Improbable Maximum Precipitation

Guest post by Willis Eschenbach

There’s a new study out from NOAA called “Probable maximum precipitation (PMP) and climate change”, paywalled of course, which claims that global warming will lead to a 20%-30% increase in “probable maximum precipitation”. The abstract says:

Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) is the greatest accumulation of precipitation for a given duration meteorologically possible for an area. Climate change effects on PMP are analyzed, in particular, maximization of moisture and persistent upward motion, using both climate model simulations and conceptual models of relevant meteorological systems. Climate model simulations indicate a substantial future increase in mean and maximum water vapor concentrations. For the RCP8.5 scenario, the changes in maximum values for the continental United States are approximately 20–30% by 2071–2100. The magnitudes of the maximum water vapor changes follow temperature changes with an approximate Clausius-Clapeyron relationship. Model-simulated changes in maximum vertical and horizontal winds are too small to offset water vapor changes. Thus, our conclusion is that the most scientifically sound projection is that PMP values will increase in the future due to higher levels of atmospheric moisture content and consequent higher levels of moisture transport into storms.

When I heard that number, a 20%-30% increase in maximum rainfalls, my urban legend detector starting ringing like crazy.

maximum daily precipitation differenceFigure 1. The authors’ guess at how much more rain will be falling by the end of the century.

So … why did my urban legend detector go off from this claim? It has to do with energy.

The press release quotes the authors as saying:

“We have high confidence that the most extreme rainfalls will become even more intense, as it is virtually certain that the atmosphere will provide more water to fuel these events,” said Kenneth Kunkel, Ph.D., senior research professor at CICS-NC and lead author of the paper.

Now, the increase in maximum rainfall is said by the authors to be due to the increase in water vapor in the air. It’s unclear if the 30% increase in maximum rainfall will be matched by a corresponding overall increase in rainfall. However, it is highly unlikely that an increase in water vapor will only increase maximum rainfall events. The authors themselves say that their projections show “a substantial future increase in mean and maximum water vapor concentrations”. 

So to be conservative, let’s cut the 30% increase in maximum water vapor down to a 20% increase in mean water vapor, and see what that looks like.

I want to determine how much energy we’re talking about here. Suppose the rainfall were to go up (on average) by about 20% globally. Right now, the globally averaged rainfall is on the order of a metre of rain over the entire surface per year, a bit more or less depending on who is measuring. Twenty percent of that is 200 mm. So we need to evaporate an additional 200 mm over every square metre of surface to produce the stated increase in rain.

It takes 2260 joules of energy to evaporate a gram of water. For each square metre we need to evaporate 200 mm, or 200 kg of water. To evaporate that much water takes 4.52e+8 (452,000,000) joules of energy.

Now, a joule is a watt-second. We need 4.52e+8 joules of energy every year to evaporate the additional water, which is 4.52e+8 watt-seconds per year. Dividing that by the number of seconds in a year (3.16e+7) gives us the change in constant 24/7 watts needed to evaporate that much water. Remember, this is an increase in the constant watts of energy striking every square metre of the planet.

And that number, dear friends, the amount of additional energy needed to increase global evaporation and thus rainfall) by 20%, turns out to be 14.3 W/m2. That’s about the amount of energy increase from three doublings of CO2. Yes, CO2 would have to go from the current ~400 ppmv to about 3,200 ppmv to provide that much extra forcing …

So my urban legend detector is still working fine. There’s nowhere near enough energy available to power that claimed jump in rainfall.

Now, I could leave it there, since the energy necessary to make their claims possible doesn’t exist. But in order to confirm that finding, my plan of further inquiry was to see whether either the intensity of rainfall events or the mean rainfall has changed over the last century. People are always claiming that we don’t have any controls for our experiments when we study nature. But nature provides its own experiments. To start with, we have the warming since 1900. On land, according the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature data, the temperature has gone up about a degree over that time … but did the rainfall go up as well?

Figure 2. Global precipitation over the land, in mm/day. Data Source 1901-2009: CRU TS 3.10.01 (land)

OK … no increase at all in global rainfall, neither in the monthly means nor in the maximums. So no support for their claims there.

So how about local maximum rainfall events? Are those going up?

For this, we can turn to the temperature and precipitation records of England. For the Central England region, we have daily temperatures and daily precipitation records since 1931. Since 1931, the average Central England Temperature (CET) record has gone up by just under one full degree.  So we should see any thermal effect on the maximum rainfall. With that 1°C temperature rise as the backdrop, here’s the maximum central England daily rainfalls, month by month, for the last eighty years.

maximum daily rainfall by month central englandFigure 3. Maximum daily rainfall, 1931-2012, Central England. Data Source Photo Source

Here, we find the same thing. There is no evidence of any increase in maximum rainfall events, despite a 1° temperature rise.

Hmmm …

The part I really don’t like in all of this is that once again, all of their claims are built on computer models. But what I don’t find is any serious testing of their whiz-bang models against things like the global or the CET temperature and rainfall records. In fact, I don’t see any indication in any venue that any computer models are worth a bucket of warm spit when it comes to rainfall. Computer models are known to perform horribly at hindcasting rainfall, they do no better than chance.

So once again, we’re back in the land of Models All The Way Down. I gotta confess, this kind of thing is getting old. NOAA and NASA appear to be falling further and further behind reality, still churning out useless studies based on useless models.

Just one more waste of taxpayers money.

w.

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211 Responses to Improbable Maximum Precipitation

  1. A.D. Everard says:

    They can’t let go, Willis, it’s all they’ve got.

  2. Gil Russell says:

    Willis, I have a problem with the research being paywalled. I take it that the study was financed by taxpayer dollars supporting NOAA – it should be free access. Is money, in the form of paywall fees, owed the U.S. Treasury?…,

  3. Tom Harley says:

    Oh, no, it’s ….you know the rest. But weren’t we told, at least here in Oz by ‘Climate Commissioner’ Tim Flannery that we had entered the era of ‘permanent drought’? Instead we have record rains.

  4. Willis, if you were a real climate scientist you would have used a proxy (manipulated) for daily rainfall instead of using actual data.

  5. Curious George says:

    “It takes 2260 joules of energy to evaporate a gram of water.” Willis, you have fallen in a modeler’s trap – that is the number models use. It is correct only at a freezing point (0C, 32F). It changes by about 1% for every 10 degrees C.

  6. Latitude says:

    Willis, shouldn’t one of these be different?…..or did I eat too much chocolate again!

    “It’s unclear if the 30% increase in maximum rainfall will be matched by a corresponding overall increase in rainfall.”

    …who would have thought that temperatures staying the same, or slightly decreasing…….would be so dangerous

  7. John Mason says:

    Once again, conclusions by models contradicting historical evidence. Whatever happened to the idea of empiricism in science?

  8. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Gil Russell says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Willis, I have a problem with the research being paywalled. I take it that the study was financed by taxpayer dollars supporting NOAA – it should be free access. Is money, in the form of paywall fees, owed the U.S. Treasury?…,

    At least it’s getting better. The US just announced that all federally funded research must be made available one year after it is published.

    Not ideal, but better …

    Thanks,

    w.

  9. Other_Andy says:

    We are having a record draught here in New Zealand.
    Where is our 20%-30% increase in “probable maximum precipitation”?
    The UK is still waiting for milder winters, dry summers and the disappearance of snow.
    I am now convinced they make it up as they go….

  10. Richard M says:

    Good analysis, Willis. Even using conservative numbers they come out looking like idiots. And, you didn’t even mention that the temperature differential problem. If there’s a decrease in uplift the storms won’t be as intense.

  11. Curious George says:

    Correction: Models use the value of 2500 for 0 degrees C. 2260 is correct for 100 degrees C. So your numbers actually underestimate the energy needed. Apologies.

  12. Mike McMillan says:

    So each cubic centimeter of raindrops represents 2260 joules hauled up and dumped high in the atmosphere and unable to contribute to global warming down here where we live. More heat, more rain, less warming.

  13. Steve Keohane says:

    Thanks Willis. Wouldn’t all that extra evaporation transfer heat to where some would be lost causing a negative feedback or self-limiting system? I am probably influenced by your writing about the same. Your elegant-as-usual dissection is complete without further foray.

  14. Bill_W says:

    The part I really don’t like about this Willis is they use “high confidence” to describe their projection based on a computer model that is predicting a fairly extreme change over a fairly short time span.

  15. Scott Scarborough says:

    If there were enough energy in our addition of CO2 to the atmosphere to just evaporate all of the water they refer to, wouldn’t that mean that there would be no energy left over to warm the atmosphere (no global warming)?

  16. Peter says:

    Doesn’t most of the energy come back when the water vapor condenses?

  17. Alec Rawls says:

    Nice take-down Willis, and just from their results it is clear where at least part of their model failure must originate. If the speed of the rain-cycle were as sensitive to warming as they estimate the cooling effect of this speed-up would constitute a huge negative climate feedback, greatly moderating the amount of warming. Obviously they still aren’t modeling those “thermostat” effects.

  18. Ducard says:

    I am confused. Wasn’t drought and desertification the scary boogeyman of warmists until a few years ago?

  19. Bob Tisdale says:

    More climate model nonsense. Climate models say global precipitation should have increased since 1979, but precipitation decreased:

    From the following post:

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/model-data-precipitation-comparison-cmip5-ipcc-ar5-model-simulations-versus-satellite-era-observations/

    Regards

  20. Mark Bofill says:

    Steve Keohane says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks Willis. Wouldn’t all that extra evaporation transfer heat to where some would be lost causing a negative feedback or self-limiting system? I am probably influenced by your writing about the same. Your elegant-as-usual dissection is complete without further foray.
    ————–
    Yeah, that was my first thought too. No free lunches; if the energy is being burned driving more rain, it seems counter intuitive that it should also be available to drive up temperatures.

  21. philincalifornia says:

    Well if Tamino can have his own album (which looks like it has at least 100 tracks by now – see Tamino thread), maybe these guys could have their own album too.

    I’ll start with Duran Duran’s “Hold Back the Rain”

    (Hope you don’t mind a bit of levity Willis. Great post by the way).

  22. duncan says:

    I thought you mucked about with boats and stuff. What on Earth are you thinking with this stuff? Clinical and undrstandable work. Much appreciated.

  23. Good analysis Willis. I think I commented previously that rainfall appears to be a Poisson distribution (one can not have less than zero rainfall and in my area the SD is very close to the average.) Thus, if a model is using normal probabilities it is out for a start. I find that rainfall in my area is cyclical. Using a five year running average from 1890 to 2013 I find that there was exactly 100 years between the minimum rainfall at 1904 (during the much noted Australian Federation drought) and 2004 during the recently ended (in 2008) drought which all the alarmists blamed on global warming and many predicted (eg T Flannery- Climate Commissioner) that dams would not fill again and desalination plants were required (instead we have had floods and the desalination plants are rusting away not used). Looking at actual peak rainfall, the highest annual rainfalls occurred in 1893 & 1898 and were over 1000mm more than any other annual total since. Peak rainfall seems to occur in cycles of about 11 years. Many older people and farmers know about the11 year cycle. The same cycle appears to occur for bushfires. I lived in another area prone to bushfires. There were bushfires in 1980, 1991 & 2001-2. Twice we fought fires around the house to save it. Unfortunately, 11 years is enough time for people to forget

  24. JC says:

    “We are having a record draught here in New Zealand.
    Where is our 20%-30% increase in “probable maximum precipitation”?”

    And of course Niwa says that this is climate change and we have to expect that such droughts will become the norm. However there’s a trap here and its recognised by Niwa and other warmers.. how to have extended droughts plus still have all that pesky rain?.. answer, make the rain more intense!

    So eventually our monthly climate stats will show 30 brilliant fine and ever warmer days.. with a downpour of six inches of rain in the final hour before midnight on the final day of the month! Mission accomplished :)

    JC

  25. Frank Kotler says:

    “… assume a spherical raindrop…”

    Back when global warming was actually happening, it didn’t cause increased rainfall, but now that it’s not happening it could cause almost anything!
    You know how much energy it takes to evaporate all those cats and dogs? :)

  26. Nick Stokes says:

    Willis,
    “We need 4.52e+8 joules of energy every year to evaporate the additional water,”
    Why every year? I don’t get this arithmetic at all. Whatever it took to evaporate the water was released as LH on condensation. It’s not new heat.

    The total heat needed is once only, and it’s what is needed to evaporate enough water to increase the humidity. There is only about 100 kg of water vapor in total above every sq m. The heat needed is a once only amount to evaporate maybe 30 kg. Very rough figures, but it’s much less than what you say.

  27. Felix says:

    Of course, since I’m still at the add/subtract/multiply/divide level of mathematics, it would seem to me that a 200mm in increased evaporation would have some effect on sea level rise, no? With more moisture in the atmo at any given time there would be less water in the ocean.

    That South Sea Island beachfront investment property is looking better.

    Of course, these folks creating one new potential catastrophe appear to be putting paid to their compatriots’ concerns about islands disappearing.

    Keeping consistency in the message can be so complicated.

  28. Sam the First says:

    “Climate change effects on PMP are analyzed, [ ... ] using both climate model simulations and conceptual models of relevant meteorological systems. Climate model simulations indicate …. ”

    Yadda yadda yadda – How on earth do they get away with this stuff? Willis, Bob, Steve Mc, Anthony and all the others constantly demonstrate that these GIGA simulations produce false projections, yet those in on the public payroll refuse to do proper observation, physics and math.

    It’s… incomprehensible; unless there is an ‘agenda’ – no wonder we are conspiracists!

  29. dp says:

    I haven’t read the publication because I don’t like paying for things twice, but my take on this is they have not suggested the global PMP increase. PMP applies to an area. It would not take that many doublings of CO2 to ramp up the PMP of Peoria, for example. But more importantly this is all just more Chicken Little on their part. I marvel at the number of ways we can be told the sky is going to fall if the climate doesn’t stop doing what the climate has always done which is change. Had these numpties been in charge during the LIA can you imagine what the world would be like as a result of unchecked global warming? Oh wait – we don’t have to imagine.

  30. KevinM says:

    OT: for a quick laugh try

    http://www.businessinsider.com/us-city-sea-level-rise-maps-nickolay-lamm-2013-4

    All of the standard reasons to create all too real scare pics.

  31. FrankK says:

    More computer model [snip] – If you plot the cumulative deviation from the monthly mean of rainfall here in Oz there is absolutely no relationship between the slight warming and/or CO2 we have seen in the 20th Century and rainfall. There have been major fluctuations over time. It wasn’t long ago that the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) here in Oz was spouting how rainfall would be decreasing echoed by our illustrious alarmist fossil expert Tim Flannery during the naughties that our dams would not fill again. They have since overflowed.

    What a minute! – There you see a confirmation of higher rainfall.

    That’s how it works in climate astrology you can confirm any prediction.
    What utter bullocks.

  32. OssQss says:

    You know it is truly amazing how dependent we have come to be with respect to computing power and products related to such. Heck, your refrigerator doesn’t work without it.

    Think about it, or should I say think less for yourself if you will. The scientific process has changed so much that there are very few individuals who can actually understand and troubleshoot things that produce erroneous or flawed performance/results now days. Climate models being just one of them.

    When we place so much in the hands of failed, flawed, or fraudulent code, we are at high risk of wrongdoing and or that which precipitates from such. We currently set policy based upon models that the old game “Gnip Gnop” could emulate to the same level of accuracy, or perhaps better from a binary standpoint.

    Technology is great, but at the same time, it has a price. You think I am wrong? Try doing some of your old hard math problems from that textbook you hated. Then do one of those hated problems without a calculator.

    Pumping out garbage papers, as exemplified here in this post (nice job Willis), based upon growing and willing technological handicaps/crutches is not only a waste of money, it eats away at the heart of science itself.

    Ya know, it used to be an obsession for some. Now it is their income stream.

    Considering how dependent we are on technology and energy to live what is considered a normal “taken for granted” life, and to think we could be just one “Carrington Event” from the middle ages, is kinda scary, no?

    A musical tribute to those who just can’t live without computers >>>

    For reference purposes only :-)

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

  33. Beyond Willis’ assessment, which is on target, where is the increased water vapor? It’s certainly not in my Texas measurements, where total column water vapor (PW) has declined -1.1 mm/decade since February 1990. Nor is there any obvious up or down global trend in PW in the latest NVAP-M study (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/another-ipcc-ar5-reviewer-speaks-out-no-trend-in-global-water-vapor/). The missing increase in water vapor predicted by models is as intriguing as the missing temperature increase predicted by models, particularly since both have occurred during a significant increase in the concentration of global carbon dioxide.

  34. Bob Tisdale has shown there is no correlation between global average temperatures and global precipitation. This is damming for the climate models, and for their CO2 sensitivity.

    Further, if Bob is correct and precipitation decreased during the period surface temperatures, this indicates a common cause, decreased clouds.

    Further evidence the surface warming is caused by factors other greenhouse gases, assuming the surface warming is real and not an artifact of urbanization, etc.

  35. Daveo says:

    The earth already receives over 200 W/m2. Using you calculations, it only takes 71.5 W/m2 to evaporate the 1 meter of current rain fall.
    If it was only about W/m2, we should be getting over 3 meters of rainfall.
    Something is missing. What about the moisture holding capacity of warmer air. Where’s your calculations on that?

    And if there is no increase in rain fall, how does that fit with your thunderstorm hypothesis? SST’s have risen over this time, so we should have seen an increase in rainfall according to your hypothesis.

