The 2007-2008 Global Cooling Event: Evidence for Clouds as the Cause

World low cloud cover in January 2008. NASA

The 2007-2008 Global Cooling Event: Evidence for Clouds as the Cause

September 26th, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

As I work on finishing our forcing/feedback paper for re-submission to Journal of Geophysical Research – a process that has been going on for months now – I keep finding new pieces of evidence in the data that keep changing the paper’s focus in small ways.

For instance, yesterday I realized that NASA Langley has recently updated their CERES global radiative budget measurement dataset through 2008 (it had previously ran from March 2000 through August 2007).

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this update because of the major global cooling event we saw during late 2007 and early 2008. A plot of daily running 91-day global averages in UAH lower tropospheric (LT) temperature anomalies is shown below, which reveals the dramatic 2007-08 cool event.

UAH-LT-during-Terra-CERES

I was especially interested to see if this was caused by a natural increase in low clouds reducing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the climate system. As readers of my blog know, I believe that most climate change – including “global warming” – in the last 100 years or more has been caused by natural changes in low cloud cover, which in turn have been caused by natural, chaotic fluctuations in global circulation patterns in the atmosphere-ocean system. The leading candidate for this, in my opinion, is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation…possibly augmented by more frequent El Nino activity in the last 30 years.

Now that we have 9 years of CERES data from the Terra satellite, we can more closely examine a possible low cloud connection to climate change. The next figure shows the changes in the Earth’s net radiative balance as measured by the Terra CERES system. By “net” I mean the sum of reflected shortwave energy (sunlight), or “SW”, and emitted longwave energy (infrared) or “LW”.

Terra-CERES-LW-SW

The changes in the radiative balance of the Earth seen above can be thought of conceptually in terms of forcing and feedback, which are combined together in some unknown proportion that varies over time. Making the interpretation even more uncertain is that some proportion of the feedback is due not only to radiative forcing, but also to non-radiative forcing of temperature change.

So the variations we see in the above chart is the combined result of three processes: (1) radiative forcing (both internal and external), which can be expected to cause a temperature change; (2) radiative feedback upon any radiatively forced temperature changes; and (3) radiative feedback upon any NON-radiatively forced temperature changes (e.g., from tropical intraseasonal oscillations in rainfall). It turns out that feedback can only be uniquely measured in response to NON-radiatively forced temperature changes, but that’s a different discussion.

The SW component of the total flux measured by CERES looks like this…note the large spike upward in reflected sunlight coinciding with the late 2007 cooling:

Terra-CERES-SW

And here’s the LW (infrared) component…note the very low emission late in 2007, a portion of which must be from the colder atmosphere emitting less infrared radiation.

Terra-CERES-LW

As I discuss at length in the paper I am preparing, the physical interpretation of which of these 3 processes is dominant is helped by drawing a phase space diagram of the Net (LW+SW) radiative flux anomalies versus temperature anomalies (now shown as monthly running 3-month averages), which shows that the 2007-08 cooling event has a classic radiative forcing signature:

Terra-CERES-vs-LT-phase-plot-3-mon

The spiral (or loop) pattern is the result of the fact that the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag. The dashed line represents the feedback I believe to be operating in the climate system on these interannual (year-to-year) time scales, around 6 W m-2 K-1 as we published in 2007…and as Lindzen and Choi (2009) recently published from the older Earth Radiation Budget Satellite data.

The ability to separate forcing from feedback is crucial in the global warming debate. While this signature of internal radiative forcing of the 2007-08 event is clear, it is not possible to determine the feedback in response to that temperature change – it’s signature is overwhelmed by the radiative forcing.

Since the fluctuations in Net (LW+SW) radiative flux are a combination of forcing and feedback, we can use the tropospheric temperature variations to remove an estimate of the feedback component in order to isolate the forcing. [While experts will questions this step, it is entirely consistent with the procedures of Forster and Gregory (2006 J. Climate) and Forster and Taylor (2006 J. of Climate), who subtracted known radiative forcings from the total flux to isolate the feedback].

