Synchronized chaos and climate change

Random pendulums with linkages can eventually synchronize

Huygen's pendulums: weak linkages can eventually synchronize all four

From this Georgia Tech article:

In 1657, Christiaan Huygens revolutionized the measurement of time by creating the first working pendulum clock. In early 1665, Huygens discovered “..an odd kind of sympathy perceived by him in these watches [two pendulum clocks] suspended by the side of each other.” The pendulum clocks swung with exactly the same frequency and 180 degrees out of phase; when the pendulums were disturbed, the antiphase state was restored within a half-hour and persisted indefinitely. Huygens deduced that the crucial interaction for this effect came from “imperceptible movements” of the common frame supporting the two clocks.

I can’t tell just yet if this is a new paper, or if the news story is a re-hash of the 2007 paper by these authors. Either way, it is interesting.  See the authors pre press paper here – Anthony

The bitter cold and record snowfalls from two wicked winters are causing people to ask if the global climate is truly changing.

The climate is known to be variable and, in recent years, more scientific thought and research has been focused on the global temperature and how humanity might be influencing it.However, a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could turn the climate change world upside down.

Scientists at the university used a math application known as synchronized chaos and applied it to climate data taken over the past 100 years.”Imagine that you have four synchronized swimmers and they are not holding hands and they do their program and everything is fine; now, if they begin to hold hands and hold hands tightly, most likely a slight error will destroy the synchronization. Well, we applied the same analogy to climate,” researcher Dr. Anastasios Tsonis said.

Scientists said that the air and ocean systems of the earth are now showing signs of synchronizing with each other.

Eventually, the systems begin to couple and the synchronous state is destroyed, leading to a climate shift.”In climate, when this happens, the climate state changes. You go from a cooling regime to a warming regime or a warming regime to a cooling regime. This way we were able to explain all the fluctuations in the global temperature trend in the past century,” Tsonis said. “The research team has found the warming trend of the past 30 years has stopped and in fact global temperatures have leveled off since 2001.”The most recent climate shift probably occurred at about the year 2000.

Now the question is how has warming slowed and how much influence does human activity have?”But if we don’t understand what is natural, I don’t think we can say much about what the humans are doing. So our interest is to understand — first the natural variability of climate — and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,” Tsonis said.Tsonis said he thinks the current trend of steady or even cooling earth temps may last a couple of decades or until the next climate shift occurs.

Advertisements

103 thoughts on “Synchronized chaos and climate change

  1. Then we are looking for the climate variable that is badly out of phase. That would be the one that eventually draws the others partially towards it.
    I would expect that to be the Sun, the biggest dude in the solar system.

  2. Is this the way the media works these days — report on AGW-findings the day after they’re released and on contrarian studies a year-and-a-half later?
    Silly rabbit – that’s a rhetorical question.
    Who’d a thunk — a number of oceanic and atmospheric cycles sometimes running in synch, either in their positive or negative phases. I suspect a fair number of Anthony’s readers have made this point more than once. But who listens to a bunch of skeptics?

  3. Very interesting!
    The “mental picture” of climatic events like ENSO and NAO og AMO as quasi-synchronised systems seems very attractive to me (maybe “strange attractors” by themselves :-)) . I have previously mentioned the work of Ilya Prigogine summarised in his “Order out of Chaos” either here, or eventually over at Lucia’s “The Blackboard”.
    While Huygens pendulums had more or less constant forces acting upon them, I suspect the the forces acting on “time-integrated” weather phenomena are non-constant both in intensity and possibly in direction.
    I would however not be surprised if these forces could act as “attractors” thereby “simplifying” the chaotic propertis and increasing the predictability of the systems.
    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  4. Climate science in general, and those who advocate and support Global Warming now suffer from a disctintly unscientific condition where this week’s plausable theory supplants last week’s plausable theory, as long as it doesn’t contradict the general theme of self-loathing human activity in general and western prosperity in particular.
    The left loves to breathlessly anticipate at “tipping point” where they will finally be shown to have been correct all along. They never consider how absurd their theory was, and how it eventually dawns on enough minds just how wrong it is. The tippinng point is reached alright, and we are close to the point in this adventure when it will suddenly go out of fashion.
    If experience is any guide, the left will be back soon enough with another urgent issue that we must correct and fixate on or WE WILL ALL DIE. The only constant is that their pre-packaged solution will be similar in how it too will destroy liberty, increase government control and raise taxes.
    So, what are good candiates for the next Urgent Issue?
    I would nominate: estrogen analogs in wastewater.
    I welcome other nominations.

  5. Well I wouldn’t get too excited about what Christiaan Huygens did way back when in 1657. (Hey I once cited Huygens from about that time, as prior art in a Patent Lawsuit, that I was a Technical Expert witness on).
    It is a cute experiment though and has paractical implications; like the multiple strings on the same note on a piano, are weakly coupled via the blacks at each end, that they run over.
    But there’s one thing that is missing from this story. All of those clock pendula (ums) are fairly closely tuned to the same frequency, by design, and the effect of the extremely weak coupling is not to retune them, but to simply phase lock them.
    If you couple together oscillating systems that are not tuned to the same frequency; then they most certainly will not retune themselves into mutual synchronism.
    They will in fact transfer energy back and forth between themselves, so that one will gain in amplitude while another collapses to zero; and then the process will reverse, and they will swap the energy again. That’s with just two coupled oscillators; but with three or more they will get totally chaotic; but the one state they will never assume, is all (n) of them to come to the same frequency and then phase lock.
    So if you are imagining from this experiment, that climate systems will synchoronize with each other; forget it; they drive each other bonkers; but they certainly will not operate co-operatively and synchronize. well unless by sheer accident, each oscillator, operating freely and uncoupled, happens to be tuned to rather closely the same frequency.
    George

  6. When you take many different oscillators with each having their own frequency, it might look chaotic when the sum is made but eventually and maybe for a very short time, they will all be synchromized and at another time they will all cancel themselves.

  7. Ivanka Charvatova´s text to Fig.2:
    “The orbit of the centre of the Sun around the centre of mass of
    the solar system (in units of 10)3 AU) separated into two basic types,
    the ordered (in a JS-trefoil) (top) and the disordered (bottom). The
    area in which the Sun moves has a diameter of 0.02 AU or 4.4 rs, this
    being the solar radius, or 3 á 106 km. The most disordered sections of
    the intervals lying between the trefoils are plotted. The Sun enters into
    the trefoils with a periodicity of 178.7 years, on the average (see the
    times, years at the top of the respective ®gures). The value represents
    the ®rst basic cycle of solar motion. While the trefoils are nearly
    identical (after a rotation), the disordered orbits di€er one from the
    other. The Wolf, SpoÈ rer, Maunder and Dalton prolonged minima of
    solar activity coincide with the intervals of disordered solar motion.
    The Sun moves along a trefoil (along one of the loops), over 50 (10)
    years, respectively. The two latest and the following trefoils are
    denoted by triangles”
    Link: http://www.giurfa.com/charvatova.pdf

  8. Report from Houston; Wonder what Teddy Kennedy thinks?
    see full article at http://www.oilonline.com/news/features/oe/20080319.ebb_and_.22646.asp
    Overblown wind plan just hot air [from: Offshore Engineer]
    by: Michael J Economides, professor at the Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, and editor-in-chief of the Energy Tribune.
    Wednesday, March 19, 2008
    7000 turbines for Britain (equivalent to one every 1/2 mile around the ENTIRE coast of Britain.
    Existing turbines in UK NOT achieving the 30% load factor conceded to be a minimum to be “economically viable and efficient” (sic). Offshore, about 20%; urban sites, as low as 9% (!! makes the Otto cycle look pretty efficient]
    Der Spiegel reports on breakdowns in Germany and questions promises of 20 year lifespans for turbines.
    [my father-in-law, mechanical engineer and Harvard MBA, has long suggested “domestic nuclear piles” in every basement. This would (a) cut dependence on the grid, which has a way of failing-down under sheets of ice in Upstate NY where he lives) and (b) would serve the Darwinian goal of improving the technical skills of subsequent generations (assuming that the less competent couldn’t handle the “evolutionary pressure” of maintaining a radioactive lump in the basement)]
    Anybody know of up-time stats for US-based wind-farms?
    I would GUESS that we should do better than that on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, but I wonder what the real numbers are.

