A borehole in Antarctica produces evidence of sudden warming

From a Louisiana State University Press Release Oct 1, 2009

Algae and Pollen Grains Provide Evidence of Remarkably Warm Period in Antarctica’s History

Palynomorphs from sediment core give proof to sudden warming in mid-Miocene era


The ANDRILL drilling rig in Antarctica

For Sophie Warny, LSU assistant professor of geology and geophysics and curator at the LSU Museum of Natural Science, years of patience in analyzing Antarctic samples with low fossil recovery finally led to a scientific breakthrough. She and colleagues from around the world now have proof of a sudden, remarkably warm period in Antarctica that occurred about 15.7 million years ago and lasted for a few thousand years.

Last year, as Warny was studying samples sent to her from the latest Antarctic Geologic Drilling Program, or ANDRILL AND-2A, a multinational collaboration between the Antarctic Programs of the United States (funded by the National Science Foundation), New Zealand, Italy and Germany, one sample stood out as a complete anomaly.

Microscopic image of the algae pediastrum.

“First I thought it was a mistake, that it was a sample from another location, not Antarctica, because of the unusual abundance in microscopic fossil cysts of marine algae called dinoflagellates. But it turned out not to be a mistake, it was just an amazingly rich layer,” said Warny. “I immediately contacted my U.S. colleague, Rosemary Askin, our New Zealand colleagues, Michael Hannah and Ian Raine, and our German colleague, Barbara Mohr, to let them know about this unique sample as each of our countries had received a third of the ANDRILL samples.”

Some colleagues had noted an increase in pollen grains of woody plants in the sample immediately above, but none of the other samples had such a unique abundance in algae, which at first gave Warny some doubts about potential contamination.

“But the two scientists in charge of the drilling, David Harwood of University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Fabio Florindo of Italy, were equally excited about the discovery,” said Warny. “They had noticed that this thin layer had a unique consistency that had been characterized by their team as a diatomite, which is a layer extremely rich in fossils of another algae called diatoms.”

All research parties involved met at the Antarctic Research Facility at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Together, they sampled the zone of interest in great detail and processed the new samples in various labs. One month later, the unusual abundance in microfossils was confirmed.

Among the 1,107 meters of sediments recovered and analyzed for microfossil content, a two-meter thick layer in the core displayed extremely rich fossil content. This is unusual because the Antarctic ice sheet was formed about 35 million years ago, and the frigid temperatures there impede the presence of woody plants and blooms of dinoflagellate algae.

“We all analyzed the new samples and saw a 2,000 fold increase in two species of fossil dinoflagellate cysts, a five-fold increase in freshwater algae and up to an 80-fold increase in terrestrial pollen,” said Warny. “Together, these shifts in the microfossil assemblages represent a relatively short period of time during which Antarctica became abruptly much warmer.”

These palynomorphs, a term used to described dust-size organic material such as pollen, spores and cysts of dinoflagellates and other algae, provide hard evidence that Antarctica underwent a brief but rapid period of warming about 15 million years before present.


LSU’s Sophie Warny and her New Zealand colleague, Mike Hannah, sampling the ANDRILL cores at the Antarctic Research Facility.

“This event will lead to a better understanding of global connections and climate forcing, in other words, it will provide a better understanding of how external factors imposed fluctuations in Earth’s climate system,” said Harwood. “The Mid-Miocene Climate Optimum has long been recognized in global proxy records outside of the Antarctic region. Direct information from a setting proximal to the dynamic Antarctic ice sheets responsible for driving many of these changes is vital to the correct calibration and interpretation of these proxy records.”

These startling results will offer new insight into Antarctica’s climatic past – insights that could potentially help climate scientists better understand the current climate change scenario.

“In the case of these results, the microfossils provide us with quantitative data of what the environment was actually like in Antarctica at the time, showing how this continent reacted when climatic conditions were warmer than they are today,” said Warny.

According to the researchers, these fossils show that land temperatures reached a January average of 10 degrees Celsius – the equivalent of approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit – and that estimated sea surface temperatures ranged between zero and 11.5 degrees Celsius. The presence of freshwater algae in the sediments suggests to researchers that an increase in meltwater and perhaps also in rainfall produced ponds and lakes adjacent to the Ross Sea during this warm period, which would obviously have resulted in some reduction in sea ice.

These findings most likely reflect a poleward shift of the jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere, which would have pushed warmer water toward the pole and allowed a few dinoflagellate species to flourish under such ice-free conditions. Researchers believe that shrub-like woody plants might also have been able to proliferate during an abrupt and brief warmer time interval.

“An understanding of this event, in the context of timing and magnitude of the change, has important implications for how the climate system operates and what the potential future response in a warmer global climate might be,” said Harwood. “A clear understanding of what has happened in the past, and the integration of these data into ice sheet and climate models, are important steps in advancing the ability of these computer models to reproduce past conditions, and with improved models be able to better predict future climate responses.”

While the results are certainly impressive, the work isn’t yet complete.

“The SMS Project Science Team is currently looking at the stratigraphic sequence and timing of climate events evident throughout the ANDRILL AND-2A drillcore, including those that enclose this event,” said Florindo. “A broader understanding of ice sheet behavior under warmer-than-present conditions will emerge.”

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317 thoughts on “A borehole in Antarctica produces evidence of sudden warming

  1. But but but… Until we started burning fossil fuels the Antarctic was always cold. I know because the science is settled.

  2. … and here I was told the recent Arctic melting was “unprecedented”. My, my but we have a plethora of “unprecedented” events coming to light in the Earth’s history these days. These events happen so frequently, they almost seem normal in the evolution of the planet. Oh wait, maybe temp fluctuations are normal. Who’da thunk it …

  3. We need more climate crackpots like Bill Maher to come out of the woodwork. Bill had done so much in recent days to raise awareness about the issue for the sheeple. Problem is, the sheeple are discussing among themselves the true science behind the issue.
    Most comments over at Huffington Post engage in moronic name calling, but many good posters are discussing the factual science behind the issue, and the sheeple are learning. I was surprised myself at the number of intelligent people that have infiltrated the site.

    Bill Maher Slams GOP Climate Change Skeptics: They’re “So Stupid They Make Me Question Evolution” (VIDEO)
    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/03/bill-maher-slams-gop-clim_n_308501.html

  4. Wow, that happened 11-16 million years ago.

    Further proof that it was a man made event from burning hydrocarbons….

    Electric cars will fix it.

    Oh wait, we in the US mostly burn hydrocarbons to generate electricity. And they want hydro-electric plants removed. No nuclear. And the transmission of electricity from distant sources of generation loose significant portions that that electricity which is generated in step-up, step-down, transmission lines, etc, before you can even charge that (non-hybrid) electric car….

    Dang, this is really really confusing.

  5. Fascinating report.
    The mystery and the sudden temperature switches which cause glaciation periods and warming are not anywhere near being fully understood.
    Though we are in a warm period, at anytime the world could be plunged into a massive freeze, we would do well to extend funding and to promote further research into this enigmatic and vitally important natural phenomena.

    Studies like the above will show how warming/climate forcing occurs and maybe help us understand the temperature processes/fluctuations around the polar regions.

  6. Antarctica warmed up and the icesheets half-melted about 27 million years ago. This warmer period lasted until about 14 million years ago when Antarctica reglaciated and ice-sheets started forming on Greenland as well.

    There were several warm(er) spikes in the period, so these researchers just found one of them. There is temp data with resolution as low as 1,000 years (average about 10,000) covering this period.

  7. This is a crying shame. Thousands of Great, Hard-Working Scientists, like these, out there advancing our knowledge, and everything gets hijacked by a group of politically-connected jerks.

  8. “The Antarctic ice sheet was formed about 35 million years ago”…

    I’m puzzled. I didn’t think the Antarctic cores went back nearly that far. Here I am looking at a graph from Vostok that goes back 450,000 years… Epica goes back 800,000 years (I thought that was considered to be a great extension).

    WUWT??

  9. Thank you Anthony for bringing some real science to the table. Hopefully our current AGW fixated government will not be able to Czar out science and Czar out communication. But then maybe a refutation of this discovery will be made by a tree in Siberia.

  10. Fighting climate change is a battle no one can win. It’s sort of like Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the country other countries go to die.

  11. I have been reading this and other climate related blogs for a while now. I have come to one inescapable conclusion.

    There are no true climate sceptics!

  12. I forgot to add that there is no correlation at all to CO2 levels during this period.

    CO2 was at a nice and toasty 240 ppm (glaciers in Canada kind of levels that is) during the warm spike found by these researchers. For the most of the period when Antarctica was melting back, CO2 levels were falling.

  13. Lucy Skywalker (10:18:36) :
    I’m puzzled. I didn’t think the Antarctic cores went back nearly that far. Here I am looking at a graph from Vostok that goes back 450,000 years
    You are looking at ice cores. The article is about sediment cores…

  14. Boy oh boy. the gods are really smiling down on us.

    1) Obama is not a god and has lost the Olympics in Copenhagen where the climate summit will be in December. A double whack because the sheeple will remember the word Copenhagen and associate it with Obama and failure.

    2) The sinister CO2 satellite, cloaked in goodness, crashed into the Antarctic. My opinion, but I was speculating on how they were going to use it against us. By manipulating its data perhaps?

    3) They have put the Sun to sleep. Our ace in the hole. Our trump card. Their is nothing TPTB can do about that. Baby it’s getting cold outside.

  15. Can’t help but think that the phrase “This event will lead to a better understanding of global connections and climate forcing, in other words, it will provide a better understanding of how external factors imposed fluctuations in Earth’s climate system,” will be easily highjacked and turned into “evidence of tipping points”…

    Cheers

    Mark

  16. With dust-sized palynomorphs, how do they distinguish between local production and wind-borne deposition? After all, it is found in just one “anomalous” core .

  17. I can’t wait to read stories about how sea life is exploding because of plankton, seaweed, and other life forms eating the elevated CO2. What a great planet we live on.

  18. “An understanding of this event, in the context of timing and magnitude of the change, has important implications for how the climate system operates and what the potential future response in a warmer global climate might be,” said Harwood.”
    Harwood goes from saying “has important implications for how the climate system operates” which is good, then goes on to say “and what the potential future response in a warmer global climate might be”
    Makes me think he is buttering both sides of his bread.

  19. Oceanic circulation patterns were much different 15 million years ago before the uplift of the Central American isthmus. Too much shouldn’t be read into this data until it’s integrated with what already is known and what still is to be discovered.

  20. Interesting that they seem to accept that a poleward shift of the jets accompanies natural warming forcings and clearly in that case the jets were forced poleward to an extreme degree of many hundreds of miles.

    However they seem to think that the movement of the jets led to the movement of warmer oceanic water towards the south pole whereas I would argue that a faster energy release from the oceans came first then the jets moved and then the Antarctic edge areas became warmer.

    Either way it is clear that very substantial latitudinal air circulation shifts can occur wholly as a result of natural forcing which leaves the climate models out on a limb because currently they posit that the jet stream poleward movement from 1975 to 2000 was wholly or primarily anthropogenically caused. They do not yet seem to have adjusted their models to take account of the shift back equatorward since 2000. To do that they would have to reduce or eliminate the assumed effect of increased CO2 in the air. To do that would imply an acceptance that the observations of Tyndall and others in relation to CO2 in the air do not necessarily translate into a significant climate or global energy budget effect so they are in a bit of a bind.

    Elsewhere I have suggested why the Arctic and Antarctic would be affected differently under global warming or cooling regimes because one is an ocean surrounded by continents and the other is a continent surrounded by oceans.

    Thus during a period of global warming of the air from increased energy release by the oceans all the air circulations are pushed poleward with the mid latitude weather systems compressed into a narrower but faster moving band nearer the poles.

    In the case of Antarctica the centre of the continent might even get colder because there would be reduced air flows into and out of the interior. However the edges of the ice cap could well get a lot warmer especially in the areas projecting furthest from the south pole into the warmer surrounding seas and especially the West Antarctic Peninsula which is exactly what we have seen during the recent warming spell when the Antarctic interior has been getting colder but the West Antarctic Peninsula has been getting warmer. Conventional climatology sees that as a bit of a puzzle.

    Once more my general climate description fits observed events better than the current climate models.

  21. Guys, you are drawing totally the wrong conclusions from this. You are all so busy trying to take this in a spirit of triumphalism, to argue that this shows AGW is for the birds. That is not what is important about this. In fact, its doubtful that has any bearing on the current AGW thesis and calls for action.

    But what it does show, for sure, is that the place we live on is subject to fairly sudden convulsions of climate. So it would behoove is to get ready for them. Not simply of a warming sort, or a cooling sort, but of any sort, and of dimensions which could prove seriously threatening. It may not be very likely in the next 100 years, its cause may not be at all clear. But its insurance, disaster planning if you like. We had better make sure we have an idea what to do.

    I do not, for the record, think that the frantic efforts to lower CO2 emissions to 19C levels are a rational response to this, partly because of the lack of evidence that it will work, partly because warming is not the problem. The problem is, we may get climate fluctuations large enough to threaten us, and right now we have no idea what we would do about one.

  22. It is hard to believe this new drilling wasn’t due to the tax breaks under the Louisiana Movie project. Bruce Willis is gonna stop Mayans in 2012 from a coming through a time portal guarded by nesting penguins.

  23. This shouldn’t be surprising due to “Continental Drift” the land below all that snow and ice was steaming with live millions of years ago. They have found fossilize plant life and creatures. The plates move. Scientists think at one time all of the continents were one mass. As the earth cooled, plates were established and continents started to move inducing volcano’s and earthquakes..Sudden increases do happen to sudden changes by “super Volcano’s” or the Earth being hit with Comets or large asteroids…Any of these could and most likely will happen…Again, something “beyond” Mans control!

  24. michel (11:41:18) : “…what it does show, for sure, is that the place we live on is subject to fairly sudden convulsions of climate…”

    Quick! We must do something immediately! We’ll be hip deep in pollen if we don’t act within 75.2134 fortnights. Tipping point! Tipping point! (When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.)

  25. MSM news is starting. I used to deliver the Bulletin 35 years ago.

    “Singer and Avery have updated their New York Times bestseller by reorganizing the content of the original edition. It is now easier to follow the discoveries showing solar radiation to be the principal influence on global climate, while demonstrating that human-caused carbon dioxide has virtually no measurable effect whatever. It is a very readable book that avoids scientific jargon and does not drown its major points in a flood of data, yet provides 499 references for anyone desiring to find and read the facts found and explained by international researchers.”

    Unstoppable Global Warming?
    http://www.thebulletin.us/articles/2009/10/04/arts_culture/doc4ac851783e68d871533311.txt

  26. Michael(09:39:31) :
    Most comments over at Huffington Post engage in moronic name calling, but many good posters are discussing the factual science behind the issue, and the sheeple are learning. I was surprised myself at the number of intelligent people that have infiltrated the site.

    Shhhhhhhhh — you’ll spook ’em…

  27. Obviously some American city, probably one of those red-state cities like Houston with all those oil refineries, got transported back in time to the Miocene. They then proceeded to destroy themselves by radically altering the perfect climate of the Miocene.

  28. Maybe this is why geologists are the most sceptical group among scientists when it comes to AGW. They know the earth has seen some radical swings in C02 levels and temperatures and the earth has somehow always ‘stabilised’.

  29. “Jimbo (12:24:00) :

    Maybe this is why geologists are the most sceptical group among scientists when it comes to AGW. They know the earth has seen some radical swings in C02 levels and temperatures and the earth has somehow always ’stabilised’

    From a geologist. The earth has no “stable state” , Change is the norm.

  30. John S: Dinoflagellates are marine organisms, for the most part, or at least aquatic, hence not wind-dispersed.

  31. But, but, but….what about the ‘science’ wasn’t it ‘settled’ already ???…..but, but the ‘debate’, wasn’t it supposed to be over ???

  32. jorgekafkazar (12:11:57) :

    ‘hip deep in pollen…”

    I just woke my wife up I was laughing so loud when I read that.

    I blame Fred Flintstone. He imagined autos and his imagination caused imaginary CO² which melted Antartica. Plus ça change…

  33. I propose that from this day forward the result of the ANDRILL AND-2A program be known as a Gorehole.

  34. Lucy Skywalker:

    ““The Antarctic ice sheet was formed about 35 million years ago”…

    I’m puzzled. I didn’t think the Antarctic cores went back nearly that far. Here I am looking at a graph from Vostok that goes back 450,000 years… Epica goes back 800,000 years (I thought that was considered to be a great extension).

    WUWT??”

    Heh heh, it get’s worse if you look at one of the old maps showing Antarctica as ice free – (the Hapgood map I think it is).

    I don’t know whether most of the readers are aware of it, but the mind set that’s behind the current AGW scam were also behind a previous science hijack during the early 19th century in England. Then the Whigs were hell bent on getting the Tories out of government and only got political traction when they argued that the Old Testament was literature and not historical fact. USing that rhetorical ploy, Charles Lyell (himself a devout Methodist) then “moved” Biblical Creation backwards in time and hence expanded the geological timescale. The belief that all natural occurring radiogenic substances were formed at that time then formed the basis of modern geochronology.

    For the record my position is that we don’t know the age of the earth, and the event documented in the scriptures isn’t the creation of the earth, but the start of our present “world” much like the Islamic world started around 1500 AD.

    Science deals with data and no data, no science.

    The warm period as documented by the palynological data is real – but the age assigned to it is a Lyellian artefact.

    The earth seemed to have experienced a global catastrophe some 10,000 years ago, accompanied by a long period of atmospheric instability as suggested by the millions of petroglyphs carved into rock around the globe and described by Peratt et al in various papers linking those petroglyphs with auroral instabilities indicative an increase in the solar wind by perhaps an order of magnitude 10,000 years ago, +/_ (since we really can’t date this). Most of the petroglyphs document a phenomenon at the south pole, vis Antarctica.

    Various papers listed here http://plasmascience.net/tpu/NearEarth.html under general title of Z-Pinch auroras as recorded in antiquity. A more recent paper dealing with the THEMIS mission data and data on Easter Island is published as well I see.

  35. michel (11:41:18) :

    Relax, nothing is going to happen. You must be one of those who will commit suicide in 2012.

  36. As a long-time visitor to WUWT who counts on Mr. Watts and his regular commenters to put the whole AGW in a proper scientific perspective and to remind/inform the rest of us about the science we are not being told about about Hansen and company, I have to say that I’m disappointed with this post and the comments.

    You are neglecting a perfectly good scientific explanation for the sudden warming in Antarctica 16 million years ago that is consistent with AGW: time travel. In the not-so-distant future, in compliance with the provisions of the Copenhagen accord, humanity decides to deal with excess C02 by sending it back to the past. Since there were no cars (or people) in the Miocene and the ancestors of today’s mammals had a reasonably small carbon footprint, it’s the perfect place to send it.

    See how easy it is when you keep an open mind?

  37. “Michael (11:09:27) :
    I can’t wait to read stories about how sea life is exploding because of plankton, seaweed, and other life forms eating the elevated CO2. What a great planet we live on.”

    Unfortunately, this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/04/arctic-seas-turn-to-acid

    is what you’re much more likely to see. They’re already working on the next big scare – ocean acidification from excess carbon dioxide (man made, of course).

  38. Obama would immediately zoom back to godlike status if he came out soon on TV and said; Man-made Global warming and Climate change are a scam. New evidence proves the theory is not sound.

    The unquestioning proles, they would be in awe at the prophet. To the questioning, Watts up with that? To all others, grinding, and weeping, and gnashing of teath.

  39. Iren (15:02:11),

    In the geologic past, atmospheric CO2 levels were many times higher than today’s, for hundreds of millions of years at a time. The oceans never became acidic.

  40. Irene,

    “But now we realise the situation is much worse. The water will become so acidic it will actually dissolve the shells of living shellfish.”

    Thats just the this.

    “There is a view we should not scare people because it makes them go down their burrows and close the door but I think the situation is so serious that although people are afraid they are not fearful enough given the science,” he said. “Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6253912/Most-people-in-denial-over-climate-change-according-to-psychologists.html

  41. “Smokey (15:10:41)

    In the geologic past, atmospheric CO2 levels were many times higher than today’s, for hundreds of millions of years at a time. The oceans never became acidic.”

    I believe you but, nevertheless, this is being set up as the next panic button and it would be really nice if someone could break through the media blockade to let people know. Lord Monckton has already well and truly debunked this but how many people know that?

  42. Re: Lucy Skywalker (11:11:04)

    Ocean sediment cores contain the fossils of creatures with carbonate shells. Using this fossil carbonate the ratio of O18 to O16 can be found. This ratio can give an estimate of how much O16 is locked up in ice and can be used to infer ice volumes.

    As far as I know the onset of Antarctic glaciation announces itself in sediment cores as an increase in the O18/O16 ratio.

    This site gives a pretty good primer:

    http://people.hofstra.edu/J_B_Bennington/137notes/paleoclimatology.html

  43. Has anybody asked the most important question?

    What time frame is considered as “sudden” here? Are the authors referring to decades, centuries, millenia?

    This enquiring mind wishes to know.

  44. Louis, ha, thanks, I guess I was fishing for something of that kind. You’re a geologist aren’t you by training? So you would have reasonably grounded suspicions about other geological proxies that might really need re-examining? I knew about the Hapgood (?) map apparently showing Antarctica free of ice. I’m also open to catastrophisms, there seems to be perfectly reasonable geological evidence for these at rather regular intervals.

    Anyway, the matter in hand… 800,000 year old Epica ice goes down over 3 km? how much deeper does the ice go?

  45. Scott A. Mandia (15:48:23) :

    Has anybody asked the most important question?

    What time frame is considered as “sudden” here? Are the authors referring to decades, centuries, millenia?

    This enquiring mind wishes to know.

    From above

    According to the researchers, these fossils show that land temperatures reached a January average of 10 degrees Celsius

    I believe that the current average summer temperature in Antarctica is 2 degrees Celsius. So at the “alarming” rate of heating of 0.15 degree/decade reported by Steig et al. (give or take a tenth of a degree or so), looks like we have about 500 years to get there. Would you consider that sudden?

  46. thats an intersting question Scott Mandia.
    Prior to the 1990’s climatologists had a consensus that the climate changed very slowly over centuries.

    They had a shocker when ancient ice revealed that climatic upheavels could take place over a very short period of time, such as 10 years.

    This latter principle was seized upon by politicians and economists to make us responsible for perturbations in the long term climate, whilst simultaneously telling us all that the former proposition – that climate changes very slowly over centuries – was the case until the late 20th century

  47. It’s interesting science, but I think it’s applicability to the current AGW debate is somewhat limited.

  48. As a geoscientist, this is why I have been skeptical from day 1 (and most geoscientists I know fall in the same catagory). There is so much data in the geological literature (this article included) showing past dramatic climate changes with no help from mankind, yet now, supposedly everything is due to man made CO2 – as if somehow all the processes of the past (what ever they may be) somehow dont operate anymore. Why would anyone think that? Nothing has changed & all the same processes are at work & unless you can seperate these “other” processes from CO2 forcing, the CO2 hypothesis is hollow at best. I mean, come on, this is science 101 – separation of variables! The fact that the CO2 hypothesis has got as far as it has is truely astounding & disappointing.

    … but of course, what do geologists know about climatology & how dare we assert that we have something to add to the debate!! I better stop right here because my next sentence would certainly be

  49. And then there is the obvious:
    If the Jet Stream went south to Antarctica, it didn’t go where it used to go.
    The warmth thus transported to the icy continent was previously destined for other places.
    Those places didn’t get thier warm jet stream.
    They got colder.
    So, if Antartica warms up, someplace else freezes over.
    Nice.
    Save the cheering for when they hit the bedrock in thier borehole. Who knows what other surprises are down there. Volanic warming?
    So, if the Arctic melts because of jet streams shifting, where does that leave the continental areas?
    Santa Claus gets an Ark, and Canada and Europe get a Laurentide Paving job.

  50. Scott A. Mandia (15:48:23) :
    “Has anybody asked the most important question?

    What time frame is considered as “sudden” here? Are the authors referring to decades, centuries, millenia?

    This enquiring mind wishes to know.”

    Don’t know. What would you consider to be sudden? Would you consider the warming over the last 150 years to be sudden?

  51. If you study ice data from Greenland or Vostok, what emerges is that within our de-glaciation (15,000years) the climate had rapid spikes of warmth, then sudden plunges back into bitter cold within decades

    “Roughly 14,700 years ago the weather patterns that bring snow to Greenland shifted from one year to the next—a pattern of abrupt change that was repeated 12,900 years ago and 11,700 years ago when the earth’s climate became the one enjoyed today—according to records preserved in an ice core taken from the northern island. These speedy changes—transitions from warming to cooling and back again—could presage abrupt, catastrophic climate change in our future.

    What made these abrupt climate changes were circulation changes, and these changes took place from one year to the next more or less,” says glaciologist Sune Olander Rasmussen of the Centre for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, who was part of a team that analyzed annual data from ice tubes extracted from as deep as 10,000 feet (3,085 meters) beneath the ice sheet, which were collected by the North Greenland Ice Core Project, a drilling expedition.

    Following this abrupt shift, as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) of warming occurred over the subsequent decades—a change that ultimately resulted in at least 33 feet (10 meters) of sea-level rise as the ice melted on Greenland.