The method is simple: The forcing equals the Net flux minus the feedback parameter (6 W m-2 K-1) times the LT temperature variations shown in the first figure above. The result looks like this:

Terra-CERES-rad-forcing-6.0

What we see are 3 major peaks in radiant energy loss forcing the system: in 2000, 2004, and late 2007. If you look at the features in the separate SW and LW plots above, it is obvious the main signature is in the SW…probably due to natural increases in cloud cover, mostly low clouds, causing internal radiative forcing of the system

If we instead assume a much smaller feedback parameter, say in the mid-range of what the IPCC models exhibit, 1.5 W m-2 K-1, then the estimate of the radiative forcing looks like this:

Terra-CERES-rad-forcing-1.5

Note the trend lines in either case show a net increase of at least 1 W m-2 in the radiant energy entering the climate system. The anthropogenic greenhouse gas component of this would be (I believe) about 0.4 W m-2, or a little less that half. I’ll update this if someone gives me a better estimate.

So, what might all of this mean in the climate debate? First, nature can cause some pretty substantial forcings…what if these occur on the time scales associated with global warming (decades to centuries)?

But what is really curious is that the 9-year change in radiative forcing (warming influence) of the system seen in the last two figures is at least TWICE that expected from the carbon dioxide component alone, and yet essentially no warming has occurred over that period (see first illustration above). How could this be, if the climate system is as sensitive as the IPCC claims it to be?

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Kasmir

“But what is really curious is that the 9-year change in radiative forcing (warming influence) of the system seen in the last two figures is at least TWICE that expected from the carbon dioxide component alone, and yet essentially no warming has occurred over that period (see first illustration above). How could this be, if the climate system is as sensitive as the IPCC claims it to be?”
That was precisely the point of Lindzen’s recent devastating (to alarmists) paper: you can *measure* sensitivity from events like this, and the plug numbers in the gcm models are (unsurprisingly) all absurdly high.
Couple that with the expected missing tropical tropospheric water-vapor feedback hotspot and all the measurable evidence indicates that the alarmism is a crock based on apparently wishful over estimations of H20 feedback.
We need to keep reminding everyone that this sensitivity is an *input* to the GCMs, i.e. the models are irrelevant because without positive water vapor feedback CO2 warming is small compared to natural variability.
What “proof” the alarmists have of high H20 sensitivity amounts to a claim that they cannot otherwise explain the warming from 1970 to 1998. That’s one of the weakest widely-defended arguments in the history of science.
We also have heard for 20 years now that someday we’ll have powerful enough computers for models with the cellular resolution to model clouds. I find it highly suspicious that there’s not a hint of even a very slow small scaled simple cloud model that supports warmism — despite a 1000x improvement in computing capabilities in the past 20 years. Indeed Lindzen’s “Iris” theory — which at least explains the absence of a tropical tropospheric hot spot — is all we really have.
It’s so sad to see science so captured by political interests.

kim

I think I’ve never heard so loud
The quiet message in a cloud.
===================

jeez

Dr. Spencer,
Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy

Michael

Climate Change is not for you or me to alter. It is not for you or me to decide to change which way it goes. It is not yours or my decision to make. How arrogant it is of us to think we have any say in which way the climate of our planet is to go.
The harshest thing we could possibly throw at planet Earth would pale in comparison to the Mt. Vesuvius volcanic eruption that completely destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy: 79 A.D. Or consider Mount Krakatoa, Indonesia: On August 27, 1883, Mount Krakatau exploded with such force that it was heard in Australia, over 2,000 miles away. The force of the eruption triggered a series of tsunamis that reached the Hawaiian islands and the coast of South America, killing more than 36,000 people. The five cubic miles of ejecta covered the surrounding areas in darkness for over two days and caused a series of dramatic sunsets around the world throughout the following year. The explosion and subsequent collapse of the volcano left only a remnant of the island above sea level. Yes, around the world.
Events such as these have the power to alter the climate of our planet, but even events of this magnitude have only a temporary affect on the global climate. Within some short years the climate re-balances itself. If all the nukes in the world were to explode in one place, it would pale in comparison to a Krakatau type event. Don’t think you have any say in the matter of climate change, because you don’t.

jeez (18:44:42) :
Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy
It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.