  9. Very interesting research.
    For one thing, given the inherent complexity and non-linearity of the Climate System (ala Lorenz et al), this dynamical systems approach makes a heckuva lot more sense than the standard approach of worshipping at the output of GCMs.
    My formal background is in Geophysics and for those interested a similar mechanism has been proposed in the simulation of Earthquake Seismicity- e.g. see http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1993/93GL00292.shtml (phenomena such as faulting and Earthquakes also obey complex non-linear dynamics).

  10. The synchronicity of mechanical systems relies on phased feedback through damped elasticity. I don’t see any feedback mechanism here that eventually dampens any solar effects.

  11. Funny how little of this was even alluded to in the 2007 IPCC SPM and TAR. It was all about high confidence levels that only GHGs had any influence on climate variability.

  12. Re: Robert Coté (10:20:05) :
    “I don’t see any feedback mechanism here that eventually dampens any solar effects.”
    Here is the way I interpretated this research (I could be wrong, but here is my 2 cents anyway).
    The Climate System is forced by several mechanisms, a few of which are:
    1) External Solar variability
    2) Internal ENSO variability
    3) Internal Thermohaline variability
    4) Internal NAO variability
    5) Internal AMO variability
    etc. etc.
    The “damped spring” in the system is the Climate itself (Air+Ocean+Land etc). Over a period of time (decades) these modes of variability become coupled, at which point a total phase transition is caused (we switch from a net warm to a net cold Climate) and the variability of the component parts of the Climate starts all over again. Several decades down the road the new modes of variability couple and cause the system as a whole to flip again.
    Complex systems often contain periods of “pseudo-periodicity” (they look predictable for periods of time), but just when you think you have the new “pattern” classified and locked down, a phase transition occurs and a completely new mode (or set of modes) of variability are initiated.

  13. From the text: “So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,” Tsonis said.”
    Should not have said that. There goes their funding!

  14. Strange – electrical systems have damping, and they don’t have mechanical systems!
    FYI – fluid dynamics & heat transfer have multiple mechanisms for this sort of thing. It doesn’t surprise me that there are linkages between the various systems.

  15. The MSM are still completely synchronised especialy the BBC
    From last weeks conference in Copenhagan
    ” The six key messages include statements that:
    “the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised”
    “there is no excuse for inaction”
    “the influence of vested interests that increase emissions” must be reduced
    “regardless of how dangerous climate change is defined”, rapid, sustained and effective mitigation is required to avoid reaching it”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7946476.stm

  16. AS George E. Smith implies it is not necessary to infer synchronicity in a system which involves multiple variable cycles interacting with each other in both oceans and air.
    All one needs to affect climate is an overall net balance of all the seperate cyclical components at any particular time trending towards cooling or warming and shifting between each at variable intervals
    I described what I thought was going on last June in this article:
    http://climaterealists.com/news.php?id=1487&linkbox=true
    and so far the real world is co operating.

  17. We can see where this is going and how it will be picked up by the Climate Change Mob. Whatever which way you look at this hypothesis, we will be blamed for introducing chaos in the system, just like a butterfly’s wings can create a hurricane the other side of the planet.

  18. Why do they feel any need to pin changes between warming and cooling phases on a single oscillation such as NAO ?
    They are clearly on the right track in my opinion but the answer lies in appreciating the net effect from the varying inputs of ALL the oscillations though admittedly PDO and NAO would be the main players.
    Much better to try to ascertain when there is a net energy gain or a net energy loss to the air alone when the effects of all the air and ocean circulations are netted out.
    I have suggested that the best diagnostic tools for that would be:
    i) The average latitudinal position of the mid latitude jets after accounting for seasonal shifts and possibly also
    ii) Whether there is any divergence in progress between satellite measurements of temperatures at the top of the air (air/space interface) and ground based measurements of temperatures at the surface (sea/air interface).
    What we need at any given point is to know whether the air is warming or cooling so that we can identify a change in trend as soon as possible after it occurs.

  19. Just Friday I read a report that might provide some answers –
    Global cooling rattles food chain
    Friday, March 13, 2009
    WASHINGTON — Changing eating patterns linked to global cooling are altering the food chain in Wisconsin and may lead to further increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
    The most basic food, bratwurst, is increasing north of the Illinois border reaching toward Canada, researchers report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.
    At the same time, populations of indigenous Germans, which require a colder climate, have increased sharply in that region.
    “We’re showing for the first time that there is an ongoing change of the brat concentration and composition along the land mass west of Lake Michigan that is associated with a long-term climate modification. These foodstuff changes may explain in part the observed increase of some Wisconsinite populations,” Marty Monte-Hogg, a marine scientist at Rutters University, said in a statement.
    Andy Monhan, a polar expert at the NCAR in Boulder, Colo., said the report ties all the implications of global cooling together in a biological chain of events
    A direct cause-and-effect relationship of the team’s findings is still unproven, Monte-Hogg said, but it’s clear that the changes in brat, beer and human distribution do resemble a chain reaction.”
    The change reflects shifting patterns of Germans, beer/brat availability and eating, the report said.
    A separate report in the same edition of Science raises the possibility that new eating patterns could result in more outpouring of unfathomable gases in the region, which would include release of methane and stored carbon dioxide, potentially stabilizing global weather to the point of nonexistence.
    “The faster the food chain turns over the higher volumes, the more out gassing will transpire, releasing ever higher amounts of CH4 and CO2 to the atmosphere,” said Bob Andersen, a geochemist at Colombia University’s Earth Observatory. “It’s this rate of overturning that regulates CO2 in the atmosphere.”

  20. About damping mechanisms: energy momentum and angular momentum conservation in the oceans, primarily, and the atmosphere will provide it. See the metronome display above.
    I do not think that the Tsonis et al paper claims phase lock, just some type of beats in the system.

  21. “”” Ray (09:32:47) :
    When you take many different oscillators with each having their own frequency, it might look chaotic when the sum is made but eventually and maybe for a very short time, they will all be synchromized and at another time they will all cancel themselves. “””
    They are not summing as in adding up. Eacvh is oscillating driven by parameters of its design (and hopefully some energy source) but they are weakly coupled together so that they can send small amounts of energy between them (but only if they ARE NOT at the same frequency AND phase locked.
    If they were to come into synchronism AND phase lock then they would not have any energy transfer between them so they would stay in that condition and therefore by definition; they are already tuned to the same frequency.
    Don’t confuse the summation of independent oscillations (or waves for example) with weak coupleing of otherwise independent oscillating systems.
    And by the way, in earth’s climate, we don’t have too many oscillating systems; Just name one for example.

  22. “maksimovich (12:23:22) :
    This is a good example of the application of good mathematical theory to a hypothesis (a model)
    The mathematics is well documented eg
    Pikovsky http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Synchronization
    From that helpful article I’d guess that reality is best described as ‘synchronisation with an arbitrary phase shift’ with the proviso that on Earth the phase shift is not arbitrary but ultimately solar driven even if other processes are also involved.

