Spencer on Lindzen and Choi climate feedback paper

Some Comments on the Lindzen and Choi (2009) Feedback Study

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

https://i0.wp.com/asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/erbe/erbssat.gif

The ERBE satellite

I keep getting requests to comment on the recent GRL paper by Lindzen and Choi (2009), who computed how satellite-measured net (solar + infrared) radiation in the tropics varied with surface temperature changes over the 15 year period of record of the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS, 1985-1999).

The ERBS satellite carried the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) which provided our first decadal-time scale record of quasi-global changes in absorbed solar and emitted infrared energy. Such measurements are critical to our understanding of feedbacks in the climate system, and thus to any estimates of how the climate system responds to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

The authors showed that satellite-observed radiation loss by the Earth increased dramatically with warming, often in excess of 6 Watts per sq. meter per degree (6 W m-2 K-1). In stark contrast, all of the computerized climate models they examined did just the opposite, with the atmosphere trapping more radiation with warming rather than releasing more.

The implication of their results was clear: most if not all climate models that predict global warming are far too sensitive, and thus produce far too much warming and associated climate change in response to humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions.

A GOOD METHODOLOGY: FOCUS ON THE LARGEST TEMPERATURE CHANGES

One thing I liked about the authors’ analysis is that they examined only those time periods with the largest temperature changes – whether warming or cooling. There is a good reason why one can expect a more accurate estimate of feedback by just focusing on those large temperature changes, rather than blindly treating all time periods equally. The reason is that feedback is the radiation change RESULTING FROM a temperature change. If there is a radiation change, but no temperature change, then the radiation change obviously cannot be due to feedback. Instead, it would be from some internal variation in cloudiness not caused by feedback.

But it also turns out that a non-feedback radiation change causes a time-lagged temperature change which completely obscures the resulting feedback. In other words, it is not possible to measure the feedback in response to a radiatively induced temperature change that can not be accurately quantified (e.g., from chaotic cloud variations in the system). This is the subject of several of my previous blog postings, and is addressed in detail in our new JGR paper — now in review — entitled, “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedbacks in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing”, by Spencer and Braswell).

WHAT DO THE AMIP CLIMATE MODEL RESULTS MEAN?

Now for my main concern. Lindzen and Choi examined the AMIP (Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project) climate model runs, where the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were specified, and the model atmosphere was then allowed to respond to the specified surface temperature changes. Energy is not conserved in such model experiments since any atmospheric radiative feedback which develops (e.g. a change in vapor or clouds) is not allowed to then feed-back upon the surface temperature, which is what happens in the real world.

Now, this seems like it might actually be a GOOD thing for estimating feedbacks, since (as just mentioned) most feedbacks are the atmospheric response to surface forcing, not the surface response to atmospheric forcing. But the results I have been getting from the fully coupled ocean-atmosphere (CMIP) model runs that the IPCC depends upon for their global warming predictions do NOT show what Lindzen and Choi found in the AMIP model runs. While the authors found decreases in radiation loss with short-term temperature increases, I find that the CMIP models exhibit an INCREASE in radiative loss with short term warming.

In fact, a radiation increase MUST exist for the climate system to be stable, at least in the long term. Even though some of the CMIP models produce a lot of global warming, all of them are still stable in this regard, with net increases in lost radiation with warming (NOTE: If analyzing the transient CMIP runs where CO2 is increased over long periods of time, one must first remove that radiative forcing in order to see the increase in radiative loss).

So, while I tend to agree with the Lindzen and Choi position that the real climate system is much less sensitive than the IPCC climate models suggest, it is not clear to me that their results actually demonstrate this.

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE ERBE DATA

Since I have been doing similar computations with the CERES satellite data, I decided to do my own analysis of the re-calibrated ERBE data that Lindzen and Choi analyzed. Unfortunately, the ERBE data are rather dicey to analyze because the ERBE satellite orbit repeatedly drifted in and out of the day-night (diurnal) cycle. As a result, the ERBE Team advises that one should only analyze 36-day intervals (or some multiple of 36 days) for data over the deep tropics, while 72-day averages are necessary for the full latitudinal extent of the satellite data (60N to 60S latitude).

Lindzen and Choi instead did some multi-month averaging in an apparent effort to get around this ‘aliasing’ problem, but my analysis suggests that the only way around the problem it is to do just what the ERBE Team recommends: deal with 36 day averages (or even multiples of that) for the tropics; 72 day averages for the 60N to 60S latitude band. So it is not clear to me whether the multi-month averaging actually removed the aliased signal from the satellite data. I tried multi-month averaging, too, but got very noisy results.

Next, since they were dealing with multi-month averages, Lindzen and Choi could use available monthly sea surface temperature datasets. But I needed 36-day averages. So, since we have daily tropospheric temperatures from the MSU/AMSU data, I used our (UAH) lower tropospheric temperatures (LT) instead of surface temperatures. Unfortunately, this further complicates any direct comparisons that might be made between my computations (shown below) and those of Lindzen and Choi.

Finally, rather than picking specific periods where the temperature changes were particularly large, like Lindzen and Choi did, I computed results from ALL time periods, but then sorted the results from the largest temperature changes to the smallest. This allows me to compute and plot cumulative average regression slopes from the largest to the smallest temperature changes, so we can see how the diagnosed feedbacks vary as we add more time intervals with progressively weaker temperature changes.

RESULTS

For the 20N-20S latitude band (same as that analyzed by Lindzen and Choi), and at 36-day averaging time, the following figure shows the diagnosed feedback parameters (linear regression slopes) tend to be in the range of 2 to 4 W m-2 K-1, which is considerably smaller than what Lindzen and Choi found, which were often greater than 6 W m-2 K-1. As mentioned above, the corresponding climate model computations they made had the opposite sign, but as I have pointed out, the CMIP models do not, and the real climate system cannot have a net negative feedback parameter and still be stable.