    Greenland can change quickly, even living up to its name, according to another paper in this week’s Science. Sediment cores from the ocean show that forests of spruce and even fern grew on Greenland just 125,000 years ago. That means Greenland’s ice sheet—potentially responsible for as much as 75 feet (23 meters) of sea-level rise if it all melts—has grown and shrunk far more frequently than previously known.

    “The question that arises from such findings is: How come the Greenland ice sheet at such a low latitude has remained so stable during the present interglacial [period] until now?” says study co-author and geochemist Claude Hillaire-Marcel of the University of Quebec in Montreal.

    Understanding that threat may require traveling even farther back in time via ice, to the transition to the last such warm period 130,000 years ago—the Eemian—when it was nine degrees F (five degrees C) warmer across Greenland. An ice core, known as NEEM (for North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling), that could address that question is being extracted now as part of the ongoing International Polar Year. “The circulation changes in a few years. The temperature change is happening over decades,” Rasmussen notes.

    The idea of a stable climate is a myth, even in our holocene climate. It is odd, given proxies that show very considerable and abrupt climate upheavel in avery short time period, that we are et the moment in what seems a stable climate. ertainly the climate has gone up and down with us as though we weren’t here. What is interesting is that nothing in the last100 years shows a deviation from natural variability: In fact the warmming of the last 30 years, contrary to Mann, Briffa et al, looks slightly below natural variability and magnitude.

  52. Scott A. Mandia (15:48:23) :

    “Has anybody asked the most important question? What time frame is considered as ‘sudden’ here?”

    That is far from the most important question, as it refers to pre-SUV climate change.

    The most important question in the entire debate is this: Does the minor trace gas CO2 regulate the climate to the extent that a rise will bring about runaway global warming?

    I notice that lately the alarmist crowd has been avoiding that question. Could that be because there is no evidence supporting it, outside of always-inaccurate climate models?

    What say you? Will a rise in CO2 from 4 parts in ten thousand to 5 parts in ten thousand cause runaway global warming? And if so, how, exactly?

    Keep in mind that as CO2 continues to rise, the planet’s temperature continues to fall.

  53. I have to second that, Smokey. It’s interesting to study temp and c02 correlations from Vostok and greenland. At no time did c02 ever amplify the temperature on close inspection of what available data there is.

  54. Here I thought this sudden warm-up in the Antarctic was due to dinosaurs, uh, breaking wind, when my wife reminded me that with the exception of the Loch Ness Monster and Barney, dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.

    On the other hand, there were some pretty big animals around in the Miocene, too. Some giant rhino that was 16 feet high and 30 feet long. Must have been him driving a giant Hummer that also went extinct.

  55. Bill Illis says:

    I forgot to add that there is no correlation at all to CO2 levels during this period.

    CO2 was at a nice and toasty 240 ppm (glaciers in Canada kind of levels that is) during the warm spike found by these researchers. For the most of the period when Antarctica was melting back, CO2 levels were falling.

    So, are you telling me that you have CO2 data with at least millenial resolution going back at least 15 million years!?! Pray tell, where did you get this data?!?

    P Wilson says:

    I have to second that, Smokey. It’s interesting to study temp and c02 correlations from Vostok and greenland. At no time did c02 ever amplify the temperature on close inspection of what available data there is.

    That’s not what the scientists who have actually obtained and studied the data think.

    Iren says:

    “Smokey (15:10:41)

    In the geologic past, atmospheric CO2 levels were many times higher than today’s, for hundreds of millions of years at a time. The oceans never became acidic.”

    I believe you but, nevertheless, this is being set up as the next panic button and it would be really nice if someone could break through the media blockade to let people know. Lord Monckton has already well and truly debunked this but how many people know that?

    What Smokey has told you here is a “red herring”. The reason that the ocean acidifies is that the acidification reactions due to the increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere happen at a rate faster than the rate at which limestone can be dissolved from rocks into the oceans to neutralize things. So, it is the ***RATE*** of rise of CO2 and not the absolute level that is important.

    And, by the way, there is a past event that had a large rapid release of GHGs and led to a sharp warming and also to acidification of the oceans and to some dramatic extinctions. It is called the “PETM” (Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum) event and occurred about 55 million years ago. There has been a lot of study of it recently since it may be about the closest analogy found to our current “experiment” (although being that it was so long ago, I don’t think there is sufficient time resolution to tell if the rate of GHG release was really as rapid as it is now). Here is one article about it http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5728/1611 and you can look at the listed articles that have cited it to find even more recent studies.

  56. Jeff L says:

    As a geoscientist, this is why I have been skeptical from day 1 (and most geoscientists I know fall in the same catagory). There is so much data in the geological literature (this article included) showing past dramatic climate changes with no help from mankind, yet now, supposedly everything is due to man made CO2 – as if somehow all the processes of the past (what ever they may be) somehow dont operate anymore. Why would anyone think that?

    The point is simply one of timescales. Yes, dramatic changes can occur…but unless there is something like a major asteroid impact or a supervolcano in the next century, the largest perturbation to the climate system is going to be from the increase in CO2 levels by a significant amount. (Without serious attempts to constrain our releases, CO2 will easily double pre-industrial levels and probably go a lot higher than that.)

    The fact is that the climate has generally changed only slowly over the last ~ 10,000 years (i.e., during the Holocene…and excluding some rapid changes near the beginning of the Holocene like the Younger Dryas event http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Younger_Dryas that likely were caused by large events associated with the melting of the land ice sheets).

    And, by the way, it is through the intelligent analysis of past events that we have come to understand the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to various changes in radiative forcing. Simply saying, “Climate has changed rapidly in the past; therefore, there is no reason to believe we are responsible for the accelerating changes that we are seeing now” is bad logic…and is in fact contrary to what scientists have learned from studying past events.

    … but of course, what do geologists know about climatology & how dare we assert that we have something to add to the debate!!

    Intelligent thoughts from geologists and geophysicists are welcome and, in fact, the American Geophysical Union and many of its members play a very important role in the study of climate change. This Wikipedia page gives you various statements of scientific organizations on climate change, including various geology or geophysical organizations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus_on_climate_change

  57. Joel Shore says that all these folks are wrong except Joel himself:

    Bill Illis (10:33:49)
    Smokey (15:10:41)
    P Wilson (16:04:47)

    See, we’re all completely wrong, as usual, and Joel Shore has a corner on the truth. This has been the pattern for so long that I despair of Joel ever getting up the nerve to write an article for WUWT. Taking his inaccurate, half thought out potshots from the sidelines is more fun.

    But Joel always ducks the central issue: as CO2 continues to rise, the planet’s temperature continues to decline. Maybe some day a miracle will occur: the scales will fall from Joel’s eyes, and he will see what the planet is clearly telling him.

  58. Smokey:

    But Joel always ducks the central issue: as CO2 continues to rise, the planet’s temperature continues to decline. Maybe some day a miracle will occur: the scales will fall from Joel’s eyes, and he will see what the planet is clearly telling him.

    I’ve never ducked this issue. I have explained it to you about 30 times. Shall we go for 31? Looking at global temperature trend over intervals of around a decade and less to determine the response to rising CO2 is like looking at temperatures in Rochester over a week-long period to determine the seasonal cycle. Any reasonable calculation of a trend will also include the errorbars in the trend…and the errorbars in the global temperature trend over a decade-long period are still huge. Hence, the negative trend one can get by cherrypicking certain periods of around that length are not statistically-significant. Is this really that hard to understand?

    And, you know those climate models that you don’t like because you think they are not realistic models of the real climate system? Well, when they are run with steadily-increasing greenhouse gases, they also predict that there will be some decade-long, and even occasionally 15-year-long periods, with a (statistically-insignficant) negative temperature trend: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/csi/images/GRL2009_ClimateWarming.pdf

    Smokey, I think you are pretty much “Exhibit A” as to why it might be a waste of my time to ever write an article for WUWT. Why should I say things if you are simply going to ignore them? You don’t even attempt to respond with intelligent, coherent arguments…You just go back and repeat the same mantras over and over again! Believe me, if I ever do write an article, it will be for the people around here who are at least willing to read what I write and respond to what I am actually saying.

  59. Smokey says:

    See, we’re all completely wrong, as usual, and Joel Shore has a corner on the truth.

    This deserves a specific response because I think the implication here, that I am somehow being arrogant, is really quite a strange interpretation of how things unfold on this website. What I am telling you here are not my own original ideas about climate. I am simply explaining, as best I understand them, the results of the scientists who are actually working and actively publishing in the field. It seems rather strange to me that this would be considered somehow immodest while it would not be considered immodest for people, many (although not all) of whom have read very little of the peer-reviewed literature in the field, to presume to understand climate science better than those who have spent much of their professional career studying it.

  60. ….. But did they find oil?

    Pointless drilling holes if you’re not going to find something worthwhile;-)

  61. “Sudden” should be defined as a period of time where people do not have time to react and adapt. Was the change in climate from the medieval warm period when Greenland began to freeze over so sudden that the occupants did not have time to react? No, they eventually had time to decide to get in their boats and leave the area. When in history was climate change so sudden that the occupants had no choice but to die because there was no time to react. Name just one?

    A big meteor hitting the earth, that would be sudden.”Sudden” may happen if the Sun began to have an increased or decreased output of say 5 or 10%, over say a 1 year period, and a year or 2 later, the earth’s temperature rose or fell dramatically trapping people in ice storms or was killing people due to famine. What are the odds of this type of event happening given the history. 1 in 1 million? 1 in 10 million? I like those odds. The Sun and meteors are outside our sphere of influence and are nothing to fret over day in and day out a is CO2.

    What are the true odds of sudden man-made climate shift due to everyday activity? 1 in 1 billion? I like those odds. No need for any policy changes given these odds. Carry on.

  62. they also predict that there will be some decade-long, and even occasionally 15-year-long periods,…

    Joel, I believe I read that at least one model (Hansen?) threw in a random decadal volcano which caused cooling of several years.

    Is that what you think is occurring now?
    Several years of cooling due to volcanos?

  63. Joel Shore (19:00:43) : “…The point is simply one of timescales. Yes, dramatic changes can occur…but unless there is something like a major asteroid impact or a supervolcano in the next century, the largest perturbation to the climate system is going to be from the increase in CO2 levels by a significant amount…”
    ————————————————————-

    But Joel, you are assuming that CO2 will cause a measurable change to climate…. This is not the case so far. The opposite is true actually, there is a large divergence in CO2 and Temperature for the last decade, when comparing the satellite temp record to CO2 rise.

    Also, CO2 remains a very small trace gas in the Atmosphere . As far as GHG’s go, water Vapor is the most abundant GHG. Over 95% of the atmosphere’s GHG component is Water vapor.

    I always liken anthropogenic CO2’s effect on climate to that of a fly sitting on the starboard railing of an ocean liner. A fly has mass, therefor it has an effect. But can you measure its effect on the stability of the ocean liner?….. No you can’t….. You can theorize its effect. But in natural conditions you will never be able to actually measure it with any certainty.

  64. Joel Shore (19:00:43) :

    “Climate has changed rapidly in the past; therefore, there is no reason to believe we are responsible for the accelerating changes that we are seeing now” is bad logic…

    …. and the opposite (assuming we must be responsible for “accelerating changes” ) is good logic??? How so ???

    …. but I think you missed my point completely – separation of variables – show me where you have removed ALL other factors except CO2 in the temperature signal, then we can talk about the effect of CO2. The fact is we still don’t know or understand all the forcing mechanisms in our climate system & how they interact (feedback), so there is no way to logically put all the blame on CO2. When you subtract out potential forcing mechanisms (such as the PDO, ENSO, AMO, aerosols, solar(?) ) & look at the residual signal (which will have GHG’s + other forcings & feedbacks that we may or may not understand), what you see is the signal is pretty flat. See:

    Bob Tisdale, I believe, has posted similar analysis on WUWT as well

    I have done my own analysis of this (although I do not have a spot to post it on the web) & I find that the residual signal agrees quite well with Lindzen’s assessment of feedbacks & sensitivity wrt GHG’s of what the expected effect on global temps should be. See:

    http://portaldata.colgate.edu/imagegallerywww/3503/ImageGallery/LindzenLectureBeyondModels.pdf

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/30/lindzen-on-negative-climate-feedback/

    So, I maintain that there are significant & poorly understood forcing mechanisms in our climate system, demonstrated in the geologic record, that could easily be at work in the time frame we are discussing (the last 100 yrs) and if that can’t addressed, then why are we contemplating drastic social and economic changes based on science that is totally incomplete?? THAT is bad logic.

  65. Temps during this period were as much as 3.5C higher than today and CO2 levels were lower than most of the recent interglacial periods.

    What we have is a lot of people who just parrot whatever an abstract says about climate history. Basically, the climate models skipped a lot of classes in Grades 2 and 3 when multiplication was discussed.

    You can’t have periods when CO2 was 3 or 4 doublings higher than today when temperatures were about the same as today, and then say the CO2 sensitivity for the period is 3.0C to 6.0C per doubling.

    You can’t have periods when CO2 was lower than today with temperatures 3.5C higher than today and say that is consistent with the propositions of global warming.

    What happened during this specific period (27 million to 14 million years ago) is not clear but it was probably due to changes in the Earth’s Albedo. It is 0.298 today, and if it fell to 0.290, that would explain the estimated temperature without any changes in CO2.

  66. Joel Shore (19:28:50)(19:35:32),

    Joel me boy, you jumped in @18:39:04 and started critiquing me for a comment that I made to someone else. My answer certainly hit home, because you responded with two posts in a row about it.

    From what I see, your main critique is with the time frame of the chart I posted:

    “Looking at global temperature trend over intervals of around a decade and less to determine the response to rising CO2 is like looking at temperatures in Rochester over a week-long period to determine the seasonal cycle.”

    OK then, let’s look at a really long time frame showing the non-relationship between CO2 and temperature: click. See? There is no correlation even in a 4.6 billion year time scale.

    As I pointed out before, you nitpick every chart I post. And I’ve posted hundreds. You just don’t like what they’re showing you: CO2 has little to no effect on the climate.

    And if you don’t like either chart, I have several in between showing exactly the same thing. Then there’s this: click. Take it to heart. CO2 is a fart in a hurricane when it comes to influencing the planet. Someday you’ll understand. I hope.

  67. michel (11:41:18) : “… The problem is, we may get climate fluctuations large enough to threaten us, and right now we have no idea what we would do about one.”

    Because once too often the cry of Wolf! has been raised so that when a real alert is sounded it will fall on deaf ears; as Aesop warned us.

  68. Lucy Skywalker,

    Yup – geologist I am.

    I’m not sure how deep the ice cap could be – apart from drilling, the only other method is seismic.

  69. “Some colleagues had noted an increase in pollen grains of woody plants in the sample immediately above, but none of the other samples had such a unique abundance in algae, which at first gave Warny some doubts about potential contamination.”

    And something lofting tons of seawater and pollen into the air towards the general direction of Antarctica is out of the realm of possibility…

    I would be curious to see if this anomaly happened over a few seasons or instantaneously.

  70. The important thing is to have a balanced program of climate study, and not to get that rejected because the current irrational program of recommendations for action based on AGW get rejected.

    We do need climate studies going forwards. To argue otherwise is Luddism.

  71. Jeff L (20:37:50)

    “… separation of variables – show me where you have removed ALL other factors except CO2 in the temperature signal, then we can talk about the effect of CO2. The fact is we still don’t know or understand all the forcing mechanisms in our climate system & how they interact (feedback), so there is no way to logically put all the blame on CO2. …”

    I would like to propose a convention to be used on WUWT:

    We use the term “Climate Variation” (cV) to refer to all of the factors that *are not* caused by anthropogenic activity, and “Climate Deterioration” (cD) by those factors that *are*.

    Thus cD would be defined as the sum of the atmospheric output from incense burning, cigarette smoking, SUV farts, garlic consumption, fish-head soup, underarm odor, and anything else that I personally feel to be objectionable in polite society.

  72. >>What say you? Will a rise in CO2 from 4 parts in ten
    >>thousand to 5 parts in ten thousand cause runaway
    >>global warming? And if so, how, exactly?

    And I have to point out again that this paper indicates that CO2 absorbtion is at saturation levels already. Take a look at fig 3 – no matter how much more CO2 in the atmosphere, there will be no more warming. Any faults with this graph?

    http://brneurosci.org/co2.html

    .

    And this paper says that CO2 levels were much higher in the 1940s.

    http://www.biomind.de/nogreenhouse/daten/EE%2018-2_Beck.pdf

    Any faults with this one?

    .

  73. SSam

    “And something lofting tons of seawater and pollen into the air towards the general direction of Antarctica is out of the realm of possibility…”

    Have a study of the Siwilak Hills in the foothills of the Himalayas and the fossil content of some of those sediments- a veritable melange of extinct fauna and fauna slammed against the Himalayas as a wet sediment – but not out of the realm of possibility because it actually happened.

    Same goes for the Alaskan and Siberian muck deposits – of Pleistocene age.

    And then our ancestors had something to say about catastrophes as well, but as Lyell showed, those too are out of realm of possibility….

    Or were they.

  74. They need to keep drilling. Maybe they will find some oil and gas and make a profit. They need to shoot some seismic and see how far the extent of this warmer climate layer extends. Interesting.

  75. Jack Green (05:12),

    There is probably some oil and gas at Antarctica but not as much as other places on the planet.

    Antarctica is the unlucky continent in the sense that continental drift has left it around the south pole for most of the last 500 million years.

    It has been a little farther north, it has been on the Pacific side, it has been on the Indian ocean side, it was locked together with other continents over the south pole three different times.

    It has been glaciated over on at least 5 separate periods of time lasting tens of million of years in the geologic past when most of the oil and gas was forming.

  76. Anybody know how they date this stuff?

    Who’s to say that the whole thing didn’t melt of 15k years ago and the depositions rates are just much higher than anticipated. Hey, it happened to Glacier gal. They expected a few feet, and got over 200.

  77. Some facts may be useful, considering the wild speculation on this thread.

    First, this an example of press release science. This is interesting, but in no way sensational. It has long been known that there was a (last) fairly mild interval in Antarctica in the Miocene, sometime more than 14 million years ago. This is known from the Meyer Desert Formation of the Sirius Group which contains fossils from this “warm” interval.

    I put “warm” in citation marks because it was only warm compared to modern climate in Antarctica. Climate was arctic, but only moderately so. Conditions must have been somewhat like on Greenland and Spitzbergen today for details see for example:

    http://www.ndsu.edu/instruct/ashworth/ashworth_cantrill_2004.pdf

    Now these results are important for two reasons, first the orthodox version has been that the Meyer Desert Formation is of Pliocene age, based on rather questionable biostratigraphic data, despite the fact that 14 million year old completely unweathered volcanic deposits in the dry valleys of Victoria land shows that climate has not been much warmer than now during this interval. See for example:

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1047/ea/of2007-1047ea071.pdf

    The new results seems to definitely pin down the last warm interval in Antarctica as being mid-Miocene.

    The second interesting point is that the “warm” layer is only 2 meters thick. This suggests that the warm interval was more on the lines of a “super-interglacial” rather than a long warm interval (as occurred elsewhere in the World during the mid-Miocene).

    A few points on some of the speculation in this thread:

    Large scale glaciation in Antarctica is at least 35 million years old, the Oli-1 glaciation at that time was the first to reach the coast on a large scale, but there was presumably inland glaciation earlier (the oldest definitely known glacial deposits are mid Eocene). Ice cores only cover a very small part of the time Antarctica has been frozen, hence the reason for the ANDRIL project.

    About dating: the area where the ANDRIL cores have been drilled is volcanic, which means that ash beds in the cores can be radiometrically dated.

    John M: “I believe that the current average summer temperature in Antarctica is 2 degrees Celsius”

    Your belief is quite unfounded. In most of Antarctica it is more like -20 degrees Celsius. Average summer temperatures above zero only occurs near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Have a look here for example:

    http://www.weather.nps.navy.mil/~psguest/polarmet/climate/antmap.html

  78. Scott’s question about the rate of the Antarctic temperature increase is important and deserves an answer.

    From what I’ve learned from the documentary “day after tomorrow” I believe that we’re talking about 10C in 14 hours, or in that ballpark.

  79. Smokey, I don’t think that Joel can see that he is just parrotting “authority” and perhaps it makes him feel good to tell himself he’s tried to corrall the sheeple and the deniers into better science.

    I think Joel has no idea, perhaps does not even want to face the hypothesis, that (even needing NO “conspiracy”) agenda-driven research could have corrupted the scientific process so radically, so deeply, and in such widely different corners of Climate Science. Neither does he face the possibility that many other scientists beside himself could still be either unaware of, or unable to speak up about, the possibility of a corruption of science that may have happened for innocent reasons. Corruption can arise now because specialists no longer understand each other so they trust and believe instead of auditing the science. Thus arises the situation where a majority of scientists can disbelieve real experts like Moerner and trust IPCC instead. A situation that reminds me of the tragedy of King Lear.

  80. quote: And something lofting tons of seawater and pollen into the air towards the general direction of Antarctica is out of the realm of possibility…

    Not knowing if you were really serious, or not I got an itch to check out extraterrestrial objects, and to my surprise there was a reference to the Patagonian meteor craters. You can even see them on Google. With the Patagonian meteor strike depressions, it might be interesting to ask if there were orbiting debris which just might have the right trajectory to do exactly that.

    Just how often has the Earth rung like a gong after being hit?

  81. Tom in Texas:

    Joel, I believe I read that at least one model (Hansen?) threw in a random decadal volcano which caused cooling of several years.

    Is that what you think is occurring now?
    Several years of cooling due to volcanos?

    The short answer is NO. The climate model projections into the future do not have volcanic eruptions and that is not what is responsible for the negative temperature trends one can get over cherry-picked intervals recently. The main cause is likely simply the moderately-strong La Nina we had recently, although there might also be some contribution from the solar cycle minimum.

    (You are correct that Hansen put in volcanic eruptions in 2 of the three scenarios that he showed back in 1988 http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/pics/0108_annual_mean.jpg …although in Scenario A he did not and you can see that the temperatures still do not increase monotonically even in this model, which is presumably pretty crude by modern standards.)

    Bill Illis says:

    You can’t have periods when CO2 was 3 or 4 doublings higher than today when temperatures were about the same as today, and then say the CO2 sensitivity for the period is 3.0C to 6.0C per doubling.

    You can’t have periods when CO2 was lower than today with temperatures 3.5C higher than today and say that is consistent with the propositions of global warming.

    Well, actually you can. You only couldn’t if CO2 concentration was the ONLY thing that mattered for climate. On the geological timescales that you are talking about, there are a lot of other important things to consider, such as the irradiance of the sun, the amount of volcanic activity, the locations of the continents and mountain ranges and ocean currents, etc., etc.

    However, it is also true that we don’t have very good ways of accurately determining CO2 levels (and to some degree, temperatures) as we go back beyond the ice core record (which currently means more than 750,000 years). And, we also don’t have very good temporal resolution on what measurements / estimates we do have. This is probably why your conclusions are at odds with the people who actually study this.

  82. Smokey says:

    From what I see, your main critique is with the time frame of the chart I posted:

    “Looking at global temperature trend over intervals of around a decade and less to determine the response to rising CO2 is like looking at temperatures in Rochester over a week-long period to determine the seasonal cycle.”

    OK then, let’s look at a really long time frame showing the non-relationship between CO2 and temperature: click. See? There is no correlation even in a 4.6 billion year time scale.

    There are about 8 orders of magnitude between looking on the scale of a decade or less and the scale of billions of years. You might try not going to one extreme or the other.

    It looks to me that there is in fact some degree of correlation between CO2 and temperature on that graph, although admittedly there is other stuff going on too. So, here are some questions a REAL skeptic might ask about that graph: (1) Where is that data from and how accurate is it believed to be? (2) What is the temporal resolution? (3) What others things are changing over those sorts of timescales that might have a significant effect on climate? (4) What has led scientists who actually study paleoclimatology for a living to conclude that CO2 plays a very important role in past climates?

    J. Hansford:

    Also, CO2 remains a very small trace gas in the Atmosphere . As far as GHG’s go, water Vapor is the most abundant GHG. Over 95% of the atmosphere’s GHG component is Water vapor.

    (1) Because they absorb differently in different parts of the spectrum, simply comparing the amount of two greenhouse gases is a very poor way of estimating their relative effects. Nonetheless, it is true that water vapor is the most important gas in producing the ~33 C natural greenhouse effect. It is also true that the concentration of water vapor is determined by the climate, with more water vapor as the climate warms, and hence it acts as a positive feedback on warming produced by something else such as the long-lived greenhouse gases like CO2.

    I always liken anthropogenic CO2’s effect on climate to that of a fly sitting on the starboard railing of an ocean liner.

    And, you get this notion from where exactly? Certainly not from actually computing the radiative forcing due to a change in CO2 levels. You can liken it to anything you want but unless you have evidence to back up this analogy, it tells us nothing beyond the thought processes in your own mind.

  83. “This is probably why your conclusions are at odds with the people who actually study this.”

    Or he can evaluate the data without needing another grant.

  84. Joel.

    sometime late last year I put the following question to one of the IPCC’s senior assessors, and the reply was “Have you read the 2007 4th assessment report on radiative forcing?”

    However, I had and have again, yet doesn’t answer the question at all, or address the issues. The crucial calculations to justify the c02 thesis were absent from the UPCC report . It wasn’t a challenge, but a question, so if it *was* answered then there is an unequivocal argument for AGW, and the debate would be over.

