Sense and Sensitivity II – the sequel

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Joel Shore, who has been questioning my climate-sensitivity calculations, just as a good skeptic should, has kindly provided at my request a reference to a paper by Dr. Andrew Lacis and others at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies to support his assertion that CO2 exercises about 75% of the radiative forcings from all greenhouse gases, because water vapor, the most significant greenhouse gas because of its high concentration in the atmosphere, condenses out rapidly, while the non-condensing gases, such as CO2, linger for years.

Dr. Lacis writes in a commentary on his paper: “While the non-condensing greenhouse gases account for only 25% of the total greenhouse effect, it is these non-condensing GHGs that actually control the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, since the water vapor and cloud feedback contributions are not self-sustaining and, as such, only provide amplification.”

Dr. Lacis’ argument, then, is that the radiative forcing from water vapor should be treated as a feedback, because if all greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere most of the water vapor now in the atmosphere would condense or precipitate out within ten years, and within 50 years global temperatures would be some 21 K colder than the present.

I have many concerns about this paper, which – for instance – takes no account of the fact that evaporation from the surface occurs at thrice the rate imagined by computer models (Wentz et al., 2007). So there would be a good deal more water vapor in the atmosphere even without greenhouse gases than the models assume.

The paper also says the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is “measured in thousands of years”. Even the IPCC, prone to exaggeration as it is, puts the residence time at 50-200 years. On notice I can cite three dozen papers dating back to Revelle in the 1950s that find the CO2 residence time to be just seven years, though Professor Lindzen says that for various reasons 40 years is a good central estimate.

Furthermore, it is questionable whether the nakedly political paragraph with which the paper ends should have been included in what is supposed to be an impartial scientific analysis. To assert without evidence that beyond 300-350 ppmv CO2 concentration “dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system would exceed the 25% risk tolerance for impending degradation of land and ocean ecosystems, sea-level rise [at just 2 inches per century over the past eight years, according to Envisat], and inevitable disruption of socioeconomic and food-producing infrastructure” is not merely unsupported and accordingly unscientific: it is rankly political.

One realizes that many of the scientists at GISS belong to a particular political faction, and that at least one of them used to make regular and substantial donations to Al Gore’s re-election campaigns, but learned journals are not the place for über-Left politics.

My chief concern, though, is that the central argument in the paper is in effect a petitio principii – a circular and accordingly invalid argument in which one of the premises – that feedbacks are strongly net-positive, greatly amplifying the warming triggered by a radiative forcing – is also the conclusion.

The paper turns out to be based not on measurement, observation and the application of established theory to the results but – you guessed it – on playing with a notorious computer model of the climate: Giss ModelE. The model, in effect, assumes very large net-positive feedbacks for which there is precious little reliable empirical or theoretical evidence.

At the time when Dr. Lacis’ paper was written, ModelE contained “flux adjustments” (in plain English, fudge-factors) amounting to some 50 Watts per square meter, many times the magnitude of the rather small forcing that we are capable of exerting on the climate.

Dr. Lacis says ModelE is rooted in well-understood physical processes. If that were so, one would not expect such large fudge-factors (mentioned and quantified in the model’s operating manual) to be necessary.

Also, one would expect the predictive capacity of this and other models to be a great deal more successful than it has proven to be. As the formidable Dr. John Christy of NASA has written recently, in the satellite era (most of which in any event coincides with the natural warming phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) temperatures have been rising at a rate between a quarter and a half of the rate that models such as ModelE have been predicting.

It will be helpful to introduce a little elementary climatological physics at this point – nothing too difficult (otherwise I wouldn’t understand it). I propose to apply the IPCC/GISS central estimates of forcing, feedbacks, and warming to what has actually been observed or inferred in the period since 1750.

Let us start with the forcings. Dr. Blasing and his colleagues at the Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center have recently determined that total greenhouse-gas forcings since 1750 are 3.1 Watts per square meter.

From this value, using the IPCC’s table of forcings, we must deduct 35%, or 1.1 Watts per square meter, to allow for negative anthropogenic forcings, notably the particles of soot that act as tiny parasols sheltering us from the Sun. Net anthropogenic forcings since 1750, therefore, are 2 Watts per square meter.

We multiply 2 Watts per square meter by the pre-feedback climate-sensitivity parameter 0.313 Kelvin per Watt per square meter, so as to obtain warming of 0.6 K before any feedbacks have operated.

Next, we apply the IPCC’s implicit centennial-scale feedback factor 1.6 (not the equilibrium factor 2.8, because equilibrium is thousands of years off: Solomon et al., 2009).

Accordingly, after all feedbacks over the period have operated, a central estimate of the warming predicted by ModelE and other models favored by the IPCC is 1.0 K.

We verify that the centennial-scale feedback factor 1.6, implicit rather than explicit (like so much else) in the IPCC’s reports, is appropriate by noting that 1 K of warming divided by 2 Watts per square meter of original forcing is 0.5 Kelvin per Watt per square meter, which is indeed the transient-sensitivity parameter for centennial-scale analyses that is implicit (again, not explicit: it’s almost as though They don’t want us to check stuff) in each of the IPCC’s six CO2 emissions scenarios and also in their mean.

Dr. Lacis’ paper is saying, in effect, that 80% of the forcing from all greenhouse gases is attributable to CO2. The IPCC’s current implicit central estimate, again in all six scenarios and in their mean, is in the same ballpark, at 70%.

However, using the IPCC’s own forcing function for CO2, 5.35 times the natural logarithm of (390 ppmv / 280 ppmv), respectively the perturbed and unperturbed concentrations of CO2 over the period of study, is 1.8 Watts per square meter.

Multiply this by the IPCC’s transient-sensitivity factor 0.5 and one gets 0.9 K – which, however, is the whole of the actual warming that has occurred since 1750. What about the 20-30% of warming contributed by the other greenhouse gases? That is an indication that the CO2 forcing may have been somewhat exaggerated.

The IPCC, in its 2007 report, says no more than that between half and all of the warming observed since 1950 (and, in effect, since 1750) is attributable to us. Therefore, 0.45-0.9 K of observed warming is attributable to us. Even taking the higher value, if we use the IPCC/GISS parameter values and methods CO2 accounts not for 70-80% of observed warming over the period but for all of it.

In response to points like this, the usual, tired deus ex machina winched creakingly onstage by the IPCC’s perhaps too-unquestioning adherents is that the missing warming is playing hide-and-seek with us, lurking furtively at the bottom of the oceans waiting to pounce. However, elementary thermodynamic considerations indicate that such notions must be nonsense.

None of this tells us how big feedbacks really are – merely what the IPCC imagines them to be. Unless one posits very high net-positive feedbacks, one cannot create a climate problem. Indeed, even with the unrealistically high feedbacks imagined by the IPCC, there is not a climate problem at all, as I shall now demonstrate.

Though the IPCC at last makes explicit its estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter (albeit that it is in a confused footnote on page 631 of the 2007 report), it is not explicit about the transient-sensitivity parameter – and it is the latter, not the former, that will be policy-relevant over the next few centuries.

So, even though we have reason to suspect there is a not insignificant exaggeration of predicted warming inherent in the IPCC’s predictions (or “projections”, as it coyly calls them), and a still greater exaggeration in Giss ModelE, let us apply their central estimates – without argument at this stage – to what is foreseeable this century.

The IPCC tells us that each of the six emissions scenarios is of equal validity. That means we may legitimately average them. Let us do so. Then the CO2 concentration in 2100 will be 712 ppmv compared with 392 ppmv today. So the CO2 forcing will be 5.35 ln(712/392), or 3.2 Watts per square meter, which we divide by 0.75 (the average of the GISS and IPCC estimates of the proportion of total greenhouse forcings represented by CO2) to allow for the other greenhouse gases, making 4.25 Watts per square meter.

We reduce this value by about 35% to allow for negative forcings from our soot-parasols etc., giving 2.75 Watts per square meter of net anthropogenic forcings between now and 2100.

Nest, multiply by the centennial-scale transient-sensitivity parameter 0.5 Kelvin per Watt per square meter. This gives us a reasonable central estimate of the warming to be expected by 2100 if we follow the IPCC’s and GISS’ methods and values every step of the way. And the warming we should expect this century if we do things their way? Well, it’s not quite 1.4 K.

Now we go back to that discrepancy we noted before. The IPCC says that between half and all of the warming since 1950 was our fault, and its methods and parameter values seem to give an exaggeration of some 20-30% even if we assume that all of the warming since 1950 was down to us, and a very much greater exaggeration if only half of the warming was ours.

Allowing for this exaggeration knocks back this century’s anthropogenic warming to not much more than 1 K – about a third of the 3-4 K that we normally hear so much about.

Note how artfully this tripling of the true rate of warming has been achieved, by a series of little exaggerations which, when taken together, amount to a whopper. And it is quite difficult to spot the exaggerations, not only because most of them are not all that great but also because so few of the necessary parameter values to allow anyone to spot what is going on are explicitly stated in the IPCC’s reports.

The Stern Report in 2006 took the IPCC’s central estimate of 3 K warming over the 20th century and said that the cost of not preventing that warming would be 3% of 21st-century GDP. But GDP tends to grow at 3% a year, so, even if the IPCC were right about 3 K of warming, all we’d lose over the whole century, even on Stern’s much-exaggerated costings (he has been roundly criticized for them even in the journal of which he is an editor, World Economics), would be the equivalent of the GDP growth that might be expected to occur in the year 2100 alone. That is all.

To make matters worse, Stern used an artificially low discount rate for inter-generational cost comparison which his office told me at the time was 0.1%. When he was taken apart in the peer-reviewed economic journals for using so low a discount rate, he said the economists who had criticized him were “confused”, and that he had really used 1.4%. William Nordhaus, who has written many reviewed articles critical of Stern, says that it is quite impossible to verify or to replicate any of Stern’s work because so little of the methodology is explicit and available. And how often have we heard that before? It is almost as if They don’t want us to check stuff.

The absolute minimum commercially-appropriate discount rate is equivalent to the minimum real rate of return on capital – i.e. 5%. Let us oblige Stern by assuming that he had used a 1.4% discount rate and not the 0.1% that his office told me of.

Even if the IPCC is right to try to maintain – contrary to the analysis above, indicating 1 K manmade warming this century – that we shall see 3 K warming by 2100 (progress in the first one-ninth of the century: 0 K), the cost of doing nothing about it, discounted at 5% rather than 1.4%, comes down from Stern’s 3% to just 0.5% of global 21st-century GDP.

No surprise, then, that the cost of forestalling 3 K of warming would be at least an order of magnitude greater than the cost of the climate-related damage that might arise if we just did nothing and adapted, as our species does so well.

But if the warming we cause turns out to be just 1 K by 2100, then on most analyses that gentle warming will be not merely harmless but also beneficial. There will be no net cost at all. Far from it: there will be a net economic benefit.

And that, in a nutshell, is why governments should shut down the UNFCCC and the IPCC, cut climate funding by at least nine-tenths, de-fund all but two or three computer models of the climate, and get back to addressing the real problems of the world – such as the impending energy shortage in Britain and the US because the climate-extremists and their artful nonsense have fatally delayed the building of new coal-fired and nuclear-fired power stations that are now urgently needed.

Time to get back down to Earth and use our fossil fuels, shale gas and all, to give electricity to the billions that don’t have it: for that is the fastest way to lift them out of poverty and, in so doing, painlessly to stabilize the world’s population. That would bring real environmental benefits.

And now you know why building many more power stations won’t hurt the climate, and why – even if there was a real risk of 3 K warming this century – it would be many times more cost-effective to adapt to it than to try to stop it.

As they say at Lloyds of London, “If the cost of the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.” And even that apophthegm presupposes that there is a risk – which in this instance there isn’t.

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

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Part 1 of Sense and Sensitivity can be found here

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206 thoughts on “Sense and Sensitivity II – the sequel

  1. I am not understanding how the residence time is relevant. It doesn’t matter how long it stays in the atmosphere, it matters how much is in the atmosphere at any given moment. Yes, water condenses out rather quickly but every day just as much evaporates into the atmosphere as condenses out so the absolute humidity varies little.

    “Older” water doesn’t work any differently than “newer” water does in the atmosphere.

  2. “Dr. Lacis says ModelE is rooted in well-understood physical processes. If that were so, one would not expect such large fudge-factors (mentioned and quantified in the model’s operating manual) to be necessary.”

    Has Dr. Lacis published the well confirmed physical hypotheses that describe these “well-understood physical processes?” I know he has not. He does not have the well confirmed physical hypotheses. If he had them he would not be wasting his time with a computer model. He would use the hypotheses directly.

    Models cannot substitute for well confirmed physical hypotheses. Models produce only simulations which are reproductions of reality. Physical hypotheses describe natural regularities and can be used for prediction.

  3. Extra venom.
    These debauched wank#rs have deliberately chosen Brisbane due to the deadly floods last year.
    Propagandising on the backs of the dead and distraught. Hows that for scientific integrity.
    regards

  4. C M of B – you say of the Lacis paper: “it is questionable whether the nakedly political paragraph with which the paper ends should have been included in what is supposed to be an impartial scientific analysis“. It is disappointing that Joel Shore allowed himself to commend such a paper, given that he himself complained that “papers are being submitted into the peer-reviewed literature with an agenda that seems to go well beyond just trying to influence their fellow scientists and rather to influence public opinion and the formation of public policy.“.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/02/update-on-the-spencer-braswell-paper/#comment-108206

    (I do assume that this “Joel Shore” is the same person)

  5. Forcings are so passe. Willis has shown equatorial Cu-Nims are a governor that will trump any attempt by a ‘forcing’ to accumulate heat.
    Which removes CO2 from climatology. :D:D

  6. I’ve also heard the argument about water vapor residence times and it seems they think they can tell one water molecule from another. Do old water molecules get “tired” and not cause as much IR absorption in their version of physics?

  7. “nevket240 says:
    January 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm”

    Yes indeed, more CSIRO alarmism and shameful they picked Brisbane to focus the report on. The CSIRO is, of course, the same CSIRO which was involved with the introduction of the cane toad into Australia. And anyone who knows anything about this knows how well that worked out for the environment.

  8. If I understand it correctly, Dr. Lacis has explored in his research how Model E works, and found that in Model E, water vapour precipitates out quickly while CO2 rests in Model E’s atmosphere for thousands of model years.

    That is surely very interesting for people who are interested in Model E. And the inhabitants of Model E are probably very worried about their CO2 emissions, and rightly so – their model world seems to be in a very fragile state.

    I hope Dr. Lacis can help his little model people with his paper, and wish him a highscore.

  9. The production of ground water from no or slow to recharge aquifers amounts to 900 cubic kilometers per year. This is “new” water that takes one cycle of the hydrological cycle to come to equilibrium with the “old” water. This new water, frequently called fossil water, accounts for 2.6mm increase in ocean levels each year. Currently no one, including Deniers, seems to understand this aspect of human activities. The evapotranspiration of this fossil water also adds latent heat to the troposphere when it is evaporated and transpired from plants at constant temperature. During the process the potential energy in the water is converted to kinetic energy and then releases specific heat to the troposphere when it condenses into rain and aerosols. Thus, the process warms the troposphere for only one cycle, but in effect is continuous as long as fossil ground water is used for irrigation for food and fodder and water supply to evaporative cooling towers in process and power generation plants.

    JFD

  10. Dr. Lacis writes in a commentary on his paper: “While the non-condensing greenhouse gases account for only 25% of the total greenhouse effect, it is these non-condensing GHGs that actually control the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, since the water vapor and cloud feedback contributions are not self-sustaining and, as such, only provide amplification.”

    This statement has never made sense to me. Water vapor is constantly being replaced there-fore, they are self-sustaining. There-fore only, a fool would say they (condensing GHGs) only provide amplification. And, only someone who has sold their soul would try to peddle this notion.

  11. crosspatch says:
    January 15, 2012 at 8:13 pm . . .

    old construction worker says:
    January 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm . . .

    They have already said what I was thinking – what does it matter what the ‘residence time’ is for water vapor when it is ALWAYS BEING REPLACED by new evaporation? It’s the concentration at any time that determines the effect. And same for CO2 – when the concentration is what it is now, and increasing at the rate it has for many years now, what does it matter if it has a 7 or 50 year residence time?

    Anthony, might it be possible to get a guest post from Dr. Spencer about this issue . . ?

  12. @ crosspatch:

    Residence time of H20 is important. H20 evaporates from the surface. If the residence time of H20 increases, rainfall decreases. Drought ensues, the world ends. If the residence time of H20 decreases, rainfall increases. Floods ensue, the world ends. Oh wait, seems you are right. Doesn’t matter.

  13. Dueling cringeworthy hypotheses:

    Lacis vs. Trenberth

    Since they’re not mutually exclusive, I guess we now have cringeworthy squared.

  14. OT, but a great quote:

    “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    Source:
    The Week That Was: 2012-1-14 (January 14, 2012)
    Brought to You by SEPP (www.sepp.org)
    The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
    ______________

    I wonder if Thomas Jefferson could have ever foreseen this age of billion-dollar-funded enviro-radical groups and their lapdog scientists, all loyal fanatics of “the Cause”, lying, cheating and fabricating false evidence to gain fame, fortune and political power through the fraud of catastrophic humanmade global warming.

    I wonder if Jefferson could have foreseen otherwise respectable leaders of government and industry meekly acquiescing to these falsehoods, for fear of harsh but nonsensical criticism from utterly ignorant enviro-radicals and their odious fellow-travellers.

    I am sure that Jefferson would have had a great deal of difficulty believing this could ever happen in his America, but then, in those days men were made of finer metal – that is why they were worthy of being called men.

  15. To get an idea of how fast CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, recall the PETM. An absolutely huge spike in atmospheric carbon within 20,000 years, all gone within 200,000 years. In other words, during a period of a little longer than an interglacial, and all permanently scrubbed out within a period roughly equal to two glacial cycles. The earth is pretty efficient at scrubbing CO2 out of the atmosphere. Some of it gets scrubbed out temporarily by biology, but a lot of it gets scrubbed out more permanently by geological processes. There is a lot of limestone, dolomite, talc, chalk, marble, gypsum, etc. that is all CO2 removed from the atmosphere sitting in huge deposits on land that will never subduct and be recycled into the atmosphere.

  16. Not read the paper but if this is the basis for hypothesis ” because if all greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere most of the water vapor now in the atmosphere would condense or precipitate out within ten years, and within 50 years global temperatures would be some 21 K colder than the present.” then the argument is irrelevant as when has the atmosphere ever had no CO2 in it? If most of the CO2 were removed from the atmosphere, say below 100 ppm, plant and animal life on Earth would cease to exist. (The eco-zealots would finally have their green-Masada outcome with the extinction of humanity, the collateral damage would justify the means to ensure that the prokaryotes had a pristine environment to replicate in) to use this as a starting point to build an argument that is somehow relevant to the real world smacks of angels on the head of a pin.
    We have seen CO2 concentration rise from 280 to 390 ppm over the last few years. The “logarithmic” heavy-lifting of the greenhouse effect has already been done. Catastrophic Global Warming (TM acquired by the Team) demands positive feedback, the last 15 years of no trend suggest no such positive feedback or some other unelucidated natural climate variation that swamps AGW.

  17. Patrick Davis says:
    January 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    The CSIRO is, of course, the same CSIRO which was involved with the introduction of the cane toad into Australia. And anyone who knows anything about this knows how well that worked out for the environment.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And anyone who knows anything about this knows Cane Toads were introduced by The Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations in June 1935.

    The CSIRO have been, for many years, looking for ways to eradicate the Cane Toad.

    Look out, Patrick !!!!!

  18. Residence time of H20 is important. H20 evaporates from the surface. If the residence time of H20 increases, rainfall decreases.

    Absolute humidity is what matters. Not residence time. The two may at times be related but aren’t always. An increased residence time does not necessarily need mean a decrease in rainfall if absolute humidity also changes. But in any case, it’s orthogonal to what was being implied. The implied message is that water vapor doesn’t matter as a greenhouse gas because an individual molecule of it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere long. That is absolutely preposterous. What matters is the number of molecules of water in the atmosphere at any given time.

    Now, water vapor isn’t as well mixed and so its greenhouse impact will greatly vary from place to place:

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/west/nepac/flash-wv.html

    But even in what we would consider “dry” air, there is still significantly more water vapor than CO2.

  19. “SPM says:
    January 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm”

    Sir David Rivett, Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
    (CSIR) – the fore-runner of CSIRO – was brought into the debate but he supported BSES
    saying ‘I am very glad to know that Mr C E Pemberton is prepared to defend the wisdom of the
    importation despite the decidedly pessimistic forecast of the New South Wales entomologist’.
    But his support was self-serving because CSIR was working on the release the European toad,
    Bufo vulgaris, to control pests in pastures.

  20. There are four serious scientific mistakes in the climate models.

    1. ‘Back radiation’ is in reality ‘Prevost exchange energy’ so can do no thermodynamic work: any process engineer sees this instantly. This is an elementary scientific mistake by amateurs.

    2. The assumption of 100% thermalisation of absorbed IR energy is wrong because it is physically impossible directly to transfer that vibrational energy to a non GHG like N2 and O2. There will be indirect thermalisation.

    3. The assumption of 33 K present GHG warming is also an elementary mistake – it is probably ~9 K.

    4. The cloud optical depth used in the models is ~2 times reality and the assumption of significant net AIE is plain wrong because the optical physics has been misunderstood.

    So Lord Monckton, your concentration on the details of the IR warming of the atmosphere is hitting the wrong target. There is no positive feedback/thermal runaway for a water planet. GISS -E was broken from the start and it’s time its proponents realised this.

    The second optical process is the real GW and is leading to this: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/figure-101.png

    Because the Arctic phytoplankton blooms are becoming weaker, there is less regional warming, less warmed water entering the N. Atlantic. The IPCC scam and those pushing this new Lysenkoism convolved with the new Phlogiston – ‘back radiation’ – should be pensioned off.

