A case of the vapors – another global cooling mechanism found

From the University of Manchester

Organic vapors affect clouds leading to previously unidentified climate cooling

University of Manchester scientists, writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, have shown that natural emissions and manmade pollutants can both have an unexpected cooling effect on the world’s climate by making clouds brighter.

Clouds are made of water droplets, condensed on to tiny particles suspended in the air. When the air is humid enough, the particles swell into cloud droplets. It has been known for some decades that the number of these particles and their size control how bright the clouds appear from the top, controlling the efficiency with which clouds scatter sunlight back into space. A major challenge for climate science is to understand and quantify these effects which have a major impact in polluted regions.

The tiny seed particles can either be natural (for example, sea spray or dust) or manmade pollutants (from vehicle exhausts or industrial activity). These particles often contain a large amount of organic material and these compounds are quite volatile, so in warm conditions exist as a vapour (in much the same way as a perfume is liquid but gives off an aroma when it evaporates on warm skin).

The researchers found that the effect acts in reverse in the atmosphere as volatile organic compounds from pollution or from the biosphere evaporate and give off characteristic aromas, such as the pine smells from forest, but under moist cooler conditions where clouds form, the molecules prefer to be liquid and make larger particles that are more effective seeds for cloud droplets.

“We discovered that organic compounds such as those formed from forest emissions or from vehicle exhaust, affect the number of droplets in a cloud and hence its brightness, so affecting climate,” said study author Professor Gordon McFiggans, from the University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

“We developed a model and made predictions of a substantially enhanced number of cloud droplets from an atmospherically reasonable amount of organic gases.

“More cloud droplets lead to brighter cloud when viewed from above, reflecting more incoming sunlight. We did some calculations of the effects on climate and found that the cooling effect on global climate of the increase in cloud seed effectiveness is at least as great as the previously found entire uncertainty in the effect of pollution on clouds.”

###

The paper:

Nature Geoscience paper, ‘Cloud droplet number enhanced by co-condensation of organic papers,’ by Gordon McFiggans et al,

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79 Responses to A case of the vapors – another global cooling mechanism found

  1. John Tillman says:

    In the present infantile state of climatology, scientists cannot say with any high degree of probability, let alone certainty, whether the net sign of human effect on climate is cooling or warming. But in either case, negligible to trivial.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I still find it bewildering how modern “scientists” can make a living from the largely speculative crap that is climate “science”!

  3. Sensorman says:

    “Nature Geoscience paper, ‘Cloud droplet number enhanced by co-condensation of organic papers,’ by Gordon McFiggans et al” – think this should read “…organic vapours”?

  4. Skiphil says:

    It seems that clouds are where a lot of the real action is for understanding climate and energy balance, etc. yet we are very early on in the study of clouds. Did any of the CAGW hysterics of the past two decades predict this:

    “More cloud droplets lead to brighter cloud when viewed from above, reflecting more incoming sunlight. We did some calculations of the effects on climate and found that the cooling effect on global climate of the increase in cloud seed effectiveness is at least as great as the previously found entire uncertainty in the effect of pollution on clouds.”

  5. tadchem says:

    Interesting that clouds are admitted to be an important factor, yet they *STILL* haven’t been able to successfully incorporate clouds [into] their ‘models.’

  6. Of course, if the pollution-induced changes in albedo are greater than previously thought, more of the CO2-induced warming has been masked, and you can kiss goodbye to your low climate sensitivity.

  7. GlynnMhor says:

    Clouds are still described in the IPCC Reports as an area “poorly understood”.

    Yet some two thirds of the supposed CO2 warming in the AGW paradigm involves the formation and behaviour of clouds from water vapour.

  8. Matthew R. Epp, P.E. says:

    It seems I remember reading that the smoky mountians were smoky because of the haze created by the trees. This haze kep the mountains shrouded in clouds and thus cooler and more moist due to little if any direct sunlight Sounds like the same principle here only I learned this in grade school.

    Thoughts?

    Matt

  9. Matthew R. Epp, P.E.:

    At May 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm you ask

    It seems I remember reading that the smoky mountians were smoky because of the haze created by the trees. This haze kep the mountains shrouded in clouds and thus cooler and more moist due to little if any direct sunlight Sounds like the same principle here only I learned this in grade school.

    Thoughts?

    Indeed, as you say, this old stuff. However, they have modeled it.

