern Annular Mode – unfriendly term. This has the real impact of isolating the circum-polar air-flow. So the Antarctic ends up more isolated from weather systems further north. So it doesn’t warm as much as it might other wise.would.

  66. At what stage do we start pestering the Wiki to correct it’s inaccurate Global Warming data…?

  67. I added some lines to one of the above plots and deduced for two 33 year periods …
    1909-1942 up 0.49 deg.C
    1975-2008 up 0.54 deg.C
    See: http://climate-change-theory.com/LandOcean.jpg

    The latter is hardly an unprecedented warming rate, And it is still the same rise of 0.54 for the 36 years to 2011, this then making the rates each 0.015 degrees per year or 1.5 degrees per century. However, this is using the steep sections in a cherry-picking fashion best known to the IPCC. If instead we calculate the rate of increase in a more logical, albeit simplistic fashion, from the first maximum to the present maximum we get 0.43 degrees from 1942 to 2011, namely 0.62 degrees per century. I suggest we can’t extrapolate that far anyway, so I’d settle for about 0.3 degrees by 2058 which will bring us back up to about the 1998 peak. After that I expect the 900 to 1000 year cycle to start to decline.

  68. We see all these lovely graphs. But what mathematician would draw a straight linear plot through them and claim that the straight linear line represents the trend?

    It seems to me that the hysteria was brought about by some knucklehead plotting a straight linear line and claiming that was the trend. In so doing all cycular changes were over looked and as a result the manner in which climate changes was improperly assessed.

    Simples ! (as the UK advert says. Unforunately, this last comment will be lost on our American audience who will not be familiar with the advert).

  69. Glenn Tamblyn says:
    January 2, 2012 at 2:44 am
    /////////////////////
    Glenn
    Why doesn’t the well mixed CO2 kick in?

  70. son of mulder says:
    January 2, 2012 at 2:38 am
    /////////////////////////////////
    A good observation and one which severely dents the argument that CO2 is the main/dominant driver of global tempoeratures/climate.

  71. “Rab McDowell says:
    January 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    ////////////////////////////
    It is the message, not the messenger that is important.

  72. http://climate-change-theory.com says:

    January 2, 2012 at 4:36 am
    …”If instead we calculate the rate of increase in a more logical, albeit simplistic fashion, from the first maximum to the present maximum we get 0.43 degrees from 1942 to 2011, namely 0.62 degrees per century. I suggest we can’t extrapolate that far anyway,…”
    —————————————————————————————

    Good post, but a question. When you do the data for the 1942 peak are you using the data that was adjusted down? I have never seen a logical explanation for the downward adjustments of that trend, or for that matter of the upwards adjustments of the downward trend which followed the 42 peak to about 1976. i agree completely that 60 years is the minimum time frame one can use to begin to establish a trend.

  73. Dodgy Geezer says:
    January 2, 2012 at 2:48 am

    At what stage do we start pestering the Wiki to correct it’s inaccurate Global Warming data…?

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

    Good luck with that

  74. Rob Painting says:
    January 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Where’s the graph of ocean heat data down to 2000 metres? Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, and over 90% of global warming goes into the oceans. Is there a recent update for the 2000 mtr data?
    No handwaving required. Just the data.
    —————————————
    Rob you perfectly know that LWIR does not penetrate water at all.
    So what is the mechanism that you know of bringing 90% of global warming into the oceans? The fact that 90 is missing? No handwaving pls, just the facts.

  75. Well, here’s a chart that sure to stir the pot: http://climaterealists.com/?id=8902

    Endersbee shows that if you plot the 21 year moving average of global solar sea surface temperature, against CO2 at Mauna Loa, you get a correlation of 0.9959. However, visually (i.e., no correlation number shown), a 12 month moving average – which he also shows – is nowhere near as highly correlated.

    As the author puts it, “It is what we would expect from the normal solubility relation between carbon dioxide and water.”

    Nothing like the actual physical gas laws to debunk the theory of AGW. The Law wins every time.

  76. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Jim Carson says: January 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm (Edit)

    hotlinking is rude

    I can see why hotlinking can cause issues in certain circumstances, such as RSS’, however in general, wouldn’t most data providers prefer hotlinks so that they can effectively track and measure usage of their data products?

    There are two classes of data providers

    1) Those who want their data to be seen

    2) Those who need advertising income to keep their sites active.

    The latter class dislikes hot linking, especially to images, because it
    means no advertising revenue.

    The former wouldn’t mind, but they’re often smaller sites and

    1) are interested in the pages views

    2) often have an ISP account with a limited bandwidth, both rate and byte count.

    When they get clobbered by a herd of WUWT readers, their monthly bandwidth can be gone in days.

    Then there was the time Anthony used one of my web pages as a guest post and didn’t remove the page counter link that went to my home system. That was interesting. I spent a while watching the hits come in every few seconds for a while, fearful that Comcast would shut me down.

    I assume RSS is a small business, but have no idea what their server is beyond it being a Windows box.

  77. Glenn Tamblyn says: January 2, 2012 at 2:18 am

    Basic question here wrt to your graphs – and golly gee whiz, there are a lot of them.

    For all of your graphs for the middle to upper troposphere. and lower stratospherere., have you incluuded allowances for adjustments to these numbers on the basis of the cooling impact on temperature records of Stratospheic cooling

    I know there’s a lot of graphs there, but if you try reading some of them, you might learn something and you might have noticed that the particular graphs you reference are products from RSS. RSS uses the following weighting for their data sets: http://www.ssmi.com/data/msu/graphics/plots/msu_wt_func.png

    I don’t believe there to be any adjustments, nor should there be.

  78. Glenn Tamblyn says: January 2, 2012 at 2:44 am

    “am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles”

    Really Anthony? Maybe a little less bloging and a bit more reading….

    Ummm, more on the reading skills, Anthony didn’t write the article, as evidenced the “By” at the top of the article.

    Multiple papers published in the last 24 months. The BAS, and others. All around a central theme. The Antarctic Ozone hole, due to CFC’s. So less energy is absorbed in the stratosphere due to a lack of Ozone. As a consequence, more energy is making it down to energise the major lower atmosphere circumpolar air flow. The so-called Southern Annular Mode – unfriendly term. This has the real impact of isolating the circum-polar air-flow. So the Antarctic ends up more isolated from weather systems further north. So it doesn’t warm as much as it might other wise.would.

    I consider the whole Anthropogenic (CFC caused) “Ozone Hole” narrative to be highly suspect. I am doing some research into Polar Vortices;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/29/new-wuwt-polar-vortex-reference-page/

    and think that the Stratospheric Polar Vortex and associated Atmospheric Oscillation may offer a more plausible explanation for “Arctic Amplification” and “Antarctic Dampening”. Regardless the CFC hypothesis is far from a “compelling explanation” for the “divergence in temperature trends between the poles”.

  79. All a very interesting analysis. The next 10 years will be most telling, and even the next 5 will be quite interesting. With the quiet sun that we have (certainly a Dalton Minimum and possible and Maunder in the cards), increased aerosols, and a trend to a La Nina favored period, we have a great test for the kinds of forcing these can bring to counter any forcing from increased greenhouse gases. Many climate scientist will tell you that warming is being temporarily masked by these short-term forcings and could resume in earnest once these forcings are gone or reverse. I’m not sure I 100% agree with this, but it is possible, and I will be curious as to the response that will come from skeptics if we get a few record warm years between now and 2015? Moreover, I will be interested to see if the decade of 2010-2019 turns out warmer than the decade of 2000-2009, what the response of AGW skeptics will be? In a response I gave to Lord Monckton, in which he insisted a high level of certainty that the transient response from greenhouse gases being nearly equal to the equalibrium respsonse at our current levels of CO2, I pointed out that we’ve not yet seen the full earth-system response even to the current levels, so we can’t possibly know if the transient and equalibrium response are the same. The full range of sensitivity must consider both fast and slow feedbacks, and the slow feedbacks are still operating.
    Is the earth warming rapidly? By normal geological standards the period of 1976 to 2010 was extraordinary, but the next 10 years or so will indicate a great deal. The natural forcing cards are stacked for a period of intense cooling. If we get only flat temps, or slight warming, it could indicate the potency of the additional greenhouse warming from the extra CO2, N2O, and methane that is being added to the atmosphere.

  80. Gates: The natural forcing cards are stacked for a period of intense cooling. If we get only flat temps, or slight warming, it could indicate the potency of the additional greenhouse warming from the extra CO2, N2O, and methane that is being added to the atmosphere.
    ==========================================================
    Or something else….truth is we still won’t know squat

  81. Ammonite says:
    Ammonite says:
    …. Temperature is affected by short term effects such as ENSO (El Nino’s, La Nina’s), volcanic eruptions and solar activity. It is also affected by longer term effects like changes in aerosol load and composition, green house gas concentration, orbital change etc. When short term changes are backed out, the underlying trend for global temperature is statistically significant (and consistent) at +0.16C/decade for both terrestrial and satellite based measurements since the beginning of the satellite era. The globe is warming, consistent with AGW theory.
    ————————————————————–

    Thanks for my laugh of the day. If you actually understood the article you would see that they assumed the ‘correct answer’ of +0.16C/decade and calculated what the effects of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, etc, “must have been” to produce the actual recorded temps. Of COURSE it was “consistent with AGW theory; it began with the ASSUMPTION that the theory was correct! I mean, really, does anyone claim to be able to put an actual value on the delta T that solar activity may be responsible for? Is there even an actual ‘consensus’ that recent solar (in)activity has had a measurable effect on global temps? It’s proof of nothing except the great reluctance some people have to doubt their pet theories when presented with contrary evidence. It reminds me of the alchemist who blamed his failure on God being mad at him – otherwise, that lump of lead would be pure gold. His alchemy theory could not possibly be wrong.

  82. R. Gates says: January 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I will be curious as to the response that will come from skeptics if we get a few record warm years between now and 2015?

    I would not be at all surprised if this occurred. Given the tremendous complexity and uncertainty associated with Earth’s Climate system; http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/30/earths-climate-system-is-ridiculously-complex-with-draft-link-tutorial/

    I think it’s close to 50/50 whether temps go up or down from here. I think the response of the skeptics “if we get a few record warm years between now and 2015?” would be to assimilate these new data points and evaluate if they help to increase our understanding of Earth’s climate system.

    Moreover, I will be interested to see if the decade of 2010-2019 turns out warmer than the decade of 2000-2009, what the response of AGW skeptics will be?