  21. The notion that because, under some imaginary and completely impossible scenario generated by a computer model that has never demonstrated the least bit of predictive skill, H2O would disappear entirely from the atmosphere in very short order, we should conclude that CO2 is the dominant gas driving the atmospheric warming effect is such utter nonsense that I have difficulty imagining how much of a moron one would have to be to even suggest it.
    On the real planet atmospheric H2O varies a great deal spacially and temporally and even the average and mean values dither about somewhat, but from what I’ve seen not all that much. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that even in the depths of worst of the planet’s ice ages H2O ever came close to disappearing from the atmosphere or that it is ever likely to. I’ve linked this paper a number of times

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI3525.1

    Spectral and Broadband Longwave Downwelling Radiative Fluxes, Cloud Radiative Forcing, and Fractional Cloud Cover over the South Pole

    The authors used spectral analysis of Downwelling Longwave Radiation (DLR) to determine the contribution of various components of the atmosphere to the total DLR. The experiment was conducted at the South Pole, the coldest and driest environment on the planet, which I would point out has temperatures throughout most of the year well below the CW temp for an atmosphereless S/B blackbody. They did determine that CO2 was responsible for fully a third of DLR there over the entire year, which of course left 2/3rds to be provided the admittedly seriously diminished atmospheric H2O

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/action/showFullPopup?id=i1520-0442-18-20-4235-f08&doi=10.1175%2FJCLI3525.1

    Even there the water never completely leaves even in the dead of winter when the temps there often approach 200K and under clear sky conditions

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/action/showFullPopup?id=i1520-0442-18-20-4235-f09&doi=10.1175%2FJCLI3525.1

    As I’ve mentioned when linking this work in the past, their measurements indicate that the South Pole is probably the point on the planet where CO2 has its maximum contribution to the GHE, which is interesting when you consider what the temps there have been doing for the last 40-50 yrs

  22. As a critique of Andy Lacis paper, the preceding makes very little physical sense, which explains its author’s conspicuous absence from peer reviewed publication. In contras his wares gave perfect satisfaction during his tenure as my London shirtmaker, and it saddens me to see him abandon his useful career as a wholesale haberdasher.

  23. To suggest water vapour is irrelevant because it is only a response to CO2 is absurd. Water vapour is a strong green house gas and remember the green house effect is logarithmic. Even without atmospheric CO2, some water would evaporate and because at very low concentrations small changes give big effects (logarithmic effect) the warming effect would be considerable. The rising temperature would result in more water evaporating with still more warming etc. Sounds like strong positive feedback. right? Well no, for two reasons. Firstly as the concentration rises the sensitivity falls (logaritmic effect again) so the positive feedback coefficient reduces but more importantly water vapour in the air causes clouds and clouds generate very siginificant cooling by reflecting incoming energy back out to space (the albedo effect). There is good reason to consider cloud impact to be roughly linear with water vapour concentration.

    Thus water vapour exerts 2 effects, green house warming and cloud cooling, the first is logarithmic and the second near linear. The impact of this is that at very low temperatures (low water vapour concentration) the warming sensitivity is high and dominates over cloud cooling so water vapour is net warming but at high temperatures the warming sensitivity is low and is dominated by cloud cooling so increasing water vapour content causes a net temperature reduction.

    Far form being insignificant, water vapour in isolation is absolutely paramount in importance. It establishes an “operating point” or equilibrium temperature for the Earth and maintains it by strong negative feedback. CO2 only slightly perturbs this equilibrium temperature.

    The warmists so glibly talk about massive positive feedback in the climate system yet virtually all naturally stable systems exhibit strong negative feedback. This is so ubiquitous that, given that the climate has remained stable enough for life to continue unabated for millions of years, to suggest that the climate system exhibits positive feedback not negative feedback is an absolutely extraordinary claim. As others have said, extraordinary claims require substantial proof.

    To claim positive feedback based on one aspect of water vapour’s actions while ignoring other actions does not just fall short of the mark, it is laughable.

    Yes I realise the above is descriptive without any maths to back it up but the purpose here is to point it out not prove it. The maths has been done elsewhere and stands up.

  24. crosspatch says: (In relation to “lives” of atmospheric CO2 and water vapour),
    “I am not understanding how the residence time is relevant.”
    Exactly my contention.
    Firstly the current amount of atmospheric CO2, and its effect, are minute.
    Secondly, whatever the cause of any global warming increases, increased water vapour results.
    I don’t believe that, even in the long term, the increase of CO2 has been shown to result in any significantly higher ratio cf average water vapour levels.

  25. Nevket240 and Patrick Davis attempt to smear CSIRO.

    As SPM says the CSIRO did not introduce the Cane Toad. The CSIRO did however introduce the Cactoblastis cactorum wasp which brought prickly pear under control when it was threatening to over run large tracts of Australia. It introduced dung beetles which have substantially reduced fly populations in much of Australia, It introduced Myxomatosis which dramatically reduced the rabbit menace in Australia and it introduced three diseases which substantially reduced the economic cost of skeleton weed in Australia. All of these introductions had major beneficial effects and no significant negative effects because CSIRO researched their impacts carefully before they were released as you would expect from such a great scientific organisation

    These are just four CSIRO successes there are many others – one that affects most of us is the invention of the technology that is used as the basis for every WIFi network. CSIRO is an organisation of which we Australians can feel justifiably proud and which has repaid many times over the funds that Australian Governments have invested in it.

  26. Lord Monckton would get my vote. Sadly I still haven’t learnt how a forcing is derived.
    What I have learnt elsewhere is that ALL “greenhouse gases” have absorption/emission bands in the near infrared whence only incoming solar radiation is effective. Half the planet is always in sunlight so that half is being shielded by “greenhouse gases”. This aspect of anthropogenic radiative heat transfer never seems to be discussed

  27. I suspect the primary reason for ignoring water vapor is that it is non-anthropogenic. If one takes the MODTRAN utility hosted by the University of Chicago to find the surface temperature needed to create a flow of 292.993 W/m² (a standard program-favored number that I use) 70 km up in clear tropical air with a CO2 concentration of 396 PPM, I get a ground temperature of 301.18 deg K required to force this flow. Next, if I set the CO2 to 0.0 PPM, I get 293.56 deg K as the temperature required for a CO2-free atmosphere.

    Then if I change the default CH₄(methane) from 1.7 PPM to 0.0 I get 293.17 deg K as the required surface temperature. Then if I change the two settings for ozone to zero, I get 291.75 deg K as the required temperature.

    Finally if I set the water vapor scale to zero I get 275.86 deg K as the surface temperature required with all optional greenhouse gases set to zero. By this measure, water vapor accounts for about 63 percent of the total raw greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide only accounts for about 30 percent.

  28. Damn, I’m tired and late for the party, but all one has to do is look at the seasonal removal of atmospheric CO2 to know its residence time is entirely exaggerated. It gets renewed quite regularly. Anthony once posted an video of satellite rendition of CO2. It’s quite remarkable. But, to get an idea, just look here……..http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979 Assuming CO2 has no migratory instincts, it looks to me that about 3-4ppm gets removed annually. Again, the video shows this much better.

  29. When arguing their case, alarmists are invariably caught in a circular reasoning trap and their only escape is by appealing to the authority of the IPCC which relies on the authority of computer models which in turn simply confirm the initial assumptions and its raison d’être (how could it be otherwise) and around we go getting nowhere: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b31569e2013489158321970c-800wi
    How by 1989-90 trained scientists could conclude that the post-war CO2 emissions were the overwhelming climate driver is a mystery that will puzzle future science historians.
    It all “gets so teejus don’t it”.

  30. JFD mentions something new to me – the use of sequestered water (deep aquifers) for irrigation. He has this causing sea levels to rise by 2.6mm/yr – 10 inches per century. Which conflicts with the 2 inches per century occurring at present. Something else to be confused about!

  31. What is it with the inability to understand the role of water vapour?

    Warmer air can hold more water vapour. If we do something that warms the atmosphere, then the atmosphere can hold more water. It probably will, given that 2/3 of the earth’s surface is covered by a great big source of water.

    So why do we worry about putting CO2 into the atmosphere but not water? Its pretty simple. Extra water in the atmosphere will fall out as rain or snow very quickly, and there will be no lasting extra water vapour in the atmosphere re-emitting IR radiation in all directions. Extra CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for some time. Lets agree with Christy on 40 years. The CO2 continually warms the atmosphere, allowing more water vapour to be held by the air, until the temperature stabilises at a higher value.

    So if this part of AGW is true, you’d expect, through a lot of natural variation, to see higher absolute humidity in the atmosphere as it warms.

  32. TFNJ says:
    January 16, 2012 at 1:09 am
    JFD mentions something new to me – the use of sequestered water (deep aquifers) for irrigation. He has this causing sea levels to rise by 2.6mm/yr – 10 inches per century. Which conflicts with the 2 inches per century occurring at present. Something else to be confused about!>>>

    Nothing that adding in the right number of zeros behind the decimal place won’t fix. If JFD thinks that all the irrigation from all the deep acquifers over the next century adds up to 10 cm X the surface area of the oceans, then he’s welcome to think so. He’s also welcome to think that deep acquifers even HAVE that volume of water in the first place. But if he wants to substantiate his opinion with numbers, he’s going to have to make up his own numbers.

  33. Water evaporating from the surface will cool that surface due to the need for latent heat to do this. Condensing water vapour in the mid to high troposphere will release that latent heat to be radiated to space.

    A survey of all the latest research papers on CO2 residence time put the majority between 3 and 7 years. The maximum time being 20 years and nothing near the IPCC version. The model derived 1000′s is blatant rubbish.

  34. So the CO2 forcing will be 5.35 ln(712/392), or 3.2 Watts per square meter, which we divide by 0.75 (the average of the GISS and IPCC estimates of the proportion of total greenhouse forcings represented by CO2)

    ITYM multiply by 0.75, rather than divide.

  35. “Spector says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:19 am

    a standard program-favored number that I use”

    That proves only a lineal function to find the surface temperature needed to create a flow of 292.993 W/m². As so often in this climate science bizzo, the multivariate needed to conclude climatic predictions is missing.

    The good Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, has just shown you about pathways for reasoning, and you come in here and dishonor Aristotle by blaspheming against the first law of logic. Einstein wouldn’t have a bar of it. His theory were simply two or more premiss with a universal application.

    Whereas, you sir, come up with one premise and a false conclusion. If you are a scientist you suffer from a lack of pedagogy.

  36. There is that date 1750 again, I just don’t get it, what relevance does it have to anything? Let us ask that question, accepting what the IPCC says as gospel truth.

    One question, just how much CO2 did mankind add to the atmosphere between 1750 and 1950? Most people would think it is not much, based on the amount of industry in that time frame, the IPCC must know something we don’t.

    So why is the IPCC using the date 1750, because most of the warming happened between 1750 and about 1900 at the latest, with little or no warming since then. The IPCC knows this, and wants to show warming, so they set the date back to 1750. it is easy to show that from the depths of the little ice age to now, it has warmed, viola, the IPCC is able to show warming!

    Conclusion, something warmed up the planet between 1750 and 1900. The IPCC is going to have to show that mankind produced most of the CO2 we see right now in the atmosphere between 1750 and 1900 if they wish to dare to continue to use the date 1750, and insist that it is CO2 and CO2 alone that has caused the warming from 1750 to now.

    The conclusion is, since most of the warming, according to the IPCC who are using the date 1750, is known to have happened between 1750 and 1900 (in fact, many say the end of the little ice age was 1850, 1900 is being generous), and we know that warming is caused almost entirely by CO2 (ignore that little sun behind the curtain), we therefore know that mankind produced most of it’s CO2 between 1750 and 1900. Therefore, little CO2 has been produced since then, according to the IPCC’s own dating system and knowledge of what actually causes warming. The IPCC wants us to cut back on CO2 production, According to the IPCC’s own dating and methodology, we must not have produced any CO2 between 1900 and 2012. Therefore we have succeeded in doing exactly what the IPCC wants, we need do nothing more. Man, are we good, or what!

    The number 1750 should be hung around their necks, people should point and laugh.

  37. Back in the good old days, those in the know argued over the number of epicycles needed to “explain” planetary orbits — I wonder if someone made up a “dynamical system sensitivity” to judge between the various epicycle models. That, of course, was before Kepler found that orbits weren’t the perfect circles that Ancient Wisdom — or just the “experts” of the time — had made them out to be. There is no real science in all of this, it is like listening to two children at play, arguing over who gets to be the hero, and who shot who first and best. Don’t expect the public to care, or laugh indulgently over such youthful shenanigans, when the ugly truth comes out. All of science will get the licking.

  38. Water is the refrigerant that drives the worlds heat pump, I would urge all these scientists that push CO2 non sense to stop, and have a good long look around. The real world is there for all to see. They seem to lack a sense of reality or a sense of shame.

  39. “scepticalwombat says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Nevket240 and Patrick Davis attempt to smear CSIRO.”

    Smear the CSIRO they did not.

    The Koalas introduced onto Kangaroo Island by CSIRO have flourished, to the degree that their preferred food source, the Manna Gum, is currently at risk of local extinction. Koalas have recently been forced to turn to other, less palatable, species. Management methods used include surgical sterilisation and transfer to suitable empty mainland sites. This does not appear to be keeping up with the breeding rate, though, so the only practical solution may be culling. The government is opposed to this though, fearing an economic backlash through tourism boycotts.

    Uber green scientists saving the Koala whilst destroying ecosystems.

  40. The ‘other’ way of calculating 2XCO2 sensitivity is by showing the average amount of solar radiation received on Earth as:

    Sin=(1-a)FoHr^2

    Where a is albedo, Fo is the total solar radiative flux [w/m2] and Hr^2 is the cross-section of Earth.

    Energy radiated by Earth is:

    Sout=eQ4Hr^2T^4

    Where e is emissivity, Q the Stephan-Boltzman constant, 4Hr^2 the total area of Earth and T the temperature in K.

    At equilibrium Sin=Sout.

    Deriving we achieve:

    (1-a)Fo=eQ4T^4

    The average albedo is 0.297, solar irradiance 1366W/m2; assuming a blackbody e=1 so we have:

    (1-0.297)1366=5.67×10^-8(4)T^4

    Which gives T=255K; so the above becomes 255-273=-18C

    With e=0.612 the equation becomes:

    (1-0.297)1366=0.612(5.67×10^-8)4T^4

    Which gives T=288K – 273=15C

    The difference between the 2 temperatures [blackbody and real, that is with a greenhouse atmosphere] is 15-(-18)=33C; the greenhouse temperature.

    So with Earth reflecting 0.297 and emitting 0.612 =0.909 the amount of energy that Earth absorbs is:

    (1-0.909)1366=124W/m2. 124W/m2 has produced 33C. The sensitivity is therefore:

    33/124=0.27K/W/m2

    The radiative forcing for CO2 is:

    (5.35)In(C/Co)W/m2 [from Table 3 http://folk.uio.no/gunnarmy/paper/myhre_grl98.pdf }

    2XCO2=(5.35)In(2)=3.7W/m2 [the official IPCC forcing]

    So, the temperature increase from 2XCO2 is:

    (0.27)(3.7)=1C

    This a lower figure than calculated by either F&R or Hansen et al but I still think it is too high. Why? Clouds.

  41. scepital wombat says
    These are just four CSIRO successes there are many others – one that affects most of us is the invention of the technology that is used as the basis for every WIFi network. CSIRO is an organisation of which we Australians can feel justifiably proud and which has repaid many times over the funds that Australian Governments have invested in it.
    I say
    These are just four CSIRO successes there are many others – one that affects most of us is the invention of the technology that is used as the basis for every WIFi network. CSIRO is an organisation of which we Australians used to feel justifiably proud of and which has been infested with enviromental activists.

  42. In Australia there is a army of green activist public servants clustered into many previous admirable institutions and environmental regulators.

    These activists can often been seen posting subtle rhetoric, please be on the lookout for them.

    By the way, discourse classifies petitio principii under rhetoric.

  43. Climate science will not take a step forward until it ditches the use of models.

    A paper based upon a proclamation made by a model is not evidence of anything; it is simply opinion writing which rests upon the assumptions and suppositions of the programmers of the model.

    Given that the models have yet to show ant predictive skill and given the divergence problem exhibited by all the models currently used, one would have thought that a genuine scientist would be very wary at putting their name to any statement which rests upon model proclamation and would wish to enter a suitably worded caveat explaining the uncertainties and pointing out that to date the model has not exhibited a reasonable degree of predictive skill.

  44. The wind is another important mechanical process that transports water vapor from the surface of liquid water. The lake effect is an example of the power of the wind to move massive amounts of water vapor from, for example, the Great Lakes onto the nearby land.

    Do any of these models take into account the amount of water vapor that the wind transports into the atmosphere?

  45. TFNJ says:
    January 16, 2012 at 1:09 am
    /////////////////////////////////////////////
    I have seen the point raised by JFD discussed on a number of occassions. However, I do not recall it being alleged that the consequential increase in sea level is as much as 2.6mm/yr. It may be that JFD has this out by a factor of 10.

    I consider the point raised to be anthropogenic factor which could be of relevance and is a matter which should be given more consideration.

  46. John Brookes: your argument presupposes that there is substantial direct thermalisation of IR absorbed by CO2.

    There may be none with real thermalisation being indirect at cloud droplets and other aerosols.

    Cloud droplets getter the local CO2 which in pure water is mostly molecular.

    And because real present GHG warming is much less than claimed by the IPCC [~9 K], your water vapour argument is diluted substantially.

    The climate sensitivity of CO2 could also be slightly negative because of self absorption when you have IR band saturation [near the earth's surface].

    In essence, the IPCC science is almost totally broken, basically because the people who set it up were arrogant and ignorant of the subtleties of the IR, heat transfer and basic meteorology but couldn’t back down after they went for broke…..

  47. “davidmhoffer says:
    January 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Nothing that adding in the right number of zeros behind the decimal place won’t fix. If JFD thinks that all the irrigation from all the deep acquifers over the next century adds up to 10 cm X the surface area of the oceans, then he’s welcome to think so. He’s also welcome to think that deep acquifers even HAVE that volume of water in the first place. But if he wants to substantiate his opinion with numbers, he’s going to have to make up his own numbers.”

    Doesn’t matter what he thinks aquifers fill before runoff to ocean. Unless we don’t get ANY rain over the next century, I recon the aquifers will be O.K.

    Moreover, Davidmhoffer, those 10cm’s of aquifers are full in Australasia, the sub continent and large parts of Africa. Don’t be alarmed, the drought over in the Americas will end with the next El Nino. Hopefully, greedily, in Australia, we will enjoy a few more La Nina oscillation bounces before the PDO kinks in and warmer waters move closer to the west coast of America triggering the next El Nino oscillation.

  48. As they say at Lloyds of London, “If the cost of the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.” And even that apophthegm presupposes that there is a risk – which in this instance there isn’t.
    ////////////////////////////////////////////////
    Insurers bank on the collective premium exceeding the collective risk and this is why in the long term they always make a substantial profit. Insurers also rely upon selling to the punter insurance that is not needed and in this manner they scam the punter. Unfortunately, it appaers that governments are scamming the populace by imposing upon them an unnecessary tax and subsidy regime to cover what appears to be a mythical or at any rate low risk issue.

    The senesible course for mankind is to adapt, not to try and mitigate. Climate change is not global but rather local or at any rate regional. The effects of Climate change are certainly felt on a local basis.

    There can be no doubt that with climate change there will be winners and losers. What is not known is whether the winners will exceed the losers. I personally strongly consider that there will be more winners than losers.

    Mitigation is money down the drain IF either claimate change is due to natural variation (in this scenario mitigation will be in effective), or if climate change is net beneficial (in which case bring it on, and in this scenario mitigation would deprive the world of something good). In constrast adaption always works as necessary (it may not be necessary since clkimate change may be beneficial) and it will be targeted to give relief where relief is needed.

    Only a fool would argue for mitigation in peference to adaption. Unfortunately, the world is full of fools and regretably politics seems to attract more than its fair share.

  49. cohenite says:
    January 16, 2012 at 2:17 am
    I don’t understand your rather involved calculation. What is the justification for saying “With e=0.612 the equation becomes:…”. The emissivity of the Earth, in the infrared region where it emits, is close to one, i.e. it approximates to a blackbody. Using your arbitrary figure however, you seem to have produced an answer that would be approximately correct for the non-feedback case.
    A more accurate formula for the temperature increase (dT) due to an increase in CO2, say from an initial concentration C1 to a new concentration at C2 is
    dt = 1.7ln(c2/c1).

    Where ln is a natural logarithm. So for a doubling of CO2, everything else being equal, we get a temperature increase of
    1.7 * ln( 2 ) = 1.7 * 0.693
    = 1.18 deg.C

    NB: Formula is only valid for starting temperatures around 15 deg.C

    The temperature increase since the pre-industrial era, using Lord Monkton’s figures of 280ppm to 390 ppm gives us
    dt = 1.7 * ln( 390/280 ) = 1.7 * 0.33
    = 0.56 deg. C

    Dave Wendt says:
    January 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm
    Thanks for the link. A very useful paper.

  50. From an earlier comment about the CSIRO and Cane Toads:
    “Sir David Rivett, Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research”
    With that name….obviously the man for the job.

  51. Posted:
    “So, even though we have reason to suspect there is a not insignificant exaggeration of predicted warming inherent in the IPCC’s predictions (or “projections”, as it coyly calls them).”

    Wonderful isn’t it. The Groupthink filters down to government funded whackos worldwide.

    During launch of The Australian Climate Commission it’s Critical Decade : Health Impacts, 2011, report, none other than our illustrious commissioner Tim Flannery looks into the camera during the TV gab and say’s ” We’re not calling them predictions, they are projections.”

    Just too smug for words.

  52. “…Furthermore, it is questionable whether the nakedly political paragraph with which the paper ends should have been included in what is supposed to be an impartial scientific analysis…”

    Alas! Questionable it may be, impartial it certainly is not, but it is a sine qua non of modern science. Unless you make some ritual obeisance to the status quo, you may write papers, but you won’t get paid for them.

    And for those of us who make their living writing papers, this is a fact of life…

  53. Monckton’s writing is toooo wonderful. When my eyelids get heavy trying to parse some impossible sentence, somewhere, Monckton is a joy to read. The acerbic asides are like
    bon-bons!