  36. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Willis, You are way beyond me in analysis capabilities, but come on. ““We need 4.52e+8 joules of energy every year to evaporate the additional water…” Where did the “every year” come from?

    Then you say, “It takes 2260 joules of energy to evaporate a gram of water.” What? What temperature is your water starting from?

    Then you proceed with the “Here where I live…” local weather report that seems such a common refrain amongst the skeptical here. You, the rightfully proud proponent of emperical measurement, use the UK as a MODEL to extrapolate a global phenomenon. You know that doesn’t fly.

    I read this paper when it first appeared and thought, man, this is a stretch. But your argument against it seems even weaker.

    You’re way smarter than me, but I think you’ve might want to address Nick Stokes point. And maybe point to where I’ve gone astray.

    Respectfully, JP

  37. Mike McMillan says:

    Peter says: April 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm
    Doesn’t most of the energy come back when the water vapor condenses?

    No. We add heat energy to evaporate the water, then as it rises with a parcel of air, it continuously gives up that energy doing the work of expanding, and converting the rest to potential energy of altitude. When it has given up enough energy to drop the temperature down to the dew point, it condenses out, giving up another chunk of energy to its surroundings. When it falls as a raindrop, it is now incompressible and cannot regain any temperature by recompressing. The potential energy it converts to inertial energy by falling doesn’t convert to much temperature when it hits the ground.

    Net net, it leaves most of its original energy up in the clouds, a one-way transport of heat away from the surface.

  38. Ron House says:

    Peter says: “Doesn’t most of the energy come back when the water vapor condenses?”

    The evaporation happens at ground level, the condensation in the clouds. I.e. it is a heat transfer mechanism moving heat from here to up there. I.e. it would do that much planetary cooling. I.e. however you slice it, the scare is wrong.

  39. MattN says:

    I swear to God they said years ago it was going to get drier as it got hotter….

  40. KevinM says:

    On topic… Stokes sounds right. You only need the energy once, and it can be added incrementally over time. At the margin, there is always at least one condensed droplet on the edge of becoming vapor, and at least one vapor on the edge of forming a droplet, so the energy needed to evaporate the added water might be less than your direct calculation yields.
    Still, the model is not supported by historical data.

  41. i.e. It’s colder in the rain than in the sun. And co2 has no effect on the process that I know about. Silver Iodide cloud seeding, on the other hand… Have you checked out Dr. John von Kampen’s website ? He’s put up stories of late diverging from merely debunking AGW to noting reports of weather warfare; Geoengineering. http://my.opera.com/nepmak2000/blog/2013/03/28/a-co2-apocalypse-and-what-caused-it-an-answer http://my.opera.com/nepmak2000/blog/2013/03/04/geo-engineering-do-we-see-weather-warfare-or-dont-we

  42. Ian W says:

    Peter says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm
    Doesn’t most of the energy come back when the water vapor condenses?

    And

    Mark Bofill says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    Steve Keohane says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm
    Thanks Willis. Wouldn’t all that extra evaporation transfer heat to where some would be lost causing a negative feedback or self-limiting system? I am probably influenced by your writing about the same. Your elegant-as-usual dissection is complete without further foray.
    ————–
    Yeah, that was my first thought too. No free lunches; if the energy is being burned driving more rain, it seems counter intuitive that it should also be available to drive up temperatures.

    Yes as the water vapor condenses it gives up latent heat of condensation and as it freezes another burst of latent heat of fusion. This heat release is not governed by Stefan Boltzmann as it is not a radiation based on temperature. Therefore all the curious ideas of ‘effective radiation levels’ are spurious.
    You can watch this heat being released in real time just go to

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/natl/flash-rb.html

    There you will see the outgoing infrared as seen by the GOES East Satellite. Notice how the weather systems show up.

    Mike McMillan says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    So not a net-net process as we can see energy departing from the frontal and storm systems

  43. tobias says:

    I think this article about 20-30% PMP is based on the arrival of the comet ISON :)

  44. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    The paper says rainfall (liquid water, not water vapor) will increase by 20% to 30%. If one gallon of liquid water makes 1603 gallons of water vapor (steam), then a 30% increase in rainfall (liquid water) would require a 48,000% increase in water vapor. (30% X 1603). Double check my math logic, as it’s not my strongest suit.

    Is that even possible? If so, how much cloud cover and associated albedo/cooling would that produce? Instead of turning into a hot-house like Venus, we’d turn into an ice ball like Pluto.

  45. Chuck says:

    Wouldn’t the water give up some of the heat when it condensed?

  46. geran says:

    Another good one, Willis.

    I see several here that are confused about the thermodynamics that Willis is using. I would feel like helping them, but they are so self-assured in their confusion I hesitate to step in. Something about when someone wants to make a fool of himself, why stop them?

    Also, I remember a great line Willis used in a previous post– “Physics, don’t leave home without it.”

  47. atarsinc says:

    Mike McMillan says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm
    “Net net, it leaves most of its original energy up in the clouds, a one-way transport of heat away from the surface.”

    Mike, that seems right, but you’re still dumping the heat into the lower troposphere. You know, that part of the atmosphere where weather happens. JP

  48. bobl says:

    Willis, your calculation is wrong – As well as 2260 KJ per Kg you also need to cycle the water to a height sufficient to make it cold enough to condense. Lets say this is on average 3000 m

    So mGh = 1 * 9.8 * 3000 = 29400 or 29.4 Kj per Kg and this effort is returned eventually not as heat but kinetic energy of the rainfall. If you calculate this for all rainfall it constitutes a negative feedback of -1.12 W/m2, which I doubt is built into climate sensitivity estimates

  49. richard verney says:

    Ducard says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm
    /////////////////////////////////
    In the UK, the Met Office for years were warning that with global warming, the UK would suffer more drought conditions. It was predicting less rainfall.

    I was always surprised by that prediction since one’s gut feeling is that with a warming world there will be more evaporation and hence more rainfall. The UK is a small island surrounded by seas so no matter from which direction the wind blows, the air is always moist and humid since it has come over seas. Without a change in the geography and topography of the country, the moist air will sooner or later meet the mountains be forced up, cool and release its precipitation.

    Now that the UK has these past few years experienced quite a bit of flooding, the Met Office now predict increased rainfall in the future and more floods.

    As Willis notes whilst CET data as from 1975 onwards shows a very slight increase in rainfall, the trend is not statistically significant. On a centenial basis, there has been no statistically significant change in rainfall.

    It would appear that the Met Office’s forecasts of doom have been put out to hide poor water management.

    Since the 1970, the population of the UK has grown by about 8 to10 million largely living in the South East. During this time not one single new water reservoir has been built in the South East to meet this increase in demand. Hence there have been many water shortages and hose pipe bans. To hide this poor management, the UK Met Office blamed climate change (global warming) on water shortages and the press never questioned the Met Office’s predictions/claims in the light of the CET precipitation data which shows no significant change in rainfall. Poor water management leading to water shortages was masked under the guise of its the consequence of climate change not government error/failings.

    Now these past few years the UK has had much flooding leading to substatial property damage and large insurance claims. Some home owners are finding it difficult to obtain insurance for flood risks. This flooding, is not due to increased rainfall but due to poor managment in this case river management and building regulation. Recent home building has taken place in flood plains and hence these new homes are prone to flooding. Sometimes, developers being alive to this problem have built flood defences nearby. But this has created a different problem. rivers no longer flood in their usual past flood plains 9because of the new flood defence), but instead river flow is backed up causing rivers to flood upstream in places where the river rarely use to flood.

    Since this is due to poor government management, it appears that the Met Office with a view to hiding this mismangement now sings the flooding is due to more rain caused by climate change mantra. Once again, the government is let off the hook.

  50. atarsinc says:

    geran says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    “I see several here that are confused about the thermodynamics that Willis is using…”

    I’m one of those, and I’m not “self-assured” about it. So, by all means, help out. I did some study since I asked about initial temp conditions. That may have been a stupid question. Willis was evidently making his computation based on the latent heat of evaporation, but is that the appropriate basis for an open system?

    Nick Stokes’ (and others’) question about energy “per year” is still out there. Want to take a stab at that? JP

  51. philincalifornia says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm
    “I’ll start with Duran Duran’s “Hold Back the Rain” ”

    philinthebaja says:
    NOAA must have received their data from Brook Benton et al who observed that “its raining all over the world”

  52. G. Karst says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    At least it’s getting better. The US just announced that all federally funded research must be made available one year after it is published.

    I hadn’t read that. Sounds like this announcement should rate a excellent topic for a new thread! GK

  53. richard verney says:

    Daveo says: April 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm
    ////////////////////////////////
    Dave

    This is a point that is explored in the Willis article on radiating the oceans and is being discussed in the recent article A Comparison Of The Earth’s Climate Sensitivity To Changes In The Nature Of The Initial Forcing Posted on April 5, 2013by Guest Blogger.

    At its heart is whether the energy budget for the oceans is that they are receiving: 170 W m^-2 (solar) + 320 W m^-2 (DWLWIR), and are losing 390 W m^-2 (surface radiation) and 100 W m^-2 (sensible heat/convective/evaporative losses), thereby balancing at 490 W m^-2, or whether it is the null hypothesis (the energy flux) position that the oceans receive: 170 W m^-2 (solar), and are losing 70 W m^-2 (radiation loss) and 100 W m^-2 (sensible heat/convective/evaporative losses), thereby balancing at 170 W m^-2.

    The position is more complicated because of the absorption characteristics of LWIR in water. Some 50% of this is absorbed within just 3 microns (that could, on average be, 160 W m^-2, and in the case of the tropical ocean over 250 W m^-2,).. With that order of absorption (unless the energy can be sequestered in a downward direction at a speed greater than that at which it is being absorbed) one would expect to see copious amounts of rainfall (which is not happening). This raises the issue as to whether 255K DWLWIR can perform sensible energy in the ocean environ (which is at about 288K).

  54. TimTheToolMan says:

    Nick Stokes writes “Why every year?”

    Willis did the calculation for an average of 20% increase to the average. That’s every year. If you wanted to look at individual events then they’re already much larger than the average but how does a 3.7W constant forcing save itself up over time to result in an even larger event exactly?

    I can see an argument for a potential increase in the event of say 3.7 / 200 * 100 ~= 2% increase in the large event but frankly that’s going to be hardly noticed when you’re already up to your roof in water.

  55. BarryW says:

    It sounds like this is going to be one of those “where is the heat hiding since we know the models are correct” situations. Isn’t the rainfall going to be limited by the amount of nucleation particles available anyway? As you showed, the rainfall isn’t there in the CET data but could they argue for increased humidity?
    I haven’t had a chance to read this in detail but they appear to try to relate the global changes in humidity to temperature.
    Global changes in a humidity index between 1931-60 and 1961-90

    I assume they’re making the case that increased rainfall a “bad thing”. Given that there is a constant drumbeat that we’re running out of potable water, somehow (even if they’re models were remotely right) I can’t get too excited about a lack of drought.

  56. Maximum one day rainfall in North America was Tropical Storm Claudette, Sept 1979 in Alvin, Texas with 42″ in 24 hours. It is hard to imagine that any change in a NON heat forcing trace gas is going to increase this record rainfall. Sadly, the GHE madness goes on, untreated.

  57. richard verney says:

    OssQss says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm
    /////////////////////////////////

    This is one of my bug bears.

    The grumpy old man syndrome in me has argued for years that calculators should be banned in the class room until the student is about 15. To the extent that aid is required, then the student should use log/trig tables. The use of calculators hinders the student from gaining a proper appreciation of the value of numbers, mathematical functions and their inter relationships. They lose perception as to what sort of answer they would expect to see when solving a problem. Hence a lot of garbage out, because people do not appreciate that the output is probably garbage and are thereby failing to check whether they are simply inputting garbage.

    All of this strikes at the point raised by Willis. What does your gut tell you? If someone is going to claim that there will in future be an increase in precipitation of some 20%, then the first question should be: how much power is required to generate this?, and the second, where is this power going to come from and how is it derived?

  58. Walter Dnes says:

    A disclaimer first; I do not speak on behalf of my former employer (Environment Canada). I was in the real-world-climate-data-use end of things, not in the research/theory side.

    Before panicing, let’s ask how relevant this claim is to the real world? First of all, what is PMP? According to the WMO manual at…

    http://library.wmo.int/pmb_ged/wmo_332.pdf

    top paragraph on page 23 of the document…

    > Probable maximum precipitation (PMP) is defined
    > as the greatest depth of precipitation for a
    > given duration meteorologically possible for a
    > given size storm area at a particular location
    > at a particular time of year, *WITH NO ALLOWANCE
    > MADE FOR LONG TERM CLIMATIC TRENDS.*
    (emphasis mine)

    Basically, it’s a worst-case theoretical scenario, that could possibly ever happen, assuming a fully saturated atmosphere at the location. This goes well beyond a real life “perfect-storm”, and into model territory. Surprised? Water vapour pressure, and
    therefore the atmosphere’s ability to hold water, goes up *EXPONENTIALLY* with temperature. See

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

    So it’s not surprising that the output of the PMP equation shoots way up with a minor rise in temperature.

    While the PMP equation output looks impressive, it’s not used that much. In real-life the 10 to 100 year return period of an event is used in designing stuff. E.g…

    5 minute to 1 hour precipitation events are of extreme interest to engineers designing sewers, to be able to handle storm runoff.

    1 to 30 day events are of interest to conservation districts, flood-control agencies, hydro authorities, mines with tailings ponds etc.

    To summarize… if the study shows a 20 or 30 percent magnitude increase in the values of 10-to-100-year return-period events, and assuming the models are accurate, then there would be reason for alarm. If not, then any media hype of this article would be at best irrelavant, and at worst, misleading.

  59. geran says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    “…I did some study since I asked about initial temp conditions….”

    Most people would do the study before spouting off. That is why I question your sincerity. I suspect that you have no interest in learning, only in trying to push your agenda.

    Nevertheless, I will try to answer your confusion about “every year”. The heat is transferred to the upper atmosphere where it eventually ends up getting radiated into space. The heat then must be made up for by “new” heat captured from the Sun. Willis is making the rather simple point that more rain requires more energy. Some on this thread are so obsessed with promoting CAGW that they refuse to seek truth. Neither the science nor the temp history supports AGW.

    (That’s it for tonight.)

  60. Ill Tempered Klavier says:

    Dear Mr. Parsons,

    I think I’ll try and answer your criticisms.

    My last physics class was over forty years ago and I spent my working life as a musician, operating engineer, and a couple of other things best not mentioned so I’m no expert. Even so most of the answers seem obvious to me.

    Since 4.52e+8 joules is the additional energy needed to evaporate the amount of water required to yield a 20% increase in precipitation for one year, each year that continues needs that amount of additional energy from somewhere.

    To be conservative, Willis used the evaporation energy for 100 deg. C. i. e. boiling point water. Cooler takes more, see the rubber handbook.

    I hope this part is just sloppy reading of the post, not an attempted cheap shot. Willis first referred to global figures for both precipitation and temperature. Then after that, he used Central England as a check. He did not refer to his location at all.

    An analysis of Nick Stokes’ point with any rigor would take much more time and calculating than I feel up to at the moment so I’ll content myself with quick and dirty and save the hard figures for later. The energy of evaporation would come through the atmosphere as (mostly) visible light, strike the water, and be converted to heat, evaporating the water. Convection currents carry the water vapor to a high altitude where it condenses. The latent heat from condensation is released as infra red radiation. The altitudes where this happens are above the lion’s share of atmospheric CO2. Therefore, the majority would be radiated to space and little would penetrate back to the surface and be available to re-evaporate water.

    That last is basically the “Tropical Thunderstorm Thermostat” effect Willis described a few months ago. The full story should be quite a bit more complicated than that. I’ll get to work on it and report the results unless someone with a sharper pencil than I have beats me to it.

    Best wishes,

    Kat

    My home is Martha Stewart free. My computer is Microsoft free.

  61. atarsinc says:

    richard verney says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Richard, intelligent post as usual. “… where is this power going to come from and how is it derived?” That’s the point. If you accept the AGW hypothesis, the power (I think you meant energy) comes from rerediated LWIR. JP

  62. Martin Clark says:

    Maybe they misread a cry for help from Flim Flannery. Guys, It was drought he was spruiking, not rainfall.
    Or maybe it’s a new one, not yet tried? After the hockey sticks and all the other alarms that aren’t, you would think they would be more careful. “High confidence”? “We are delighted with our new computer game.”

  63. David L. Hagen says:

    Good catch Willlis
    Another reality check would be to examine whether the statistics realistically follow Hurst Kolmogorov dynamics, or if they are modeled as white noise or Markovian processes. e.g. see:
    HURST-KOLMOGOROV DYNAMICS AND UNCERTAINTY Demetris Koutsoyiannis JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION
    Vol. 47, No. 3 June 2011 481-495

    PS Note improvements over the Clausius-Clapeyron equation for accurate modeling. At ~50C, Koutsoyiannis reduces the difference from IAPWS data from 6.8% down to 0.07%.
    Koutsoyiannis, D., Clausius-Clapeyron equation and saturation vapour pressure: simple theory reconciled with practice, European Journal of Physics, 33 (2), 295–305, 2012.