    Similar to my prior point. Given the fact that temps have been increasing since the Little Ice Age, and that there hasn’t been a major volcanic eruption since Mt Pinatubo in 1991, I would expect that “the decade of 2010-2019 turns out warmer than the decade of 2000-2009″, unless some other variable; volcanic, oceanic, atmospheric, solar, anthropogenic, etc., comes into play.

    Is the earth warming rapidly? By normal geological standards the period of 1976 to 2010 was extraordinary

    Can you please describe these “normal geological standards”?

    RSS Lower Troposphere Temperature has increased by a rate of .14K per decade since 1979. Can you offer a “normal geological standard” by which this rate of increase would be considered “extraordinary”?

  83. Justthefactswuwt: “Lower Troposphere Temperature has increased by a rate of .14K per decade since 1979.”

    I think we can lower this one a bit too. I estimate Roy Spencer’s curved trend for the lower atmosphere will continue its now downward trend when the December 2011 figures are added, as December was cooler than November. This will then give us a 33 year period of satellite measurements in which I estimate his trend will have increased just 0.27 to 0.28 degrees. So let’s call that about 0.083 or 0.084 degrees per decade. The models say the lower troposphere should warm at about 1.4 times the rate of sea surface temperatures, though of course I disagree with that because back radiation has now been shown to cause no warming whatsoever and the greenhouse effect is a physical impossibility as proved in Prof Claes Johnson’s “Computational Blackbody Radiation” and confirmed in Prof Nahle’s September experiment.

    The year closed with 2011 sea surface temperatures lower than those for 2003 because, as both Spencer’s and Trenberth’s curved trends show, we passed a maximum around 2006 to 2008. As I keep reminding people, we should be weighting world temperatures not by relative surface areas of sea to land, but by relative thermal energy content, because it is the latter which affects climate and reflects temporary natural TOA radiative imbalance. Consequently, land temperatures should be weighted no more than about 6.5%. Perhaps WUWT could recalculate and publish some long term trends based on such a weighting.

  84. Dodgy Geezer says: January 2, 2012 at 2:48 am

    At what stage do we start pestering the Wiki to correct it’s inaccurate Global Warming data…?

    Bill Marsh says: January 2, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Good luck with that

    It looks like someone changed the wiki entry for the “Scientific opinion on climate change.”

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

    Previously it stated that;

    “There is broad scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerating rate.”

    now it states that:

    “The predominant scientific opinion on climate change is that the Earth’s climate system is unequivocally warming and it is more than 90% certain that humans are causing it through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels.”

    I’ll deal with the “90% certain” part another day, but the words “rapidly” and “accelerating” no longer appear in the body of the Wiki entry, which seems like forward progress. Let’s see if it actually stays that way…

  85. JTF

    “The warming trend in the Arctic is almost twice as large as the global average in recent decades. This is known as Arctic amplification. What’s the cause? Changes in cloud cover, increases in atmospheric water vapour, more atmospheric heat transport from lower latitudes and declining sea ice have all been suggested as contributing factors.”

    Well I think that the Arctic Oscillation and Arctic Polar Vortex are probably contributing factors as well, so now we have 6 to choose from. Which one’s do you like?

    And that’s only Arctic Amplification, what about the Antarctic Dampening, i.e. why is there a .007 K/C per decade decrease in Southern Polar Lower Troposphere Temperature?”

    ##############################################################
    look you wrote the article and didnt even know about the publications on arctic amplification.
    I dont care what what you think the contributing factors are. Go read the science or get the data and do your own science.

    Why is there a .007C decrease in the Lower Trop? google is your friend
    We do not know everything. one cannot draw any conclusion from that about our knowledge of anything else.

  86. “Steven Mosher: You need to understand that SkS is a very biased site. (See some of my posts which they deleted because they had no answer: http://climate-change-theory.com/SkS_errors.html )”

    The site has links to articles. read the science.
    Also, as Smokey points out who cares who wrote the piece? its just the facts that matter

  87. The Arctic is now cooler than it was in the 1930′s and the rise late last century was nowhere near the 4 degree rise between 1919 and 1939. There is absolutely no correlation with carbon dioxide levels in this plot: http://climate-change-theory.com/arctic1880.jpg

    Why should anyone be worried anyway about the air temperatures up there when there are not many people around to feel a bit less frozen? It’s the temperature of the ocean currents and the rate of flow which are the main factors determining how fast ice melts or reforms, and any melting has negligible effect on sea levels because about 90% of the ice is already in the sea. And, by the way, those currents come in from the North Atlantic Ocean which exhibits natural cycles. There are links backing up all this on my site http://climate-change-theory.com

  88. Steven Mosher says:
    January 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm
    “The site has links to articles. read the science.
    Also, as Smokey points out who cares who wrote the piece? its just the facts that matter”

    Why should somebody go to a biased site and try to filter out to get the science from there if any? Science should be presented and discussed without any bias, or at least openly and not insulting.
    We can discuss about photons going through 2 separate slots at a time or neutrinos faster the light or not and we cannot discuss about heat transfer through gases?
    If SkS wants normal people to read their site they should get rid of bias and discuss normally, let posts through, not change discussions post-hoc. To have the answer filtered out to leave the discussion run in the moderators way? What’s the use of it?

  89. Steven Mosher says: January 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    look you wrote the article and didnt even know about the publications on arctic amplification.

    I didn’t say I’d never read an explanation, I stated that, “I am not aware of a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles.” The SkS article you cited states that, “A new paper The central role of diminishing sea ice in recent Arctic temperature amplification (Screen & Simmonds 2010) (here’s the full paper) examines this question. The title is a bit of a give-away – the decline in sea ice is the major driver of Arctic amplification.” Here’s the abstract;

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7293/full/nature09051.html

    The abstract states that, “Increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases have driven Arctic and global average warming; however, the underlying causes of Arctic amplification remain uncertain. The roles of reductions in snow and sea ice cover and changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation cloud cover and water vapour are still matters of debate.” before claiming that, “Here we show that the Arctic warming is strongest at the surface during most of the year and is primarily consistent with reductions in sea ice cover.”

    Here’s another paper, “Vertical structure of recent Arctic warming” by Rune G. Graversen, Thorsten Mauritsen1, Michael Tjernström, Erland Källén & Gunilla Svensson, Nature, 2008.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7174/abs/nature06502.html

    The abstract states that, “The underlying causes of this temperature amplification remain uncertain. The reduction in snow and ice cover that has occurred over recent decades may have played a role. Climate model experiments indicate that when global temperature rises, Arctic snow and ice cover retreats, causing excessive polar warming9, 10, 11. Reduction of the snow and ice cover causes albedo changes, and increased refreezing of sea ice during the cold season and decreases in sea-ice thickness both increase heat flux from the ocean to the atmosphere. Changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation, as well as cloud cover, have also been proposed to cause Arctic temperature amplification. Here we examine the vertical structure of temperature change in the Arctic during the late twentieth century using reanalysis data. We find evidence for temperature amplification well above the surface. Snow and ice feedbacks cannot be the main cause of the warming aloft during the greater part of the year, because these feedbacks are expected to primarily affect temperatures in the lowermost part of the atmosphere, resulting in a pattern of warming that we only observe in spring. A significant proportion of the observed temperature amplification must therefore be explained by mechanisms that induce warming above the lowermost part of the atmosphere. We regress the Arctic temperature field on the atmospheric energy transport into the Arctic and find that, in the summer half-year, a significant proportion of the vertical structure of warming can be explained by changes in this variable. We conclude that changes in atmospheric heat transport may be an important cause of the recent Arctic temperature amplification.”

    Here’s another paper, Arctic air temperature change amplification and the Atlantic
    Multidecadal Oscillation, by Petr Chylek, Chris K. Folland, Glen Lesins, Manvendra K. Dubey, and Muyin Wang, Geophysical Research Letter, 2009:

    http://www.lanl.gov/source/orgs/ees/ees14/pdfs/09Chlylek.pdf

    It states that, “Analyzing temperature records of the Arctic meteorological stations we find that (a) the Arctic amplification (ratio of the Arctic to global temperature trends) is not a constant but varies in time on a multi-decadal time scale, (b) the Arctic warming from 1910–1940 proceeded at a significantly faster rate than the current 1970–2008 warming, and (c) the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi-decadal time scale.”

    So let’s stop there, you have three papers from the last three years that state that, “Arctic warming” “is primarily consistent with reductions in sea ice cover.” or “A significant proportion of the observed temperature amplification must therefore be explained by mechanisms that induce warming above the lowermost part of the atmosphere.” or “the Arctic temperature changes are highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) suggesting the Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation is linked to the Arctic temperature variability on a multi-decadal time scale.”

    Do you find any of these to be “a compelling explanation for the significant divergence in temperature trends between the poles.” or would you agree with me that you are currently “not aware of a compelling explanation”?

    We do not know everything. one cannot draw any conclusion from that about our knowledge of anything else.

    No, but there are a lot of things we don’t know, and when there is still robust disagreement about a subject, it is better to accept the uncertainty, than to delude ourselves into thinking we know, when we do not.

  90. jtom says: January 2, 2012 at 11:44 am
    If you actually understood the article [Foster & Rahmstorf] you would see that they assumed the ‘correct answer’ of +0.16C/decade and calculated what the effects of solar activity, volcanic eruptions, etc, “must have been” to produce the actual recorded temps. Of COURSE it was “consistent with AGW theory; it began with the ASSUMPTION that the theory was correct!

    Hi jtom. Foster & Rahmstorf did not assume AGW to be correct (though this is clearly their position). They assumed that the net affect of forcings operating over long time frames would act linearly over short time frames. By removing known short term impacts, albeit on a statistical basis, they narrow the time frame in which a trend may be considered statistically significant.

    Perhaps you consider it a fluke that the two satellite and three terrestrial based residuals follow each other so closely across the entire record set, generating statistically significant trends down to ~5 years. An alternative assessment is that Foster & Rahmstorf provide predictive power across the next decade. Lets see which generates the best predictor, extrapolation from El Nino peaks to La Nina troughs as NetDr references above or F&R’s adjustment process applied with identical parameters to the ongoing temperature series. Which would you back?

  91. A bit off topic, but I saw a docoumentary the other day which said the drop in Temp. during the Little Ice Age -LIA- was far larger than the drop in solar output, so shouldn’t we then be able to calculate the expected rise in Temp. from the increased solar output since the LIA (ie about 1750), meaning that we should be able to determine just how much the sun has caused T rise since about 1750, as compared to C02?

    In other words the drop in T was about ~3 times as expected during the LIA, so we should expect a warmth of about ~3 times expected since 1750 from the solar increase. I reckon therefore about 70-90% of T increase since 1750 is from the sun, using the corresponding drop in solar output during the LIA.