    (But he does have William Buckley eyes, albeit lacking the strange lizard tongue Buckley used so oft.) ….Lady in Red

  54. “…..because water vapor, the most significant greenhouse gas because of its high concentration in the atmosphere, condenses out rapidly, while the non-condensing gases, such as CO2, linger for years.”

    Ratio H2O:CO2 @ 20 deg C = 66
    Mass transfer in the lower atmosphere maitains water vapour humidity at 0.015 independently of precipitation. The above ratio is always maintained giving water vapour its dominant role. Precipitation occurs at saturation and does not affect the high concentration ratio found below 100% RH.
    It is rather silly to say that because wv condenses it is less effective than CO2, the background humidity is always maitained. CO2 pales into insignificance compared with H2O and billions of $US should not be wasted reducing emissions of this gas, 350ppm is sod all.

  55. Minus 8C in Central England last night and will be again tonight. Where has all the CO2 forcing gone????

    • I went to Tokyo once, on route to Hachinohe, and of course back again for the return journey. Quite honestly its not all its cracked up to be.

  56. and, of course, let us not forget that in the make-believe world of climate science, carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years, and yet be diving into the sea and turning it acid already!

  57. “scepticalwombat says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:17 am
    Nevket240 and Patrick Davis attempt to smear CSIRO.”

    Smear? I can’t smear what is already done. Still, it’s nice to ingore factual history.

  58. Maybe this has already been asked, but how does one determine the “residence time” of any of the atmospheric gasses?

    If in a given year, 25% of a gas is added and 25% is removed, then isn’t its “residence time” only 4 years? Of course, the actual time the gas resides in the atmosphere is somewhat “continuous” since it is always there, although its actual ratio may fluctuate over periods of time.

    Is this not correct: for atmospheric CO2 there is about 750 GT in the atmosphere and about 90 GT is added/removed each year, giving an average “residence time” of about 8 years?

    A specific molecule of a gas, say CO2, could only remain in the atmosphere for a very short time – maybe a few seconds if I exhale it while walking under a tree and the tree “breathes it in” as I walk by – or theoretically forever if in its rambling around in the atmosphere it never becomes removed. However, in general, why isn’t the “about 8 years” (since the amount in the atmosphere at any time and the amounts being exchanged aren’t exact) a reasonable working number?

    Moreover, if CO2 has increased 100 ppm over the last century or so, what other atmospheric gas or gasses decreased that 100 ppm? After all, there are only 1 million parts per million.

  59. “scepticalwombat says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:17 am”

    I never stated the CSIRO introduced the toad. I stated the CSIRO (In fact the CSIR) was INVOLVED with the introcuction of the cane toad. Try to re-write history if you like, the facts remain.

  60. I’m not buying Lacis’ logic. The fact of the matter is that so long as the global ocean presents a liquid surface water vapor is the major greenhouse gas and the very low albedo of the ocean itself ensures it absorbs a maximal amount of solar energy especially if cloud cover lessens. I do however firmly believe that non-condensing greenhouse gases are critical in the rare times geological epics called “snowball earth” where the earth is largely or entirely frozen over for millions of years without respite. During those times volcanic emissions of CO2 and dark ash accumulate over millions of years until the combined effect of darkened the snow and greenhouse gas tips the balance away from growing glaciers to shrinking glaciers.

    In other words CO2 is the kindling which ignites the water cycle. But once the water cycle is going the CO2 is no longer needed to sustain it.

  61. So let me get this straight.

    Lacis contends that if enough CO2 is removed from the atmosphere the earth will become a giant snowball because all the water vapor will freeze out.

    And then without missing a beat he advocates lowering the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Is Lacis playing with a full deck?

  62. I’m on my way to Tokyo to help out with AMSR2 (replacement for AMSR-E) so I don’t have time for a full blown critique. But the first dozen or so comments I’ve seen here are exactly what I think. The residence time of water vapor doesn’t really matter, since it is continually being replenished anyway.

    ALSO, as I have been saying for many years, we really do not understand the processes controlling precipitation efficiency, which is the SINK for water vapor (evaporation being the dominant source). If precip efficiency were to change, the average temperature of the climate system will change. This was published many years ago by Renno, Emanuel, and Stone.

    To believe precipitation efficiency always remains the same (as the GISS folks obviously do) is a statement of faith, not science. Water vapor could be a “forcing” just as much as CO2 is a “forcing”.

  63. The main factor for the Green-House (GH) effect is the thickness of the atmosphere, not so much the concentration of the multi-atomic (> 2 atoms) molecules in the atmosphere.

    Mars has, at its surface a co2 concentration 30 times greater than what is on Earth and the GH effect is non-existent because Mars’s atmospheric pressure at the surface is about 1% that of Earth. The CACA (catastrophic anthropogenic climate alteration) advocates say that Mars is so further away from the Sun than Earth. But yet the GH effects on Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus (all with thick atmosphere and much further away from the Sun than Mars) are just as great as it is on Earth.

    Applying the principle of microscopic reversibility, a strong radiation absorber is also a strong emitter. In the troposphere (high pressure), GHG molecules warm the atmosphere. In the stratosphere (low pressure), GHG molecules cool the atmosphere. Go back to Mars: the co2 molecules upon absorbing an IR photon will, 99% of the time, emit the photon to the sky before colliding with another molecule. The thicker the atmosphere, the greater the probability to collide with another molecule before emitting. There is always a recoil effect upon absorbing or emitting a photon.

    That water is a condensing chemical and co2 is not (at least in ordinary atmospheric conditions) is a non-issue. Water condensation (slow process compared to radiative processes) is an exothermic process and in the troposphere, 99% of the energy released is absorbed by the neighboring oxygen and nitrogen molecules. Only in the stratosphere (low pressure) condensation/crystallization of water vapor is accompanied mostly by emission to the sky (mostly microwave). So whatever latent heat contained in water vapor still remains in the atmosphere after condensation.

  64. michael hammer:
    “Thus water vapour exerts 2 effects, green house warming and cloud cooling, the first is logarithmic and the second near linear. ”

    Yes, the cloud effects do not get enough consideration. A day’s worth of cloud production at one location with surface water, can be driven by wind to locations without water, affecting their temperatures to the same extent. Thus even deserts, or cold deserts such as the Antarctic, are affectable by clouds which reduce the daily temperature swings. The relatively high CO2 constituent in the IR-active (aka greenhouse) gases at these locations will have minimal effect on the temperatures, because of the dominant incoming cloud cover.

    Another effect which tends to get ignored is the nighttime cooling of the atmosphere by IR radiation by the IR-actve gases. More CO2 means more CO2 cooling under these conditions. So CO2 is both a refrigerator gas and a greenhouse gas. If it is to be given a non-scientific name, then refrigerator-greenhouse gas is fine. The correct reference to “GHG’s” will be “RFG-GHG’s”.

  65. The vapor pressure of water depends only on the temperature of the liquid phase it was last in contact with and not on trace gasses. Lord Moncton, you spent far too much time on this.

  66. Markus;
    Moreover, Davidmhoffer, those 10cm’s of aquifers are full in Australasia, the sub continent and large parts of Africa.>>>

    Markus, please do learn to read.

    The contention was that water from deep aquifers that are NOT replenished are being used for irrigation and that this water, that previously was NOT part of the water cycle, will raise the levels of the oceans by 10 cm.

    If one multiplies 10 cm by the area of the world’s oceans to arrive at the volume of water that would be required to be used in irrigation strictly from deep aquifers that are NOT normally part of the water cycle, one gets a rather large number well in excess of that being used in the irrigation process in question.

  67. I’d say that the importance of CO2 residence time is this: The claim is made that additions of atmospheric CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels remain in the atmosphere for a millennium and is thus effectively irreversible. The assertation is, “what goes up don’t come down”. Wrong.

    I’ve examined the peak rate of decline showing in the Mauna Loa record (every year in the Northern growing season) and derived a half life of about 14 years.

  68. The world’s surface is covered 70% with water, at what point would all atmospheric water condense out? Worse, given that the energy contained in latent heat (held by water vapor) of the atmosphere exceeds that of all gases combined in sensible heat, that postulation is truly absurd. Water vapor/humidity is the prime variable of the earth’s atmosphere and the sun is the prime driver. The availability of water vapor controls the range of air temperature fluctuations. Go consult the psychrometric chart.

  69. Exactly, it’s a violation of the gas laws, the partial pressure of water vapor in the atmosphere is governed by the availability of it in any given place on the earth. With 70% of the surface area being liquid water, the partial pressure of water vapor will always insure there is water in the atmosphere. This is why deserts have low humidity, no bodies of water to supply water vapor except by transport of precipitation from long distances via clouds and moving air masses.

    Joules Verne says:
    January 16, 2012 at 6:13 am

    So let me get this straight.

    Lacis contends that if enough CO2 is removed from the atmosphere the earth will become a giant snowball because all the water vapor will freeze out.

    And then without missing a beat he advocates lowering the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Is Lacis playing with a full deck?

  70. “On notice I can cite three dozen papers dating back to Revelle in the 1950s that find the CO2 residence time to be just seven years, though Professor Lindzen says that for various reasons 40 years is a good central estimate.”

    Segalstad has gathered studies together and 5.4 years is probably close to CO2′s half-life in the atmosphere. This makes much more sense than 40 years as we know that corn essentially uses up all CO2 near the ground on a sunny day. CO2 is so rare that photosynthesis would be expected to cause a fairly vibrant turnover.

  71. Sent before I have read other comments…..

    To argue only radiation is to play the warmists’ game. Limiting one’s attention to radiation ignores the evaporation-convection-condensation effect of water (which is always in the atmosphere) plus the effect of clouds plus the convection of sensible heat from contact with the warmed surface. From comments to various postings I have gleaned the information that radiation is much inferior to convection as a heat-transfer mechanism. I don’t know that convection is superior to radiation and would very much like to have a knowledgeable answer.

    IanM

  72. “However, using the IPCC’s own forcing function for CO2, 5.35 times the natural logarithm of (390 ppmv / 280 ppmv), respectively the perturbed and unperturbed concentrations of CO2 over the period of study, is 1.8 Watts per square meter.”

    The IPCC, as usual, is bogus. 280 ppv represents nothing. It is not the average preIndustrial CO2. It is a cherry-picked number which is devoid of any anchor to reality. During the period 280 ppv is supposed o describe, CO2 varied from 260 to 550 ppm and 280 was NOT the average; more like 330 was the average.

  73. # crosspatch : January 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm
    Talc and gypsum contain no carbon; the other materials you mention are however carbonates.

  74. “the cost of forestalling 3 K of warming would be at least an order of magnitude greater than the cost of the climate-related damage that might arise if we just did nothing and adapted, as our species does so well.”

    Of course, it has to be pointed out that the climate-realted damage is estimated by people who want maximal damage to support their view. There is, actually, every indication that warming would be a boon for the world, with gains in virtually every area.

  75. I have to laugh at the total disregard of the elephant poop in the room (aka oceans and atmospheric drivers of land temps intrinsic to Earth’s natural systems) while looking for mouse turds.

  76. crosspatch says:
    January 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    “But even in what we would consider “dry” air, there is still significantly more water vapor than CO2.”

    Oh! You mean like in Fairbanks, AK, where the dewpoint this morning is at -28F?

  77. What is missing from this very nice discussion is the huge heat engine in the form of the convection of warm, humid air to altitude where it cools, condenses, and cool rain falls back to Earth. This is responsible for about 85% of energy transfer to altitude, away from the surface, and is the missing heat Trenberth agonizes over.

    Not including this huge heat engine, which ramps up when warming occurs, is to ignore one of the largest negative feedback mechanisms on the planet. It is patently wrong to pretend that water vapor accentuates CO2′s effects in any way. Recent work shows that CO2 actually interferes with water vapor’s “heat-trapping” such that added CO2 decreases the net effect. Further,more added CO2 displaces water vapor in the upper troposphere such that there is a fairly constant presence (Zagoni & Miskolczi (sp?)).

    Only the IPCC is willing to consider water vapor a positive feedback factor while totally ignoring the water cycle whose details we teach to grade school children. That’s how basic is the IPCC’s junk science construct for AGW and climate sensitivity.

    The definition of GHGs is purposely tailored to lead the user to select CO2 and water vapor, but these are gases which actively convert IR radiation to heat and back. During the day, it’s a two way street and wrong to assume it is only IR to CO2 to heat to air. The air is equally capable of handing heat to CO2 which then releases IR. It is at night that the two gases are energy leaks, like many small holes in a greenhouse’s glass roof. As the climate models do not really model night-time, this piece is missing.

    A real greenhouse gas cannot release IR to the environment, just as a greenhouse cannot release the warmed air. So, the proper definition of a GHG (a true heat-trapping bass) would lead one to the nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere which cannot radiate IR at all. Lacking heat input by CO2 or water vapor, N2 and O2 are heated by conduction by the Earth’s surface and they would, thus, only be able to lose heat by conduction back to the Earth’s surfaces which would then radiate IR. It is this blanket of impotent gases that is the real greenhouse blanket that keeps us warmer than otherwise. WIthout CO2 or water vapor, we would be much warmer!!!!!!

    It beggars the imagination that the discussion appears to about gases that cannot retain heat, yet we call them greenhouse gases.

  78. Lord Monckton,

    A interesting post that covers quite a bit of territory. A few points to consider (and of course do research on your own as needed):

    It is very hard to estimate the actual practical warming value of having a noncondensing greenhouse gas such as CO2 in the atmosphere. From a purely quantitative perspective of course we can figure out how much forcing in W/ m2 comes from CO2 versus water vapor, with the split being approximately 25/75 or so, but this does not really indicate the full function of a noncondensing greenhouse gas…that is, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Take away CO2, and the Earth goes back to an snowball planet in a fairly short order (less than a century). Once cooling starts the cycle of condensing more and more water vapor, more cooling, and glacial growth begins. CO2 does not react this way of course and provides a buffer to the creation of a snowball planet. So, even though the actual contribution of CO2 as measured may be only 25% of the atmospheric warming, it is a critical 25%, such that without it, you could lose quite a bit of the remaining warming as the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere would fall to very low levels overall, such as we find over Antarctica and would once more in a snowball planet situation.

    But that’s just a side note, as the real issue from your post seems to come down to a cost/benefit and risk/reward perspective. It seems you can readily accept that the transient temperature response to a doubling of CO2 might be 1K, and you still seem to infer that you feel the equalibrium response would not be much more than this? Is that correct? Essentially you feel they are “nearly equal”, and moreover, that there is very little to worry about from this kind of potential change. Humans can easily adapt, and all efforts should be put into adaption, rather than prevention? Even in what you consider a worse case scenario (which you clearly don’t think is likely), of a 3K increase in global temperatures (equalibrium response I assume), you still think that humans can adapt, and that the even in this case, the cost of trying to prevent it is not worth it, and may in fact spend resources that should be used for solving more important issues. Does this summarize your view?

  79. Michael Hammer has it right. Temperatures at the equator would be well above freezing even with no greenhouse effect. With no clouds and reduced albedo, more water is evaporated into the atmosphere, and circulated to higher latitudes, leading to global warming. As the water vapor content of the atmosphere, we get a negative feedback from cooling. This strong stabilizing effect of water is why we’ve had oceans and life for billions of years despite a significant increase in the sun’s output

    Some on this thread have stated water vapor is ignored because it’s not affected by anthropological processes. Actually it is. Here in the western US ,irrigation has put plenty of water vapor into the atmosphere that naturally wouldn’t be there. I suspect the irrigation factor has had a significant effect on “global warming”.

  80. For those wanted one of the best summaries available anywhere on the web of the true science behind the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere, I highly recommend reading all 8 parts of:

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/11/28/co2-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-one/

    This is pretty heavy reading, and will likely take you many hours, but it is well worth it if you really want to understand this “insignificant” trace gas, and why it has significant effects on Earth’s climate.

  81. “While the non-condensing greenhouse gases account for only 25% of the total greenhouse effect, it is these non-condensing GHGs that actually control the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, since the water vapor and cloud feedback contributions are not self-sustaining and, as such, only provide amplification.”

    Yes, because heat doesn’t evaporate water, CO2 does.

    On the other hand, I’m sure he has good reasons for saying this. After all, if heat from water vapor were allowed to evaporate water their models couldn’t simultaneously predict huge CO2 warming and remain stable; they couldn’t backcast without quickly hitting a rail. QED, water doesn’t evaporate because of heat, it evaporates because of CO2. Figuring out the mechanism for this will be left for a whole generation of future physics grad students. Think of all the grant money multiplication.

  82. Re the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Two distinct concepts are being confused here. Residence time in the customary sense long used by scientists is the average amount of time a molecule of a substance remains in a reservoir before moving out. In the case of CO2 in the atmosphere this is something like 5 years. This figure is not relevant to climate sensitivity as one CO2 molecule has radiative properties like any other.
    Unfortunately the same term residence time has come to be used in the climate debate for an entirely different concept, which is the amount of time that the content of a substance in a reservoir will take to return to its previous level after the addition (or subtraction) of a given amount of the substance. It would be clearer for all concerned if a separate term (such as ‘adjustment time’) was used where this sense is intended.
    We can gain some idea of the adjustment time for CO2 in the atmosphere by comparing the annual emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels with the annual increase in atmospheric CO2. Suppose we find that 50% of the emissions contribute to the growth in atmospheric CO2; this means that the other 50% is effectively going to some other destination. (I don’t know whether the 50/50 split is exact – it’s just to make the calculation simpler). If the current annual increase in the atmosphere is, say, 2 ppm, that means that the other 2 ppm is being accommodated elsewhere. If the current level of atmospheric CO2 is 395 ppm, while the pre-industrial level was, say, 285 ppm it will take something like 110/2 = 55 years to adjust back to the pre-industrial level. It might be a bit longer, as the annual adjustment may well be logarithmic and decrease as the pre-industrial level is approached. That’s the adjustment time as of now, assuming no further emissions.
    To come up with much higher figures for the adjustment time, in the centuries/millennia range, one needs to be able to forecast future CO2 emission rates. There is no single value for adjustment time, it will vary according to how much more CO2 there is in the atmosphere than the pre-industrial level. In other words one must quote the CO2 level along with the adjustment time, otherwise the figure has no meaning.

  83. R. Gates says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

    “Take away CO2, and the Earth goes back to an snowball planet in a fairly short order (less than a century).”

    Are you able to demonstrate this runaway cooling effect in a laboratory setting?

  84. R. Gates says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Sir, on a recent thread you spoke of a 1.5 C transient sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 to 560 ppm.

    You also said: “…But what you especially can’t do, is put either transient or equilibrium sensitiity on a log chart.”

    Mkelly asked RGates: “So I assume you disagree with the IPCC dF= 5.35 ln(C/Co) in that they put it on a log basis?”

    Moncton above quoted IPCC as did I on a log function for CO2. Given your statement about not putting it on a log chart I again ask “Do you disagree with the IPCC?”

  85. RE: John Brookes: (January 16, 2012 at 1:25 am)

    “What is it with the inability to understand the role of water vapour?”

    Water vapor appears to be the primary greenhouse gas in the troposphere, both in heat retention and radiation. Most of the Earth’s heat radiated to outer space appears to come from the troposphere, not the surface, where, according to Trenberth’s diagram, 333 W/m² of back radiation reduces the 396 W/m² outgoing radiation to a net 63 W/m² leaving the surface, yet a total of 239 W/m² is actually escaping to outer space. This must be coming primarily from water vapor as CO2 absorbs most of its own characteristic radiation all the way up to the stratopause.

    “Warmer air can hold more water vapour. If we do something that warms the atmosphere, then the atmosphere can hold more water. It probably will, given that 2/3 of the earth’s surface is covered by a great big source of water.

    Perhaps this would create more clouds to reflect solar radiation.

    “So why do we worry about putting CO2 into the atmosphere but not water? Its pretty simple. Extra water in the atmosphere will fall out as rain or snow very quickly, and there will be no lasting extra water vapour in the atmosphere re-emitting IR radiation in all directions. Extra CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for some time.”

    From a nominal pre-industrial level of 280 PPM, we have only increased the CO2 level by about 41 percent to something in the neighborhood of 396 PPM. According to some estimates, burning all the remaining economically recoverable carbon in the world would be insufficient to increase this to double the base value or 560 PPM. The raw effect of such a doubling is estimated to be on the order of one deg K.

  86. It is heat transport people!!!!!

    What transports heat better?

    A chemical that changes state within the temperature pressure band that is available on the planet OR a chemical that has 1 state for available pressures and temperatures. Yes CO2 can be made into dry ice, but find me a place on this planet where it can do that naturally.

    Which is more important to the entire process?

    This is probably not a question to ask people who think the sun has nothing to do with our climate variations (somehow they manage to forget that without the sun, there would be no climate whatsoever to worry about)…

    Fixation on the tiniest, most insignificant part of the equation and giving it gigantic implications is the hallmark of crackpots. One wonders if they have ever spent a summer night in the high desert.

  87. Thank you (“Coldish says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:31 am”) for making the important distinction between residence time and ‘adjustment time’
    Regarding ‘adjustment time’, see:

    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm

    “So any CO2 impulse injected into the atmosphere will take about 38 years to reduce itself to half the original value.”

  88. “JohnWho says:
    January 16, 2012 at 5:54 am
    Moreover, if CO2 has increased 100 ppm over the last century or so, what other atmospheric gas or gasses decreased that 100 ppm? After all, there are only 1 million parts per million.”

    Good question! Oxygen would be what would have decreased. If no CO2 went into the ocean, an increase of 0.01% in CO2 would have caused the O2 to go down from 20.96% to 20.95%. (C + O2 –> CO2) When factoring in the CO2 that gets dissolved in the ocean, it gets more complicated, but in the end, it is irrelevant.

  89. >> davidmhoffer says:
    January 16, 2012 at 6:53 am
    Markus;
    Moreover, Davidmhoffer, those 10cm’s of aquifers are full in Australasia, the sub continent and large parts of Africa.

    Markus, please do learn to read.