Michael

How many PPM of H2O are there in the atmosphere at any given time? What is the history?

kim

Kasmir 18:26:32
Mistaking the 1970-1998 warm-up as being caused by CO2 is the grandest example ever of the Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc logical fallacy. And really, that’s all it was. It’s just stunning that so many fell for it.
==========================

Michael

Silly human race,
Yours is no Disgrace – Yes

Thread music.

commieBob

“the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag.”
I am not a climate scientist, I do electronics and the systems I deal with are simple compared with the climate, however …
It would take some strong arguments to convince me that the overall system response has significant delay but the feedback doesn’t. It may be possible that part of the system has rapid feedback but it is likely that the system as a whole has significantly delayed feedback. It also seems to me that, if you ignore the whole system feedback term, you will never be able to model the system accurately.
My candidate for overall system feedback is something like this: There are decadal oscillations in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. That means that the system’s response to a forcing is delayed by years. The ocean influences the atmosphere and thereby influences cloud formation. The clouds influence inputs to and outputs from the system. There’s your feedback, years after the original forcing.

Michael

“the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing. This is in contrast to feedback, a process for which there is no time lag.”
I made the observation a few weeks ago; the temperature response of the ocean “due to solar activity” lags the forcing. I do tend to believe the Sun is also a factor.

a jones

Your are both wrong gentlemen over dark enthalpy and candle wicks.
T’was the electric light that slew the ghost.
Now all we need is a big enough lantern to get rid of all that dark matter that seems to be clogging up the universe.
Kindest Regards

savethesharks

“The ability to separate forcing from feedback is crucial in the global warming debate.”
Profound statement….and profound post.
Bravo.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

John F. Hultquist

Beneath Dr. Roy’s first chart is a link via the word “candidate” to one of his earlier reports. Include this in your reading.
His work, and studies and reports by others, marginalize the role of CO2 in climate change. The problem now is that a multitude of things, or pieces, have been put forward to account for the changes seen at different time scales. These pieces have not been put into a coherent whole that is sufficiently simple that I can present it to anyone. A comparison may be made to the notion of continental drift (matching coasts but no mechanism) and plate tectonics (messy details still being investigated) but considered sound science nevertheless.
So, say I buy that the cold phase of the PDO causes more clouds that block solar energy and the atmosphere cools. However, the PDO index is not easily explained to just about anyone, and we are still left with what causes the shift in the PDO index (or any of the other ocean descriptors.)
When a coherent story can be cobbled together from all the pieces such that a non-scientist can grasp its reasonableness in an under 10 minute explanation, then I think the CAGW train can be derailed. Until then it is only being slowed. Thus the big push to enact laws and treaties before someone makes a new story believable.

Graeme Rodaughan

I love the honesty of this thread.

Jerky

[snip – your email address of “nospam@hotmail.com” is invalid, in that it does not reach you directly. Per our posted policy on the policy page, your participation is denied, sorry. If you wish to use a valid email address, you can post a comment.]

rbateman

John F. Hultquist (21:54:38) :
Yes, and Global Warming will cause an Ice Age, freezing instantly anyone in it’s path, and re-installing Laurentide subroutine in 2 short weeks.
So, with the several years of bare minimum Solar Activity running down the ocean’s heat, the lag of which is just now starting to be felt, the cooling of 2007-8 will be repeated until the system stabilizes to the new input. Riding the Bucking Bronco of Climate Change.

John F. Hultquist

Jerky (22:19:02) :
The link you provide leads to an analysis that relies on bogus temperatures about which readers of this site are well aware.
Perhaps instead of your misdirected remark you could read what is presented in this current post and comment on it, either pro or con, based on your analysis of it. I’d be happy to read your respectable comments rather than having wasted time reading the snide renderings of someone else. Thanks for wasting my time. Translation: I’ll not read anything by Jerky again.