    Assuming the model is correct, then it can assist parametrisation of cloud behaviour in climate models. Which, of course, does not mean the models will then be any good. But it does mean one of their faults will have been reduced.

    Richard

  10. vukcevic says:

    As long it is man made, it warms, it cools, it helps peer review publishing, it justifies salary and if lucky brings in grant for a further research, in short it’s a ticket to board the climate gravy train.

  11. DesertYote says:

    No, no, no! You got it all wrong. What we need to do is to add back in the calculated cooling so that we can compensate for the effects of this pollution and arrive at the real global temperature that can not be properly measured by thermometers.

    /sarc (just to be safe)

    BTW, I read a NASA study in (~)2006 where the researcher did exactly this! It was at this time that I realized that NASA was completely off the rails.

  12. GeologyJim says:

    Vukcevic says:

    ” … a ticket to board the climate gravy train.”

    Yes, that’s the whole argument in a nut-shell. Eisenhower was spot-on about the need to be “wary of the scientific elite” … especially those armed with computers.

  13. Dave Wendt says:

    This seems to be a new hot topic for grant seeking climate researchers. This is at least the third post in the last couple of weeks on studies claiming an influence for non human parts of nature on the climate. It is a welcome, if seriously belated, recognition of what should have been almost intuitively obvious from the beginning.

    It also is another piece of evidence that the entire anti carbon edifice that has been deployed has been a colossal waste. For what would amount to the merest pittance in relation to the hundreds of billions squandered on carbon taxes, biofuels, wind and solar, etc., the problem ( if it actually could be shown to exist) could be completely addressed by simply planting more trees.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-009-9626-y

    Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming

    Abstract
    Each year, irrigated Saharan- and Australian-desert forests could sequester amounts of atmospheric CO2 at least equal to that from burning fossil fuels. Without any rain, to capture CO2 produced from gasoline requires adding about $1 to the per-gallon pump-price to cover irrigation costs, using reverse osmosis (RO), desalinated, sea water. Such mature technology is economically competitive with the currently favored, untested, power-plant Carbon Capture (and deep underground, or under-ocean) Sequestration (CCS). Afforestation sequesters CO2, mostly as easily stored wood, both from distributed sources (automotive, aviation, etc., that CCS cannot address) and from power plants. Climatological feasibility and sustainability of such irrigated forests, and their potential global impacts are explored using a general circulation model (GCM). Biogeophysical feedback is shown to stimulate considerable rainfall over these forests, reducing desalination and irrigation costs; economic value of marketed, renewable, forest biomass, further reduces costs; and separately, energy conservation also reduces the size of the required forests and therefore their total capital and operating costs. The few negative climate impacts outside of the forests are discussed, with caveats. If confirmed with other GCMs, such irrigated, subtropical afforestation probably provides the best, near-term route to complete control of green-house-gas-induced, global warming.

    These folks suggest using desalination to provide the needed water, but I think it could be accomplished even more economically by towing icebergs to desert adjacent coastal areas, beaching them, and using the resulting melt water to provide for the irrigation. Instead of all the futile and failing carbon exchanges we could have an iceberg exchange, which would likely bring a rapidly declining price for icebergs delivered. Of course the climate crisis establishment would have little interest in such a plan as it provides almost no possibility for expanding what they have always been most concerned with i.e. more power and control over all the rest of us.

    Of course with recent speculations that CO2 is the only thing keeping us from from a steep decline in global temps, it might not be the best time to pursue this, but the upside of removing every remaining justification for the whole carbon demonization program along with with the many local improvements it could provide make it worth consideration.

  14. Frank Mlinar says:

    Questions I have: Can anyone point to data showing a general global rise in cloud cover? Can anyone point to data explaining the global rise in temperatures in the presence of this increasing cloud cover? Do we actually want perpetually cloudy conditions? Scientists have long known about cloud cover/water vapor. After all, water vapor is the major greenhouse gas. However, water vapor does not have a long half life as does CO2, and cycles much more rapidly. Yes the global warming increases and decreases (at least goes flat for times), for many reasons. The point is to explain the overall increase and how/why cloud cover affects it. Since the general trend is up and cloud cover cools, what is the relationship?

  15. Duster says:

    Jeremy says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I still find it bewildering how modern “scientists” can make a living from the largely speculative crap that is climate “science”!