    The contention was that water from deep aquifers that are NOT replenished are being used for irrigation and that this water, that previously was NOT part of the water cycle, will raise the levels of the oceans by 10 cm. <<

    The contention by JFD as I read it was that the extraction and use of 'fossil water' is raising the oceans 2.6 mm per year. That would result in a change of 10 inches (not cm) in a century, but I don't think JFD expects the 'fossil water' to last that long.

    A quick calc gives 2.6 mm of ocean = a volume of 928 km3. I don't know how much water is extracted, but that amount per year doesn't sound unreasonable.

  90. Pamela Gray says, January 16, 2012 at 7:38 am:
    I have to laugh at the total disregard of the elephant poop in the room (aka oceans and atmospheric drivers of land temps intrinsic to Earth’s natural systems) while looking for mouse turds.

    Ah, but then elephant poop is so very obvious, therefore anybody can see it.
    Mouse turds, however … well, finding mouse turds is very difficult and time consuming, therefore it needs specialists which have to be well paid.
    And then they have to distinguish between indoor mouse turds and outdoor mouse turds, which takes years of study and very fine brains.
    Elephant poop, well, it’s big and it’s there, that’s all we need to know …

    ;-)

  91. Monckton of Brenchley says:

    Joel Shore, who has been questioning my climate-sensitivity calculations, just as a good skeptic should, has kindly provided at my request a reference to a paper by Dr. Andrew Lacis and others at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies to support his assertion that CO2 exercises about 75% of the radiative forcings from all greenhouse gases, because water vapor, the most significant greenhouse gas because of its high concentration in the atmosphere, condenses out rapidly, while the non-condensing gases, such as CO2, linger for years.

    I think it is a little confusing to say that “CO2 exercises about 75% of the radiative forcings from all greenhouse gases”. It is probably better to say what the direct radiative effect of the CO2 in the atmosphere is but then that since CO2 levels control water vapor levels (through their control of the temperature), removing CO2 reduces the radiative effects by a lot more than is calculated by considering just the radiative effect of the reduction in CO2 levels alone.

    Dr. Lacis writes in a commentary on his paper: “While the non-condensing greenhouse gases account for only 25% of the total greenhouse effect, it is these non-condensing GHGs that actually control the strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, since the water vapor and cloud feedback contributions are not self-sustaining and, as such, only provide amplification.”

    Dr. Lacis’ argument, then, is that the radiative forcing from water vapor should be treated as a feedback, because if all greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere most of the water vapor now in the atmosphere would condense or precipitate out within ten years, and within 50 years global temperatures would be some 21 K colder than the present.

    Exactly…and before we go further and discuss whether Dr. Lacis is correct, we must now take stock of the fact that your previous argument for determining the climate sensitivity was a circular argument: You assumed that a picture such of Dr. Lacis’s is incorrect in order to conclude that such a picture is incorrect. I.e., you did the calculation for the sensitivity under the assumption that all the water vapor in the atmosphere had to be added in “by hand” and none was put into the atmosphere because of the temperature rise when CO2 is added to the atmosphere.

    Independent of whether Dr. Lacis’s picture is correct, we can now conclude that your calculation was definitely wrong. It did not calculate a climate sensitivity that included water vapor (or ice albedo or clouds) as a feedback but rather as forcings. As such, it was actually just equivalent to calculating the no-feedback value of the climate sensitivity.

    This was a fatal error in your original calculation. We are now forced to conclude what I have been saying all along: That your calculation provided exactly zero evidence of what the climate sensitivity is in the presence of feedbacks.

    This is such an important point that I will let this stand on its own before I address your criticisms of Lacis et al.

  92. higley7 says:
    January 16, 2012 at 7:56 am

    now there’s the most interesting theory of the greenhouse effect that I’ve heard in a long time. Could you give us references to further reading on this?

  93. The temperature rise from pre-industrial to 2100 was going to be 3-4 C. To see how this comes about, use ln(712/280)/ln(2)=1.34 and multiply by the sensitivity which is 2-3 degrees per doubling. This is the CO2 effect alone. Using the current effect of aerosols and assuming it applies proportionately to 2100 is a faulty assumption because it assumes aerosol cooling will increase when evidence says it is now steady or decreasing from its maximum, while the CO2 growth rate more than doubles from the current value, so this is what makes it worse than he thought. In fact it currently looks like other GHGs like methane and NO2 are cancelling the negative effect of aerosols (AR4 forcing attribution), so the current warming is in line with the expected forcing effect of CO2 alone.

  94. Monckton of Brenchley says:

    I have many concerns about this paper, which – for instance – takes no account of the fact that evaporation from the surface occurs at thrice the rate imagined by computer models (Wentz et al., 2007). So there would be a good deal more water vapor in the atmosphere even without greenhouse gases than the models assume.

    This statement is incorrect. What they showed is that the INCREASE in the evaporation with increasing temperatures has been three times what is observed. In particular (as I recall), that the models predicted evaporation to go up by ~2.3% whereas measurements suggest that it went up by about 7%. So, in other words, if evaporation was 100 in some units, it has gone up to 107 rather than just up to 102.5. Note that 107 is not nearly three times as large as 102.3, as your statement has claimed.

    And, while Wentz et al.’s observation represents a bit of a puzzle, there are many other things that could account for some or all of the discrepancy other than errors in the models, including variability in evaporation not due to changes in temperature, errors in measurements, and so forth.

    The paper also says the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is “measured in thousands of years”. Even the IPCC, prone to exaggeration as it is, puts the residence time at 50-200 years. On notice I can cite three dozen papers dating back to Revelle in the 1950s that find the CO2 residence time to be just seven years, though Professor Lindzen says that for various reasons 40 years is a good central estimate.

    (1) The value of seven years is not a number that is at all relevant in determining how long a perturbation in CO2 levels will remain in the atmosphere. It is instead a value that reflects the fact that CO2 molecules are rapidly passed back and forth between the atmosphere, biosphere, and ocean mixed layer but that for a perturbation of CO2 levels to decay, the CO2 must be transferred to some other reservoir like the deep ocean and this is a much slower process.

    (2) The main reason for the discrepancy in estimates of a decay time is because the decay of a perturbation of CO2 levels is a highly non-exponential process. Exponential processes are characterized by a single decay time, e.g., if the characteristic decay time is 50 years then only 1/e (about 37%) remains after 50 years and then 1/e^2 (about 13.5%) after 100 years, 1/e^3 (about 5.0%) after 150 years, and so on. However, for CO2, there is no one decay time, so while more than half might disappear after 100 years or so, it will take some non-negligible fraction (something like 25% as I recall) thousands of years to disappear. acis et al. could probably have stated this a little more clearly.

    Furthermore, it is questionable whether the nakedly political paragraph with which the paper ends should have been included in what is supposed to be an impartial scientific analysis. To assert without evidence that beyond 300-350 ppmv CO2 concentration “dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system would exceed the 25% risk tolerance for impending degradation of land and ocean ecosystems, sea-level rise [at just 2 inches per century over the past eight years, according to Envisat], and inevitable disruption of socioeconomic and food-producing infrastructure” is not merely unsupported and accordingly unscientific: it is rankly political.

    The full statement made is actually:

    The concern is that we are well past even the 300- to 350-ppm target level for atmospheric CO2, beyond which dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system would exceed the 25% risk tolerance for impending degradation of land and ocean ecosystems, sea-level rise, and inevitable disruption of socioeconomic and food-producing infrastructure

    And, two references are provided to back up this statement that such concern indeed exists.

    One realizes that many of the scientists at GISS belong to a particular political faction, and that at least one of them used to make regular and substantial donations to Al Gore’s re-election campaigns, but learned journals are not the place for über-Left politics.

    And, you and Heartland and CEI and Western Fuels Association and Senator Inhofe, and … don’t belong to any particular political faction?

    My chief concern, though, is that the central argument in the paper is in effect a petitio principii – a circular and accordingly invalid argument in which one of the premises – that feedbacks are strongly net-positive, greatly amplifying the warming triggered by a radiative forcing – is also the conclusion.

    No…The argument is not at all circular. It is based on a study using a climate model, which incorporates the known laws of physics governing our climate. Of course, all models are only approximations to reality and one can rightfully ask how robust this result is to changes in various things that go into the model. However, that does not make the argument circular. (By contrast, your previous argument really was circular in that you assumed that none of the water vapor present in our current atmosphere is there as a result of a feedback on an increase in temperature due to the addition of the non-condensable greenhouse gases and used this to basically conclude that there was no such feedback…Or, at least that the net feedbacks were essentially zero.)

    Furthermore, the basic idea of the water vapor feedback follows from quite general physics principles (the saturation vapor pressure for water is a rapidly increasing function of temperature and, as a result, the rate of evaporation increases strongly with temperature). And, the water vapor feedback also now has considerable empirical support for both its existence and approximate magnitude. (See, for example, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/323/5917/1020.summary )

  95. Jim D says:

    “…the current warming is in line with the expected forcing effect of CO2 alone.”

    What “current warming”?

  96. Smokey, two words, natural variation. It goes downwards too and can cancel the warming on decadal scales, but not multidecadal ones because its amplitude is less than two tenths of a degree.

  97. Dear Lord Mockton,

    The short and long time constants in the CO2 cycle are ground for a lot of confusion amomg skeptics. Let me explain the the two constants with examples from hydrology and economics.

    Imagine an aquarium with a pump and a leak. The leaking speed is only dependent on the average water level: a higher level gives a faster leak, a lower level gives a slower leak. The leak has an exponential decay with a long time constant. The waterpump gives the refreshment rate, this is usually a shorter time constant than the leak, and is not exponential but simply a multiplier of pump volume divided by pump-frequency. The nice thing of flow calculations is that the systems are independent. The sink speed is not dependent on pump volume or frequency, and the pump refreshment rate is only dependent on the total water volume.

    The economic example is a savings account, The amount of annual interest is only dependent on the balance sheet, not on the actual cash flow, if you earn a lot and also spent a lot has the same effect as earning little and spending little.

    Back to the CO2 cycle. The CO2 sink speed is only dependent on the CO2 level in the atmosphere and not on the co2 flux. It has an exponential decay time constant of approximate 55 years (see the studies of Peter Dietze http://www.john-daly.com/forcing/moderr.htm ). The atmospheric co2 refresment rate on the other handis simply the annual biosphere metabolism voulume diveuded by the total atmospheric CO2 volume which is roughly a factor five, which give the well known 5 year time constant. So the constants dont disagree, they are simply a manifestation two totaly independant physical phemomena: mixing and end-storage.

  98. R. Gates says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:23 am
    “For those wanted one of the best summaries available anywhere on the web of the true science behind the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere, I highly recommend reading …” [... some link to a Science of Doom website] .
    The problem, Mr.Gates, is that most people here do not want to understand. Their minds are closed. They don’t want to believe a greenhouse effect for ideological reasons, and science is not going to change that. So they resort instead to . a pseudo-science. There are ample sources of disinformation on most sites, including this one. I think that Andrew Lacis once said
    “Actually, the Gerlich and Tscheuschner, Claes Johnson, and Miskolczi papers are a good test to evaluate one’s understanding of radiative transfer. If you looked through these papers and did not immediately realize that they were nonsense, then it is very likely that you are simply not up to speed on radiative transfer”
    …..Andy Lacis

    Unfortunately, most people only read what they already agree with, that which reinforces their own prejudices. We all have a tendency to do that, for example, what newspaper do you buy?
    Apart from that, the link you provide is probably one of the best and most informative for the minority here who may just possibly wish to learn.

  99. In this, his latest published article, Lord Monckton repeats mistakes that he persistently makes. In making these mistakes, Monckton inadvertently muddies the waters that surround the IPCC’s claim to CAGW.

    In the first of two mistakes, Monckton adopts as a premise to his argument the existence of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (TECS) as a scientifically legitimate concept. It is not legitimate.

    TECS is based upon the proposition that the logarithm of an increase in the CO2 concentration maps to an increase in the equilibrium temperature but as the increase in the equilibrium temperature is not an observable, speculations regarding the magnitude of this increase are non-falsifiable thus lying outside science.

    In the second of his mistakes, Monckton asserts that Giss Model E makes “predictions.” Actually, it makes “projections.” In judging the scientific validity of the IPCC’s claim, it is necessary for the distinction between predictions and projections to be maintained, for while predictions are falsifiable, projections do not have this property.

  100. Werner Brozek says:
    “January 16, 2012 at 9:36 am
    Thank you (“Coldish says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:31 am”) for making the important distinction between residence time and ‘adjustment time’
    Regarding ‘adjustment time’, see:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm
    Thanks, Werner. John Daly and his colleagues seem to have sorted out so much about climate change years before many of us (including myself) had even heard of the issue. He was a giant of scientific communication.

  101. As a critique of the GISS model the preceding makes very little physical sense..
    While this explains the conspicuous absence of the proprietor of Minckton’s Shirts of Pitlocherty from peer reviewed publication, it compounds the mystery of his career change. While his service as a Number 10 factotum failed to gain him political office in the 1980′s, his wares gave perfect satisfaction during his tenure as my London neighborhood shirtmaker in the nineties, and remain wearable today.

    [snip]

  102. MODTRAN, an Air Force atmospheric radiation estimation program, seems to indicate that CO2 has a minimal ‘raw’ temperature forcing capability. (That is, before applying any hypothetical climatic positive or negative feedback factors.) In the following link it is almost impossible to see the green curve for radiation at 300 PPM CO2 concentration that is hidden behind the almost identical blue curve for 600 PPM.

    This is a complete doubling of the CO2 concentration with almost no effect on the calculated radiation leaving the Earth over the wavenumber frequency range of 100 to 1500 cycles per centimeter. (kayzers) Note: A wavenumber plot has the advantage of uniform radiant energy density per unit of measure.

  103. R. Gates says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:06 am

    “Take away CO2, and the Earth goes back to an snowball planet in a fairly short order (less than a century). Once cooling starts the cycle of condensing more and more water vapor, more cooling, and glacial growth begins. CO2 does not react this way of course and provides a buffer to the creation of a snowball planet. So, even though the actual contribution of CO2 as measured may be only 25% of the atmospheric warming, it is a critical 25%, such that without it, you could lose quite a bit of the remaining warming as the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere would fall to very low levels overall, such as we find over Antarctica and would once more in a snowball planet situation.”

    The whole “snowball Earth” conjecture is complete BS ( bad science or bovine excrement, you pick em). As the paper I linked in comment above shows

    Dave Wendt says:
    January 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Even in Antarctica in the dead of winter when temps are routinely at 200K or below, H2O doesn’t doesn’t disappear from the atmosphere and even at the admittedly greatly diminished levels of humidity there, H2O still dominates the radiative activity of CO2 by a 2 to 1 margin. At present temperatures in Tropical latitudes routinely hit 300K to 330K. Even if we stipulate to the rather dubious notion that CO2 is responsible for 25% of the GHE, we’re talking about 8-9K and of course in the real world there is absolutely no chance of CO2 going away anytime soon or ever, absent some very large extraterrestrial body coming in at very high velocity, at which point the whole discussion will be entirely moot anyway.

  104. Another indication that the feedbacks are extreme is Dr. Lacis’ mention that in model runs if all the CO2 is removed global average temperature drops something like 10C the first year and the oceans freeze to the equator in a decade.

    That’s a lot of pop for 400ppm.

  105. An interesting and broad ranging review. One question, though: Lord Monckton noted that the Stern Report stood for the proposition that:

    “the cost of not preventing that warming would be 3% of 21st-century GDP.”

    Based on his reference to Nordhaus’s critical review(s), I read Nordhaus’s “The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change” (May 2007): http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/stern_050307.pdf

    It is an excellent review, and roundly criticizes the absurd discount rate and related assumptions in the Stern Review. Nordhaus, however, quotes the Stern review for the proposition that:

    “…if we don’t act, the overall costs and risk of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever.”

    I would never suggest that this is any way, shape or form correct (indeed, it seems fundamentally absurd), but it seems a different proposition than the one cited by Lord Monckton.

  106. Hsien-Wang Ou thinks it’s water and cloud albedo feedback that stabilizes our climate.

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442%282001%29014%3C2976%3APBOTES%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    “,,,From the model derivation, it is found that the surface temperature is narrowly bounded below by the onset of the greenhouse effect and above by the rapid increase of the saturation vapor pressure. Because both are largely intrinsic properties of water, the resulting surface temperature is mostly insensitive to detailed balances or changing external conditions. Even with a 50% change of the solar constant from its present-day value, the model temperature has varied by only about 10 K. The reason that the heat balances can be maintained is an internal adjustment of the low cloud cover, which offsets the solar effect. The model offers a plausible explanation of an equable climate in the geological past so long as there is a substantial ocean.”

    In the past, CO2 followed rather than controlled climate

    http://www.usc.edu/uscnews/stories/14288.html

    “…Deep-sea temperatures warmed about 1,300 years before the tropical surface ocean and well before the rise in atmospheric CO2, the study found. The finding suggests the rise in greenhouse gas was likely a result of warming – but not its main cause. ”

    Tom Segelstad describes the ;CO2 cycle

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/Carbon_cycle_update_Segalstad.pdf

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/

    Given the above, how can any rational human being jump to the conclusion that CO2 has more
    than a minor effect on climate? Yet R. Gates states,

    “…Take away CO2, and the Earth goes back to an snowball planet in a fairly short order (less than a century). Once cooling starts the cycle of condensing more and more water vapor, more cooling, and glacial growth begins.”

    Nutty statements like that ignore all of earth’s natural history,

  107. Joel Shore says:
    January 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    “I think it is a little confusing to say that “CO2 exercises about 75% of the radiative forcings from all greenhouse gases”. It is probably better to say what the direct radiative effect of the CO2 in the atmosphere…”

    If we are going to say “what the direct radiative effect of the CO2″ is in the atmosphere then please answer a question I have asked you on a couple of previous occasions and recieved no answer.

    What emissivity do you assign CO2 at 1 atm and 288 K?

    If radiative heat transfer is going to be involved then that is an important item to know.

  108. mkelly, use of a radiative transfer program such as MODTRAN shows that if you remove all the CO2 from the atmosphere keeping all else constant, its emission to space reduces by 10%. This is like an atmospheric emissivity change of 0.1 out of a total emissivity of 0.6 for clear sky. So, by this definition, the total emissivity of the CO2 in the atmospheric column is about 0.1.

  109. …I should, of course, have said the emission to space _increases_ when you remove CO2 because more radiation escapes. It reduces when you double CO2, trapping more heat.

  110. Spector says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    “This is a complete doubling of the CO2 concentration with almost no effect on the calculated radiation leaving the Earth”

    Spector, what exactly do you expect to see here with your model? The amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always equal the amount being received from the Sun. Doubling the level of CO2, or anything else for that matter, will not change that. This is called the radiation balance, which applies at the top the atmosphere. Energy in must equal energy out . So what point are you trying to make? ( Jim D take note )

    However, we do not live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the planet’s surface. The greenhouse gases cause the surface to be warmer than it otherwise would be without them.

  111. BtC, I agree, and I was addressing the instantaneous change if you doubled CO2 or removed it. Doubling it would subtract 1% of outgoing radiation, so the earth has to warm to restore the balance. Removing it all, adds 10%, so the earth has to cool to restore it. Much of the feedback in the Lacis paper was actually ice albedo feedback, due to the growing extent of the polar ice caps, but this is also reinforced by water vapor as seen from the Ice Ages. If you don’t let the ice caps grow, the CO2 removal would only have caused about a 10 C cooling.

  112. Lord Monckton, that’s quite an impressive string of investigations and your time uncovering this is appreciated. Those IPCC reports are by no means what you call thin and concise (for the obfuscation). Will read this in depth as time allows.

  113. One minor quibble: while respecting the man’s right to preserve his own heritage, his title is not his name – it has zero, zip, zilch to do with the subject matter, or his authority on the matter, and frankly looks as silly in isolation as if it were signed “Bono” or “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince”.

  114. Re: Residence time of carbon dioxide,

    Dr. Lacis’ argument,…
    The paper also says the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is “measured in thousands of years”. Even the IPCC, prone to exaggeration as it is, puts the residence time at 50-200 years. On notice I can cite three dozen papers dating back to Revelle in the 1950s that find the CO2 residence time to be just seven years, though Professor Lindzen says that for various reasons 40 years is a good central estimate.

    There is so much misdirection about this – the IPCC hides the figures in the bulk of the reports..

    From:

    http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2007/06/on_why_co2_is_known_not_to_hav.html

    ON WHY CO2 IS KNOWN
    NOT TO HAVE ACCUMULATED IN THE ATMOSPHERE &
    WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH CO2 IN THE MODERN ERA
    by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD

    “Regardless of which way one poses the problem, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere has a mean residence time of 1.5 years using IPCC data, 3.2 years using University of Colorado data, or 4.9 years using Texas A&M data. The half lives are 0.65 years, 1.83 years, and 3.0 years, respectively. This is not “decades to centuries” as proclaimed by the Consensus. Climate Change 2001, Technical Summary of the Working Group I Report, p. 25. ….

    For a bar chart of residence times from various papers: http://www.c3headlines.com/2009/09/the-liberal-attack-on-science-acorn-style-the-ipcc-fabrication-of-atmospheric-co2-residency-time.html

    The IPCC is using deliberate misdirection because it needs to pretend that CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere when it is physically impossible, so even thousands of years gets bandied around and picked up and repeated by politicians and others as ‘well known’, and, that misdirection is in many forms and subtle and easily missed because the IPCC needs to blame it on man’s input. An example from the Glassman piece:

    5. “The TAR says,

    “CO2 naturally cycles rapidly among the atmosphere, oceans and land. However, the removal of the CO2 perturbation added by human activities from the atmosphere takes far longer. This is because of processes that limit the rate at which ocean and terrestrial carbon stocks can increase. Anthropogenic CO2 is taken up by the ocean because of its high solubility (caused by the nature of carbonate chemistry), but the rate of uptake is limited by the finite speed of vertical mixing. Climate Change 2001, Technical Summary of the Working Group I Report, p. 51.”

    The first sentence is semantic gamesmanship to imply that CO2 cycles rapidly only if the CO2 is natural. That conjecture is made specific in the next sentence. The rest is fraught with error.”