Michael

The Europeans are socialists. It’s only logical they would be the first people on the planet to accept the blame for climate change.

jeez (18:44:42) :
Dr. Spencer,
Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy

Enthalpy is the amount of internal energy of a thermodynamic system plus the product of its volume by the pressure exerted on that thermodynamic system by an external operator. U = E + VP
Well intentioned questions:
What’s “dark” enthalpy? Enthalpy cannot be known directly, so it would have been ignored absolutely if not were by the changes (ΔU) in the internal energy of the thermodynamic systems. Then, is enthalpy always “dark” because we cannot measure it directly or what are you talking about?
Another definition for enthalpy is ΔU = Cp (T2T1). It is the change of internal energy what we know as “enthalpy”; how could a variation be “dark”?

jeez

Nasif Nahle

Another definition for enthalpy is ΔU = Cp (T2 – T1). It is the change of internal energy what we know as “enthalpy”; how could a variation be “dark”?

Perhaps this could help?

John F. Hultquist

rbateman (22:34:39) : Riding the Bucking Bronco of Climate Change.
I like that!
Some people want to visit Rome or Paris, or another famous place. I would like to stand at the apex of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and take a digital panorama of the landscape. I likely will need more than two weeks to accomplish this as it is a little late in the 2009 season. Winning a small lottery would help too. So let’s not install that subroutine without a holding clause in front of it. Thanks.

Michael

There are 1000 different ways to say the same thing. It is important that you figure out what those 1000 different ways are and use them. As long as those 1000 different ways same thing, make the same point, and convey the same message as the original way. Hearing the same thing said the same way over and over again gets boring. Kids don’t like to here that.

Yes, and Global Warming will cause an Ice Age, freezing instantly anyone in it’s path, and re-installing Laurentide subroutine in 2 short weeks.

Oh yeah, there was serious movie about that, wasn’t there? It was a real blockbuster and totally believable!
Just in case there’s someone who doesn’t implicitly get sarcasm…
[/sarc]

a jones (20:30:06) :
Now all we need is a big enough lantern to get rid of all that dark matter that seems to be clogging up the universe.
“Let there be light! And there was!” (I. Asimov among others)

rbateman

Leif Svalgaard (18:51:22) :
It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.

Eureka, you have found it.
That’s what’s wrong with the Sun, it’s ill from sucking up the cold darkness of Insterstellar Space too fast.
Let’s call that the Solar Ice Cream Headache Theory.
You get a vote for quote of the week.

Michael D Smith

Leif Svalgaard (18:51:22) :
jeez (18:44:42) :
Your recent findings could easily be explained by Dark Enthalpy
It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.

So Leif subscribes to the Darkon theory. Something I’ve always found fascinating whenever photons seem so passe at the moment. I just noticed this effect earlier when I was paying $2.69 a gallon to have previous transportation sucked out of my vehicle. Hmmm, I see a new thread starting when my favorite solar scientist submits to the dark side.

Leif Svalgaard (18:51:22) : “It is also well-known that candles do not spread light, rather they suck up the dark, just look at their wicks.”
A noted astronomer once assured me at a party that days were “longer in the zummer und shorter in the vinter, because heat expands und cold contrakts!”

John Doe

Thank you for the CERES radiative balance graphs. They show that there is no heat in the pipeline stored somewhere e.g. in the oceans. The heat that we did not have during the cool year 2007 is lost forever to the outer space.
The consequence of that is that the recovery from the cool period will be normal instead of rapid as AGW promoters suggest. The lost heat can’t have watervapor and other feedbacks, either.