  92. While it may be technically correct to say that one can find the phrase “There is broad scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerating rate” in the Wikipedia article, that is because it is a quote from the American Academy of Pediatrics, appearing in a footnote, not in the main article. Note that the opening sentence of the Wikipedia article closely follows that wording, but specifically omits the “accelerating” phrase.
    Phil

  93. Phil says: January 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    While it may be technically correct to say that one can find the phrase “There is broad scientific consensus that Earth’s climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerating rate” in the Wikipedia article, that is because it is a quote from the American Academy of Pediatrics, appearing in a footnote, not in the main article. Note that the opening sentence of the Wikipedia article closely follows that wording, but specifically omits the “accelerating” phrase.
    Phil

    That phrase appeared in the body of article until someone changed it in the last 24 hours. It still shows up in the Google search:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%E2%80%9CThere+is+broad+scientific+consensus+that+Earth%E2%80%99s+climate+is+warming+rapidly+and+at+an+accelerating+rate&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=tOD&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=%E2%80%9CThere+is+broad+scientific+consensus+that+Earth%E2%80%99s+climate+is+warming+rapidly+and+at+an+accelerating+rate%22&pbx=1&oq=%E2%80%9CThere+is+broad+scientific+consensus+that+Earth%E2%80%99s+climate+is+warming+rapidly+and+at+an+accelerating+rate%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=16438l16438l0l17140l1l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=9920b2d293cc72f&biw=1384&bih=758

  94. justthefactswuwt says: January 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm (Edit)

    That phrase appeared in the body of article until someone changed it in the last 24 hours.

    It seems that our friend William Connolley, who has a history of altering climate Wikis;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/14/willia-connolley-now-climate-topic-banned-at-wikipedia/

    has been active on the page in question in the last couple days:
    15:29, 2 January 2012‎ William M. Connolley
    09:51, 1 January 2012‎ William M. Connolley

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change&action=history

  95. I have a more straightforward issue. The claim is that the Earth’s energy budget is being skewed by ‘Greenhouse’ gases which ‘trap’ the heat energy in the atmosphere. This is shown by excitedly plotting ‘global average atmospheric temperatures’. But atmospheric temperature DOES NOT equal atmospheric heat content

    Let us take a cool humid afternoon in Louisiana after a rainstorm has just stopped and the air temperature is a relatively cool 25C (77F) but the humidity is close to 100% at the same time in the Arizona desert after several weeks of drought the temperature is a really hot 38C (100F) but the air is almost zero humidity. It may come as a surprise to some that the 25C atmosphere in Louisiana holds twice the energy 76.9KJ/Kg, as the dry 38C atmosphere in Arizona 38.3KJ/Kg . If there are actually droplets of water for example a post shower mist in the Bayou then the energy content of the 25C Louisiana atmosphere is considerably greater. This is due to the enthalpy difference between saturated and dry air. (see http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/enthalpy-moist-air-d_683.html )

    it makes no physics sense and is a gross ‘type’ error to average temperatures to assess heat content

    Now take the case of a diurnal variation – early morning just after dawn the coldest temperature is also the highest humidity possibly also with radiation fog. The day warms the fog ‘burns off’ and the air saturation decreases as a function of temperature until the highest temperature of the day in late afternoon. Climate ‘scientists’ will average the minimum and maximum temperatures to assess the heat trapped by the atmosphere. But using the enthalpy calculation it is quite possible that the amount of heat energy as KJ/Kg in the atmosphere was constant or even reduced as the temperature rose.

    Just because people have being keeping atmospheric temperature records does not make atmospheric temperature the correct metric. We should not join the climate ‘scientists’ under their lampost.

  96. Lars – I can certainly confirm that Skeptical Science immediately deletes posts for which they have no response. Here are screen captures of some of mine which they deleted within a few minutes http://climate-change-theory.com/SKS111223d.jpg and http://climate-change-theory.com/SkS120101all.jpg

    I have had to use eight separate email addresses and anonymous ID’s and two ISP’s as I have been banned that many times and now both my ISP’s have been blocked from even opening their site. As pay-back I am paying for views of this page documenting errors on the SkS site http://www.climate-change-theory.com/SkS_errors.html Watch the hit counter over the next few weeks!

    It would be great if someone could get a post to stick on SkS regarding Arctic temperatures in the 1930′s being higher than now – feel free to copy mine above as I give up trying to post there – I just do so on their Facebook page as you may have noted.

  97. JTF, I am always bothered by long term trend lines that clearly cut through changes in trend. Your tropospheric charts all show a change in trend at about 1997, going from clear warming to flat to slight cooling. similarly the stratosphere changes from cooling to statistically flat.
    The whole AGW issue was started based on about 13 years of warming trend from ca 1975 to 1988. If that was so significant, then surely the years and trend from late 1997 to now are significant.
    Foe questions of why the LIA was colder than explainable by solar effects alone, or what we might expect for mthe next couple of decades, or whether there may be more warming in store, please see my speculation at http://www.agwnot.blogspot.com.

  98. Well said, Ian W. You soon find out what someone knows when you start talking about enthalpy, endothermic reactions etc.

    In my view there really is no point in measuring or calculating anything other than sea surface and land temperatures and perhaps then weighting land temperatures by only about 6.5%. The thermal energy in the atmosphere is only about 4% of all that in the oceans, land surfaces etc anyway, and it can only warm the surface in rare situations when the lowest layers are actually warmer than the surface at any particular location.

    Indeed we “should not join the climate ‘scientists’ under their lamp post” and there is no point in arguing about temperature trends, TOA radiative imbalance etc, or even acknowledging that those trace gases are “greenhouse” gases, because there is no physical basis for any greenhouse effect. Radiation from a colder atmosphere cannot add thermal energy to a warmer surface.

    Even “back radiation” itself probably does not exist as such. Infra-red thermometers measure frequency and convert it to temperature using Wien’s displacement Law which says temperature is directly (linearly) proportional to frequency. You cannot then take that temperature for some unknown spot in the atmosphere and bung it into the SB equation to deduce radiative flux which would only be applicable if the rest of the atmosphere were a vacuum. The frequency of radiation cannot tell you anything about the volume of such radiation.

  99. Lars P. says
    January 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm:

    “Rob you perfectly know that LWIR does not penetrate water at all.
    So what is the mechanism that you know of bringing 90% of global warming into the oceans? The fact that 90 is missing? No handwaving pls, just the facts.”

    Lars, Rob Painting would have answered your questions a while ago, but he had to run along back to Skeptical Pseudo-Science for some new talking points.☺

  100. > R. Gates says:
    > All a very interesting analysis. The next 10 years will be most telling, and even the next 5 will be
    > quite interesting. … [snip]… I will be curious as to the response that will come from skeptics if we
    > get a few record warm years between now and 2015? Moreover, I will be interested to see if the
    > decade of 2010-2019 turns out warmer than the decade of 2000-2009, what the response of AGW
    > skeptics will be?

    If you’re interested in science, then YOU must be a skeptic, too. Do you care in the least for the scientific tradition of experimental falsification? If so, what about THIS PAST decade? Temperatures have NOT behaved as the climate models said they should. What do you think we can conclude from that? According to alarmists who wrote those models, the CO2 forcing was primary – solar forcings were laughed at as inconsequential. Were they wrong, or not? If they were wrong, were they wrong at a level that disqualifies all previous conclusions? Why, or why not?

    Are you claiming we just need another 10 years to decide? Or maybe the models will be bulletproof by then? But then, how many years of correct predictions will a climate model need to make before we judge it beyond question? My answer would be many hundreds of thousands of years, at a minimum (YMMV). In fact, as a skeptic, I ask myself whether building a computer model that cannot be falsified by comparing it’s predictions to reality is the same thing as doing science. I say no. What do you think?.

  101. murrayv says: January 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    JTF, I am always bothered by long term trend lines that clearly cut through changes in trend. Your tropospheric charts

    Ahhhhhhh!?! :) I don’t have any tropospheric charts, they are all linked directly from their sources. Look at the bottom of the chart to see its source. Click on the chart to view it at its source. If you have issues with the charts, please direct them to the source who created them, which I’ve summarized here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/01/a-big-picture-look-at-earths-temperature/#comment-850434

  102. R. Gates @ January 2, 10:30 am

    ”…Is the earth warming rapidly? By normal geological standards the period of 1976 to 2010 was extraordinary, but the next 10 years or so will indicate a great deal. The natural forcing cards are stacked for a period of intense cooling. If we get only flat temps, or slight warming, it could indicate the potency of the additional greenhouse warming from the extra CO2, N2O, and methane that is being added to the atmosphere…”

    Errh, but isn’t the warming period prior to ~1940, (before significant human caused GHG’s), a little more extraordinary by comparison? And, isn’t the cooling period after ~1940 somewhat reminiscent of what we have seen since about 1998? (or 2010 if you insist).
    Wanna me to post a graph or more?
    Like have you heard of the commonly discussed ~60-year natural cycle?

  103. Did anyone ever measure the change in humidity over the years?
    After looking at the daily average readings from about 20 weather stations all over the world I am finding a change of about -0.02%RH per annum.

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming

    So, if this estimate is not far from correct, then the average global humidity is now about o.75% RH lower than it was 37 years ago.
    If I am not mistaken (at 15 degrees C) that translates again to a loss of about 0.1% in absolute humidity.
    You see how that compares with the increase in of CO2? (0.01% increase over the last 50 years)

  104. Lars and Rob – on the topic of back radiation and absorption by carbon dioxide ….

    Does anyone know if this* experiment has been debunked or repeated since 1998? It shows carbon dioxide absorption as being only 1/80th (ie 1.25%) of that calculated by the IPCC and thus deduces negligible difference when carbon dioxide is doubled. As you know, I say it has no effect when the surface is warmer, but I could accept rare situations when the surface is colder as accounting for 1.25% – what the heck!

    * http://www.john-daly.com/artifact.htm

  105. http://climate-change-theory.com says:

    January 2, 2012 at 4:36 am
    …”If instead we calculate the rate of increase in a more logical, albeit simplistic fashion, from the first maximum to the present maximum we get 0.43 degrees from 1942 to 2011, namely 0.62 degrees per century. I suggest we can’t extrapolate that far anyway,…”
    —————————————————————————————

    @ climate-change-theory: Good post, but a question. When you do the data for the 1942 peak are you using the data where the peak was adjusted down? I have never seen a logical explanation for the downward adjustments of that trend, or the more recent upward adjustments. I agree completely that 60 years is the minimum time frame one can use to begin to establish a trend.