    So clearly, the real story hidden in the IPCC is that “CO2 naturally cycles rapidly among the atmosphere, oceans and land”.

    ———————

    Dr. Lacis says ModelE is rooted in well-understood physical processes. If that were so, one would not expect such large fudge-factors (mentioned and quantified in the model’s operating manual) to be necessary.

    It will be helpful to introduce a little elementary climatological physics at this point – nothing too difficult (otherwise I wouldn’t understand it). I propose to apply the IPCC/GISS central estimates of forcing, feedbacks, and warming to what has actually been observed or inferred in the period since 1750.

    What interests me is the “rooted in well-understood physical processes” – because this is where the bs begins – the misdirection is in the constant claiming, as is done with “consensus”, that the gobbledegook they then spout is “well-known physics” – when it is nothing of the kind, and actually full of properties and processes not known in the physics of our real world.

    First of all – the “well-known” that carbon dioxide is well mixed and accumulates in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and so is not like the condensable water vapour is misdirection, because it isn’t physically possible, carbon dioxide is heavier than air. One and a half times heavier. Therefore, it will always displace air in the atmosphere to come down to the ground unless work is done on it, and so also will not readily rise up into the atmosphere. The AGW Science Fiction department has created a whole new fictional physics to explain this impossible claim, (I wrote something about it the other day here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/12/earths-baseline-black-body-model-a-damn-hard-problem/#comment-864575 from: [This teacher was first adamant that carbon dioxide could not separate out from the atmosphere in which it had spontaneously thoroughly mixed as per ideal gas law. ).

    Also, the ‘well-mixed’ has been debunked by the AIRS data – the team, believing the misdirection from the fiction meme producing department that carbon dioxide was “well-mixed”, were shocked when they found it wasn’t, when they found it lumpy instead.

    This too hides more, they haven’t released the upper and lower troposphere figures for CO2 – years of data missing from our knowledge base, and, what they have given from the mid troposphere is in difficult to access and analyse form, the couple of pictures they’ve released chosen to hide the fact that they found CO2 lumpy and not well-mixed.

    So, even though a ‘non-condensing gas’, carbon dioxide isn’t a supermolecule which can defy gravity, but, is it ‘non-condensing’? In itself yes, it doesn’t go through the phase changes like water vapour to condense out into a fluid liquid from a fluid gas, but, all pure clean rainwater is carbonic acid. Water vapour and liquid and carbon dioxide have irresistible attraction for each other, water vapour will mop up any and all carbon dioxide around and as it condenses out into rain the two will come down to Earth together as rain. Also dew, fog and so on is carbonic acid. For all practical purposes, carbon dioxide is a condensing gas, because fully part of the Water Cycle.

    Which brings me to the final point – the greatest misdirection here to promote AGW is to exclude the Water Cycle, as above:

    higley7 says:
    January 16, 2012 at 7:56 am
    What is missing from this very nice discussion is the huge heat engine in the form of the convection of warm, humid air to altitude where it cools, condenses, and cool rain falls back to Earth. This is responsible for about 85% of energy transfer to altitude, away from the surface, and is the missing heat Trenberth agonizes over.

    The standard figures for the cooling role of water in the water cycle is:

    Earth with atmosphere as is: 15°C
    Earth without any atmosphere: -18°C
    Earth with atmosphere but without water: 67°C

    The Water Cycle cools the Earth 52°C ! – to bring the temperature down to 15°C

    No wonder they do everything they can to distract and misdirect from this!

    What they do is use the final figure of 15°C, which is only achieved by the water cycle first cooling the earth, and take the difference between that and the -18°C of the Earth without any atmosphere at all, and then say the 33°C rise is due to greenhouse gases and blaming it all on carbon dioxide!

    And, in saying that it ‘adds’ to water vapours warming ability they finally take eyes of the cooling property, because few notice that they’ve taken water out altogether!

    So, carbon dioxide with its great affinity for water is fully part of the cooling cycle in the atmosphere. Think deserts here without the water cycle.

    The misdirection is simple, but now ubiquitously promoted and so believed as “well-known”, they just keep repeating that greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere and it would be colder without them, but, they exclude water vapour in its own right and water vapour is the main greenhouse gas and water vapour cools the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases cool the atmosphere is real world physics. And carbon dioxide is fully paid up member of the cooling team.

    So, there’s more background than first apparent about this claim:

    Dr. Lacis’ argument, then, is that the radiative forcing from water vapor should be treated as a feedback, because if all greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere most of the water vapor now in the atmosphere would condense or precipitate out within ten years, and within 50 years global temperatures would be some 21 K colder than the present.”

    Total junk science because devoid of any reference to real world physics, real properties and real processes.

    And even worse than the Gore documentary you had a hand in debunking – this junk physics is being taught in schools, a whole generation of children who have a very confused idea about the world around them. :)

  115. We see and feel a ridicule tiny part of the total spectrum and judge through that extreme nearsightedness. What if, before water falls down again, as “rain”, there is a lightnings´ storm and those drops, in falling discharge its electric charge to ground, turning from vapor into “precipitated” water. Energy is no longer “heat” there. Why being so attached to warming as to seek for only IRR? As the notes on a piano keyboard, frequencies change and manifest in many ways (they are distinctly democratic) not only as sacrosanct “heat”. Quite a fixation of the intellect it would be more proper of devils longing for its hot and lost paradise.

  116. A particularly fascinating crop of comments here. Please forgive me if I pick out just a few to consider further here.

    First, Joel Shore rightly points out that I incorrectly characterized the changes in the evaporation rate with warming that are considered in Wentz et al. (2007). However, it is worth recording that quite a simple calculation, done by Prof. Lindzen, demonstrates that the threefold greater percentage increase in evaporation per Kelvin of warming that the models predict than that which is measured indicates climate sensitivity is one-third of the IPCC’s value.

    He goes on to assert, in two separate comments, that my argument was circular, in that I had assumed something about feedbacks to prove the very same thing about feedbacks. However, i had assumed nothing about feedbacks (indeed, not one of the premises even mentioned them, for the paper on which I was relying denominated its forcings in the units appropriate to forcings and not to feedbacks. So my conclusion that feedbacks were net-zero could not have been the conclusion of a circular argument. A circular argument is one in which one of the premises is identical with the conclusion. That was manifestly not the case with my argument.

    Lacis’ argument, however, is circular in that the Giss ModelE assumes feedbacks are high and then declares, as an output, that they are high. In this respect, it does not matter whether the model correctly represents all relevant physical processes. In any event, we know it doesn’t, because it contains (or did at the relevant time) flux adjustments amounting to many times the tiny changes in radiation that it is trying to predict. If the model was correctly reflecting physical processes, these flux adjustments would not be necessary. Far too much reliance is placed on models, which are for many reasons simply inadequate to identify and quantify the very small changes in a very large system that are relevant to the climate sensitivity question.

    Ian asks why I said Stern had predicted a 3%-of-global-GDP cost of coping with climate change, when Nordhaus had said Stern had predicted 5%. Recall that I was talking of the cost of a climate warming of 3-4 K over the 21st century, which is the IPCC’s central estimate (and which is about three times higher than it should be). Stern had said that if the warming was only 3 K this century, then the cost would be 3% of global GDP. He had also said (but this was irrelevant to my argument) that if the warming reached, say, 11 K and not 3 K in response to the CO2 doubling that will occur sometime around the end of this century, the global GDP cost could be 5-20% of GDP. Hence the 5% of GDP cited by Nordhaus.

    Mr. Oldberg says I made a mistake in that I mentioned equilibrium climate sensitivity, which cannot be measured. No: I have surely made it plain enough, often enough, that all I am doing is to take the concepts and data and methods of the IPCC and its adherents and to draw logical conclusions from them. It is not necessary to agree with any of these concepts etc. to demonstrate that, even if they are true, climate sensitivity is low. If Mr. Oldberg says the notion of equilibrium climate sensitivity is a mistake, then it is the IPCC’s mistake, not mine, and he should take the matter up with the IPCC (which will probably not bother to reply).

    Mr. Oldberg also raises a semantic quibble over the difference between prediction and projection. I had, however, already pointed out that the IPCC coyly calls its predictions “projections”.

    R. Gates raises a query about the distinction between the transient and equilibrium responses to radiative forcings. For numerous reasons, I suspect that in reality there is little or no difference between the two, because climate feedbacks are likely to be close to net-zero or, if anything, somewhat net-negative. However, the argument in the head-post here does not depend upon agreeing or disagreeing with the IPCC on the magnitude of feedbacks. It demonstrates that, using the IPCC’s own post-feedback climate sensitivity parameter, and its own mean prediction of the CO2 concentration in 2100, the warming we can expect by then is around 1-1.4 K, not the 3.6 K that it is its mean estimate taking all six emissions scenarios into account.

    And my further point in the head-post is that even if we were to see 3.6 K warming this century it would be at least an order of magnitude more cost-effective to let that warming happen and to adapt to it efficiently than to try to prevent it from happening in the first place. Indeed, that is the near-unanimous conclusion of the peer-reviewed literature in the economic field as it relates to climate, so those who say we should follow the “consensus” ought really to accept that, even if the IPCC’s science is right, doing anything now about its predictions would not merely be pointless but actively harmful to future generations, who will inherit less from us than they otherwise would because we will have squandered their inheritance on windmills, solar panels, electric autos and suchlike fooleries.

    Russell Seitz asks why I have not had a peer-reviewed paper published. But I can find no record of his having asked Al Gore that question. If he cannot actually argue against the simple concepts I have outlined in the head-post, let him keep holy silence.

    Lady in Red says I have “William Buckley eyes”. The rather fish-eyed look is caused by exophthalmus induced by the residual scar tissue from the former inflammation of the retro-orbital membranes by the infection that I have some reason to believe causes the supposedly “auto-immune” Graves’ Disease. Fortunately, the inflammation is no longer present and Moorfields Eye Hospital has certified that I am one of the not all that common cases in which the disease – normally chronic – has remitted. The scar-tissue will gradually break down and relieve the pressure on the eyes, which are already noticeably less obtrusive than they were three or four years ago. Some further improvement is expected over the next year or two, but this particular sequela of Graves’ Disease will probably not disappear altogether, even though the disease has done so. Test on the agent which we believe may have caused this remission continue quietly.

  117. Marcus McSpartacus,

    Exactly right. If the alarmist contingent had the facts on their side, they wouldn’t be bothering with hairsplitting and nitpicking with these off-topic arguments. It’s all opinion anyway; there has never been a definitive law clarifying the matter. [Lord Monckton does appears to have several arguments in his favor.]

    The fact is that the demonizing of “carbon” by the alarmist crowd is being debunked by Planet Earth herself. I, for one, will listen to what the planet is telling us, over what the alarmists want the planet to do. Unfortunately for them, the planet is not cooperating. So they go off on tangents like arguing about the arrangements of chains on a portcullis. Sucks to be that desperate.

  118. R. Gates says:
    ?>0^0<? (glazed look)
    … "Take away CO2, and the Earth goes back to an snowball planet in a fairly short order (less than a century)."…………………….

    Please don't bother Christopher Monckton.

    R., rest assured that if you take away CO2, all of our worries will be over long before we freeze to death. Try Starvation? If logic applied you would be arguing in favor of more CO2. Non condensing blah blah blah. If CO2 is non condensing, please explain all of the past preaching of the gospel of acid rain that showers the earth with carbonic acid and 'acidifies' the ocean. I guess technically that is dissolution. Scrubbing. What ever. You need to write a unified theory of climate catastrophism that is internally coherently consistent.

    In the world I inhabit there is an energy source (The Sun) that heats a vessel (the Earth) driving a process called evaporation of water. This evaporation absorbs energy. This energy(enthalpy) is transported by convection and advection high into the atmosphere of the vessel to a point where the water vapor cools and condenses into the liquid phase again, there by releasing that latent heat of evaporation. That latent heat then radiates out into space from a position above the major portion of atmospheric CO2. It is the phase change of water that allows water to dominate the energy exchange of our planet. Water does Work. It keeps the planet in equilibrium.

    Lazy old CO2 on the other hand is a cad. It floats around non-condensingly un-phased. It is not into long term relationships with transient photons of energy, so the dalliances are oh so brief and unfulfilling. But some CO2 gets religion and joins the church of photosynthesis where they get married up with some good wholesome Hydrogen (from Water ;) ) and form some long term high energy bonds from photons and pretty soon you have Sugar. Now that is a sweet relationship, and a happy ending.

    More CO2?… More Sugar!!! (and beer.) That's what I'm talkin' about.

  119. “Myrrh says:
    January 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Earth with atmosphere as is: 15°C
    Earth without any atmosphere: -18°C”

    Please see the following where this is questioned:

    http://climatechangedispatch.com/home/9799-that-bogus-greenhouse-gas-whatchamacallit-effect

    “Dr. Latour is one of many experts old enough to remember that in 1981 James Hansen stated the average thermal T (temperature) at Earth’s surface is 15°C (ok) and Earth radiates to space at -18°C (ok). From that he declared the difference 15° – (-18°) = 33°C (arithmetic ok) to be the famous greenhouse gas effect.

    This is not ‘ok’ to more astute analysts critical of Hansen’s number fudging. They say Hansen’s math is very seriously awry because there is no physics to connect these two dissimilar numbers.”

  120. Governments should shut down the UNFCCC? Absolutely.
    Governments should shut down the IPCC? Fast!
    Cut climate funding by at least nine-tenths? True.
    De-fund all but two or three computer models of the climate? Correct.
    Get back to addressing the real problems of the world? So true.

    Five out of five Christopher. Give the gentleman an A+.

  121. It’s preposterous to treat water vapor as a feedback, with CO2 as the sensitive trigger. Water vapor is 40,000 ppm in tha atmosphere, and varies much more than the CO2 change in question, and absorbs across a much broader spectrum. If the feedbacks were so amplifying, the fluctuations in water vapor would spiral out of control.

    I wish that these people who have such faith in their climate models (ultra-simplifications of the real climate, with numerous and arbitrary assumptions, and no real way to test it by designed experiment) would first prove that they can model even simple chemical processes.

    Complex models of reactors–that are based mostly on first-principals, with constants tuned by well-tested carefully designed experiments–can perform very well to predict a reactor’s performance in its normal range. THEN, you introduce a new batch of feedstock, even one that chemical analysis can detect no signifcant differences in from the last batch, and the model’s predictive power can go haywire. New constants have to be determined, and new calibrations.

    With the poor temperature record, and the continual “corrections,” splicing (by other names), assumptions, biases, etc., and the still-simple models whose predictions are all over the board– even suggesting that the water vapor has a positive (amplifying) vs. a negative (dampening) feedback is just a wild guess. Given the remarkable stability of our planet’s temperature, I would speculate it dampens.

  122. By the way, “forcings,” as discussed in the IPCC reports, are pseudo science. They pose as first-principal realities, but they are entirely empirical–or worse than empirical, since they are based on arbitrary assumptions about what has caused the poorly-measured 0.8C temperature rise of the past century.

  123. Well I don’t think so,

    If all or most of the water vapor precipitated out of the atmosphere, there would be no clouds to speak of, and the Earth albedo would plummet, and you would have the mother of all positive forcings, in that the amount of solar energy that reached the earth surface without being captured by H2O in the atmosphere would sky rocket.

    Every single molecule of H2O or Ozone, or CO2 in the atmosphere can and will intercept some portion of the solar spectrum incoming energy. So that solar spectrum energy will never reach the surface and be stored mostly in the deep oceans, and the rocks and vegetation.
    Yes it will warm the atmosphere, which will then radiate at LWIR wavelengths, but also isotropically, so half of it is lost to space, and only half can reach the surface. That is still a net loss of solar energy from the surface. And the downward LWIR radiation is mostly absorbed in the top 50 microns of any water body; it does not propagate to the depths, except by conduction which is slow compared to the prompt evaporation it causes by heating the surface layer so that the high energy end of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of molecular energies in the surface will escape in the form of evaporation; or sublimation in the case of an ice surface. That results in cooling the surface; not warming it, since the mean kinetic energy of the remaining moleculesin the liquid surface is lower.
    Yes H2O in the atmosphere IS a green house gas; but it warms the atmosphere; not the deep oceans. The cloud albedo modulation is likely an even larger negative feedback regulating mechanism.

  124. “”””” Joel Shore says:

    January 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Monckton of Brenchley says:

    I have many concerns about this paper, which – for instance – takes no account of the fact that evaporation from the surface occurs at thrice the rate imagined by computer models (Wentz et al., 2007). So there would be a good deal more water vapor in the atmosphere even without greenhouse gases than the models assume.

    This statement is incorrect. What they showed is that the INCREASE in the evaporation with increasing temperatures has been three times what is observed. In particular (as I recall), that the models predicted evaporation to go up by ~2.3% whereas measurements suggest that it went up by about 7%. “””””

    “”””” What they showed is that the INCREASE in the evaporation with increasing temperatures has been three times what is observed. “””””

    “”””” has been three times what is observed. “””””

    Come now Joel is the increase in evaporation the amount that is (was) observed, or is it three times the amount that was (is observed). I suggest that the increase in evaporation was exactly equal to what is (was observed).

    And there was no dispute between the observed (actual real world) and calculated, and not bloody likely since that is simply the Clausius-Clapeyron calculation. Then it is axiomatic that precipitation and evaporation must balance, in order for the oceans to not end up overhead.
    So deltaevap = deltaprecip = 7% per deg C rise is what Wentz et al observed, and also what the GCMs predict; no disagreement. The disagreement was in total atmospheric water content, which was observed to also increase 7% but the models say 1% to 3%, so as much as seven times less than what experimental observations gave.
    So the error in the models from observed results is not a factor of three, but as much as a factor of seven.

  125. “Dr. Lacis’ argument, then, is that the radiative forcing from water vapor should be treated as a feedback, because if all greenhouse gases were removed from the atmosphere most of the water vapor now in the atmosphere would condense or precipitate out within ten years…”

    I wonder what Dr Lacis would predict regarding the non condensing GH gases, if all the condensing ones were removed.

  126. Werner Brozek says:
    January 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm
    “Myrrh says:
    January 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Earth with atmosphere as is: 15°C
    Earth without any atmosphere: -18°C”

    Please see the following where this is questioned:

    http://climatechangedispatch.com/home/9799-that-bogus-greenhouse-gas-whatchamacallit-effect

    “Dr. Latour is one of many experts old enough to remember that in 1981 James Hansen stated the average thermal T (temperature) at Earth’s surface is 15°C (ok) and Earth radiates to space at -18°C (ok). From that he declared the difference 15° – (-18°) = 33°C (arithmetic ok) to be the famous greenhouse gas effect.

    This is not ‘ok’ to more astute analysts critical of Hansen’s number fudging. They say Hansen’s math is very seriously awry because there is no physics to connect these two dissimilar numbers.”

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

    Werner – Yes I’ve read it. There’s a difference between there being no science to connect these numbers by Hansen claiming the difference is the warming created by greenhouse gases, and the numbers themselves which Latour OK’s.

    In fact, I posted something on that to him, just trying to remember where…, it’s late and way past my bedtime,

    Here goes: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/12/earths-baseline-black-body-model-a-damn-hard-problem/#comment-863856

    It’s in the same post as I replied to davidmhoffer, skip past that, I was annoyed with him.., and you come to:

    Pierre R Latour says:
    January 13, 2012 at 7:18 am
    GHG Theory 33C Effect Whatchamacallit

    GHG Theory was invented to explain a so-called 33C atmospheric greenhouse gas global warming effect. In 1981 James Hanson stated the average thermal T at Earth’s surface is 15C (ok) and Earth radiates to space at -18C (ok). Then he declared the difference 15 – (-18) = 33C (arithmetic ok) is the famous greenhouse gas effect. This is not ok because there is no physics to connect these two dissimilar numbers. The 33C are whatchamacallits. This greenhouse gas effect does not exist.

    I see this from a different slant, there is a physics to connect them.. These figures were sleight of handed to give the impression that there was such a thing as ‘greenhouse gas global warming’. There is no Water Cycle in this, in the KT97 and ilk.

    These come from:
    Earth with atmosphere as we have it, 15°C
    Earth without atmosphere, -18°C
    Earth with atmosphere but without water, 67°C

    Hidden by simply removing it from the AGW energy budget which now is ubiquitously taught to represent the real world, let me present to you, drum roll, the Water Cycle.

    This cools the Earth by 52°C, to get it down to the 15°C

    The main greenhouse gas cools the Earth, ergo, greenhouse gases cool the Earth. There is no greenhouse gas warming, it’s a trick, in the slip between cup and lip the water has disappeared.

    Carbon dioxide is fully part of that cycle – all pure clean rain is carbonic acid, etc.

    In other words, the numbers I gave which Latour OK’s are the bog standard ones, what Hansen has done is just excised the one given for the Earth with atmosphere but without water – the 67°C – and pretended that the difference didn’t come via it, and, Latour’s point, doesn’t produce any physics to connect the -18°C to the 15°C, there’s no physics to explain that number difference of 33°C, just Hansen claiming it’s greenhouse gas warming.

    It’s now getting harder to find all these numbers in references, but applied scientists still know them. I first heard about the 67°C temp without the water cycle on a programme about the Hawaiian islands, the geologist explaining the water cycle there, which is beautifully dramatic with all the waterfalls, gave it. It was still on the wiki page when I last looked… :)

    Perhaps I should have posted to him separately, now I’m not sure he saw it as I didn’t get a reply. Anyway, all I’m pointing out is the trick, the sleight of hand Hansen does with them.

    ===================================
    And maybe this should be in a sepate post…, but thanks cohenite

    cohenite says:
    January 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    Joel Shore says: January 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    “CO2 levels control water vapor levels (through their control of the temperature),”

    This is wrong:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007JD008431.shtml

    The paper says:

    “the carbon cycle is essentially driven by solar energy via the water cycle intermediary.”