    Q) Given 80 millions tons of carbon dioxide, (22 million tons of carbon) what, in terms of the current understanding of the climate, its sensitivity, and the proportion of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to all c02, and in turn, to the whole atmosphere does this represent, and what does it do to the temperature? Bear in mind the following qualifications:

    1) all c02 is 0.038% of the atmosphere,
    2) that some 3% of that fraction is annually anthropogenic
    3) c02 delays outgoing heat at 15microns in the spectroscopic absortion range
    4) outgoing radiation is between 0 and 1% of the heat budget,
    5) c02 moves between air and oceans, soils and other sinks quite quickly.
    6) There are 3067 gigatons of c02 in the atmosphere
    7) the first 50ppm of c02 delays that fractional (5% of 0-1% heat budget) heat transfer into space, and anything additional only increases the metric range of this delay, and not the heat absorption, due to its logarithmic absorption factor.
    8) only the carbon atom, and not the 2 oxygen atoms have this effect.
    9) given natural variability, over 98% of carbon dioxide fluctuations are naturally occurring.
    10) At a constant temperature, the amount of a given gas dissolved in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid. (oceans),
    11) that oceans and vegetation absorbs c02 exponentially and not logarithmically on a diurnal and seasonal basis.
    12) Water vapour is hundreds of times more powerful than c02 as a ghg – and has 3 times the thermal absorption bandwidth. A 1% change in vapour is equivalent to a 200% change in c02, yet still isn’t a radiative climate forcing.

    Use data to highlight the direct causal affinity so that it is demonstrable and verifiable.

    So far, none has addressed any of these issues . The best they can say “It is likely that…”, or “we are confident that….” and these are matters of conjecture and speculation than empirical science.

  85. Lucy Skywalker said, :” … specialists no longer understand each other so they trust and believe instead of auditing the science.”

    I happen to be a Geologist – oddly enough, I did my BSc with Rosemary Askin mentioned in the article above – and my sister-in-law has a PhD in Biochemistry. I was expressing my disbelief in AGW to her and her reply was, ” So every other scientist in the world is wrong and you are right”?. Her point was that she was judging the AGW dispute on published work – press releases actually – and she believed them – why would they publish wrong or biased data ?. My point back to her was that the authors were relying on an awful lot of assumptions in the papers – an incredible focus on CO2 and a lot of discarding of any contrary data. She simply could not accept that published papers could be written with a bias or exclude data.

  86. The delay between temperature and c02 is recorded as being 800-2000 years. Total Ocean current have a total of 800 years cycle, and the MWP was around 800 years ago.

    It could resonably be said that today’s increase in c02 is from the MWP. (800 years ago) That means that if we stopped all anthropogenic c02, it would continue to rise.

  87. Addendum – the 800 year delay is taken from vostok ice data from petit et al, with Jan Veizer’s subsequent analysis

  88. Joel Shore said:

    “The main cause (of recent cooling) is likely simply the moderately-strong La Nina we had recently, although there might also be some contribution from the solar cycle minimum.”

    Heck, Joel, thats the essence of what I’ve been saying and seeking to justify for more that 18 months now.

    The thing is how can you say in one breath that those two processes can cause cooling yet still seem to deny that those same two factors in opposite modes could have been responsible for most if not all of the observed 20th Century warming (though even that warming may have been overstated due to UHI effects).

    As it happens under the tutelage of Leif I am drifting away from solar influences except on longer timescales but current solar events might help to resolve that issue over the next few years.

    The thing then is whether oceanic variations in the rate of energy release could possibly cover all observed global air temperature changes over the past 2000 years on their own or with only a small solar contribution.

    After all it could just be a coincidence that since sunspots started being counted the ebb and flow of sunspots was in approximately the same phase as oceanic cycles.

    As the 20th Century shows us the solar and oceanic influences can either offset one another or supplement one another and in earlier times it may be that there were periods when sunspot numbers were high but nevertheless oceanic variations induced colder climates. We just don’t know at the moment.

    Anyway I am coming to the view that oceanic variations could indeed achieve it all on timescales of up to a little over 2000 years which is all we can reasonably reliably discern from historical records rather than increasingly suspect and abusable proxy evidence.

    To explain:

    1) ENSO variability obviously affects global air temperatures on interannual time scales.

    2) We have recently discerned that every 30 years or so there is an oceanic phase shift that increases or decreases the relative intensities of El Nino and La Nina events to produce overall warming or cooling of global air temperatures

    3) We are then left with the issue of background warming or cooling trends which in combination with PDO phase changes produce a ‘stepped’ appearence upwards or downwards for longer term warming or cooling spells respectively.

    4) We have all been discussing whether the 20th Century upward stepping is solar induced or CO2 induced. I prefer solar causes on the basis of historical evidence but as Leif says the correlation is not good enough to constitue proof (or in his view even any reason for considering the possibility but he cannot yet persuade me on that).

    5) What if the longer tern cycling is also oceanic ?
    Just as the PDO phase shifts alter the relative strengths of El Nino and La Nina events a 500 year or so underlying oceanic cycle would alter the relative strengths of the consecutive PDO positive and negative phase shifts and there you would get a stepped progression upward or downward as the global air temperatures cycle from Roman Warm Period to Dark Ages to Mediaeval Warm Period to Little Ice Age to the recent Modern Maximum.

    6) Then note that the global air circulation systems all shift latitudinally in response to ENSO variations and in response to PDO phase shifts and it is clear that they would also do so in response to those 500 year ocean cycles.

    7) Finally note that every climate change ever observed has been a consequence of a particular location or region shifting it’s position in relation to the nearest air circulation systems.

    We then have a coherent explanation for every climate shift ever observed directly by mankind without needing CO2 or solar effects as a significant forcing agent.

    Over to you.

  89. Joel Shore (13:48:47) : “It is also true that the concentration of water vapor is determined by the climate, with more water vapor as the climate warms, and hence it acts as a positive feedback on warming produced by something else such as the long-lived greenhouse gases like CO2.”

    “True” in climate models, perhaps. What’s the evidence that increasing water vapor in the atmosphere has amplified carbon dioxide-induced global warming in the 20th Century?

  90. Joel Shore (19:28:50) :

    “….. I have explained it to you about 30 times. Shall we go for 31? Looking at global temperature trend over intervals of around a decade and less to determine the response to rising CO2 is like looking at temperatures in Rochester over a week-long period to determine the seasonal cycle.”

    So how long does it take for radiation to travel from the surface of the earth to the atmospheric CO2 where it is absorbed? And how long does it take for CO2 to absorb the radiation when it gets there, and then reimit it? And then return to the earth’s surface? You think 30 years. My guess is that it would all be over well within a second.

    Or maybe it’s the fanciful water vapour positive feedback loop that takes 30 years? It takes 30 years for a cloud to form? Once formed they persist for 30 years?

    Enquiring minds look forward to your 32nd explanation.

  91. The only effect of c02 with oceans is absortion/emission circulation. c02 doesn’t add re-radiated energy to oceans. It simply doesn’t have the thermal magnitude. c02 only takes some 8 percent of what little re-radiated heat is available to it, which it then re-emited bi directionally. On the other hand, oceans *do* increase atmospheric temperatures. GHG’s only delay. They don’t increase temperatures

  92. KimW (14:31:37) :

    ‘… my sister-in-law has a PhD in Biochemistry. I was expressing my disbelief in AGW to her and her reply was, ” So every other scientist in the world is wrong and you are right”?.’

    You might ask her whether the medical scientists funded by Big Pharma are also right. The money in Big Green is much more than Big Pharma.

  93. Joel Shore (13:36:04) :

    (You are correct that Hansen put in volcanic eruptions in 2 of the three scenarios that he showed back in 1988 http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/pics/0108_annual_mean.jpg …although in Scenario A he did not and you can see that the temperatures still do not increase monotonically even in this model…

    Can you point out the ten year period where Scenario A shows flat temperatures?

    Also, you might as well show the updated plot, although I guess in climate science you always move on to the next paper and never make sure that a particular data treatment holds up to new data.

    Anyway, I see real progress here. We’ve gone from the AGW mantra going from “no, the temperatures haven’t stopped increasing” to “well, maybe they have, but trust us, it’s only temporary.” I have to say, though, I haven’t seen anyone say “yeah, we knew that” (yet).

    To those of you with access to Science mag, here we have the official admission that temperatures have been flat for ten years.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/326/5949/28-a

    Subscription required.

  94. tty (09:23:34) :

    Your belief is quite unfounded. In most of Antarctica it is more like -20 degrees Celsius. Average summer temperatures above zero only occurs near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Thanks, I guess I should have checked the second google hit and not the first.

    http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215022/climate.htm

    http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215022/climate.htm

    As is typical of “science by press release”, it’s not clear to me if the researchers are talking about the whole continent or just the Ross Ice Shelf region.

    But using -20 C as the average for the whole continent, if the study also refers to the whole continent also, the the current “alarming” rate of warming means we have about 2000 years to get there.

    Scott hasn’t come back to tell us what his “enquiring mind” considers “sudden” to be.

  95. Color me confused. I read and re-read the above, and nowhere did I find informationa bout whether this core they are talking about is an antarctic ice core, or whether it is a core from the ground. They talk about “sediments”, and that is not a term I have seen used before when referring to Antarctic ice cores.

    So which is it; ice or rock ?

  96. Britannic no-see-um (17:44:57) :

    I have to confess, that’s the first time I’ve seen the word “dinoflagellate” used in a sentence.

    I’m glad I looked it up, or I might still think it’s something Fred Flintstone might be scolding his pet about. :)

  97. John M (16:12:29),

    Your imageshack link was informative. It appears that Hansen is now wrong on two out of his three predictions. And his three guesses had such a wide range that you or I could probably have done as well. Or even better.

    It’s the Texas sharpshooter fallacy: shoot some holes in the side of a barn, then go and draw a circle around them. Presto! You’re a sharpshooter!

  98. I am still trying to find out what sudden means to these researchers and the rate of warming. I am still here.

    Sudden is subjective. I think the global warming in the past few decades has been sudden and I think the warming in the past century to be sudden.

    Decades is definitely sudden and many times centuries is sudden. It all depends on the rate of change.

  99. Smokey (18:17:21) :

    Hansen’s “Scenario C” was essentially a cold turkey cessation of GHG growth in 2000. It’s what every AGWer’s dream was wrt to Kyoto. It has since been stated that the most realistic model is Scenario B (at least that’s what they used to say a mere 2 years or so ago.)

    To be fair, this year looks like the station data (what I plotted and what is most friendly to Hansen’s scenarios) will be around 0.7. The combined land and sea anomaly will probably be around 0.55.

  100. Joel Shore (19:28:50) : “Smokey, I think you are pretty much “Exhibit A” as to why it might be a waste of my time to ever write an article for WUWT. Why should I say things if you are simply going to ignore them? You don’t even attempt to respond with intelligent, coherent arguments…”

    You are 180 degrees out of phase on that accusation, but thanks for the chuckle.

    And Joel, your ad homs…weaken YOUR arguments still.

    In the mean time….show the evidence. Write that article. Show the evidence of a trace gas causing runaway AGW.

    Prove it. Show it. The burden of proof is squarely on your side.

    The skeptic side is not obligated to do one damn thing but science business as usual…

    Those that posit a fantastic theory…are thereby obligated to back it up…with hard evidence (not just GCM extrapolations).

    Where is it? Show forth the hard evidence of significant “anthropogenic” global warming.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  101. tty (09:23:34) :

    Some facts may be useful, considering the wild speculation on this thread.

    ——

    Thank you for taking the time to give us that background data.

  102. p wilson says:

    1) all c02 is 0.038% of the atmosphere,

    Correct. However, since ~99% of the atmospheric constituents are transparent to IR radiation, the ones that aren’t have a disproportionate effect. Furthermore, the radiative effect of any constituent is not linear in its concentration (except at extremely low concentrations) but rather rises fast at first and then more slowly. This is another reason why small amounts can have disproportionately-large effects.

    2) that some 3% of that fraction is annually anthropogenic

    What you are doing when you say this is looking only at emissions into the atmosphere and ignoring the large amounts going the other way. I.e., there are large exchanges between the oceans and atmosphere and between the oceans and biosphere, but before the industrial revolution these were in so close balance that for the last ~10000 years, the CO2 levels had been something like 270 +- 10 ppm and in the last 750000 years, they had always been between 180 and 300 ppm. Now the levels are ~385ppm. What we are doing is taking a source of carbon that has been long locked away and rapidly releasing it into the atmosphere.

    3) c02 delays outgoing heat at 15microns in the spectroscopic absortion range

    I don’t really know what you mean by delay. What adding CO2 does is decrease the RATE in W/m^2 at which the earth emits radiation to space. When that occurs, the rate of emission is then less than the rate of absorption of energy from the sun and this causes the climate to warm to the point when the emission (via the Steffan Boltzmann Law) once again balances the absorption.

    4) outgoing radiation is between 0 and 1% of the heat budget,

    This is utter nonsense. If that were true, the climate system would be heating up like crazy! In fact outgoing radiation and incoming radiative energy from the sun are generally very close to balanced (within perhaps a percent or so). Ask Roy Spencer; I believes he’s involved in the satellite missions that are measuring this emission!

    5) c02 moves between air and oceans, soils and other sinks quite quickly.

    True…but for the ocean part, it is only in the upper part of the ocean and the amount that it can absorb quickly saturates. Exchange with the deep ocean is much slower. This means that about half of what we emit is taken up by the ocean and biosphere quite quickly but the other half slowly decays in a non-exponential manner.

    8) only the carbon atom, and not the 2 oxygen atoms have this effect.

    Another ridiculous statement. The absorption bands are due to excitations of the molecule as a whole. It makes no sense to say it is all due to the carbon.

    9) given natural variability, over 98% of carbon dioxide fluctuations are naturally occurring.

    Balderdash! We are responsible for essentially all of the rise in CO2 from ~280ppm before the industrial revolution to ~385ppm today. And, it would have gone up about twice as much if not for the fact that some of it has gone into the upper oceans (where it is causing ocean acidification) and some into the biosphere.

    10) At a constant temperature, the amount of a given gas dissolved in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid. (oceans),

    Correct.

    11) that oceans and vegetation absorbs c02 exponentially and not logarithmically on a diurnal and seasonal basis.

    What the upper oceans do is absorb some of the excess CO2 quite rapidly and then saturate.

    12) Water vapour is hundreds of times more powerful than c02 as a ghg – and has 3 times the thermal absorption bandwidth. A 1% change in vapour is equivalent to a 200% change in c02, yet still isn’t a radiative climate forcing.

    No. It is not hundreds of time more powerful as a GHG. If I recall correctly, it accounts for somewhere around 70-90% of the natural greenhouse effect of 33 C (depending on how you measure), with CO2 accounting for most of the rest. Your statement about 1% change in water vapor vs 200% change in CO2 is also nonsense. And, the point about water vapor is that its concentration is essentially slave to the temperature, so water vapor acts as a feedback, not a forcing.

    It could resonably be said that today’s increase in c02 is from the MWP. (800 years ago) That means that if we stopped all anthropogenic c02, it would continue to rise.

    More nonsense for many reasons. For one thing, an 800 year delay wouldn’t mean nothing happens for 800 years and then it suddenly shoots up. Second, in order to account for the CO2 rise one would need the warming to be about the same as the warming between the last glacial maximum and now, which is about a 5 C global warming. Third, where then is the anthropogenic CO2 that we are emitting going? You are claiming that the system is magically absorbing all of the CO2 that we are emitting and then independently deciding to emit about half that amount on its own. And, fourth, there are of course the isotope measurements that show that the CO2 accumulation is due to the burning of fossil fuels.

  103. John M says:

    Can you point out the ten year period where Scenario A shows flat temperatures?

    I don’t know if there is or is not such a period. As I noted, that model was crude by modern standards but even it showed fluctuations up-and-down. For a study of the statistics of trends in the modern climate models, see http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/csi/images/GRL2009_ClimateWarming.pdf

    Anyway, I see real progress here. We’ve gone from the AGW mantra going from “no, the temperatures haven’t stopped increasing” to “well, maybe they have, but trust us, it’s only temporary.” I have to say, though, I haven’t seen anyone say “yeah, we knew that” (yet).

    The point is that trends over 10 year periods have such large errorbars that one cannot really say whether temperatures have stopped increasing or not. Within errorbars, the trend over the past 10 years is compatible with no increase but also compatible with a significant increase.

    It is also worth noting that more resilient methods of looking at the temperature behavior, such as computing an average temperature for each decade show that the temperatures in the 2000s decade (through 2008) continued to increase relative to the 1990s decade. What is also true is that 7 of the 8 warmest years in the global surface temperature record occurred since 2001 (with 1998 being the only one that didn’t, and it was the hottest year in the HADCRUT record and the 2nd hottest in the NASA GISS record)

    Smokey says:

    John M (16:12:29),

    Your imageshack link was informative. It appears that Hansen is now wrong on two out of his three predictions. And his three guesses had such a wide range that you or I could probably have done as well. Or even better.

    The projections were based on three different emissions scenarios. Since we know what the actual emissions have been, we know that we are closest to his Scenario B. (And, also, we have had one major volcanic eruption, like he assumed for B and C and not for A.)

    As for whether he was right or wrong, you are going beyond what the data can say. After 20 years, there are errorbars in the trends such that the differences between the Scenerio B projections and the actual data are not statistically-significant. Furthermore, it is important to remember that many “skeptics” at the time were generally arguing that the warming would not continue at all…So Hansen’s projection is far better than theirs. Finally, it is worth noting that Hansen’s model at that time had a climate sensitivity that is at the high end of the current IPCC estimates, so we had better hope that the climate warms more slowly than his projection suggests!

  104. Joel. I’ve verified that my qualifications are legitimate. Your observation of the outgoing radiation budget are based on mathematical equations from NASA, and not on thermodynamic science.

    I know that you like to be contrarian just for the sake of it, so won’t respond to each case in point. Water vapour excepted. It absorbs heat over three times the bandwidths of c02, and at the bandwidths required for outgoing radiation. At 15C, c02 doesn’t absorb heat. It only absorbs at 13-15 microns which is subzero. C02 from the equator therefore isn’t intercepted by c02. Its only in polar regions where c02 interfered with heat

  105. on the basis of that, you would have to multiply water vapour by 3 for its ghg effect. Actually, probably more, since it intercepts heat at the outgoing absorbtion range, and the air can hold a lot of water vapour. Since it can change for up to 2 per cent of the atmosphere, that 2,000ppm. Yet is is still a feedback, as you correctly observe, resulting from the temperature. On this basis, c02 isn’t a feedback by any measure. Its siply too insignificant

  106. P Wilson:

    Joel. I’ve verified that my qualifications are legitimate. Your observation of the outgoing radiation budget are based on mathematical equations from NASA, and not on thermodynamic science.

    No, my statements are based on the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation for radiative transfer (although to get the energy balance result, you really only need to know that radiative emission is an increasing function of the temperature).

    And, as I noted, even if you don’t want to believe long-understood physical laws, you can look at the satellite measurements of the radiation emitted from the earth. Your views are in conflict with the entire field of remote sensing, which is arguably the most important technology of the satellite era.

    There is no serious scientific argument regarding the radiative forcing due to a given increase in CO2. As I’ve noted before, even Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen agree with the statement that the radiative forcing for a CO2 doubling is around 4 W/m^2, give our take ~10%. This is not controversial stuff in the scientific community.

  107. ocean acidification: (In response to Joel). Oceans have a stable ph of 8.1 which is alkalinbe. That is: There is no acidification in the oceans. When ocean life accept c02 then the following occurs

    CO2 + H2O H2CO3 H+ + HCO3- H+ + H+ + CO32-

    which means that plants control their own internal economy. Far from acidity, and this is the equation that the Royal Society omitted to mention then they did their paper on acidificaion of the oceans.

    In reality, over the millions of years, when the air was c02 rich, it absorbed into the oceans to give this present ph of 8.1. During the dinosaur period, some 5x the c02 today, absorbed by the oceans. So in fact even this didn’t turn the oceans into acid. We should infer that the oceans are less acicid today than at anytime since the hast glacial, on that basis.

    In reality, c02 forms an equilibrium with carbonate to give healthy marine biology and maintain a stable ph

  108. What does this outgoing radiation stand as afigure? If it is heat from the oceans then I can accept. If it is heat from solid matter then not, as temperatures stabilise to the ambient temperature, from which point they cease to emit heat. (2nd law of thermoydnamics)

    come to think of it, thats why a match goes cold very soon after its extinguished.

    If this thesis was the correct one then that heat from the match would migrate elsewhere. It doesn’t.

  109. footnote: Night vision and night temperature recording equipment shows that little to no radiation is given off by normal temperature matter. I’m afraid that the S Boltmann constant cannot be applied, as it can’t be used on gases and solids.

  110. savethesharks says:

    And Joel, your ad homs…weaken YOUR arguments still.

    It is not an ad hom to simply call someone out on continuing to repeat the same arguments and claiming that noone has responded to them when in fact we have.

    The skeptic side is not obligated to do one damn thing but science business as usual…

    Those that posit a fantastic theory…are thereby obligated to back it up…with hard evidence (not just GCM extrapolations).

    Actually, you are wrong. The scientific community has accepted the theory of AGW because of the evidence that has been presented.

    So, if you think that you have no obligations, then that is fine with me. But, you are dooming yourself to irrelevance scientifically since the scientific community will go on accepting the current theory unless the “skeptic” side comes up with convincing counter-evidence. So far, this doesn’t look very promising. And, frankly, the “skeptic” side would do much better for itself if, rather than promulgating all sorts of nutty arguments, you guys just focused on issues where there is at least some significant scientific uncertainty, like the cloud feedback and its effect on the climate sensitivity. (To Roy Spencer’s credit, that is what he is doing for the most part, except for some ill-advised forays into the question of whether the current rise in CO2 is anthropogenic. And, while I doubt Spencer’s viewpoint will eventually carry the day, I do at least applaud him for raising in the peer-reviewed literature some hypotheses that, at least to this non-climate-scientist, seem scientifically-interesting.)

  111. “the_Butcher (14:22:11) :

    cotwome (12:48:58) :
    Earth during the Miocene:

    How come the Sea levels are the same from today even though there’s almost no Ice in the antarctic? (based on that image.)”

    Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Al Gore is correct, and that all the ice on the planet is shortly going to melt and become water. We can all do that math on that one, and it ends up that the oceans would rise something like 200 feet (to simply round to a nice number).

    However, that is assuming that all else remains equal. What all else? All else, like the bottom of the ocean. Because water weighs something, and an extra 200 feet of water is a lot of weight. It is the weight of water that probably causes the bottom of the ocean to be spreading (yes, that is oversimplification, but we are also assuming that Al Gore is correct about something). Add more water to the oceans, hence more weight, and the bottom of the ocean spreads just a little more, becomes somewhat deeper, perhaps being displaced and pushing up the land masses.

    I would guess that having more water in the ocean would probably do very little to the majority of coastlines. I would think that, if my scenario is even slightly plausible, what could occur would be a few more earthquakes and volcanoes as everything stabilizes to a new configuration of somewhat deeper oceans, and somewhat higher mountains.

    Anyway, that could explain why ancient coastlines are sometimes in the same place as they were many ages ago. The continental shelves are relatively stable.

    However, any real geologists that want to tear this apart, please go ahead. I’m just doing a little free-association here.

  112. Joel Shore (09:37:22)

    Quite wrong.

    It is on the basis of evidence and data that “skeptics” make the case. There’s a very considerable corpus of this. Only I would describe it as impartial rather than skeptical

  113. @ Joel Shore (08:26:03) :

    Everything Joel has said about the radiative properties of greenhouse gases is 100% true and every freshman textbook says the same thing. It never ceases to amaze me how the effect of greenhouse gases is still being questioned.

    There are many questions that have not been answered but the effects of adding CO2 is not one of them. The feedback issue of adding greenhouse gases is where there is debate.

    Once again, Joel, I nominate you for the Nobel Patience Prize.

  114. HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

    Dr. Warny was kind enough to send me the PDF of this paper. Sorry to disappoint, but the sudden time scale the press release refers to is 50,000 years and the brief warming was 200,000 years.

  115. Joel Shore (09:37:22) : “It is not an ad hom to simply call someone out on continuing to repeat the same arguments and claiming that noone has responded to them when in fact we have.”

    “Repeating the same arguments”…? Well if that ain’t the proverbial pot calling the kettle black…

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  116. So… In summary…

    CO2 correlates quite well with temperatures at two times during the Phanerozoic Eon (the last 600 million years or so):

    1) The Pleistocene – During which the delta-T always preceded the delta-CO2… A good indication that temperature changes can cause changes in atmospheric CO2.

    2) 1977-2003 (maybe as recently as 2005 or even 2007… Although the correlation may have been busted as long ago as 1999).

    The correlation fails at all other scales and time frames. That’s a heck of a basis for climate change policy.

    So… Since at almost all time scales from “weather” to “geological”, CO2 fails to correlate with temperature… It’s “Plan B” for the Gorebots: Ocean Acidification. Oh… One teeny problem. The Phanerozoic oceanic pH has pretty well been between 7.8 and 8.3 irrespective of atmospheric CO2. The Paleocene-Eocene transition is just about the only documented time when the oceans acidified. Well then! What do the oceans do with CO2? They make limestone, lots and lots of limestone. Even at the very shortest of time scales, the oceans make limestone.