    You want to remember that all science starts out as speculation. Some philosophers of science such as Karl Popper and Carl Hempel rejected the idea that development of explanatory ideas concerning scientific problems was even part of science. This was because while many times an explanatory concept (e.g. GHG) is derived in some manner from first principles, this isn’t necessarily the case with all hypotheses. However once you have an hypothesis, that can be tested via empirical testing, consistency with first principles, etc. Testing against first principles however assumes that in fact the individual(s) formulating the explanation know enough of the interactions to apply first principles validly.

  16. richard telford says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    Of course, if the pollution-induced changes in albedo are greater than previously thought, more of the CO2-induced warming has been masked, and you can kiss goodbye to your low climate sensitivity.

    The opposite is true. Pollution levels have declined substantially in most of the world over the last 4 or 5 decades. Thus the warming is a direct result of reduced cloud albedo (and cloud persistence).

    Strong evidence that climate sensitivity to 2XCO2 is close to zero.

  17. dbstealey says:

    richard telford says:

    “…the CO2-induced warming has been masked, and you can kiss goodbye to your low climate sensitivity.”

    Nice try, but still a FAIL. Unless you can explain how the 40% rise in CO2 exactly counteracts your “pollution-induced changes in albedo”.

    Alarmist arguments are getting increasingly bizarre. You should just admit what you know is the truth: that the rise in CO2 has had little if any effect on global temperatures. The planet is deconstructing the “carbon” scare, and you lose what little credibility remaining by not acknowledging that fact.

  18. Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming

    No need for desal or towing icebergs in Australia. There is already a very large source of fresh water in northern Australia, the Argyle dam.

  19. AlecM says:

    They’ve still got it wrong. Sagan’s aerosol optical physics is wrong because they inherited a serious mistake from van der Hulst.

    It’s the large drops that create high albedo. All of Climate Alchemy is wrong because of this!

  20. Phil. says:

    AlecM says:
    May 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm
    They’ve still got it wrong. Sagan’s aerosol optical physics is wrong because they inherited a serious mistake from van der Hulst.

    Care to elaborate on that?

  21. Questions I have: Can anyone point to data showing a general global rise in cloud cover?

    Global cloud cover has declined over recent decades. In particular, low level clouds have declined. Almost certainly the result of decreased anthropogenic aerosols, including black carbon over most of the world. India being a notable exception.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/20/spencers-cloud-hypothesis-confirmed/

    Note that aerosol seeded clouds are more persistent, and this is probably more important to surface temperatures than cloud albedo.

  22. Jeff L says:

    Interesting that the abstract features natural VOCs as prominently as manmade source.

    Taken at face value, this would imply that land use could have an impact on (local) climate – ie deforestation = less VOCs = less dense clouds = warming. Not saying I believe it but it would be implied by the theory. I believe Pielke Sr. (or is it Jr.?) has been pushing land use impacts on local climate as important for awhile.

  23. Pedantic old Fart says:

    Yeah. Sure, Science embarks as speculation. So having laid out all this stuff that I think I’ve heard before, what do these guys do? Go out and make some measurements? Devise some ingenious experiments? No! They made a computer model.

  24. peterg says:

    How hot would it be without clouds?

  25. Dave Wendt says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    May 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm
    Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming

    No need for desal or towing icebergs in Australia. There is already a very large source of fresh water in northern Australia, the Argyle dam.

    They also have, from reports I’ve seen, several large desal plants that are basically mothballed. That just reinforces my point that, for a relatively miniscule investment, we could eliminate the “problem” and also eliminate the “need” for all the draconian and damaging efforts we have been saddled with.In Australia they could get a pretty good jump on this for less than the cost of one small to medium wind farm.

  26. Kev-in-Uk says:

    But, but, but………didn’t we kind of ‘know’ this from ages ago? – i.e. that clouds reflect sunlight and ergo have a probable negative impact on temperature? The cloud seeding issue is just another ‘unkown’ – speculatively ‘modeled’ which is subsequently ‘improved’ by adding aerosol/pollutant ‘seeds’ in the model……..etc, etc……more ‘models all the way down’, methinks

  27. Berényi Péter says:

    “We discovered that organic compounds such as those formed from forest emissions or from vehicle exhaust, affect the number of droplets in a cloud and hence its brightness, so affecting climate”

    Easy, forests should be regulated. Or even better, utterly destroyed to get rid of emissions once and for all.