  23. Milwaukee Bob (12:08:45) :

    Just Friday I read a report that might provide some answers –
    Global cooling rattles food chain
    The most basic food, bratwurst, is increasing north of the Illinois border reaching toward Canada, researchers report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.\
    At the same time, populations of indigenous Germans, which require a colder climate, have increased sharply in that region.

    Huh? I knew that the start of Daylight Time got moved up a couple years ago, when did April Fool’s Day get moved up? Perhaps there’s a preceding Friday the 13th clause I don’t know about.

  24. Stephen Wilde (11:28:59) :
    All one needs to affect climate is an overall net balance of all the seperate cyclical components at any particular time trending towards cooling or warming and shifting between each at variable intervals
    I described what I thought was going on last June in this article:
    http://climaterealists.com/news.php?id=1487&linkbox=true
    and so far the real world is co operating.

    Stephen,
    That’s a really super series of articles. An excellent introduction to what really drives our climate. I especially appreciate the way you go back to first principles regarding the importance of the oceans as a thermal buffer to the system. I think you need to add Svensmark and his Israeli colleague and you’ve got it.

  25. George E. Smith (12:54:00) :
    And by the way, in earth’s climate, we don’t have too many oscillating systems; Just name one for example.

    Um, day/night cycle, seasonal cycle, PDO, ENSO, milankovitch cycles, 11-year solar cycles, etc… there are many more.
    Mark

  26. theBuckWheat (09:20:43) :
    So, what are good candiates for the next Urgent Issue?
    I would nominate: estrogen analogs in wastewater.
    I welcome other nominations.
    ———–
    Stricter regulation of sub-prime carbon credit trading following further collapse of Western economies ??

  27. “And by the way, in earth’s climate, we don’t have too many oscillating systems; Just name one for example.”
    Day/Night.
    Summer/Winter.
    Seasonal (and probably non seasonal) latitudinal movement of the jet streams.
    Variations in size and intensity of weather systems.
    Solar variations (even if rather small in relation to total energy received).
    Responses of the air to oceanic oscillations.

  28. George E. Smith (12:54:00) :
    “Don’t confuse the summation of independent oscillations (or waves for example) with weak coupleing of otherwise independent oscillating systems.
    And by the way, in earth’s climate, we don’t have too many oscillating systems; Just name one for example.”
    I don’t know in climate science but natural oscillators are found everywhere in nature. Why would climate be any different?
    I would tend to think that in climate you would have mainly strong couplings and much less weak ones since all the components at play are all in physical contact and added energy by the sun (mainly).

  29. From the Wang et al paper above,
    In this realm we hope that our results will provide some direction and focus to this perpetual quest for understanding climate variability.
    That’s the issue. Why does the Earth’s climate vary to the extent we know it does – MWP, LIA, Sierra mega-droughts.?
    Which brings us to the ‘unprecedented’ late 20th century warming, which wasn’t unprecedented, it wasn’t even particularly large. Which in turn makes the question of whether CO2 was the cause or not, largely irrelevant because we are likely to see larger natural variations.
    Whatever you may think about CO2 causing climate change, worst case is we will have decades to prepare for the consequences.
    With our current level of understanding of natural climate cycles we could be hit at any time and without warning by a climate shift with severe consequences for food supply, energy supply, etc.

  30. Mike & Ric (and others), yes it’s a “fabrication” or more accurately a rewrite of an article that appeared in the local news paper, (it follows in this post) that seems to have an obligation to print something about “global warming” on a weekly basis no matter how tortuous.
    I did it as a “Thank you” to Anthony for creating this blog and to you, ALL of you that take the time to post here your reasoned (and sometimes humorous) thoughts and as a congratulation to Anthony for achieving the 10 million milestone. I am humbled by most of you in your intellect and have learned and used a lot of what you have posted to “force” others to at least look at another view of our global climate.
    THANK YOU! Keep up the good work, all of you. Hopefully someday there will be subject I can jump in on with equal insight.
    Here is the original article –
    Global warming rattles food chain in the Antarctic
    Times wires
    In Print: Friday, March 13, 2009
    WASHINGTON — Changing wind patterns linked to global warming are altering the food chain in Antarctica and may lead to further increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
    The most basic food, plankton, is declining in the northern portions of the Antarctic peninsula reaching toward South America, researchers report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.
    At the same time, populations of Adelie penguins, which require a colder climate, have dropped sharply in that region.
    “We’re showing for the first time that there is an ongoing change on phytoplankton concentration and composition along the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula that is associated with a long-term climate modification. These phytoplankton changes may explain in part the observed decline of some penguin populations,” Martin Montes-Hugo, a marine scientist at Rutgers University, said in a statement.
    Andrew Monaghan, a polar expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said the report ties all the implications of global warming together in a biological chain of events
    A direct cause-and-effect relationship of the team’s findings is still unproven, Montes-Hugo said, but it’s clear that the changes in phytoplankton, krill and penguin distribution do resemble a chain reaction.”
    The change reflects shifting patterns of cloud cover, ice formation and winds, the report said.
    A separate report in the same edition of Science raises the possibility that new wind patterns could result in more upwelling of deep water in the region, which would then release stored carbon dioxide, potentially increasing global warming.
    “The faster the ocean turns over, the more deep water rises to the surface to release CO2,” said Robert Anderson, a geochemist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “It’s this rate of overturning that regulates CO2 in the atmosphere.”
    Information from the Associated Press and San Francisco Chronicle was used in this report.

  31. vukcevic (12:47:15) :
    JimB (11:51:00) :
    Isn’t this Tesla, on a larger scale?
    I wonder if you would be so kind to elaborate.
    Thanks
    Well…wasn’t tesla the guy who, among other things, believed there was an inherent “rythm” in everything, including the earth? And that if you hit one spot on the planet, repeatedly, at the right rythm, that the earth would literally shatter…
    JimB

  32. And by the way, in earth’s climate, we don’t have too many oscillating systems; Just name one for example.
    George,
    Maybe we are missing your point, but to those that have already been mentioned, what about the 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle? This has been linked to climate fluctuations. Or the QBO?
    What are you really trying to say?
    Basil

  33. Well Basil, we have a number of things that are being “Driven” by external forces. The earth’s annual orbit around the sun being one. or the moon’s monthly trip around the earth, and the variations in orbital parameters in those processes can and possibly do cause cyclic changes in climate. But all of these driven systems have their own frequencies that depend on the driver. The moon is not going to cause “oscillations with a period of ayear; nor is the sun going to create monthly cycling in eqarth weather patterns.
    My point is that each of the driven systems operates at the natural frequency of the driver, and they aren’t all likely to tweak each other to some common fequency and lock.
    Closest thing we have to a phaselock situation is the moon’s day and month reaching approximately the same magnitude. they currently are phaselocked though with a variable non zero phase error cycle (is that nutation)

  34. I’m not going to detail every one of the “oscillating systems” people mentioned.
    You have to distinguish between a closed system that is not being driven by some external (and cyclic) driving force; but is simply exchanging energy between two or more different energy storage mechanisms, which would persist on their own if the systems were lossless; such as the free exchange of energy storage, from magnetic field storage in an inductor, and electic field storage in a capacitor. Such a system oscillates without any external drive; and it only stops oscillating, when the total included energy in the system is zero.
    Yes we have various cycles that are driven by external sources, which provide both the driving energy, and also set the frequency of the cyclic behavior. The earth’s orbital parameters set the frequency of its annual orbit around the sun; but the mutual gravity between tow massive bodies provides the driving energy; until it too runs down.