    While the Clausius-Clapeyron equation is very important as it determines the saturation vapour pressure, in practice it is replaced by empirical, typically Magnus type, equations which are more accurate. It is shown that the reduced accuracy reflects an inconsistent assumption that the latent heat of vaporization is constant. Not only is this assumption unnecessary and excessive, but it is also contradictory to entropy maximization. Removing this assumption and using a pure entropy maximization framework we obtain a simple closed solution, which is both theoretically consistent and accurate. Our discussion and derivation are relevant to students and specialists in statistical thermophysics and in geophysical sciences, and our results are ready for practical application in physics as well as in such disciplines as hydrology, meteorology and climatology.

  64. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Willis,
    “We need 4.52e+8 joules of energy every year to evaporate the additional water,”
    Why every year? I don’t get this arithmetic at all. Whatever it took to evaporate the water was released as LH on condensation. It’s not new heat.

    We need it every year because we are evaporating that much additional water per year, and by and large the energy needed to do that is not being recycled. In fact, quite the opposite—what moves back down to the surface is not energy but cold wind and rain.

    The total heat needed is once only, and it’s what is needed to evaporate enough water to increase the humidity. There is only about 100 kg of water vapor in total above every sq m. The heat needed is a once only amount to evaporate maybe 30 kg. Very rough figures, but it’s much less than what you say.

    No, we need the heat each and every year, to evaporate the additional 200 mm of water. But wait … it’s worse than that.

    The assumption is being made that this is all driven by some mythical increase in temperature, that is in turn driven by an increase in downwelling radiation.

    So not all of the increase in downwelling radiation can be going to evaporation. Some must be going to do the actual heating. That means it will take an increase of more than the 14 W/m2 calculated above, in order to provide 14 W/m2 to do the evaporation AND provide energy for the heating.

    As to the energy being released as latent heat on condensation and used to re-evaporate, that sounds good in theory. But at that point where it condenses it is inside the thunderstorm. From there, the sensible heat released by condensation drives the vertical movement inside the cumulonimbus tower, and thus is converted into mechanical motion. A large percentage of this happens near the equator at the ITCZ, and that sensible heat released by condensation is what powers the entire global circulation of the Hadley cells.

    And as a result, that energy is generally lost to the surface and not available to evaporate further water. It has done its work and left town, we need new energy to evaporate more water. That sensible heat from condensation has gone aloft and been turned into mechanical energy.

    Many thanks,

    w.

  65. Werner Brozek says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm
    Nick Stokes’ (and others’) question about energy “per year” is still out there. Want to take a stab at that? JP

    As a physics teacher, I agree with Nick Stokes on the point that IF the energy is provided once, it need not be provided again. Let me illustrate with an example. Now I know we cannot ignore friction, however let us for the moment assume we have a roller coaster with no friction. And let us assume that 10 people are raised to a height of 20 m and then they can go round and round for years, going down 20 m and then up 20 m again. However if we somehow give them the energy to go up 40 m, then they can go up and down 40 m for years without any new input of energy again assuming no friction. The problem is where this energy would come from in our weather system in the first place. For example, could a few hydrogen bombs evaporate enough water to give the climate this boost if that is desired?

  66. jorgekafkazar says:

    Nick Stokes says: “I don’t get this arithmetic at all.”

    We’ve known that for a long time.

  67. pete50 says:

    Damn! Dere’s more smoke cummin’ out da (CAGW) machine.

  68. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Forrest M. Mims III says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Beyond Willis’ assessment, which is on target, where is the increased water vapor? It’s certainly not in my Texas measurements, where total column water vapor (PW) has declined -1.1 mm/decade since February 1990. Nor is there any obvious up or down global trend in PW in the latest NVAP-M study (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/another-ipcc-ar5-reviewer-speaks-out-no-trend-in-global-water-vapor/). The missing increase in water vapor predicted by models is as intriguing as the missing temperature increase predicted by models, particularly since both have occurred during a significant increase in the concentration of global carbon dioxide.

    You old-fashioned scientists always want to mess things up with actual measurements … that’s a clear career-stopper in 2013.

    Indeed, however, the relative stability of the climate system is a recurring surprise to me. It doesn’t react the way anyone expects it to.

    I see it as that occurring because the earth’s climate is running flat out all of the time, and so it will take a whole lot to disturb that a little. It’s going as fast as it can given the circumstances, it’s running as always just past the onset of turbulence.

    w.

  69. philincalifornia says:

    bobl says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm
    Willis, your calculation is wrong – As well as 2260 KJ per Kg you also need to cycle the water to a height sufficient to make it cold enough to condense. Lets say this is on average 3000 m

    So mGh = 1 * 9.8 * 3000 = 29400 or 29.4 Kj per Kg and this effort is returned eventually not as heat but kinetic energy of the rainfall. If you calculate this for all rainfall it constitutes a negative feedback of -1.12 W/m2, which I doubt is built into climate sensitivity estimates
    ————————————————

    I’m curious about this interesting comment bobl. What happens to the kinetic energy when the raindrop either splatters on the ground, or enters water (a puddle, a river a lake or the ocean)? It must translate into heat, surely ?

  70. Nick Stokes says:

    Willis Eschenbach says: April 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm
    “It has done its work and left town,”

    Where did it go? And how? You can’t just go on turning it into kinetic energy. Things can’t move that fast. And it can’t accumulate indefinitely at altitude. There’s a conservation issue there.

    The only way it can leave the planet is as OLR. But that requires a warmer atmosphere.

  71. Chuck Nolan says:

    Forrest M. Mims III says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm
    Beyond Willis’ assessment, which is on target, where is the increased water vapor? It’s certainly not in my Texas measurements, where total column water vapor (PW) has declined -1.1 mm/decade since February 1990. Nor is there any obvious up or down global trend in PW in the latest NVAP-M study (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/another-ipcc-ar5-reviewer-speaks-out-no-trend-in-global-water-vapor/). The missing increase in water vapor ………………
    —————————————————–
    The missing water vapor has just gone in hiding with the missing heat.
    Oh noes!
    Now what will we do?
    cn

  72. Willis Eschenbach says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Willis, You are way beyond me in analysis capabilities, but come on. ““We need 4.52e+8 joules of energy every year to evaporate the additional water…” Where did the “every year” come from?

    Because the annual rainfall is supposed to increase, so we need extra energy every year to evaporate the extra water.

    Then you say, “It takes 2260 joules of energy to evaporate a gram of water.” What? What temperature is your water starting from?

    That’s the value if you start at 100°C, boiling temperature. At 0°C it’s higher, about 2,500 joules per gram. So at ambient temperatures the latent heat of vaporization is slightly larger than the value I used, but that only reinforces the conclusions.

    Then you proceed with the “Here where I live…” local weather report that seems such a common refrain amongst the skeptical here. You, the rightfully proud proponent of emperical measurement, use the UK as a MODEL to extrapolate a global phenomenon. You know that doesn’t fly.

    Oh, please. Do note that on the map in Figure 1, it shows these increases will happen everywhere. I’d already investigated the global question in Figure 2 and the associated discussion, showing no increase in either mean or maximum rainfall despite global warming. So I went on to investigate the local question, picking England because the records are good, and again saw no increase in local rainfall despite about a degree in local warming.

    So what on earth is wrong with investigating the question at both the local and the global levels?

    Next, I’d be damn careful about claiming that I am consciously doing something that “I know doesn’t fly.” I don’t do that, JP, and I don’t appreciate the accusation. If I know it doesn’t fly I don’t put it out there. I think that investigating this question on both the global and local levels is perfectly appropriate. I find your high-handed assumption, that you can see into my head and tell whether I think something will fly, to be ridiculous. It turns from ridiculous to insulting, however, when you assume that a) you are right in your ridiculous claims of mindreading and that b) as a result you assume I am acting in bad faith, knowing something won’t fly but putting it out there anyway.

    Like I said … I don’t do that, for ethical reasons. But heck, I wouldn’t do it for purely practical reasons. I can’t afford to put anything out there that won’t fly, the Argus-eyed Intarwebs see right through that kind of nonsense.

    I read this paper when it first appeared and thought, man, this is a stretch. But your argument against it seems even weaker.

    You’re way smarter than me, but I think you’ve might want to address Nick Stokes point. And maybe point to where I’ve gone astray.

    Respectfully, JP

    Can’t say I found you all that respectful, my friend, and I fear you haven’t understood my logic. I’ve addressed Nick’s point above. Let me know if you still have questions, but please leave the speculation about motives at home.

    w.

  73. Leonard Lane says:

    PMP itself is a funny concept. We can say that at a point we can predict the probable maximum precipitation? Probable itself connotes probabilities and thus if the PMP at a site is x mm of precipitation then what is the probability of x +/- delta x? Doesn’t make sense to me. And to say that an artificial construct is going to increase my 20-30% decades out even makes less sense to me.

  74. TomRude says:

    But measurements show no increase of water vapour in the atmosphere… Oh and the little increase in mid latitude is explained by renewed advections of moist tropical air in response to colder polar air masses descending further south.
    Looks like another case of statistical mishap? Perhaps these author should watch Briggs presentation at http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/4/6/briggs-on-statistics.html

  75. Jim D says:

    So, even though a 3-degree C warmer atmosphere can hold 20% more water, Willis suggests this can’t fall out as 20% more rain. If the thunderstorms of the future aren’t as high, maybe, but I don’t see that in the reasoning. Instead it is suggested that evaporation won’t be able to keep up when the surface and atmosphere are warmer. This doesn’t make sense because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor and so makes evaporation easier. The energy is provided by the sun which has plenty to spare in its several hundred W/m2. The idea that GHGs are providing the energy for evaporation is wrong, so that comparison is bogus. They provide the energy for the surface warming and the evaporation increases as a response to changing surface temperatures.

  76. Alexander K says:

    Elegant and entertaining as usual, Willis.
    My years spent working with ‘old blokes who had observed much and said little’ on farms made me aware of cycles in weather and someone uphill mentioned 11 years for a precipitation cycle, which sounds about right to me. But what would I know, I’m not a climate pscientist!

  77. Mike McMillan says:

    atarsinc says: April 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm
    Mike McMillan says:April 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm. …
    Mike, that seems right, but you’re still dumping the heat into the lower troposphere. You know, that part of the atmosphere where weather happens. JP

    We’re dumping heat into the upper troposphere, too. Thunderstorms can get up ten miles on occasion.

    Aside from a few Sherpas, Peruvians, and Yetis, we live at the bottom of the troposphere. What’s important is getting the heat off the surface where we are. Whatever is going on in the rest of the troposphere doesn’t mean much to us unless it affects the surface (air travel excepted).

    We care a lot more about the PDO, AMO, and ENSO than we would otherwise because they screw up the weather. We care about the UAH and RSS satellite LT not because it affects us, but because it keeps a reality check on GISS and East Anglia’s fiddling with the surface temperature records, which give EPA and governments yet another excuse to control our lives. /mindless rant

  78. Mike McMillan says:

    Ian W says: April 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm
    … You can watch this heat being released in real time just go to

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/natl/flash-rb.html

    There you will see the outgoing infrared as seen by the GOES East Satellite. Notice how the weather systems show up.
    [to] Mike McMillan …
    So not a net-net process as we can see energy departing from the frontal and storm systems

    Spiffy video.

    However, it doesn’t show amount of energy departing.

    If you tick the ‘IR Temp’ box at the top, it turns on the temperature scale above the rainbow legend at the bottom. Quite the opposite of what you’d expect. Red is very cold, blue is warm.

    Clouds are pretty opaque to IR, so the loop is looking at cloud top temperatures, the higher the colder. Intense storms are very high, thus very cold tops, so the color is a measure of what’s going on down below, not outward radiation.

  79. Martin Lewitt says:

    Willis, All of the energy needed to raise that much humidity would not have to come from the CO2 forcing, some would come from the water vapor itself, since it is a positive feedback. It is a shame that the models under represent the rest (negative feedback part) of the water cycle. Wentz in Science (2007) found that precipitation increased in proportion to the humidity in the observations, while NONE of the models represented more than half of this.

    However, the authors were shameless in representing the scientific soundness of their projection as if it were conservative when the scenario they use is well acknowledged to be aggressive. For example:

    “The RCP8.5 emissions scenario projects greenhouse gas emissions with a continuous rise in radiative forcing to about 8.5 Watts per square meter in 2100 (19) and therefore represents an aggressive warming scenario.”

    From the supplementary material of:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/03/28/1216006110

  80. CodeTech says:

    I’m always amused watching people try to wrap their heads around the most simple concepts.

    Temperature and water vapor concentrations are intimately connected. If one changes, the other compensates. It’s simple. Convection explains all thermostatic function for atmospheric temperature.

    Example: temperature increases, more water evaporates. Water vapor forms clouds that reduce input to the system, and rises to whatever altitude required to radiate energy, then returns… whether it’s slow or fast (storm). Temperature decreases.

    Example: temperature decreases, less water evaporates, fewer clouds blocking solar input, less energy radiated out to space from airborne water vapor. Temperature increases.

    Missing the OBVIOUS steps in between might lead a researcher to conclude that water vapor could increase if temperature increases, but apparently they need to consider what happens to that water vapor once it is in the atmosphere. They missed that. It doesn’t just sit there and rain more. It goes away, quickly, and takes energy with it.

    At MOST, even a significant change in CO2 levels will make transient temperature changes while the system auto-adapts. Again, the concept of long-term climate change from altering a trace gas is ludicrous. One day everyone will laugh at ever thinking it was even possible, let alone happening.

  81. Stephen Richards says:

    200 mm, or 200 kg of water

    Willis, need a volume to convert to weight.

  82. Mike McMillan says:

    Code Tech is right.
    Willis’ thermostat idea is fairly simple. The sun comes up over the ocean, sunlight hits the water, slows down, and gets absorbed, raising the temperature. Evaporation increases, convection lifts bubbles of humid air up to the condensation level where they form puffy clouds and lose their oomph. Heating continues throughout the morning, more and more clouds form. Eventually, the rising bubbles start drawing moist air in from the sides, and with a steady supply of moist air, we tip over into thunderstorm mode, hauling tremendous amounts of heat and water from the surface to altitude..

    With extra insolation or a generally warming climate, the thunderstorm heat engine just starts up sooner in the day and runs longer. Simple.

    As a side note, a cloud need only rise above 18,000 feet, and half of the earth’s greenhouse gasses that would slow spaceward long wave radiation are beneath it.

  83. Thanks Willis for the post and David for mentioning my work.

    The very notion of probable maximum precipitation (PMP) is not scientific and signifies a failure of the meteorological and hydrological communities. Generally I avoid using that categorical language, but I am fully convinced that it’s a tragic failure; it is a shame that it is still in use. I explain the reasons in http://itia.ntua.gr/758/ . In brief, the idea of an upper bound in precipitation and flood serves political aims, not scientific ones. It is appreciated by decision makers who want to fool people saying that a certain construction, if designed by PMP, entails no risk. Risk cannot be eliminated, it can only be reduced at an acceptable level, and of course decrease of risk is associated with increase of cost. Evidently, the new “climate-change” setting of the PMP idea serves additional political aims.

    In http://itia.ntua.gr/23/ I have shown that a PMP value, when estimated using the statistical method by Hershfield, has a probability to be exceeded at any year equal to 1/60000. Hershfield’s method relies on rainfall data only and if modified by assigning a probability of exceedence becomes a statistically consistent method. The other method, which as I understand was used in this study (and, in addition to rainfall, uses atmospheric moisture data, the Clausius-Clapeyron equation etc.) still is a statistical method. But it is a very bad statistical method and I doubt if it can be remedied in any way (see http://itia.ntua.gr/701/).

  84. Mike McMillan says:

    Stephen Richards says: April 7, 2013 at 1:36 am
    200 mm, or 200 kg of water
    Willis, need a volume to convert to weight.

    1 cubic centimeter of water = 1 gram by definition
    1 liter, 1000 cc = 1 kg
    1 cubic meter = 1 metric tonne, 1,000,000 cc

  85. JD. says:

    In answer to an earlier comment, I believe there is an agenda.
    Google agenda 21 for dummies.

    Global Warming can be seen as a pretext for profligate govts to grab extra taxes “to save the planet”, & for banksters to make millions on carbon cap & trade etc, but it can also be seen as establishing a global problem to ease forward in the public mind the need for a global govt.

    This is the UN Agenda 21.

    Unfortunately Agenda 21 also calls for the “removal” of 6 of every 7 persons on the planet.

    This is what I believe is the driver for the present Middle East wars & African conflicts.

    When I see American putting the produce of millions of acres of its land into its gas tanks, while food riots, not a desire for democracy, causes “The Arab Spring”, then I know the Main Stream Media are bought & paid for, & something is far far wrong.

    I was discussing this problem with a young lady recently, & she said to me “good, there’re too many people on the planet”

    Word is obviously not getting through to folk that there is no need for a chicken little panic: that world population growth is slowing & is expected to peak & decline as prosperity grows; that we have reached peak land & do not need to put further acres under the plow; that CO2 is plant food & is greening the deserts; that CO2 is a coolant, (if I have that correct).

    I reckon this site could provide a right service if it could link articles from Matt Ridley, Allan Savory, Willis & whoever else under a heading such as Bright Future or something like that, but I must admit I have no idea how big an ask this is.

    Thank you Anthony, mods & commenters for a most enjoyable & informative site.
    Please keep up the great work.
    You may publish all or nothing or whatever bits you choose.

    Regards,
    JD.