  28. Dave Wendt says:

    As for the Sahara, a canal from the Med to the Qattara Depression would not only generate large amounts of hydro power, but would create a large salt lake, and evaporation from it would do a good job of greening a large part of the Sahara.

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

  29. Les Johnson says:

    Richard Telford: your

    “…the CO2-induced warming has been masked, and you can kiss goodbye to your low climate sensitivity.”

    Possibly. But, natural VOCs from forests, both urban and rural, account for a larger percent of ozone precursors in cities like Toronto. These same compounds are likely to be the aerosols modeled in this paper.

    As vegetation worldwide is up over 6% since 1980, and forests are now larger in North America than they have been for a 100 years, it is likely that any VOCs that affect cloud brightness, are likely to be natural in origin.

    But, as this is a model, and not empirical data, I will remain skeptical of the results.

  30. John Parsons says:

    GlynnMhor says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    “Yet some two thirds of the supposed CO2 warming in the AGW paradigm involves the formation and behaviour of clouds from water vapour.”

    What “AGW paradigm” are you talking about. Certainly not the IPCC. JP

  31. Philip Bradley says:
    May 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    The opposite is true. Pollution levels have declined substantially in most of the world over the last 4 or 5 decades.
    ——————–
    I guess you have never been to China or India. Sulphate loading is flat since about 1975, not substantially declining.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/antrhopogenic-global-cooling/

  32. glenncz says:

    >>Questions I have: Can anyone point to data showing a general global rise in cloud cover? Can anyone point to data explaining the global rise in temperatures in the presence of this increasing cloud cover?

    Google
    http://www.drroyspencer.com cloud cover
    He has a number of posts that address cloud cover.
    esp this post that correlates the PDO with changes in global cloud cover
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/global-warming-as-a-natural-response/
    at the bottom of that article are also links to papers he wrote regarding this relationship

  33. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Smoky mountains, USA, = Blue Mountains,NSW, 50+ miles west of Sydney. A beautiful area and a similar reason for the blue haze but eucalyptus trees and their oily emissions.

  34. atarsinc says:

    peterg says:
    May 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm
    “How hot would it be without clouds?”

    Clouds are inextricably linked to water vapor. Without either, it would be about -16^C. JP

  35. atarsinc says:

    Berényi Péter says:
    May 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    “Easy, forests should be regulated. Or even better, utterly destroyed to get rid of emissions once and for all.”

    Why would we want to”destroy” a temperature modulator? JP

  36. Duster says:

    “You want to remember that all science starts out as speculation. Some philosophers of science such as Karl Popper and Carl Hempel rejected the idea that development of explanatory ideas concerning scientific problems was even part of science.”

    Never heard of Mr. Hempel, but are you sure you are not mistaking Karl Popper for someone else? Popper asserted that all scientific knowledge is, and always remains, hypothesis. In contrast to the fashion of the day, which sought the recipe for extorting theories from facts by some sort of distillation, Popper emphasized that science always starts with, and is guided by, hypotheses.

  37. Louis says:

    This world seems to have a well-designed climate system with self-correcting mechanisms built into it. Who would have guessed?

  38. Jimbo says:

    I hate being sarcastic but I was told that the science was settled. We MUST act now! Imagine the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns.

    If ever there was an area of serious scientific dispute and controversy it is Climate Science at No. 1. It’s never settled.

  39. So … The Clean Air Act is the US and UK and a bunch of other industrial nations would have have created cleaner air which would resulting warming?

    From the 1980s on or so ….

  40. Jimbo says:

    Is it me or has the text font changed? Please advise.

    [Check your ctrl+scroll wheel setting. No change on WUWT. Mod.]

  41. Jimbo says:

    “We developed a model and made predictions of a substantially enhanced number of cloud droplets from an atmospherically reasonable amount of organic gases.

    This is not on. Climate scientists make PROJECTIONS not ” predictions“. Sheesh! & LOL.

  42. richard telford says:
    May 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I guess you have never been to China or India. Sulphate loading is flat since about 1975, not substantially declining.
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/antrhopogenic-global-cooling/

    What Tamino says is,

    They find (as do previous studies) rapid increase in sulfate emissions from mid-century until about 1975-1980, followed by a decline in emissions.

    Please don’t misrepresent a source, and I noted there are exceptions to the general global reductions in anthropogenic aerosols, specifically mentioning India. I could go on, reductions in atmospheric nitrogen compounds from the use of catalytic converters that exactly coincides with the start of the mid-1970s warming, etc.