  106. The snow cover changes are interesting. I am leaning to the idea that the impact of rising co2 levels may not be on temperatures at all. Temperatures are likely to be pegged by the lapse rate to whatever is happening in the upper troposphere/stratosphere. If temperatures were pegged, then extra back radiation must be causing increased evaporation, leading to gradually increasing precipitation.

    So there are about 80 W/m**2 of latent heat of evaporation and 320 W/m**2 of back radiation. If one causes the other, that would be a gain of 4, which is completely unstable of course. So each unit of latent heat would cause somewhat less than one unit of back radiation, leading to the positive water vapour feedback.

    So increases in precipitation could indicate or at least suggest the strength of this feedback. Not, however, the increment in temperature required to drive it.

  107. justthefactswuwt says:
    January 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    justthefactswuwt says: January 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm (Edit)

    That phrase appeared in the body of article until someone changed it in the last 24 hours.

    It seems that our friend William Connolley, who has a history of altering climate Wikis;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/14/willia-connolley-now-climate-topic-banned-at-wikipedia/

    has been active on the page in question in the last couple days:
    15:29, 2 January 2012‎ William M. Connolley
    09:51, 1 January 2012‎ William M. Connolley

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change&action=history

    Ah! The “ban” was a sham from the get-go.

    He needs a title. I propose The Fiddler.

  108. peter_ga says:
    January 2, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    The snow cover changes are interesting. I am leaning to the idea that the impact of rising co2 levels may not be on temperatures at all. Temperatures are likely to be pegged by the lapse rate to whatever is happening in the upper troposphere/stratosphere. If temperatures were pegged, then extra back radiation must be causing increased evaporation, leading to gradually increasing precipitation.

    So there are about 80 W/m**2 of latent heat of evaporation and 320 W/m**2 of back radiation. If one causes the other, that would be a gain of 4, which is completely unstable of course. So each unit of latent heat would cause somewhat less than one unit of back radiation, leading to the positive water vapour feedback.

    Except, I believe, that the odds of heat being lost by a molecule of CO2 thru thermal contact are higher than of losing it by radiation by approximately 10 to the umpteenth power.

  109. Brian_H says:
    “Except, I believe, that the odds of heat being lost by a molecule of CO2 thru thermal contact are higher than of losing it by radiation by approximately 10 to the umpteenth power.”

    For sure. That molecule of CO2 will hit a molecule of N2 or O2 most likely. However as the N2 or O2 will not absorb any long wave, neither will it emit any long wave, so that N2 or O2 stays heated until it hits another CO2 (or H20 or other GHG molecule) heating it up and that molecule may very well emit a long-wave photon to cool down.

  110. Can anyone answer this question:
    Look at the NOAA global temperature record above. The maxima and minima temperatures are clearly displayed. They are also shown on the HADCRU output below this graph. Both show the monthly max/min range about 0.5C before about 1950 and only 0.3C after 1950. This introduces a significant warming bias to the anomaly – of the order of 0.15C.
    As minimum temperatures generally occur in the hours of darkness, (i.e. no solar insolation) then the rate of cooling post 1950 could have decreased (cloud density?). Of course it could be down to manipulation of the raw data (homogenisation)..

  111. peter_ga says:
    January 2, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    ….. Temperatures are likely to be pegged by the lapse rate to whatever is happening in the upper troposphere/stratosphere. If temperatures were pegged, then extra back radiation must be causing increased evaporation, leading to gradually increasing precipitation.So there are about 80 W/m**2 of latent heat of evaporation and 320 W/m**2 of back radiation. If one causes the other, that would be a gain of 4, which is completely unstable of course. So each unit of latent heat would cause somewhat less than one unit of back radiation, leading to the positive water vapour feedback.”
    ————————————————————————-
    Besides what Brian H stated above, please consider that additional cloud cover prevents a far broader spectrum (then the spectrum affected just by CO2) of TSI from reaching the oceans, which have a vastly greater energy capacity then the atmosphere. So any increase in absorbtion by the atmosphere (which quickly reaches equalibrium) is overwhelmed, in time, by a loss of energy to the oceans; which may take decades or far longer to reach a radiative balance, depending on the solar spectrum affected and the residence time of the energy entering the oceans, now reduced due to greater cloud cover. Water vapor alone reduces the TSI at the surface by about 20%, and that is before any clouds which are additional.

  112. Peter, another factor to consider is that the ratio, 4 to 1 of LWIR back radiation to evaporation may not be linear at all. (The last ten W/m**2 of back radiation may produce far more evaporation then the first ten.) Also convection may increase the time factor of evaporation to condensation and latent heat release higher in the atmosphere; a quickening of any energy cycle takes work.

  113. Spen says:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/01/a-big-picture-look-at-earths-temperature/#comment-851451

    Henry@Spen

    I don’t think that NOAA graph actually shows the maxima and minima (once a day occurences) anomalies.
    I think it just shows the ranges for average temp. anomalies.
    If you want to see what I think you want to see (because I wanted to know exactly the same thing)
    you must study my tables here:

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming

    and read what I conclude from it.
    So far.

    there could be more coming:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/01/a-big-picture-look-at-earths-temperature/#comment-851327

  114. JTF OK, they are not “your” charts, so it is not “your” trend line that is misleadingly presented. I accept that. But, that said, your case would be stronger, and I think more valid, if you pointed out the trend changes that the producers of the charts have chosen to overlook. Murray

  115. Good graphic study. If I were looking at the “Hockey-stick”, I would have said what Wiki said. However; there was nothing resembling a hockey-stick in these graphs. These graphs all show, of course, recent years. Historically speaking, we know it’s been warmer before and colder before too. So presently, we Earthlings are somewhere in between. These graphs show no drastic trends. There should be no panic. there is no danger to anyone.
    The “Hockey-stick” graph was manufactured to evoke fear of danger ,to evoke panic. It is but one example of pervasive global warming fear mongering.
    The social upheaval caused by this fear mongering is sought by certain groups who wish to wrest power and control amidst the chaos. This is the true danger.
    As for the creators of the “Hockey stick, I hope the FBI has a fat file on every one of theses subversives dressed as scientists. Wolves dressed as lambs.

    (1400K somewhere in the atmosphere? Wow. Who knew?)

  116. “”””” peter_ga says:

    January 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Brian_H says:
    “Except, I believe, that the odds of heat being lost by a molecule of CO2 thru thermal contact are higher than of losing it by radiation by approximately 10 to the umpteenth power.”

    For sure. That molecule of CO2 will hit a molecule of N2 or O2 most likely. However as the N2 or O2 will not absorb any long wave, neither will it emit any long wave, so that N2 or O2 stays heated until it hits another CO2 (or H20 or other GHG molecule) heating it up and that molecule may very well emit a long-wave photon to cool down. “””””

    Why do you assume that a collision between an N2 or O2 molecule and a CO2 molecule, will heat the CO2 molecule. All of the molecules of any species will exhibit some Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of Kinetic energies, and in any random collision, no-one can say which of the two colliding molecules will gain energy, and which will lose energy.

    As for your statement that the N2 and O2 molecules can neither absorb or emit long wave radiation; perhaps you didn’t read Bill Illis’s statement, that the spectrum of the downward radiation from the atmosphere (I presume he has observed it) is in fact a Planckian Black body like continuous spectrum, which is characterized by the temperature of the atmosphere immediately above the measuring instrument. So what is YOUR physical mechanism for the emission of a continuous thermal spectrum from a CO2 molecule, when it is widely asserted that gases CANNOT emit or absorb thermal continuum radiation; but that only certain gas molecular species may emit or absorb molecular resonance type spectral lines, that form relatively narrow absorption bands compared with black body spectra, which go from >0 to <infinity frequency or wavelength.

    HOW does CO2 emit a blck body like continuous spectrum.

    I would suggest a visit to California's Hiway 280 near Sand Hill road, to look at a two mile long building, where some pretty savvy researchers are quite convinced that N2 and O2, and anything else can emit and absorb long wave radiation.

  117. Ian W says:
    January 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm
    Well said. I’ve been pondering the thought of how to use this fact for quite a while with regards to atmospheric temp data.

    =========

    I have an open question for all. When H2O is present in the air (say at 50% humidity) does it absorb / block any radiation from the sun? I’m sure that it does once it condenses.

  118. Gorge E Smith says:
    “Why do you assume that a collision between an N2 or O2 molecule and a CO2 molecule, will heat the CO2 molecule…”

    My understanding is that if a mixture of GHG and non-GHG gases is warming via the mechanism of electromagnetic absorption, then there will be a net transfer of energy in energetic collisions from the GHG to the non-GHG gases. If cooling, then the transfer of energy is in the other direction. If neither cooling nor warming, there will be no net transfer of energy. Occasionally a GHG molecule will absorb a photon, become more energetic, and on average will transfer its energy on the next collision. Occasionally when a GHG molecule hits another molecule, as well as transference of kinetic energy, a photon may be emitted by an atom in the GHG molecule.

    The radiation properties of gases is basic physics. For example, to quote my old textbook:

    “Elementary gases such as O2, N2, H2, and dry air have a symmetrical molecular structure and neither emit nor absorb radiation unless they are heated to extremely high temperatures at which they become ionized plasmas and at which electronic transformations occur. On the other hand, gases which have polar molecular forms with an electronic moment such as a dipole or quadrupole absorb and emit radiation in limited spectral ranges, called bands. In practice the most important of these gases are H2O, CO2, CO, SO2, NH3 and the hydrocarbons. These gases are asymmetric in one or more of their modes of vibration. During molecular collisions, rotations and vibrations of individual atoms in a molecule can be excited so that atoms which possess free electrical charges can emit electromagnetic waves. Similarly, when radiation of the appropriate wavelength impinges on such a gas, it can be absorbed in the process.”

    from “Principles of Heat Transfer” by Frank Kreith, 3ed, 1976, pp273-274.

    And a quick google reveals this posting showing bottom-of-the-atmosphere spectra that do seem rather coloured. (Apologies in advance as I am sure to stuff this link up. Cannot find any code guide.)

    So when I said that a GHG molecule emits a photon, a single photon will have a fixed frequency, from E = hf, and GHG emissions will not be blackbody, but banded, with emissions at a range of fixed frequencies.

  119. “”””” peter_ga says:

    January 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Gorge E Smith says:
    “Why do you assume that a collision between an N2 or O2 molecule and a CO2 molecule, will heat the CO2 molecule…”

    …………………………………………………..