  86. MikeB says:

    I must agree with Nick Stokes, WernerBrozek and others here. The energy input to produce the initial 20% increase in water vapour would only be required once, not every year.
    Energy used to supply the latent heat of evaporation is not lost. It is returned when the water vapour condenses. It is returned to the atmosphere at that point which in turn radiates back to earth.
    This energy could only be lost to the Earth system by radiation to space. The amount radiated to space is not going to change. The amount radiated to space will always be such as to balance the incoming solar energy (in the long term).

    As to the energy being released as latent heat on condensation and used to re-evaporate, that sounds good in theory. But at that point where it condenses it is inside the thunderstorm. From there, the sensible heat released by condensation drives the vertical movement inside the cumulonimbus tower, and thus is converted into mechanical motion

    Come on. Whether it condenses inside a thunderstorm or not makes no difference. Energy cannot be created or destroyed by doing mechanical work. This is the first law of thermodynamics.
    So the energy is only needed once.
    Nice lack of correlation between temperature and rainfall in the CET though.

  87. TimTheToolMan says:

    Nick writes “The only way it can leave the planet is as OLR. But that requires a warmer atmosphere.”

    Arguments of additional energy stored in the oceans for example dont translate to additional energy being lost in events. CO2 doesn’t buy more variability at a fundamental “cant argue with the physics” level. We can only watch and see what effect it has in the atmosphere and so far predictions are wrong (ie atmospheric hotspot).

  88. A C Osborn says:

    MikeB says: April 7, 2013 at 3:17 am “It is returned to the atmosphere at that point which in turn radiates back to earth.”

    Very sad, you believe “Back Radiation” can return 100% of the heat released to the atmosphere back to the earth. That is a new one even for those that believe in BR in the first place.

  89. A C Osborn says:

    What I find really sad is that this passes for Science, it is bringing science and scientists in to disrepute and to think it comes from the NOAA.

  90. CodeTech says:

    Seriously, MikeB, you have just demonstrated a profound lacking of logic.

    The energy IS lost by radiation to space. Are you saying the atmosphere is a closed system? Really???

  91. richard verney says:

    MikeB says:
    April 7, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I must agree with Nick Stokes, WernerBrozek and others here. The energy input to produce the initial 20% increase in water vapour would only be required once, not every year.
    Energy used to supply the latent heat of evaporation is not lost. It is returned when the water vapour condenses. It is returned to the atmosphere at that point which in turn radiates back to earth.
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Whilst I need to think more about it, I do consider that there is merit in what Nick Stokes moots, in that the energy gained will be locked into the system and not lost from the system (unless radiated away into space to the extent that the system is not a fully closed system).

    However, whilst that suggests that all or at any rate the bulk of the energy is only required once, it begs the question to what part of the system is the energy returned and when so returned, is that energy in a position to perform the required work in our to once again evaporate water.

    You suggest that the energy is returned to the atmosphere, but this is where I have some difficulties and upon what I need to think more. I am not convinced that 100% of the energy is returned to the atmosphere. Second, it may be returned at height in the atmosphere where it is less useful. Of course, all of this may equalize over the course of time so that one simply reaches a new equilibrium point at which the one off energy is locked in the system and the system has a different rainfall profile as a consequence of the different energy equilibrium point.

    But is not Willis’ point that presently, DWLWIR is about 320 W m^-2 which contributes towards the overall energy budget and with that budget, we presently have about 1m of rain, and to get 20% more rain (ie., 1.2metres) one would need a revised energy budget at which DWLWIR is about 334 W m^-2 (which of course, would give a different temperature equilibrium) and an energy budget equalising around that figure. The increase in DWLWIR would gradually grow as GHGs were increased.

    My take on Willis’ article is that to achieve that new equalibrium point one would need much more than a doubling of CO2.

    However, I consider this to be an overall simplification for a point which I believe that Nick raised earlier, namely that any momemt in time, there are many molecules of water vapour on the cusp of condensating and only a little extra energy is required to tilt these over the balance from ome state to another.

    Is one of the problems in all of this the assumption that “It takes 2260 joules of energy to evaporate a gram of water.”(which needs slight correction for temperature)? This is of course, the position at sea level, but not at altitude. If the increased precipitation is to come from water vapour at altitude then less energy is required.

  92. Bill Illis says:

    I have a number of comments to make, and I think the water vapor issue is the most important one in the climate debate (given half the expected warming comes from increased water vapor) so bear with me.

    The Classius Clapyeron relation says that water vapor increases by 7.0% per 1.0C increase in temperatures. So, by 2100, when temperatures are up 3.25C, water vapor is supposed to be 22% higher than average.

    Indeed, all the climate models have this type of increase built in. I downloaded the multi-model mean for AR5 from the IPCC data center awhile ago. It has now been reorganized and I can’t find it anymore (registration was required).

    This is the RCP 6.0 scenario water vapor numbers which do rise 22% by 2100 versus the actuals to date. [Note the NOAA study is the RCP 8.5 scenario which means GHG forcing will get to +8.5 W/m2 by 2100 (and 12.5 W/m2 by 2250) which is a very high estimate - CO2 doubling is only +3.7 W/m2 so 8.5 W/m2 is an over-the-top scenario and I don't know why it is used so much. RCP 6.0 is much closer to the track we are now].

    The IPCC AR5 water vapor forecasts are already far off.

    Last month, water vapor was about 2.0% higher than the long-term mean (versus the climate models which have it at 6.0% higher). Last month was close to ENSO-neutral which is important since the ENSO affects global and tropical water vapor numbers by a huge amount. It is the main driver.

    Water vapopr cycles through the atmosphere each 9 days. There is 40 times more rainfall (1000 mms/year), than a typical area has in it atmosphere (24.5 mms or 1 inch).

    The climate models have a slightly lower precipitation increase (about 4.0% per 1.0C), versus the water vapor increase (7.0% per 1.0C). To get more water vapor in the air given it cycles through so fast, thee must be less precipitation than there is evaporation. (I’m not sure where this really comes from, but that is the assumption).

    Precipitation forecast from the AR5 multi-model mean for the RCP 8.5 scenario (from the Climate Explorer). An increase of 14% by 2100 (just be nitpicky here, the values in this multi-model run are about 40% too high, but who knows what data source they were forced to use).

    I would like to see more analysis of whether this is physically possible.

    Regarding the 4.52e+8 joules of extra energy per year required to evaporate that much more water, it is actually a lot less than the GHG forcing is which is about 9.08e+13 joules/year right now. [2.86 W/m2*3.18e+13 joules/W/m2/year].

  93. richard verney says:

    Willis

    Interesting article.

    Just a quick question. You appear to me to be assuming that all this extra rainfall is going to come from the oceans (average temperature say 15degC – although the bulk will no doubt come from the tropical or sub-tropical oceans which are somewhat warmer).

    However, is it not the position that we already have a lot of water vapour in the atmosphere, far more than that which precipitates? This [surplus] water vapour has already been the beneficiary of such energy that was required to break the bonds in the liquid state and to change it from liquid to vapour.

    Is it not likely that a large percentage of the additional rainfall will come from water vapour already in the atmosphere (possibly already reasonably high up in the atmosphere) such that less energy is required than you are proposing?

    To put it a different way, you state that “It takes 2260 joules of energy to evaporate a gram of water” (depending upon the temperature of the water). But should you be considering how much energy is required to evaporate water not in its liquid form but in its vapour form.

    Your comments would be appreciated.

  94. Mark Bofill says:

    Okay, I think it’s clear that the evaporation and condensation involved in rain moves heat upward about a half mile. I guess the question I’ve got is, what then? I have this (possibly naive) intuitive notion that the higher up the heat accumulates, the more it will radiate into space as OLR. I freely admit that this is nothing but an intuitive notion. Anyone care to either help me put this idea on more solid footing or smash it if it’s incorrect?
    My idea runs along these lines. Layers in the atmosphere, absorbing and reemitting. Some of the energy gets emitted upwards, some downwards, random distribution. It seems to me that the higher up the layer is that we’re looking at, the better the chances for any given amount of energy to make it out to space as OLR. ~shrug~
    Tear this down for me gents. :)

  95. Bill Illis says:

    Sorry, I screwed that calculation up at the end. I was using km2 in a calculation.

    Should read.

    Regarding the 4.52e+8 joules of extra energy per year required to evaporate that much more water, it is actually a lot MORE than the GHG forcing is which is about 9.08e+7 joules/year right now. [2.86 W/m2*3.18e+7 joules/W/m2/year].

    In fact it will be twice as much extra energy than is provided by GHGs in 2100 under the RCP 8.5 scenario which is.

    8.5 W/m2 * 3.18e+7 joules/W/m2/year = 2.70e+8 joules/year

    Interesting. They haven’t gone through the right energy models or the Classius Clapyeron has been inappropriately used.

  96. TimTheToolMan says:

    MikeB writes “Energy used to supply the latent heat of evaporation is not lost. It is returned when the water vapour condenses. It is returned to the atmosphere at that point which in turn radiates back to earth.”

    That latent heat is transported a couple of kms up into the atmosphere where half of it radiates further up and away from the surface and the other half radiates towards the earth but is recaptured into the atmosphere well before it gets there. Well before it gets involved in further evaporation for example.

    You dont get anything for free, if the energy is being transported high into the atmosphere (where half continues away) then its not available for heating at the surface.

  97. Rud Istvan says:

    Same lack of change in precipitation can be seen for CONUS at NOAA NCDC.
    And, at least some of the latent heat released by condensation of precipitation will be cloud top, so radiate away as OLR, requiring additional new input heat the next year. On balance, Willis back of the envelope calculation of the additional heat is more right than wrong. Plus, it is plain illogical to think the extra evaporation gets somehow stored up for a very few extraordinary precipitation events. That is not how weather works.
    The paper is just more unscientific unsound conclusions, opposite to what the abstract says.

  98. sparky says:

    richard verney
    A falling raindrop has kinetic energy , when it hits a surface it makes a noise. All this requires energy which will be lost from your cycle, plus any water vapour from the atmosphere that falls in precipitation will have to ultimately be replaced by the transport of water from the surface. increase the rainfall rate and you have to increase the energy input rate .

  99. Barry Cullen says:

    I think I see what has been done by these hucksters. Using a psychrometric chart for 1000 M (est. cloud level), 5.3 C (adiabatic lapse rate from 14.5 C), and 100% humidity one gets 0.0062 kg H2O/kg air. In order to increase the carrying capacity of air by 30% one has to increase it’s temp by nearly 4 C to 9.1 C. Actually, it’s considerably more complicated than this but as a zeroth estimate this gives us an idea of what has been done, i.e. dramatically increased temperatures.

    Just another example of climatology GIGO to generate funding. Models, models, models, but no understanding of basic physical concepts.

    Thanks yet again, Willis!

  100. Vince Causey says:

    Nick Stokes and Werner Brozek suggest that the energy only needs to be added once, since it remains within the climate system (otherwise there would be more energy leaving the Earth than arriving).

    Whilst convincing, it leads to a strange situation. If energy to evaporate the water is only need once, say one years additional forcing leads to this extra water vapour, then what happens to next years forcing? Clearly, this extra forcing is not needed to evaporate the extra water, so it must lead to a further increase in evaporation. Ie, 400mm. As this energy is only needed once, rather than every year, then the year after that, this same extra forcing will lead to an even higher level of evaporation.

    The logic therefore leads to an absurdity – that a fixed level of additional forcing will lead to more and more evaporation with respect to time. Therefore Stokes et al must be wrong.

  101. markx says:

    MikeB says: April 7, 2013 at 3:17 am

    “..I must agree with Nick Stokes, WernerBrozek and others here. The energy input to produce the initial 20% increase in water vapour would only be required once, not every year….”

    Perpetual motion, then?

  102. Leonard Weinstein says:

    Willis,
    The only NET energy absorbed by the ocean is sunlight, and the only way to change that is orbit or tilt change of Earth, albedo change, or solar intensity change. The temperature increase due to more greenhouse gases does not come from more absorbed NET energy, but is due to radiation absorption and back radiation moving the average location of radiation to space to a higher altitude, and the average lapse rate does the rest. The fact that warmer air can hold more water vapor does not matter, since once it comes out as rain, the energy to replace it with new vapor still comes from the Sun’s energy being absorbed and evaporating water, not from air temperature.

  103. richard verney says:

    sparky says:
    April 7, 2013 at 6:40 am
    /////////////////////////////////////
    Sparky,

    As I presently see matters, we are talking about the energy required to evaporate (ie., to evaporate the extra water that will fall as rainfall). In my mind, the issue is what are we evaporating? Are we evaporating water in the liquid phase (ie., from the oceans), or are we evaporating water in the vapour phase (ie., water vapour already at height in the atmosphere).

    The point you raise, is coupled with the point raised by bybobl ( April 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm). He points out:

    “Willis, your calculation is wrong – As well as 2260 KJ per Kg you also need to cycle the water to a height sufficient to make it cold enough to condense. Lets say this is on average 3000 m

    So mGh = 1 * 9.8 * 3000 = 29400 or 29.4 Kj per Kg and this effort is returned eventually not as heat but kinetic energy of the rainfall. If you calculate this for all rainfall it constitutes a negative feedback of -1.12 W/m2, which I doubt is built into climate sensitivity estimates”

    Thus, the position is that energy is required to evaporate (whether this be water in the liquid form or in the vapour form). This energy is returned to the system when the water vapour recondenses.

    On top of this, energy is required to lift the evaporated water to a height at which it recondenses. This second set of energy is returned to the system as kinetic energy and on impact with the ground (or ocean surface) that is converted to sound, heat, bouncing water droplets, more sound, more heat etc until it dissipates

    Both of these different sets of energy, are in their own way returned to the system in which they inhabit, as they must if the law of concervation of energy is not to be violated.

  104. OldWeirdHarold says:

    “Doesn’t most of the energy come back when the water vapor condenses?”
    —–
    Yes. In the upper troposphere. The net effect of increased rainfall is increased heat transport from the surface to the upper troposphere. IOW, this is a negative feedback.

  105. David S says:

    Two thoughts:
    1) Assume their theory is correct; warming causes more rainfall. But Anthony has demonstrated that their has been no increase in rainfall over the past century. Doesn’t that imply there has been no warming?
    2) If there is more rain is that a bad thing? We need rain for plants to grow. Sure if we get too much rain in one place at one time in can cause flooding. But why can’t we simply adapt to the extra rainfall by creating more reservoirs so we can store the extra water until it is needed during droughts?

  106. Drave Robber says:

    cementafriend says:

    (…) one can not have less than zero rainfall (…)

    Why? In modeling, everything is possible. :)
    I’ve seen economic models projecting more than 100% employment, for example.

  107. TomRude says:

    Mike MacCracken the decidedly busy voice of IPCC on the Yahoo group of skeptics is now proudly defending… geoengineering!

    “Because of the sensitivity of rainfall in Australia to the position of the longwave trough positioned off the Western Australian coast, I have been suggesting that modifying SST in the area (e.g., via cloud brightening in the stratus decks in the region) might be a possible regional climate geoengineering option worth researching the potential for if indeed there does develop the equivalent of a semi-permanent drought as a result of climate change. Altering the main circum-SH jet stream circulation would be a huge intervention (in comparison), but it might be that in favorable years one might be able to slightly alter the SST in ways that would increase the likelihood of storms impacting the coast instead of sliding by. Only a thought, but, as you note, there are some locations where things are quite sensitive where it might make sense and not have global impacts that adversely affect other nations in the region. Thoughts?

    Mike”

    How about sending this clown to Meteorology 101?

  108. Willis Eschenbach says:

    richard verney says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    OssQss says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm
    /////////////////////////////////

    This is one of my bug bears.

    The grumpy old man syndrome in me has argued for years that calculators should be banned in the class room until the student is about 15. To the extent that aid is required, then the student should use log/trig tables. The use of calculators hinders the student from gaining a proper appreciation of the value of numbers, mathematical functions and their inter relationships. They lose perception as to what sort of answer they would expect to see when solving a problem. Hence a lot of garbage out, because people do not appreciate that the output is probably garbage and are thereby failing to check whether they are simply inputting garbage.

    All of this strikes at the point raised by Willis. What does your gut tell you?

    I ascribe my gut instinct about numbers to exactly what you propose. Until I was out of high school I used a slide rule, the best tool ever invented to give you a feel for how big a number should be.

    Thanks, Richard,

    w.

  109. Ian W says:

    Mike McMillan says:
    April 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Ian W says: April 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm
    … You can watch this heat being released in real time just go to

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/natl/flash-rb.html

    There you will see the outgoing infrared as seen by the GOES East Satellite. Notice how the weather systems show up.
    [to] Mike McMillan …
    So not a net-net process as we can see energy departing from the frontal and storm systems
    —-
    Spiffy video.

    However, it doesn’t show amount of energy departing.

    If you tick the ‘IR Temp’ box at the top, it turns on the temperature scale above the rainbow legend at the bottom. Quite the opposite of what you’d expect. Red is very cold, blue is warm.

    Clouds are pretty opaque to IR, so the loop is looking at cloud top temperatures, the higher the colder. Intense storms are very high, thus very cold tops, so the color is a measure of what’s going on down below, not outward radiation.

    The temperature of the cloud is immaterial – atmospheric temperature is not heat – the sensor is seeing outgoing long-wave radiation from the change of state of water. In thunderstorms it is not uncommon to have 100kt updrafts carrying liquid water to higher than 30,000ft the outside air temperature of ~ –40C; and the latent heat of fusion remains just the same for water freezing as at -1C.