ERBE-vs-UAH-LT-36-day-tropics

But since the Lindzen and Choi results were for changes on time scales longer than 36 days, next I computed similar statistics for 108-day averages. Once again we see feedback diagnoses in the range of 2 to 4 W m-2 K-1:
ERBE-vs-UAH-LT-108-day-tropics

Finally, I extended the time averaging to 180 days (five 36-day periods), which is probably closest to the time averaging that Lindzen and Choi employed. But rather than getting closer to the higher feedback parameter values they found, the result is instead somewhat lower, around 2 W m-2 K-1.
ERBE-vs-UAH-LT-180-day-tropics

In all of these figures, running (not independent) averages were computed, always separated by the next average by 36 days.

By way of comparison, the IPCC CMIP (coupled ocean-atmosphere) models show long-term feedbacks generally in the range of 1 to 2 W m-2 K-1. So, my ERBE results are not that different from the models. BUT..it should be remembered that: (1) the satellite results here (and those of Lindzen and Choi) are for just the tropics, while the model feedbacks are for global averages; and (2) it has not yet been demonstrated that short-term feedbacks in the real climate system (or in the models) are substantially the same as the long-term feedbacks.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

It is not clear to me just what the Lindzen and Choi results mean in the context of long-term feedbacks (and thus climate sensitivity). I’ve been sitting on the above analysis for weeks since (1) I am not completely comfortable with their averaging of the satellite data, (2) I get such different results for feedback parameters than they got; and (3) it is not clear whether their analysis of AMIP model output really does relate to feedbacks in those models, especially since my analysis (as yet unpublished) of the more realistic CMIP models gives very different results.

Of course, since the above analysis is not peer-reviewed and published, it might be worth no more than what you paid for it. But I predict that Lindzen and Choi will eventually be challenged by other researchers who will do their own analysis of the ERBE data, possibly like that I have outlined above, and then publish conclusions that are quite divergent from the authors’ conclusions.

In any event, I don’t think the question of exactly what feedbacks are exhibited by the ERBE satellite is anywhere close to being settled.

238 thoughts on “Spencer on Lindzen and Choi climate feedback paper

  1. Good. Those scientists who might generally be described as skeptics are auditing each other. I hope Drs. Lindzen and Choi respond.

    Vincit omnia veritas.

  2. (1) I am not completely comfortable with their averaging of the satellite data, (2) I get such different results for feedback parameters than they got

    I know it’s a big thing to expect, but I hope to see both Richard Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi here to first give their reasons, and then discuss them with Roy Spencer.

    I would expect it would be a congenial interchange.

  3. If I had only known I would need feedback and control system knowledge so desperately these days I would have paid a lot more attention. Who knew the world would go insane?

    Kudos to those who did pay attention.

  4. Dr. Spencer,

    You said

    “the real climate system cannot have a net negative feedback parameter and still be stable”

    I think you meant net positive feedback.

  5. On the Beck show Monckton said that the Lindzen paper proved the ipcc models to be in error, this seems to muddy the waters still further.
    I thought the same as K. Kitty above that Roy Spencer meant net positive feedback, anyone else?

  6. I too hope that Dr’s Lindzen and Choi will discuss their findings with Dr. Spencer on this blog. I would pay for admission to read the thoughts of these honest and brilliant scientists on this important subject.

  7. Another thought I have, why not run their discussion, if they agree, on a thread that does require a fee to read. Split the proceeds between this blog and the 3 scientists. I would pay at least $20 for a seat in the audience.

  8. He meant in the sense that the slope corresponds inversely to the feedback, so the parameter (slope) has the opposite sign.

    A system which responds to warming by slowing infrared cooling further is essentially the climatological equivalent of a divide by zero error. The “no feedback” situation is in fact one in which the normal behavior between radiation and temperature occurs, namely that hotter bodies emit more IR. In more typical terms, this would in fact be called a “negative” feedback. See here:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/04/when-is-positive-feedback-really-negative-feedback/


  9. The authors showed that satellite-observed radiation loss by the Earth increased dramatically with warming, often in excess of 6 Watts per sq. meter per degree (6 W m-2 K-1).

    In stark contrast, all of the computerized climate models they examined did just the opposite, with the atmosphere trapping more radiation with warming rather than releasing more.

    Gee, maybe that atmospheric window straight into space (and even through light cloud cover!) at 10 um (and +- a couple um) and coinciding with the LWIR peak from avg 288K earth and total radiation ~ T_to_the_fourth_power has something to do with it.

    Naw …. just a lucky coincidence …
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  10. evanmjones (19:27:51) :

    Cheez, that ERBE sat. looks like something out of Jules Verne.

    Has all the appearance of an intake manifold for an in-line four-cylinder engine …
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  11. RE evanmjones (19:27:51) :

    “Cheez, that ERBE sat. looks like something out of Jules Verne.”

    I reckon those two big plates on the top are actually the FLUX CAPACITOR.

  12. And, related and therefore on topic –

    If you know where to look for the DFW Metrplex (Dallas Ft Worth and mid-citied et al) they can be seen to be WARMER in this three hour sequence of images this evening (after sunset, from 7:15 ish till 10:15 ish PM local) owing to the UHI effect on this very still (wind-wise) evening:

    Centered on Texas – LWIR (Long Wave Infra-Red) Satellite Image

    I think that Oklahoma City metro area can also be seen ‘warmer’ than surroundings.
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  13. theduke said: vincit omnia veritas.

    If it does, it takes its sweet time. Meanwhile, vincit prope omnis veritatem.

  14. Thanks for taking the time to post your analysis and the interesting points you raise. I look forward to a reasoned debate – both you and Lindzen have shown how it can be done at this site.

  15. I predict that McIntyre will find the Lindzen and Choi paper one of the most quietly disturbing papers he has ever read.