  35. These strange attractors seem a lot more sensible than the AGW epicycles.
    Glass spheres are extremely fragile and easily broken by observation.

  36. “Anybody know of up-time stats for US-based wind-farms?
    I would GUESS that we should do better than that on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, but I wonder what the real numbers are”
    Multi-thousands of windmills across the eastern slopes of the Rockies is really,
    really just about the stupidist idea I ever heard of. I mean has anyone ever really thought about that?
    “Let’s take the family to the Rockies this summer, John, so we can see the windmills.”
    “Okay, fine. Just as long as we don’t have to look at those damn mountains.”
    Is Boone Pickens crazy? By the way, all those things are made oveseas, not in this country.

  37. If you look at the universe it appears as a molecule. Everything in the gravitational paths resonates at particular frequencies. Some create tight bonds others create loose bonds but in any case each single component ALWAYS affects the other. (neutrons, protons, etc)
    The Galaxy’s over all harmonics/gravity may cause the our Sun to act in a specific way. Those vibrations, amplified by the SUN, could cause our solar system to act in a specific way as well. the planets vibrations/gravity can affect internal systems as well.
    Energy (gravity, visible and invisible spectrum) Appears to be this loose link between all of the systems……
    Gravity……. its not just a simple theory….

  38. Steven Wilde said:
    “They are clearly on the right track in my opinion but the answer lies in appreciating the net effect from the varying inputs of ALL the oscillations though admittedly PDO and NAO would be the main players.”
    You meant AMO and not NAO, correct??
    The former is the younger cousin to the PDO, not the NAO.
    The AMO, as a large multi-decadal OCEANIC player, resounds with a much longer period than the ATMOSPHERIC and relatively monthly cycles of the NAO.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  39. Well, what I think is the most significant result in terms of our current climate is that Tsonis seems to have found another phase change in (what was it?) 2002. And if that’s the case, these past few years were not a fluke, not a blip, not a pause, but the first years of at least three decades of cooling.
    It’s confirmation.

  40. I have not looked for the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel but about 10 days ago Milwaukee had one of the weirdest storms I can remembes.
    This only happens when the wind comes out of the NE which is rare in the midwest.
    Mithcell Airport is about 8 1/2 miles south of downtown.
    The airport where official snowfall is reported, had 10 inches of snow in less than 12 hours.
    If you went 2 miles north, 2 miles south or 1 mile west, THERE WAS NO SNOW!
    And this snowfall amount at the airport will be the “OFFICIAL SNOWFALL” for Milwaukee for that day.
    A serious distortion of reality.

  41. I see a few people are interested in wind data. Here is a cross-post of mine from another site.
    The Bonneville Power Administration operates 1800MW of wind and has a couple years of data and graphs at this link. http://www.transmission.bpa.go…..fault.aspx
    First two links are real-time(5 min.) graphs. The rest are .xls files of data and graphs.
    They had a period in January of 11-12 days when they continuously generated less than 3% of rated capacity. Last year the overall production was about 24% of wind capacity.
    Even when they produce a lot of power the fossil fuel plants have to keep running at lower efficiency. I think those inefficiency costs should really be included as wind generation costs.

  42. theBuckWheat (09:20:43) :

    If experience is any guide, the left will be back soon enough with another urgent issue that we must correct and fixate on or WE WILL ALL DIE. The only constant is that their pre-packaged solution will be similar in how it too will destroy liberty, increase government control and raise taxes.

    Ocean acidification.

  43. Well, in this experiment with windup metronomes,
    http://www.popsci.com/category/tags/metronomes
    we do get phase lock. It would be interesting to have them tuned to drastically different frequencies and see what happens. Maybe the fellow who made the video is a WATTSUP reader :).
    In any case this is a first attempt to model the chaos as it is, instead of taking linear approximations of putative solutions of possible equations. It point the way to go.
    Ideally one would have, as in analogue computers, each differential equation entering the problem in one of the connections.

  44. Windmills may be a bit off topic, but I found the information in Bob Koss (20:21:10) post and associated link to be very interesting.
    http://www.transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/Wind/default.aspx
    We’re getting a lot of windmills going up in Wisconsin. I knew the typical generating capacity of windmills was low but had no idea that it was this low:
    “The installed wind capacity during this time was ~ 1500 MW, so the 50 MW threshold represents ~ 3% of capacity.
    The full 56-week average was ~ 23 %, that is, nearly a quarter of the time the total wind gen was less than 3% of total wind capacity. “
    http://www.transmission.bpa.gov/business/operations/Wind/WindGen_VeryLow_Jan08Jan09x.xls

  45. hareynolds (09:44:04) :
    Anybody know of up-time stats for US-based wind-farms?
    I would GUESS that we should do better than that on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, but I wonder what the real numbers are.
    Suggest you Google DOE. I do not have US numbers but here is an excellent report from Germany.
    E.On Netz Wind Power Report 2005, Germany
    http://www.eon-netz.com/Ressources/downloads/EON_Netz_Windreport2005_eng.pdf
    Capacity Factor was ~20% (“the average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW, around one fifth of the average installed wind power capacity over the year”).
    Perhaps more important than Capacity Factor is Substitution Factor, now ~8% and dropping to 4% by 2020 (“an objective measure of the extent to which wind farms are able to replace traditional power stations”).
    Simplifying for our politicians (in the absence of a “superbattery”): Because wind does not blow all the time, you need almost 100% conventional power station backup for installed wind power.
    For mainstreet: “Wind power: it doesn’t just blow, it sucks!”
    ________________________________________
    EXCERPTS
    FIGURE 5 shows the annual curve of wind
    power feed-in in the E.ON control area for 2004,
    from which it is possible to derive the wind power
    feed-in during the past year:
    1. The highest wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid
    was just above 6,000MW for a brief period, or
    put another way the feed-in was around 85% of
    the installed wind power capacity at the time.
    2. The average feed-in over the year was 1,295MW,
    around one fifth of the average installed wind
    power capacity over the year.
    3. Over half of the year, the wind power feed-in
    was less than 14% of the average installed wind
    power capacity over the year.
    The feed-in capacity can change frequently
    within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6,
    which reproduces the course of wind power feedin
    during the Christmas week from 20 to 26
    December 2004.
    Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on
    Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year
    at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only
    10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds
    to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired
    power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power
    feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.
    Handling such significant differences in feed-in
    levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.
    __________
    In order to also guarantee reliable electricity
    supplies when wind farms produce little or no
    power, e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related
    shutdowns, traditional power station capacities
    must be available as a reserve. This means that
    wind farms can only replace traditional power
    station capacities to a limited degree.
    An objective measure of the extent to which
    wind farms are able to replace traditional power
    stations, is the contribution towards guaranteed
    capacity which they make within an existing
    power station portfolio. Approximately this capacity
    may be dispensed within a traditional power
    station portfolio, without thereby prejudicing the
    level of supply reliability.
    In 2004 two major German studies investigated
    the size of contribution that wind farms make
    towards guaranteed capacity. Both studies
    separately came to virtually identical conclusions,
    that wind energy currently contributes to the
    secure production capacity of the system, by
    providing 8% of its installed capacity.
    As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability
    of the wind farms determines the reliability
    of the system as a whole to an ever increasing
    extent. Consequently the greater reliability of
    traditional power stations becomes increasingly
    eclipsed.
    As a result, the relative contribution of wind
    power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply
    system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously
    to around 4% (FIGURE 7).
    In concrete terms, this means that in 2020,
    with a forecast wind power capacity of over
    48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of
    traditional power production can be replaced by
    these wind farms.