  110. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Werner Brozek says
    April 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    atarsinc says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm
    Nick Stokes’ (and others’) question about energy “per year” is still out there. Want to take a stab at that? JP

    As a physics teacher, I agree with Nick Stokes on the point that IF the energy is provided once, it need not be provided again. Let me illustrate with an example. Now I know we cannot ignore friction, however let us for the moment assume we have a roller coaster with no friction.

    A physics teacher?

    Well, then surely you must know that for your (and Nick Stokes) claim to work, there must be a physical mechanism to recover the heat and return it to the surface to evaporate more water.

    So until you can propose to me how you are going to RECOVER the energy that has

    a) moved aloft and

    b) already been mostly converted to mechanical motion and

    c) much of the remainder of which is lost to space within an hour or so of moving aloft,

    … until you come up with the brilliant Brozek plan to recapture that energy, I’m gonna say you should stay schtumm about your job … because with a hole like that in your logic, in your shoes I sure wouldn’t mention the part about being a physics teacher …

    w.

  111. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    April 6, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says: April 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    “It has done its work and left town,”

    Where did it go? And how? You can’t just go on turning it into kinetic energy. Things can’t move that fast. And it can’t accumulate indefinitely at altitude. There’s a conservation issue there.

    The only way it can leave the planet is as OLR. But that requires a warmer atmosphere.

    It went aloft, bypassing the majority of the CO2 and the water vapor, and NOT warming the lower atmosphere. In fact the lower atmosphere ends up cooler from thunderstorms.

    From the top of the atmosphere it is free to radiate to outer space,

    As to your claim that “things can’t move that fast”, within about fifteen minutes of leaving the surface, a parcel of air leaving the surface is transported to the top of the atmosphere. So yes, they can move that fast.

    No, it doesn’t “accumulate indefinitely at altitude”, but since it is quite free to radiate to outer space (very few GHGs up that high) it does so …

    Regarding “where did it go”, you seem to think that the energy almost all returned to the surface, since you claim you only need to evaporate it once.

    But since the only thing returning to the surface around a thunderstorm is cold wind and cold rail, along with dry descending air between the storm towers, what is the MECHANISM by which you claim the energy returns to the surface? Bear in mind in your answer that much of the energy has been turned into mechanical motion and much of the energy has left the earth via radiation … so how does that lost energy return to the surface in your theory?

    w.

  112. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Jim D says:
    April 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    So, even though a 3-degree C warmer atmosphere can hold 20% more water, Willis suggests this can’t fall out as 20% more rain.

    Jim, if you quote my words before you start, you might avoid making such an fool of yourself in public.

    I said no such thing. I said that the additional energy to evaporate that additional water wasn’t available. Learn to read, my friend, it will help you in the future.

    w.

  113. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Martin Lewitt says:
    April 7, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Willis, All of the energy needed to raise that much humidity would not have to come from the CO2 forcing, some would come from the water vapor itself, since it is a positive feedback.

    Run the damn numbers, Martin. Yes that might make a bit of a difference, a few percent … so what? We’re talking orders of magnitude, and you want to point out a few percent?

    Second, the part that many people forget about the “positive feedback” from thunderstorm generated water vapor is that the majority of it is inside the storm, where it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference as a GHG.

    Finally, it is not necessary for the humidity to rise in order to get more rain. All that needs to happen is that the wheel turns faster, with more and larger and more active thunderstorms in a given area. In fact, contrary to what you might expect, a thunderstorm LOWERS the local relative humidity, due to the dry descending air between the thunderstorms … which REDUCES and even REVERSES the water vapor feedback effect.

    w.

  114. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Stephen Richards says:
    April 7, 2013 at 1:36 am

    200 mm, or 200 kg of water

    Willis, need a volume to convert to weight.

    Thanks, Steven. You must have missed the first part of the sentence where I said:

    For each square metre we need to evaporate 200 mm, or 200 kg of water.

    So your volume is one square meter of water 200 mm deep, or 200 litres, or 200 kg.

    w.

  115. JimF says:

    richard verney says:
    April 7, 2013 at 5:58 am: “…Is it not likely that a large percentage of the additional rainfall will come from water vapour already in the atmosphere (possibly already reasonably high up in the atmosphere) such that less energy is required than you are proposing?…” Why would that happen. Apparently their model has the air temperature increasing, thus the capacity to hold water in vapor form increases. Unless additional moisture is added to the air, it seems to me that there would be less rainfall until there is some trigger that causes sudden condensation. And once that moisture is condensed and rained out, that warmer future air has to restock itself – to a greater capacity than today’s cooler air.

  116. Jim D says:

    Willis, since you had not argued about the Clausius-Clapeyron part, it seemed you accepted it. Now it seems you are saying you do not accept that a 3 C warmer world can have 20% more moisture in the atmosphere. That is the part of your argument you forgot to justify. Or maybe you said there can be 20% more moisture but not 20% more rain as a result (which is what I suggested, but you denied), so which is it? Arguments that are not joined together get these kinds of questions. It is a form of skepticism.

  117. Robuk says:

    Figure 3. Maximum daily rainfall, 1931-2012, Central England. Data Source Photo Source

    Here, we find the same thing. There is no evidence of any increase in maximum rainfall events, despite a 1° temperature rise.

    If there was no increase in rainfall with a 1 degree warming was there actually a 1 degree warming in the first place.

  118. Alan D McIntire says:

    For tthose doubting Willis Eschenbach’s figures, see Trenberth figures here. He’s one of the CAGW crowd.

    http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/Climate_Science/EarthsEnergyBalance

    Note from Trenberth’s figures we get about 490 watts radiation at the surface, 168 watts direct from the sun, 324 watts in back radiation from the atmosphere. We lose 24 watts to convection, 78 in evaporation, so SENSIBLE heat is only about 388 watts- giving us 14C.

    If rainfall increases 20%, that 78 watts would have to increase by 20%, , or by 15.6 watts.
    Yes, we can have more water vapor in the atmosphere without additional evaporation,, but we don’t get more RAINFALL without increasing that 78 watts going into evaporation.

  119. Werner Brozek says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 7, 2013 at 10:28 am
    until you come up with the brilliant Brozek plan to recapture that energy, 

    We saw a recapturing of energy with the change in December to January anomalies between the SST and UAH. From December to January, the SST on Hadsst2 went down from 0.340 to 0.283. At the same time, UAH went up from 0.202 to 0.504. So the loss by the sea was recaptured by the lower troposphere. And in February, the Hadsst2 rose from 0.283 to 0.314 while the UAH dropped from 0.504 to 0.175. Is it not logical to assume that some of the energy that the sea surface gained in February was what it recaptured from the troposphere? Energy cannot be created or destroyed although I would agree that some will be lost to space, but not all of it.
    And by the way, this is not a “brilliant Brozek plan” that I am talking about. It is from Dr. Spencer who said the following about the January anomaly:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/02/apparent-reason-for-january-2013-tropospheric-warmth/

    The final paragraph says:
    “I have other plots (cloud water, surface wind speed), but the above two plots tell the crux of the story: Above-average moist convective heat transport from the ocean surface to the atmosphere appears to have led to sea surface cooling, and tropospheric warming, in January 2013.”

  120. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Demetris Koutsoyiannis says:
    April 7, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Thanks Willis for the post and David for mentioning my work.

    You’re welcome, Demetris. I actually linked to your work (although not by name) in the head post when I said:

    Computer models are known to perform horribly at hindcasting rainfall, they do no better than chance.

    And I should have known that if I ventured into the realm of water, I’d find your footprints there before me.

    For those not familiar with the name, Demetris is one of my heroes in the climate world for his clear mathematical understanding and researches into the Hurst-Kolmogorov phenomenon. Plus which, he writes about it clearly and understandably. He’s Greek, so he’s probably personally responsible for the whole Euro crisis deal, but he’s a good, insightful, clear-spoken scientist anyway …

    The very notion of probable maximum precipitation (PMP) is not scientific and signifies a failure of the meteorological and hydrological communities. Generally I avoid using that categorical language, but I am fully convinced that it’s a tragic failure; it is a shame that it is still in use. I explain the reasons in http://itia.ntua.gr/758/ . In brief, the idea of an upper bound in precipitation and flood serves political aims, not scientific ones. It is appreciated by decision makers who want to fool people saying that a certain construction, if designed by PMP, entails no risk. Risk cannot be eliminated, it can only be reduced at an acceptable level, and of course decrease of risk is associated with increase of cost. Evidently, the new “climate-change” setting of the PMP idea serves additional political aims.

    I couldn’t agree more. That in part is why I titled the post “Improbable” maximum precipitation.

    In http://itia.ntua.gr/23/ I have shown that a PMP value, when estimated using the statistical method by Hershfield, has a probability to be exceeded at any year equal to 1/60000. Hershfield’s method relies on rainfall data only and if modified by assigning a probability of exceedence becomes a statistically consistent method. The other method, which as I understand was used in this study (and, in addition to rainfall, uses atmospheric moisture data, the Clausius-Clapeyron equation etc.) still is a statistical method. But it is a very bad statistical method and I doubt if it can be remedied in any way (see http://itia.ntua.gr/701/).

    Thanks for the links, Demetris.I often skip over links in comments to my posts … but not the ones you put up.

    w.

  121. Nick Stokes says:

    Alan D McIntire says: April 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm
    “If rainfall increases 20%, that 78 watts would have to increase by 20%, or by 15.6 watts.”

    No dispute there. But OLR can’t increase by 15.6 watts, unless the air becomes extraordinarily hot. There’s no other heat sink up there. That heat has to come back down.

  122. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Leonard Weinstein says:
    April 7, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Willis,
    The only NET energy absorbed by the ocean is sunlight …

    Sorry, not true. See my post “Radiating the Ocean” for lots of discussion of the question. Short answer is that longwave radiation is absorbed by the ocean as well, not just shortwave. And since we are talking about the surface evaporation and not just the planet as a whole, we have to look at that as well.

    w,

  123. Lars P. says:

    Frank Kotler says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm
    Back when global warming was actually happening, it didn’t cause increased rainfall, but now that it’s not happening it could cause almost anything!
    You know how much energy it takes to evaporate all those cats and dogs? :)

    Right on the point, you summarise well.
    And now having forecasted that it will bring more droughts, more rain, more snow, less snow, it can be everything, there is always a peer review study to have said it.

    Nick Stokes says:
    April 6, 2013 at 9:50 pm
    Where did it go? And how? You can’t just go on turning it into kinetic energy. Things can’t move that fast. And it can’t accumulate indefinitely at altitude. There’s a conservation issue there.
    The only way it can leave the planet is as OLR. But that requires a warmer atmosphere.

    Willis answered your question above.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/06/improbable-maximum-precipitation/#comment-1267901

    Bear in mind that the water cycle is net energy transfer from the surface to the higher atmosphere. the net energy transfer through radiation inside the atmosphere is much lower, a think that warmista keep on ignoring.

  124. Thanks again, Willis, your words about me are very kind. I am glad you agree and for the explanation about “Improbable” (I had suspected it).

    In terms of the euro crisis, I pride myself saying that I have (and I claim) 1/11,000,000 of the responsibility (the denominator is the population of Greece),

  125. Willis Eschenbach says:

    richard verney says:
    April 7, 2013 at 8:28 am

    sparky says:
    April 7, 2013 at 6:40 am
    /////////////////////////////////////
    Sparky,

    As I presently see matters, we are talking about the energy required to evaporate (ie., to evaporate the extra water that will fall as rainfall). In my mind, the issue is what are we evaporating? Are we evaporating water in the liquid phase (ie., from the oceans), or are we evaporating water in the vapour phase (ie., water vapour already at height in the atmosphere).

    You’ve said this twice, Richard, and I fear I haven’t understood it either time. How can you evaporate water in the vapor phase? It’s already evaporated.

    I think what you mean is the evaporation of liquid water at altitude, but it’s not clear.

    w.

  126. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Willis, Thanks for addressing my questions. I know you are much more knowledgable on the subject than I, but I don’t learn much unless I’m willing to ask stupid questions.

    I think you ( and a few others here) are failing to consider that CO2 has effects far higher in the atmosphere than water vapor. I question your idea that the additional heat leaves the atmosphere as quickly as you describe. My understanding is that it will leave, but only after establishing some form of equillibrium. That can take a very long time.

    You used the example of the UK to reinforce your argument. If you would have used the US during the same time, you would have refuted your own argument. That was my point.

    You say, “… note that on the map in Figure 1, it shows these increases will happen everywhere. I’d already investigated the global question in Figure 2 and the associated discussion, showing no increase in either mean or maximum rainfall despite global warming.” Willis, you showed land only values. An old sailor like yourself knows that ain’t everwhere.

    Willis, my remark that the argument “doesn’t fly” says nothing about your “motives”. I don’t doubt your sincerity.

    I’ll try to contact the author’s of the study and see what they have to say about your…dare I say it, model.

    Respectfully, JP

  127. Theo Goodwin says:

    Another brilliant essay, Willis. And yet more overwhelming evidence that some scientists at NOAA suffer from an genetic defect which deprives them of all empirical instincts. They can survive only in a bubble of unvalidated models.

  128. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Ill Tempered Klavier says:
    April 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    ITV, Thanks for the response. You say, “Since 4.52e+8 joules is the additional energy needed to evaporate the amount of water required to yield a 20% increase in precipitation for one year, each year that continues needs that amount of additional energy from somewhere.”

    I (and several others here) are not convinced that’s correct. It would be, if nothing was preventing the heat from quickly leaving the system. But the atmosphere does put restraints on the heat leaving. I think one would need to find out how and when the system returns to equilibrium.

    I look forward to you addressing Nick Stokes’ point, as many here seem to believe that Willis’ model oversimplifies that issue.

    Sincerely, JP

  129. CodeTech says:

    Nick Stokes:

    There’s no other heat sink up there. That heat has to come back down.

    Did I miss the part where they built a stainless steel shell around the outer atmosphere?

    Really? There’s no heat sink in the upper atmosphere? Thermal energy doesn’t radiate away from there? Do you actually hear yourself???? So outer space is no longer a heat sink?

  130. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Lars P. says:
    April 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    “Bear in mind that the water cycle is net energy transfer from the surface to the higher atmosphere. the net energy transfer through radiation inside the atmosphere is much lower, a think that warmista keep on ignoring.”

    True, but you still have that energy in the atmosphere.

    How about people stop calling each other “warmistas” and ” deniers”. What does that add to the conversation? JP

  131. TimTheToolMan says:

    Nick writes “No dispute there. But OLR can’t increase by 15.6 watts, unless the air becomes extraordinarily hot. There’s no other heat sink up there. That heat has to come back down.”

    Has to come back down? Really? Is that the only option? What about… Gets radiated away from the earth along with the rest of the sun’s energy that was absorbed that day?

  132. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    TimTheToolMan says:
    April 7, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Tim, you say, ” What about… Gets radiated away from the earth along with the rest of the sun’s energy that was absorbed that day?”

    There’s your problem Tim. A portion of the energy the Earth recieves each day IS NOT radiated back out of the atmosphere “that day”. There is an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing radiation. This imbalance is measurable. Just like the oceans, the atmosphere needs time to equilibrate a perturbation. This is at the heart of why I believe Willis’ model is overly simplistic. JP

  133. dbstealey says:

    Excellent article, as usual. Willis says:

    “There is no evidence of any increase in maximum rainfall events, despite a 1° temperature rise.”

    A 1ºC rise is substantial. Which makes me question how accurate the temperature record really is. A 1º rise would surely cause significantly more precipitation, no?

    And atarsinc claims that CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for a long time, but numerous peer reviewed studies show short [≈5 yr] persistence.

  134. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Vince Causey says:
    April 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Vince, you say that the energy “…remains within the climate system…”, and thus leads to “an absurdity”. It would if ALL the energy stayed for an indefinitely long time. But, only a portion does. What portion is beyond my knowledge, but Willis’ argument suffers from the equal but opposite assumption: the energy all leaves within a a very brief period. JP

  135. bobl says:

    MikeB,Nick Stokes, WernerBrozek etc.
    It’s not as simple as all that. to Increase precipitation from 1m (ave) per annum to 1.2m per annum on average requires the evaporation and transport of 20% more water to the Troposphere AND the energy required to raise the humidity to the required level. To sustain a 20% increase in flux of water through the troposphere, that energy needs to be continuously supplied. The Models actually (partially) account for the evaporation (That is for the present levels of evaporation), but according to Will Kininmonth not enough. The models do not account for the energy loss of conversion of heat energy to potential, kinetic, or electrical (Lightning) for that matter. This loss constitutes a large negative feedback.

    The IPCCs presumed energy increase from a doubling of CO2 is 3.7W / M2 – remember that this is after FEEDBACK so you can’t get out of the argument by saying the water vapour increases the energy – THE IPCC estimate is After Feedbacks and we need an after feedback value to compare with it.

    The paper purports that a forcing of 3.7W/M2 could increase precipitation 30%, and Willis sets out to prove this is energetically impossible.

    Willis has correctly shown that even a 20% increase in precipitation (alone) takes about 14.3 W / M2 to create, I say it’s more because just evaporating the water doesn’t supply any energy to get it to 3Km high. The AVAILABLE energy to do this is 3.7W per Meter squared (by the IPCC) which includes all recycling of energy to the surface by the water vapour.

    You are correct to say a small proportion of that energy is “Recycled” (which would reduce the number a little – but doing so would give you a BEFORE Feedback forcing) but that’s not how the IPCC does it, they use Net forcing AFTER feedbacks not before, so Willis’s number represents a forcing after feedbacks which can be directly compared with the IPCCs after feedback available energy estimate.