    Thanks for finding that. Again, like the real numbers for temps, it shows that carbon dioxide is understood to be fully part of the Water Cycle, as I posted above. It’s just from those pushing ‘climatology’ that it’s missing.. :)

  127. Gina Becker (Jan. 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm):

    As I frame my own position on the pseudo-scientific nature of the “forcings,” supposedly a “forcing” causes the equilibrium temperature at Earth’s surface to rise by a specified amount. However, the equilibrium temperature is not an observable feature of the real world. Thus, the conjecture that a given forcing “forces” the equilibrium temperature to rise by a specified amount is non-falsifiable thus lying outside science. In the sense that many climatologists represent this conjecture to be “scientific,” it is a “pseudo-scientific” conjecture. Like many a climatologist, Lord Monckton takes this pseudo-scientific conjecture to be a scientific conjecture, choosing only to contest the magnitude of the increase in the equilibrium temperature from the forcing.

  128. Joel Shore saID January 16, 2012 at 11:06 am:
    Furthermore, the basic idea of the water vapor feedback follows from quite general physics principles (the saturation vapor pressure for water is a rapidly increasing function of temperature and, as a result, the rate of evaporation increases strongly with temperature). And, the water vapor feedback also now has considerable empirical support for both its existence and approximate magnitude. (See, for example, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/323/5917/1020.summary )

    “the saturation vapor pressure for water is a rapidly increasing function of temperature” sounds a lot like the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. That describes the equilibrium condition, not “the rate of evaporation”.

    iANm

  129. In his post of Jan. 16, 2012, Monckton of Brenchley asserts that “…all I am doing is to take the concepts and data and methods of the IPCC and its adherents and to draw logical conclusions from them.” Monckton’s assertion is refuted by the fact that one cannot draw a logical conclusion from an illogical premise. In particular, one cannot draw a logical conclusion from the scientifically illogical premise that an increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration causes the equilibrium temperature at Earth’s surface to rise. This premise can be identified as scientifically illogical because it is insusceptible to being tested by reference to instrument readings, the equilibrium temperature being not an observable feature of the real world. Monckton’s assertion that the magnitude of the climate sensitivity is lower than claimed by the IPCC is illogical and unscientific for the same reason.

    The case that the IPCC’s argument for CAGW is unfounded has to be argued from the illegitimacy of the equilibrium climate sensitivity as a concept. I hope Lord Monckton will join me in making this argument.

  130. If all the fossil fuel deposits discovered so far are doubled, and all extracted and burned at the current rates of increase and or availabilty as they are exhausted, then by the year 2100 the CO2 level would not reach 712 ppm.

  131. Terry Oldberg says:
    January 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Terry, did you just say that CO2 causing warming has not been confirmed? And this refutes Moncton’s conclusions about sensitivity?

  132. Terry Oldberg says:
    January 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm
    “However, the equilibrium temperature is not an observable feature of the real world. Thus, the conjecture that a given forcing “forces” the equilibrium temperature to rise by a specified amount is non-falsifiable thus lying outside science. In the sense that many climatologists represent this conjecture to be “scientific,” it is a “pseudo-scientific” conjecture. Like many a climatologist, Lord Monckton takes this pseudo-scientific conjecture to be a scientific conjecture, choosing only to contest the magnitude of the increase in the equilibrium temperature from the forcing”.

    The good Lord Monckton of Benchley was quite explicit in saying ” I propose to apply the IPCC/GISS central estimates of forcing, feedbacks, and warming to what has actually been observed or inferred in the period since 1750″.

    He did not say he accepted anything about the IPCC’s AGW theory, but uses a scientific method of calculating the conclusion based on the IPCC premises.

    So your argument is made from a false premiss, being “Monckton’s assertion that the magnitude of the climate sensitivity is lower than claimed by the IPCC is illogical and unscientific for the same reason”. A truer premise is “Monckton’s assertion that the magnitude of the climate sensitivity is lower than claimed by the IPCC using their own reasoning”. I’m often a lazy reader as well Terry.

    But, your statement ” The case that the IPCC’s argument for CAGW is unfounded has to be argued from the illegitimacy of the equilibrium climate sensitivity as a concept. I hope Lord Monckton will join me in making this argument”, is a premise I’d subscribe to wholeheartedly.

    Now get out of here before Christopher gets back and gives you a intellectual smack.

  133. As to the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is irrelevent anyhow, we have measured observational evidence (data) showing that over the entire arctic, the atmospheric CO2 varies by 18 ppm peak to peak, each and every year. That is 4.6% of its mean value of 390 ppm.

    And it drops by that 18 ppm in just five months, and then returns in the next seven months.
    So if we presume that the present value is 110 ppm higher than the long term pre-SUV value of 280 ppm, that 110 ppm would disppear in 110/18 x 5 months or 30.5 months; 2 1/2 years.

    Now that is the initial rate of decline, and so that would be the time constant, if the decline follows an exponential decay, so 90% would be gone in htree times constants or 7.5 years, and 99% in five or 12 1/2 years.

    So nutz to the 200 year residence time, the natural processes can erase 110 ppm in a very short time.

    And yes; both CO2 and H2O are PERMANENT components of the atmosphere, and nobody ever checks for serial number on the molecules.

  134. JFD says:
    January 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm
    The production of ground water from no or slow to recharge aquifers amounts to 900 cubic kilometers per year. This is “new” water that takes one cycle of the hydrological cycle to come to equilibrium with the “old” water. This new water, frequently called fossil water, accounts for 2.6mm increase in ocean levels each year. Currently no one, including Deniers, seems to understand this aspect of human activities.
    ——————
    And to think the only person on earth to understand is right here at WUWT to enlighten “Deniers”. BTW when was your peer reviewed research published? I need to get up to speed.

  135. RE: markus:(January 16, 2012 at 1:58 am)

    “a standard program-favored number that I use”

    The operational hypothesis is that the Earth is required to have a constant outgoing energy flow as observed at the top of the atmosphere. I made an estimate based on lunar albedo for such a flow. It turns out that MODTRAN only returns special values—you will *never* get a result of 293.000 W/m², no matter how fine you adjust your offset temperature. So I have picked 292.993 W/m² as my standard value for the energy flow that I require at the top of the atmosphere in the tropical region.

    This allows me to use this program to find ground temperatures forced by this standard flow requirement for various greenhouse gas concentrations. I have limited these estimates to clear tropical air as I believe this to be most representative of the raw effect of these changes since most of the Earth’s energy exchange occurs over that region. Due to the nature of this program, no climatic feedback effects are included in these ‘raw’ estimates.

  136. RE: Bomber_the_Cat says:
    January 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    “Spector, what exactly do you expect to see here with your model? The amount of radiation leaving the Earth will always equal the amount being received from the Sun. Doubling the level of CO2, or anything else for that matter, will not change that. This is called the radiation balance, which applies at the top the atmosphere. Energy in must equal energy out . So what point are you trying to make? ( Jim D take note )

    “However, we do not live at the top of the atmosphere, we live on the planet’s surface. The greenhouse gases cause the surface to be warmer than it otherwise would be without them.”

    I believe these calculations are for the same ground temperature in each case: 288.2 deg K. This plot indicates that only a minor change in forcing is produced if the CO2 content is doubled when the ground temperature is 288.2 deg K ( 15 deg C). This is, in effect, an ‘open-loop’ calculation. From what I have written just above, it takes some hunt-and-seek effort to find a temperature that gives exactly the same outgoing energy as another condition and then this temperature is the result of the search, not the known standard constant energy flow at the top of the atmosphere.

  137. @wayne says:
    That won´t ever happen, there is too much behind. It began long time ago, not this particular issue but all those “principles” for making possible “global governance”, including the existence of the UN itself. Don´t forget that all these have been already implemented like “binding agreements” signed by all countries. Any change would involve a major change since the “french revolution”….perhaps is what 2012 is all about….

  138. “Models cannot substitute for well confirmed physical hypotheses. Models produce only simulations which are reproductions of reality. Physical hypotheses describe natural regularities and can be used for prediction.”

    Bingo! Give that poster a cigar!

    The constant drum beat of “well understood processes” in models is a contradiction. You don’t need to “Model” gravity, or the speed of light, they are directly testable, they are “well understood”. Once you make a model you have admitted that the processes you are depicting are NOT well understood, but you THINK you know how they work.

    As Lord Monkton pointed out, any model that introduces a fudge factor you have even less ground for claiming the process is well understood.

  139. markus (Jan. 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm):

    All of the premises to a correct argument are true but the premise in which a given forcing “forces” the equilibrium temperature to rise by a prescribed amount is untestable from the lack of observability of the equilibrium temperature. It follows that the IPCC’s conjecture of a relatively high numerical value for the equilibrium climate sensitivity and Lord Monckton’s conjecture of a relatively low value are both untestable, thus lying outside science. In order for it to join the sciences, global climatology must be reframed via replacement of the unobservable equilibrium temperature by an observable variable such as a temperature.

  140. pochas (Jan 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm):

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. Currently, it would be impossible to statistically validate the contention that an increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration causes the spatially and temporally averaged global surface air temperature to rise. This would be impossible because climatologists have not yet seen fit to define the statistical population that would be sampled in testing this contention. Climatologists act as though they have confused the idea of a “statistical ensemble” with the idea of a “statistical population,” thus reaching the erroneous conclusion that this contention can be tested.

  141. Here’s what we know…
    1…CO2 in the atmosphere at increased amounts…
    produces more plant growth
    2…More plant growth allows, produces, more food for we 7billion.
    which is good
    3…But we seven need to control “taking” the land
    which endangers the 7million species (under our “control”)
    So…
    4…Recognizing another one or two degrees C is helpful…. Do this..!
    Put more CO2 into the atmosphere.
    Put more into the atmos…

  142. Monckton of Brenchley says:

    First, Joel Shore rightly points out that I incorrectly characterized the changes in the evaporation rate with warming that are considered in Wentz et al. (2007). However, it is worth recording that quite a simple calculation, done by Prof. Lindzen, demonstrates that the threefold greater percentage increase in evaporation per Kelvin of warming that the models predict than that which is measured indicates climate sensitivity is one-third of the IPCC’s value.

    Really? Where?

    He goes on to assert, in two separate comments, that my argument was circular, in that I had assumed something about feedbacks to prove the very same thing about feedbacks. However, i had assumed nothing about feedbacks (indeed, not one of the premises even mentioned them, for the paper on which I was relying denominated its forcings in the units appropriate to forcings and not to feedbacks. So my conclusion that feedbacks were net-zero could not have been the conclusion of a circular argument. A circular argument is one in which one of the premises is identical with the conclusion. That was manifestly not the case with my argument.

    You had assumed that of the water vapor that is in our present day atmosphere, all of it would still be there if CO2 was removed from the atmosphere. I.e., you had assumed that the water vapor that is in our atmosphere is not a result of the water vapor feedback. That is why your calculation found that there is no positive feedback from water vapor: because you assumed there was none.

    Lacis’ argument, however, is circular in that the Giss ModelE assumes feedbacks are high and then declares, as an output, that they are high.

    No…It does not assume the feedbacks are high. The values of the feedbacks emerge from the model based on the physics that is put into it. That is not to say that these values are gospel…particularly, the one for clouds. It would be interesting to have this modeling calculation repeated with other climate models that incorporate cloud physics differently and see how robust the results are to such details. However, the argument is not circular in the way that your argument is circular. (Actually, “circular” is somewhat euphemistic in describing your argument: It is really just plain wrong to claim that you have done a calculation of the climate sensitivity that includes feedbacks when the calculation clearly does not include the feedbacks due to water vapor, clouds, or ice-snow albedo.)

    In this respect, it does not matter whether the model correctly represents all relevant physical processes. In any event, we know it doesn’t, because it contains (or did at the relevant time) flux adjustments amounting to many times the tiny changes in radiation that it is trying to predict. If the model was correctly reflecting physical processes, these flux adjustments would not be necessary. Far too much reliance is placed on models, which are for many reasons simply inadequate to identify and quantify the very small changes in a very large system that are relevant to the climate sensitivity question.

    It is a silly argument to suggest that all models must represent all relevant physical processes perfectly to be useful! If that standard was applied across all scientific fields, it would essentially send us back to the Stone Age.

    As for flux adjustments, as I understand it, they are becoming less and less common in the models…and there is no evidence that having or not having such adjustments in the models have a significant effect on the results.

    The argument that one would need to be able to model everything correctly down to the fraction of a W/m^2 in order for the models to be credible is another argument that sounds good unless you have ever actually done modeling. The fact is that physically-based models generally will do a much better job getting trends right than the absolute magnitude of their errors. For example, when I worked in industry and modeled the propagation of light in materials, I often made predictions for changes that were smaller than the absolute error between the model and the data…and these predictions turned out to be highly reliable.

  143. Gina Becker says:

    It’s preposterous to treat water vapor as a feedback, with CO2 as the sensitive trigger. Water vapor is 40,000 ppm in tha atmosphere, and varies much more than the CO2 change in question, and absorbs across a much broader spectrum. If the feedbacks were so amplifying, the fluctuations in water vapor would spiral out of control.

    No…Only if the water vapor feedback gets sufficient strong, like it likely did on Venus (due to its being closer to the sun and hence receiving more solar insolation), does it spiral out of control.

    For example, the infinite geometric series 1 + (1/2) + (1/4) + (1/8) + … does not “spiral out of control” but rather converges to the value of 2.

    cohenite says:

    Joel Shore says: January 16, 2012 at 10:33 am

    “CO2 levels control water vapor levels (through their control of the temperature),”

    This is wrong:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007JD008431.shtml

    The paper says:

    “the carbon cycle is essentially driven by solar energy via the water cycle intermediary.”

    The fact that one paper says something does not make all the other papers that say something else wrong. You can always cherrypick a bad paper to support your point of view. On the other hand, I am not even convinced that this paper contradicts anything that I said. Feedbacks can go both ways.

  144. Joel Shore says:
    January 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    “No…Only if the water vapor feedback gets sufficient strong, like it likely did on Venus (due to its being closer to the sun and hence receiving more solar insolation), does it spiral out of control.”

    That’s assuming that there ever was much water on Venus, an assumption for which there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of “robust” evidence in support. The work I’ve seen cited as proof of this notion

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008JGRE..11300B24H

    Felsic highland crust on Venus suggested by Galileo Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer data

    says this in its abstract

    “We evaluated the spatial variation of Venusian surface emissivity at 1.18 μm wavelength and that of near-surface atmospheric temperature using multispectral images obtained by the Near-Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) on board the Galileo spacecraft. The Galileo NIMS observed the nightside thermal emission from the surface and the deep atmosphere of Venus, which is attenuated by scattering from the overlying clouds. To analyze the NIMS data, we used a radiative transfer model based on the adding method. Although there is still an uncertainty in the results owing to the not well known parameters of the atmosphere, our analysis revealed that the horizontal temperature variation in the near-surface atmosphere is no more than +/-2 K on the Venusian nightside and also suggests that the majority of lowlands likely has higher emissivity compared to the majority of highlands. One interpretation for the latter result is that highland materials are generally composed of felsic rocks. Since formation of a large body of granitic magmas requires water, the presence of granitic terrains would imply that Venus may have had an ocean and a mechanism to recycle water into the mantle in the past.”

    “Although there is still an uncertainty in the results owing to the not well known parameters of the atmosphere….”

    “One interpretation for the latter result …”

    “the presence of granitic terrains would imply that Venus may have had an ocean …”

    That doesn’t strike me as a ringing proof and the authors are honest enough to characterize their work as merely suggestive, a bar they manage to clear but not by much. I’d say the question of the past presence of water on Venus is still very open and even if we had solid evidence for its past existence we would have no basis to even speculate about what role it played in the planet arriving at its current state.

  145. This particular post, particularly via its commentary, is of extraordinary educational value. The science is strongly present, the petty bickering minimal, the general tone pleasant and the standard high (IMHO).
    What seems obvious to me, as an overall summation, is that the SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED.
    Perhaps it never can be.
    Even maintainng a rigorous scientific approach, there seem to be too many variables and too few scientific laws and rules which can be said to be clearly applied with any expectation of a convincing conclusion.
    This, together with the unfortunate polarisation that has developed outside of the science, which now blocks, or contaminates a sane, clearthinking approach to the debate, produces what seems to be an endless, almost futile excercise.

  146. Does CO2 actually control the level of water vapour?

    In November 2011, NCEP Reanalysis provided a water vapour anomaly of just 0.09 kg/m2 or 0.3% above the 1949 to 2011 average.

    So the longest dataset available says that water vapour does not vary by 7%/1.0C (Clausius Clapeyron relation) or by CO2 (Lacis and GISS Model E).

    It varies according to the ENSO pure and simple and with a very tiny 0.X%/1.0C increase in temperatures. CO2 has nothing to so with it.

    ———–

    Water Vapour in the atmosphere cycles in and out of the atmosphere each 9 days.

    CO2 cycles in and out of the atmosphere each 4 years.

    The permanent atmospheric gases are the non-chemically reactive ones like N2 and Argon. Even Oxygen must have a cycle in and out number.

  147. Richard111 says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:19 am


    What I have learnt elsewhere is that ALL “greenhouse gases” have absorption/emission bands in the near infrared whence only incoming solar radiation is effective

    RIII;
    unfortunately, incoherent. Don’t hang your opposition to AGW on this; you’ll get slaughtered.
    To get the GrammarNasty stuff out of the way first, “whence” makes no sense there. It means “from where”.
    Then you go on to get the rest completely wrong. Most of the energy that warms the Earth comes in as SW (shortwave) visible light (our eyes consider it “visible” because it’s the most potent and dominant part of the local Sun’s spectrum, so we’re adapted to use it. By the way, other animals with special priorities use more wavelengths, both shorter and longer, as well.) It is SW, centered on the yellow-green area, because it comes from a ~5-6,000K source, the Sun. A light filament, e.g., at those temperatures shines in the same bands.
    But most outgoing is in the near infrared because that’s the wavelength suited to/emitted by cooler objects, around 270-300K. So the “absorption bands” of GHGs are important mainly re outgoing radiation. There’s not much relevant LW incoming.

    Ignore Myrrh. The rest of us do.

  148. astonerii says:
    January 17, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    If an atmosphere is devoid of any greenhouse gases, how does it cool?

    It would have to heat the surface, which of course in such circumstances can then radiate the extra heat energy directly to space unhindered.

  149. Lord Monckton points out:
    “The paper turns out to be based not on measurement, observation and the application of established theory to the results but – you guessed it – on playing with a notorious computer model of the climate: Giss ModelE. The model, in effect, assumes very large net-positive feedbacks for which there is precious little reliable empirical or theoretical evidence.”

    Clearly the people who produced the model or simulation have a predetermined forcing target to aim at which would be acceptable to the IPPC and then apply the appropriate multiplying factor to obtain this figure.

    Civil engineers apply generous safety factors when designing structures for obvious reasons, after all no one will thank them when the building falls down. A lecturer/professor on the theory of structures in my day referred to them as factors of ignorance and they seem to be generously applied to warmist climate models.

  150. If an atmosphere is devoid of any greenhouse gases, how does it cool?

    Brian H says:
    January 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm
    Richard111 says:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:19 am


    What I have learnt elsewhere is that ALL “greenhouse gases” have absorption/emission bands in the near infrared whence only incoming solar radiation is effective

    RIII;
    unfortunately, incoherent. Don’t hang your opposition to AGW on this; you’ll get slaughtered.
    To get the GrammarNasty stuff out of the way first, “whence” makes no sense there. It means “from where”.
    Then you go on to get the rest completely wrong. Most of the energy that warms the Earth comes in as SW (shortwave) visible light (our eyes consider it “visible” because it’s the most potent and dominant part of the local Sun’s spectrum, so we’re adapted to use it. By the way, other animals with special priorities use more wavelengths, both shorter and longer, as well.) It is SW, centered on the yellow-green area, because it comes from a ~5-6,000K source, the Sun. A light filament, e.g., at those temperatures shines in the same bands.
    But most outgoing is in the near infrared because that’s the wavelength suited to/emitted by cooler objects, around 270-300K. So the “absorption bands” of GHGs are important mainly re outgoing radiation. There’s not much relevant LW incoming.

    Ignore Myrrh. The rest of us do
    ====================================

    Where is the empirical proof that Visible light from the Sun can heat oceans and land? Where? Please, don’t ignore me…, go fetch.

    You can’t fetch, because it doesn’t exist. Your ad homs in show the paucity of your argument.

    RichardIII – in the real world the difference between light and heat is very well known, empirical knowledge of the real world and real properties and processes – look up hydroponics where a great amount of effort has been expended on producing lamps which will provide plants with light and not heat… Plants utilise visible light for photosynthesis, this is a chemical energy through chlorphyll creating sugars, it is not a thermal energy creating heat.

    Visible light is tiny compared with thermal infrared, the difference between near infrared and thermal is microscopic to pin head size – visible is even small than near infrared.

    Don’t be conned by the AGWSF meme of visible light having ‘greater energy’ – more energetic it may well be, but its travelling at the same speed as longer waves – so size matters when these meet matter. Visible light works on an electronic transition level, and, blue being even more nervy than the other visibles gets knocked around the atmosphere even more – the molecules of oxygen and nitrogen reflect/scatter it, think pin ball machine. How do these molecules do that? By the electrons briefly absorbing the visible and bouncing it back out the way it came, blue sky.

    When they tell you that atmosphere is transparent to visible light, they’re obviously telling fibs because the electrons of the atmospheric molecules do absorb it! And to compound the fib, they tell you that the oceans absorbs visible – but water transmits visible through without being absorbed by the electrons.

    Water is transparent to visible light, it doesn’t even get to play with the electrons of a water molecule, it is transmitted through without being absorbed. And, these are tiny, tiny, tiny, they don’t have the oomph to move a molecule of water into vibrational modes to kinetic energy..

    The heat you feel from the Sun, all the heat you feel, comes from the invisible thermal infrared, the thermal energy (heat) of the Sun on the move to us by radiation. That’s what thermal infrared is, the heat from the Sun. You cannot feel the light from the Sun, visible.

    This is a sleight of hand produced by the AGWScience Fiction department – deliberately changing the properties, giving to visible the property of thermal.

    You try asking them, ask they to show empirical method and example of blue light from the Sun heating land and water. They can’t.

    So, ignore me if you want, but check it out for yourself..