  46. Can the earths climate system be described as part of a Mandelbrot Set, with a fractal dimention, the technique has been used on markets with some success, has it been tried on climate systems.
    Mandelbrot claimed that short term weather fluctuations were mathmatically the same as long term ones, ie there is a fractal dimention
    Climate Audit had a discussion on chaos and climate in 2005 worth a read
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=396

  47. Anna v: the metronomes locking into step was absolutely fascinating. Ah , I posted it elsewhere but it can bear reposting here: A Little Book of Coincidences is one of the most amazing books of all time (to me) showing the deep mathematical relationships whereby the planets of the solar system are bound to each other by pi and phi and beautiful geometries, to high orders of probability. The metronomes getting in synch shows me very visibly how it might be with the planets.

  48. forgot to mention, Giurfa’s ref to Charvatova’s paper about the sun describing “trefoils” is fascinating too, the geometry… ah, St Patrick’s day, splashed all over Google.

  49. Here is an example of how bad British reporters are these days. Complete failure of journalistic standards
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7946072.stm
    Watch the video in the middle of the article.
    The reporter is told that the beach has been artificially expanded because the homes were being inundated by the sea. The BBC reporter blindly believes that claim. Well, frankly it is absurd because it is so obvious to any logical thinking person that the level of the sea is 3-4 metres lower than those homes and around 15-20 metres away.
    You can also tell from the coast line that the claim of it being an expanded artificial beach is nonsense. This is a propaganda video to get donations sent to the Maldives.
    Let’s try Prof. Morner instead. He has been studying sea level change for a long long time and investigated claims about the Maldives being under threat

  50. “The reporter is told that the beach has been artificially expanded because the homes were being inundated by the sea.”
    What? You mean those poor people were not evacuated??? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the whole world quits using fossil fuel??? Those artificial beaches are awful pricey… the humanity…

  51. Re: Lindsay H (02:47:27) :
    “Can the earths climate system be described as part of a Mandelbrot Set”
    What you are really asking is “does the Climate exhibit scale-invariance”? That is are the statistical properties of the Climate at the very small spatial (short temporal) scales similar to the statistical properties at the very large spatial (long temporal scales).
    At the temporal level – I think the answer is yes. Compare the deep time temperature anomaly series from an ice core record (e.g. http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1995/95GL01522.shtml) , to that of a daily temperature anomaly time series over a couple of months. Remove the time-scale and you will see statistical similarities between the 2 (without the scale its hard to ascertain what the scale is). Of course there are things like Milankovitch cycles and seasonal cycles which are clearly not scale-invariant here, but the variability on top of those cycles is.
    At the spatial level – in some cases yes. For example, it has been widely shown that atmospheric turbulence, clouds and rain exhibit fractal or scale-invariant properties (e.g. see http://www.physics.mcgill.ca/~gang/eprints/eprintLovejoy/neweprint/WRR.GSI.good.1985.pdf). However, the finite dimensions of the atmosphere and ocean provide some hard boundary conditions. A Hurricane for example (which normally occupies most of the atmosphere from the sea surface to the tropopause – i.e. it is bounded) is NOT scale-invariant (it has a characteristic length scale). Look at a Satellite Image of a Hurricane (without any scale) and you can generally approximate the scale.

  52. Didn’t anybody else read this link earlier from cogito, or was it just me? (The experiment by Wood using an NaCl window on his greenhouse was utterly intriguing..) The maths defeated me, but the paper itself completely distracted me. Any comments mathematicians and physicists?
    cogito (10:50:22) :
    Interesting reading:
    Falsification of the atmospheric CO 2 greenhouse effects within the frame of physics
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161

  53. Re: Larry Kirk (05:55:10) :
    “Didn’t anybody else read this link earlier from cogito, or was it just me?”
    I have read it (the math does get tougher, the deeper you go). From what I see though, very thorough mathematical/physical treatment of the Greenhouse Effect or should that be the ficticious Greenhouse Effect. From what I can determine (my math is not THAT strong) it makes good physics sense.
    I have heard the basic principals quoted elsewhere (will try to re-locate sources – perhaps they were also referring to this paper). But, based on this, the Greenhouse effect is pure fiction. This does not surprise me in the least.
    What is clear is that the IPCC process (and most AGW Alarmist “science”) is based on a “consensus” across Climatological research, where the “scientists” in those studies don’t understand the basic physics of the system they are studying.

  54. Re: realitycheck (06:56:48) :
    “where the “scientists” in those studies don’t understand the basic physics of the system they are studying.

    That should probably read:
    “where the “scientists” in those studies don’t understand OR CHOSE TO IGNORE the basic physics of the system they are studying.”

  55. Anthony, is it possible to get a discussion of the physics of the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper, or a reference to a helpful discussion? The version I have is 3.0 (9/9/07) so perhaps you have discussed it.
    Larry Kirk (05:55:10) and realitycheck (06:56:48) bring it up on this thread. Anna v (1/30/09?) also found some aspects of the paper “most persuasive”. Many others link to it or cite it. Stephen Goddard has convinced me and, I think, many others that there is a warming role for CO2 — but the earth’s atmosphere is not a greenhouse. If we could get more agreement on the physics from physicists’ statements, clarifications, and rebuttals, I think it would be extremely helpful. The example I have in mind is the dedication of Leif Svalgaard to your readers’ understanding of solar physics. His generosity is remarkable. (I am sure I am asking a very small thing.)

  56. Well, frankly it is absurd because it is so obvious to any logical thinking person that the level of the sea is 3-4 metres lower than those homes and around 15-20 metres away.

    That observation is correct under the current tide and wave conditions but during storm tides and heavy seas they are obviously building too close to the sea. During large hurricanes entire barrier islands in the U.S. gulf coast can disappear.
    This is another example of people thinking the historical (in human terms) beach lines are or were stable. That appears to be a sand spit that could just as likely disappear every 200 years only to reform a 100 years later, as storm conditions change. The historical high tide marks found by the researcher, does not necessarily apply to this specific beach and local wave conditions.
    Lots of the pacific islands exist essentially at the pleasure of coral barrier reefs being high enough to shield them from heavy surf action during stormy periods. Just because a sand barrier island has existed for generations in no way assures you that it is a permanent feature of the local geography.
    http://ncnatural.com/Coast/dynamics.html
    It would be interesting to see a detailed geography layout of that location and have the historical information to determine if the locals fundamentally changed the local hydrodynamics of the beach area by dredging or adding a jetty or pier small changes in tidal flow in an area like that can eat away enormous amounts of sand beach in hours during heavy sea conditions. The change that causes the damage might be located a considerable distance away but changes the sand deposition in that area of the beach by modifying water flow patterns that deposit or scour sand during storms.
    Larry

  57. This link shows the damage a single storm can due to a sand beach island.
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2009/2009-02-26-095.asp
    People need to recognize that change is normal and these sort of sea front properties are only temporary in both a geological and a human historical sense.
    In Bahrain and Dubai when they tried to build an artificial island, they had to spend considerable effort engineering the water flows in and around the island to keep it from being washed away, or having its lagoons infilled by sand. They built models of the lagoon/island complexes and analyzed water flow to design sustainable layouts that did not have severe scouring due to sea flow and had enough natural flow to avoid stagnation of the water in the lagoons.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Islands
    http://www.djmick.co.uk/travel/durrat-al-bahrain-newest-artificial-island-projec/
    Managing beach erosion is not a trivial task and in some cases is a fools errand as the sea will take the land it wants regardless of the puny efforts of man. Sometimes the worst thing you can do to a beach is build a poorly engineered sea barrier or obstruction to local sea flow. It is entirely possible that the beach erosion shown in that news piece is a self inflicted wound by well meaning “improvements” to the beach area and near by structures.
    Larry