    14.3/3.7 is 3.8 – Therefore the 3.7W/M2 available energy is only sufficient to drive 20/3.8 or a 5.2% rise in the flux of water through the hydrological cycle (Assuming no other losses). And as was pointed out, if all the energy is consumed in cycling water, nothing is left over to heat the planet!.

    He thus proves the Hypothesis that a doubling of CO2 can produce 20-30% more precipitation is wrong

    There is a central mistake in climate science – Conservation requires that we account all the inputs and output of energy to/from the system – when you make a claim such as this you must remember that you need to do work in many places, the CO2 Energy needs to provide the energy to provide the extra rainfall, heat the atmosphere, produce the extra air velocities and energy for lightning in those superstorms we are all warned about . You can’t have it all in 3.7W/m2 (which is all the extra energy available) conservation demands it.

    PS Heat energy is radiated to space but the fraction converted to kinetic energy is expended into the earth’s gravitational system (moving the earth relative to the sun), or damps or speeds the earths rotation a fraction. It’s Lost as heat then, disappeared into the motion of the planets and once it’s out we need to put it back

  136. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    dbstealey says:
    April 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    D.B., I’m made no comment on th residency time of CO2. I said CO2 is found at much higher altitudes than water vapor.

    But since your 5 yr residency figure seemed so far out of whack with most current knowledge, I took a look at your source. Of the 36 studies, ALL were over twenty years old. Most were thirty years old or older. Many were from the sixties and seventies. Just being old doesn’t mean there wrong, but in this area of Science they just didn’t have the investigative and measurement capabilities to make accurate predictions.

    Compare the more up-to-date studies, you’ll see what I mean. JP

  137. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Jim D says:
    April 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Willis, since you had not argued about the Clausius-Clapeyron part, it seemed you accepted it. Now it seems you are saying you do not accept that a 3 C warmer world can have 20% more moisture in the atmosphere. That is the part of your argument you forgot to justify. Or maybe you said there can be 20% more moisture but not 20% more rain as a result (which is what I suggested, but you denied), so which is it? Arguments that are not joined together get these kinds of questions. It is a form of skepticism.

    I hadn’t even looked at the C-C part of their calculations. However, I doubt very much if we’ll see a global 20% increase in water vapor. As Forest Mims III pointed out upstream, we haven’t seen much change in that at all.

    Part of the problem is that the ocean isn’t going to get 3° warmer without the addition of huge amounts of energy. This is because climate sensitivity is inversely proportional to temperature—it takes more and more energy to gain each additional degree.

    And in the range of temperatures where the natural heat engine we call the climate runs, the price for one more degree is very, very steep. This is not, as people often assume, merely due to the fact that radiation goes up as the fourth power of temperature.

    An additional part of this is from what is called “negative feedback”, but is better characterized as “parasitic loss”. As with all heat engines, parasitic losses increase as some power of ∆T, the difference between the hot and cold ends of the heat engine.

    Finally, and most importantly, there are a number of self-organized, emergent phenomena which come into existence to cool off any surface hot spots, particularly in the tropics, the hot end of the natural climate heat engine. These include thunderstorms, the El Nino/La Nina pump to move hot water to the poles, dust devils to carry excess surface heat aloft, cyclones, and the Rayleigh-Benard circulation of the uppermost ocean and lower atmosphere.

    Regarding the increase in humidity, I suppose I should write a post about how thunderstorms act as a natural de-humidifiers. But in any case, yes, you could easily have 20% more total precipitable water in the air without a 20% increase in rain. It depends on the temperature of the air. By the same token, you could have more rain with the same humidity.

    Finally, the biggest variable in evaporation rates is the wind. While the C-C equations rule regarding energy at the water surface, evaporation varies linearly with the wind. This is one way tropical thunderstorms keep going. The squall wind at the base of the storm jacks the evaporation rates through the roof, reducing the air density and keeping the thunderstorm alive.

    Best regards,

    w.

  138. Willis Eschenbach says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Willis, Thanks for addressing my questions. I know you are much more knowledgable on the subject than I, but I don’t learn much unless I’m willing to ask stupid questions.

    I think you ( and a few others here) are failing to consider that CO2 has effects far higher in the atmosphere than water vapor. I question your idea that the additional heat leaves the atmosphere as quickly as you describe.

    Thanks, John. On my planet the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask.

    When the thunderstorms take the heat from the surface up to say 15,000 feet, the air pressure is only about half what it is at the surface. This means you’ve just cut the CO2 effect in half.

    Much more importantly, you’re way above the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor. Because of the combination of these two effects, the energy in the air is much freer to radiate out to space.

    Many people don’t realize that 75% or so of the downwelling longwave radiation striking the surface comes from the bottom hundred meters or so (330′) of the atmosphere. That’s how effective the water vapor and the CO2 are at absorbing longwave radiation. By moving as latent heat from the surface to the inside of the cloud, and as sensible heat only when shielded by the cloud, the interaction with the GHGs in the bottom of the troposphere is avoided almost entirely.

    And as a result, where it does emerge high in the troposphere is much more free to radiate energy away to space.

    All the best,

    w.

  139. Willis Eschenbach says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    … Willis’ argument suffers from the equal but opposite assumption: the energy all leaves within a a very brief period.

    Ah, I see I’ve not been clear enough. My argument is not that it “leaves within a very brief period”. I don’t think you could even measure that.

    I say that once the energy moves from the surface to the upper troposphere, little of it returns to evaporate more water at the surface.

    Does some return? Sure, that’s the deal with the greenhouse effect.

    But because it’s moved way up to the top of the troposphere, and heat doesn’t mix downwards very well, and it’s freer to radiate to space up there, and at theoretical best you’d only expect to get less than half back down in a perfect situation … you’re not going to get a whole lot all the way back to the surface to evaporate more water.

    w.

  140. Willis Eschenbach says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    dbstealey says:
    April 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    D.B., I’m made no comment on th residency time of CO2. I said CO2 is found at much higher altitudes than water vapor.

    But since your 5 yr residency figure seemed so far out of whack with most current knowledge, I took a look at your source. Of the 36 studies, ALL were over twenty years old. Most were thirty years old or older.

    John, you’re conflating half-life (or e-folding time) with molecular residence time in the atmosphere. The former is the time it takes a pulse to decay to half it’s initial value. The latter is how long the typical CO2 molecule stays in the air.

    The latter, residence time, is on the order of 5-8 years, depending on what figures you use.

    The former, the half-life or e-folding time, is the subject of much debate, none of which is on-topic in this thread.

    All the best,

    w.

  141. dbstealey says:

    atarsinc says:

    “I’m made no comment on th residency time of CO2.”

    But you did, John:

    “There is an imbalance between the incoming and outgoing radiation. This imbalance is measurable. Just like the oceans, the atmosphere needs time to equilibrate a perturbation. This is at the heart of why I believe Willis’ model is overly simplistic… I question your idea that the additional heat leaves the atmosphere as quickly as you describe. My understanding is that it will leave, but only after establishing some form of equillibrium. That can take a very long time…”

    Those statements concern CO2 residency time.

    Also, what does it matter if a study is twenty years old? My point was that all the papers [with the lone exception of the IPCC] are in agreement that CO2 has a much shorter residency time than the doomsayers admit. If they admitted that CO2 does not linger in the atmosphere for very long, their “carbon” scare starts to fall apart.

    Finally, I would be interested in your response to Willis’ 5:40 pm comment above. It seems to me that situation would reduce the effect of CO2 by a considerable amount. It would also go a long way toward explaining this.

  142. Jim D says:

    Willis, you are predicting warming without increased rainfall. This is a good recipe for lower relative humidity, less clouds, and an arid climate. I hope you are wrong on that, but I would say that there are parts of the world vulnerable to this turn of events. As I mentioned, I believe the sun has enough energy to evaporate an extra 14 W/m2 of latent heat, and this is not connected to the CO2 at all.

  143. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Jim D says:
    April 7, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Willis, you are predicting warming without increased rainfall. This is a good recipe for …

    Jim, you are making claims about my predictions without quoting my words. This is a good recipe for misunderstandings. I can defend my own ideas, but I can’t defend your interpretation of them. I don’t recall either predicting warming, or predicting that it would occur without increased rainfall. What I said was that a 20% increase in global rainfall wasn’t gonna happen.

    Quote my words that you think are wrong, Jim. Otherwise, no one (including myself) knows what you’re talking about.

    w.

  144. TimTheToolMan says:

    atarsinc write “This imbalance is measurable.”

    Or so we thought. Perhaps you can let Trenberth know where that energy is hiding then?

  145. Nick Stokes says:

    CodeTech says: April 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm
    Nick Stokes:
    “Really? There’s no heat sink in the upper atmosphere? Thermal energy doesn’t radiate away from there? Do you actually hear yourself????”

    Do you actually read? Even what you quote? I said “There’s no other heat sink”.

  146. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    Willis, Thanks for your response. But, more importantly your clarifications. You’re a good teacher.

    I sometimes find myself assigning the thoughts of commenters that agree with you; to you, yourself. Your clarifications make that error obvious. After all, the title of your article was, “Improbable…” not “Impossible”.

    Because you said:

    “…within about fifteen minutes of leaving the surface, a parcel of air leaving the surface [sic] is transported to the top of the atmosphere. [Did you mean top of the troposphere? Can a parcel of air actually move to the TOA?] So yes, they can move that fast.”

    I was pleased to see you clarify that by saying,

    “Ah, I see I’ve not been clear enough. My argument is not that it ‘leaves within a very brief period’. I don’t think you could even measure that.”

    That makes more sense to me.

    Others here should note that you said this:

    “But because it’s moved way up to the top of the troposphere, and heat doesn’t mix downwards very well, and it’s freer to radiate to space up there, and at theoretical best you’d only expect to get less than half back down in a perfect situation … you’re not going to get a whole lot all the way back to the surface to evaporate more water.”

    This addresses what some of us were trying to point out (e.g. Nick and others). Actually, “less than half” could have a very large impact on your calculation. Particularly when a couple of other 2 or 3 percentage factors that you conceded are added to the equation.

    Willis, regarding the CO2, you are correct that I was conflating e-folding and molecular residency; but, in my defense, so was/were the author(s) of the link D.B. cited. When I see an author who cites literature that’s largely from 30 to 40 years ago (the most recent being 22 years old) in a field where new information is expanding so rapidly; and that author(s) present(s) literally none of the large number of more recent studies, my B.S. detector starts going off.

    I want to study your comments in depth. There”s a lot of interesting stuff there, and I’m not conversant at your level of knowledge on atmospheric physics. You’ll excuse me if I say your comments seem much more profound than the post.

    I often try to communicate with the authors(s) of studies that are criticized at such a fundamental level. I’ll attempt to do that here and will let you know if I get a response.

    Thanks again for taking the time to address some of my questions. JP

  147. atarsinc says:

    John Parsons AKA atarsinc

    dbstealey says:
    April 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm
    atarsinc says:

    ‘I made no comment on the residency time of CO2.’

    “But you did, John…”

    Where in that statement do you see any reference to residency time of CO2?

    If I told you a story about my dog digging in the rose garden, would you say I was “commenting on fur”?

    Geez!

  148. dbstealey says:

    John (atarsinc),

    I would like to apologize if I came across too strongly in my prior comments. I am so fed up with the usual alarmists’ digging in of their heels, that I overlook the relatively few commentators who have a genuine desire to learn and understand. It is difficult for most folks to overcome the 24/7/365 rain of alarmist climate propaganda. Those truly willing to learn have my respect.

    Do a search in the WUWT archives for “Eschenbach”. You will find Willis’ articles. You can’t go wrong, and you will find a point of view that you won’t see in the mainstream media. When ‘everyone’ believes something to be true, without verifiable evidence [such as the widespread belief that CO2=CAGW], the probability is that the majority ‘consensus’ is wrong. Knowledge is power. You can learn things here that the average person does not know. Make good use of that knowledge, it will put you head and shoulders above the crowd.

  149. atarsinc says:

    TimTheToolMan says:
    April 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    atarsinc write “This imbalance is measurable.”
    Or so we thought. Perhaps you can let Trenberth know where that energy is hiding then?

    If three horses go into the barn at night, and two come back out in the morning; you don’t need to know which stall the horse in the barn is in to know there’s two in the pasture. JP

  150. atarsinc says:

    D.B., Thanks for the kind thoughts. I’ll take your advice. I totally concur with your sentiments regarding the media. They haven’t a clue.

    Just to be clear, I’m of the opinion that AGW is a real phenomenon that absolutely needs to be investigated very seriously. To claim that Science knows with certainty that the effects of AGW will be Catastrophic is ridiculous.

    Best Wishes, JP

  151. Jim D says:

    Willis, if it is not going to warm, the whole thing about increased rainfall is moot. No one suggests the rainfall will increase without warming. It was stated as a consequence of warming. You should have started with saying why you don’t think it will warm, and the rainfall conclusion would have followed.

  152. TimTheToolMan says:

    JP writes “If three horses go into the barn at night, and two come back out in the morning; you don’t need to know which stall the horse in the barn is in to know there’s two in the pasture. JP”

    Except if its dark and you mistake a cow walking past the barn for a horse going in, you’re going to be forever wondering about how many horses you have and where they all are.

    The point is more about the measurements themselves, and less about aportioning the energy resulting from those measurements to locations.

  153. atarsinc says:

    Tim, I agree. “The point is more about the measurements themselves, and less about aportioning [sic] the energy resulting from those measurements to locations.”

    The problem for your argument is that YOU brought up “locations” (“where that energy is hiding”), not me.

    But once again, Tim, I completely agree that we need to be able to strengthen our confidence in the measurements. If they were tightly constrained, a good portion of the entire argument would be settled. JP

  154. Martin Lewitt says:

    Willis,

    ” We’re talking orders of magnitude, and you want to point out a few percent?”

    You calculated 14.3 W/m^2 was required, the source I supplied showed that 8.5 W/m^2 was supplied by GHG forcing from the aggressive scenerio alone. That is hardly orders of magnitude, and well within the range when supplemented by water vapor feedback. Keep in mind that the direct effects of CO2 alone result in a climate sensitivity of only about 1 degree C. With models averaging 3 degrees C and some as high as 6 degrees C, they have a lot of water vapor feedback. It is the usage of an aggressive scenerio and the usage of climate models without disclosure, discussion and accounting for their known correlated diagnostic issues that are responsible for what I agree are improbably results. So the issue is not that they don’t get within range of your 14.3 W/m^2 figure, they do, the issue is how they get there.

  155. CodeTech says:

    Nick Stokes

    Do you actually read? Even what you quote? I said “There’s no other heat sink”.

    Outer space is an essentially infinite heat sink. What @&#^% difference does it make if there’s “ANOTHER” one?????? Do you actually think your original comment, OR this attempt to belittle me and explain it, demonstrates that you understand logic?

  156. Nick Stokes says:

    CodeTech says: April 8, 2013 at 2:04 am
    “Outer space is an essentially infinite heat sink. What @&#^% difference does it make if there’s “ANOTHER” one?????? “

    Well, since you can’t or won’t go back and read the original, here’s more of what I said:

    “But OLR can’t increase by 15.6 watts, unless the air becomes extraordinarily hot. There’s no other heat sink up there.”

    What is OLR? Is that the problem? It means Outgoing Longwave Radiation….

    And in fact OLR can barely increase at all. It can only have a small temporary imbalance with incoming solar. Essentially all that 15.6 W/m2 has to go back down.

  157. Nick Stokes says:

    Nick Stokes says: April 8, 2013 at 2:36 am
    It seems the link got messed, though it’s easily found. Else try Outgoing Longwave Radiation.

  158. CodeTech says:

    Nick, you actually believe what you’re typing, don’t you?

    Sigh.

    Why is the simplicity of this so evident to everyone else, and yet so lost on you?

  159. TimTheToolMan says:

    JP writes “The problem for your argument is that YOU brought up “locations” (“where that energy is hiding”), not me.”

    You can place the emphasis on that point whereever you like, perhaps its time to remember the original point though. You have stated that there is a radiative imbalance. That’s one set of measurements.Another set of measurements shows no energy accumulating. Well, nowhere near as much as the radiative imbalance would imply at any rate.

    Which ones do we believe?

    Analyses like Willis’ take a broader view of the numbers that are put forward. A view that includes actual atmospheric process and not arguments based on numbers alone with no appreciation of where they came from and what they might mean.

  160. TimTheToolMan says:

    Nick writes “And in fact OLR can barely increase at all. It can only have a small temporary imbalance with incoming solar. Essentially all that 15.6 W/m2 has to go back down.”

    There is no change in the amount of outgoing energy. If there is more water vapour then that’s at the expense of energy simply passing as radiation through the atmosphere. Explain why it must go back down.

  161. Alan D McIntire says:

    ‘Nick Stokes says:
    April 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Alan D McIntire says: April 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm
    “If rainfall increases 20%, that 78 watts would have to increase by 20%, or by 15.6 watts.”

    No dispute there. But OLR can’t increase by 15.6 watts, unless the air becomes extraordinarily hot. There’s no other heat sink up there. That heat has to come back down’

    A 20% increase in rainfall would require an additional 15 or so watts be transferred from the surface to the upper atmosphere.
    We’d only get an additional 3.7 watts from a doubling of CO2, therefore a doubling of CO2 will NOT result in an addditional 20% increase in rainfall and an additional 15 or so watts transferred from the surface to the atmosphere. That was the whole point of Willis Eschenbach’s article!