    The radiation properties of gases is basic physics. For example, to quote my old textbook:

    “Elementary gases such as O2, N2, H2, and dry air have a symmetrical molecular structure and neither emit nor absorb radiation unless they are heated to extremely high temperatures at which they become ionized plasmas and at which electronic transformations occur. On the other hand, gases which have polar molecular forms with an electronic moment such as a dipole or quadrupole absorb and emit radiation in limited spectral ranges, called bands. In practice the most important of these gases are H2O, CO2, CO, SO2, NH3 and the hydrocarbons. These gases are asymmetric in one or more of their modes of vibration. During molecular collisions, rotations and vibrations of individual atoms in a molecule can be excited so that atoms which possess free electrical charges can emit electromagnetic waves. Similarly, when radiation of the appropriate wavelength impinges on such a gas, it can be absorbed in the process.” “””””

    Well Peter the CO2 molecule is also quite charge symmetrical, just like those diatomic molecules H2, N2, O2, and not to mention Ar, it is NOT a polar molecule like H2O. So how then does CO2 emit a continuum thermal radiation spectrum, that matches the Planck spectral irradiance spectrum of a black body at the same Temperature ?
    Also which of those atoms mentioned in your old text book possess free electrical charges (under STP ordinary atmospheric conditions).
    Your old text book also says: “””””These gases are asymmetric in one or more of their modes of vibration. “”””” Too bad it doesn’t go on to say that these modes of vibration are mechanical resonances, and can emit or absorb, only those specific photon energies that correspond to those frequencies; those are discrete line spectra, which in molecules tend to be broader than in the lines of atomic spectra; which also are NOT thermal radiation spectra.
    What the molecules need, in order to absorb or emit EM radiation, is not free electric charges; but a non zero electric dipole moment, and CO2 in its degenerate bending mode at 15 microns, or its asymmetrical stretch mode at 4.0 microns, does possess such a non zero electric dipole moment, but it can emit or absorb, only photons at those specific frequencies, so that does not yield a thermal continuum spectrum.
    Your old text book does also say: “”” neither emit nor absorb radiation unless they are heated to extremely high temperatures at which they become ionized plasmas and at which electronic transformations occur. “””
    Too bad it doesn’t say anything at all about why or how,they can emit or absorb while they are ionised plasmas; just a simple declarative statement; ie appeal to authority.
    Well yes they do at least emit a continuum spectrum under those conditions; but sadly, it is not a black body spectrum corresponding to the gas or plasma Temperature, in fact it is simply appended on to the [asymptomatic] end of the “Bohr” atomic spectrum.
    The reason for such a spectrum, is because the emission results from the capture of a free electron, by the ion, and eventual transfer to some atomic energy level. Since the free electron can have any value of energy at all, the energy of the emitted photon can also have any frequency at all; so long as it is above the end of the atomic line spectrum.
    So back to those diatomic or monoatomic gases, that are charge symmetrical in their ground state, so have zero electric dipole moment.
    Now the physical manifestation of the Temperature of such a collection of molecules, is the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of kinetic energies of those molecules, which is how the thermodynamic scale of Temperature is defined.
    So those mono or diatomic molecules are in constant collisions with each other, and at ordinary atmospheric STP conditions, their velocities are non relativistic, and at that atomic scale, ordinary Newtonian dynamics applies, as does Coulomb’s law for the force between charges.
    The positive charge is essentially (at atomic scale) a single point, and coincident with the nuclear mass, which is of the order of 3675 times the mass of the equal and oppositely charged electron cloud. The proton/electron mass ratio is 1837, and 1838 for the neutron/electron mass ratio.
    So virtually the entire kinetic energy and momentum , that represents the Temperature of the neutral gas, is resident in the nucleus. Also the nucleus is relatively unaffected by the charge of the electrons, which in the free flight state, is roughly spherical, and the Biot-Savart law applies, for the net electric field inside a charged conductor. In free flight, the center of charge of the electron cloud, and the nucleus are coincident, which is why the electric dipole moment is zero.
    But when two such molecules collide, the electron clouds repel each other, and in a head on collision, they will come to a complete stop (in center of mass space). Meanwhile the nuclei, having all the momentum, and no greater Coulomb force than the electrons carry on towards each other until they are much closer, and the inverse square law, eventually takes charge, and the nuclei also come to a stop, and then a reversal acceleration; they better, because the electron clouds are already taking off in the reverse direction.
    So during the collision, the electric dipole moment of the atoms takes on a non zero value, and while the charges accelerate, they MUST radiate EM waves according to Maxwell’s equations. The radio-physicist would simply describe this as a varying electric current flowing in a non zero length antenna; and once again the laws of Physics would require that it radiate or absorb EM waves, during the transient asymmetry of charge during the collision. A simple Fourier transform of the collision profile, will lead to the spectrum of the emitted “pulse” of EM radiation, and because of the totally random nature of the collisions as to velocities and trajectories, the total spectrum of emissions or absorptions by a large collection of molecules, will radiate a thermal continuum spectrum, which is characterized by the Thermodynamic Temperature of the gas. That is the only way, that the downward radiation from the atmosphere can have a Planckian black body like spectrum, which Bill Illis says it certainly is.
    But since the density of gas molecules is much lower than for liquids, and even lower still than for solids, the amount of volume of gas it would take to be a total absorber, which some solids are close to, and which 3,000 feet of sea water is close to, the earth doesn’t have near enough atmosphere for it to behave like a black body radiator or emitter; but the spectrum does match the appropriate BB spectrum.
    Neither Raleigh nor Jeans, or Max Planck addressed the basic physical source of black body radiation; they simply calculated the statistical mechanics of its distribution; incorrectly in the case of Raleigh and Jeans.
    It was up to Heinrich Hertz and Maxwell to derive the emission of EM radiation from varying electric currents in antennas; which is exactly what accelerated charges are.
    The Stanford 2 mile Linac exists simply because Maxwell insisted that accelerated electric charges MUST radiate EM waves; and must do so, even in Bohr’s planetary atom.
    Bohr simply rejected that assertion, and quite arbitrarily, whithout any basis in observation declared that Maxwell’s equations be null and void, when the atomic electrons, were in certain magic orbits, and no matter their huge radial acceleration they simply disobeyed Maxwell’s equations.
    Well not so. The quantum mechanical picture of Bohr’s “magic” orbits, became simply a statistical probability of where the electron might be found. So now there is no assumption of any charge motion at all, let alone acceleration; just probability of location; so Maxwell’s laws of EM radiation are re-instated; and actually rule the roost, since they alone determine the velocity of light; which now is assigned an absolute value, with no error in value, as do epsilon nought, and mu nought, which (c) is calculated from.
    As Bill Illis has noted, the ordinary atmospheric gases, most certainly are absorbing and radiating thermal continuum spectra that match the BB spectrum for their gas Temperature.
    And if you read the last two sentences excerpted from your old Physics book, you will see that is exactly what your book says.

  120. “”””” eyesonu says:

    January 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Ian W says:
    January 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm
    Well said. I’ve been pondering the thought of how to use this fact for quite a while with regards to atmospheric temp data.

    =========

    I have an open question for all. When H2O is present in the air (say at 50% humidity) does it absorb / block any radiation from the sun? I’m sure that it does once it condenses. “””””

    Of course it does, in several spectral bands starting at about 700 nm wavelength, beyond which about 45% of the solar energy exists, and those water bands seem to absorb about half of the total spectral range from there out to around 4.0 microns, beyond which, only 1% of solar energy remains. so H2O vapor is a major absorber of solar energy, which never reaches the surface at solar spectrum wavelengths so it never goes deep into the oceans to be stored. That is a huge negative feedback cooling effect. ANY water vapor anywhere in the atmosphere reduces the solar energy that the earth captures.

  121. HenryP says:
    January 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you for the response. I followed your link and found it very informative. I would recommend other readers here check it out.

  122. George E. Smith; says:
    January 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you for your reply.

    A partial quote from your reply : “Of course it does, in several spectral bands starting at about 700 nm wavelength, beyond which about 45% of the solar energy exists, and those water bands seem to absorb about half of the total spectral range from there out to around 4.0 microns, beyond which, only 1% of solar energy remains.”

    Would your reference to 4.0 microns be the condensate size (droplets) of the H20 ?

    Would there be an effective ‘size’ to the H20 at say 50% humidity?

  123. I have been sitting and wondering this weekend why I see different clouds. Some are clearly very white, and you can see the re-radiation, even from the inside to the outside. Some are clearly very dark. They probably carry more water droplets, for sure. That would indicate to me that there might be a difference in the actual infra red spectra of water and water vapor.
    Is that true?

  124. HenryP says:
    January 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    .”…. that there might be a difference in the actual infra red spectra of water and water vapor.”

    ========

    That is a big part of what I am trying to learn here.

  125. Henry@eyesonu

    Sorry, it is not the infra red spectra that we should look at, if we want to study that problem of differing coloured clouds,
    we should get the spectra in the visible area of water and water vapor.
    Will try and find later, got to work now.

  126. ” that there might be a difference in the actual infra red spectra of water and water vapor.”
    =======
    George Smith may have already answered this in his reply above.

    Are the responses that HenryP and George Smith have provided applicable to water vapor well below the saturated state, hence my reference to using 50% humidity. The question of the infra red sprectra as HenryP noted above would apply as well.

  127. Water droplet and ice crystal absorption of heat from the sun (or any source) causes a state change to droplets then to vapor rather than a rise in temperature. So there is no heat to ‘re-radiate’ the energy has already been used for the state change. The heat will only be released at a later time when the water changes state back from vapor and releases the latent heat of condensation then fusion. This state change mechanism stabilizes atmospheric temperatures when there is sufficient water vapor content.

  128. Henry@eyesonu

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

    quote
    “This absorption spectrum of water (red light absorbs 100 times more than blue light), together with the five-times greater scattering of blue light over red light, contributes to the blue color of lake, river and ocean waters ”

    Comparing this graph to the graph that compares solar irriadiance outside the atmosphere with the direct solar irradiance at sea level (cloudless day): Here I would say there are only two peaks of the water (vapor) in the visible area, at 800 and 700 nm, not continuous as noted in pure water. It also looks to me there is (almost?) no absorption at all of water vapor in the blue.

    That explains (to me) why clouds containing more water / ice are darker then clouds still consisting mainly of just water vapor (and where water is still being formed). I had figured as much.

  129. To HenryP

    Thank you very much for your answer and putting me back on the straight and narrow.. I have visited your site. You have put a hellof a lot of work in. I am still absorbing it.

  130. I’m fully aware of the heat / energy relationship from condensation and air expansion / contraction and heat thus generated from any pressure changes

    In trying to form my question to the responses. Some confusion as to my original question my be imparted. Let me restate question from scratch.