  16. There have been reports in the peer review literature that the models violate the second law of thermodynamics, maybe the disagreement is part of this? After all numerical simulations have to be violating lots of things and brought into line at the boundaries of the grids used.

    More to the point,

    In my mind, the importance of the Lidzen paper is not if it really is measuring the sensitivity to whatever forcings. It is if they have used the models in the same way as they have used the data when making the crucial scatter plots.

    If so, then the models are falsified, no matter if what is displayed is the true sensitivity . The scatter plots show a drastic difference between models and data. These might only be the AMIP models and these are then falsified. Somebody said that the AMIP models are embedded in the CMIP models but I was not able to find the reference.

    Secondly, if the difference is between CMIP and AMIP model runs, I would like to see the same scatter plot of the CMIP runs as the crucial ones in the Lidzen presentation.

  17. Interesting to see that these two ‘skeptic’ scientists that so often agreed in the past now start to divert in opinion. What I find especially stunning about Dr. Spencer’s report is that he disputes all 3 main conclusions that Lindzen drew in his so widely publicised GRL paper. Spencer essentially states that :

    (1) The ERBE data shows no significant climate feedback (as opposed to Lindzen who still concludes a strong negative feedback factor).
    (2) The AMIP models that Lindzen used are not suitable for comparison with ERBE data, redering Lindzen’s famous (“infamous”?) ERBE-model figure useless
    (3) The short term analysis done makes conclusions on any climate sensitivity factor questionable.

    Note that here is the blog that first revealed the difference in results for at least (1) and (2) :
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/11/spencer-on-lindzen-choi.html

    There should be much more to to come on this, since especially the difference in feedback factor that the two scientists find from essentially the same data is not at all adequately explained.

  18. Found the reference. So AMIP is included as an integral part in CMIP.

    http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/projects/model_intercomparison.php

    “AMIP – Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project
    AMIP is a standard experimental protocol for global atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs). It provides a community-based infrastructure in support of climate model diagnosis, validation, intercomparison, documentation and data access. This framework enables a diverse community of scientists to analyze AGCMs in a systematic fashion, a process which serves to facilitate model improvement. Virtually the entire international climate modeling community has participated in this project since its inception in 1990.

    CMIP – Coupled Model Intercomparison Project
    The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) studies output from coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models that also include interactive sea ice. These models allow the simulated climate to adjust to changes in climate forcing, such as increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. CMIP began in 1995 by collecting output from model “control runs” in which climate forcing is held constant. Later versions of CMIP have collected output from an idealized scenario of global warming, with atmospheric CO2 increasing at the rate of 1% per year until it doubles at about Year 70. CMIP output is available for study by approved diagnostic sub-projects. The WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset archived at PCMDI, which includes realistic scenarios for both past and present climate forcing, is the latest and most ambitious phase of the project. The research based on this dataset has provided much of the new material underlying the IPCC 4th Assessment Report.”

    http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/projects/amip/index.php

    “AMIP is now an integral part of CMIP

    AMIP-style simulations are routinely performed at many climate and NWP centers during model development in order to evaluate atmospheric model performance and identify errors. The systematic intercomparison of atmospheric model components is currently being coordinated under the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), which includes AMIP simulations as an integral part.”

  19. Let me phrase it differently:

    I sit on the moon and every time there is a DeltaSST on the earth I look at the DeltaFlux , or vice versa, I make a point on the scatter plot. The scatter plot does not have cause and effect, because it does not record time.

    I run a computer model ( or it has been run and stored in the system linked above) and look from the same place on the moon and every time there is a DeltaSST on the earth I look at the DeltaFlux , or vice versa, I make a point on the scatter plot.

    Lindzen’s plots show a drastic difference between data and models for AMIP runs.
    AMIPS are to go back to the drawing board.

    Now we see that AMIPs are an “integral part of CMIPs”. What can we conclude?

  20. If I understood it well, coupled model (CMIP) says with increasing surface temperature, there is more IR being emitted out. Lindzen AMIP model shows the opposite – that with the rising surface temperature, the atmosphere (probably because of thickening with water vapor as a secondary positive feedback) blocks the outgoing radiation much more, that it even decreases in time.
    Dr Spencer also says that CMIP´s calculated increase of outgoing radiation is not that far from observed reality, while the outgoing IR is a bit higher.

  21. Drs. Spencer and Lindzen & Choi (L&C) may both be right.

    L&C may have chosen the AMIP models, rather than the CMIP models examined by Spencer, because they attempt to portray only the radiative response of the atmosphere to changes in surface temperatures, without regard for the additional feedbacks and other complexities introduced with the fully coupled (CMIP) models.

    According to Lumo on The Reference Frame, Spencer said he had “examined the AMIP run for the CNRM CM3 model, and it, too, shows a negative slope between temperature and radiative flux, just as Lindzen and Choi found. So, the problem might NOT be neglect of the sigma*T^4 effect, which [he] believe[s] is already contained in the AMIP model fields.”

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/11/spencer-on-lindzen-choi.html

    The AMIP models are “integral components” of the CMIP models. So perhaps the CMIPs include some factors which offset the impossible negative slopes of their AMIP components, yielding the required net negative feedback, but one which is smaller than it should be.

    There still remain questions about the proper averaging intervals and the difference in the temperature datasets used (Spencer used LT, L&C used SST).

  22. Just to be sure that people don’t oversimplify this debate and don’t consider Spencer or myself traitors. ;-)

    Lindzen and Choi are using some results of RealClimate’s Ray Pierrehumbert concerning the tropics – he also seems to claim that for zero feedback, the change in the energy flows per degree of warming is close to zero over there.

    Richard had to deal with some difficult non-climate stuff but chances are that he will try to convince us in a more detailed text rechecking their points to appear later.

  23. I think I see a confusion here as regards the definition of sensitivity.

    A sensitive system can either:

    i) Respond quickly and negatively to a forcing so as to cancel or reduce the effect of that forcing.

    ii) Respond quickly and positively to a forcing so as to show a large reaction to the forcing.