  162. Steve Keohane says:

    Willis, slightly OT, ignore if you wish. You made this statement above as part of a response to altarsinc using his reference of 15K ft; “
    Many people don’t realize that 75% or so of the downwelling longwave radiation striking the surface comes from the bottom hundred meters or so (330′) of the atmosphere.

    Does that mean all altitudes greater than 100m have less-than-or-equal-to 25% of the downwelling longwave radiation? The average height of land mass is .8km, per Wiki, putting it well above the potential for DW LWR. Since land is 30% of the planet, and DW LWR isn’t supposed to work well on water, where the hell is the potential for GHG warming?

  163. Alan D McIntire says:

    ‘ atarsinc says:
    April 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Mike McMillan says:
    April 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm
    “Net net, it leaves most of its original energy up in the clouds, a one-way transport of heat away from the surface.”

    Mike, that seems right, but you’re still dumping the heat into the lower troposphere. You know, that part of the atmosphere where weather happens. JP’
    That part of the atmosphere where weather happens is also where ALL of the positive greenhouse effect happens.

    Consider: The higher the lapse rate, the higher the greenhouse effect. With NO lapse rate, outgoing radiation at each level of the atmosphere would be at the same temperature- there’d be NO greenhouse effect.- Water vapor transfers heat from the surface to higher in the troposphere, reducing the lapse rate and reducing the greenhouse effect.

    http://okfirst.mesonet.org/train/meteorology/VertStructure.html

    “The stratosphere is marked by a temperature inversion from about 11-12 km to 50 km above sea level.

    Because warmer air lies above cooler air in this region, there are few overturning air currents and, thus, the stratosphere is a region of little mixing. ” Note there’s no positive lapse rate- in fact there’s a slight temperature INVERSION- only a small fraction of the atmosphere is above the troposphere- and this small fraction would cause a slight ANTI-greenhouse effect due to that negative temperature lapse rate.

  164. Nick Stokes says:

    TimTheToolMan says: April 8, 2013 at 4:17 am
    “If there is more water vapour then that’s at the expense of energy simply passing as radiation through the atmosphere. Explain why it must go back down.”

    The surface won’t radiate less unless it cools. Nor will the lower atmosphere.

    My point is simply that very little extra energy is required to maintain higher rainfall. Heat disappears as LH on evaporation, and is conveyed aloft, but it doesn’t “leave town” as Willis says. It reverts to sensible heat on condensation, and can’t just be lost. OLR can’t increase, because it has to generally match arriving sunlight. It has nowhere to go but down, and in fact the only new sink for heat is the greater evaporation at the surface. That heat will be recycled.

  165. bobl says:

    John (atarsinc).

    The imbalance is not measurable – its calculable, but I feel one of the problems which leads to the high sensitivity estimate is the plethora of losses that are unaccounted in these models, such as kinetic energy of raindrops, wind driven by thermal differences( and lightning through electrostatic accumulation from relative motion of different materials. The small losses add up, and I dont think there is a reliable estimate of them. So indeed there might be an imbalance positive or negative at any moment, but what is it, and what is it caused by, and how much of that gap is accounted for by these small losses. After that is accounted how much driving energy is left to cause warming?

    For example if we concede that global warming causes bigger storms, the the corrolary of that is that the losses will increase and the sensitivity must therefore be lowered ( essentially the additional energy used to drive the superstorm cant be used to perform warming because the superstorm radiated it to space, and threw it against the surface as rain, wind, thunder and lightning) Things that use energy generally take that energy away from warming so I dont believe you can have increased storminess without reducing sensitivity.

    Its the same with evaporative cooling.

  166. Mark Bofill says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    April 8, 2013 at 6:46 am
    … OLR can’t increase, because it has to generally match arriving sunlight. It has nowhere to go but down…
    ———
    Right, I get that the system stabilizes at equilibrium. But in my view, when we reach this point in our reasoning where we’ve arrived at a dubious step in the expected process, it’s time to go back and question the premises. What I mean is, the heat that we’re thinking of that’s been released on condensation up in the atmosphere isn’t aware of the energy budget; it’s dodgy to think that it’s going to magically just migrate downward to oblige our energy budget calculations. By what mechanism would it do this? Why? No, at this point I’d be more inclined to go back and say the initial premise was probably wrong somehow, that we’d see a 20-30% PMP increase.

  167. Alan D McIntire says:

    Outgoing radiation does NOT have to match incoming radiation, contrary to what Nick Stokes says. In fact, outgoing radiation FAR exceeds incoming radiation each night, and is less than incoming radiation each day.

  168. Mark Bofill says:

    Alan D McIntire says:
    April 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Outgoing radiation does NOT have to match incoming radiation, contrary to what Nick Stokes says. In fact, outgoing radiation FAR exceeds incoming radiation each night, and is less than incoming radiation each day.
    ———–
    Darn it. I always get stung this way when I’m not paying close attention. ~blush~
    thanks Alan.

  169. MikeB says:

    I think by now that Willis Eschenbach, who isn’t stupid, must realise that he is wrong in respect of energy being required each year.
    It is always a good test of character to observe what people do when they know that they are wrong. Do they bluff it out like Pachauri? Do they make an appeal to the scientific illiterate knowing that uniformed commentators will support them like they support their local football team?
    For example

    Outgoing radiation does NOT have to match incoming radiation, contrary to what Nick Stokes says. In fact, outgoing radiation FAR exceeds incoming radiation each night, and is less than incoming radiation each day.

    OK, when it’s night on one side of the planet it is daytime on the other. So at what time of day does outgoing radiation exceed incoming radiation?
    For equilibrium outgoing radiation must balance the incoming radiation ( in the long term). This is called the ‘radiation balance’ and it exists at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). If the Earth/atmosphere system were to emit more radiation than it received then it would grow colder and colder. If it emitted less than it received then ithe Earth would get hotter and hotter. OK so far? So the Earth must be in energy balance – energy in equals energy out.

    “..I must agree with Nick Stokes, WernerBrozek and others here. The energy input to produce the initial 20% increase in water vapour would only be required once, not every year….” Perpetual motion, then?

    NO, it is not perpetual motion, it is called ‘Conservation of Energy’ – also known as the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. So once the energy is in the system it stays there (unless it is radiated to space – which it cannot do because of the Radiation Balance- see above). Is this too hard for people? Because it is basic stuff.
    Just to clarify, I do not think that this NOAA paper has any merit. On the contrary, it is typical of those all papers which have no purpose or justification other than that they receive government funding.
    Nevertheless, the energy argument is not the best objection to it. It is simply wrong!

  170. Lars P. says:

    atarsinc says:
    April 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm
    True, but you still have that energy in the atmosphere.
    The energy goes from warm to cold. Net energy flux from the surface to the atmosphere and not from atmosphere to surface:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Breakdown_of_the_incoming_solar_energy.svg

    Why don’t you think it to the end atarsinc?
    It would create a net energy transfer from atmosphere to surface if it would have a “hot spot” which it does not.
    It would eventually slow down the flux from surface to higher atmosphere if it would raise the temperature (decrease the temperature gradient)
    Which is not happening.
    It simply goes out of the system:

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2012/08/temperature-dependence-of-the-earths-outgoing-energy/

    The Earth average temperature varies in a Year by 3.5°C, much more then what we talk about here, and the Earth is getting rid very easily of it.

    How about people stop calling each other “warmistas” and ” deniers”. What does that add to the conversation? JP
    Hm, don’t you realise that warmistas is totally different to denier? Denier was chosen to insult skeptics as an analogy to holocaust denier.
    I see warmistas just as a naming as if the opposite to contrarian or skeptic?
    Do you find it insulting? Appologies if so. (Maybe you can explain me why, but you must not).
    Does CAGW-theory supporters sounds better? (I think there was a discussion about this some time ago, need to check what people agreed to… ) “CAGW-theory supporters” and “CAGW-theory skeptics” sounds acceptable to me.

  171. Lars P. says:

    MikeB says:
    April 8, 2013 at 11:22 am
    For equilibrium outgoing radiation must balance the incoming radiation ( in the long term). This is called the ‘radiation balance’ and it exists at the top of the atmosphere (TOA). If the Earth/atmosphere system were to emit more radiation than it received then it would grow colder and colder. If it emitted less than it received then ithe Earth would get hotter and hotter. OK so far? So the Earth must be in energy balance – energy in equals energy out.
    Depending what one calls “long term”?
    There are huge imbalances between what the Earth receives in energy and what goes out during the Year.
    The Earth receives during the North Hemisphere winter about 6% more energy from the Sun then in the North Hemisphere summer due to the elliptic orbit, however the outgoing longwave radiation is higher during the North Hemisphere summer, quite the contrary to the incoming energy – see the graph here:

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2012/08/temperature-dependence-of-the-earths-outgoing-energy/

  172. Lars P. says:

    Lars P. says:
    April 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm
    Uhm, appologies, right link with Global OLR is here:

  173. CodeTech says:

    MikeB, maybe on your planet, but on THIS planet outgoing radiation is whatever it needs to be to maintain equilibrium, whether day or night does not matter. Relative to the sky the sun is an extremely small point in the sky, the entire rest of the sky is available to radiate energy to. That’s ANY energy, whether or not the radiator is hot or not so hot, because the rest of the sky is only slightly above absolute zero.

    Willis is not wrong, you simply claiming it does not make it so.

    Heat loss to space is demonstrated empirically, so if your thought experiment or model doesn’t show that it should be so then your thought experiment or model is wrong.

    Honestly, some people need to stop following the dead-end logical fallacy of “greenhouses” and stop trying to trace the ping-pong ball antics of individual photons bouncing off of CO2 and just LOOK out the window. The atmosphere is nothing even remotely close to static, it’s constantly in motion, constantly absorbing energy from the sun, moving it around, then emitting it back to space whether on the dayside or nightside. The average temperature is more a function of atmospheric mass than composition, which is why it has proven to be so remarkably stable over the last few billion years.

  174. John Parsons says:

    Lars, I agree. However, how long does it take for the system to achieve equilibrium? I don’t know that answer. I do know that for some forcings in the paleo record it’s measured in millennia. JP

  175. atarsinc says:

    CodeTech says:
    April 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm
    “The average temperature is more a function of atmospheric mass than composition, which is why it has proven to be so remarkably stable over the last few billion years.”

    “…stable over the last few billion years.” That statement is not just false. It’s ridiculous. JP

  176. Alan D McIntire says:

    Outgoing radiation at night locally exceeds incoming radiation. The radiation the earth is receivng on the opposite side of the planet has no immediate effect on the radiation outgoing on your side- otherwise the weather in China or Australia would affect your temperature IMMEDIATELY because of that imaginary radiation balance requirement- there would not be a period of days or weeks for fronts to move about the earth- as happens in the real world.

  177. dbstealey says:

    atarsinc says:

    “That statement is not just false. It’s ridiculous”

    According to Prof Richard Lindzen of M.I.T., the global temperature as measured at the equator has not varied by more than ±1ºC over the past billion years.

  178. TimTheToolMan says:

    Nick writes “It reverts to sensible heat on condensation, and can’t just be lost.”

    And is supporting Willis’ argument without even realising it.

    Nick goes on to suggest “OLR can’t increase, because it has to generally match arriving sunlight.”

    And overall this is true.

    And finally Nick writes “It has nowhere to go but down”

    But this is incorrect. It will go up and down just like every other bit of radiation at that altitude. Just because it came as LH from water vapour means nothing. The broken part of the argument is that increasing rain can somehow magically occur without an outgoing radiative effect which in turn must drop the temperature at the surface. And this is the true part and what Willis is driving at.

    No Nick, the energy doesn’t magically go back down to satisfy this particular AGW argument. Increased evaporation is an opposing effect to increased DLR warming.

  179. CodeTech says:

    atarsinc, again you’ve completely missed what’s being said.

    In reality, if the temperature of the planet is within 5-10K over extremely long periods of time, like a billion or billions of years, that is “remarkably stable”. There have been immense changes along the way. The sun has a significantly higher output (see “Faint young sun paradox”). There have been ice ages. There have been immense amounts of CO2 injected into the atmosphere, meteorite hits that have created huge clouds of soot and toxic chemicals. Heck, the overall COMPOSITION of the atmosphere has changed, from a lot of CO2 and barely any Oxygen to 16% O2 and a trace of CO2. And yet, the paleological record shows relatively stable temperatures through it all.

    This is because, as I said above, it is NOT the composition of the atmosphere that matters.

    What determines average temperature is the size of the planet, and therefore the mass of atmosphere that it can sustain, and the distance from the sun. For example, the Goldilocks story could just as well have been written about Venus, Earth, and Mars. We’re “just right”, the other two are too close and too far.

    The problems occur when people get cause and effect mixed up. The very concepts of “runaway greenhouse” and other non-scientific conclusions are either fabricated from nothing to fool the gullible or the result of Bad Science, of the sort this post is about. There is NEVER going to be “20% more” water vapor in the air. NEVER. The liquid water portion of the atmosphere simply does not work that way. And if you or someone has created a model where it does, then that model is wrong.

  180. Thanks Willis, good BS detection!
    Useless studies based on useless models, indeed.

  181. John Parsons says:

    CodeTech says:
    April 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Code, If you consider the difference between “Snowballl Earth” and the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum to be “remarkably stable”, I think your definition of “remarkably stable” is far different than mine. If you consider the difference between the average temperature of the Paleogenic, 71.6 F and today, 53.6 F; “remarkably stable”; once again we have a big difference in definitions.

    As far as all the “DragonSlayer” stuff goes, I suggest you look at Roy Spencer’s comments on the subject. Skeptics don’t even believe that baloney. JP

  182. John Parsons says:

    dbstealey says:
    April 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Hi, D.B.,

    Dr. Lindzen has played one of his tricks on you. The temperature at the equator HAS been remarkably stable. What ‘Code’ and I were discussing were Global Average Temps. When the latitude of Florida was covered in Glacial Ice, the daily temps at the Equator were not far off those of today. JP

  183. dbstealey says:

    Jphn Parsons,

    Prof Lindzen is not the type to play “tricks” on people. He is a straight-talking scientific skeptic. I was simply pointing out an area that has been remarkably stable WRT temperature.

    Yes, global temperatures vary over time, by ≈10ºC. We are currently on the cooler side of the long term average, and the wild-eyed scare stories are based on a reversion to the mean.

    Nothing either unusual or unprecedented is occurring. And there is no verifiable, testable scientific measurements showing that the rise in CO2 is the cause of global warming. By taking the emotion out of the debate, all you are left with is natural climate variability; the Null Hypothesis. The AGW scare is fueled by grant money, not by scienctific measurements. Accept that basic fact, and you will be on the road to redemption.

  184. John Parsons says:

    D. B., No malicious intent with the word “trick”. It just makes you wonder why he would use that anomalous figure when the issue is about Global change. Perhaps he was talking about something altogether different. You weren’t trying to “trick” me were you? JP

  185. dbstealey says:

    John Parsons says:

    “You weren’t trying to ‘trick’ me were you?”

    John, ‘trick’ was your label. You brought it up.

    No need to play word games, John. The plain fact of the matter is that global warming is entirely natural. Global warming is neither unnatural, nor unprecedented. There is no measurable, testable evidence showing that global warming is caused by human activity. None at all.

    Once you accept that scientific fact, everything else falls into place. The entire “carbon” scare is a grant-fed scam. Really, there is nothing more to it than that.

  186. CodeTech says:

    Dragonslayer? So, you’re just going to ignore the observable reality by slapping a label on it and moving along? LOL…. ok then…

  187. John Parsons says:

    D.B., Just a joke. Not a very good one evidently. The rest of your comment reveals that your mind is completely made up. It makes me wonder why you even bother. You’ve already got all the answers. JP

  188. dbstealey says:

    John,

    You are not a very good jokester. You have yet to show that CAGW even exists. It does not exist, of course, it is simply a figment of your imagination. Absolutely nothing either unusual or unprecedented is occurring. You cannot show otherwise. Your belief system is based on True Belief; but nothing more.

    If not, then produce empirical, testable scientific evidence showing that AGW exists. You will be the first to be able to do so, and on the short list for the Nobel prize.

    Really, John, give it up. There is no evidence that AGW exists. None. Your belief is enough for you… but it is insufficient for scientific skeptics, who require solid scientific evidence — something that you completely lack.

  189. Willis Eschenbach says:

    MikeB says:
    April 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I think by now that Willis Eschenbach, who isn’t stupid, must realise that he is wrong in respect of energy being required each year.
    It is always a good test of character to observe what people do when they know that they are wrong. Do they bluff it out like Pachauri? Do they make an appeal to the scientific illiterate knowing that uniformed commentators will support them like they support their local football team?

    Mike B., you want to lecture us about a “test of character”? Neither you nor anyone has advanced a mechanism for the majority of the energy to return to the surface to re-evaporate more water. Now you’re trying to slime and slander me by claiming that I know I’m wrong and I’m hiding it.

    Listen, you little scumbag. I don’t do things like that, and accusing me of doing it without the slightest scrap of evidence is the action of a man without honor, not to mention a man lacking the smarts to come in out of the rain. Not only that, but you attack me and then provide a bunch of unattributed quotes that are not mine, but people don’t know that. That’s just plain sneaky.

    Insulting me and slandering me is not a good idea, MikeB, it’s a very dumb idea. I bite back.