    Case “A”:
    Assume a 50% relative humidity. The water vapor is not at a saturated state, It will appear ‘clear’ to the human eye. Consider the incoming light / radiation from the sun.
    Question 1: Will the sun’s rays heat this water vapor and in what way. Please expand on related concept.
    Question 2: Will there be a difference in the actual infra red spectra of condensed water/ice vs water vapor? I am assuming here that the difference between water and water vapor will begin at the point of condensation. I’m avoiding using technical wording on my part as to not get to deep in physics terminology where I may say something that looses the main point of my interest, but to get the overall picture of just what is happening regarding the H2O in its varied states in the atmosphere with regards to incoming solar radiation.

  131. “”””” eyesonu says:

    January 3, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    George E. Smith; says:
    January 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you for your reply.

    A partial quote from your reply : “Of course it does, in several spectral bands starting at about 700 nm wavelength, beyond which about 45% of the solar energy exists, and those water bands seem to absorb about half of the total spectral range from there out to around 4.0 microns, beyond which, only 1% of solar energy remains.”

    Would your reference to 4.0 microns be the condensate size (droplets) of the H20 ?

    Would there be an effective ‘size’ to the H20 at say 50% humidity? “””””

    Well eyesonu, that’s not quite the issue. I wish that someone with the tools to work on WUWT posts, could publish here some really good Solar spectra, and also a universal BLACK BODY RADIATION graph; ie the Planck radiation formula normalized.
    The BB curve can be plotted on a (logarithmic) horizontal scale, that is wavelength divided by the spectral peak wavelength, ranging from about 0.1 to about 40 (times the peak), and the vertical axis is the ratio of the BB spectral irradiance in Watts per m^2 per micron of wavelength, divided by the peak spectral irradiance value; so that scale is simply 0.0 to 1.0 Now you can also do the same thing on a frequency scale, rather than wavelength, but wavelength seems more common among physicists, while chemists seem to like frequency.
    In any case EVERYONE should know in their head some basic facts about the BB radiation curve.
    First off, it is a function of Temperature (kelvins) times wavelength (metres) ONLY. So doubling the Temperature simply halves the wavelength scale. This in fact leads to the Wiens displacement law, which says that lambda max times Temperature is a constant. Specifically it is 2897.8 Kelvin.microns. Roughly 3,000, so if we say the sun is at 6,000 K, then the spectral peak wavelength should be about 0.5 microns in the green-blue. Or for the earth at say 300K, the presumed BB emission spectrum peak would be at 10.0 microns.
    One then needs to remember some very basic facts about the shape of the BB curve.
    1/ Almost exactly 25% of the energy is below the spectral peak wavelength, and 75% is above. I have never confirmed by integration whether this split is exact; but if it isn’t, it is so damn close to 25/75 that it doesn’t matter.
    2/ Only 1% of the energy lies below HALF of the peak wavelength; so for the sun that would be 250 nm wavelength in the UV. The energy falloff at short wavelengths is quite precipitous.
    3/ Only 1% of the BB spectrum energy lies above 8TIMES the peak wavelength; which for our sun would thus be 4.0 microns.

    So for an ideal BB sun, 98% of the total energy would be emitted between 0.25 and 4.0 microns, and that’s why I referred to the 4 microns, so it is not related to water droplet size or anything like that.
    The universal normalized BB spectrum is also plotted on a logarithmic vertical scale, which gives a very illuminating picture (pun intended). Instead og plotting the spectral irradiance to peak ratio from 0 to 1 on a linear scale it is often plotted from 1.0 to 10^-5 on a log scale, and the wavelength to peak ratio then goes from 0.2 to 40.0. So whereas only 1% of integrated energy is below 0.25, the spectral irradiance ratio drops to 10^-5 at 0.2, which is why I said the short end falloff is precipitous.
    Some other numbers; at exactly 1.5 times the peak wavelength, the remaining energy at long wave lengths is about 47-48%,
    So you see for the sun peaking at 0.5 microns, around half of the energy is above 750 nm, so the region where water starts absorbing IN GHG MOLECULAR MODE is about 750 nm to 4.0 microns. Now there are water bands above 4.0 microns, and also CO2 has its assymmetrical stretch mode at 4.0 microns, so CO2 also has some slight absorption at the tale end of the incoming solar spectrum; but it is somewhat smaller effect than for H2O.
    Everybody knows that the total area under the BB curve (the Stefan -Boltzmann constant) goes as the 4th power of Temperature. It is less well known that the peak black body spectral irradiance varies as THE FIFTH POWER OF T.

    This is important for earth cooling, since the tropical desert surface Temperatures can reach +60 C or 333.15 K instead of 288 K which is the supposed global mean Temperature.
    So those tropical desert surfaces are emitting a peak spectral irradiance that is 2.07 times what the global average is, or 808 W/m^2, in place of Trenberth’s 390 W/m^2 number. In addition, the Wien’s law displacement due to that Temperature shift is 1.157, so the surface emission peak moves from 10.1 microns at 288 K to 8.73 microns at 333K. So that moves the emission AWAY from the CO2 15 micron band and at half that wavelength we have 4.365 microns, which is barely getting to the CO2 4 micron band (only 1% less than half the peak).
    Furthermore, at 8.73 microns, the peak of the desert surface emission is also below the Ozone band at 9.6 microns.

    So it is in the heat of the day in the hottest dry desert, where the earth is cooling like crazy, at around 800 W/m^2 and very little GHG containment from CO2, or O3, or even H2O
    The polar regi
    ons are quite ineffectual in cooling the earth, compared to the tropical deserts of Africa and the middle east.

    For reference, I can highly recommend the Optics Textbook, Modern Optical Engineering, by the late Warren J Smith, for an excellent plot of the normalized BB spectrum curve. It is his fig 8.7 on page 194, in the 1966 edition of the book. Any University science library ought to have this book, as it is a standard Optics Text book. Warren J Smith was simply the biggest gun in the Optical engineering field; well other than the late Rudolph Kinglake of Eastman Kodak.
    Smith worked for years, at Infra-Red Industries in Santa Barbara CA, so he was an acknowledged expert on BB and IR radiation.
    Now I know that not all earth surface emit as black bodies, but the deep ocean waters should be very close, since the solar reflectance of the ocean is about 2% normal, and maybe 3% integrated over the whole hemisphere. Then water is extremely absorbing over the entire 2-100 micron wavelength range, which includes any possible black body like thermal emission spectra at any reasonable earth water Temperatures, so the oceans can be regarded as good BB emitters.

  132. The lower troposphere graphs appear to show a step or ramp function in the late 1990s. Is this a real trend perhaps associated with the ENSO 0f 1997-98 or is it an instrumental or computational anomaly? It is interesting that this rise follows a decrease in the slope of the Keeling CO2 curve.

  133. @ HenryP and George Smith

    Thank you for your responses. I have been and will continue to dig into the wavelengths of the ‘light ‘ bands. I was fairly knowledgable with regards to the color spectrum but had not looked at it from a wavelength standpoint which seems to be necessary to ‘see’ the infra red spectrum.

    From scuba diving I knew that everything was blue at depth, but now I know why the sky is blue! Inquiring minds need to know so I will be loosing sleep over this one! Thanks again.

  134. “”””” eyesonu says:

    January 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    @ HenryP and George Smith “””””

    The blue of the sky is a different process, eyeson, it is mostly due to Raleigh scattering, but there also is a process called Mie Scattering. I’m not certain but I believe Mie scattering is a consequence of “contaminants” or some sort of aerosols if you will; but as I said I’m not sure on that.
    But Raleigh scattering, is what we call an “elastic” scattering process. it occurs right at the molecular and atomic level. The important thing is that it is the original solar photons that we are seeing in the blue sky; they are not absorbed and re-radiated, but are as they come from the sun, at the same wavelength (color). Think of those toys with the steel ball pendulums that bang together, and rebound to the same amplitude with essentially no loss of energy. Well air resistance robs the balls of a small amount of their energy. but the blue photons of sunlight are merely changed in direction, by passage close to atoms and molecules. The scattering angle is very wavelength dependent, and increases rapidly at shorter wavelengths. The scattering events are multiple, so ultimately the blue sky looks pretty much the same in any direction. It even looks the same looking down as you can see from a high flying commercial jet, and of course gives rise to the title” the blue planet”.
    Actually, the earth is really the black planet, as the oceans look nearly black at visible and IR wavelengths. But the scattered blue sunlight hides the black oceans from our view, just as it obscures the black sky and stars that are visible, when sunlight is absent.
    The Raleigh scattered blue sunlight is possibly the single largest loss of the incoming solar energy, that cuts the 1362 W/m^2 TSI down to about 1000 at the surface. The missing energy carved out of the solar spectrum, is the blue skylight. Half goes down and half goes up, so the earth is losing (by scattering) the same amount of blue light (high energy photons), as we see in the sky on a clear day.
    Water is actually most transparent in the blue region near 520 nm. both shorter and longer wavelengths are more strongly absorbed, and scuba divers are familiar with the sequential loss or red, then orange, and yellow, with depth. At the minimum the water absorption coefficient is about 0.0001 cm^-1. That feeds into the equation t = t0 exp(-alpha.s), where s is the distance and alpha the absorption coefficient, So for an (s) of 100 metres, alpha.s is 1 so the transmission is 1/e or 37%.
    That absorption climbs rapidly beyond the visible, until at 3.0 microns, its value is about 8-10,000 cm^-1, so now the 1/e penetration depth is only one to 1.25 microns, so five times that would be 5 to 6 microns, and the absorption would be 99%.

    That is why LWIR does NOT penetrate the ocean depths. Now 3 microns is a narrow high absorption band but from 2 to 20 microns, the absorption coefficient is always at least 1,000 cm^-1, so ok it takes 50-60 microns of surface thickness to absorb 99% of the atmospheric LWIR down radiation.

    The “white” reflectance of clouds, is actually not reflection at all, but strong refraction by spherical water droplets. A single rain drop, can refract a near parallel solar beam, into a nearly hemispherical cone of light, so just a few such refractions and you once again have an essentially isotropic light distribution, and once again it is an elastic scattering process, involving no change in photon wavelength from its solar origin.
    The strong IR “reflected” down from clouds, is also not a reflectance. The LWIR is absorbed, and subsequently a different photon likely at a differnt wavelength is emitted. Such absorption re-emission processes are essentially isotropic, since there is NO preferred emission angle of the LWIR photons from the water molecules of the clouds ( or from the other GHGs such as CO2). This absorption/re-emission process could be described as an inelastic scattering process, in that the wavelength can change. There are other inelastic scattering processes where the photon energy is always lower after scattering from materials.
    Well the white light emission from fluorescent lamps or white LEDs is an inelastic scattering process.