    Both are high sensitivity but one results in long term stability whereas the other results in instability.

    I think we have a sensitive climate system as per i) above. Warming proponents think we have a sensitive climate system as per ii) above.

    Many are interpreting i) as an example of an insensitive system because it is essentially stable but in fact it is no less sensitive than ii).

  24. Dr Spencer

    I would say in a situation like this, where your results and those of Prof. Lindzen are apparently different, you can either both be fascinated as to why or you can mouth off about each other in public!

    To me, it appears that the issue the two of you are addressing is critical in determining how a system returns to equilibrium and hence what the longer-term implications might be.

    It also highlights the multiplicity of data sets being collected, the multiplicity of computer models being used and the incomplete understanding of how they all might be brought together.

    What I will say is this:

    I would make a hunch that given small deviations from equilibrium, the system will tend, usually, to return to equilibrium.

    The key question which arises is what causes the deviations to continue to larger magnitudes and what conditions must exist for a new stable state to develop at temperatures considerably different from the older one.

    On the understanding of those issues will enlightenment come concerning the nature of 20th/21st century ‘warming’.

    A prelude to a long-term warmer steady state?

    A prelude to a long-term descent into the next ice age?

    Or yet another oscillation cycle around the equilibrium of the past 10,000 years??

    The Copenhagen suggestion implies they believe no. 1, although how they have ruled out No. 2 is unclear to me.

    Your results might suggest No. 3 is closer to the mark…..

    Have the politicians done the calculations on the decision-tree, since it appears to me that No. 3 costs little but No. 1 costs much.

    I’d have thought that if No. 3 were 66% plus, then ‘DO NOTHING’ would be irrrefutable.

    Does anyone have any evidence-based statistics to point to what the scenario likelihoods are now?

  25. anna v,

    You have taken the keystrokes out of my fingers. I too thought coupled models used AMIP as part of the coupling, Lindzen and Choi have demonstrated that all the IPCC AMIP models are wrong, so what do we have? One wrong model coupled with another obviously wrong model, albeit in the opposite direction, reducing the “wrongness” of the model vs observations comparison. Very confidence inspiring.
    It would interesting to see what would happen if the modeling community came clean. “Our models have the physics wrong for everything, but when we jumble them up and take the average, we thing they give us the right answer.”

  26. This appears to be an appropriate thread to throw on a link to Trenberth and Fasullo (2009) “Global warming due to increasing absorbed solar radiation.”
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/2009GL037527.pdf

    Abstract:
    “Global climate models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) are examined for the top-of-atmosphere radiation changes as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases build up from 1950 to 2100. There is an increase in net radiation absorbed, but not in ways commonly assumed. While there is a large increase in the greenhouse effect from increasing greenhouse gases and water vapor (as a feedback), this is offset to a large degree by a decreasing greenhouse effect from reducing cloud cover and increasing radiative emissions from higher temperatures. Instead the main warming from an energy budget standpoint comes from increases in absorbed solar radiation that stem directly from the decreasing cloud amounts. These findings underscore the need to ascertain the credibility of the model changes, especially insofar as changes in clouds are concerned.”

    Interesting.

  27. Well, the GRL is gray literature, so it is not really of the same quality as the truly peer reviewed literature.

    Seriously, that is what one prominent AGW scientist said in response to my using a methodology that was published in GRL.

  28. I want to make it clear that I have a great deal of respect for Dick Lindzen. He, more than anyone else, has helped me understand the major problems with AGW theory. In fact, I brag on him all the time. :)

    Dick is a big boy and can take criticism. In this business you need to separate your emotions from the scientific results. The results are what they are, and we are all just trying to better understand what those results are telling us (if anything) about the way the climate system works.

  29. There has be a better way to analyze this data so we can tell what is really going on.

    Unrelated to what Spencer and Lindzen are reviewing, let’s look at the ERBE data over two specific periods shows us – the 1997-98 El Nino and the 1991 Pinatubo Eruption.

    In the 1997-98 El Nino, the ERBE data shows OutGoing Long-Wave radiation (OLR) increased to 6 watts/metre^2 for a 0.6C short-term increase in Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs). [the models do not have this type of ENSO effect built in but it is obviously very important – 6 watts is a large number).

    or 0.1C per watt/metre^2.

    In the 1991 Pinatubo Eruption, 5 watts/metre^2 of Solar Irradiance was reflected by volcanic particles and temperatures at the surface decreased in the short-term by 0.5C. (Then there appears to be a long-lasting period when less Solar radiation is reflected than normal – the same pattern shown in the Stratosphere temperatures and should then be shown in a rise in surface temperatures after 1993.)

    or 0.1C per watt/metre^2 again.

    These are close to the values predicted by the Stefan-Boltzmann equations. But the climate models are using 0.75C per watt/metre^2.

    I think we can use the ERBE data in other ways to see if the models are accurate.

  30. Correction, the climate models are using 0.3C per watt/metre^2 in the short-term but are using 0.75C per watt/metre^2 as a long-term equilibrium solution. Even in the short-term response, the models are 3 times too high.

  31. Very strange: AMIP is wrong, but CMIP is right. CMIP uses AMIP so CMIP should be wrong. Therefore CMIP is correcting the errors of AMIP. Is that about it?

  32. As someone mentioned, Monckton made a definate reference to this paper in his presentation, with a prediction that history would show this was when the AGW hypothesis was falsified. I wondered at the time if Monckton was being a bit premature; issues of this complexity take years to resolve. Now, it seems that the good Lord may have just painted a big bullseye on his forehead for any warmist to take a shot at. Never try and politicise science.