  58. “”” realitycheck (08:47:44) :
    The other source I was referring to above was this paper by Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick http://www.uoguelph.ca/%7Ermckitri/research/globaltemp/GlobTemp.JNET.pdf
    They basically show, that from a mathematical concept, the idea of a “Global Average Temperature” is nonsense. This is also mentioned in the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper discussed above by pyromancer76, Larry Kirk, Anna v and myself. “””
    Well I wouldn’t say that the idea of a global average temperature is nonsense; and particularly not from a mathematical point of view.
    Any quite arbitrary set of numbers has an average, from a mathematical point of view; even your local telephone directory has an average telephone number which you can compute matthematically from all the numbers in there; it maynot however come out to be a valid telephone number.
    So the earth too does have an average temperature which could be computed if you had the data. Well the core temperature is supposed to be around 10,000 K, and I would venture that most of the earth’s volume is at greater than 400K.
    So let’s forget the whole earth, and simply say the whole surface; bearing in mind that that surface goes from maybe a km below sea level to +29,000 feet.
    But if you had simultaneously the temperature of that surface at sufficient points to satisfy the Nyquist criterion, you could calculate the average temperature at that instant, and if you did that sequentially in a manner that also satisfies the Nyquist criterion over say a full year orbit, then you could calculate the yearly average global temperature.
    In practice you can’t come within many orders of magnitude of actually doing that.
    But let’s suppose you did, and you got the true annual average global surface temperature.
    That is the point at which it becomes nonsense, because just like the average number in your telephone directory; the average surface temperature of the earth has absolutely no Physical significance whatsoever.
    It does not relate in any way to the question of whether the earth is gaining or losing energy from and to the rest of the universe; and since an average eliminates all spatial and temporal variances; then it can tell you nothing about energy flows on earth, so it can tell you nothing about global circulations or any other trappings of climate.
    So in the real physical sense, a global mean surface temperature is nonsense; but in a purely mathematical sense, it is just another average of just another set of numbers.
    I’ve already read the German Paper, and still trying to determine how much I believe and what in particular I don’t.
    My Handbook of Physics; literally a compendium of all knowledge, simply says;-
    “Thermodynamic properties may be defined and measured only in equilibrium.”
    Note that “ONLY”.
    We do a lot of hand waving when we are talking with people who know as much or more than we do; and we lose a lot of our pedantry in the process; But when things get serious, it pays to really be sure, just under what conditions our assumptions are valid.
    So I haven’t bought into the German paper yet; but it makes interesting reading, so people should look at it.
    George

  59. I think that this “greenhouse effect” discussion may have gotten a little bit off the rails.
    It seems that real “Greenhouses” don’t even work the way the “greenhouse effect” claims they do. Ok so what; the point is greenhouses do work to grow plants efficiently; so maybe they don’t describe how they work properly. (the ones I know of also use enhanced CO2 atmospheres inside to get even more plant growth)
    So then ihn describing the atmospheric “greenhouse effect” we must have it wrong since greenhouses don’t work that way.
    Ok so we just got the wrong name for the effect of so-called green house gases in the atmosphere. Well it wouldn’t be the first time something got incorrectly named.
    The real question is does CO2 as a representative GHG intercept ANY surface emitted thermal radiation in the long wave infrared spectrum (say around 15 microns). Then if it does (it does), what is the effect of that; and in particular can it cause the earth surface or lower atmosphere to be warmer than if there wasn’t any CO2 (or less CO2) . And if it can (it can), then is that amount of warming significant; and can it cause any sort of runaway heating of the planet.
    And the answers to those last two questions are (a) No; and (b) Hell No !
    Now the paper in question examines some of the atmospheric heating physical processes, and absorption of some nfra-red wavelengths by CO2 is just one. Water in all its forms in the atmosphere does some heating, and some cooling, and I don’t think the atmsophere really knows one GHG molecule from another; either as individuals, or as species. There’s an interchange of energy and momentum.
    But a doubling of the CO2 abundance, is still only avery small increment in the total GHG molecule population so it is nothing to write home about.
    George

  60. “Roger Clague (10:18:54) :
    There are many who comment on this blog, e.g. Steven Goddard, who believe that there is an atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’. Can they please say what is wrong with the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161
    At risk of having to be corrected I’ll have a go at this question.
    That paper clearly debunks the validity of a comparison between the thermal behaviour of the air and a greenhouse. So far so good.
    It then goes on to describe the vast number of variables that are insufficiently catered for in the models. I have no problem with that.
    Then it suggests that it is impossible for science to get to grips with the phenomenon at all. There I tend to disagree.
    They do not seem to deny that a temperature effect does occur as energy is transmitted through the planetary system more quickly or less quickly. I agree with them that the calculations involved in keeping a track of the ever changing thermal state of the system are formidable but with respect to them we do not need such detailed data.
    All we need to know at any given point is whether the air around the globe is warming or cooling at any particular time and in my view that is far less problematic.
    I’ve had a stab at the subject in layman’s language here:
    http://climaterealists.com/news.php?id=1562
    and for anyone with sufficient mental energy left I took the logic a few steps further here:
    http://climaterealists.com/news.php?id=2581
    So far the climate has not done anything to falsify my analyses.

  61. Stephen,
    Anyone with sufficient mental energy left knows that more GHG means more downwelling LW which increases surface temp and ocean heat content.

  62. “”” Stephen Wilde (10:58:49) :
    “Roger Clague (10:18:54) :
    There are many who comment on this blog, e.g. Steven Goddard, who believe that there is an atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’. Can they please say what is wrong with the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161”
    At risk of having to be corrected I’ll have a go at this question.
    That paper clearly debunks the validity of a comparison between the thermal behaviour of the air and a greenhouse. So far so good. “””
    Stephen, I think you’ve summed it up pretty well. They essentially proved that the term “Greenhouse effect” is a misnomer in both cases; but that’s different from saying there is no greenhouse effect in both cases.
    There is in both cases, and they both have the wrong name. And like you from there on, I felt they do a lot of flailing around.
    There is a small group of individuals who seem to be serious “skeptics”, as to catastrophic MMGWCC. But they choose to try and deny the existence of effects that can be easily demonstrated, and measured in laboratory settings. That approach plays right into the hand of the AGW fans, who wish to paint the “Skeptical” community as a bunch of ignorant kooks.
    The AGW fans problem is that they are unable to point to any empirical real world evidence of their models in action; while the skeptics need to show why other effects dominate to prevent the CO2 hypothesis from having any significant impact on the outcome. You don’t get there by denying the existence of the weak interraction of CO2 with the system.
    I received a paper this morning, which I can’t cite yet as it is embargoed; in which these “researchers” claim to have “modelled” (as in computer code), and their model they claim proved that the West Antarctic Ice sheet collapsed several times in the last 5 million years. So now we have modellers not only predicting the future; but actually creating events from the past; as if their computer actually saw these events happen.
    It continues to get nuttier and nuttier; but it is in line with the Congress’ stimulus bailout pork spending program designating $140M not for climate modelling; but for climate data modelling.
    Well they are already at it; making up stuff that maybe could happen if their models were correct, and reporting that they actually did happen.
    Oh; and their scenario happened if the oceans warmed 5 deg C.
    If the oceans warmed 5 deg C, you would have a 35% increase in global evaporation, total atmospheric water content, total global precipitation and in some form total global precipitable cloud cover; all of which would launch the mother of all negative feedback cooling effects, that would blanket the Westa antarctic Ice Sheets, with all of the snow they could stand.
    And that 35% increase, is NOT form any computer climate model, but from actual real world satellite measured data; see SCIENCE for July 7 2007.
    It looks like the whole science world is going mad, along with the political world.