  43. ikh says:

    What I find fascinating, is that a couple of years ago, the “Team” would have squashed publication of a paper like this. Or the would have forced it the be published in a minor journal.

    We are now seeing many more papers than ever I can remember, that do not reinforce the “consensus”. I suspect / hope that we are evolving from post normal science back to normal science. Although, I fear it will take a while yet.

    Regards

    /ikh

  44. Jim Rose says:

    @AlecM

    What was van der Hulst’s mistake? If true this affects some of my work, I really would like to know.

  45. mike says:

    The UK is now climate quackology central. On one hand you have dumbed down group thinking in academia and on the other you have the greenfleecing Royal family sucking the lifeblood out of the once renowned Royal Society.

  46. Frank Mlinar says:

    Is there any historical global pollution data that could be used to see if there is any correlation with clouds? I was also pointed to http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/20/spencers-cloud-hypothesis-confirmed/ This paper referenced looked at reasons for cloud distributions over only the last 39 years. It does not tie the formations to global warming except through statements like; “The declines in total cloud cover seen at middle latitudes and the increases in the Arctic agree with recent predictions by global climate models given greenhouse warming.” The article also talks about aerosols/clouds as if they are are an already known process, albeit not completely known. It seems to me that the title of this WATT article “another global cooling mechanism found…” is misleading. It is already known and is in the models to some level of accuracy. Further, what about before the Clean Air Act and into the 1800s when it was even cooler?

  47. Chuck Nolan says:

    Berényi Péter says:
    May 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm
    “We discovered that organic compounds such as those formed from forest emissions or from vehicle exhaust, affect the number of droplets in a cloud and hence its brightness, so affecting climate”

    Easy, forests should be regulated. Or even better, utterly destroyed to get rid of emissions once and for all.
    ———————————
    There you go forgetting about the unintended consequences.
    Where we gonna get Christmas trees?
    cn

  48. The first law in climate science! Any changes of climate must be caused by changes internal to the Earth, preferable caused by man and can not be attributed the object outside the Earth such as the Sun or the Moon. Therefore any failed prediction has to have a new or re-circulated Earth based cause. The heat has escaped to the depth of the oceans, [recent] cooling is caused by Chinese smokestacks, cooling is caused by the warm Arctic or organic compounds from plants is cooling the Earth.

  49. Janice Moore says:

    “affect the number of droplets” … “affecting climate”… “We developed a model and made predictions” … “atmospherically reasonable” … .

    Nonsense!

    “Climate Alchemy ” [AlecM]
    ****************************************

    Hey, Jimbo! This dovetails nicely with your excellent ship to submarine (now looking for AGW in the deep oceans) “Ding! ding!” LOL metaphor (on the I-can’t-remember-thread recently).

    Hansen: [looking out sub porthole into the murky depths] Ah, this is more like it, Cook! That water is mighty warm; our supersensitive crackdiddly magnificent CO2 detection decoder (a.k.a. thermometer) says that the ocean is a whopping 68 degrees F! That’s a LOT more than we expected. It MUST BE —

    Cook: [high five's H.] C– O — 2!

    SubCommander [under contract, not part of The Team -- as if they could!]: Mr. Hansen, sir, (cough), we are at a depth of 20 feet. Water’s pretty warm this time of year in Florida.

    Hansen: Oh [frowny face]……………………… [brightens] — clouds!

    [Next scene: Hansen and Cook getting into a tiny airplane, the (non-Team) pilot looking highly dubious makes sure he is paid in advance.]
    ************************************************************

    Re: font — I haven’t detected a change — MUST mean there isn’t one, LOL.

  50. Niff says:

    Since there are several comments that disparage the paper I felt compelled to go look for myself.

    I recommend that in every case. Thinking for yourself is almost as entertaining as reading WUWT.

    This one is not behind a paywall and looks to be a sincere and substantial effort.

    My understanding of it, and I am much too dumb to understand it all, is that they used actual droplet measurements taken by others and applied their minds and all of the associated previously compiled methods and models in examining this topic to understand The effect of physical and chemical aerosol properties on warm cloud droplet activation.

    I am prepared to accept that this is not your typical fawning CAGW must-get-into-AR5 rent seeking paper and should be assumed to be a serious examination of the topic that is actually relevant and important to our shared interest in the real influences of our climate.