  33. Dr Spencer,
    I have one question for you – how your earlier theory that the real climate feedback in the models is artificially “inflated” by the non feedback radiative forcing produced by chaotic fluctuations of the climate system fits into this newest theory in which sensitivity is assumed to be 1.6 – 2 deg C, and potentially even higher? You are now pretty much in agreement with IPCC.

  34. Bob Tisdale, very interesting indeed. If I read this right we have a warmist contending that all the models are WRONG!

    This essentially validates those skeptics that have been saying the climate is not well understood and making policy decisions based on this level of knowledge is silly.

    As for the conclusions, probably wrong but at least they are willing to admit things don’t work the way they thought they did. The door continues to open. I’d like to see an article on this paper. Hopefully, Dr. Spencer could add his insight as well.

  35. UPDATED: Back-dated image sequence (the other link above show near-live imagery )

    If you know where to look for the DFW Metrplex (Dallas Ft Worth and mid-citied et al) they can be seen to be WARMER in this three hour sequence of images this evening (after sunset, from 7:15 ish till 10:15 ish PM local) owing to the UHI effect on this very still (wind-wise) evening:

    Centered on Texas – LWIR (Long Wave Infra-Red) Satellite Image

    I think that Oklahoma City metro area can also be seen ‘warmer’ than surroundings.
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  36. Taking a step back, this is a testament to the complexity of the overall system, and our growing understanding of how feedback systems with hundreds or thousands of players are actually chaotic: one cannot accurately predict an end-state by knowing the beginning state.

    To wit:

    AGW proponents claim that not only is there correlation, but there is also causality.

    AGW skeptics tend to claim that while there may be correlation, there is no causality.

    And now we are gettting to the point where we realize that not only is there no *simple* causality, but there are also no simple corrrelations. Feedback systems are highly complex, and often chaotic. We are far from having enough data to drill down even a strong correlation between any pieces of earth data (the solar link may well be more identifiable, since there is probably no real feedback from the earth to the sun).

    Finding causality between only a few pieces of a highly complex feedback system is a fool’s errand.

    It would not surprise me at all that in the end, we will discover that accurate predictive modeling is out of the question; we can no more simulate *and predict* the global climate than we can the location and velocity of a single electron in a hydrogen atom. And if you think about it, it is not a farfetched analogy.

  37. Stephen Wilde
    Different groups use different terminology. “Feedback” as used by climatologists can appear opposite to common understandings.

    To understand Spencer’s discussion see: Global Warming 101

    BUT…everything this else in the climate system probably WON’T stay the same! For instance, clouds, water vapor, and precipition systems can all be expected to respond to the warming tendency in some way, which could either amplify or reduce the manmade warming. These other changes are called “feedbacks,” and the sum of all the feedbacks in the climate system determines what is called ‘climate sensitivity’. Negative feedbacks (low climate sensitivity) would mean that manmade global warming might not even be measurable, lost in the noise of natural climate variability. But if feedbacks are sufficiently positive (high climate sensitivity), then manmade global warming could be catastrophic.

    See also discussion in:
    Satellite and Climate Model Evidence Against Substantial Manmade Climate Change (supercedes “Has the Climate Sensitivity Holy Grail Been Found?”) by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D. December 27, 2008 (last modified December 29, 2008)

    2. FEEDBACKS IN THE IPCC CLIMATE MODELS

    Feedbacks are not explicitly input into climate models. They are instead the net result of all the different physical processes contained in the models…especially those related to clouds and water vapor. Feedbacks are diagnosed from model output in much the same way as they are diagnosed from satellite measurements of the Earth: by comparing (1) global average temperature variations to (2) global average variations in the radiative balance of the Earth (variations in the approximate balance between absorbed sunlight and emitted infrared radiation averaged over the whole Earth).
    . . .
    Translated into a global warming estimate, a feedback of 6 W m-2 K-1 would correspond to a rather trivial 0.6 deg. C of warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2.

    A couple of the SST plots on the upper left in Fig. 4, however, have very different slopes…but as averaging times get longer, the line slopes also end up corresponding to negative feedback (3.7 W m-2 K-1 in Fig. 4g translates to about 1 deg. C of warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2).
    . . .
    The resulting picture that emerges is of an IN-sensitive climate system, dominated by negative feedback. And it appears that the reason why most climate models are instead VERY sensitive is due to the illusion of a sensitive climate system that can arise when one is not careful about the physical interpretation of how clouds operate in terms of cause and effect (forcing and feedback).

  38. Wonder what the jet stream was doing during the study period. Since it circles the globe in both hemispheres, picks up (or not) evaporated moisture from the oceans and carries atmospheric conditions over land and sea, any cyclical patterns to it would have huge affects all around the globe.

  39. AMIP was meant to intercompare different models’ atmospheric processes…it was not necessarily meant to provide realistic simulations of all aspects of the climate system.

    So, theoretically an AMIP model could have had perfect atmospheric physics, but since there was no interactive ocean model in the AMIP runs, it would not necessarily behave realistically when compared to real measurements.

  40. Roy Spencer (05:27:56)

    Roy, are you aware that Lord Monckton has claimed in his recent interview on the Fox News Glenn Beck show that Lindzen and Choi’s ERBE results prove that the climate models have got climate sensitivity wrong by a factor of SIX!

    Thank you for conducring some ‘real science’ and for practicing the scientific method and for casting some doubt on this claim as this is what science should be all about namely that one should attempt always to falsify not confirm a previous result when conducting science. If in attempting to falsify a claim you fail and the claim stands up then the claim has some credence until of course the next attempt at falsification proves successful.

    In this case your work appears to concluded that Lindzen and Choi are not comparing apples (ERBE data) with apples (CMIP) but rather apples (ERBE data)with oranges (AMIP). Having said that though and having researched the history of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models somewhat I’m not convinced that thay have any utility other than as ‘sensitivity study tools’. Their value even as ‘sensitivity study tools’ is however strongly determined both the data fed into them and the parameterised equations coded into them and the numerically methods they use. The validity of all three of these facets of the models in predicting future climate are questionable in my opinion. In my opinion data like ERBE’s (provided it hasn’t be adjusted out of all recognition like the instrumental temperature record) will always trump modelling.