  151. Myrrh – we went through all that stuff about visible light heating water in a previous thread on WUWT. Leif Svalgaard, if my memory is correct, went into absolutely minute scientific detail to explain the entire mechanism of how the energy of visible light is absorbed in the first ~100m of water and thus heats it.

  152. “Myrrh says:
    January 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Don’t be conned by the AGWSF meme of visible light having ‘greater energy’ – more energetic it may well be, but its traveling at the same speed as longer waves ”

    “When they tell you that atmosphere is transparent to visible light, they’re obviously telling fibs”

    Myrrh, please do not contradict yourself. Does visible light have more energy or does it not? Speed does not matter as far as photon energy is concerned. The energy of a photon is given by E = hf where h is Planck’s constant and f is the frequency, so it is NOT a con that visible light has more energy than infrared.

    And the atmosphere IS transparent to visible light. If it wasn’t, you could not see the moon or the stars.

    Earlier, you said:
    “carbon dioxide is heavier than air. One and a half times heavier. Therefore, it will always displace air in the atmosphere to come down to the ground unless work is done on it, and so also will not readily rise up into the atmosphere.”

    You say CO2 is heavier than air (true) so it falls (not true.) The laws of buoyancy do NOT operate for gases in the earth’s atmosphere. If they did, why is ozone (O3) so high up? And how do chlorofluorocarbons make it to the stratosphere? Yes, there is some “lumpiness”, but it has nothing to do with its mass. It has to do with where CO2 is produced and used up and how long it takes to reach equilibrium throughout the atmosphere.

    You say: “So, ignore me if you want, but check it out for yourself.”

    P.S. In case you are interested, I am a retired chemistry and physics teacher so I did not have to check the above out for myself.

    P.S. I see you posted that other part on the other thread. I hope it gets noticed. However people sometimes tend to ignore extremely long submissions. Perhaps try to be more concise and do not say things that are easily refuted. :-)

  153. @ Brian H. “Most of the energy that warms the Earth comes in as SW (shortwave) visible light”.
    Here I was thinking that the ‘most’ incoming energy was at UV frequencies. In real life, once you filter out the UV the remainder is relatively cool.

  154. RE: Ken McMurtrie says:(January 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm)

    “Here I was thinking that the ‘most’ incoming energy was at UV frequencies. In real life, once you filter out the UV the remainder is relatively cool.”

    Here is a typical solar radiation plot showing the exponential drop in solar radiation at wavelengths shorter than the peak energy emission in the green light region.

    For reference, power in watts is a measure of energy flow in joules/sec.

  155. Mike Jonas says:
    January 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm
    Myrrh – we went through all that stuff about visible light heating water in a previous thread on WUWT. Leif Svalgaard, if my memory is correct, went into absolutely minute scientific detail to explain the entire mechanism of how the energy of visible light is absorbed in the first ~100m of water and thus heats it.

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

    Leif thinks the atmosphere around us is empty space…

    Put on the stove, before you see any visible light you can feel the heat, the more energy that goes into the heating the stove the more invisible heat, thermal infrared, you can feel from it.

    That’s exactly the thermal energy we get from the Sun, that leaves the Sun in the form of radiation, that radiation is thermal infrared, it reaches us in the same time as visible light, around eight minutes. That’s a bloody big stove up in the sky…

    Visible light is a very small part of the spectrum, produced by the great heat of the Sun, and just like an incandescent light bulb or heating up steel, the majority of the energy radiating out is invisible heat. Only 5% of the radiated energy from the light bulb is visible light, 95% is heat, the invisible thermal infrared.

    That great invisible thermal infrared, radiant heat, you feel from the stove or from a fire or direct from the Sun travelling to you in straight lines is what warms you up! Visible light doesn’t do this.

    Water is A TRANSPARENT MEDIUM FOR VISIBLE LIGHT. Even if it wasn’t, even if it wasn’t transmitted through but as in the atmosphere was absorbed on the electron level, it would be bounced out, be reflected/scattered, without heating, the energy going into movement.

    It takes thermal energy to move whole molecules into vibrational states, which is heat, heat is the movement of whole molecules, kinetic energy. The tiny visible light isn’t capable of doing that. Leif explained nothing, he was giving a description of vibrational translations which is the property of thermal energy! Just as here, giving the properties of thermal energy, thermal infrared, to visible light. He was bullsh*tt*ing.

    “When a light wave of a given frequency strikes a material with particles having the same or (resonant) vibrational frequencies, then those particles will absorb the energy of the light wave and transform it into thermal energy of vibrational motion. Since different atoms and molecules have different natural frequencies of vibration, they will selectively absorb different frequencies (or portions of the spectrum) of infrared light. Reflection and transmission of light waves occur because the frequencies of the light waves do not match the natural resonant frequencies of vibration of the objects. When infrared light of these frequencies strikes an object, the energy is reflected or transmitted.

    If the object is transparent, then the light waves are passed on to neighboring atoms through the bulk of the material and re-emitted on the opposite side of the object. Such frequencies of light waves are said to be transmitted.

    OK? Don’t confuse ‘absorption’ of visible light in oceans, which is how it’s generally described, with the power to heat up matter by getting the molecules into vibration when the more powerful heat energy is absorbed. This ‘absorption of visible light in oceans’ is better described as attentuation, not absorption in the technical sense as basic description of absorption of heat and light energies either on vibrational or electronic transition levels. Now read further down the page where it gives the difference between Visible/UV and Thermal Infrared:

    Mechanisms of selective light wave absorption include:

    Electronic: Transitions in electron energy levels within the atom (e.g., pigments). These transitions are typically in the ultraviolet (UV) and/or visible portions of the spectrum.
    Vibrational: Resonance in atomic/molecular vibrational modes. These transitions are typically in the infrared portion of the spectrum.

    That’s the difference between Heat and Light.

    The main benefits we get from Light is being able to see the world around us as different pigments absorb the different colours and reflect out what they don’t absorb, and, in the chemical energy of chlorophyll using visible light to create sugars – these are not creating heat! They are not moving the molecules into vibrational states which is what heat is!

    The different things that can and will happen when visible light hits matter are in the section immediately below, on electronic transitions – four possibles: the second is visible light hitting the electrons of the molecules of oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere and being bounced back out, this is reflection/scattering and is what gives us our blue sky, the third is what happens when visible light meets water, it is transmitted through, it doesn’t even get to play with the electrons.

    UV-Vis: Electronic transitions continued: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transparency_and_translucency

  156. Werner Brozek says:
    January 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm
    “Myrrh says:
    January 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Don’t be conned by the AGWSF meme of visible light having ‘greater energy’ – more energetic it may well be, but its traveling at the same speed as longer waves ”

    “When they tell you that atmosphere is transparent to visible light, they’re obviously telling fibs”

    Myrrh, please do not contradict yourself. Does visible light have more energy or does it not? Speed does not matter as far as photon energy is concerned. The energy of a photon is given by E = hf where h is Planck’s constant and f is the frequency, so it is NOT a con that visible light has more energy than infrared.

    Shrug, if you think tiny nervy highly energetic in movement is the same as power to do work..

    UV is even more highly energetic than visible light, according to you then it is has even more energy, so, put on a shirt and you stop it. Yeah, that’s real power, the greater energy to change matter stopped by a t-shirt..

    And the atmosphere IS transparent to visible light. If it wasn’t, you could not see the moon or the stars.

    ?! Yeah right, you can see the moon and starts in the daytime….

    Light pollution from street and building lights are a very real problem for any wanting to observe the sky at night.

    Transparent is a technical term. Just as is absorption and transmission. The atmosphere is not transparent to visible light because its energy is absorbed on the electron transition level and reflected/scattered. See the above post on transparency and translucency. That’s why you see blue sky and not moon and stars.

    Earlier, you said:
    “carbon dioxide is heavier than air. One and a half times heavier. Therefore, it will always displace air in the atmosphere to come down to the ground unless work is done on it, and so also will not readily rise up into the atmosphere.”

    You say CO2 is heavier than air (true) so it falls (not true.) The laws of buoyancy do NOT operate for gases in the earth’s atmosphere. If they did, why is ozone (O3) so high up? And how do chlorofluorocarbons make it to the stratosphere? Yes, there is some “lumpiness”, but it has nothing to do with its mass. It has to do with where CO2 is produced and used up and how long it takes to reach equilibrium throughout the atmosphere.

    Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, one and half times heavier, it will therefore always sink to the ground by displacing the lighter oxygen and nitrogen molecules. This is so empirically well known in the real world around us, in breweries, in mining, in venting from volcanic sources..

    Do your own experiment, mix some vinegar with bicarb of soda and pour the result onto a lit candle – you will put it out because carbon dioxide is heavier and displacing oxygen will sink to pool on the ground. Methane is lighter than air – that’s why methane rises in air, a danger in mines where it can layer at the ceiling. The old fashioned way of getting rid of it in a new mine was for an intrepid miner to cover himself in wet towels and enter carrying a lit candle at the end of a long pole. We know about these things, because we know about the real properties of gases. We know what they can and can’t do. Carbon dioxide can’t trap heat, look up heat capacity, carbon dioxide can’t accumulate in the atmosphere for hundreds and thousands of years, look up gravity, (that’s were relative weight comes from), and, carbon dioxide is fully part of the water cycle and so is constantly being mopped up by water vapour to come down to the ground. Etc. Etc.

    You say: “So, ignore me if you want, but check it out for yourself.”

    P.S. In case you are interested, I am a retired chemistry and physics teacher so I did not have to check the above out for myself.

    Then you should know what you’re saying is bullshit pure and simple, and if you were teaching it then all your students learned the same bull, they have no idea how the world around them works..

    P.S. I see you posted that other part on the other thread. I hope it gets noticed. However people sometimes tend to ignore extremely long submissions. Perhaps try to be more concise and do not say things that are easily refuted. :-)

    Easily refuted? Real life empirical evidence supports me. Prove your claims.

    What’s worse here, than you not understanding, is because the AGWScience Fiction department has corrupted the teaching about the real world, by such swapsies as giving the properties of one thing to another and taking laws out of context, a whole generation of children have been taught utter gibberish. How can they have any understanding of water vapour being lighter than air and so rising up through air, without understanding evaporation how can they ever understand the Water Cycle? Not a problem for you, AGWSF has taken the water cycle out of the energy budget.., you don’t have to wonder how our weather works, it’s all radiation, no convection in your fictional world.

  157. @ Spector re UV spectrum energy.

    Thanks for that. This comes as a surprise as the UV component, especially at sea level is relatively low energy.
    All the scientific explanations that I can bring to mind simply say that the solar energy is received by the Earth at UV frequencies and radiated back to the atmosphere in the IR range.
    It might well be that energy is re-radiated in the IR spectrum, but what we see here is that much IR energy also arrives at the earth surface, except that filtered by H2O substantially.
    The UV component is quite small yet gets much attention as a health hazard for eyes and skin. And is the only incoming wavelength usually mentioned in explaining climate principles.
    Interesting to note the CO2 absorption is confirmed to be minimal, compared to H2O, for the incoming IR. Can one assume it would be the same ratio for the outgoing IR.
    Also it seems that the majority of outgoing IR will escape through the atmosphere, except for the little absorbed by the CO2 and maybe 30% absorbed by the H2O.
    Do you know of a simple reference to the spectrum of the re-radiated IR. Not likely accurate given the variability of the earth’s surface properties. However, presumable someone has had a go at an average?
    Once again, thanks for setting me on the right path. A very useful visualization!

  158. “Myrrh says:
    January 19, 2012 at 3:18 am
    Then you should know what you’re saying is bullshit pure and simple”

    I just have five questions for you. And be sure that any answer you give to any of the questions cannot be contradicted by anything you said on this thread.

    If you put a radio under a pillow, you can still hear it. Why can weak radio waves go through a pillow and why can strong x-rays go through a pillow but visible light, that is in between in energy, cannot penetrate a pillow?

    How do chlorofluorocarbons make it to the stratosphere?

    How does the first 100 m of the ocean get heated?

    Why does smoke, which contains a lot of “heavy” CO2, rise from chimneys?

    Why can an airplane be seen in the sky both in the daytime and at night?

  159. Let’s make test to solve meaning of backradiation. Now we have winter in Finland. Snowcover is about 30 cm and it’s -2 celsius. Upper atmosphere radiates 150W/m2 downwards if I block that radiation with mirror made from polyurethane and is coated with foil both sides, I’ll put it 1 meter above snowy surface. That cover radiates 200w downvards. Radiation increase is 50w/m2 but the temperature remains the same. If i put heating element to snow and 50W power snow start’s to melt. If you want, that I believe that that radiation wich comes down from upper atmosphere can make earth warmer, you have to make some epirical test that it increases temperature and prove I’m wrong. Otherwise climate sensitivity to CO2=0.

  160. Werner Brozek says:
    January 19, 2012 at 10:10 am
    “Myrrh says:
    January 19, 2012 at 3:18 am
    Then you should know what you’re saying is bullshit pure and simple”

    I just have five questions for you. And be sure that any answer you give to any of the questions cannot be contradicted by anything you said on this thread.

    If you put a radio under a pillow, you can still hear it. Why can weak radio waves go through a pillow and why can strong x-rays go through a pillow but visible light, that is in between in energy, cannot penetrate a pillow? etc.

    Werner, I’ve pointed out where you are wrong, you’re following the AGW fiction meme fisics and what else I know or don’t know is not relevant here, it’s a distraction.

    But as I said, size is important…

  161. R. Gates said @ January 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

    For those wanted one of the best summaries available anywhere on the web of the true science behind the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere, I highly recommend reading all 8 parts of:

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/11/28/co2-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-one/

    This is pretty heavy reading, and will likely take you many hours, but it is well worth it if you really want to understand this “insignificant” trace gas, and why it has significant effects on Earth’s climate.

    Much to my surprise, I find myself in complete agreement with R. Gates. Think I’ll take a Becks and have a lie down.

  162. Brad Tittle said @ January 16, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Yes CO2 can be made into dry ice, but find me a place on this planet where it can do that naturally.

    Antarctica. The cold record for Earth is -89.6C. CO2 freezing point is -78.5C according to my Chambers Science and Technology Dictionary.

  163. Terry Oldberg said @ January 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    In his post of Jan. 16, 2012, Monckton of Brenchley asserts that “…all I am doing is to take the concepts and data and methods of the IPCC and its adherents and to draw logical conclusions from them.” Monckton’s assertion is refuted by the fact that one cannot draw a logical conclusion from an illogical premise. In particular, one cannot draw a logical conclusion from the scientifically illogical premise that an increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration causes the equilibrium temperature at Earth’s surface to rise.

    You would seem to be dismissing the possibility of a reductio ad absurdum argument.

  164. I did not mean to start an argument. I was looking for the mechanism for a non greenhouse gas to lose energy. I thought that the only real answer was conducting it to the earth to be released through long wave radiation, and that seems to be the case.

    I was worried that there might be phase changes for our non greenhouse gases, but it seems those occur at much lower temperatures than we have between ground and top of atmosphere?

    This was really a question to answer an earlier post which had the elevator question, and it seems to me that with a non greenhouse gas atmosphere what would happen is that the atmosphere would in fact increase the absolute surface temperature of the surface beyond the Stephan/Boltzmann equation.

    The sun heats the earth surface. The Earth surface heats the air contacting it which then rises as it becomes less dense than the colder air. The Earth surface warms more air which also rises. This would go on until the Earth surface and the Air temperature at equilibrium are the same. Convection would move the heat around the earth and through the atmosphere making the Earth surface away from the sun significantly warmer than it would otherwise be. Since the only mechanism for cooling the atmosphere is direct contact with the surface of the earth, and with the depth of the atmosphere being as deep as it is, would that not help keep the dark side only a few degrees cooler than the light side?

  165. thepompousgit (Jan. 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm):

    As the equilibrium temperature is not an observable, claims such as Monckton’s and the IPCC’s regarding the magnitude of the equilibrium climate sensitivity cannot be falsified, thus lying outside science. How does reductio ad absurdum fit in with this?

  166. Werner, I do feel very strongly about this, that a whole generation of children have now been taught nonsense physics about the world and particularly about carbon dioxide, but I was appalled to find when I began exploring that it was being depicted as a poison; governments began putting in on their toxic lists, ads on tv of a young child being read a bedtime story on its danger.. The same guy from whom I learned the physics they were giving to ‘prove’ what they said about carbon dioxide being well-mixed and unable to separate out from the atmosphere, went to some effort to show how too much carbon dioxide in the body ‘was a poison’. This was someone educated to PhD standard in physics, taught the subject, was, as you are, far more knowlegeable than I about science, but on this point his teaching was not only wrong, it itself was dangerous, toxic. That children are being educated to think carbon dioxide an evil when it is the building block of life on Earth, we’re not called carbon life forms on a whim, was diabolical. There was a lot of that ‘in the air’ around the time, and then of course the 10 10 video came out, how could it not or something like it from a long campaign to demonise carbon dioxide?

    I’ve told the story a few times here of how I learned the ‘physics’ from him, recently here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/12/earths-baseline-black-body-model-a-damn-hard-problem/#comment-864575

    While exploring this I came to the conclusion that these ‘memes’ about carbon dioxide and the other fictional physics produced to support AGW, were deliberate, it takes someone who knows the science very well to be able to do such subtle tweaks with it, to give the property of one thing to another, to use laws out of context, this is a planned alternative physics. That’s how they can take the water cycle out of the picture completely, and, to make sure the majority don’t notice, all the arguments are about radiation… And so whenever someone with applied science knowledge in the subject tries to show that they are breaking the second law, they think he’s presenting a false physics! As a result of this, these memes have taken on a life of their own, they are so much in the background that ‘everyone’ thinks they are the real physics about it – ‘carbon dioxide accumulates for hundreds and thousands of years in the atmosphere’ is believed because it has been repeated so many times, and the children a few decades ago who were first indoctrinated with this are now grown up and if involved in any way in the ‘climate change’ subject, naturally take it for granted.

    Many of those are now scientists of one kind or another, but if not actually specialising in the use of carbon dioxide where they would have to learn that this is impossible to be able to do their job, why would they know it was fiction? Latour makes this point about too, in deconstructing a back-radiation ‘proof’ –

    “Echoing the analysis of another climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball, Latour insists that the apparent errors in atmospheric physics made by climatologists are because they work in a ‘generalist’ field of science, unlike most ‘hard’ sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and medicine where detailed and in-depth specialization is essential so that products and services actually work.” http://johnosullivan.livejournal.com/43659.html

    And I’ve told the story before of one such climatologist who set out to prove that methane didn’t separate out and failed and couldn’t understand why because he simply couldn’t believe it was happening, he thought there must be another source coming into the mine which they couldn’t find which was ‘somehow’ stopping the methane from quickly diffusing and thoroughly mixing with the rest of the air. It’s the basic physics of properties and processes that have been corrupted here. If teachers sometime in the future go missing, none of these would be able to devise the many applications we now have built on basic knowledge of the difference between light and heat..

    Anyway, all that as background, to apologise for my tone earlier, sorry.

  167. Myrrh (Jan. 20, 2012 at 2:30 am):

    IMO, the blame for the phenomenon you descibe can be pinned on academia, for allowing science students to receive degrees while knowing nothing about the inductive branch of logic. In consequence of their ignorance, in selecting the inferences that are made by their models theorists use intuitive rules of thumb called “heuristics.” In each case in which a particular heuristic selects a particular infererence for being made, a different heuristic selects a different inference. In this way, the method of heuristics violates the law of non-contradiction. Using the violated law as a false premise to an argument, one can extract from the evidence whatever conclusion one wishes. In climatology, this kind of argument has generated the false conclusion that there is not the need for a model to be testable in order for it to be scientific.

  168. Myrrh – you are absolutely right about the demonisation of CO2. These same people also manage to make a warming planet sound bad for us. But you can’t fool all the people all the time, and ordinary people have cottoned on in droves. Eventually, our leaders will have to follow, and there are signs of that already. But it has been a long hard fight and it’s not over yet. The final irony is that a cooling planet may help us to win, and that is not a pleasant prospect.

  169. I have been reading much on the AGW debate, and trying very hard to arrive at logical conclusions. To date, I find that much more evidence and assessment of it, supports many aspects of the inadequacy of the AGW proponents science. It is indeed very shaky.
    Yet, as others point out, education systems are being contaminated along with many government organizations and the press.
    Yesterday, I followed a link to the ‘Science of Doom’ post “CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part One” http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/11/28/co2-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-one/. It is followed by further parts.
    (Introduced by R Gates. and commented upon by Pompousgit, who found it convincing).
    I did not find it convincing!
    In this linked post, an extensive and supposedly comprehensive and scientific explanation, claims to prove why CO2 has the capability of being a strong “green house gas” even though it has trace quantities and limited absorption bandwidths.
    He presents a lot of data on absorption wavelengths, including graphs and claims that they show the CO2 effectiveness as significant.
    I fail to see the logic or adequacy of his “proof”. But I can see why even scientific people could be taken in. I hope to examine his article with a clear enough mind to pinpoint where his argument specifically becomes false. It is in his presentation of the absorption graphs, his under-estimation of H2O quantity and his over-estimation of CO2 absorption, but one needs to be more precise and scientific. Perhaps some-one else will have a better skill in achieving this.
    In the meantime, it is that type of “proof” that is used to convince the gullible and the less open-minded.
    The proof of the inadequacy of CO2 to “drive” global warming is quite effectively provided in “http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html”
    Perhaps a reader will comment if they can pick the fallacy in the “doom” post better than I?

    • My sentiments entirely. I carried out spreadsheet calculations and estimated LWIR absorptions for both CO2 and H2O. Using emissivities calculated for both gases I estimated extinction distances for the appropriate wavebands and convinced myself that CO2 could not possibly cause global warming, I am also convinced that massive expenditure committed to reducing CO2 emissions is completely unnecessary. I have read nothing in the warmist literature to change that view; not even from Joel Shore. I am sure Willis Eschenbach will come up with a great post on this oon, to shoe how shaky agw is.

  170. “Myrrh says:
    January 20, 2012 at 2:30 am
    Werner, I do feel very strongly about this, that a whole generation of children have now been taught nonsense physics about the world and particularly about carbon dioxide….
    Anyway, all that as background, to apologise for my tone earlier, sorry.”