    A recent experiment was conducted on fish otoliths (ear bones) to demonstrate the ill effects of ocean acidification. It was assumed that a sudden increase in CO2 would acidify the water and the acid would shrink fish otoliths. Well guess what happened? The otoliths grew; they did not shrink…Did you hear? CO2 makes fish ears bigger

    Prior to the experiment, they had assumed that CO2, through ocean acidification, would shrink the otolith. The exact opposite result occurred.

    The otoliths grew rather than shrank.

    According to the ocean acidification hypothesis, increasing CO2 uptake by the oceans should acidify sea water and destroy calcium carbonate shells and other carbonate structures, like otoliths. The experiment yielded the opposite result. The fish otoliths grew at a faster rate due to the excess CO2.

    If the excess CO2 was acidifying the sea water in the experiment, the otoliths should have been reduced in size as had been expected.

    The article stated that CO2 was making the seas more acidic. There is no evidence that CO2 has made the seas more acidic. There are assumptions that more CO2 will make the seas more acidic; however there is no evidence that this has actually occurred in the oceans. Some studies suggest that oceanic pH has declined by 0.1 since the 1750’s; but that is well within the 0.5 range of natural pH variation. Over the last 600 million years, the pH of Earth’s oceans appears to have pretty well been in the same range that it is today: 7.8 to 8.3 irrespective of atmospheric CO2 concentrations up to 20 times today’s levels. The experiment tends to suggest that that the excess CO2 was accommodated by increased calcium carbonate production rather than through sea water acidification.

    In this particular experiment, they were looking for evidence of oceanic acidification through a reduction of otolith size. The opposite result occurred and they’re still trying to say they found evidence of oceanic acidification. Science doesn’t work that way. Or at least, it’s not supposed to work that way. When results falsify your hypothesis you don’t get to say that the falsification supports the original hypothesis.

  117. Joel Shore (09:37:22) “Actually, you are wrong. The scientific community has accepted the theory of AGW because of the evidence that has been presented.”

    The Scientific Community, yes, even they, have demonstrated the phenomenon of “group-think”. Not uncommon for homo sapiens to lapse into that over history.

    Has happened (even in the scientific community) before (think the Inquisition), is happening now, and will happen again, unfortunately.

    The modern state of such things, unfortunately:

    “Consensus” = “Group-Think”

    “Peer Review Process” = “Old Boy Network”

    So they have “accepted the theory of AGW”…as you say?

    Perhaps “they” are in fear of funding drying up if they speak out against it.

    If they have “accepted it”….then why are so many of the brightest and best of them putting on the brakes (at the risk of their funding and getting ostracized thanks to politicians like John Holdren), and saying “HOLD ON A MINUTE.”??

    And, furthermore, where is the evidence??

    Shew forth the evidence, Joel, (real life, hard and fast evidence… not GCM extrapolations)

    Show it. Prove it.

    The burden of proof is on the AGW church to scientifically prove, once and for all, the tenets of their theology.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  118. Joel Shore (09:37:22) :And, frankly, the “skeptic” side would do much better for itself if, rather than promulgating all sorts of nutty arguments, you guys just focused on issues where there is at least some significant scientific uncertainty, like the cloud feedback and its effect on the climate sensitivity.

    What are you talking about?? They are already doing just that. As I said, for the Skeptic side of things (hmm….I thought the word “skeptic” went hand in hand with science, but that is another conversation), but, as I said, for the Skeptic side of things: “Its Science Business as Usual.”

    The Spencers, the Svaalgards, the Anna Vs, etc…all are going on about the business of doing what they do best.

    The AGW controversy is a side issue (albeit a big one), and it will not derail the Scientific Method completely, because there are plenty of the above individuals and others like them, that will fight to the last day, to prevent it!

    To quote the X Files: “The Truth is Out There.”

    And it is. We just gotta find it, and it AIN’T easy, any more than the “science” of you-know-what…is “settled.”

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  119. And I see I misspelled Leif’s name once again.

    Argh. Sorry about that.

    Double a in the second a. Double a in the second a. Double a in the second a.

    OK I got it! :)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  120. final note to joel shore on pre industrial c02.

    that is the measurement from ice cores in vostok. During the period 1810-1957, there exist over 90,000 valid measurements of c02 across the northern hemisphere and india. Often in excess of 500ppm, and most frequently just either side of 400ppm in 1840. Ice data show the same period at 280ppm, in 1840. We can therefore say that real measurements are more accurate than ice core measurements. They are the most minimal proxy, but do, however show a trend.

    Your (the AGW) case is no better than taking winter in Antarctica as the starting point then telling us that catastrophe is around the corner as temperatures are rising into summertime, elsewhere than antarctica

  121. Dave Middleton (10:30:19):

    “In this particular experiment, they were looking for evidence of oceanic acidification through a reduction of otolith size.”

    “The opposite result occurred and they’re still trying to say they found evidence of oceanic acidification.”

    “Science doesn’t work that way. Or at least, it’s not supposed to work that way.”

    “When results falsify your hypothesis you don’t get to say that the falsification supports the original hypothesis.”

    ——————————–

    This deserves to be repeated and digested again and again…for anyone with a rational mind. I broke the quotes up in hopes that people would take time in re-reading.

    On point, Dave!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  122. Janice (09:52:14) :

    Earth during the Miocene:

    How come the Sea levels are the same from today even though there’s almost no Ice in the antarctic? (based on that image.)”

    Sea level was about 130 metres higher than today during this specific period.

  123. Scott A. Mandia (10:18:56) :

    @ Joel Shore (08:26:03) :

    “Everything Joel has said about the radiative properties of greenhouse gases is 100% true and every freshman textbook says the same thing. It never ceases to amaze me how the effect of greenhouse gases is still being questioned.”

    In fact, it is some 22% true. It depends on the radiative outgoing. Given that c02 is active in the 14-16 micron length, that means that it can only interfere with heat at this length, which is zeroC-subzero. (eg, the heat radiated by Arctic or Antarctica). At 15C, heat is intercepted at much less than the c02 band -around 9-10 microns, so c02 cannot interfere or absorb it. That is: c02 doesn’t affect outgoing heat from non subzero environments. It is only subzero temps that can be intercepted. IE. the excess heat given off by the Arctic. (If there is any).

    Thats the problem with the c02 induced theory of global warming. The only place where the greenhouse effect would take place would be the polar regions, hence why so much AGW is focussed on the Arctic.

    Its quite true that watervapour overlaps c02 bands, and absorbs what c02 cannot. So both are dependent on the climate, or the temperature than forcings. I don’t follow the reasoning of c02 being a climate forcing. Its like saying that the loose change in your pocket is more valuable than the wad of notes, or something akin to that. Nay, the few dimes are superior to all other coins of greater value and the wad of notes, because they represent what you have, rather than what the bank holds.

    this is the reasoning of AGW> It puts man back at the centre of the universe and makes him guilty for spending a few dimes, because they didn’t go through that bank.

    The whole of AGW amplifies these few relatuively inconsequential magnitudes by a factor of 100 at least, to make it potent. The trouble with telling one lie, though, is that of the classic liars syndrome: Tell one major lie and you have to tell thousands more lies to corroborate it.

    Actually, its adelusion than a lie, but thats a question of terminology.

  124. “Janice (09:52:14) :

    “the_Butcher (14:22:11) :

    cotwome (12:48:58) :
    Earth during the Miocene:

    How come the Sea levels are the same from today even though there’s almost no Ice in the antarctic? (based on that image.)”

    Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Al Gore is correct, and that all the ice on the planet is shortly going to melt and become water. We can all do that math on that one, and it ends up that the oceans would rise something like 200 feet (to simply round to a nice number). ”

    apparently, the radius of the earth would increase,a s more water wentr to the equator, and this would slow down teh rotational velocity of the earth which would cause dramatic cooling

  125. P Wilson says:

    If it is heat from solid matter then not, as temperatures stabilise to the ambient temperature, from which point they cease to emit heat.

    No. All objects emit radiative energy according to the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. The reason things stabilize at ambient temperature has to do with the fact that there is no longer a NET exchange of heat between two objects. Both objects are still emitting radiation.

    footnote: Night vision and night temperature recording equipment shows that little to no radiation is given off by normal temperature matter. I’m afraid that the S Boltmann constant cannot be applied, as it can’t be used on gases and solids.

    No…Infrared night vision equipment works because people tend to be warmer than inanimate objects at night. For heaven’s sake, here is a quote from a webpage on how night vision works ( http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/nightvision.htm )

    Thermal imaging – This technology operates by capturing the upper portion of the infrared light spectrum, which is emitted as heat by objects instead of simply reflected as light. Hotter objects, such as warm bodies, emit more of this light than cooler objects like trees or buildings.

    I will also give you a quote from the book “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey (p.39):

    The land and ocean surface and clouds thicker than cirrus clouds (thin, wispy clouds) emit almost as blackbodies (emissivity = 1.0), the clear-sky atmosphere has an emissivity of 0.4-0.8, and cirrus clouds have a typical emissivity of 0.2.

    These aren’t theoretical values. They are actual values. (Somewhere else, I forget where, said that the strongest deviation from an emissivity of 1 for terrestrial objects were some desert sands that had an emissivity of as low as 0.7.)

    P Wilson says:

    that is the measurement from ice cores in vostok. During the period 1810-1957, there exist over 90,000 valid measurements of c02 across the northern hemisphere and india. Often in excess of 500ppm, and most frequently just either side of 400ppm in 1840. Ice data show the same period at 280ppm, in 1840. We can therefore say that real measurements are more accurate than ice core measurements. They are the most minimal proxy, but do, however show a trend.

    No serious scientist takes those measurements seriously. It is easy to have contaminated measurements with a higher level of CO2, which is why Beck’s data shows lots of values close to those of ice core data and then a scattering of values at higher levels. To believe Beck would be to believe that CO2 levels underwent ridiculous oscillations until such time as we started measuring by modern methods and then miraculously it settled down. And, it would mean that essentially all that we understand about the carbon cycle is wrong.

    ocean acidification: (In response to Joel). Oceans have a stable ph of 8.1 which is alkalinbe. That is: There is no acidification in the oceans.

    The term is used to describe the oceans becoming more acidic, i.e., less basic.

    In reality, over the millions of years, when the air was c02 rich, it absorbed into the oceans to give this present ph of 8.1. During the dinosaur period, some 5x the c02 today, absorbed by the oceans. So in fact even this didn’t turn the oceans into acid. We should infer that the oceans are less acicid today than at anytime since the hast glacial, on that basis.

    In reality, c02 forms an equilibrium with carbonate to give healthy marine biology and maintain a stable ph

    The issue is one of timescales. Yes, weathering of CaCO3 from rocks will neutralize the acidification but the rate that it can do that is far exceeded by our current rate of acidification of the oceans by our increases in atmospheric CO2. In the past, changes in CO2 were usually less rapid. There was one case which is a close analog to the current case, which is the PETM event about 55 million years ago when there was a significant release of greenhouse gases, the oceans did become more acidic, there was a pronounced warming, and lots of extinctions. It is a hot research area at the moment because of it seems to be the closest analogy to our current predicament.

    Scott A. Mandia says:

    Once again, Joel, I nominate you for the Nobel Patience Prize.

    Thanks, Scott! I wish they gave a Nobel Prize for that! ;-)

  126. Dave Middleton says:

    CO2 correlates quite well with temperatures at two times during the Phanerozoic Eon (the last 600 million years or so):

    The correlation fails at all other scales and time frames.

    That is not true. You just have to look more carefully and control for the effects of other factors. Also, there are a variety of reasons why scientists understand that the CO2 – temperature oscillations during the glacial – interglacial cycles worked in both directions. I.e., changes in temperatures did trigger the changes in CO2 but then the CO2 helped to amplify the temperature change (and to synchronize the change in the two hemispheres…in fact, I believe the latest data shows that the change in CO2 only lagged behind the temperature in one of the hemisphere).

    And, the science of how CO2 causes changes in temperature is well-understood even if the issue of feedbacks introduces some uncertainty in the magnitude.

    As for ocean acidification, I think the data showing that the oceans have become more acidic is quite robust. It is true that we are still in the relatively early stages of understanding the effects on various marine species…and there may be some “winners” as well as “losers”. But, it would be very optimistic indeed to believe that there would be a net benefit from such a change…and, as I understand it, the PETM evidence so far does not give reason for such optimism.

  127. Joel Shore (13:59:47) :

    There was one case which is a close analog to the current case, which is the PETM event about 55 million years ago when there was a significant release of greenhouse gases, the oceans did become more acidic, there was a pronounced warming, and lots of extinctions. It is a hot research area at the moment because of it seems to be the closest analogy to our current predicament.

    As ive understood this event to date, is that there were indeed oceanic extinctions(less so terrestrial) but they were in localized areas… which to me dosnt seem consistent with “ocean acidification”(i prefer the term oceanic reduction in alkalinity lol.) And to me seems to indicate that the mechanism of these extinctions is more likly to be caused by a different phenomena. maybe nothing more than dead sea(not technical name) algae blooms(sometimes supersaturating water, followed by aereobic bacterial consumption/(then possibly anaerobic) resulting in no o2 and high( h2s )

    But i admit im not that well read on PETM.

  128. Joel. I can see how the S Boltmann constant has been used to adapt itself to the climate, but effectively its a fraudulent use of it. Efectively, its a null hypothesis, pulled out of thin air. If it were a correct hypothesis, blackbody objects, trees, asphalt etc would be emitting more radiation than human bodies at night, beause they received more exterior radiation. (I presume the S Boltmann equation is how NASA defined outgoing radiation as 41% of the total.) In reality, that is a mathematical equation and not a physical one. If it were 41% then humans wouldn’t be detectable, as everything terrestrial would be throwing the same light. As this is clearly not happening, we can conclude that re-radiation is significantly below the 41%. In fact it is 0-1%,

    so I quote:

    There is supposedly an equation which will show how much infrared radiation is being given off by matter at any temperature, but it is too absurd to be used. It’s the Stephan-Boltzmann Constant.

    It shows 459 watts per square meter being given off at room temperature of 27°C. That’s almost five 100 watt bulbs from half of a table top. Night vision equipment shows it isn’t happening.

    The Stephan-Boltzmann constant is this:

    5.67051 x 10-8 x K4

    This result is the number of watts per square meter of infrared radiation supposedly given off by matter at a temperature represented by K (degrees Kelvin, which is 273 + °C).

    For exactness, this calculation must include the emissivity, which means percent radiation which is blocked due to such things as reflection. But for nonmetalic surfaces, the emissivity is around 90-95%, which means it can be ignored for the rough estimates of nonmetals.

    At a normal temperature of 27°C (80°F), the calculated result without emissivity is 459 W/m2.

    At the assumed average temperature of the earth (15°C, 59°F), it’s 390 W/m2.

    At the freezing temperature of water (0°C, 32°F), it’s 315 W/m2.

    On a hot day of 37°C (98°F), it’s 524 W/m2.

    Normal temperature matter is not giving off that much infrared radiation. Virtually everything in physics is in error, unless someone gets the error corrected, which requires a lot more accountability than often exists.

    If freezing water were emitting and absorbing the heat of three 100 watt light bulbs per square meter, the heat would interfere with the freezing process. In some environments, water would freeze at 40°F, and elsewhere, it would freeze at 25°F depending upon how much environmental radiation there was at that location. The stability of the freezing temperature of water shows that there is not a significant amount of radiation being emitted and absorbed at that temperature. NOTE: 41% of 1366 watts per square meter is far greater than that of a living body.

    no matter how equations are pulled out of thin air, they don’t apply, and the 2nd law of thermodynamics operates. That is: objects giving off radiation are losing heat, and accept radiation when they are colder than the ambient temperature.

    Picture a poker pulled out of a fire. its hotter than the air, and heats the air around it, whilst losing temperature. Eventually both reach the same temperature: the ambient temperature at which point the poker gives off no heat. Air has a very low heat capacity so doesn’t add heat effectively. (which is why animals give off more heat than the earth)

    so you are quite wrong

    i just noticed your isotope as ameasure of how much c02 is anthropogenic. In fact it has been established

    Proof from isotopic mass balance

    The calculations confirm that maximum 4% (14 GT C) of the air CO2 has anthropogenic origin; 96% is indistinguishable from non-fossil-fuel (natural marine and juvenile) sources. by the methods you propose. (Segalstad et al).

    Obviously, that measn that the increase in c02 over the last 100 years is not anthropogenic.

    Finally, oceanic ph, biology and chemistry confirm that acidification is not the case, and that oceans are an infinite buffer to carbon dioxide.

    http://www.heartland.org/bin/media/newyork09/PowerPoint/Tom_Segalstad.ppt

  129. P Wilson says:

    apparently, the radius of the earth would increase,a s more water wentr to the equator, and this would slow down teh rotational velocity of the earth which would cause dramatic cooling

    I just did a rough order-of-magnitude calculation and got the result being that the slowing in rotational velocity would add about a second onto a day. How exactly would this “cause dramatic cooling”?

  130. I agree that the science of c02 change in relation to temperature is well understood. (I’ve studied it) spectroscopy is quite interesting in fact. Even Mr Angstrom pu the theories of Keeling and Arrhenius to the test by putting as much c02 as to be found in the atmosphere in a vessell. He found that the amount of radiation getting through didn’t change on doubling or halving the quantities of c02.

    Nothing about the properties of c02 have changed since Angstrom’s day. It is only when a closed vessell filled with 100% c02 is heated from the same source as another that contains normal air that the rate of temperature decrease is lengthened in the c02 vessel (closed to convection)

  131. finally, the question of the values found during the 19th century (which were scientifically valid) are not that they are or are not taken seriously. Wrong terminology. The correct terminology is that they are suppressed, and suppression of relevant data is not a sound scientific technique.

  132. Joel,

    With respect I think you should give up.

    If one has to increase complexity to salvage a point then one has lost.

    All the best and most likely real life scenarios can be comfortably expressed in terms easily accessible in plain language to a layman.

    E = mc2 is a prime example.

    It boils down to a concept that everyone can understand

    i.e.

    The total energy content is equivalent to the mass of an object multiplied by the square of the speed of light (I hope I remembered that correctly) which is a very big number which causes a very big bang.

    Every schoolboy can cope with that despite the level of genius required to produce it.

    AGW lacks that characteristic.

    Keep it simple, stupid.

  133. by the way – thermal imaging cameras detect radiation in the 8-14 bandwidth. Re-radiation is supposed to be in this parameter

  134. Joel Shore;

    How come the pro-AGW’ers always quote the Stefan-Boltzmann law as some kind of justification of their position but they never actually use it to determine anything except how warm the surface would be without greenhouse gases.

    Let’s see what your extra 4 W/m^2 from a doubled CO2 results in according to the Stefan-Boltzmann equations.

    Today = (390 W/m^2/5.67e-08)^0.25 = 288.0K = 15.0C

    CO2 Doubled = (394 W/w^2/5.67E-08)^0.25 = 288.7K = 15.7C

    So you can’t get very much warming from a little 4 Watts increase and the feedbacks on albedo and water vapour are going to be meagre with only a 0.7C increase.

    So quit quoting the Stefan Boltzann laws if you are not going to use them properly.

    Effectively, the impact of 4 watts/metre^2 is a “tuned” impact based on the assumption that temperatures will increase 0.75C per watt/metre^2 (not true) and that CO2 doubling will result in 3.0C per doubling therefore 4 is the right number. It is not based on physics measurements – it is a Hansen shortcut. The right number is probably about 9 to 11 watts per doubling but that would require re-writing the climate eqautions properly, something noone seems ready to do.

  135. Scott A. Mandia (10:24:46) :

    HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

    Dr. Warny was kind enough to send me the PDF of this paper. Sorry to disappoint, but the sudden time scale the press release refers to is 50,000 years and the brief warming was 200,000 years.

    Hmmm…

    From the press release quoted at the top of this thread:

    She and colleagues from around the world now have proof of a sudden, remarkably warm period in Antarctica that occurred about 15.7 million years ago and lasted for a few thousand years.

    “A few thousand years”, 50,000 years, 200,000 years. Oh well, close enough for climate science and especially for the accompanying press release.

  136. @Joel Shore…

    Joel, I’ll give you an A+ in persistence and courage. The way you wade into these debates merits a lot of respect.

    I can’t categorically say that CO2 cannot drive climate change… But, as a geoscientist, I can tell you that I have never seen any direct evidence of it. There are lots of hypotheses for past greenhouse-driven episodes; however those are largely derived from the assumption that the moder climate is being modulated by fluctuations in greenhouse gases.

    On ocean acidification… Please point me to the specific concrete evidence for it. I’ve read Caldeira and quite a few other papers on the subject; and I’ve yet to see any evidence of Co2-driven acidification that has actually occurred… Just models that predict future acidification. There seems to be a consensus that oceanic pH has dropped 0.1 since 1750 (although I have not found any empirical or observational backing for this assertion). The natural ~50-yr pH cycle is 0.5.

    The only paper that I have seen that sort of presents the sort of geological-scale relationship of CO2, oceanic pH and climate change is Royer… And that was pretty well shot down when Shaviv and Veizer…

    The analysis of Royer et al. (2004) assumes an unrealistically high pH correction. First, it neglects the ice-volume effect, which changes the relation between δ18O and ΔT. Second, this large pH correction implies high temperatures for seawater even during times of extensive glaciations.
    Moreover, the analysis of Royer et al. (2004) consists of bootstrapping,
    by introducing a correction to ΔT that is an implicit function of RCO2. It is then not surprising that a correlation between ΔT and RCO2 is obtained. This would be the case irrespective of the RCO2 model utilized.

    About 6-10 years ago, I was beginning to believe the CO2-temperature connection, despite the fact that my education in 1970’s geology told me it was wrong. Since then, I’ve come back to where I was in 1980. Every bit of “evidence” for anthropogenic greenhouse gas-driven climate change has either been refuted or seriously challenged over the last 5 years or so. The only facet still standing is the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas – A fairly impotent greenhouse gas at far less than 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere.

  137. Bill Illis (15:30:43): First of all, you have done the calculation wrong. The 4 W/m^2 is at the “top of the atmosphere” and the correct temperature to use is the effective radiative temperature of the earth of ~ 255 K. If you do that, you get ~1 C increase for doubling of CO2.

    Second of all, the 4 W/m^2 is not tuned to give the climate sensitivity…That’s just silly paranoid talk. It is based on radiative calculations.

    Third of all, the 1 C increase for doubling CO2 is the result in the absence of feedbacks, e.g., it doesn’t include the additional warming one gets from the additional water vapor that goes into the atmosphere as it warms and has its own greenhouse effect. The calculation of the feedback effects in the climate system go well beyond just the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation.

  138. P Wilson says:

    Even Mr Angstrom pu the theories of Keeling and Arrhenius to the test by putting as much c02 as to be found in the atmosphere in a vessell. He found that the amount of radiation getting through didn’t change on doubling or halving the quantities of c02.

    This might be true…but is irrelevant. The path length for such a vessel is much smaller than the pathlength in the atmosphere, which is why you have to go to the 100% CO2 case to get a large enough path length.

  139. In antarctic ice core measurements that relate c02 to temperature, the lag is quite explicit at every juncture. So are the abrupt shifts over short time periods. If this data is correct then so be it. However, a 1C doubling could not be caused by c02. It could be caused by water vapour, all other things being equal, but this wouldn’t be a long term climate shift.

    How subzero temperatures – the points at which c02 absorbs, or delays radiation – could increase other temperatures by 1C is a pure scientific deception. At any rate, 8% of outgoing heat that c02 intercepts puts it this explanation a physical error. Certainly, c02 would have quite an effect in a glacial climate, but not enough to pull it out of a glacial climate – certainly not an effect in a non glacial climate

    I stand by my notion that c02 are cents, water vapour are dollar notes, whilst climate forcings are assembled wads of bank notes, for easy understanding by the layman

  140. Joel Shore (16:02:19

    I see you’re playing games.

    The experiment is tightly controlled, and given that its closed to convection, in fact gives a far greater bias and concentration in favour of c02 being a greenhouse gas than the atmosphere, if such existed in the case of c02

  141. Joel Shore (08:41:46) :

    Hey, nice fall-back positions.

    If an old model doesn’t look so good, call it out-dated and crude.

    If a new model doesn’t look so good, just say that not enough time has passed to adequately evaluate it.

    If temperatures stop rising, just say they have been rising and are near record territory, even though the near constant drumbeat has been that AGW is accelerating and “it’s worse than we thought”.

    And then you can always fall back on “uncertainty” and error bars, even though those phrases are carefully hidden when talking to the media.

    You know, throwing Hansen’s 1988 model under the bus may not look so bad if AGW proponents weren’t saying how well it was standing up only a couple of years ago.

    In other words, the forcings scenario of Line B in this graph was remarkably similar to what actually came to pass. It also just so happens that the observed temperature trend has matched very closely with the prediction represented by Line B. James Hansen was right on the money and the models he used proved successful.

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/04/hansen-has-been-wrong-before.php

    …the 1988 paper estimated the forcings slightly on the low side. The result was a pretty good prediction. Definitely in the class of useful models.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2008/01/1988-and-all-that-as-soon-as-nonsense.html

    I guess it’s easy to be patient when nothing’s falsifiable.