What ever happens in this debate The American people must lead the way. Smaller countries cannot buck the direction your government takes in this issue. We all hold with bated breath the struggle that is fought in your country.
The friendly government to the north has tried to divert, wiggle and dodge but we can only do so much. I love this blog, I make my views know and try to influence, but public opinion is everything to governments here. so it up to American opinion makers to turn the tide and I have a feeling it will not be long. Just hope its not to late.
To all those who post I find your comment refreshing and insightful keep it up.

michel

When the history of this lamentable episode is written, Dr Spencer will have an honorable and prominent place in it.

p.g.sharrow "PG"

It would seem to me that atmospheric cooling causes clouds and not clouds causeing atmospheric cooling, although both go hand in hand. Dew point( clouding ) is proxy for moisture, pressure and temperature.
It also seems that the lag time of several years in the various components of the hydrosphere and atmosphere will make modeling difficult. The use of proxies may help to simplify, as in warm oceans push energy towards poles, warm oceans and cooling atmosphere yield more clouds, forcing cooling . Cooling oceans under warm atmosphere forces less clouds and more heating. Actually the atmosphere average temperature changes little, it is the oceans that really gain and lose energy and therefore water vapor that transports the energy from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere. A very large version of a hurricane. K.I.S.S.
The Sun varies it’s output a little, the earths orbit changes a little, but in a balanced system in a good vacuum the real changes would be small but visable as in more or less polar ice in one pole or the other. This makes me feel very very small.
From our tiny point of view large changes,

Michael

Thanks Ern Matthews.

jorgekafkazar (23:28:02) :
A noted astronomer once assured me at a party that days were “longer in the zummer und shorter in the vinter, because heat expands und cold contrakts!”
Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun, because is shines at night when it is dark, and we need the light more.

Richard Mackey

I would like to, once again, bring to the millions of WUWT readers the evidence that the Sun drives the PDO.
Most recently, in a paper published in March this year, Dr. Ichiro Yasuda, Professor, Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo showed that the Luna Nodal Cycle (LNC) drives the PDO.
The citation is: Yasuda, I. (2009), ‘The 18.6-year period moon-tidal cycle in Pacific Decadal Oscillation reconstructed from tree-rings in western North America’, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L05605, doi:10.1029/2008GL036880.
Here is the Abstract:
“Time-series of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) reconstructed from tree-rings in Western North America is found to have a statistically significant periodicity of 18.6- year period lunar nodal tidal cycle; negative (positive) PDO tends to occur in the period of strong (weak) diurnal tide. In the 3rd and 5th (10th, 11th and 13rd) year after the maximum diurnal tide, mean-PDO takes significant negative (positive) value, suggesting that the Aleutian Low is weak (strong), western-central North Pacific in 30–50N is warm (cool) and equator-eastern rim of the Pacific is cool (warm). This contributes to climate predictability with a time-table from the astronomical tidal cycle”.
The last LNC maximum happened on September 16, 2006.
According to Prof Yasuda’s finding the PDO should now be taking a significant negative value, as is being found. The climate consequences are therefore as expected.
There is substantial evidence that the LNC is a significant contributor to our planet’s climate dynamics. I include an illustrated explanation of the LNC and review a lot of the published literature about its contribution to climate dynamics in my paper “The Sun’s role in regulating the Earth’s climate dynamics” published in the Journal of Energy and Environment Vol 20 No 1 2009.
Amongst other things I wrote:
“The ocean currents generated by the northward movement of the tidal bulge, in conjunction with the rotation of the Earth through the bulges in the normal manner creating our experience of the tides, brings warmish equatorial water to the Arctic accelerating the warming that had being going on there because of other forms of solar activity as discussed below.
The LNC has maximum effect at higher latitudes, resulting in higher sea levels at these latitudes. It creates tidal currents resulting in diapycnal mixing, bringing the warmer equatorial waters into the Arctic. The LNC is therefore a major determinant of Arctic climate dynamics, influencing long term fluctuations in Arctic ice. As a result, it is a key driver of European climate.”
There is also a very good paper accompanied by useful discussion and web links about the LNC on WUWT here:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/23/evidence-of-a-lunisolar-influence-on-decadal-and-bidecadal-oscillations-in-globally-averaged-temperature-trends/#more-7965
(aka http://tinyurl.com/mrjq9e )
The effect of the LNC is amplified by the distinctive geography of the high latitude oceans, e.g. the North Pacific and the Bering and Okhotsk Seas.
Prof Yasuda and his colleagues have been researching the role of the LNC for several years. Their work is meticulous and rigorous. It builds on other published research in this field over the last forty years, which I’ve reviewed in my Journal of Energy and Environment paper.
A little about how the Sun creates the LNC:
The Sun’s gravitational field makes the Moon’s Earthly orbit swivel around in a clockwise manner, over a cycle of 18.6 years, with respect to the plane of the Earth’s orbit, the ecliptic. The Moon moves with respect to the ecliptic up and down a northerly latitude throughout the LNC. This arises because the Earth is titled on it axis and inclined away from the Sun and because the Moon’s orbit is tilted a little relative to the ecliptic. It is as if the Sun strives to pull the plane of the Moon’s orbit into its own plane, the ecliptic. But there is an alternate motion at right angles to the applied force, resulting in a revolution of the pole of the Moon’s orbit around the pole of the ecliptic.
The LNC encodes information about the Moon, Earth, Sun geometry that relates to tidal extremes, at least at high latitudes. It defines how the angle of the Moon’s orbit to the Earth’s equatorial plane combines with, or partially cancels out, the tilt in the Earth’s axis. From the perspective of an observer on the Earth, during the LNC the Moon moves along a northern latitude about ten degrees from a position about 18.5 degrees north of the equator to one that is 28.5 degrees, which it reaches after 18.6 years.
I can send my Journal of Energy and Environment paper to anyone who wants it.
The LNC was first reported by John Bradley in his grandly titled “A Letter to the Right Honourable George Earl of Macclesfield Concerning an
Apparent Motion observed in Some of the Fixed Stars”, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol 45, London, 1748, pps 1 to 45.
James Bradley was Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford and in 1742 he succeeded Edmond Halley as Astronomer Royal.
Professor Bradley read his paper at a meeting of the Royal Society on February 14, 1747.