    KevinUK

  41. In my experimental experience, all “black-box” type scenarios are subject to analytical interpretation. The only way to verify hypotheses is to verify predictive values to actual. I realize that in the present case, that is difficult if not impossible. Time is definitely not on our side.
    Kudos for the calculations and the analysis. Since you cannot “design” the experiment, interpretation is key and the stakes are…..to say the least…global.

  42. Richard M (07:02:12) : I believe it could be argued that the paper indicates that the interpretation of the models has been wrong. Regardless, it’s an interesting paper.

  43. Roy W. Spencer (08:24:03) :
    AMIP was meant to intercompare different models’ atmospheric processes…it was not necessarily meant to provide realistic simulations of all aspects of the climate system.

    So, theoretically an AMIP model could have had perfect atmospheric physics, but since there was no interactive ocean model in the AMIP runs, it would not necessarily behave realistically when compared to real measurements.

    Fair enough. In this case it would be good to have a scatter plot of the corresponding CMIP values, with the same choices as the choises for the data in the figure on page 46 of prof.inzen’s presentation. Are you saying the model points would follow the same trend?

  44. I am getting increasingly irritated at the use of the term “the authors found”, when referring to observing the output of models. While grammatically correct, it leaves the reader with the impression that someone made an observation of the real world, and not some Playstation version of nature. I would rather see something like “the models suggest”.

    Besides, it’s been my experience that a person “finds” what they are searching for, whether it be Indian arrowheads or hockey sticks.

  45. Bob Tisdale @ 4:45:58

    So with the cooling phase now, are there more clouds? That would make the increasing CO2 no longer correlated so not causative. Unless the effect changed, and I wouldn’t put it past the ability of this climate system to be that changable. Perish the thought, which is immortal.
    =============================

  46. One thing I’d like to point out, or, at least share as a personal observation…..we have here people in essentially the same camp tugging in different directions over the same data.

    What I think is extraordinary is that this is something I don’t see in the pro-AGW camps. Why is this so important?

    Pro-AGW’ers never seem to question each other’s work, never contradict each other, and in so doing, never really allow the truth.

  47. “”” timetochooseagain (21:21:42) :

    He meant in the sense that the slope corresponds inversely to the feedback, so the parameter (slope) has the opposite sign.

    A system which responds to warming by slowing infrared cooling further is essentially the climatological equivalent of a divide by zero error. The “no feedback” situation is in fact one in which the normal behavior between radiation and temperature occurs, namely that hotter bodies emit more IR. In more typical terms, this would in fact be called a “negative” feedback. See here:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/04/when-is-positive-feedback-really-negative-feedback/ “””

    The Planck (and Stefan-Boltzmann) radiation law is NOT a feedback process; it’s the very epitome of a non-feedback relationship. (talking BB radiation)

    It’s a perfect reversible process with the same gain parameter in either direction. A BB at a single fixed temperature (K) emits a specific EM radiation; completely specified at all frquencies from DC+ up to infinity -.

    The absorption of that same radiation spectrum by another BB will establish the same temperature in it, that the original BB had. This is a complete distortion of the concept of feedback.

  48. kim (09:55:14) :

    “Bob Tisdale @ 4:45:58
    So with the cooling phase now, are there more clouds? That would make the increasing CO2 no longer correlated so not causative. Unless the effect changed, and I wouldn’t put it past the ability of this climate system to be that changeable. Perish the thought, which is immortal.”

    Reply: It’s not just the amount of cloud that matters. It’s also important to know the type of cloud, it’s thickness, it’s altitude and colour e.t.c. All these factors effect how a given cloud will mediate climate, in conjunction with what’s happening with the other mechanisms it is related to.

    Wheels within wheels. No easy answers I’m afraid – but it would be no fun if it was easy.

  49. The cognitive dissonance must be painful.

    In short, Dr. Spencer is pointing out that Lindzen palmed a card by comparing observations against AMIP simulations, which are diagnostic, not predictive in nature.

    AMIP-style simulations are routinely performed at many climate and NWP centers during model development in order to evaluate atmospheric model performance and identify errors.

    This model configuration enables scientists to focus on the atmospheric model without the added complexity of ocean-atmosphere feedbacks in the climate system. It is not meant to be used for climate change prediction, an endeavor that requires a coupled atmosphere-ocean model (e.g., see AMIP’s sister project CMIP).

  50. A more relevant link than the wiki is
    http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/projects/amip/index.php

    where it says that:

    “AMIP is now an integral part of CMIP

    AMIP-style simulations are routinely performed at many climate and NWP centers during model development in order to evaluate atmospheric model performance and identify errors. The systematic intercomparison of atmospheric model components is currently being coordinated under the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), which includes AMIP simulations as an integral part.”

  51. Dr.Spencer,

    In the light of the widespread and premature euforia / hysteria (including even appearance on Fox News Glenn Beck show) that followed the Lindzen and Choi paper, a critical scientific analysis of Lindzen’s findings was long overdue.

    So on behalf of science, THANK YOU for bringing your findings of the ERBE data to a wider audience, and THANK YOU for being bold enough to expose the shaky scientific basis on which Lindzen based his conclusions.

    I have one burning question regarding the work that both you and Lindzen did :

    Lindzen found a feedback parameter of an average 4 W/m^2/K (with a fairly wide standard error) from the ERBE data analysis.
    You seem to find a lower parameter of 2 – 4 W/m^2/K.

    As Lindzen explains in his paper, in climatology the zero-feedback response (f=0) corresponds to a feedback parameter F = 4 W/m^2/K.

    So it seem would think that Lindzen found a feedback factor 0.

    Similarly, it seems that you found a feedback factor 0 to +1, indicating a mild to strong positive short-term feedback.