    Just curious Scott and Joel, how patient do you think either of you would be if you were trying to argue an opposing point of view at one of the above blogs or on RealClimate?

  142. Joel, the assumption of fixed RH is theoretically impossible. RH is never fixed, witness the fact that it decreases almost every day planetwide. Second the 4 w/m2 (actually 3) decreases as water vapor increases (spectral “wings” are much less important than the CO2 notch).

    If there’s one fact you must remember it’s that water vapor is highly nonlinear. CO2 is logarithmic and rather easily modeled. Water vapor is nonlinear and doesn’t model well except at mesoscale resolution which the GCM’s do not have. Contrary to those models there is ample evidence that upper tropospheric water vapor is decreasing and not just in the tropics, e.g. ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/84927.pdf

    Using an oversimplified model to predict sensitivity is a GIGO exercise, you will get out whatever you want based on assumptions about the weather.

  143. @ John M (15:43:36) :

    John, are you suggesting that the press release is more accurate than the paper itself?

    Preliminary dating of the AND-2A core via magnetostratigraphy, isotope stratigraphy, and biostratigraphy (Acton et al., 2008) places
    the peak of the 312–310 mbsf warm interval ca. 15.7–15.5 Ma ago

    The area being observed laid down 2m of sediment. That takes quite a bit of time.

    Here is a screen capture:

  144. @ Eric (skeptic) (16:40:27) :

    The Radiative Signature of Upper Tropospheric Moistening by Brian J. Soden, Darren L. Jackson, V. Ramaswamy, M. D. Schwarzkopf, Xianglei Huang

    Climate models predict that the concentration of water vapor in the upper troposphere could double by the end of the century as a result of increases in greenhouse gases. Such moistening plays a key role in amplifying the rate at which the climate warms in response to anthropogenic activities, but has been difficult to detect because of deficiencies in conventional observing systems. We use satellite measurements to highlight a distinct radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening over the period 1982 to 2004. The observed moistening is accurately captured by climate model simulations and lends further credence to model projections of future global warming.

    http://www.gfy.ku.dk/~kaas/forc&feedb2008/Articles/Soden.pdf

    I guess we are playing “my paper is better than your paper.” :)

    Hey, this is science.

  145. @ John M (16:22:35) :

    Just curious Scott and Joel, how patient do you think either of you would be if you were trying to argue an opposing point of view at one of the above blogs or on RealClimate?

    Speaking only for myself, chances are that I would quickly learn why I was wrong and I would thank them for enlightening me. :)

    REPLY:
    Scott I know you think RC is fair and all, but really, you are deluded. Read this http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/busted/
    -Anthony

  146. Scott Mandia (17:46:53) :

    @ John M (15:43:36) :

    John, are you suggesting that the press release is more accurate than the paper itself?

    Nope, I’m suggesting that maybe climate scientists ought to read their own press releases. After all, if Steve McIntyre can be blamed for what every flavor of skeptic might say in some corner of the web…

    Scott Mandia (17:52:59) :

    Speaking only for myself, chances are that I would quickly learn why I was wrong and I would thank them for enlightening me. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheeple :)

  147. Scott Mandia

    “At the top of the atmosphere”, the atmospheric pressure is about 1/5 that of sea level. That means radiation will travel 5 times as far before being completely absorbed, which is 50 meters for CO2.”

    given that c02 absorbs heat available to it in 10 metres from the earth, doubling c02 would decrease this distance to 5 metres. It wouldn’t change the temperature. Radiation is the limiting factor and not “greenhouse gases”. It also measn that warming cannot occur beyond the area where ghgs absorb radiation. they can trap heat in the stratosphere, but is so neglible as to have no effect. Besides, the stratosphere doesn’t influence the troposphere, where the climate takes place.

    if water vapour increases in the troposphere, there is certainly no scientific mechanism by which it anthropogenic. Radiation is the limiting factor and not the amount of ghgs.

    Also, the top of the troposhere is very cold. Given that it is very cold, it is physically impossible to produce more heat at ground level.

    Again there are great limitations imposed, the further up the atmosphere one goes. Because the greenhouse effect isn’t working where it is supposed to be, climatologists pretent that there is someting unusual happening in the troposhere.

    Again, it sounds like they are looking at the end result and then adjusting equations to produce the 1C that cannot be delivered where ghg’s are supposed toi have their effect.

    Actually, these aforementioned problems are the least of what is wrong with the anthropogenic consensus, according to atmospheric height.

  148. oh, i don’t mean that one paper is better than another, just that some form the conclusion and bend everything to fit it.

  149. I once tried that method of asking a question about the relatively low heat capacity of air on ‘RC’, in response to the fact that the temperature plummeted by 10C *immediately* in the zone of the recent eclipse, then returned back to nrmal when the event was over. They called me a troll and snipped my post.

  150. Scott Mandia (17:50)

    Humidity Levels are not increasing.

    Specific Humidity is as flat as a board (except for a very small increase at the lowest levels of the atmosphere – upper tropopause is actually declining very slightly).

    Relative Humidity – declining at all atmospheric levels.

  151. Bill Illis: Well, I guess you believe satellite data when they suit your purposes and whatever data you can get your hands on instead of the satellite data when it suits your purposes. The satellite data is clear on the subject of upper tropospheric moistening for both fluctuations and long term trends. The radiosonde data is known to have severe problems and I’ve never even seen people try to look at the fluctuations with it.

    P Wilson: Frankly, you can write nonsense faster than I can correct it. I give up. I may be patient, as Scott Mandia says but I ain’t a saint!

    I think what I have learned from my many months of posting here is there has to be some commonality of interests in order to have a meaningful dialog. When people are dead-set on disbelieving modern science and believing any nonsense that they can get their hands on, there is really no convincing them otherwise.

  152. Joel Shore (20:18:45) : “When people are dead-set on disbelieving modern science and believing any nonsense that they can get their hands on, there is really no convincing them otherwise.”

    Nice self-confession. Thanks for admitting that, Joel.

    There is truly” no convincing you otherwise” of the nonsense tenets [snip]

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  153. Joel Shore (20:18:45) :
    Bill Illis: Well, I guess you believe satellite data when they suit your purposes and whatever data you can get your hands on instead of the satellite data when it suits your purposes. The satellite data is clear on the subject of upper tropospheric moistening for both fluctuations and long term trends.

    HUH??? Bro…are you blind???

    Yoru clever sophistry just does not work, Joel. Give up. Thanks for giving it the college try.

    I just wonder why…..WHY….is a smart guy like you pursuing a dead-end cause with limited evidence.

    Again….to beat a dead horse….the burden of proof is on the party that makes a fantastic claim.

    Show forth the evidence.

    Not pages and pages of words.

    Pure, simple, hard, fast…evidence.

    This is the witching hour…

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  154. savethesharks (21:03:47) :
    Joel Shore (20:18:45) : “When people are dead-set on disbelieving modern science and believing any nonsense that they can get their hands on, there is really no convincing them otherwise.”

    Nice self-confession. Thanks for admitting that, Joel.
    __________________________________

    The way that Joel sees the world IS the only way that the world could possibly be.

    Real scientists, Joel, will NEVER believe your so-called “modern science” where the conclusions are written before the experimental procedures are performed (if at all).

    Of course, he could be the blog equivalent of a seminar caller, in which case, he’s doing an outstanding job. I hope his salary is commensurate with his performance.

  155. “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.”
    — Mark Twain

    Josh. Time for us sheeple to move on. :)

    REPLY: Labeling yourself and others as “sheeple”? Doesn’t do much for credibility. -A

  156. Joel Shore (20:18:45)

    I only dispute the notion of belief. Scientific method is based on observation, ratiocination and inference, and the experimental technique. i’m asure you’d agree. Not belief. So for example if you have A and B, you couldinfer the hitherto unsuspected existence of C.

    there’s quite a explanative book that discussed the scientific method. “The Scientific Outlook” written sometimein the 1930’s by Bertrand Russell. well, there are other methods of drawing hypotheses. In the end you have to ask. “It works in theory, but does it work in practice?”

  157. Scott, the paper you posted doesn’t say much about RH. OTOH, neither does mine. So we both lose for now. To me it is questionable whether total column water vapor causes warming or not. It is very much dependent on where in the column and of course the horizontal distribution. The authors in your paper say that the water vapor increase with temperature is predominately lower troposphere. Boiled down what they are saying is increase sea surface temperatures cause more evaporation which we knew already. The big question mark is convection.

  158. As a sidenote to that, given that the temperature in the troposphere is around -45C and decreases with elevation, there is no possible physical mechanism that can cause it to add more heat to the troposphere, regardless of surface temperatures. Hey, unless you can prove that putting eggs in the fridge will cook them….

  159. John M:

    If an old model doesn’t look so good, call it out-dated and crude.

    You know, throwing Hansen’s 1988 model under the bus may not look so bad if AGW proponents weren’t saying how well it was standing up only a couple of years ago.

    I didn’t throw it under the bus. I said that it agreed within errorbars with the actual temperature record since 1988. However, my point is that this will not continue forever simply because the models aren’t perfect and because that model had one particular climate sensitivity and we only know the likely climate sensitivity within a fairly broad range. So, eventually, there will be a statistically-significant deviation. Given that the climate sensitivity in that model was near the top end of the likely range, one can only hope the real world deviates low.

    I notice that “skeptics” demand that the predictions of AGW be perfect in order to believe them and yet totally ignore the the record that the “skeptics” themselves have on making such predictions. If one actually did a comparison, I think you would find that Hansen’s predictions have been head-and-shoulders above the “skeptics”!

    Eric (skeptic) says:

    The authors in your paper say that the water vapor increase with temperature is predominately lower troposphere.

    Where do you see that? The paper is titled “The Radiative Signature of Upper Tropospheric Moistening”.

    P Wilson says:

    Joel. The aqua satellite gives reliable data about tropospheric water vapour. So far it is showing the oposite trends from climate models. It show that far from a positive feedback, climate processed limit the warming effect and act as anegative feedback

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0315humidity.html

    Nice try. You have linked to a press release from 2004 that is for the publication of Andrew Dessler’s first paper on the subject. In that, he found that the relative humidity had decreased a little bit and since their impression was that climate models predict constant RH, they thought there might be a contradiction. However, in a follow-up paper published in 2006 ( http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/minschwaner2006.pdf ), the same authors (with one additional coauthor) actually looked at simulations of the climate models and found that they too predicted a small RH decrease and that the models and data agreed within errorbars:

    The model mean decrease in relative humidity is -2.3% +/- 1.0% K^-1 at 250 mb, whereas observations indicate decreases of -4.8% +/- 1.7% K^-1 near 215 mb. These two values agree within the respective ranges of uncertainty, indicating that current global climate models are simulating the observed behavior of water vapor in the tropical upper troposphere with reasonable accuracy.

    And, of course, there is this 2008 short review article on the subject that I linked to above ( http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;323/5917/1020 ) where Dessler and Sherwood conclude:

    There remain many uncertainties in our simulations of the climate, but evidence for the water vapor feedback–and the large future climate warming it implies–is now strong.

  160. Joel, talking about picking data randomly off the web that supports their preconceptions…

    Did you look up that thread? Scott already posted that paper. It doesn’t say much of anything except that when the ocean surface temperature increases, then evaporation increases and lower tropospheric humidity increases. What matters is convection and subsidence, neither of which are addressed by the paper. The paper cannot make any proper conclusions about warming due to water vapor since they do not distinguish by altitude (and in fact admit the lower altitudes get most of the increase).

  161. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel, the assumption of fixed RH is theoretically impossible. RH is never fixed, witness the fact that it decreases almost every day planetwide.

    The climate models don’t make that assumption. Here is what Dessler and Sherwood say on the subject:

    Both observations and models suggest that the magnitude of the water vapor feedback is similar to that obtained if the atmosphere held relative humidity constant everywhere. This should not be taken to mean that relative humidity will remain exactly the same everywhere. Regional variations of relative humidity are seen in all observed climate variations and in model simulations of future climate, but have a negligible net impact on the global feedback (12).

    Eric (skeptic) says:

    Contrary to those models there is ample evidence that upper tropospheric water vapor is decreasing and not just in the tropics, e.g. ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/84927.pdf

    What you have linked to is a conference paper for almost 10 years ago that the authors admit is a preliminary analysis (and based on a quite short set of data). The field has advanced since then as the later papers by Soden et al., Dessler et al., and the review by Dessler and Sherwood discuss.

  162. Eric (skeptic): You are completely misreading the Soden paper. Where do you get the idea that they are looking in the lower troposphere when they state many times, including the title and abstract, that they are looking at the upper troposphere?

  163. Joel Shore (06:27:05) :

    savethesharks: “HUH??? Bro…are you blind???

    “Not satellite data. Just an example of people taking data randomly off the web that supports their preconceptions without bothering to ask even the most basic questions about it.”

    Hmmm…the same could be said about you bud.

    Bill Illis presented the above graph, and you have failed to refute it saying that because you have failed to refute it by just dismissing it altogether through the “Either/Or Fallacy” to wit:

    “The radiosonde data is known to have severe problems and I’ve never even seen people try to look at the fluctuations with it.”

    Hmm….seems like a few of them do:

    http://radiometrics.com/vance04.pdf

    “The possibility of temperature measurement errors producing errors in the relative humidities reported by the RD93 sondes has been investigated (A. K. Vance 2004, unpublished manuscript), and we conclude that although errors of up to 3% RH may exist from this source, which is a concern, THIS IS NOT SIGNIFICANT COMPARED TO THOSE LIKELY TO ARISE FROM ATMOSPHERIC VARIABLITY.”

    But anyway, back to the original question, you have yet to refute the graph which Illis presented above.

    Or are you just going to try to change the subject again?

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  164. And see the following. Not only do radiosondes have a wide margin of error, BUT APPARENTLY SATTELLITES DO TOO:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/5/1529/2005/acpd-5-1529-2005-print.pdf

    “A method to compare upper tropospheric humidity (UTH) from satellite and ra- diosonde data has been applied to the European radiosonde stations. The method uses microwave data as a benchmark for monitoring the performance of the stations. The present study utilizes three years (2002–2003) of data from channel 18 (183.31␣1.00GHz) of the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-B (AMSU-B) aboard the satellites NOAA-15 and NOAA-16. The comparison is done in the radiance space, the radiosonde data were transformed to the channel radiances using a radiative trans- fer model. The comparison results confirm that there is a dry bias in the UTH measured by the radiosondes. This bias is highly variable among the stations and the years. This variability is attributed mainly to the diðerences in the radiosonde humidity measure- ments. The results also hint at a systematic diðerence between the two satellites, the channel 18 brightness temperature of NOAA-15 is on average 1.0 K higher than that of NOAA-16. The diðerence of 1 K corresponds to approximately 7% relative error in UTH which is significant for climatological applications.”

    Hey I am not saying that you are incorrect in the claim that the UTH levels are climbing…but you have, by throwing the radiosonde baby out with the bathwater, yet to produce the hard and fast evidence that they are.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  165. Joel Shore (08:20:14)

    Thats odd. The latest data, post 2007 shows stratospheric vapour on a downward trend, but increasing in th elower troposphere. These are not model simulations – as you refer to them – but data sets.

    so what is happening? Climate sensitivity is greatly over estimated by models: far from water vapour giving a strong feedback in the troposhere, (cloud cover) autonomous cooling mechanisms occur, troposheric temperatures cool and less vapour goes into the stratosphere. However, it does prove that water vapour is the salient ghg overriding anything from other ghg’s .
    The problem this is: How can c02 heat absorbtion cause the necessary heating of oceans to produce this vapour. There isn’t a scientifically valid mechanism for that. It can only be heat from the oceans via the solar connection that puts more vapour into the atmosphere, since the thermal coeffecient of c02 doesn’t affect the oceans

  166. Correction:

    “Bill Illis presented the above graph, and you have failed to refute it saying that because you have failed to refute it by just dismissing it altogether through the “Either/Or Fallacy” to wit:”

    “The radiosonde data is known to have severe problems and I’ve never even seen people try to look at the fluctuations with it.”

    MEANT TO SAY:

    Bill Illis presented the above graph, and you have failed to refute it by just dismissing it altogether through the “Either/Or Fallacy” to wit:

    “The radiosonde data is known to have severe problems and I’ve never even seen people try to look at the fluctuations with it.”

  167. Joel, from the paper:

    However, because the
    mass of water vapor decreases rapidly with
    height, the column integral is primarily weighted
    by the lower troposphere, and its largely
    thermodynamic behavior is unsurprising (21).

    And their fig 1 shows that warmer sea surfaces cause more evaporation, something we already knew. We also knew we in a primarily positive PDO and expect warmer sea surface temperatures overall. The rest of the paper has no water vapor information, just temperature (figs 2 and 3). They assume their simulation can’t possibly be wrong and that running their sim with constant RH produces the same temperature results as measured (well it would with the same forcing), that means there must be constant RH which they devolve to “moistening trend” in the UT. They dismiss the actual measurements showing the UT is not moistening.

  168. Eric (skeptic): Your first quote is from the introductory section of the paper where they are talking about what has been looked at before, so I hardly see how it is relevant. And, the rest of the paper does indeed contain information on water vapor…It discusses the radiative signature for the water vapor, i.e. measurements of effective blackbody temperature. (How else do you expect a satellite to sense water vapor if not by a radiative signature?) Here is their explanation:

    Satellite observations using the High Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) provide a global, temporally coherent archive of radiance measurements in the 6.3-µm water vapor absorption band from 1979 to the present. The radiance channel centered at 6.7 µm (channel 12) is sensitive to water vapor integrated over a broad layer of the upper troposphere (200 to 500 hPa) and has been widely used for studies of upper tropospheric water vapor (28). Because clouds strongly attenuate the infrared radiation, we restrict our analysis to clear-sky radiances in which the upwelling radiation in channel 12 is not affected by clouds (29).

    P Wilson says:

    I can’t access the science mag article. Synopsis?

    Which one? Soden et al. or Dessler and Sherwood?

    How strong a part does water vapor play in global warming?

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

    You can find a lot of non-peer-reviewed garbage on the internet. I think you know enough to poke the obvious holes in that particularly silly one yourself.

  169. savethesharks says:

    And see the following. Not only do radiosondes have a wide margin of error, BUT APPARENTLY SATTELLITES DO TOO:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/5/1529/2005/acpd-5-1529-2005-print.pdf

    Well, determining long-term trends in the satellite data is certainly not without its problems but it sounds like the radiosondes are considerably more problematic. Furthermore, Soden et al. used the satellite data not just to compare not just the long-term trends but also the shorter-term fluctuations (e.g., on the timescales of months to a few years). For these, the problems with stitching together different satellites or orbital decay or other issues that affect long-term trends won’t be an issue. So, I think the evidence that the water vapor feedback operates as expected over these timescales is quite robust. I suppose it is possible that it works over the shorter timescales but breaks down over the multidecadal timescales, but this seems rather unlikely since the processes involving water vapor operate on timescales of hours to days.

  170. Oh. I mean by that, i’m interested in the part where they use data to support the notion that enhanced tropospheric water vapour has led to a multiplied increase in global warming, from 2002 to 2009, which is the context iin which you brought the paper to attention

  171. Joel, the article is poorly worded. HIRS does not measure water vapor (nothing measures it), but OLR. See http://dods.atmos.umd.edu/~lee/documents/Lee04_GOES_HIRS_hybrid.pdf for example. Water vapor is estimated by subtracting other OLR measurements. The HIRS satellite doesn’t do that and AFAIK they don’t do it on the ground. The way the authors did it is use their model and assume that since constant RH in the model gives the same UT temperature, the model must be a correct estimate of the UT water vapor.

    There are many other temperature and water vapor gradients that can produce the same OLR measurement at the satellite, not just the one they modeled.

  172. Joel, did you look up reference 28 in the text you quoted above? He says “widely used” but provides one reference to an article with no title that he authored. I really would like to see more (any) legitimate references that HIRS can measure water vapor. Like I said, nothing can measure water vapor, but some satellites have multiple IR channels that they can subtract to get water vapor (basically subtract the non-absorbed IR from the absorbed IR). Then the authors in this article state:

    Figure 2 compares the satellite-observed
    equivalent blackbody temperatures from chan-
    nel 12 (T12) from the HIRS instrument with
    those computed from the model_s temperature
    and moisture profiles (30). Under clear skies,
    T12 is primarily sensitive to changes in relative
    humidity averaged over a deep layer of the
    upper troposphere (roughly 200 to 500 hPa)
    (21). Thus, if the water vapor mass in the upper
    troposphere increases by conserving relative
    humidity as the atmosphere warms, only a
    small perturbation to T12 would be expected.

    They are assuming constant RH so they can compare the model temperature to the observed temperature. They are assuming the same hypothesis that they are trying to prove (constant RH aka UT moistening).

  173. Joel Shore (08:20:14) :

    I notice that “skeptics” demand that the predictions of AGW be perfect in order to believe them and yet totally ignore the the record that the “skeptics” themselves have on making such predictions. If one actually did a comparison, I think you would find that Hansen’s predictions have been head-and-shoulders above the “skeptics”!

    Which skeptics are those? And which skeptics are using their predictions to try to force the world to make trillion dollar changes to the world economy?

    My original point still stands. AGWers in 2007 were dislocating their shoulders doing high fives vicariously celebrating Hansen’s models and chortling how accurate they were. It’s a little funny to see you guys all now saying “Error bars! Error bars!”

  174. Scott Mandia (22:09:06) :

    “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.”
    – Mark Twain

    Josh. Time for us sheeple to move on. :)

    REPLY: Labeling yourself and others as “sheeple”? Doesn’t do much for credibility. -A

    Anthony: My bad. Scott was just returning volley. Sorry about that.

  175. Joel Shore (12:54:09) :

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Seems to me using a blend of the best data available, satellite, radiosonde, and otherwise…is the best approach.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  176. Eric (skeptic) says:

    They are assuming constant RH so they can compare the model temperature to the observed temperature. They are assuming the same hypothesis that they are trying to prove (constant RH aka UT moistening).

    That’s a weird interpretation of what they say. I am not sure how you came up with it. They are not assuming constant RH. They are simply giving the reader a feel for what one would intuitively expect a plot of T12 to look like if constant RH occurred (although they also run a GCM modified to enforce constant RH in order to show in more detail what the model would predict).

    You are correct that the measure of water vapor has to be obtained by a differencing procedure. However, since they have essentially two measurements (T_12 and T_2) and two unknowns (temperature and water vapor), they can verify the agreement of each independently.

  177. P Wilson says:

    Oh. I mean by that, i’m interested in the part where they use data to support the notion that enhanced tropospheric water vapour has led to a multiplied increase in global warming, from 2002 to 2009, which is the context iin which you brought the paper to attention

    What they are looking at is how water vapor is changing in the atmosphere. Its radiative effects are well-understood (and, of course, also seen in the remote sensing by satellites). Not every paper in the field is going to deal with every aspect of the science.

    Of course, if you continue to believe that the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation and God-knows-what-else isn’t correct, then it would be like my trying to talk to a Young Earth Creationist…and frankly such effort is not worth my time.

  178. Joel,

    Here is the proper way to use the Stefan Boltzmann equations in relation to global warming and surface temperatures.

    There is other humidity datasets and they all show very tiny changes. This is supposed to be the best dataset now. Notice the trends from 1989 to 2007 are expressed in E-05 or 0.0000X

    http://nierenbergclimate.weebly.com/uploads/1/1/6/6/1166378/the_following_results_use_the_era.pdf

    The only places one finds large changes in humidity are these specific studies where they are trying to show the climate models are right. Of course, these studies all involve some transmutation of the data and they never show their actual data. That and they all pick specific periods where the ENSO has changed humidity levels in the tropics which it is known to do.

  179. Joel Shore

    The usual nonsense. Added to which I don’t think you’ve answered any propositions throughout this thread! At least none of the ones that I’ve posed. At best, its evasion, though this has been pointed out.

    Scientists know that ghg’s don’t cause warming at the surface of the earth, so have contrived an absurd mechanism to say that its going on somewhere else. They now admit that water apour is the primary ghg, and so concoct a mechanism, equally absurd by which c02 causes it. As for the silliness of appplying the steffan-Bolzmann equation, for want of any better method of contriving the numbers, read above – P Wilson (14:34:00)

    Since c02 can’t be inferred as causing the warming, it is being used to amplify another fraud – the water vapour multiplier effect.

    so lets consider some of the factors. the wavelength of c02 obsorbtion is that of subzero temperatures, not of normal temperatures. ordinary outgoing radiation is in the 6-12 micron range, or else around 15C at average. None of this is interecepted by c02 as it doesn’t correspond to the c02 length of 13-16microns. On the other hand, radiation given off by the arctic can be captured by c02. This presents the problem of the thermal ability of c02 to cause water to evaporate from oceans.

    Warmer air holds more water vapour, . Increasing the holding capacity is reducing the relative humidity, which would reduce precipitation; but global precipitation is increasing—the real reason being that oceans are heating, not the atmosphere. This is because air has a small heat capacity whilst oceans don’t – the implication being that any heat intercepted by c02 doesn’t affect oceans as It doesn’t have the thermal energy. It takes a large amount of energy to increase the temperature of water than it does air, so there is no mechanism by which air can increase the temperature of oceans.