  135. George said

    Well Peter the CO2 molecule is also quite charge symmetrical, just like those diatomic molecules H2, N2, O2, and not to mention Ar, it is NOT a polar molecule like H2O. So how then does CO2 emit a continuum thermal radiation spectrum, that matches the Planck spectral irradiance spectrum of a black body at the same Temperature ?

    Obviously CO2 is not symmetrical like H2 N2 O2 etc. I presume that the published reports of the laboratory measurements of its absorptance/emittance (at higher temperatures and pressures than that found in the atmosphere) are easily repeatable and not concoctions. As to the width of the radiation bands, to quote from the same textbook and page as before:

    Typical changes in energy level due to changes in vibrational frequency or rotation manifest themselves in a strong peak at the wavelength corresponding to the vibrational transformation, with multiple rotational energy changes slightly above or below the peak. This process results in absorption or emission bands. The shape and width of these bands depend on the temperature and on the pressure of the gas while the magnitude of the monochromatic absorptance is primarily a function of the thickness of the gas layer.

    Given this, I would have strong doubts that CO2 emits a “continuum thermal radiation spectrum, that matches the Planck spectral irradiance..” If a measurement of back radiation was found that did measure such a spectrum, I would be curious as to how the effects of radiation from other emitters such as ground, clouds, water vapour and other GHG were removed.
    George says:

    Also which of those atoms mentioned in your old text book possess free electrical charges (under STP ordinary atmospheric conditions).

    The atoms are un-ionised and bound up in molecules. Ozone is not considered. There is a charge distribution across the molecule, although the whole molecule is electrically neutral. According to theory, It is the charge distribution that causes the electromagnetic emittance and absorptance at various wavelengths.

    George said:

    Too bad it [my textbook, Kreith] doesn’t go on to say that these modes of vibration are mechanical resonances, and can emit or absorb, only those specific photon energies that correspond to those frequencies; those are discrete line spectra, which in molecules tend to be broader than in the lines of atomic spectra; which also are NOT thermal radiation spectra.

    See the quote just a little previously. I think it indicates that the textbook conveys enough to allow an understanding of emission spectral width adequate to understand and undertake design calculations. I do not otherwise understand what you are getting at here. I have not bought up the subject of atomic spectral lines and their equivalence or not with the emission spectra of GHG gases. They do seem related though.

    You seem to be convinced that the atmospheric has been measured by Bill Illis to have a black-body spectrum, with no indication of any CO2 spectra? I cannot find anything on this. From this you would conclude there is no enhanced back radiation from rising CO2 levels? And on that basis you reject my original post about rising CO2 levels possibly causing increased precipitation while not causing much temperature variation? If so, consider your point made.

  136. Re. Henry@Spen
    I have had another thought about your reply to my question. So the vertical bars on NOAA refer to the monthly range of the global mean temperature. Why should that range be significantly larger pre1950 than after 1950?

  137. George E. Smith; says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I’m reading and rereading that info / knowledge that you have offered. I will continue to do so until I have a firm grasp on all that you have conveyed. I’m sure many others are gaining from it as well. I have now reread the original article and comments a few times and will likely do so again. Google search has also been quite busy on this one.

    Thanks again for the additional knowledge. I’ll follow this thread as long as it’s active. I just gotta know how stuff works.! It seems that the more I know, the more I want to know. Is it some kind of addiction?

  138. Henry@Spen
    Yes the blue line is the average of the range of anomalies (for the average temperatures) that is being reported by the various stations in that year.
    As to your question: Why should that range be significantly larger pre1950 than after 1950?
    I think it has to do with the improvement in the accuracy in testing and test equipment during the past 50 or 60 years.
    For example, with current equipment we can measure once every second during a day or even more.
    In the past you did your readings at specific times of the day. And the thermometers got stuck at the max. and the minimum.

    As for me, I also suspect that a large part of the 0.014 degree change per annum measured globally (past 35 years)

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming

    could be simply due to improvement in measurement, as the accuracy of the equipment might be more biased towards higher temps….

  139. “”””” eyesonu says:

    January 5, 2012 at 2:42 am

    George E. Smith; says:
    January 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I’m reading and rereading that info / knowledge that you have offered. “””””

    I’m not always right; and sometimes I have goofed badly. But I will always give my honest assessment, as best as I know it or can get it from ancient text books.
    And so long as just one person can gain some insight; I’m willing to take the time.
    And most of this stuff is not that difficult to understand if presented properly. I figure, if I can describe it with a stick on a sandy beach, sans http://www.google.com or ficklepedia, then anybody can follow it.

    George

  140. “”””” peter_ga says:

    January 5, 2012 at 12:57 am

    George said

    Well Peter the CO2 molecule is also quite charge symmetrical, just like those diatomic molecules H2, N2, O2, and not to mention Ar, it is NOT a polar molecule like H2O. So how then does CO2 emit a continuum thermal radiation spectrum, that matches the Planck spectral irradiance spectrum of a black body at the same Temperature ?

    Obviously CO2 is not symmetrical like H2 N2 O2 etc. “””””

    Well I must be seeing things, because every single text or paper I have ever seen about the CO2 molecule indicates it is quite symmetrical; as in O=C=O, or if you rotate it 90 degrees about its long axis you would see; O-C-O. I used to think that it should look more like this; O=C-O or like this ; O-C=O if you rotate it 90 degrees; but people who know far more than I do, insist that it is quite flat as in O=C=O. But nobody I know has suggested it is not symmetrical. For the life of me, I cannot possibly conceive of how such a shape can undergo bending, in two directions at right angles, and both at exactly the same frequency; well unless those two directions are at 45 deg rotation from the flat plane of the molecule.
    But because CO2 contains three atoms, which according to Heisenberg’s principle cannot remain in a symmetrical configuration indefiniftely, then it can adopt an assymmetrical charge distribution.
    It is not an assymmetrical charge distribution which results in emission or absorption; it is required to have the acceleration of charges in such an assymmetrical charge distribution. This happens when the CO2 molecule bends about the C, (15 micron band) or when the C moves off centre towards one or other of the O atoms (4 micron band).

    In the case of the symmetrical homo diatomic molecules or monoatomic ones like Ar, they are charge symmetrical when in free flight, but not when they are busy colliding with another molecule or atom; then they become charge assymmetrical, and undergo charge acceleration in those collisions, during which time, they can absorb or radiate. And since those episodes are Temperature dependent, then the resulting emission spectrum, is a BB like thermal spectrum characteristic of the gas Temperature; which does not have to be high enough to cause ionisation.

    Unfortunately, too many people post here at WUWT, and never ever read what has been posted before on the thread, so if you missed what Bill Illis said about the down radiation spectrum being a BB like spectrum, then you should go back and read what he posted. He did not say that GHG band spectra were absent, and nor did I; just that a continuum thermal spectrum is observed, and that cannot be explained by molecular resonance phenomena.
    While it is fashionable to describe molecular spectra as “band spectra”, for example to say that CO2 absorbs everything from 13.5 to 16.5 microns, in its “15 micron” band, is to ignore the fact that this “band” is actually a group of narrow “line” spectrawhich don’t necessarily overlap or coalesce except at higher temperatures and pressures. Which is why CO2 and H2O bands can overlap, and yet both can absorb in non coincident lines of the appropriate spectra for each.

    The continuous bands shown on many plots simply reflect the fact that some spectrometers, don’t have enough resolution to show the individual lines.

    If the ordinary atmospheric gases were not radiating or absorbing, then the downward radiation would be only the characteristic band spectra of the GHG molecules, because there is nothing else up there to emit BB like thermal spectra.

    Bill’s post is up there somewhere, because I commented on his assertion as soon as I read it.

  141. I do not disagree with most of what George said. He has corrected me on the symmetry.

    The only bone of contention I have to offer is that the principle of correspondence between absorptance and emission needs to be appreciated. These must be equal, given the frequency of the radiation, or a perpetual motion machine would be possible. I believe it would be possible to design a paint that would allow an object to become hotter and hotter in the presence of low frequency radiation. So if CO2 only emits along particular lines, then it could only absorb along such lines, and therefore it could only absorb fixed frequencies. There would be no response at all to broadband radiation, where the energy at any fixed frequency is nill. Experimentally, however, there is a response with CO2, but none with O2 etc. So CO2 must emit and absorb in bands, rather than fixed lines only, and the broadband radiation received from above cannot be emitted by O2 or N2 molecules, because they do not absorb such radiation.

  142. “”””” Peter_ga says:

    January 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I do not disagree with most of what George said. He has corrected me on the symmetry.

    The only bone of contention I have to offer is that the principle of correspondence between absorptance and emission needs to be appreciated. These must be equal, given the frequency of the radiation, or a perpetual motion machine would be possible. “””””

    Not really Peter. Kirchoff’s Law regarding the equality, and spectral equality of emission and absorption, ONLY applies to a closed system in thermal equilibrium . (everything at the same Temperature)
    That is NEVER the case in the atmosphere. For a start, it isn’t a closed system, radiation comes in and goes out constantly so it doesn’t even approximate equilibrium conditions.
    The important condition in the atmosphere is that the collision processes are quie chaotic, and unpredictable, and only statistical mechanics can explain what the average situation is, and the distribution of kinetic energies of the molecules.
    Whereas the resonance spectra of molecular GHGs, are bands of much finer fixed frequency lines (not first order Temperature dependent (as to their frequencies)), the emision or absorption of molecules during a collision, is a short transient event, so it consists of random short pulses of EM radiation, which a Fourier transform can convert to a frequency domain spectrum, which is why it ends up as a continuum spectrum.

  143. An amount of gas at a given temperature and pressure will have identical properties whether it is part of an “open” or “closed” system. This is purely a calculation artifice to indicate that when all inputs and outputs are considered, certain conservation rules apply.

  144. The derivation of the theoretical spectrum of thermal radiation (Temperature dependent) is quite tricky, and some of the concepts are tricky to grasp; but not impossible. In classical physics, statistical mechanics was quite successful, in explaining the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of kinetic energies of gas molecules for example, as a function of Temperature, and Jeans was also successful in explaining the low Temperature specific heat of solids, which deviate from the Dulong and Petit law. The principle of equipartition of energy among the available degrees of freedom, was central to these derivations. The Dulong and Petit law on the specific heats (thermal capacities) of solids (metals) is itself dependent on the equipartition principle, that equal energy be assigned to each oscillatory degree of freedom (three translations, to rotations etc). The problem at low temperatures is the equipartition principle breaks down, some modes are just too weak to excite.
    So when it came to trying to explain the thermal radiation of heated bodies; anything above zero Kelvins, Raleigh and Jeans, probably Wien as well thought they should apply the equipartition principle to the distribution of energy among all the oscillatory frequencies. So they argued that each frequency should have the same energy associated with it. Well the problem is there are an infinite number of frequencies, and in classical physics, it was assumed that each frequency could have ANY amount of energy assigned to it.
    so the crux of the problem is this:-
    1/ We have an infinite number of frequencies in the continuum.
    2/ Any such frequency could have any value of energy assigned to it (equal of course) with the total energy being the sum of all.