Jimmy Haigh

Richard Mackey (01:08:47) :
The 18.6 year cycle you mention reminded me of the Saros cycle Similar eclipses occur after periods of 18 years ,11 days and 8 hours due to the sun, moon and earth being in the same relative position.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saros_cycle

Mike McMillan

Leif Svalgaard (23:59:47) :
Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun, because is shines at night when it is dark, and we need the light more.

Can you provide us a link to the data?

Mike McMillan (01:38:23) :
Of course, and the Moon is more important than the Sun…”
Can you provide us a link to the data?

Absolutely:
http://azadehpourzand.blogspot.com/2009/02/is-moon-more-important-or-sun.html

JAN

Leif Svalgaard (01:57:03) :
Absolutely:
http://azadehpourzand.blogspot.com/2009/02/is-moon-more-important-or-sun.html
“The sun, on the other hand, shines only in the day—when it is hardly needed.”
Priceless.

tallbloke

Dr Roy writes
“the 9-year change in radiative forcing (warming influence) of the system seen in the last two figures is at least TWICE that expected from the carbon dioxide component alone, and yet essentially no warming has occurred over that period (see first illustration above). How could this be, if the climate system is as sensitive as the IPCC claims it to be?”
Could a look at the absolute levels of incoming and outgoing radiation rather than the anomalies help us get a better handle on this?
It’s doubly perplexing because according to ARGO data the oceans have been ‘slightly cooling’ since 2003. If the energy from the oceans has been lost to the air, and the air hasn’t warmed up, it must be escaping to space. Yet the anomalies indicate no big increase in outgoing radiation.
Could something else in/on the ocean be absorbing energy and sequestering it in a form not available as sensible heat? Biological processes on a big enough scale to make a difference?
Could the increased incoming energy be offset by some aspect of waning solar influence we don’t yet understand or measure. Or that we do measure but don’t yet understand enough to relate it to global temperature?

Sorry, please explain once more the mechanism behind the change in global cloud cover.
Thanks.
.

tallbloke

Another question.
Has Dr Roy looked at the outgoing LW for the tropics in comparison to the 85N-85S data? Might that not be instructive as to the disposition of cloud at the regional in contrast with the global situation?