    The burning question then is : How can Lindzen claim a negative feedback factor -1 ?

  52. “”” Kevin Kilty (20:20:48) :

    Dr. Spencer,

    You said

    “the real climate system cannot have a net negative feedback parameter and still be stable”

    I think you meant net positive feedback. “””

    Well that is not a true statement either. A net positive feedback CAN be quite stable; and there are many examples of such.

    Take the simple Drum brakes that they used to have on cars; before the days of disc brakes. The earlier types of drum brake systems, had two brake shoes which had one end located by a pin attached to the frame of the brake assembly. At the other end of the two shoes, a single hydraulic cylinedr and piston acted to push the two shoes apart, while the other ends were held in place. This pushed the shous outwards to contact the brake drum. Now one of the shoes had the stop pin “ahead” of the moving end, as far as the direction of rotation. This is called a “leading” shoe. When the leading shoe contacts the drum, the friction developed adds to the force pushing the shoe harder against the drum, so a stronger braking torque is generated for a given pedal force. A perfect example of a positive and quite stable feedback system.
    Now the other shoe in this simple system has the pin end behind the moving end, in the normal rotation direction; so it is called a “trailing” shoe; and in this case the friction developed between teh shoe and the drum, acts in the opposite direction to “unwrap” the shoe from the drum, and thereby diminish the net friction. this is an example of negative feedback.

    Now someone realized that the positive feedback of the leading shoe assisted the driver in applying the brakes with a lower pedal pressure, so they invented a system where the two shoes were linked by a floating pin. and the brake piston moved the floating end of the pair, while the other end was locked by the fixed pin. This gave a “two leading shoe” design which gave much more braking torque than the single leading/trailing shoe design.

    But then they discovered a problem. the brake pad material on the shoes had a coefficient of friction which diminished at higher temperatures, and in some cases the resin binder of the pad meaterial would melt and form a shiny layer on the surface of the shoes, with a greatly reduced friction.

    With a two leading shoe design where the total braking force depended on the self wrapping feedback, the result of this temperature effect was a serious brake fade, and loss of breaking effect whent he brakes goit hot.

    That is one of the problems with positive feedback; the overall gain variability is increased by positive feedback; the system is noisier.

    The solution for quality cars was to reverse the system, and make the braking system a two trailing shoe designe; with negative feedback for both shoes. Now the feedback due to the trailing shoes led to self unwrapping, and if the coefficient of friction decreased due to temperature, the unwrtapping feedback effect was diminished so the net force holding the shoes against the drum increased, and the effect of the diminished friction was reduced. The negative feedback of the two trailing shoe designs resulted in a substantial improvement in the brake fade characteristics. The penalty of course was a higher brake pedal force requirement; so additional servo boosters were added to the system to diminish the required pedal pressures.

    Of course modern disc brakes have no feedback mechanical effects so the brake fade problem is largely a thing of the past.

    Then of course there is the superregenerative receiver, where positive feedback is used to increase the gain of a radiao receiver amplifier. As in the brake case, the presence of positive feedback increases the noise in the system, making the gain less stable; but still not unstable.

    The requirement for stability of a feedback amplifier is once again a criterion due to Nyquist. The quantity 1 + AB in Dr Roy’s first post on feedback is known as the Loop gain. The Nyquist criterion for stability is that the complex plane plot of 1+AB from zero to infinite frequency, must not encircle the point -1,0 in that complex plane diagram.

    Single pole amplifiers are unconditionally stable, as they can only produce 900 degrees of phase shift at a point where the magnitude of the loop gain is zero, so the locus of the loop gain never crosses the negative real axis at all; or the negative imaginary axis either. A two pole amplifier can produce 180 degrees of phase shift but only at zero magnitude of the loop gain, and the negative real axis is never crossed by the loop gain locus.

    With three poles, the phase shift can get to 270 degrees, so both the negative imaginary, and the negative real axes are crossed by the loop gain locus. In some cases the real negative axis is crossed between the origin, and the -1.0 point so the amplifier is stable. In other cases it crosses outboard of the -1,0 point so the amplifier is unstable (oscillator).

    A third possibility is for the loop gain locaus to cross the negative real axis beyond the -1 point, but then recross the negative real axis still outside the -1 point, and proceed back to the origin still with a negative imaginary value. This is caalled conditional stability; and it will oscillate and become unstable, if the forward gain is reduced, which will eventually result in the -1,0 point getting encircled by the loop gain locus.

    So in the climate system; you could have an overall positive feedback (who knows) but that does not mean that any runaway condition can or will occur. That depends on the loop gain of the feedback system and the root locus plot over all frequencies.

    Well climate folks don’t even include time in their feedback circuits, so there is no way they can know whether they are unstable or not.

    And I repeat that standard feedback theory assumes that the forward gain block (A) is strictly unidirectional. It is highly unlikely that anything in the climate system that could be compared as an analog of (A), is a simple unidirectional process.

    Now this doesn’t mean that feedback analysis cannot be performed on such a system; it just means that the usual simplefied results of ordinary feedback analysis are no longer valid; and the full bidirectional network equations have to be solved fully allowing for the bidirectionality of both the blocks (A) and (B). This complexit will also inevitably get involved in both thdriving point impedance at the signal end, and the load impedance at the output of the fedback system.

    I defyt amybody to speculate what those spource and load impedances are; or even what they consist of in the global climate system.

    Maybe Peter Humbug has a full bidirectional feedback model of the climate including driving point and load impedances; but I doubt it.

    The water cycle has some of the properties of an automobile charging system including the Voltage Regulator. At low charge rates temperatures and water vapor content) there is a positive feedback gain increase; but then whent he temperature gets up to a certain value the “Voltage regulator” kicks in, in the form of formation of precipitation containing clouds; which give a strong negative feedback curtailment of the temperature rise; by stopping solar radiation from reaching the surface, and further raising the temperature.