    Here the logic gets even more ridiculous. If c02 had this forcing efect on water vapour then all human effects would disappear, as natural amplifications take over, – yet vapourisation of oceans takes place well outside the parameters of c02

    Even the most ridiculous stretching of logic cannot salvage this anthropogenic c02 thesis. Streching it to 30% of all c02 and maintaining that human c02 accumulates whilst natural c02 doesn’t is preposterous, as oceans regulate c02 levels, but maintaining that it amplifies by a high magnitude a water vapour feedback, since c02 doesn’t do much on its own is by far the greatest absurdity.

    going higher up into the atmosphere because none of it is happening close to the surface though is the ultimate error. Upper tropospheric temperatures are -19 to -45C. It is impossible for these temperatures to keep the surface warmer than if ghg’s didn’t. Thats why they had to pull the Boltmann constant out of thin air to esoterically amplify the whole state of affairs by ten times in order to get the 1C on a c02 doubling

  180. Scott Mandia (22:09:06) :

    “The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.”
    – Mark Twain

    “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable. ”
    also Mark Twain

  181. Joel said “However, since they have essentially two measurements (T_12 and T_2) and two unknowns (temperature and water vapor), they can verify the agreement of each independently.”

    Nice thought, but they are not solving an equation. The two measurements are being made simply so they can separate out the UT from the full Troposphere, not to solve an equation. In any case they are dependent variables.

    They run their model and compare the UT temperatures from the model and the T12-T2 measurement and conclude that there must be moistening since the model shows moistening. They are simply confirming that their model (with its embedded hypothesis) matches their hypothesis of reality.

    But as I said above, there are other models that could easily match the T12-T2 measurements. For example the UT could be warm and dry (which in reality it is according to the radiosondes) with T12-T2 showing the difference that they ascribe to moistening. It is a temperature difference, not a measurement of anything but that.

  182. P Wilson – Like I said, your ability to write nonsense and paranoid delusions about what scientists are doing (yes, it is all a big plot…yes indeedy!!) exceeds my ability to set you straight. If someone says that all of basic physics is wrong, there is really not much I can do. I suggest that you communicate with Roy Spencer; he seems like a nice fellow and maybe you will actually listen to him since you and he are on the same side on the larger issue of whether AGW is a serious problem or not. If you want some history on the understanding of the greenhouse effect, see here: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    Bill Illis – Your “proper way” to use the Stefan-Boltzmann Equations seems to be to be to ignore all feedbacks (and also do the computations at the surface when one really should choose the effective radiating level), which is far from proper.

    Bill Illis says:

    The only places one finds large changes in humidity are these specific studies where they are trying to show the climate models are right. Of course, these studies all involve some transmutation of the data and they never show their actual data. That and they all pick specific periods where the ENSO has changed humidity levels in the tropics which it is known to do.

    This is more paranoia. Brian Soden, the lead author on the paper that I have referenced, has actually co-authored a recent Science article that was quite skeptical on the linkage between global warming and hurricane intensity ( http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;322/5902/687 ). And, the data from the satellite channels is indeed shown. And, I have no idea what you mean by them choosing specific periods. The data runs from like 1982 to 2004.

  183. Eric (skeptic):

    Nice thought, but they are not solving an equation. The two measurements are being made simply so they can separate out the UT from the full Troposphere, not to solve an equation. In any case they are dependent variables.

    No…Read what they write about the differencing:

    Because the anomalies in T12 are a function of both moisture and temperature changes over this period, it is important to verify the credibility of the model-simulated temperature variations. For this purpose, the global mean tropospheric temperature anomalies observed from the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) channel 2 radiances (T2) are compared with those simulated from the GCM (Fig. 2, middle panel). The MSU T2 radiances are primarily sensitive to the temperature averaged over a deep layer of the troposphere (roughly 200 to 800 hPa).

    Eric (skeptic) says:

    It is a temperature difference, not a measurement of anything but that.

    I am confused. Do you understand that what satellite remote sensing does is look at the radiation received at certain wavelengths and express it as an effective radiating temperature? Are you saying that you don’t believe it possible to determine water vapor content at all using satellite remote sensing?

  184. Joel, don’t be so self deluded. It doesn’t seem you have the ability to set the record straight. Simply because the suppositions are speculative, whereas the truth is empirical.

    I’m focussing on science, nay the most basic principles of it. The AGW activist camplaign has itself in a muddle by streching logic beyond its natural frontiers. Once a premise is mistaken then all the others have to be bended to fit it, in true Aristotelean style

    nothing to be paranoid about, so lets leave the ad hominems/personal attacks for the schoolyard.

  185. Joel

    Anyway, its clear to see what has happened. Since water vapour is independent of c02, and c02 of vapour, the AGW lobby had to focus on c02 since the human contribution to water vapour doesn’t exist. Yet its 100 times the ghg. This is the source of muddleheadedness.

    i daresay if we were responsible for water vapour, the AGW lobby would be ignoring carbon dioxide and rewriting the laws of physics accordingly.

    So again, you are wrong as usual. At least as a researcher in this field i’m not accusing the press, politicians and AGW of paranoid nonsense. Its better to dissect the arguments and focus on FACTS

    Here’s the bandwidths of ghgs

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Absorption_Bands_png

  186. P Wilson says:

    i daresay if we were responsible for water vapour, the AGW lobby would be ignoring carbon dioxide and rewriting the laws of physics accordingly.

    (1) Just out of curiosity, are you even aware that the other combustion product of hydrocarbons or natural gas besides CO2 is water vapor? (Admittedly, the amount of water vapor we produce and the rate at which it is transported in and out of the atmosphere mean that we do not influence the amount of water vapor directly on a global scale by our emissions of it as we do for CO2, but that presumably wouldn’t affect the “AGW lobby” whom you speak of of re-writing the laws of physics to say we do.)

    (2) I think people who say the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation is not relevant to objects at everyday temperatures and who believe that the Earth radiative balance is such that it emits 1% or less of what it absorbs from the sun ought not to accuse others of “rewriting the laws of physics”! That one just pegged my irony-meter!

    (3) Could you name names for this “AGW lobby”? Does it include the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the academies in all the other G8+5 nations, AAAS, AGU, AMS, APS …? How are all these groups coordinated in this massive conspiracy on basic principles of science?

  187. for the steffAn bolzmann being used for the climate, see above. particularly the figures involved. No amount of streching them can justify it.

    When Mrs Thatcher, James Hansen, Al Gore started this fashion of power mongering which led to the present racketeering campaign – it has its roots in economic programmes and political manipulation. Of course, Mrs T was at odds with coal miners and middle east oil barons at the time.

    However, power mongering doesn’t achieve anything, and the scientific technique has been corrupted during the process.

    For the political lobby heres a few choice comments. We see that the club isn’t in the least interested in the environment.

    This farrago came out of the Club of Rome, not at all a rotten club, and have a lot of very admirable ideas, but when you look at the register of alarmists, and some of their attitudes – such as Al Gore, Blair, Soros, Merkel, and many others, then on has one’s doubts about scientific veracity, which is virtually zero

    Here is a typical quote from the Club of Rome.

    “We are on the verge of a global transformation.
    All we need is the right major crisis”

    – David Rockefeller,
    Club of Rome executive member

    “We need to get some broad based support,
    to capture the public’s imagination…So we have to offer up scary scenarios,make simplified, dramatic statements”

    – Stephen Schneider,
    Stanford Professor of Climatology,
    lead author of many IPCC reports

    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…
    climate change provides the greatest opportunity to
    bring about justice and equality in the world.”
    – Christine Stewart,
    former Canadian Minister of the Environment

    “Now is the time to draw up a master plan for sustainable growth and world development based on global allocation of all resources and a new global economic system. Ten or twenty years from today it will probably be too late.”

    – Club of Rome,
    Mankind at the Turning Point

    Roughly translated, “4 years and we’re done for…” “10 years and we’re done for….” “20 years and we’re done for…” means: “There are respectively the periods of time for this chance of our political and economic reform/ideas to be viable. ”

    Surely there are other methods of making world change acceptable than creating a bogus about the climate, and making man its cancer. It’s interesting to speculate as to whether they are masters or the victims of their own propaganda machine.

  188. P Wilson:

    for the steffAn bolzmann being used for the climate, see above. particularly the figures involved. No amount of streching them can justify it.

    What figures? This one http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Atmospheric_Absorption_Bands_png ? What do you believe it shows? If you are able to do detailed radiative transfer calculations in your head on the basis of that diagram, I am quite impressed!

    By the way, your quote from Stephen Schneider is taken way out of context. See here: http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/APS.pdf Schneider has done more than almost anyone else to explain the science, including the role that uncertainty plays in it.

    I haven’t bothered to investigate the other quotes.

    You’ve still avoided my question though. Are you saying that either the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the academies in all the other G8+5 nations, AAAS, AGU, AMS, APS don’t understand the basic laws of physics as well as you do or are you saying that they are actively deceiving the public?

  189. “Are you saying that either the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the academies in all the other G8+5 nations, AAAS, AGU, AMS, APS don’t understand the basic laws of physics as well as you do or are you saying that they are actively deceiving the public?”

    Such people are no longer true scientists. Once they become administrators or politicians they no longer concern themselves with the science. They simply rely on others whom they trust.

    Perhaps their trust has been misplaced ?

  190. Joel, I explained twice above how water vapor sensing is done using satellites. If you want details google for meteosat water vapor calibration and click on the first hit. Also look at the channels on HIRS here http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/pod-guide/ncdc/docs/klm/html/c3/sec32-1.htm and compare to the paper. Water vapor absorbs peak IR in meteosat WV1 channel. The HIRS channel 12 is not the same as meteosat WV1, although it overlaps somewhat.

    Your quote from the paper states that they verifying the temperature measurements from the satellite with the temperatures from the model. They are not, as you seem to imply, measuriing UT water vapor with the satellite data. Nor are they calculating UT water vapor or any other water vapor using the satellite data. They are generating temperature data with the model which assumes constant RH (or UT moistening for the rough equivalent), then verifies that the measured UT temps roughly match the modeled ones. Their conclusion is correct that UTWV has increased iff the model itself is correct.

  191. Joel Shore (11:45:15) :

    I refer you to a previous post at P Wilson (14:34:00) for the explanation of the invalidity of the Steffan Bolzmann law in relation to the climate.

    However, when a consensus is singing from the same hymn sheet, one cannot say that they are all in cynical collusion. Power mongers see that fossil fuel extractors like Exxon and BP make huge profits. They want to create extra capital from it to maximise revenue, like a racket. Most of the climatologists here in London i’m acquainted with live on good incomes and carry on this consensus. However, it is something akin to the position that Galileo found himself in, or Darwin found himself in. According to the Papacy at the time it was sacrilege to say that the earth revolved around an earthcentric universe, as the church had the monopoly on what was at the time the motions of the universe. Now, not even the pontiff would dispute Galileo. At the time of Darwin, the consensus even amongst Biologists was that God was the creator of life. THeoretically, if man came from apes, then Jesus died to save apes too, and this caused some to scoff..

    Conspiracy – I don’t think so. The reigning in of pure science as opposed to advocacy based paradigm is the probable explanation.

    Getting back to the climate, far too much attention is paid to ghg’s. they don’t drive the climate – they are effects of what does drive the climate. Given that water vapour cannot cause an enhanced greehouse effect of itself, even less so c02, so the atmosphere cools as it acts as a heat sink, disippating, rather than accumulating heat. Even at high temeratures, very little heat is given off by the earth’s surface. Even at 30C, very little radiation is picked up by equipment that is used to detect frequencies in that wavelength.

  192. correction:

    According to the Papacy at the time it was sacrilege to say that the earth revolved around an earthcentric universe, as the church had the monopoly on what was at the time the motions of the universe.

    should read

    According to the Papacy at the time it was sacrilege to say that the earth revolved *around the sun* in an earthcentric universe, as the church had the monopoly on what was at the time the motions of the universe.

  193. Eric (skeptic) says:

    So, which part of this description of how it works that is in the paper do you disagree with:

    The trends in upper tropospheric water vapor are more easily depicted by differencing the global mean MSU channel 2 and HIRS channel 12 radiance measurements (T2 – T12). As the atmosphere moistens, the emission level for T12 increases as a result of the increasing opacity of water vapor along the satellite line of sight. On the other hand, because the concentration of oxygen does not vary by any appreciable amount, the emission level for the MSU T2 remains constant. Therefore, if the atmosphere moistens, the brightness temperature difference T2 – T12 will increase over time because of the divergence of their emission levels. If, on the other hand, the moisture in the upper troposphere does not increase, the emission level for T12 would remain unchanged, and T2 – T12 would show little change over time.

    So, in other words: T_12 can vary for two reasons. Either the temperature changes at a fixed effective emission altitude or the effective emission altitude itself changes (and, if it goes up, T_12 goes down because temperature in the troposphere is a decreasing function of height…This is the same principle that allows an infrared satellite photo to essentially show the height of the cloud tops). And, a change in the effective emission altitude for this channel occurs when there is a change in the amount of water vapor (more water vapor means more opacity and hence a higher emission altitude).

    Now, T_2 is at a frequency that is in the oxygen absorption band, so it is not sensitive to the water vapor concentration (and oxygen is well-mixed in the atmosphere so its concentration doesn’t vary with time), and is thus just a measure of the temperature at a fixed effective emission altitude.

    So, by subtracting T_2 from T_12, you remove the effect of the change in temperature and are left with something that basically just shows the change in water vapor.

  194. The graphs of spectoscopic absorbition show that water vapour has over three times the badwidths of c02. In the lower figure bandwidths particularly where c02 doesn’t capure heat, such as 10-30C which would be a normal temperatures. To obtain the result of how effective it is you would then have to multiply the factor of its ghg potential by 3 for a direct comparison with c02. There are some 30 times as many water vapour molecules in the air at any one time than c02 molecules, and it is variable. It can be anything from 1-3 percent of the atmosphere. It enters the air mainly as a result of temperature – efffectively, and comes back as precipitation, depending on conditions. The fact that we can ignore this as ghg as a cause of global warming, which does 100 times more than c02 leads to the conclusion that all ghg’s do not cause global warming. Actually there are a lot of sound reasons why ghg’s do not cause warming.

  195. P Wilson:

    I refer you to a previous post at P Wilson (14:34:00) for the explanation of the invalidity of the Steffan Bolzmann law in relation to the climate.

    You mean the one where you said: “If it were a correct hypothesis, blackbody objects, trees, asphalt etc would be emitting more radiation than human bodies at night, beause they received more exterior radiation. (I presume the S Boltmann equation is how NASA defined outgoing radiation as 41% of the total.) In reality, that is a mathematical equation and not a physical one. If it were 41% then humans wouldn’t be detectable, as everything terrestrial would be throwing the same light.” I then gave you a link to an explanation of infrared night vision goggles by someone who actually works for a company that manufactures them in which it was explained that the reasons humans are distinguishable is that they are simply (generally) hotter than those other objects.

    The rest of that post is just a bunch of poor intuition and failing to understand how, in normal everyday life, we are surrounded by this infrared radiation and objects are absorbing approximately as much as they are emitting.

    I really don’t mind ignorance of physics. There are subjects that I am ignorant on. And, ignorance can be cured. But, what is so frustrating with you (and frankly is fairly endemic on this whole website) is a level of ignorance combined with a level of arrogance whereby the people who are most ignorant are not only unwilling to cure their own ignorance but rather are spreading it and telling those who try to dispel it that they are wrong. It is sad that people are so blinded by ideology that they would rather create their own reality than understand the reality that actually exists.

    Conspiracy – I don’t think so. The reigning in of pure science as opposed to advocacy based paradigm is the probable explanation.

    This logic has so many holes in it, it is hard to know where to start. First, it misses the fact that much of the radiative physics was understood at a time when AGW was not the dominant paradigm, in fact it was a hypothesis in the scientific wilderness, which you would know if you read the history that I linked to. Second, it betrays an extremely incorrect notion of how scientists operate…Getting scientists to agree on something is like “herding cats”. Third, if you were right then the scientists like Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer who are “heretics” on AGW (in a manner of speaking) would presumably have no reason not to agree with you on these claims you are making in regard to the radiative physics. As it so happens, they don’t. In fact, Roy Spencer is involved in satellite remote sensing experiments that would simply not work if you were right and the accepted physics was wrong. (It is like telling someone who has built a particle physics accelerator that relativity is incorrect…If it were, the damn thing would not work because it is designed based on those equations.)

  196. P Wilson:

    To obtain the result of how effective it is you would then have to multiply the factor of its ghg potential by 3 for a direct comparison with c02.

    No you don’t. It simply does not work that way. Doing the radiative calculations is more complicated than that and, at the end of the day, the result is that over much of their concentration range, the dependence of the radiative forcing on concentration is logarithmic. And, for each different type of molecule, there is a different efficiency factor that depends in a non-trivial way on its absorption and the absorption of the other components of the atmosphere. There are substance, such as the halocarbons present at less than 1 part-per-billion that nonetheless have a not-insignificant effect (e.g., roughly 20% of the radiative forcing that the increase in CO2 from pre-industrial levels has).

  197. In fact, it does work that way. Water vapour overlaps the frequency at which c02 takes heat. That means it absorbs heat where c02 doesn’t, and a change in c02 has no effect at htose overlapping frequencies. You’d have to multiply it by much more than 3, since c02 only absorbs heat in the subzero temperature frequency – which is why AGW depends on the greenhouse effect in the Arctic, where it is dry and cold. Its dry because it is so cold. Given the greater amplitude of warm temperatures globally, water vapour absorbs at that micron level where c02 doesn’t. ie, below 12 microns. The problem for c02 is that it can’t force anything, unless you take its ability to absorb heat from extreme cold as a climate forcing.

  198. Joel Shore (16:30:10) :

    I read your link a few years ago, so its nothing new…

    There are many holes in radiative physics as applied to the climate. They don’t depend on intuition but observation and to scientific technique, properly speaking. The equation produces an absurdly high theoretical figure for normal temperature objects. It can be used in technology/electodynamics, but not in nature at *normal* temperatures, since it has different properties to earth, so the figures and values quoted are not wrong.

    Thermal imaging equipment detects heat from 4-12 microns. This is the heat that the S-Botzmann law says should be re-radiated from the earth. It detects humans but not other inferred (from the S-B constant) radiative matter

  199. getting back to c02, do you agree that biological fluxes of carbon are over ten times greater than the amount of carbon introduced to the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning?

  200. P Wilson: The fact that the biological fluxes of carbon are that large is irrelevant. Those are just exchanges between the atmosphere and the upper oceans and atmosphere and biosphere. The rate-limiting step is the transfer of the CO2 from the ocean surface to the deep oceans. What we are doing is injecting some CO2 that has long been locked away much more rapidly than it can go into the deep ocean. A portion of it is rapidly taken up by the upper ocean but then it saturates (and a smaller portion is taken up by the biosphere). But, the rest of the perturbation (about 1/2 of it) remains in the atmosphere…and most of it will remain there for hundreds of years, a not-insignificant-fraction for many thousands of years. And, that is why CO2 levels have risen by 100ppm since the start of the industrial revolution…to levels higher than in at least the last 750,000 years and likely several million years.

    This is all accepted science. Of course, I don’t expect you to believe this any more than you believe any other accepted science that contradicts your ideology.

  201. Joel, you probably did not mean to say “by subtracting T_2 from T_12” you end up showing the change in water vapor. You actually want to subtract T12 from T2 as the authors say. That way when water vapor increases and T12 decreases (since it gets absorbed by water vapor), then T2-T12 increases as the authors show in fig 2. That is their theory anyway.

    You correctly point out: “T_12 can vary for two reasons. Either the temperature changes at a fixed effective emission altitude or the effective emission altitude itself changes”. But their paper shows T12 staying flat. Their model says that T12 should have increased if there were no moistening, so they conclude that there was moistening.

    Increases in water vapor at any altitude would cause T12 to stay flat as T2 increased. You know this from your correct statements about opacity (it is independent of altitude). So to recap: T2 increased because ocean temperatures increased. Water vapor increased starting at low altitude; how much reaches UT depends on weather (mostly convection and subsidence). The authors model parameterized weather (assumptions in = results out) and the model says increased UT water vapor caused T12 to stay flat.

    But although T12 is sensitive to water vapor in the UT, it is decreased by water vapor anywhere in the column. Also flat T12 can be measured with increased T2 with just that: flat T12 with increased T2 and no increase in UT water vapor. For example, concentrated convection would cool (and dry) the UT. Again the only thing that contradicts that possibility is their model. Their conclusion depends entirely on their model. HIRS cannot measure UT humidity without changes in T12 filtering, but also (very importantly) calibration to temperature and actual humidity (from radiosondes). T2-T12 is not UT humidity (I can’t say it any simpler).

  202. Joel, please don’t hockey stick the CO2 ice cores unless you can explain how CO2 in the vostok core is 1700 years old in 4000 year old ice without thousands of years of CO2 smoothing in all the cores. Don’t be fooled by the century-scale wiggles in old measurements, they are because the measurements are very inexact (along with being smoothed). Look at the “high res” cores from 100k plus years ago. Even more wiggles at higher res.

    So no, you cannot say CO2 is the highest in a million years, only probably the highest since the ice age ended 10-20k years ago (which is what we expect) and before that the measurements are too smoothed to know if there were fluctuations above the present day values.

    Here is the Vostok data: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/co2.txt

  203. It is accepted science – agreed. However, what is not agreed is the fact that c02 varies spatially over regions, so there is often 100ppm more over tropical areas than over antarctic. Jarowski demonstrated 15 ice cores pre 1985 showed much higher co2 concentrations than today during the holocene, including Neftel, 1982. Beyer et al 2001 and Beck, 2007 also have shown higher co2 levels for pre-industrial periods, which are not at all arbitrary numbers, contrary to what you thought yesterday. When averaged they produce a higher c02 than today before the 19th century.

    This paper published in 1955 averages pre industrial c02 at 365ppm

    http://www.pensee-unique.fr/001_mwr-083-10-0225.pdf

    although Dr Jaworowski maintains that ice cores do not fulfil the criteria of recording the true extent of co2 due to change in chemical composition – at deeply compressed levels air bubbles disappear.

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

    There are proxies from sediment cores which indicate elevated levels of c02 prior to the Industrial period: reflected in growth patterns in microscopic fossil shells found in fossil sediment cores. As their uptake of c02 increased, their level of dissolved carbonate increased, and this reflects in the proxy.

    Past evidence from and evidence from stromatalytes, or else pores in leaves show a simiar c02 as today (oddly, some of the proxies that Mann uses).

    When taken collectively, (including ice cores) they show that pre industrial c02 was not significantly different from today, and certainly below the geologic record.

    Of course, there are papers contradicting this proxy data.

    However, what ancient ice shows is a long delay between temperature and its response in the c02 correlation at every point in its plot.

    this corresponds well to present day trends of increasing c02 and decreasing temperatures, and vice vera, over the last 150 years. (for all the reasons given about c02 in this thread) Regardless of anthropogenic emissions, we are at a natural high point in aerial c02 and temperature.

  204. finally, as its 3.48am here in the UK, this paper – though only the synopsis, claims to prove the explanation for post 1977 warming. Its a peer reviewed paper from de Freitas, Bob Carter and John McClean.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/07/23/surge-in-global-temperatures-since-1977-can-be-attributed-to-a-1976-climate-shift-in-the-pacific-ocean/

    One conclusion at face value, is that given the unreliability of *accepted* past proxies – accepted being synonymous with the official version of climate science – is that if c02 was a forcing of its own magnitude, and also forced the hydrological ghg, which is much greater, then we should theoretically be some 8C warmer than we are now globally

  205. Thats where we disagree Joel – oceans have an infinite buffering capacity for c02 and oceans regulate atmospheric c02, which are governed by SST’s

  206. P Wilson: The de Freitas, Bob Carter and John McClean does no such thing. In fact, they subtract off the trend before they do their analysis so the analysis can’t possibly tell them what is responsible for the trend. One of the authors, de Freitas admitted as much in a comment in the thread that you linked to ( Chris de Freitas (25/7/2009 at 16:08:44).

    As for the oceans have an infinite buffering capacity for CO2, they are certainly not demonstrating that at the moment, as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise.

    As for past CO2 levels, you can believe Beck and Jaworski if you want…and, in fact, I encourage you to tell any scientist or policymaker that you interact with about your opinion on this. I think it will be important in helping them to decide how seriously to take your opinions.

    Imagining such CO2 fluctuations occurred in the past requires incredible contortions to explain how such large fluxes came about, how the averaging that occurred in the ice cores over the last 10,000 years was so magically around the 280ppm level, and how things magically settled down right when CO2 started to be measured accurately in the late 1950s, etc., etc.

  207. Eric (skeptic): Yes, you are right that I stated the subtraction backwards. I don’t really understand your other major point, i.e., I don’t see why you think T_12 – T_2 will reflect water vapor through the entire column when the T_12 channel that is sensitive to water vapor in the altitudes from about 200 to 500 hPa, which sounds more or less like upper troposphere to me. (I am not sure exactly what the definition of “upper troposphere” is but 500 hPa is certainly already well above the boundary layer.

  208. Joel, no magic needed for flat CO2 the last 10k years, it was relatively flat for 2k (law dome has only a few years or so worth of averaging in each reading) but before that we are in the vostok cores with just tiny amounts of annual snowfall and consequently horrible resolution. So probably flat but how about the dramatic rise from the last ice age, no overshoot? Linear, exponential? Lots of questions with no answers.