MalagaView

Richard Mackey (01:08:47) :
Jimmy Haigh (01:37:11) :

Thank you for sharing your insights…
The Saros cycle really helps me join up some dots in my understanding…
Reading WUWT is like reading a “Who Dun It?”… looking for clues… spotting the “red herrings”… watching out for liars and cheats… waiting for reliable forensics…
Wikipedia states that the earliest discovered historical record of the Saros cycle is by the Chaldeans (ancient Babylonian astronomers) in the last several centuries BC. This fuels my prejudice that we need to combine astrology and astronomy on a cosmic scale if we wish to fully understand our climate drivers…
But there are still parts of the puzzle that are missing… my instinct is that those missing parts are the ones that are hard to see with the naked eye… things like gravity, electricity and magnetism… It will be very interesting for me to learn more about Piers Corbyn’s perspective in October… he might not be totally correct… but I get the feeling that he may be looking in the right holistic direction….

Stephen Wilde

Nice to see Roy’s progress with this since I agree with his basic premise that the climate system provides overwhelming negative feebacks to forcings emanating internally from the ocean/air interaction.
Lots of detail still to be resolved but currently supporting my overview of an ocean driven system rather than an air driven system as proposed by AGW theory and sceptics such as Svensmark.
I still support the Svensmark idea but as a minor modulating effect rather than as a primary driver.

Robert Wood

p.g.sharrow “PG” (23:55:20) :
It would seem to me that atmospheric cooling causes clouds and not clouds causeing atmospheric cooling, although both go hand in hand.

On the radiative issues, clouds prevent warming. It is by evaporation and precipitation that clouds are produced, causing cooling.

Stephen Wilde

Whoops, just noticed this:
“The spiral (or loop) pattern is the result of the fact that the temperature response of the ocean lags the forcing.”
which goes contrary to my view that the oceans initiate the forcings in the first instance.
However it is possible for the oceans to nevertheless start the process off by cooling which causes more low level cloud and a greater albedo effect which reduces incoming solar energy to the oceans which then cool further until the oceans start to release more energy again from their own internal variability.
Perhaps Roy could clarify his opinions on the chicken and egg aspect.
From a recent thread where he showed the various lags for ocean surface temperatures, clouds, rain then wind it was a little amiguous whether windspeed changes caused the SST changes or were a consequence of them. I favour higher ocean surface temperatures leading to greater windiness from a speeding up of the hydrological cycle and then cooling of the ocean surfaces rather than,
reduced windiness leading to higher ocean temperatures then more cloud and rain bringing temperatures down again.
The reason I say that is that logically, increased windiness would more plausibly be a direct result of a faster hydrological cycle rather than decreased windiness allowing the oceans to warm up and then indirectly causing the hydrological cycle to speed up.
Always go for the shortest route for causation.

mulberry leaf

Leif Svalgaard (01:57:03) :
That got me thinking. the planet mercury contributes to global warming, since its much closer to the earth than the sun and bounces solar energy right in our faces, in a much amplified way. The fact that we can sometimes see mercury as a bright object in the sky means that this is true. Also: Has anyone considered that all the stars in the sky that radiate energy – much more so than our sun- could cause global warming? My new theory is that every time a star dies and becomes a red dwarf, the temperature here on earth drops, as we no longer get its heat, and the temperature goes up again once the energy of new stars traverses the universe and hits our planet. Just because we live in the solar system doesn’t mean that things beyond it don’t impact us and our loved ones.
PS If it wasn’t for the moon shining at night, temperatures here would be -45C at night. 🙁
Its just as well we have c02 as a contingency if all these planetary systems fail us. 😉

Ron de Haan

OT: Anthony,
Just for the record:
The DMI Polar Temp link is not working.
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

Don Penman

Is the amount of water going into the atmosphere(evaporation) always balanced by the amount falling as rain(precipitation)? Can we measure this?

vg

Looks like wikipedia is getting a bit more realistic about AGW
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

Hunt

Leif is having some fun today, he must be in a good mood.
Its surprising what a few sunspots can do.