    Well the result of Jeans/Raleigh following that line of thought, led to the “ultra-violet catastrophe” where the energy all shifted up to infinite frequency, and the total energy became infinite. We all got discombobulated by a ulra gamma ray laser.

    So now Max Planck gets into the picture, and he makes the following assumption; and this is the bit that is tricky to grasp; but essential to understand.

    1/ Planck hung in with axiom #1; there STILL IS an infinite number of frequencies in the continuum; ergo the available frequencies are NOT quantized. So how different is that from the Atomic and Molecular resonance spectra, where the frequencies ARE quantized
    2/ Planck required that the ENERGY assigned to EACH frequency IS quantized.
    Specifically the energy assigned to any frequency is n.h.nu, or n.h.f if you wish; and (h) is of course Planck’s newly invented “quantum of action” and h.nu is the “photon energy” and you can have (n) photons at that frequency, such that the energy per frequency IS equipartitioned; but it can only change in quantum jumps, so the value of the equipartitioned energy at any FREQUENCY is some integer number of h.nu photon energies.

    So you see that the frequency spectrum is still a continuum, in that all frequency values are allowed, but that frequency defines the photon energy, and you can only have an integer number of photons at any frequency. So for any frequency (or small frequency increment), you divide the total energy into the equipartitioned parts, but only the finite number of photons that fall under that level is allowed, so as you move to higher frequencies, where the quantized photon energy is larger, the number of photons at that frequency must diminish.

    You see the photon energy and frequency or wavelength can still have any value at all, it’s continuous; but that energy must be an integer multiple of the h.nu energy for that frequency.

    So if you can grasp that concept (took me a while (55 years ago)) then you are over the hump.

    The ultra-violet catastrophe is avoided, and the mega gamma ray laser goes Ppfft ! and Planck ended up with his radiation formula which contains NO ARBITRARY PARAMETERS, just the newly coined (h) which simply adjusts the whole scale to the right size.

    In my view, this insight by Max Planck is maybe the single greatest discovery in PHYSICS.

    Well it’s on my top ten list.

    Bottom line is that the black body radiation spectrum is truly a continuum, and not an infinitessimally close picket fence of narrow finite lines; but at any frequency, the roughly equipartitioned energy (for a true BB) consists of an integer number of photons at that frequency.

    The Planck formula has been experimentally verified to the limits of experimental instrument capability; and is one of the crown jewels of modern Physics.

    By the way; let me play salesman for a bit. If you are a Physicist or an X-scientist, or a savvy lay person, or just naturally curious; do yourself a favor and invest about $11 in a Dover paperback book that every person should own; (along with a copy of Chapman’s “Piloting, and Small Boat Handling.”)

    George Gamow; “Thirty Years that Shook Physics.” The story of quantum theory.

    I have the distinct privilege of knowing and talking occasionally with a gent who is older than me, and who actually worked with George Gamow, here in the USA.

    Get it and read it; you’ll be glad you did. Amazon works, presumably other places too.

  145. Thanks George, but I covered introductory quantum mechanics in second year physics at university too many decades ago now, and have my own reference books. The thing is, the absorptance and emmittance of anything has to have an identical spectrum, otherwise fundamental thermodynamic laws are broken.

    Therefore a gas such as CO2 which absorbs broadband radiation in certain bands must also emit such radiation. Gases such as O2 and N2 that do not absorb any radiation do not emit any either.

  146. Peter_ga says:
    Therefore a gas such as CO2 which absorbs broadband radiation in certain bands must also emit such radiation. Gases such as O2 and N2 that do not absorb any radiation do not emit any either.

    Henry @ peter & george
    No problem with the first statement. I also agree that N2 does not absorb.
    But the fact remains that the oxygen -ozone combination, apart from cutting almost 25% of the sun’s radiation reaching earth (absorption in the UV & pre-UV region), also absorbs (very slightly) in the 14-16um band where both CO2 and water vapor absorb. CO2 also has absorptions in the sun’s spectrum (strong at 2 and 4 um).

    I cannot really follow George and you on the subject (no strong education in that region),
    but I would like to ask you both to read my report below and let me know if you see anything basiccally wrong with my explanations & arguments there.

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/the-greenhouse-effect-and-the-principle-of-re-radiation-11-Aug-2011

  147. “”””” HenryP says:

    January 7, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Peter_ga says:
    Therefore a gas such as CO2 which absorbs broadband radiation in certain bands must also emit such radiation. Gases such as O2 and N2 that do not absorb any radiation do not emit any either.

    Henry @ peter & george
    No problem with the first statement. I also agree that N2 does not absorb.
    But the fact remains that the oxygen -ozone combination, apart from cutting almost 25% of the sun’s radiation reaching earth (absorption in the UV & pre-UV region), also absorbs (very slightly) in the 14-16um band where both CO2 and water vapor absorb. “””””

    Well that statement couldn’t possibly be true, unless you believe that the TSI solar spectrum is not a good fit to any black body curve. The peak of the best fit BB spectrum that matches the sun, is at about 480nm. It is a well known property of a BB spectrum, that the fraction of the energy that is emitted below the peak is almost exactly 25%. So the O2/O3 pair would have to wipe out everything below 480 nm to get 25%; or in other words, there isn’t anything like 25% of the total solar TSI energy in the UV and pre-UV range.

    If you want to believe that “”” Gases such as O2 and N2 that do not absorb any radiation do not emit any either…… Henry @ peter & george
    No problem with the first statement. I also agree that N2 does not absorb.
    .””””” that is your right to do so. I’m sure you have lots of company in that belief, both in the CAGW community and here at WUWT.

    Peter is also free to believe “”””” The thing is, the absorptance and emmittance of anything has to have an identical spectrum, otherwise fundamental thermodynamic laws are broken. “””””

    So I’m familiar with at least four fundamental laws of thermodynamics; so which ones are broken, by a lack of identity between absorption and emision spectra ?

    As an aside, it is fairly self evident, that the deep oceans; say deeper than 1,000 metres, absorb about 98% of ALL of the solar spectrum radiation that falls on the ocean surface.

    So how much white light looking radiation does the deep ocean emit, so that it is an exact match to the absorption spectrum ?

    By the way, Max Planck’s derivation of the thermal emission spectrum of an ideal black body, is a derivation of CLASSICAL PHYSICS, (statistical mechanics )and not a derivation of Quantum Mechanics

    Quantum Mechanics was not even developed till after Planck solved the BB radiation thermal spectrum problem.

    But I think this thread has run its course; at least there is nothing more of any use that I can add.

  148. George says: Well that statement couldn’t possibly be true

    Henry @ George

    George, if you study this:

    You can see the difference between incoming solar versus that at sea level
    (apparently on a cloudless day)
    You don’t see that as approx 25 % being cut off between blue and yellow @ < 500 nm?
    Sorry, I meant as a portion of the total radiation being cut off by the atmosphere – i.e. 25% of the difference between the blue and yellow

    What did you think of this/

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/the-greenhouse-effect-and-the-principle-of-re-radiation-11-Aug-2011

    ?

  149. @ George Smith, HenryP, and peter_ga.

    Thank you for the discussion here.

    I know there’s a lot I don’t know but now I don’t know what I do know but it’s more than iI did know.

  150. GES;
    Thanks for your enlightening posts. The electromechanics of collision is an eye-opener.

    As for absorption of incident EM, I was once encouraged to elaborate some thoughts on “shadowing” by GHGs, but I chickened out. I later rationalized it by concluding that incident LW is so much less than OLW that it wasn’t a significant issue. Evidently not so!

  151. This would appear to be an appropriate thread to discuss in more detail Prof Claes Johnson’s Computational Blackbody Radiation in which he shows why a warmer surface will not convert the energy in radiation from a cooler atmosphere to thermal energy. Thus there can be no slowing of the cooling rate or increasing of the warming rate of the surface, and thus no radiative atmospheric GHE.

    I have summarised Johnson’s note (and linked it) on the ‘Radiation’ page on my site http://climate-change-theory.com Although Johnson disagrees with the mass-less “particle” nature of radiation, with which some may take issue, let’s just limit the conversation to discussion of his conclusion about there being a cut-off frequency below which absorption and conversion to thermal energy does not occur. Any takers?

    PS I agree with GES above and thank him for his time. As a consequence I will shortly remove from my site and the draft of my book all reference to carbon dioxide cooling O2 and N2, given that I now accept that ordinary air molecules can cool themselves by radiating. However, it is clear from the plot which HenryP linked* that CO2 is absorbing significant incident radiation which would have a cooling effect..I have a similar plot on my site, but this one is better …

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MODIS_ATM_solar_irradiance.jpg

  152. HenryP says:
    January 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm
    Did anyone ever measure the change in humidity over the years?
    After looking at the daily average readings from about 20 weather stations all over the world I am finding a change of about -0.02%RH per annum.
    _________________________________________________________

    Your observation has been confirmed of course in the new WUWT article about Relative Humidity declining. Do you have any suggested mechanism linking your observed decrease in RH with the increase in CO2.?

  153. Regarding the downward radiation spectrum being as for a blackbody (full spectrum, not just lines for GHG) this paper* found that water droplets, even as small as those found in fogs and clouds, radiate almost like blackbodies. I suppose then that we don’t have absolute proof that oxygen and nitrogen are radiating (if we already have a full spectrum from WV) but maybe someone could test pure gases in a lab experiment. Does anyone know of any such tests?

    * http://books.google.com.au/books?id=RHE3eVSSomUC&pg=PA120&lpg=PA120&dq=spectrum+downward+radiation&source=bl&ots=7gNr17fFo7&sig=JLEtOn9LbznD5dW_k_gqjZ4VubU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xnA0T5nlM4SGmQWHqdmHAg&sqi=2&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAQ#

  154. henry@doug

    can you perhaps work out how much, at 15 C that 0.02% RH works in absolute humidity?
    Then we could compare it.
    There is a chemical recation CO2+H2O = always in equilibrium, both in solution and in wet air, I suppose.

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