    For the water vapor calculation you have to calibrate for temperature. In meteosat they do this regularly (every 20 seconds I think) so they can account for any rise or fall in UT temperatures which is what they are reading when they read the 6 um channel (roughly similar to HIRS channel 12). Likewise if T12 rises it is due to UT temperature rising or water vapor falling, without knowing UT temperature you don’t know which. The model is the author’s way of determining that water vapor rose since T12 stayed roughly constant as T2 rose.

    The cooling and drying of the UT is what matches the radiosondes (granted not perfect). The authors dismiss them with one sentence and another reference to a paper with no title. Why couldn’t they put titles in their bib?

  209. Joel, here’s another more detailed paper using a similar process: T2, T12 and a model. Their model comes from radiosonde measurements and other satellites. rain.atmos.colostate.edu/research/pubs/berg1999.pdf I am still reading it, and will comment more later.

  210. Joel Shore (13:02:46)

    proxies, for the tall and short of it .

    the levels of c02 recorded from 1810 to 1957 and beyond – to the present don’t show much difference in amplitude when taken as direct measurements. In fact, they’re remarkable in their similarity – given regional variations

    When Antarctic ice core figures alone are imposed as prior to 1957, as the measure of c02 levels then different data techniques are being used that give a a different result.

    Here’s how professor Jaworowski explains it:

    “Determinations of CO2 in polar ice cores are commonly used for estimations of the pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric levels. Perusal of these determinations convinced me that glaciological studies are not able to provide a reliable reconstruction of CO2 concentrations in the ancient atmosphere. This is because the ice cores do not fulfill the essential closed system criteria. One of them is a lack of liquid water in ice, which could dramatically change the chemical composition the air bubbles trapped between the ice crystals. This criterion, is not met, as even the coldest Antarctic ice (down to –73oC) contains liquid water[2]. More than 20 physico-chemical processes, mostly related to the presence of liquid water, contribute to the alteration of the original chemical composition of the air inclusions in polar ice[3].

    One of these processes is formation of gas hydrates or clathrates. In the highly compressed deep ice all air bubbles disappear, as under the influence of pressure the gases change into the solid clathrates, which are tiny crystals formed by interaction of gas with water molecules. Drilling decompresses cores excavated from deep ice, and contaminates them with the drilling fluid filling the borehole. Decompression leads to dense horizontal cracking of cores, by a well known sheeting process. After decompression of the ice cores, the solid clathrates decompose into a gas form, exploding in the process as if they were microscopic grenades. In the bubble-free ice the explosions form a new gas cavities and new cracks[4]. Through these cracks, and cracks formed by sheeting, a part of gas escapes first into the drilling liquid which fills the borehole, and then at the surface to the atmospheric air. Particular gases, CO2, O2 and N2 trapped in the deep cold ice start to form clathrates, and leave the air bubbles, at different pressures and depth. At the ice temperature of –15oC dissociation pressure for N2 is about 100 bars, for O2 75 bars, and for CO2 5 bars. Formation of CO2 clathrates starts in the ice sheets at about 200 meter depth, and that of O2 and N2 at 600 to 1000 meters. This leads to depletion of CO2 in the gas trapped in the ice sheets. This is why the records of CO2 concentration in the gas inclusions from deep polar ice show the values lower than in the contemporary atmosphere, even for the epochs when the global surface temperature was higher than now. ”

    so its unlikely that huge fluxes occurred. Regional differences in c02 occur although what we do nowadays is average them out to form a global average

  211. Joel Shore (13:02:46)

    regarding the title of the paper any the said person’s response… Are you reading the same words as are written in that entry of 16:08:44? or just a personal interpretation?

  212. P Wilson says:

    so its unlikely that huge fluxes occurred. Regional differences in c02 occur although what we do nowadays is average them out to form a global average

    Yes, there are some regional variations. However, the variations that you get close to the ground near major urbanized areas are not representative of the CO2 levels across the globe further up in the troposphere, which is what matters most radiatively. Here is a map of CO2 levels in the mid-troposphere recently made by NASA: http://geology.com/nasa/carbon-dioxide-map/ I think Anthony even did a post on it and while somewhat of a big deal was made about how the variability is larger than expected, the fact is that it ain’t that large…Look how the entire scales goes from 376 ppm to 386 ppm.

  213. Any heat that is intercepted by c02 takes place in the first 10 metres from the ground, which is where any warming takes place. After that the saturation window closes. Pay more attention to whats being written on the threads.

  214. Also that link doesn’t provide any information as to how much c02 at ground level over vostok. It states that “Patterns of carbon dioxide distribution were also found to differ significantly between the northern hemisphere, with its many land masses, and the southern hemisphere, which is largely covered by ocean. ” The figures involved seem entirely consistent with pre industrial values taken by direct measurement nonetheless

  215. nb. I should have said, temperatures at mid troposphere tend to be around -30C and decrease with altitude. If that is where the “radiative forcing” – as you describe it – is the most important, then its thermodynamically impossible that -30C can maintain a positive thermal surface temperature. This only re-inforced what I said earlier about the fact that since the ghg model isn’t working at the surface, climatologists look elsewhere for it at higher elevations. Thats when the model falls onto even more implausible territory.
    Also, the direct measurement technique includes up to 1957. The most notable spike in c02 elevations was in 1940 at 438ppm average

  216. P Wilson:

    Any heat that is intercepted by c02 takes place in the first 10 metres from the ground, which is where any warming takes place. After that the saturation window closes. Pay more attention to whats being written on the threads.

    I can’t keep track of everything you say that is wrong. This is simply wrong.

    nb. I should have said, temperatures at mid troposphere tend to be around -30C and decrease with altitude. If that is where the “radiative forcing” – as you describe it – is the most important, then its thermodynamically impossible that -30C can maintain a positive thermal surface temperature. This only re-inforced what I said earlier about the fact that since the ghg model isn’t working at the surface, climatologists look elsewhere for it at higher elevations. Thats when the model falls onto even more implausible territory.

    Frankly, you have no clue how the theory works that you are even arguing against. And yet, you honestly believe that you somehow know more than the people who understand it. I am simply dumbfounded.

    The way things work is this: Much of the infrared radiation from the earth is absorbed by the atmosphere. When it is then re-emitted, it is re-emitted by the atmosphere according to the Steffan-Boltzmann Law at the temperature in that region of the atmosphere. Since the temperature decreases with height in the troposphere and the amount of radiation goes as T^4, that means less radiation gets emitted.

    The effect of increasing greenhouse gases is to increase the effective radiating level of the emission that escapes into space. And, because the increase in altitude means the temperature is lower, less radiation is emitted and the earth is no longer in radiative balance, i.e., it is absorbing more energy from the sun than it emits back out into space. As a result, the atmosphere heats up until radiative balance is once again restored (although this can take a long time because of the thermal inertia of the oceans).

    And, this isn’t all theoretical musings. How do you think NASA came up with that map of the CO2 levels in the mid-troposphere? They do it by remote sensing, i.e., by looking at the radiation in bands where CO2 absorbs and emits. If the process of absorption and re-emission was not occurring according to the well-understood radiative physics, their instruments would not work!

  217. By the way, here is a description of how the AIRS instrument that made that map of CO2 in the mid-troposphere works: http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/technology/how_AIRS_works/ You can click on the “detailed description” for more details. There is also a publications database under the science tab, where one could presumably get even more information.

    I cannot emphasize enough how ridiculous it is to claim that radiative physics doesn’t work the way that scientists think it does. If it didn’t, these instruments would simply not work…It is as simple as that!

  218. Hi Joel,
    There are quite a few papers on using satellite measurements to calculate UTWV accurately. Here is an older one but I think it explains what they are doing pretty well: http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~salathe/papers/GOESpaper.html There are at least three ways to calculate UTWV starting with just two measurements like HIRS T12 and T2.

    First you can use other measurements to derive a temperature profile or at least a UT temperature corresponding to T12. That way you can subtract out the temperature component of T12 (and more importantly, its changes).

    Second you can develop a model, line by line from the earth’s surface to the satellite to determine the absorption in the two channels due to WV. That requires some assumptions about UTWV versus the column but the model is fairly precise since it is only for the small box you are currently measuring.

    Third you can do what Soden did and use a simulation to determine the UTWV, then confirm with the measurements. You’ll notice that method is never used for real time UTWV measurements in any of the papers. But Soden was obviously not trying to accurately simulate any particular box accurate at any point in time (which is impossible), but the atmosphere as a whole over many years time for which a GCM is a valid approach.

    There are undoubtedly other methods to determine UTWV that I have not figured out. But the common factor in all of them is that the measurement in T12 has two components: the UT temperature (over a fairly wide range of altitudes and the surface or boundary temperature minus the column WV (particularly the UTWV). If the UT temperature changes, T12 changes. If UTWV changes, T12 changes. It is impossible to know which changed without the other information from (1) measurements (2) model, or (3) the GCM as Soden used.

  219. Joel Shore (07:11:03)

    The way to measure c02 is not by the heat it emits but its chemical composition, since the heat footprint in the middle troposphere is non-existent. Thats why the temperature is -30 to -45C. C02 simply doesn’t intercept heat after the 1st 10 metres from land surface level. The point then is that they are picking up other ambient heat from another source and calibrating accordingly.

    It is physically impossible to increase radiation escaping the earth, as ghg’s are not heat sources. see above for steffan boltmann explanation and why it is so absurb to apply to the climate.

    According to this law, radiation is supposed to leave in the 4-12 micron bandwidth, which is the same emitted by humans.

    So something is quite remiss about the methods of detecting heat, and what heat is being detected in the middle troposphere.

    I’ve explained this several times on this thread

  220. Eric (skeptic): I am confused by your recent post because you start off the discussion mentioning T12 and T2 in the first paragraph but then never mention T2 again. I agree with you that T12 can change for two different reasons and that you thus need more information to discriminate between changes due to UTWV and changes due to UT temperature. However, that is what I think the T2 data is for. Or, as Soden explains it:

    Because the anomalies in T12 are a function of both moisture and temperature changes over this period, it is important to verify the credibility of the model-simulated temperature variations. For this purpose, the global mean tropospheric temperature anomalies observed from the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) channel 2 radiances (T2) are compared with those simulated from the GCM

  221. P Wilson: It is impossible for me to have a scientific discussion with someone who just makes up the science as he goes along. What you are saying is simply nonsense. There is no other way to put it. Complete and utter nonsense that no respectable atmospheric scientist in the world would agree with.

  222. Joel, I left out T2 because it fluctuates for various reasons, mainly PDO. And indeed the fluctuations of T2 are reflected by fluctuations in T12 minus the water vapor that blocked the IR along the way. But the reasons that T12 fluctuate that I talked about are twofold: the water vapor, and the changes in UT temperature, which come from changes in T2 and changes in the UT. The latter are essentially changes in the vertical temperature profile. That’s why the vertical temperature profile (in some form) is an input in all of the papers calculating UTWV.

    The vertical temperature profile is, as Soden would say, “sensitive” to changes in UTWV. But it is also sensitive to lower altitude WV along with convection and subsidence which are essentially independent of WV. And indeed Soden’s model includes those with many assumptions about the weather since it can’t be modeled with fine enough granularity. The reason most models fail is the amount of convection and subsidence doesn’t really matter, only the distribution. For example, concentrated convection warms and dries the UT (and causes global cooling) whereas diffuse convection adds moisture to the UT and is net warning.

    Also absolutely everything you have quoted from the paper indicates that HIRS does not measure UTWV. No other papers indicate that HIRS measures UTWV. Soden used the HIRS data to confirm his model temperatures, not to measure UTWV. But as I said, that really only confirms his assumptions about weather that went into the model.

  223. Eric (skeptic): I’ve lost what you are saying at this point. I can sort of see what you might be getting at in regards to a change in the vertical temperature profile. However, since T_12 and T_2 look at temperature over a fairly similar range of heights, I don’t think this would matter very much. According to Soden, T_2 is a little broader, sampling from 200 Pa to 800 hPa whereas T_12 samples from 200 to 500 hPa. I suppose if you created some really bizarre change in the temperature profile, with dramatically different behavior in the 500 to 800 hPa relative to the 200 to 500 hPa than the models assume then there could be some error introduced. However, this seems rather unlikely and it would probably have to be pretty darn large before changes in T_12 – T_2 ceased to be at least a rough measure of changes in the UTWV. At any rate, Soden is not the only one who has looked at the satellite data on this…Dessler and co-authors, for example, have too. I don’t know what method they used to extract the UTWV but they seemed to get similar results.

    Perhaps the best thing for you to do would be to write up a comment on Soden and submit it to Science.

  224. Joel, The sampling distribution over the interval is not uniform. Also T12 samples over a broad range but is sensitive to changes in 200-500 mb WV (that is NOT its sampling range). The changes in T2-T12 would be influenced equally by the change in temperature profile and the change in UTWV, one doesn’t override the other.

    My comment would say that I see no flaws in Soden’s approach or in his conclusions which they already knew. But without the details of his simulation I have no way of knowing if that was oversimplified, although I suspect it was. The weather modeling in particular has likely made assumptions about convection distribution that equate in some measure to roughly constant RH (or increasing UTWV). Therefore he only proves that his model matches his hypothesis for the lack of change in T12, no more and no less.

    Dessler2000 uses a sounder for very precise measurement of UTH . The complete list of his papers is here http://atmo.tamu.edu/profile/sub/239 Obviously a sounder is a good validation of a simulation, better than any other measurement technique. He then acknowledges that his model is simple and overestimates UTH. He does not look at changes over many years as Soden does. Perhaps my comment to Science should be that Soden should redo his simulation and compare it to a sounder, although the problem with that is I don’t think the sounders have been around as long.

  225. Joel Shore (10:40:57)

    Its not a difficult principle to follow so here’s how it works.

    NASA maintain that 41% of radiation from the total energy budget leaves the earth as infrared radiation. The radiation given off by an object is a function of its temperature – so normal temperature matter doesn’t give off much radiation. It is not 41% of the thermal energy budget that NASA use in this flowchart

    ghg’s only absorb heat at the lower troposphere – in the case of c02 at subzero temperatures. 15 microns represents subzero, whereas normal temperatures, eg 15C-35C represent 4-12 microns. c02 cannot intercept or absorb such normal temperature matter.

    If normal temperature matter was radiating this much energy as 15C-30C, at the bottom rate of 15C, it would be 390 watts per square metre. A huaman being gives off between 150-250 wpsm – which is the frequency at which thermal imaging detectors trace heat – in the 6-12 micron range. If this 41% figure were correct then thermal imaging equipment would be swamaed or overwhelmed with light and humans wouldn’t be detectable. so far from 41% it is 0-1% the Steffan-Boltzmann equation has been pulled into climate models to justify these ridiculous numbers, although there isn’t and proof or evidence of 41% re-radiation from the surface of the earth. This flowchart isn’t derived empirically – it is derived to satisfy a mathematical formula

  226. I’ve read through the methodology in the detailed description section – interesting – so thanks for the link.

    What is not discussed is the temperature scale. In the troposphere temperatures decrease with altitude, so “where c02 is at its most active” the temperature range is between -19 to-45C. There is no explanation as to how these temperatures can produce heat at surface level. NASA don’t offer one, the IPCC don’t.

  227. P Wilson: It is really not worth arguing with you anymore. If you want to believe utter and complete nonsense, I simply can’t stop you. I’ve given you links to webpages where someone who works on infrared night vision systems says how they work. I’ve explained the necessity of radiative balance to you. I’ve told you that, far from there being no empirical justification for these numbers and equations, in fact, satellite remote sensing relies on their correctness everyday. Just ask Roy Spencer.

    But, hey, “you can lead a horse to water…” I shouldn’t waste my time with someone who would rather spread his own ignorance than actually learn something. It is not because your comments are so brilliant that RealClimate decided to censor your posts but because they don’t have an infinite tolerance for pseudoscientific claims polluting their comments section. They are actually there to teach people who have at least some desire to learn.

    so “where c02 is at its most active” the temperature range is between -19 to-45C. There is no explanation as to how these temperatures can produce heat at surface level. NASA don’t offer one, the IPCC don’t.

    This sounds suspiciously like “the atmospheric greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics” nonsense promulgated by Gerlich and Tscheuschner. It is wrong. The NET heat flow is from the (warmer) earth’s surface to the (colder) upper troposphere as required by the Second Law. This may seem like it contradicts the idea of the upper troposphere heating the surface but the confusion lies in what the comparative case is, namely, the case of no greenhouse effect where all of what the earth radiates would escape into space. So, the fact that the upper troposphere returns any of the heat to the earth causes warming relative to the case where it all escapes to space, even if only a small fraction of what the upper troposphere receives is returned to the earth.

  228. The night vision equipment works on those principles as you describe. They are a useful source of thermal emissivity for that reason. I don’t think we’re in disagreement there.

    I’ve looked at NASA’s webpages on these flows, and there are some wild numbers, such as 117% of radiation given off as compared to incoming. That would increase the figure to 650wpsm at normal temperatures, if incoming radiation is 51% of solar energy which hits the top of the atmosphere. 1366wpsm minus 26% minus 16% = 792 W/m2. (from the flowchart). average surface temperature is 15C. The Stephan-Boltzmann constant maintains that an object at -19°C emits 235 W/m2 black body radiation. 15C + 19C = 34C (rounded to 33) degrees C warmer than it would be without an atmosphere. This figure comes from the Boltmann constant

    These are made up numbers. Earth gives off 235wpsm at 50C. Even if it were giving off 450wpsm -that would be the equavalent to 27C being emitted psm. as our thermal imaging equipment shows, a human giving off 150-200wpsm detects lower amplitude radiation. Theoretically, non human matter should be over twice the temperature. It is through this constant that a doubling of c02 – actually, of anthropogenic c02 is inferred to cause a 1C rise in temperature. (it would be impossible to double c02 from 387ppm to 774ppm to 2100). the temperature cools as it acts as a heat sink, and explains why surface temperatures don’t correspond to the ghg theory with the Boltmann constant. Since ghg induced global warming can’t be proved at the surface – near surface, it is looked for elsewhere in the atmosphere, using the esoterical and made up formulae of why theere is a greenhouse effect further up. -it iis nothing more than a gradient comparison for what is *not* happening at the near surface. – only this increases the implausibility of the models due to the temperature difference.

    At the mid-higher level of the troposhere, radiation is the limiting factor than ghg’s

  229. P Wilson says:

    I’ve looked at NASA’s webpages on these flows, and there are some wild numbers, such as 117% of radiation given off as compared to incoming. That would increase the figure to 650wpsm at normal temperatures, if incoming radiation is 51% of solar energy which hits the top of the atmosphere. 1366wpsm minus 26% minus 16% = 792 W/m2. (from the flowchart).

    You are getting confused. Look at this diagram, which gives actual numbers: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/Atmosphere/images/radiation_budget_kiehl_trenberth_2008_big.jpg The amount emitted by the earth is ~396 W/m^2. And, your estimate of the amount from the sun is wrong.

    The solar irradiance at the earth’s radius is 1366 W/m^2. However, this number has to be divided by 4 to get the average amount of radiation per m^2 of the earth’s surface. The reason for this is that the earth intercepts the sun’s radiation like a disc having an area of pi*r^2 but the total surface area of the earth is 4*pi*r^2. (Another way of looking at this is that, although 1366 W/m^2 hits the earth’s upper atmosphere at the place where the sun is directly overhead, at other parts of the earth it hits only obliquely and, of course, over half the earth where it is night it isn’t incident at all. The net effect of this, if you do the calculus is, of course, the same result, namely that the average amount of energy per unit area of the earth’s surface is the 1366 W/m^2 divided by 4.)

    You are correct that the earth’s surface radiates an amount equal to ~117% of the total incoming solar radiation, but that works out to be ~396 W/m^2. And, the fact that it radiates more than it…or even the whole earth-atmosphere system…receives (239 W/m^2 once you account for the part of the 341 W/m^2 that is reflected by clouds or by the surface) is precisely the greenhouse effect. I.e., the surface of the Earth is at a temperature that is above what the blackbody temperature (~-19°C) is for a body that emits as much solar radiation (239 W/m^2) as the earth’s surface and atmosphere absorbs.

    Earth gives off 235wpsm at 50C…
    a human giving off 150-200wpsm

    I have no idea where you get these numbers from and I don’t think that either one is correct.

  230. Some years ago I came across a strange website where the author had done some elegant calculations. He estimated that an average human being naked in an enviroment of 300 degrees K would radiate about 2 million calories per day.

    From this he concluded that Steff/Boltz must be wrong since humans lived quite well on a mere couple of thousand calories a day.

    Kindest Regards

  231. The 117% varies enormously from the 41% in the other flowchart used by NASA.
    The 1366wpsm is the initial radiation from this has to be subtracted 26% reflected away, plus 16% claimed is absorbed by the atmosphere. That leaves 41% re-radiation, during the course of a day, since the earth rotates for most part of the earth to receive this amount of radiation. If the earth were fixed then that division by 4 would be justified.

    Thats why NASA get their sums in a mess and produce different results according to They are based on satisfying mathematical equations and not empirical observations. Even if the numbers were scaled down to acceptable parameters, they are still ridiculously high. Part of the fallacy is the notion that outgoing energy has to equal incoming, which is a concept used in engineering. It works for engineers and mechanics but not scientists. Its too simplistic an equation. In electronics, then energy disippation is used more closely to the climate – as transistors use fans to cool them down. With radiation only and no air circulation transistors become very hot. If they were able to radiate either 41% or 117%, according to which ever arbitrary formula is used, cooling devices wouldn’t be needed to cool them down.
    Like other matter however, even very hot metals give off less than 5% of their heat which is why they need cooling devices.

    Earth matter is even less elegant that electronics. None of these mechanical formulae apply.

  232. Joel. My 1st premise is that NASA are quite either unaware, or else are quite indifferent about this fraudulent use of mathematics

  233. a jones: That writer probably was unaware of one important fact – a food “Calorie” is really a kilocalorie (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calorie ). If you consider that fact, then the estimate that he made is perhaps still a little high but probably only by about a factor of 2.

  234. P Wilson says:

    since the earth rotates for most part of the earth to receive this amount of radiation. If the earth were fixed then that division by 4 would be justified.

    This is ridiculous. The rotation has nothing to do with what the average amount of W/m^2 received by the earth’s surface in a day. It just affects the distribution of that energy. I.e., because the earth rotates, a particular location sees a variation over the course of a day. The average amount of power per m^2 received over the course of a day over the whole earth is still 1366 W/m^2 divided by 4.

    Part of the fallacy is the notion that outgoing energy has to equal incoming, which is a concept used in engineering. It works for engineers and mechanics but not scientists. Its too simplistic an equation.

    Where do you come up with these statements? I am beginning to think you must just be trolling because I don’t think anyone can really believe what you say with the vociferousness that you believe it. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your scientific qualifications, and how you came up with these ideas? You are certainly very interesting from a psychological / sociological point of view.

    If outgoing energy does not equal incoming, the system will continue to heat up until it does. (If changes that affect outgoing energy or incoming energy are happening fast enough, the system might be out of balance…and, in fact, it is true that the Earth is currently a bit out of radiative balance because of the rapid increase in greenhouse gases. However, that imbalance is well less than 1%.)

    In electronics, then energy disippation is used more closely to the climate – as transistors use fans to cool them down. With radiation only and no air circulation transistors become very hot. If they were able to radiate either 41% or 117%, according to which ever arbitrary formula is used, cooling devices wouldn’t be needed to cool them down.

    That makes no sense at all. Transistors do not receive energy from the sun. They generate energy internally due to their resistance to the flow of electricity. And, indeed, while a transistor will initially heat up because the energy generated exceeds that which it is emitted, it will eventually reach a steady-state where it is indeed giving up as much energy (due to radiation, convection, and conduction) as is being generated.

  235. regarding the final paragraph of your comment, Joel –

    “eventually reach a steady-state where it is indeed giving up as much energy (due to radiation, convection, and conduction) as is being generated.”

    you’re starting to understand thermodynamics at last. This demonstrates the principle 2nd law of thermodynamics that energy disippates to equilibrium at normal state.

    According to your theory of AGW this energy should be conserved and not disippated or equalised.

    Over the course of a day the earth receives the said amount of energy , not all in the same place of course. According to the 1st law this energy has to be conserved and re-emitted from the earth as a whole.

    You have to conceive it as a chicken in a turning spit, and form a coefficient based on that principle than just dividing the total by 4

  236. and further – earth doesn’t re-radiate either 41% or 117% of incoming radiation. Most exits through convection and conduction. You said that it is all re-radiation on another post. Even NASA in their flowchart say conduction is 70%, whilst radiation absorbed by the atmosphere is 15%

  237. a jones (21:18:50)
    Using the S-B constant, 5.67E-8 J K^-4 m^-2 s^-1, and T is the
    temperature in Kelvin. So if you have a surface area of 1 m^2 and a
    surface temperature of 310 K, you radiate at a rate of a little over
    500 Watts. That means that you would have to eat over 10,000 Calories
    per day just to maintain your temperature. In reality the net rate is around 150wpsm

  238. the transistor principle was used to demonstrate outgoing radiation. If they could emit their own temperature at the rate inferred from the constant then there would be no need for fans to cool them down.