  51. Katherine says:

    “We discovered that organic compounds such as those formed from forest emissions or from vehicle exhaust, affect the number of droplets in a cloud and hence its brightness, so affecting climate,” said study author Professor Gordon McFiggans, from the University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

    That statement was remarkably evenhanded. I wonder if this reflects the start of academia’s step back from global warming?

  52. Gary Pearse says:

    This kind of paper is part of the “turning around” that we will see more of in climate science. Once again, seeing the flat-lining and decline of global temps, these guys won’t say we were wrong, they say the CO2 Armageddon has been “masked” by the cooling from forest vapours and MAN MADE POLLUTANTS. Having recorded that the planet has been greening significantly and forests growing more robust and into deserts – surely if org vapours are the cause, it must be mainly natural – wow what a big negative feedback this is. The auto exhaust is CO2 and water vapour (virtually all vehicles have catalytic converters) – this is not organic vapours that can form “perfume” droplets.

    If Cook’s survey of the climate science industry doesn’t show the 97% having eroded significantly post climategate, then that is itself proof of statistical fabrication. Even Hansen is going “cool”, Trenberth is not very wholeheartedly looking for the “missing heat” – more like OJ looking for Nicole’s killer- and it was Phil Jones after the climategate deflated his world that was the first to point out that there had been no statistical warming for about 15 yrs, which tripped the bold step of Hadley folk to say we were going to be cooling through 2017. Watch for the U of Washington State, Colorado Boulder, and some others to come out with getting-colder-papers.

  53. Jeff Alberts says:

    Louis says:
    May 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    This world seems to have a well-designed climate system with self-correcting mechanisms built into it. Who would have guessed?

    Except when it isn’t all peaches and cream. Ya know, like glacials, which has been the norm for a couple million years or so I think. And of course all the wild ups and downs which have occurred over billions of years. You’re making the same mistake as “climatologists”, only looking at a teeny tiny snapshot in time where things are relatively stable and favorable to humans.

  54. Jack Hydrazine says:

    It’s called Global Dimming! LOL!

  55. James at 48 says:

    And it’s been a while since we had a good Pinutubo or St. Helens sized explosion. We’re way overdue. We’re even overdue for a Mazama or a Long Valley/Bishop.

  56. John Parsons says:
    May 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    GlynnMhor says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    “Yet some two thirds of the supposed CO2 warming in the AGW paradigm involves the formation and behaviour of clouds from water vapour.”

    What “AGW paradigm” are you talking about. Certainly not the IPCC. JP

    I think he means the IPCC’s positive feedback from more water vapor.

  57. Frank Mlinar says:

    Niff, It probably is definitely scholarly. Scientific papers should be. I have not read it yet, but my impression is it provides a description of the mechanism between aerosols and cloud formation. My understanding is this is not a “new” global cooling mechanism, and has been known for a while. A physical connection is described but the mechanism is not new. So…saying something is new is not equivalent to AGW refutation. Now I have to actually go read it even if it costs some bucks.

  58. atarsinc says:

    Roger Knights says:
    May 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    “I think he means the IPCC’s positive feedback from more water vapor.”

    Roger, the IPCC didn’t say 60% of AGW warming would be from the “…formation and behavior of clouds…” And given that nearly (ex.: sublimation) all cloud formation involves water vapor, GlenMohr’s statement is patently false. JP

  59. Janice Moore says:

    “I wonder if this reflects the start of academia’s step back from global warming?” [Katherine @ 1911 on 5/6/13]

    It appears to me that it is simply the Cult of Climatology’s way of continuing to say that humans cause climate change (yes, indeed, “global warming” is passé). Carbon-based gases are causing the cooling, therefore, any human carbon-emitting activity is causing cooling (which is, of course, will cause an IMMINENT CATASTROPHE). It’s illogical and inconsistent (last week year, the planet was still on it’s way to boiling because of human CO2, LOL), but, for the Cult, it isn’t about truth; it’s PURELY PROPAGANDA to bolster their crumbling AGW empire (regulatory domination of economy and of our freedom in general).

    Yes, there is a real cloud reflection mechanism AND they are exploiting it by mischaracterizing the cause-effect of human emitted CO2. AGAIN.