  63. “lgl (12:26:10) :
    Stephen,
    Anyone with sufficient mental energy left knows that more GHG means more downwelling LW which increases surface temp and ocean heat content.”
    Not if there are negative atmospheric feedbacks that accelerate energy loss to space it doesn’t.
    I suggest more reading and less ‘witty’ one liners.

  64. George,
    It seems highly likely that the West Antarctic ice sheet might collapse periodically for entirely natural reasons.
    It might take an extra 5C to make the models replicate the event but that does not imply that the real world requires a rise of 5C or indeed any rise at all.
    It could be just like an icicle forming from a roof, falling off from weight, wind and gravity and then re forming.
    It’s an amazingly prevalent conceit that everything we do is supposed to have a direct effect on the entire globe as if natural forces were of no account.
    Undoubtedly it has come to this pass because the real money for science now comes from taxpayer funds in wealthy nations so anything the power mongers want is what they will get.

  65. Stephen,
    That’s not how negative feedbacks work. They can limit the effect of a forcing but never cancel it.

  66. “lgl (13:46:28) :
    Stephen,
    That’s not how negative feedbacks work. They can limit the effect of a forcing but never cancel it.”
    Never ?
    In the case of the Earth there is a vast ocean the surface temperature of which controls the temperature of the air above it.
    In order to maintain sea surface/surface air equilibrium either the sea surface has to be warmed by the air or the warmed air has to accelerate any excess energy to space.
    Due to the enhancement of the evaporative process caused by extra energy in the air combined with the cooling effect of the latent heat of evaoration I cannot see how the warmer air can heat the ocean.
    Thus in this case all the extra energy from human CO2 has to be ejected to space by a speeding up of atmospheric processes.
    Now I’m aware that that is not a mainstream view and is singularly unwelcome to many and I have challenged others elsewhere to show it to be false in the real world. So far no one has convinced me.
    If you wish to debate the issue with me please feel to go to this forum:
    http://climaterealists.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=4

  67. Dear Igl:
    The volumetric heat capacity of the air it is 3,227 times less than of water.
    Where there is no humidity to keep irradiated heat from below, from the sea water, surface or buildings,etc. heat dissapears rapidly by convection, as experienced in deserts. This is just common sense and third grade science. You just can´t keep the air heat without an efficient accumulator which it is not the unefficient air no matter how much CO2 it could contain.
    This why GWrs.use bottles filled with hot CO2 instead of bottles filled with water to heat their now frozen feet (CO2 is for keeping Ice creams cold). 🙂

  68. Re Stephen Wilde’s Comment and Links Above
    Stephen,
    I find your pieces on the role of the oceans intuitively correct, and they dovetail nicely with the fundamental observation quoted in the German paper, that if you leave the conservatory door open, it does not get as hot inside, as convection then takes over and removes the heat.
    The key factors in heat transfer up through the atmosphere (and then back out into space) would seem to be these:
    1. The major method of heat transfer in the lower atmosphere is convection, and the major direction of this heat transfer is therefore up
    2. The major heat carrier in this convective system is water vapour
    3. The major mechanisms of actual heat transfer within this convective system are: the absorbtion of latent heat by water at ground level during evaporation, and then its release at higher altitude during the condensation that eventually results.
    Once at the top of the convective system, I am not sure how most of the heat proceeds from there: (Is it used initially in expansion of the air and then convected to higher levels? Is it radiated directly away through the thinner atmosphere?) But it certainly doesn’t come back down to the surface: what falls back to earth is cold rain, hail, sleet and snow, which is then used again in the repeat the process.
    In a most extreme example of this, I have sweltered my way through a 40 degree morning in the tropical desert south of Halls Creek, Western Australia, watched huge diurnal thunderclouds piling up over lunch, and then been pelted by hail in the afternoon, till the ground was six inches deep in ice and eveybody was shivering in a temperature close to zero. The gargantuan heat transfer involved in this process was impressive. And it was all upwards, and was almost entirely facilitated by the water vapour that present in the air.
    I am not sure that the absorbative/radiative effects of a small increase in the trace gas CO2 can really do much, in the face of the role of a phase change system as powerful as this.
    The key points with respect to the predominant effect of water in the system are:
    1. Water is by far the largest component in the system (I am including the oceans, which you rightly include as part of the ‘atmophere’, with which it is in a state of dynamic equilibrium), and
    2. Crucially, water is the only component in the system that undergoes phase changes, from solid to liquid to gas and back, and it is these phase changes that give it the ability to transfer and then physically transport most of the heat in the system as it moves around.
    If we were on a planet where water was solid as rock and it was CO2 that changed phase from moment to moment, absorbing and releasing huge quantities of latent heat as it moved around, then CO2 would cut it and H20 would be a side issue. But on our planet, it is just another little bit of gas.
    Now I haven’t got time to stop and think about the oceans this morning. But the vertical heat transfer system there is bound to be very different to tthat of he atmosphere: the only phase change involved is the localised formation of a skin of solid water at the top, which is irrelevant to most of the ocean volume; the convective system is complicated no end by maximum water density being at 4C and colder, or solid water floating on top; lateral ocean currents, land and sea floor topography all interfere.
    But judging from the predominance of the effects of ocean temperature / current on local climate over thos of latitude and effective solar radiation, once again it is obvious that water is in charge.
    With regards,
    LK

  69. Larry,
    Thank you for your support.
    Another interesting fact about the ocean surface is that warming of it is never caused DIRECTLY by warmer air above it.
    Any ocean surface warming is caused by solar energy previously absorbed working it’s way back to the surface.
    It is true that warmer and/or more humid air above that water slows down the energy flow from water to air but as you rightly point out that has no effect on the temperature of the main body of the oceans.
    When the energy flow from water to air slows down there is no overall warming of the oceans. All that happens is that the energy flowing from ocean to air ‘pools’ for a while at the surface. It effectively waits in a ‘queue’ at the surface until the air circulation and weather systems increase their speed of ejection of energy to space and neutralise the warming.
    That is what happens when oceans naturally increase their emission of energy and the response of the air is exactly the same whether the warmer ocean surface is a result of enhanced energy emission from the ocean or enhanced energy in the air from another cause such as more humidity or more CO2.
    The air has to balance both the energy from ocean to air with energy from air to space AND energy from sun to ocean and energy from air to space over time. Everything we observe is a feature of that interplay.
    To deal adequately with any warming of the air from extra CO2 or any other increased GHG the air circulation and weather systems just shift their size and/or positions to adjust the rate of energy emission to space to restore equilibrium.
    The equilibrium they work back towards is set by the rate of energy flow from the sun modulated by the rate of energy flow through the oceans.
    The air circulation changes ensure that over time the energy radiated to space matches the energy received from the sun despite disruptions in the flow caused by the effects of the ocean cycles or changes in the composition of the air.
    It has taken me a year to get to this point and I see nothing in AGW theory or literature to counter it.
    The occasional surges of warmth in the stratosphere in winter fit into my scenario. When a large surge of polar air moves equatorward it draws a pulse of energy from the oceans in the lower latitudes and pumps it into the stratosphere where most of that energy is pushed out to space but a portion is not pushed out and descends again thus strengthening the high pressure systems on the poleward side of the mid latitude jets.
    Features such as that occur more frequently and are larger when the oceans globally are in net absorption mode (surface cooling) such as now. At such times the poleward air masses are ‘stronger’ than the equatorward weather systems. The opposite applies when the oceans are in net emission mode as I describe more fully in my articles.
    Everything we see in the air and the oceans is part of that natural energy balancing interaction and human emissions have no part to play other than a very small insignificant human induced shift in positions or intensities of the main high pressure systems. Wholly imperceptible in the face of natural variability.