    The explanation is that heating-cooling takes place through excitation of electons and moleculed from transfer of heat to the receiving body. The disippation process is the lack of excitation of this. It means that a body cannot be higher than the optimal energy received by the heat source, so if a 200C heat source heats pure water at normal atmospheric pressure to give a 100C boiling point, then a 2,000C heat source won’t increase its boiling point, just the rate at which it reaches it. There is no input having to match output formula involved

  239. P Wilson says:

    you’re starting to understand thermodynamics at last.

    You know, I hate to pull rank on people but you are annoying me to the point where I can no longer resist. What exactly are your qualifications to be such an expert on thermodynamics? Mine are that I have a PhD in physics and have written papers in some of the top journals in the field (e.g., Physical Review Letters) on subjects in statistical physics, which forms the foundations upon which thermodynamics is built.

    Frankly, I can’t make heads-or-tails of the rest of your post. I don’t understand why you feel there is a conflict between energy being conserved and it being “equalized”…i.e., the energy received by the earth from the sun equaling the energy it emits to space. And, I don’t know what you mean by energy being “dissipated”. Energy can be transferred into different forms (including mass through Einstein’s relation that E = mc^2) but it must be conserved.

    and further – earth doesn’t re-radiate either 41% or 117% of incoming radiation. Most exits through convection and conduction. You said that it is all re-radiation on another post.

    There is a distinction between transfers from the earth’s surface to and from the atmosphere, which can occur by convection, conduction, and evaporation / condensation, and transfer from the Earth (meaning the entire earth system including the atmosphere) to space which can occur only by radiation.

    So if you have a surface area of 1 m^2 and a surface temperature of 310 K, you radiate at a rate of a little over 500 Watts. That means that you would have to eat over 10,000 Calories per day just to maintain your temperature.

    Yes, life would be a b*tch if you were in outer space and were thus radiating heat without having any significant amount radiated toward you. However, in the world that we inhabit, we are surrounded by objects that are radiating heat also.

  240. Joel, the physics PhD explains a lot. I just looked through a few of your papers, didn’t understand much of it, but looked solid to me. The problem a with many theoretical physicists (not a stereotype, just a fact, and not ad hominem) is that they like to use oversimplified models in their analysis of climate. I see them often at RC and they tend to parameterize weather (i.e. the distribution of water vapor). Water vapor is highly nonlinear and needs to be modeled at fine granularity to get an accurate depiction of convection, clouds, rain, etc.

    It is certainly possible to model the weather at fine granularity and then use those results as parameters into a GCM. I have not seen much of that in the literature. It is quite obvious from the literature on calculating UTWV that line by line models for cloudless skies work, and some more complex models work for cloudy skies. But no models work unless the clouds and temperature profiles themselves are measured. IOW, they can’t get UTWV without knowing those things. Tying that back to the models, particularly the GCM’s, those won’t get accurate results without accurate depictions of clouds in particular (along with temperature profiles). Those come from accurate modeling of weather (not forecasting of course, the initial conditions can come from the model vice being measured in reality for weather forecasting).

  241. “There is a distinction between transfers from the earth’s surface to and from the atmosphere, which can occur by convection, conduction, and evaporation / condensation, and transfer from the Earth (meaning the entire earth system including the atmosphere) to space which can occur only by radiation.”

    This is what i have been saying in exchanges with you, although when *I* said it, I recall you said “Wrong. all energy leaving the earth is radiation from the surface. Radiation cannot leave the earth by convecttion”. Most heat leaves in the form of convection, conduction, and evaporation – convectional currents circulate the air for about a month, while small amounts of radiation – radiation is certainly not 41% – compete with convection for moving heat around.

    The NASA “energy budget” claims 41% of the energy leaving the surface of the earth is in the form of radiation, while 59% is other methods of transfer (conduction and evaporation. ) This is a remarkable thing to maintain – that 41% leaves as radiation. These figures is arrived at with no discernable evidence.

    Relating this back to c02, there is not disagreement that c02 absorbs 8% of radiation from any quarter. That 8% is fixed regardless of c02 concentrations. For present purposes, assume that c02 absorbs 8% of all radiation and not just the 15 microns available to it, which would take it down to less than 3%. IPCC maintain that current c02 levels lead to a 7.2C increase in temperature than if there were no c02, and that 4.3wpsm would be the increase from a doubling of c02 – the 41% radiation is also used by the IPCC. However, the claimed increase to 2.7C gives the following anomaly. The S-B constant gives 390wpsm at average temperature of 59C. 41% of this is 160wpsm That means c02 is absorbing 53% of radiation. This is a known mathematical anomaly, That 53% results in a temperature of 7.2C The figure of 7.2% is purely arbitrary, also arrived at with no evidence, and is an assumption that doesn’t form a rational equation when any attempt to resolve it is made with mathematics.

    If 8% ss used with these spurious mathematics, and improbable radiation budgets instead of 53% then it results in 8% of 41% outgoing radiation to produce 1.1C for all c02 and not 7.2%. Then, the result of doubling c02 would be .015C and not the 1C proposed by the IPCC

  242. “Yes, life would be a b*tch if you were in outer space and were thus radiating heat without having any significant amount radiated toward you. However, in the world that we inhabit, we are surrounded by objects that are radiating heat also.”

    That still doesn’t explain why thermal imaging devices – something we’ve agreed on that produces images of heat in the 5-12 micron range – can pick up a human temperature signal of net 150-200 watts psm (for argument sake, assuming he is lying down and doing nothing), but not radiation that is supposed to be a higher value. For the S-B constant, -19C produces 250wpsm

  243. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel, the physics PhD explains a lot. I just looked through a few of your papers, didn’t understand much of it, but looked solid to me. The problem a with many theoretical physicists (not a stereotype, just a fact, and not ad hominem) is that they like to use oversimplified models in their analysis of climate.

    Yeah…We have that reputation when we move into other fields. One of the other students of my adviser who was a few years ahead of me did some really cool work with her postdoctoral adviser showing how they could use a simple block and spring model and reproduce the power law distribution of earthquake intensities on a fault that seismologists had discovered. Her fellow physicists thought it was cool but the geologists / seismologists would always say tell her how she was neglecting this and that important aspect of real earthquake faults… and so forth. We, as physicists, thought that they were missing the whole point, which was that to get this basic property of earthquakes that they saw empirically, you didn’t need all of that complication…It could be reproduced with just some very basic physics!

    Oh well, I guess we physicists will always be misunderstood! Seriously though, I think climate is complex enough that you need people looking at it from different levels. And, I talked to an atmospheric scientist recently who is pretty much from a physics background and he was decrying the fact that the climate models are very engineering-like and are throwing in everything but the kitchen sink.

    In reality, I think it takes all kinds, and I think it is good both to have the people of the more engineering-bent trying to model the system with as much fidelity and detail as they can and also the people of the more physics-bent either trying to look in more detail at the individual fundamental processes (such as nucleation of droplets and ice crystals in clouds…which is what the guy that I mentioned above did) or trying to look at the whole system but from a much more simplified perspective.

    What is your background, by the way?

  244. Anyway, regardless of any contretemps (Joel), the only justified human induced heating is the Urban Heat Island effect, or albedo changes caused by land useage change

  245. oops! re: (20:55:08)

    The S-B constant gives 390wpsm at average temperature of 59C.

    should read

    The S-B constant gives 390wpsm at average temperature of 59F, or 15C.

  246. Engineer. I had a taste of fluid dynamics in undergraduate physics. I also “worked” in a weather station more than 30 years ago and have kept an interest in weather since.

    I do genuinely admire those complex engineered models that include the kitchen sink (I would not leave out human-induced water cycle changes – ok, I would at least add irrigation, stream diversion, water pollution that affects evaporation, etc).

  247. P Wilson says:

    That still doesn’t explain why thermal imaging devices – something we’ve agreed on that produces images of heat in the 5-12 micron range – can pick up a human temperature signal of net 150-200 watts psm (for argument sake, assuming he is lying down and doing nothing), but not radiation that is supposed to be a higher value.

    How do you get that estimate of the human temperature signal? Humans are at a temperature of about 37 C, so that should give ~524 W/m^2. And, I have already linked to something that explains how these devices work http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/nightvision.htm and they don’t say anything about Steffan-Boltzmann not applying. What they say is “Hotter objects, such as warm bodies, emit more of this light than cooler objects like trees or buildings. “

  248. Gross net body temperature is around 500wpms, but net its around 150 – about as much energy given off as a lightbulb. That is, the amount that it radiates

  249. Thats a commercial link. Actually, i’m focussing on thermal imaging technolgy that converts Infrared heat into light

  250. P Wilson says:

    Any heat that is intercepted by c02 takes place in the first 10 metres from the ground, which is where any warming takes place. After that the saturation window closes.

    I’ve explained to you why this isn’t the case but “the proof is in the pudding” as they say and, as I noted in another thread, I just discovered that there are actually several peer-reviewed papers that have directly measured the increase the greenhouse effect in two ways: (1) By using satellite data to look at the decrease in emitted radiation from the Earth over time at those frequencies where the various gases, including CO2, have absorption peaks. (2) By looking at the increase in downward IR radiation at the earth’s surface (in one paper, again spectrally resolved). Here is a webpage providing links to these papers: http://www.skepticalscience.com/saturated-co2-effect.htm

    Gross net body temperature is around 500wpms, but net its around 150 – about as much energy given off as a lightbulb. That is, the amount that it radiates

    No…The net amount is not what matters as far as detecting the emission is concerned. Consider a lightbulb…After you turn it on, it will heat up but after a while it will reach equilibrium where the amount of radiation it is emitting is equal to the amount that it receives. (Actually, that equilibrium is established pretty quickly for the filament, but more slowly for the glass part of the bulb.) At that point, the amount of energy that it is emitting equals the amount it is receiving, so the net energy flow is zero, and yet you don’t even need any detector other than your eyes to know that you can still detect the emitting radiation! (In a real room, some of the energy flows are due to convection and conduction but if you want it to be exchanging heat with the rest of the room only by radiation, you can imagine this whole process being carried out in a vacuum chamber.

  251. You need correcting in both cases, since you’ver explained nothing anyway.

    I’ve mentioned on another thread how c02 peaks disappear in the lower troposphere and become shoulders at 5% their thermal efficiency at upper troposphere. Oxygen and nitrogen molecules absorb more heat than c02 at this level. The paper you cite talk of spectra but not of temperature.

    Your link comes from a pro AGW website who seem to look for the swallows to prove the summer.

    The radiation of a human body is 100watts. The generation is between 500-800 watts. Gross – net is 100W

    BMR estimation formulas
    Several prediction equations exist. Historically most notable was Harris-Benedict equation, which was created in 1919.

    The original equations from Harris and Benedict are:

    for men,
    for women,
    where P is total heat production at complete rest, m is the weight, h is the stature (height), and a is the age, and with the difference in BMR for men and women being mainly due to differences in body weight. [2] For example, a 55 year old woman weighing 130 lb (59 kg) and 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) tall would have a BMR of 1272 kcal per day or 53 kcal/h (61.3 watts).

    Body temperature and heat emitted are not the same thing

  252. NB “Infrared sensors convert an infrared radiation from the surface of a subject into an electric signal and displays the image of the subject based on the electric signal for measuring a temperature distribution, etc. of the surface of the subject. The infrared sensors are required to have excellent temperature resolution so as to be able to distinguish small temperature differences and also to have a wide dynamic range so as to cover a wide range of temperatures that can be measured.”

    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6154252/description.html

  253. P Wilson:

    The paper you cite talk of spectra but not of temperature.

    Yes…It shows how the radiative forcing due to the greenhouse gases changes by showing how the outgoing spectrum of radiation changes. To determine the resulting temperature response requires the complete understanding of all the feedbacks, which is a challenging problem and for which there is still a considerable degree of uncertainty. One issue at a time! At this point, I would just be happy to get you to accept the basic radiative physics of the atmospheric greenhouse effect. That has been such a chore that frankly I am going to let you believe pretty much anything that you want in terms of the final climate sensitivity…I don’t have an infinite amount of time or patience.

    Your link comes from a pro AGW website who seem to look for the swallows to prove the summer.

    Does it matter where it comes from? It leads to peer-reviewed papers in the literature.

    The radiation of a human body is 100watts. The generation is between 500-800 watts. Gross – net is 100W

    BMR estimation formulas…

    That is irrelevant. I don’t disagree that the net emission is less than the gross emission. And, the BMR will give an indication of the net emission.

    However, an infrared sensor pointed at a human body will be sensitive to the gross emission since it doesn’t see the infrared that is being absorbed, only that which is being emitted (or reflected from some other source of infrared radiation impinging on the person…but I think that contribution is pretty small).

    [By the way, my example about the lightbulb was too simplistic because really the filament is converting electrical energy to radiation, so for the filament, the equilibration point will be when the heat emitted minus that absorbed equals to electrical energy going into it and hence there is a net flow of heat coming from it. However, for the glass bulb surrounding the filament, you will have heat emitted = heat absorbed and it would still be true that you could detect the gross emitted radiation of the glass bulb, although you would need to use something other than your eyes because it would be in the infrared and the detector would have to be aimed so that it didn’t “see” the filament itself. So, it is not quite as clean an example that I wanted it to be, although the basic notions are correct. Perhaps someone else can come up with a better one.]

  254. P Wilson: And your point in quoting from that patent is what exactly? What formula do you think that the detector uses to compute the amount of emission from the object? [Answer: Stefan-Boltzmann Equation!]

  255. In fact, IR imaging devices measure the radiant energy emitted from a surface. They do not detect its internal temperature

  256. Yes I think it matters where it comes from. You can say “The troposhere is -45C. Last year it was -45C. This is runaway global warming caused by the enhanced greenhouse effect.

    Using such logic is Aristototelian, or deductive however, and can be used to prove anything.

    You could write a paper providing a possible physical link between Television use and global temperature, and maintain with a causal formula that a million extra TV’s will cause the temperature to increase by 0.05C, and given that TV’s in the world have increase over the last 40 years in line with relative affluence and population increase, the 0.6% increase in the global mean temperature is caused by the corresponding increase in TV signals sent over the air, and demonstrate with models how this is the case.

    Incidentally, Aristotle held that an object weighing 10 times another object would reach the groud 10 times more quickly than another object weighing 10 times less. To prove him wrong, Galileo who went to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa and dropped two weights, at 10 times the weight difference apart, which landed simultaneously, and yet the professors of Pisa university, even after thousands of years, refused to accept it was a valid experiment, since Aristotle couild not be in the wrong. Of course they claimed that their eyes were deceiving them.

    the same sort of logic regading logical deduction has been wielded in the entire AGW debate which forms theh conclusions on the basis of assumptions that haven’t been tested

  257. oh: the point in quoting was to make it quite clear that IR equipment detects “radiation emitted from”. Any other IR thermal imaging company or science paper on the subject will tell the same thing

    They do not detect its gross temperature

  258. Joel Shore (14:59:06) :

    ” Wilson: And your point in quoting from that patent is what exactly? What formula do you think that the detector uses to compute the amount of emission from the object? [Answer: Stefan-Boltzmann Equation!]”

    reply:

    equally, the S-B constant says that the earth is emitting 390wpsm at 59F, or 15C.

  259. P Wilson:

    In fact, IR imaging devices measure the radiant energy emitted from a surface. They do not detect its internal temperature

    Very good. And, how do you think that such a device can then read out a temperature (for the surface, not the internal part) on the basis of its measure of this radiant energy? Answer: Using the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation.

    equally, the S-B constant says that the earth is emitting 390wpsm at 59F, or 15C.

    …which is in fact correct.

  260. so in fact the earth is emitting more radiation than a human being in wpsm according to this theory. The wavelength thermal peak for us (humans) is 9.3 microns, which corresponds to 85wpsm at 15C

    390wpsm indicates that earth surface emits three times more than a human at 15C

    at 15C on a warm night, then thermal imaging equipment detects humans but not mortar, asphalt or solid matter – unless its radiating heat detectable in the 6-12 micron range – such as heated houses.

    Matter at normal temperatures simply doesn’t radiate this much heat. This constant means that water would freeze at 315wpsm – which is 3 times greater the thermal heat of a human!

    the thermal image of a 100W light bulb is on par with that of a human – however – the consraining factor is that a human emits a fraction of what we actually generate and receive, suh is the order of biology.

  261. Another thing -cooling takes place at the tropics mainly – where the window is 8-9 microns, well out of the c02 window. The only environment open to c02 spectral peaks is Arctic, antarctica, or else subzero environments.

    there’s no way such magnitudes could cause global warming

  262. P Wilson:

    390wpsm indicates that earth surface emits three times more than a human at 15C

    No, a human emits ~525 W/m^2. Humans are generally warmer than the earth’s surface. Therefore they emit more. Is that so hard to understand? (And, by looking only at certain wavelengths, e.g., at the peak wavelength for emission at ~37 C or even a bit to the shorter wavelength side of it, one can even get a larger factor difference in emission.)

    Another thing -cooling takes place at the tropics mainly – where the window is 8-9 microns, well out of the c02 window. The only environment open to c02 spectral peaks is Arctic, antarctica, or else subzero environments.

    As we have discussed before, what ends up being most important is the emission in the upper troposphere where the average temperature is ~255 K.

  263. Joel, you’re so full of grad opinions of facts than facts themselves comments that I won’t be responding anymore. Its like trying to argue the sun is hotter than the moon to someone who insists on the opposite. Try some of these calculations yourself with a thermal imaging device in an experiment and do the conversions.
    A human emits around 100wpsm -its an agreed FACT, which is considerably warmer than the earth radiant emission psm

    Go and experiment

  264. Joel Shore (08:02:37

    “As we have discussed before, what ends up being most important is the emission in the upper troposphere where the average temperature is ~255 K.”

    How did you arrive at that figure? 255K is equaivalent to 18°C.

  265. P Wilson:

    Joel, you’re so full of grad opinions of facts than facts themselves comments that I won’t be responding anymore. Its like trying to argue the sun is hotter than the moon to someone who insists on the opposite.

    Yes, indeed it is. You disagree with essentially every qualified scientist on the planet and yet you are convinced that you are correct. What can one do?

    How did you arrive at that figure? 255K is equaivalent to 18°C.

    Actually, it is equivalent to -18°C. It is arrived at by balancing the energy received by the Earth system from the sun to that emitted back out into space using the accepted equations that are well-confirmed by actual empirical measurements and the entire field of remote sensing.

  266. average temperatures at the upper troposphere are measured from -75 to -45, which averages to -60, or -40 at a generous portion

  267. 525wpsm is quite powerful. At ambient temperatures , 15C lets take, in a room, a typical human being would be able to raise the temperature by 5C. Maybe You’re confusing between body temperature and base metabolic rate: the body isn’t efficient at using energy – perhaps 10%. so how do you arrive at 525wpsm?

  268. be careful here.. The SB constant says that ice forms at 235wpsm – which is the energy emitted by three lightbulbs

  269. so how do you arrive at 525wpsm?

    From the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation that everybody but you seem to think applies. With emissivity = 1, which it is in the infrared to a good approximation.

    Note, however, that unless you are setting out in the depths of space, you are also receiving radiation from various sources (and there is also conduction and convection to consider)…So, the net amount of heat you are losing is a different number. However, an infrared detector will be sensitive to the infrared energy that is leaving your body. It cannot detect the radiation that is being absorbed by your body from other sources. (It can detect radiation reflected by your body but I don’t think this is a big player at infrared frequencies.)

    be careful here.. The SB constant says that ice forms at 235wpsm – which is the energy emitted by three lightbulbs

    Actually, I get that an object at 0 C emits about 315 W/m^2. Note that a m^2 is a pretty big area. This is only 0.03 W per square cm or 0.2 W per square inch. Furthermore, you are trying to use your intuition, which is rather difficult given that we are basically surrounded by objects that are radiating according to their temperature, which usually tend to be fairly close in temperature. It is fine to contemplate why your intuition might be wrong; it is ridiculous to conclude that your intuition is right and basic, extremely-well-tested principles of science are wrong.

  270. The SB constant only works with a perfect black body. If applied to humans, it is a theoretical equation. remote spectrometers detect surface radiance of around 85wpms to 100wpsm, and this apt with the biological function of basal metabolic rate. 525wpsm, according to the SB equation calculates that someone would need to consume well over 11,000 calories a day, just to maintain their temperature.

    I remember you mentioned in one of your earlier postings the errors that can occur when physics equations are simply applied to any situation, and then physicists need reminding that it cannot take account of the complexities of the subject applied to.

  271. P Wilson says:

    If applied to humans, it is a theoretical equation. remote spectrometers detect surface radiance of around 85wpms to 100wpsm

    And, I assume you can find a cite for this?

    I remember you mentioned in one of your earlier postings the errors that can occur when physics equations are simply applied to any situation, and then physicists need reminding that it cannot take account of the complexities of the subject applied to.

    In this case, they are quite well-verified and, in fact, entire technologies are based on them.

  272. http://www.vias.org/physics/example_2_2_8.html

    ok well sorry about that – it was a series of tests undertaken on humans – nearly all produce 75-85 watts for a human as heat radiated. I’ll try again tomorrow. Given that an average human is 0.85 of a square metre, or thereabouts, 75wpsm might be the inferred production.

    i know that you and cba put all your faith in the SB equation, although there are quite a few qualifications if SB calibrated guages record a far higher output than non human matter, when thermal equipment produces higher magnitudes for humans.

  273. P Wilson: The problem with this link that you gave http://www.vias.org/physics/example_2_2_8.html is that it discusses the amount of heat that the human body produces…not the amount it radiates. As I have noted, these two numbers are different because energy conservation requires

    amount of heat human produces = amount human radiates (and leaves by other heat transfer methods like conduction and convection) – amount human absorbs (from radiating objects and conduction and convection).

    And in our everyday world, the amount that we absorb is considerable because the objects around us radiate. Like I said, if we were put in outer space (far from any significant radiating objects), we would not be able to keep ourselves warm just by producing that ~100 W that we are able to get away with producing in everyday life.

  274. try the cambridge journals. They express the actual measured amount of heat radiated by the human body.

    Its possible to enter ‘Description of a human direct calorimeter’ on the search page

  275. to be clear: Actual measured heat from the human body varied from 75-100wpm2 at 27C. However, these are not average temperatures. Its likely that radiation absorbed from objects is greater at 27C than at 15C, so at lesser temperatures, if you incur the SB constant, it would be less. However, i’m sceptical. Mainly as air is a poor conductor of heat, and objects that can produce their own heat are generally warmer than objects that depend ona heat source.

  276. “rracecarr-ga”5 ends up writing: 50 to 100 W is probably not a bad guess. ”

    Suffice to say… With the SB I get 446wpm2

  277. What “rracecarr-ga” says is:

    If you were thrown naked into a freezer with a temperature close to absolute zero, you really would radiate at a net rate of about 500 Watts (for a short time). But usually, things around you are warmer than that, and so they radiate too, and you absorb some of that radiation…

    Anyway, the absolute rate at which your body radiates is in the
    neighborhood of 500 W, but the net rate is much less, and depends on
    your temperature relative to your surroundings. 50 to 100 W is
    probably not a bad guess.

    This is exactly what I am saying: Humans radiate around 500 W, give or take as the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation (with emissivity close to 1) requires, and absorb about 400-450 W, for a net rate of 50-100 W. However, a detector sensitive to radiation will see the ~500W coming off of you. It has no way of seeing the amount that you are absorbing. (It would see any amount that you reflect but that is apparently quite tiny in the IR.)

  278. Yes, I’m aware of what you are saying. Although as he (rracecarr-ga) notes in his final comment, when he sees the need to be realistic, it is quite wrong to apply the constant willy nilly to nature, and by his own admission “50-100 watts is a good guess”

    all you need to do is research the empirical papers from Cambridge journals than relying on a theoretical equation to justify some absurd figure. They measure actualy radiation and not some theoretical figure derived from an equation.

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/login;jsessionid=692A2868718F8EE1EC09B27D627C23E3.tomcat1

    from google: enter:

    ‘Description of a human direct calorimeter’

    and it takes you directly to the pages

  279. so what heat does the human body absorb, at 15C, apart from the ambient atmospheric temperaure? At 27C its found that 100wpsm optimum is emitted. That is not because 450 is absorbed, but what the “human generator” produces, which is relatively warmer than its surrounding objects

  280. Ok, here’s another way of looking at it. The most important heat source is internally generated human metabolism, which doesn’t depend on external factors.

    http://personal.cityu.edu.hk/~bsapplec/heat.htm

    looking at the figures, where 1 met=58w/m2, you obtain 0.7met resting, 2.0-3.4 walking, 1.4-2.6 playing tennis:

    These variations aren’t caused by external absorption. They’re caused by human generated activity. The closest to the SB constant is during the course of dancing – up to 8.7met. But for most people a 1.5met would be a good average.

  281. the point of this exercise is to demonstrate that increasing the temperatures around the human body, via sunlight or central heating doesn’t increase the wattage of the human body, but attempts to reach an equilibrium with it. When all such fails then its apt to dance or do heavy work to raise the internal wattage to compensate for the lack of equilibrium from the outside

  282. P Wilson: There is really nothing more I can say. The scientific and engineering community will continue to use the S-B Equation to design infrared detection systems, do remote sensing, and everything else. You will continue not to believe it. “One can lead a horse to water…”

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