  60. Konrad says:

    Gary Pearse says:
    May 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    “..these guys won’t say we were wrong, they say the CO2 Armageddon has been “masked”… “
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    Bingo!
    These are the last days for AGW. The full on squealing panic has begun. The believers are desperately scrabbling to find an exit. They want to come up with a “masking” effect so the embarrassing flaw in the “CO2 warms” claims are not exposed. They also want it to sound suitably ”sciencey” so they don’t look like complete idiots for previously missing it. But none of this is going to work.

    Radiative gases are critical for atmospheric cooling and convective circulation below the tropopause. The original AGW calculations are based on treating the atmosphere as a static body or layer, essentially a two shell model. This gives the wrong answer for an atmosphere in which the gases are free to move. For a moving atmosphere the net effect of adding radiative gases is cooling at all concentrations above 0.0ppm. The mistake in the basic calculations is recorded forever on the Internet.

  61. Kajajuk says:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=MODAL2_M_CLD_FR
    Only trend i can see is less cloud cover in the Arctic; i think

  62. Catalytic converters mandated in the USA and Canada in 1976, and much of the rest of the world soon after, remove volatile organic compounds from vehicle exhausts.

    That surface warming and global cloud decreases start at this time is no coincidence.

  63. squid2112 says:

    I am amazed at how many new “cooling” effects are suddenly being found. Seems every time I turn around there is a newly discovered “cooling” effect. Perhaps it is as simple as “there is no GHE” ? … Perhaps Achems Razor is applicable here?

    REPLY: Occams Razor, and yes there is a GHE. Get over yourself, and note that we have a policy on this sot of “slayer” arguments thread bombing. – Anthony

  64. David Cage says:

    What I want to know is how there can be any new discoveries or reasons why the predictions are wrong as the science was reported to be settled and beyond question. Clearly they lied.

  65. Konrad says:

    squid2112 says:
    May 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm
    ————————————————————————————————-
    Yes, there is a radiative GHE. Radiative gases in the atmosphere do keep the land surface warmer at night than it would otherwise be. However radiative gases also play a critical role in tropospheric convective circulation and atmospheric cooling. The question is the net effect of radiative gases in out atmosphere.

    If I said –

    “Initially adding radiative gases to the atmosphere causes cooling, but after a certain magical point which strangely coincides with current political conditions these gases cause warming.”

    – would you believe it? No? Well that argument is what is currently propping up the AGW hypothesis.

  66. Konrad says:

    David Cage says:
    May 6, 2013 at 11:53 pm
    ————————————————-
    No, first they made a mistake. By the time they found the problem too many people had joined the cause to organise a painless back down. Then they lied.

  67. TLM says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    May 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Your post reminds me of the “super chimney” idea. It is well known that if you can isolate a tall column of air and stop it mixing with the adjacent air (in other words make a “chimney”) and open it up at the bottom then the temperature difference between the air at the bottom and the top will cause the air in the chimney to rise, drawing in at the bottom and expelling at the top.

    The higher the chimney the greater the temperature difference and the faster the air movement. It has been hypothesized that if you could build a chimney a mile high that you could fit turbines at the bottom where the air is drawn in and generate electricity. The most interesting bit is the main side effect which is the formation of clouds at the top where the warm air with a high moisture content hits the cold air a mile up and condenses. This quickly precipitates out as rain. In fact this is the same thing seen when prevailing winds strike a mountain range causing an updraft and rain cloud formation.

    The best place to stick one of these chimneys would be in a desert area where the daytime temperatures are high. This would generate a lot of cloud cover (increasing albedo) and the rain would irrigate the desert which could be used for food production or forestry.

    It seems to me such an obvious and brilliant idea that I am surprised nobody has built one yet. One guy has put up a web site explaining the idea.
    http://www.superchimney.org/

  68. DirkH says:

    TLM says:
    May 7, 2013 at 1:42 am
    “It seems to me such an obvious and brilliant idea that I am surprised nobody has built one yet”

    It looks like the diminishing cost of PV kills the solar chimney technology, just like it kills solarthermal power plants:
    Comparison of theoretical maximum efficiency of a solar chimney with PV:
    “For perspective, PV panels providing the same amount of energy (assuming they operate at ~20%), would occupy 2.5% as much land.”
    from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower

  69. peterg says:

    atarsinc says:
    May 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Clouds are inextricably linked to water vapor. Without either, it would be about -16^C. JP

    Depends on the resulting albedo and the greenhouse affect of co2, ozone, oxygen, nitrogen.
    Wikipedia says “water is usually considered to have a very low albedo”.
    The moon has an albedo of 0.14, so use that.
    Sun at zenith is 1004 W/m2. Plugging that into Stefan-Boltzmann, I get 260K, near your figure.
    However if a GHG figure of 0.3 absorbed and 0.7 passed is used (guesstimate from eye-balling graphs), then ((1004 W/m2 * 0.25 / 0.7) /sigma ) ** 0.25 gives me 284K, about current global surface temperature. But this temperature is not the surface temperature. It is the temperature in the upper atmosphere in thermal equilibrium. The surface would be warmer. So clouds cool.