    I fully accept your apology.

    Did you see the article by Joe Bastardi at:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/global-temps-in-a-crash-as-agw-proponents-crash-the-economy/

    I loved the article but he made a mistake regarding the mixing of CO2. He apparently had the same idea you did. A number of people pointed it out, including myself. As far as I know, all of these people are totally on his side so to speak and hated to see him make this mistake. Unfortunately, it really distracted from an excellent article. For a representative sample of comments on this issue, see the four below. I do NOT agree with CAGW, but basic science is basic science. And yes, we do teach the gas laws and we realise the limitations of the ideal gas law and point them out to students. And unless you have extremely high pressures or extremely low temperatures, the gas laws work very well. To teach things at the high school level, we have to make all kinds of simplifications which make very little difference in most cases. Now just because warmists say that CO2 is well mixed, that does not mean they are wrong on this point. I disagree with them on many things, but the mixing of CO2 is not one of them. About 80 to 90% of what you say is good, but when you throw in things like “carbon dioxide is heavier than air. One and a half times heavier. Therefore, it will always displace air in the atmosphere to come down to the ground unless work is done on it, and so also will not readily rise up into the atmosphere.”, you lose credibility and people may question everything else you say. For more on this topic of CO2 mixing, see:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/global-temps-in-a-crash-as-agw-proponents-crash-the-economy/#comment-869343

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/global-temps-in-a-crash-as-agw-proponents-crash-the-economy/#comment-869356

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/global-temps-in-a-crash-as-agw-proponents-crash-the-economy/#comment-869370

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/global-temps-in-a-crash-as-agw-proponents-crash-the-economy/#comment-870037

  171. This theory of David Evans, a mathematician and engineer, with six university degrees, including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering, has been posted in a few places, maybe also WUWT. It is one of the sources supporting my beliefs in “CAGW is a fraud”.
    Its a simple explanation, but is it correct?
    “Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in the air, the warmer the planet. Every bit of carbon dioxide that we emit warms the planet. But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.
    Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet’s temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.
    The disagreement comes about what happens next.
    The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas.
    This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three — so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.
    That’s the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.
    Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

    His full comments are posted here – http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/04/07/climate-models-go-cold/

  172. Ken McMurtrie (Jan. 21, 2012 at 12:03 am):

    Like Lord Monckton, Dr. Evans bases his argument upon the legitimacy of the equilibrium climate sensitivity (TECS) as a concept and disputes only the magnitude of TECS. However, the proposition that TECS is scientifically legitimate is false.

    By definition, TECS is the increase in the global equilibrium surface air temperature (GESAT) in response to a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentation but the GESAT is not an observable feature of the climate system. It follows from the lack of observability that when Evans, Monckton or anyone else makes a claim about the magnitude of TECS, this claim cannot be tested. It follows that claims of this sort are not scientific claims, by the definition of “scientific.”

    If climatological claims were scientific, they would be framed in terms of observable entities. These entities are called “statistical events.”

    When the methodology of a study is “scientific” this study centers on the study’s complete set of statistical events, the study’s so-called “statistical population.” A sample from this population provides the sole basis for testing whatever theory or model that emerges from the study. Surprisingly, after spending 100 billion US$ on research, global climatologists have yet to identify their study’s statistical population. In the years in which I designed and managed scientific studies for a living, to identify a study’s statistical population was always the first order of business for if this task were not completed, the study would not be scientific.

    By the way, in the years in which I made my living by designing and managing scientific studies, I learned that people with PhD degrees in science or engineering from elite research universities usually were ignorant of basics in the design of a scientific study that included the necessity for a statistical population. Apparently, in this respect, academia had inadequately trained its graduates..

    In describing global climatology’s statistical population, one of the tasks would be to identify the period over which a climatological variable is averaged. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the “classical” period is 3 decades.

    The period of a climatological event can be no less than the averaging period for the variables that define this event’s outcomes. Thus, taking the averaging period to be the “classical” period, the period of an event can be no less than 3 decades. If this is so, then the recent 1 decade long hiatus in the escalation in global temperatures is irrelevant. That this hiatus seems relevant to a person suggests this person’s ignorance of elements in the framing of a scientific study.

  173. Terry Oldberg says:
    January 20, 2012 at 9:17 am
    Myrrh (Jan. 20, 2012 at 2:30 am):

    IMO, the blame for the phenomenon you descibe can be pinned on academia, for allowing science students to receive degrees while knowing nothing about the inductive branch of logic. In consequence of their ignorance, in selecting the inferences that are made by their models theorists use intuitive rules of thumb called “heuristics.” In each case in which a particular heuristic selects a particular infererence for being made, a different heuristic selects a different inference. In this way, the method of heuristics violates the law of non-contradiction. Using the violated law as a false premise to an argument, one can extract from the evidence whatever conclusion one wishes. In climatology, this kind of argument has generated the false conclusion that there is not the need for a model to be testable in order for it to be scientific.

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

    I’ve been told that ‘modern science’ is beyond my grasp.. So this is how, I’ve just posted on this elsewhere, ‘science is subjective interpretation’ comes about? So heuristics itself has acquired a modern re-interpretation, from trial and error in the process of discovery to whatever one imagines without the next step? No wonder they never get to, and are so dismissive of, testing.

    Werner – I’ll have a read through the discussion tomorrow, but not sure how much time I’ve got in the next few days to take part in it. Except one of your links has just given me a nudge..

    Ken McMurtrie says:
    January 21, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Its a simple explanation, but is it correct?
    “Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in the air, the warmer the planet. Every bit of carbon dioxide that we emit warms the planet. But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.

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

    Ken – that’s a fairly standard argument around here from those anti-AGW, but not one held by me. I say that carbon dioxide being fully part of the Water Cycle cools the planet, in other words, that the ‘greenhouse gas warming’ is a fiction. My proof is that they have taken the water cycle out of their ‘energy budget’, the AGW KT97 and variations which both pro and anti-AGW use and where the arguments about just how much warming is CO2 adding comes from.

    I’ve expanded on it and put in a link to this a few posts back.

  174. @ Terry Oldberg (21/1, 9:50am).
    You overwhelm me with scientific jargon. This approach may perhaps be what often happens within the AGW world in supporting their beliefs. I am not saying that it is necessarily wrong, but that it consequently becomes more difficult to understand and therefore to assess its validity.
    For another example, I commented earlier (20th, 3:51pm), about the ‘science of doom’ post where it was claimed that evidence based on gas absorption spectrum graphs proved CO2 was a powerful “GHG” sufficient to drive GW. It was difficult to hone in on the specific incorrect or illogical parameter(s), but I fail to be convinced that the proof was actually there.
    First you say that TECS (‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’) is not a scientifically legitimate concept, therefore its magnitude is not an arguable factor.
    Then, that TECS is the “increase in the global equilibrium surface air temperature (GESAT) in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentation(sic). Why specifically a ‘doubling’ and not an increase, or decrease for that matter? You go on to say that GESAT is not an observable feature, therefore not meaningful.
    This is followed by a blurb on statistics which is completely irrelevant to climate “science”. The values of temperature, radiation energies, energy balance, are almost meaningless. They are averages of such wide-ranging temperature variables, seriously challenged computations and even unknowns like clouds and cosmic ray effects, together with solar cycles, sunspots, solar magnetic influences, winds, ocean currents, ocean heat, pollution, night and day variations, equatorial and polar extremes, the list goes on and on.
    I agree that short term trends, even if legitimately arrived at, are not statistically significant. It was a serious mistake for the IPCC representation of projected global temperatures to show a smooth curve and not include all the well-known cycles. But this was only one of their many mistakes. Their credibility is shattered and the claims of CO2 as a GT driver is unsupportable.
    Statistical analyses require inputs of substance and mathematical definable value and accuracy. None of the climate parameters meet this criteria.
    Ignorance exists in both ‘camps’, perhaps, but scientific integrity is more evident in the case of the ‘unbelieving’ supporters, plus lack of honesty is demonstrably a feature of the AGW proponents.

  175. Ken McMurtrie (Jan. 22, 2012 at 4:07 am):
    Thanks for taking the time to respond! Sorry about the jargon. Perhaps if we work together, I can help you to understand what I’m saying.

    TECS is the proportionality constant in the equation
    T – To = TECS * ( log2 C – log2 Co )
    where log2 represents the logarithm to the base 2, T represents the global equilibrium surface air temperature at time t, To represents the global equilibrium surface air temperature at time to, C represents the CO2 concentration at time t and Co represents the CO2 concentration at time to. In the circumstance that C is twice Co, ( log2 C – log2 Co ) has a value of 1 and it follows that
    T – To = TECS
    Thus, it is often said that TECS is the “increase in the GESAT from a doubling of the CO2 concentration.” Note, however, that TECS is defined in circumstances in which C is not twice Co

    The term “equilibrium temperature” may be unfamiliar. It is the temperature that is attained when the magnitudes of all of the various heat fluxes are held constant and one waits for an infinite amount of time before measuring the temperature. Engineers call the same concept the “steady state temperature.” In reality, we cannot wait for an infinite amount of time and it follows that the equilibrium temperature cannot be observed.

    While the equilibrium temperature is a valid and useful theoretical concept, it is not a useful empirical concept in view of the fact that its magnitude cannot be observed. Thus, the empirical side of climatology has be built upon measurable temperatures rather than equilibrium temperatures. In particular, the empirical side cannot be built upon the concept of the GESAT but can be built upon the concept of the GSAT (global surface air temperature) for the magnitude of the GSAT is observable.

    By the definition of a “climate,” the GSAT is not an instantaneous temperature but rather is a time average of a temperature over a specified period. The time average can be taken to be the outcome of a statistical event for which the endtime is the endtime of the averaging period. The starttime of this event can be no greater than the starttime of the averaging period else the GSAT cannot be computed.

    Events that do not overlap in time are said to be “statistically independent.” In concept, statistically independent events stretch billions of years backward in time and billions of years forward. The complete set of these events is an example of a “statistical population.”

    A statistically independent event in which the GSAT is measured at the end of the event and the state of the climate is measured at the beginning is said to be “observed.” A set of observed events is called a “statistical sample.”

    In concept, the elements of the statistical population bear a one-to-one relationship with the predictions of a climatological theory (aka model). This theory is susceptible to testing in which predicted values of the GSAT are compared to observed values in the statistical sample; the observed events in the sample must not have been used in the construction of the theory.
    The events in the above referenced statistical sample provide the sole basis for testing the model. If there is not a population and sample, the theory is not testable. If it is not testable, this theory is not scientific, by the definition of “science.”

    The IPCC’s inquiry references no statistical population or sample. You can verify this for yourself by searching the report of Working Group I in Assessment Report 4 on the word “population.” Thus, the IPCC’s inquiry was not a scientific one.

  176. For interest, the paper here on forecasting reliability and the IPCC:

    GLOBAL WARMING: FORECASTS BY SCIENTISTS VERSUS SCIENTIFIC FORECASTS by Kesten C. Green and J. Scott Armstrong

    http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/files/WarmAudit31.pdf

    A FORECASTING AUDIT FOR GLOBAL WARMING
    In order to audit the forecasting processes described in Chapter 8 of the IPCC’s report,

    ..
    The IPCC WG1 Report was regarded as providing the most credible long-term
    forecasts of global average temperatures by 31 of the 51 scientists and others involved
    in forecasting climate change who responded to our survey. We found no references
    in the 1056-page Report to the primary sources of information on forecasting methods
    despite the fact these are conveniently available in books, articles, and websites. We
    audited the forecasting processes described in Chapter 8 of the IPCC’s WG1 Report
    to assess the extent to which they complied with forecasting principles. We found
    enough information to make judgments on 89 out of a total of 140 forecasting
    principles. The forecasting procedures that were described violated 72 principles.
    Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical.
    The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In
    effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and
    obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts’
    predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We
    have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. …
    #######

    A fudge I’ve seen repeated a few times is the defence that ‘the IPCC doesn’t make predictions, it makes forecasts’, but as I learned from the above, that’s a real science discipline…

  177. Myrrh (Jan. 22, 2012 at 11:20 am):

    “Prediction” and “forecast” are synonymous but neither term is synonymous with “projection.” In their study, Green and Armstrong found that climatologists used the three terms synonymously.

    In AR4, climatologists employed this usage in falsely implying the existence of predictions from the IPCC models and thus one’s ability to test these models. In reality, the IPCC models made only “projections” and these projections did not support testing of the models.

  178. Thanks Terry for your response (22/1, 9:43am), and attempt to clarify your earlier comments.
    With respect, I will be satisfied with not trying too hard too get my brain around the statistical procedures as you offer them.
    My point being, as I tried to stress in my comment: In the climate change field, other than time periods and some physical laws which may or may not be precisely and appropriately applied, there are no parameters, variable or constant, of sufficiently known accuracy for a statistical procedure to have any meaningful outcome. At least not sufficiently meaningful to draw firm conclusions, even ones with degrees of certainty attached.
    If the science was that ‘real’ and definable, we wouldn’t be experiencing all this interminable debating. Someone would be saying “Aha, that’s what is really going on!” and there would a general “consensus”, ha ha :-)
    Regards!

  179. Ah – maybe I got that wrong, and it’s the word ‘projections’ I’ve heard as defence against failed predictions, with the claim that the IPCC doesn’t make predictions from models, but projections.

    However,

    http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_definitions.html

    Definition of Terms Used Within the DDC Pages

    “Projection

    The term “projection” is used in two senses in the climate change literature. In general usage, a projection can be regarded as any description of the future and the pathway leading to it. However, a more specific interpretation has been attached to the term “climate projection” by the IPCC when referring to model-derived estimates of future climate.

    Forecast/Prediction

    When a projection is branded “most likely” it becomes a forecast or prediction. A forecast is often obtained using deterministic models, possibly a set of these, outputs of which can enable some level of confidence to be attached to projections.”

    Hmm, just found a yahoo answer
    http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110616120409AAqtnpv which talks about the wording for confidence levels, and makes a distinction between “very likely” and “most likely” – says there’s not a definition of “most likely” and makes a reasonable stab at guessing what it means, but is left bemused. Now I do recall, with this reminder, that “most likely” and “likely” are directly linked to actual confidence levels, but this definition page I posted does have “most likely” to be an actual prediction.

    So they do make predictions, and they say this is in context of climate models, so, maybe somewhere in all the heavy tomes of reports there are most likelies as predictions which some have taken to be very likelies – which can be dismissed as only a confidence level and subject to change from better models etc. ..But I’m not looking for them…. :)

    Actually, I made a start but found the first link to reports was blank and all the snapshots had disappeared from archives, I really don’t have the time…

    I’ve just found a page from someone showing an analysis against actual temperatures who uses “most likely” to describe what we’re seeing, but it’s not used in the spiel about the lines, so I take it this refers to the middle solid between the likelies? http://www.wunderground.com/blog/Seastep/comment.html?entrynum=2

    OK, one more:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-3-1.html

    3.3.1 Climatic drivers Projections for the future

    The following summary of future climate change is taken from the Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report (WGI AR4), Chapter 10 (Meehl et al., 2007). The most likely global average surface temperature increase by the 2020s is around 1°C relative to the pre-industrial period, based on all the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES; Naki?enovi? and Swart, 2000) scenarios. By the end of the 21st century, the most likely increases are 3 to 4°C for the A2 emissions scenario and around 2°C for B1 (Figure 10.8).

    So, definitely a forecast/prediction as they define it.

  180. Myrrh (Jan. 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm):

    Contrary to what the IPCC says, a “projection” is not a “prediction” under any circumstances. A “prediction” is an extrapolation to the outcome of a statistical event. The complete set of statistical events form a “statistical population” but the IPCC has yet to identify the statistical population underlying its conjectures.

  181. Ken McMurtrie (Jan. 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm):

    In addition to pondering the uncertainties in the parameters of a climate model, I wish you would ponder the uncertainty in the identity of the model. Do we know that the data are distributed as represented by this or that parametric model? For example, do we know that the data are distributed according to the univariate normal model. Generally, the answer is no.

  182. But, Terry, It is not in relation to climate models that I ponder the parameters. It is in relation to the climate system itself. I am not interested in any of the models when I consider the data to be relatively nebulous rather than scientifically suitable for important decision making.

  183. Terry Oldberg says:
    January 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm
    Myrrh (Jan. 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm):

    Contrary to what the IPCC says, a “projection” is not a “prediction” under any circumstances. A “prediction” is an extrapolation to the outcome of a statistical event. The complete set of statistical events form a “statistical population” but the IPCC has yet to identify the statistical population underlying its conjectures

    Ah yes, back to the reality of it. Another example of how they take real science terms out of context and I’ve seen this before, real scientists think they’re using the terms correctly and don’t find out otherwise unless they investigate it for themselves as you’ve done.

    So now there’s a two pronged answer to those who try to downplay the failure of IPCC ‘predictions’ by claiming they don’t make them, they make them in their own nomenclature as ‘most likely’, but this term turns out to be projection as mere “opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing” and not predictions/forecasts as understood in the real science of statistics because without any reference to any statistical events/populations from which predictions can be extrapolated and against which tested. As you’ve put it here:

    “Statistical analyses require inputs of substance and mathematical definable value and accuracy. None of the climate parameters meet this criteria.”

    But isn’t this what Ken is saying is lacking to start with?

    I can follow your explanations in English, just about, but without facility in mathematics would have to expend more effort than I have time for to explore further, but there are many here who wouldn’t have this problem and many I imagine who would enjoy following your reasoning and examples as long as there was enough English, as you’ve given here, have you considered offering this to Anthony as a guest post?

    With Mike Jonas here, what concerns me most is the way they have manipulated real science to produce the scenarios of doom laden with guilt and illogical demonisation of our natural world contrary to what even a glance at a simple graph of substance such as Vostok conveys..

    ..how much time do you think we have to introduce this generation educated in AGW fictional fisics to the world of real science about it through such arguments before everyone loses interest in the subject..?

    • Myrrh (Jan.23, 2012 at 4:04 am):

      Thanks for sharing your ideas. An approach that I’ve found fruitful is to examine the methodology of the IPCC’s inquiry into AGW in light of logic. There is an account of my work at http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/

      I’ve been able to show that this methodology is neither logical nor scientific. However, that this is true is obscured by the ambiguity of reference by terms in the language of climatology to the associated ideas. The ambiguity of reference leads the unwary to false or unproved conclusions though the use of negations of the law of non-contradiction as the premises to specious arguments.

  184. Terry Oldberg:
    January 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for the link to your work on http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/

    I’ve had a quick glance and I’ll certainly make time to read it.

    Just to finalise my own exploration and as well to leave a record of it here, I checked out the IPCC definitions of the standard likelies. Found it together with examples from the 4th and in guidance notes for the 5th:

    FOURTH ASSESSMENT REPORT
    At a glance: IPCC report
    Global climate change is “very likely” to have been human-induced, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded.

    •This is the first of four reports that will be published in 2007 by the IPCC as part of its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR)

    KEY FINDINGS

    •It is very likely that human activities are causing global warming

    •Probable temperature rise by the end of the century will be between 1.8C and 4C (3.2-7.2F)

    •Possible temperature rise by the end of the century ranges between 1.1C and 6.4C (2-11.5F)

    •Sea levels are likely to rise by 28-43cm

    •Arctic summer sea ice is likely to disappear in second half of century

    •It is very likely that parts of the world will see an increase in the number of heatwaves

    •Climate change is likely to lead to increased intensity of tropical storms

    IPCC REPORT DEFINITIONS
    Probability of occurrence:
    virtually certain – more than 99%
    extremely likely – more than 95%
    very likely – more than 90%
    likely – more than 60%
    more likely than not – more than 50%
    unlikely – less than 33%
    very unlikely – less than 10%
    extremely unlikely – less than 5%
    (Source: IPCC)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6324029.stm

    ===========

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/supporting-material/uncertainty-guidance-note.pdf

    Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the
    IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on
    Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties

    IPCC Cross-Working Group Meeting on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties
    Jasper Ridge, CA, USA
    6-7 July 2010

    Explain the governing factors, key indicators, and
    3
    ipcc guidance note

    High agreement
    Limited evidence
    High agreement
    Robust evidence
    Low agreement
    Limited evidence
    Low agreement
    Robust evidence
    Evidence (type, amount, quality, consistency)
    Agreement
    Low agreement
    Medium evidence
    High agreement
    Medium evidence
    Medium agreement
    Medium evidence
    Medium agreement
    Limited evidence
    Medium agreement
    Robust evidence
    Confidence
    Scale
    High agreement
    Limited evidence
    High agreement
    Robust evidence
    Low agreement
    Limited evidence
    Low agreement
    Robust evidence
    Evidence (type, amount, quality, consistency)
    Agreement
    Low agreement
    Medium evidence
    High agreement
    Medium evidence
    Medium agreement
    Medium evidence
    Medium agreement
    Limited evidence
    Medium agreement
    Robust evidence
    Confidence
    Scale

    Figure 1: A depiction of evidence and agreement statements and their relationship to
    confidence. Confidence increases towards the top-right corner as suggested by the
    increasing strength of shading. Generally, evidence is most robust when there are multiple,
    consistent independent lines of high-quality evidence.
    Table 1. Likelihood Scale
    Term* Likelihood of the Outcome
    Virtually certain 99-100% probability
    Very likely 90-100% probability
    Likely 66-100% probability
    About as likely as not 33 to 66% probability
    Unlikely 0-33% probability
    Very unlikely 0-10% probability
    Exceptionally unlikely 0-1% probability

    * Additional terms that were used in limited circumstances in the AR4 (extremely likely –
    95-100% probability, more likely than not – >50-100% probability, and extremely
    unlikely – 0-5% probability) may also be used in the AR5 when appropriate.

    ========
    Hmm, I copied from Page 3 (4/7 pdf), in one hit: “Explain the governing factors, key indicators, and”, together with the following table and its note on additional terms. The extra infomation I put in italics was embedded and became visible through copying.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to post here and I wish you success in taking this to a wider audience. We could do more interest from those in the political arena..

    ..I hope he’s still reading.

    Myrrh

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