  70. Stephen Wilde (01:34:20) :
    I read your links and in principle agree with your pov. In my view also it is all about heat capacities.
    I am intrigued with your analogue with a resistance circuit. Ever since looking at this problem I have been thinking of analogue computers. Back in the 1960s, they were holding the fort against digital ones for being able to solve systems of coupled differential equations by making analogue electric circuits with resistors, capacitors and/or inductors and it would seem to me to be an ideal way of modeling climate. The Tsonis paper above seems to be doing something like that except imposed on a digital computer. It would seem to me that an analogue construct would be much more efficient.
    Now on the GT paper mentioned in a post above:
    My gut feeling is that in the AGW models there are double countings because of intermingling of quantum mechanical concepts and classical thermodynamic concepts.
    In their latest paper Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner
    Version 4.0 (January 6, 2009)
    replaces Version 1.0 (July 7, 2007) and later
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0707/0707.1161v4.pdf
    they give a physicist summary, with which I cannot disagree.

  71. Stephen,
    Never? Yes, never.
    Even if you feed all the output of an amplifier back in a negative loop, the resulting output will be half of what it would have been without the feedback. So the best you can hope for is that the close to 4 W/m2 a CO2 doubling would give is reduced to 2 W. What you are hoping for is not negative feedback but that some cooling mechanism will take care of it, but then you are denying the whole greenhouse effect. There shouldn’t be any if such a cooling mechanism exists, the first tiny degree of warming produced by the GHGs would have been countered.

  72. lgl (09:17:56) :
    What you are hoping for is not negative feedback but that some cooling mechanism will take care of it, but then you are denying the whole greenhouse effect. There shouldn’t be any if such a cooling mechanism exists, the first tiny degree of warming produced by the GHGs would have been countered.
    One cannot deny that matter has heat capacity, so the atmosphere has a heat capacity, which is being missnamed as a “greenhouse effect”.
    Also have you ever heard of thresholds?
    What about non linear behaviors? Oscillations?
    A tiny degree of warming of the oceans does not produce clouds, for example. It is a much more complicated mechanism. Clouds will be a negative feedback in this problem, after a certain degree of warming.
    Once the tropical oceans get much hotter than 30 degrees, there are so many clouds and storms, taking the heat up in the stratosphere, they start getting cooler. etc.etc.

  73. “lgl (09:17:56) :
    Stephen,
    Never? Yes, never.
    Even if you feed all the output of an amplifier back in a negative loop, the resulting output will be half of what it would have been without the feedback. So the best you can hope for is that the close to 4 W/m2 a CO2 doubling would give is reduced to 2 W. What you are hoping for is not negative feedback but that some cooling mechanism will take care of it, but then you are denying the whole greenhouse effect. There shouldn’t be any if such a cooling mechanism exists, the first tiny degree of warming produced by the GHGs would have been countered.”
    The amplifier analogy doesn’t work. The Earth as a whole is not an amplifier, merely an obstruction to the flow of solar energy. One could say that the oceans and the air are two seperate amplifiers (or resistors).
    The greenhouse effect of the air is as nothing compared to The Hot Water Bottle Effect of the oceans. Since the surface air temperature always moves towards equilibrium with the sea surface temperature any change in the greenhouse power of the air alone is neutralised in the process of maintaining that equilibrium.
    The proof or rebuttal of what I say will be real world observations. So far the Earth is simply not responding as expected to CO2 variations.

  74. So, I am not denying the greenhouse effect of the air, simply saying that it has no effect in the face of the oceanic influence. It is present but has no bearing on the temperature of the air because the Hot Water Bottle Effect sets the temperature of the air and not the Greenhouse Effect.
    If you wish to continue please use the forum that I linked you to.

  75. I have to admit it – I’ve always wondered philosophically how a trace gas in our atmosphere can be the chief cause of so many problems and the focus of so many debates. I hope our descendants don’t think us mad for having wasted so much time on CO2. Certainly there has to be more to this warming phenomenon than man-made CO2 alone.

  76. (aka Larry Kirk, but changed to avoid confusion with the other Larry commenting here..)
    re Comments by Stephen Wilde
    Stephen, thanks for your further enlightening comments. I have had a moment to think further about the oceans, and realised this:
    1. Ignoring salinity, if max H20 density is 4C, and if all hotter and colder waters float on top of this, then..
    2. The hot and cold water must sit side by side at the surface!
    3. And so, where hot and cold surface waters meet (somewhere between balmy tropics and polar ice caps), they must eventually cool/heat one another down/up to 4C
    4. At which point, this ‘densest’ ocean water must sink, with the less dense hotter and cooler waters closing in over the top of it, meeting again to perpetuate the process
    5. Thus there should be an outflow of surface waters form the equator and the poles towards downwelling zones somewhere in between
    (I may be one of the few here who didn’t already know this.. a geologist, not an oceanographer)
    And then all this will then be made horrendously complicated by the coriolis effect, the prescence of intervening landmasses, sea floor topography, salinity/density differences, geological heating, eg. at mid ocean ridges, etc.
    What a different system it is from atmospheric circulation! (And if this is the beast that actually powers the atmospheric weather and climate..how could you ever model the latter in isolation?)
    Further thought required

  77. Quite right Laurence.
    The recent discovery of multidecadal oceanic oscillations in each ocean combined with my simple observation of the changes in the latitudinal positions of the weather systems when a warming trend changed to a cooling trend and vice versa is what led to my novel ideas about the climate mechanisms.
    This post which I put on another board sums it up very well and I think I’ll post it in many places (and often) whenever it seems relevant:
    “Changing temperatures induce circulation changes as the air seeks to restore the sea surface/surface air temperature equilibrium and at the same time resolve ocean induced variations in the sun to sea / air to space equilibrium.
    The circulation changes alter all the processes involved in the rate of energy transfer from surface to space. In so far as the air circulation fails for a time to maintain temperature stability then radiation from surface to space will also change but in due course stabilty is always restored between the four said parameters (sea surface / surface air / sun to sea / air to space).
    Only huge catastrophic changes capable of altering the temperature of the whole body of the oceans can set a new global equilibrium in the short term (less than millennia). The sun can also do it gradually but it takes centuries e.g. from Roman Warm Period to Mediaeval Warm Period to Little Ice Age to now. The solar effect is heavily modulated over time by ocean cycles. A change in the composition of the air alone cannot do it.
    The role of water vapour combined with the latent heats of evaporation and condensation gives the circulation changes the major part of their ability to accelerate energy transfer from surface to space.
    So, the most common and by far the largest forcing at any given time is multi decadal variations in energy emissions from the oceans. In the background are slow century scale changes in solar output.
    Temperature changes induced by sun and oceans drive air circulation changes which drive changes in every aspect of climate including convection, conduction, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, windiness, cloudiness, albedo and humidity as regards both quantities and distribution.
    Water vapour in itself is not a driver nor does it have cycles or periodicities of it’s own. It’s a very useful contibutor to the whole process though and without it the Earth would be entirely different.”

Comments are closed.