    You want to start making nasty guesses about what’s in other people’s heads? Go do it somewhere else, because so far all you’ve shown us is what is in your nasty head, and it’s damn ugly. I don’t have any truck with people who try that kind of tactics. There is indeed a test of character around here.

    You just failed it miserably.

    w.

  190. John Parsons says:

    CodeTech, Your an intelligent person and I’ve learned some things from reading your posts. I’ve thoroughly investigated the idea that the composition of the atmosphere has no effect on the temperature of the planet. I agree completely with Roy Spencer’s argument on the issue. I’m not being dismissive of you…just that hypothesis. Thanks for taking the time to respond. JP

  191. dbstealey says:

    Mike B,

    Best to not insult Willis, who has forgotten more about the subject than you will ever learn. Willis has a sterling charachter, which you clearly lack. Go back to SkS or RC with your character assassinations. Your ad-hom attacks are not appropriate here.

  192. John Parsons says:

    Willis, I think you can see that your post was very thought provoking. I consider that a successful effort. So congrats on that.

    I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but in your initial math you had all the energy leaving the system within the year. You now say no one, “… has advanced a mechanism for the majority of the energy to return to the surface to re-evaporate more water.” Why would a “majority of the energy” need to be returned? Wouldn’t just a few percent each year be sufficient to cause a significant imbalance, creating more and more energy in the system over time? As far as a mechanism is concerned, the one I have in mind is the one we have: the reradiating of infrared.

    Thanks for helping me understand this issue. John Parsons

  193. CodeTech says:

    Well JP or atarsinc or whoever you are, you’re just demonstrated that you have very low reading comprehension skills. At no point have I said “no effect”. And apparently you’re not investigated very far. What I have attempted to explain is that it doesn’t matter to the extent that the panty-wetting CO2 alarmists are trying to express, and certainly makes no long term difference.

    The whole point of this thread was a ludicrous claim that there will be 20% more moisture in the air, which is a thoroughly impossible theory… both from observed effects of water vapor in the atmosphere, and the improbability of enough extra energy ever entering the system to create such a change.

    The discussion was, of course, sidetracked by logic-challenged people claiming that such a feat would only require one “burst” of extra energy to get it started.

    However, clearly attempting to explain something to you will continue to be an exercise in futility.

  194. Willis Eschenbach says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    dbstealey says:
    April 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Hi, D.B.,

    Dr. Lindzen has played one of his tricks on you. The temperature at the equator HAS been remarkably stable. What ‘Code’ and I were discussing were Global Average Temps. When the latitude of Florida was covered in Glacial Ice, the daily temps at the Equator were not far off those of today. JP

    John, there’s a name for folks who wander around making claims like yours, that the ice covered to the latitude of Florida.

    We call them “alarmists”. There’s no quicker way to lose traction around here than to make bogus claims like that.

    w.

  195. John Parsons says:

    Willis,
    That piece of information came from a skeptic blog called resilient earth, run by Doug Hoffman. Here’s the quote: “Eight hundred million years ago, during the Neoproterozoic Era, Earth underwent a monstrous ice age. There is evidence of glacial ice in tropical latitudes, only 15° to 30° north of the equator. In our world, this would mean glaciers as far south as Miami, Florida. Earth would have looked like a different planet, with almost no open ocean.”

    The data you present Willis, is from the last Ice Age. I was discussing a period nearly 800,000 years earlier. Maybe you didn’t see the original context: “billions of years” of Earth’s history.
    The point was, of course: to call differences in temp between the Neoproterzoic and the PETM “remarkably stable” is, to be kind, in the eye of the beholder.

    Do you still believe I’ve “lost traction” for that point? Have I lost traction with you? Or do you see that I was talking about a far older time in Earth’s history.

    Well Willis, you haven’t lost traction with me because of that misunderstanding. And I very much hope you can find the time to address my earlier comment.

    From one old sailor to another, cheers, JP

  196. John Parsons says:

    Willis, I forgot to include this:

    Climate of the Neoproterozoic
    Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Vol. 39: 417-460 (Volume publication date May 2011)
    DOI: 10.1146/annurev-earth-040809-152447
    R.T. Pierrehumbert,1 D.S. Abbot,1 A. Voigt,2 and D. Koll3
    1Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637; email: rtp1@geosci.uchicago.edu
    2Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
    3Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

    Abstract

    The Neoproterozoic is a time of transition between the ancient microbial world and the Phanerozoic, marked by a resumption of extreme carbon isotope fluctuations and glaciation after a billion-year absence. The carbon cycle disruptions are probably accompanied by changes in the stock of oxidants and connect to glaciations via changes in the atmospheric greenhouse gas content. Two of the glaciations reach low latitudes and may have been Snowball events with near-global ice cover. This review deals primarily with the Cryogenian portion of the Neoproterozoic, during which these glaciations occurred. The initiation and deglaciation of Snowball states are discussed in light of a suite of general circulation model simulations designed to facilitate intercomparison between different models. Snow cover and the nature of the frozen surface emerge as key factors governing initiation and deglaciation. The most comprehensive model discussed confirms the possibility of initiating a Snowball event with a plausible reduction of CO2. Deglaciation requires a combination of elevated CO2 and tropical dust accumulation, aided by some cloud warming. The cause of Neoproterozoic biogeochemical turbulence, and its precise connection with Snowball glaciations, remains obscure.

    I wouldn’t want you to think I trust without verifying. JP

  197. John Parsons says:

    CodeTech,

    Here’s what you said, “…I said above, it is NOT the composition of the atmosphere that matters.” So it has an effect, but it doesn’t matter. OK.

    I’m John Parsons. My company is ATARS, Inc. When the discussion went over to wordpress, somehow two usernames were created. Sometimes it shows atarsinc and other times John Parsons. Nothing nefarious. JP

    [Thank you. Please correct the typo in your email address assigned to this user-ID in WordPress. WUWT does require a valid email address be used, even though they are not displayed. Mod]

  198. John Parsons says:

    CodeTech,

    Sorry, got interrupted. The authors presented a hypothesis with a mathematical model supporting that hypothesis. Willis challenged their hypothesis with a simple mathematical model of his own. Valid questions (some at least) have been raised about Willis’ model. One of these questions pertained to whether or not Willis was correct in his assumption that all the additional energy input into the atmosphere in a year would exit the system in that same year. This would markedly effect the results of Willis’ conclusions. As you pointed out, some have suggested that all that would be needed to achieve the hypothesized increase in heat in the atmosphere would be a onetime (one years worth) energy input. Others, including myself, suggested that the input would not leave as fast as it arrived (I.e., during the same year as it arrived) and would cause an imbalance in the system. The results of that would be different than those postulated by Willis.
    I’m hoping Willis will clarify if his model needs to be tweaked or not.

    You, on the other hand, apparently believe the composition of the atmosphere matters not at all. Given that, you may wish to offer a mathematical model of your own, accept Willis’ as it stands or simply say that “it doesn’t matter” because you have a completely different theory of how and why Earth’s temperature is maintained. I believe there is a group who call themselves the “Dragonslayers” who believe something similar to what you’ve…well…alluded to. If you propose an alternative model great. If you just say ‘that can’t happen’, well OK, CodeTech says that can’t happen.

    You don’t need the snide remarks about “panty wetting” and all the rest. In fact, it detracts from your message. I don’t understand why you do that to your own ideas. JP

  199. Curious George says:

    “[nobody] has advanced a mechanism for the majority of the energy to return to the surface to re-evaporate more water”. I believe in the conservation of energy, so the energy is not lost forever when used to evaporate water; actually, it is released in a form of heat when the water condenses again. That suggests one “return” mechanism: rain. Another mechanism is a convection; a downdraft is not as cold as it would have been otherwise. A third mechanism is a general heating of the atmosphere.

    I always enjoy your articles but this one might be an exception; “Peter” and Nick Stokes have a valid point. But I also don’t like people who are always right.

  200. Lars P. says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    Lars, I agree. However, how long does it take for the system to achieve equilibrium? I don’t know that answer. I do know that for some forcings in the paleo record it’s measured in millennia. JP

    The more I learn about climate the more I understand that it is never in equilibrium, it is always gaining or losing a bit of heat. This is coming also from the orbital movements where by the time the planet gain heat to come closer to equilibrium the situation changed again.
    But it is coming also from internal variations which can be due to clouds and other factors.

    The period you refer for 800 million years ago is really long ago (you missed 3 zeros in your post at 11:14) and we do not know the extend to which snowball earth existed and not even exactly where Rodinia was (how much was it centered around the South Pole like Antarctica? How exactly were the continents located plays a very important role to climate.
    The atmosphere was also different, it was also before the ozone layer existed:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodinia

    Look again at the current Earth energy budget:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Breakdown_of_the_incoming_solar_energy.svg

    From 174 PW 33 PW are directly absorbed by the atmosphere, that is almost 20% of total solar incoming energy. What were the numbers at that time?
    So a lot of differences. And even the temperature was indeed remarkable constant with all these variations (a 15 °C variation over hundred of million of years, I call it pretty constant, if you call it highly variable, that is a simple difference in definition)

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

    http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm

    John Parsons says:
    April 9, 2013 at 12:36 am
    The authors presented a hypothesis with a mathematical model supporting that hypothesis. Willis challenged their hypothesis with a simple mathematical model of his own.

    Sorry but not. Willis has done a simplified mathematical calculation of what does their model mean in energy transfer. This is not a model of its own but a simple the energy transfer calculation related to what was communicated.

    And the problem to the “recirculation of energy which should come back down” as some have repeated, the problem to that is simple: the missing hot spot does not allow net energy transfer to come from the top of the atmosphere to the ground.
    But evaporation & rain means net energy transfer from ground to top.

  201. John Parsons says:

    Lars, You say:

    “And the problem to the “recirculation of energy which should come back down” as some have repeated, the problem to [sic] that is simple: the missing hot spot does not allow net energy transfer to come from the top of the atmosphere to the ground.”

    The problem for you is that the “…net energy transfer to come from the top of the atmosphere to the ground…” is not necessary. The transfer happens in the troposphere. JP

  202. John Parsons says:

    Lars, By the way, you are correct when you say we have different definitions of “remarkably constant”. To me a 15*C change is not “constant”. And the time frame was not chosen by me, it was laid out by the person making the case for a supposed “remarkable stability”. JP

  203. John Parsons says:

    Willis, I’m disappointed that you chose not respond to my last two questions. I always learn something when you do. I’ve followed through on my attempt to get some feedback from the authors. A pretty esteemed group. Should be interesting to compare your work with theirs. I’ll update you if you like. Just let me know. Feel free to use my email address. Best wishes, JP

  204. Willis Eschenbach says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Willis,
    That piece of information came from a skeptic blog called resilient earth, run by Doug Hoffman. Here’s the quote: “Eight hundred million years ago, during the Neoproterozoic Era, Earth underwent a monstrous ice age. There is evidence of glacial ice in tropical latitudes, only 15° to 30° north of the equator. In our world, this would mean glaciers as far south as Miami, Florida. Earth would have looked like a different planet, with almost no open ocean.”

    So your source for your comment is an uncited, unreferenced blog post? And you think that covers it?

    Color me unimpressed.

    W

  205. Willis Eschenbach says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 8, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Willis, I forgot to include this:

    Climate of the Neoproterozoic…

    Abstract

    The Neoproterozoic is a time of transition between the ancient microbial world and the Phanerozoic, marked by a resumption of extreme carbon isotope fluctuations and glaciation after a billion-year absence. The carbon cycle disruptions are probably accompanied by changes in the stock of oxidants and connect to glaciations via changes in the atmospheric greenhouse gas content. Two of the glaciations reach low latitudes and may have been Snowball events with near-global ice cover. This review deals primarily with the Cryogenian portion of the Neoproterozoic, during which these glaciations occurred. The initiation and deglaciation of Snowball states are discussed in light of a suite of general circulation model simulations designed to facilitate intercomparison between different models. Snow cover and the nature of the frozen surface emerge as key factors governing initiation and deglaciation. The most comprehensive model discussed confirms the possibility of initiating a Snowball event with a plausible reduction of CO2. Deglaciation requires a combination of elevated CO2 and tropical dust accumulation, aided by some cloud warming. The cause of Neoproterozoic biogeochemical turbulence, and its precise connection with Snowball glaciations, remains obscure.

    I wouldn’t want you to think I trust without verifying. JP

    Since that says absolutely nothing about “the latitude of Florida”, and it occurred 800 MILLION years ago, and the article was written by Pierrehumbert, yes, you are trusting without verifying. Pierrehumbert is a wild alarmist. He’s using a climate model, all of which are unable to model the current world, to model the world of 800 million years ago Me, I wouldn’t trust a word he says, especially about what happened nearly a billion years ago.

    I do appreciate the effort, though. You’re on the right track. Now you just have to find some real science.

    w.

  206. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Curious George says:
    April 9, 2013 at 11:17 am

    “[nobody] has advanced a mechanism for the majority of the energy to return to the surface to re-evaporate more water”.

    I believe in the conservation of energy, so the energy is not lost forever when used to evaporate water; actually, it is released in a form of heat when the water condenses again.

    That suggests one “return” mechanism: rain.

    Rain is returning the energy to the surface? Rain?

    The net effect of rain on the surface is COOLING. You’re just throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks.

    Another mechanism is a convection; a downdraft is not as cold as it would have been otherwise.

    Energy in general doesn’t mix downwards in the atmosphere. If you have such a downdraft it needs to be forced down and that takes an equivalent amount of energy. There’s no free lunch.

    A third mechanism is a general heating of the atmosphere.

    RIght … the entire atmosphere is going to warm enough to provide 15 W/m2 of additional energy to the surface … again, it looks like you’re just writing and hoping it makes sense.

    I always enjoy your articles but this one might be an exception; “Peter” and Nick Stokes have a valid point. But I also don’t like people who are always right.

    No, YOU THINK Nick Stokes has a valid point … but then you’re a guy who thinks rain warms the earth, so I fear your opinion on this question is worth about as much as Nick’s …

    w.

  207. Willis Eschenbach says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 9, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Willis, I’m disappointed that you chose not respond to my last two questions.

    And I’m disappointed that you don’t have a life. However, I have one, and a day job, and right now I’m on the road.

    Your bitching and whining that I’m not answering when Johnny wants an answer are noted, however, and will undoubtedly delay any future answers.

    And I do hope you get a life, so you can understand the constraints that others work under.

    w.

  208. John Parsons says:

    Willis, I was lucky enough to retire at 27, and really have forgotten what a “day job’ is like. Sorry to be a bother. Safe travels. JP

  209. Neil Jordan says:

    Willis: your take-down was too late. This morning’s Water & Wastewater News carries the headline that global warming will cause severe precipitation:

    http://eponline.com/articles/2013/04/05/severe-precipitation-caused-by-global-warming.aspx

    [begin quote]
    Severe Precipitation Caused by Global Warming
    As greenhouses gases in the atmosphere continue to rise, intense precipitation will become even more intense, according to a new NOAA-led study that has been published in Geophysical Research Letters.
    [end quote]

    Probable Maximum Precipitation is neither probable nor maximum. The source of this statement is VM Yevjevich “Misconceptions in hydrology and their consequences”:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/WR004i002p00225/abstract

    which I tracked down via quote in CT Haan “Statistical Methods in Hydrology”, P. 177. I have quoted Yevjevich’s abstract in full:

    “Keywords: Climatic change; floods; forecasting; ground water; precipitation

    “Several misconceptions have been introduced into hydrology that have had adverse consequences on the science and on water-resources development. Persistent use of the concept of maximum precipitation and maximum probable precipitation, for which there is no physical proof, has discouraged research into the structure and probability of extreme events, and may have led to an unwarranted sense of security concerning flood-control works. Attempts at long range forecasts of water supply based entirely on meteorological processes have misdirected research and raised false expectations. A misconception that hydrologic processes are composed of a limited number of hidden periodicities has retarded the use of modern stochastic analyses of time series. Cloud-seeding to increase numbers of raindrops rather than their coalescence may have had a negative effect on precipitation in arid regions. Considering ground water, instead of the aquifer, as a resource has stressed the technology of withdrawal at the expense of study of methods of recharge and has led to much unplanned overdraft of ground water. Use of descriptive instead of numerical variables has delayed the application of modern statistical methods to planning the exploration of the ground-water environment. As a result of the neglect of the stochastic properties of porous mediums, fluid mechanics theory has not departed far from the original works of Darcy. Hydrology has developed slowly because it has been considered an appendage of hydraulic engineering rather than a natural science.”

  210. Lars P. says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm
    The problem for you is that the “…net energy transfer to come from the top of the atmosphere to the ground…” is not necessary. The transfer happens in the troposphere. JP
    John the troposphere does not change the rules for net energy transfer, the physic applies, it is still our universe:

    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter1/vert_temp_trop.html

    “rate of temperature decrease is about 6.5 degrees Celsius per 1 km (called the lapse rate)”

  211. Lars P. says:

    John Parsons says:
    April 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm
    Lars, By the way, you are correct when you say we have different definitions of “remarkably constant”. To me a 15*C change is not “constant”. And the time frame was not chosen by me, it was laid out by the person making the case for a supposed “remarkable stability”. JP
    Color me unimpressed. How constant was the orbit of the Earth in terms of billion years? How constant was the duration of the day during the same time frame? How constant is even the quantity of water on the Earth in the same time frame? How constant were the continents & the ocean currents? How constant was the temperature on Mars?
    In this time frame 15°C variation is remarkably constant, but yes everybody can have an opinion.

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