  70. ferd berple says:

    richard telford says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    Of course, if the pollution-induced changes in albedo are greater than previously thought, more of the CO2-induced warming has been masked, and you can kiss goodbye to your low climate sensitivity
    ============
    That doesn’t follow. The Clean Air Act passed in many industrial countries coincides with the period of unexplained warming attributed to CO2 (1970’s onward). The entire warming might thus be a result of reduced pollution and the CO2 sensitivity may in fact be zero or even negative.

  71. ferd berple says:

    Algae, by far the most abundant life form on earth has co-evolve with the atmosphere and the clouds. For hundreds of millions of years Algae has maintained the earth’s temperature at 16C +- 5C, by regulating the clouds and thus ensuring its own continued survival. This is accomplished by the organic compounds that Algae releases to the atmosphere in response to increased and decreased sunlight.

    We do not control the climate on planet Earth. Algae does. It maintains the temperature and the oxygen levels necessary for our continued survival. We are simply spectators. The flea on the elephants back that thinks it controls the elephant.

  72. ferd berple says:

    More correctly, Algae have maintained the earth’s average surface temperature at 290K +- 5K for hundreds of millions of years. A variance of less than 2% over hundreds of millions of years. Something that is well beyond the capability of any human technology ever dreamed of.

  73. Tony McGough says:

    I do so hate it when commenters dismiss work as just another attempt to jump aboard an academic gravy-train. Ouch! Have you looked at the paper? Fifty-odd pages of closely-worked theory, observations, and joint-effect approaches ranging from mass spectroscopy to the surface tension of fog (!) – to say nothing of sundry heavy-weight formulae etc. Give them a fair wind, please.

    My judgement is, of course, entirely unclouded by the fact that, as a Mancunian, I am proud of the work of my alma mater and of her learned profs.

  74. ferd berple says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    May 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming
    =====
    irrigation may not be sufficient. often sand dunes are held in place by ground water underneath the sand. the motion of the sand in the wind smothers the plants.

  75. beng says:

    ***
    richard telford says:
    May 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Of course, if the pollution-induced changes in albedo are greater than previously thought, more of the CO2-induced warming has been masked, and you can kiss goodbye to your low climate sensitivity.
    ***

    Funny thing is, I’m downwind of the Ohio Valley in the Appalachians where all the evil coal plants are, and visibility here is at least as good as it was a century ago, according to observations — 60 miles plus on clear days any time of the yr other than summer (when haze is produced by leafed-out forests). From a high elevation on such days I see clearly see the Blue Ridge mountains over 65 miles to the east. Yeah, pollution controls have alot to do w/this, but that’s the point — the goal is already accomplished, other than big cities.

    Man-made haze is a localized effect, not remotely global.

  76. Mike Maguire says:

    “Sounds like the same principle here only I learned this in grade school”
    How about the principle in plant science known as photosynthesis that we all learned in biology or science class? Remember that, back in the old days when CO2 was a good guy.

    Why do all these unproven theories get so much weighting/money/attention when something on ground as solid as gravity(the use of CO2 by plants to make their own food) gets brushed under the rug.

    Increased CO2 is causing massive increases in plant growth, crop yields and world food production. http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject.php

    Cutting back on CO2 would be like a man barely making enough to feed his 10 kids being presented with a solution:
    Cut back on your work hours because you’re making too much money!.

  77. Eli Rabett says:

    Is there something new with this? It has been long known that aerosols suck up VOCs, indeed that VOCs and SO2 play an important role in forming CCNs (the VOCs also are important for tropospheric ozone formation). An interesting recent paper showed that beyond 2 nm diameter the VOCs dominate while under 2nm, the SO2 concentration is limiting.

    BTW, this sticks a fork into the CERN experiment if its point is to show that cosmic rays dominate the formation of CCNs.

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