    Only water serves this function in earth’s atmosphere; and that regulated “Voltage” where the warming is terminated; is simply a property of the physical properties of water.

  53. DJ Meredith says:

    Pro-AGW’ers never seem to question each other’s work, never contradict each other, and in so doing, never really allow the truth.

    Really? And, you know this how exactly?

    George E Smith says:

    The Planck (and Stefan-Boltzmann) radiation law is NOT a feedback process; it’s the very epitome of a non-feedback relationship. (talking BB radiation)

    You seem to be arguing about definitions. It acts as a feedback in the climate system in the very real sense that any radiative imbalance leads to warming (or cooling) and the rise in temperature and the resulting effect described by the radiation law is to then reduce this radiative imbalance, so it “feeds back” on the original radiative imbalance.

    Unfortunately, there has been some confusion in the climate science field because some scientists have used the term in this way (i.e., with the response described by the S-B Eq. being a negative feedback) while others have computed the temperature response to the increase in radiative forcing that is given by the S-B Law as the zeroth-order response and considered this to be the zero feedback case and then talked about net negative or positive feedbacks relative to this that then correspond to either decreasing or increasing the temperature response, respectively. The physics is the same no matter which way one chooses to think about it, but when people talk about the net feedback in the climate science context, one does have to understand whether they are defining it in a way that includes or excludes the radiative response described by the S-B Law as a feedback or not.

  54. George E. Smith (15:48:54) :

    “Of course modern disc brakes have no feedback mechanical effects so the brake fade problem is largely a thing of the past.”

    What an excellent and detailed (yet understandable) post. Many thanks.

    However can I add another angle to the comment quoted?

    It is undoubtedly true that disk brakes are hugely better than drum brakes for out and out performence and temperature handling. However there are other factors that can impact the overall result, an obvious one being the additional complexity of providing a full proof handbrake function for a disk based system. Much easier using a drum brake.

    On the plus side they are less prone to the negative braking effects of water immersion.

    But braking systems have moved on as people have realised other potential uses for wheel speed control in the computer age and so new challenges have been established that many people are not aware of. Under normal use conditions most people will remain entirely unaware of them all of the time. But run something like an Electronic Stability Control system up to its limits and the situation changes.

    Whilst a normal vehicle with equal suspension and tyre pressures will apply a balanced brake force (as per a designed loading split front/rear) to all wheels at the same time the ESC system will apply irregular forces to independent wheels on an as required basis. Normally this is not a problem since applications are light and/or short and are well within the heat dissipation capabilities of the system.

    The ESC systems are invariable instituted as part of an ABS setup. Whilst ABS will, in most situations, stop a wheel from locking (more than momentarily) it does mean that people can be sucked in to using their brakes more than normal and more harshly than normal in some situations. If a brake locks the disk/pad are no longer in conflict and heat generation ceases at that point and transfers to the tyre/road surface. (In concept).

    If the brake does not lock the disk/pad will continue to generate heat. Thus with heavy use of an ABS system the rate of heat creation could be higher than a non-ABS system and whilst the wheels will not lock (usually), fade can still occur although one may not notice it in the same way since it is masked by the ‘feel’ of the ABS system

    It would be unusual to experience this during normal road driving but on a closed track at speed or perhaps an Alpine mountain pass at quite ‘normal’ speeds, the potential for the system to become ‘unstable’ through overheating is quite readily apparent – mainly because it likely works so well that you don’t even think there might be a problem.

    Now add in ESC. On a straight road the chances are it is doing nothing at all. At speed on unstraight roads it may be doing a little but you won’t feel it. At speed on a closed track, twisting road or Alpine Pass the chances are it will be working quite hard – much harder than you realise. All that handling ability and stability is not just a great suspension setup, excellent tyres and a fantastic driver – its the braking system being used by the ESC system to keep thing under control.

    If you are heavy braking as well the brakes and pads will become progressively hotter. Indeed on a twisty road even if you think you have slowed to ‘cool’ the brakes the chances are that the ESC system has taken on some extra work and you are not actually achieving what you thought you were achieving in terms of brake cooling. There will be brake fade – your first warning may be a burning smell and/or smoke as the pads get very warm indeed. If you are really perceptive (or very short – LOL) you may previously have noticed that the distance you need to push the brake pedal has increased somewhat and that even with it pressed hard against the bulkhead things are still rushing past outside …

    Hidden feedbacks you see. There is more to the system than meets the eye.

    On the other hand if you have a competition car, usually without any of these driver aids, you may have the opposite problem. Tyre pressures and brake temperatures often rely on a lot of heat build up above ambient for their efficiency. If you don’t work the tyres and they lose heat and so pressure, so surface grip suffers. Don’t use the brakes and the temperatures drop and braking effect suffers. They need heat to work in much the same way that we need heat to survive and thrive. Varying temperatures will have other, often unpredictable, effects on the performance of the car as interpreted by the driver (and maybe any passengers!)

    Now let us for an example assume that the only criteria we have for cars is that they must satisfy both regular use (but with the odd traverse of mountain passes from time to time) and high speed competition. We ignore all other design inputs (making assumptions about basic functionality being adequate) and focus solely on the brakes, averaging the results from the extremes of use.

    How meaningful would the the model for the global average car actually be and how well could the performance of its brakes, with the ‘expected basic functionality feedbacks’ built in, be assessed against all requirements? After all we are only talking about a bit of heat transfer variability from time to time in what is, most commonly, a fairly stable environment according to usage type.

    My guess is that both usage types would still experience brake fade with the global car. For different reasons of course.

    Footnote.

    I have had all four sets of pads on my car (pads and disks almost new at the time) smoking mightily after a few miles of spirited driving (on a closed track). The world did not end and they recovered what seems to be full performance a few miles of use later. It’s amazing how things survive extremes and stabilise about ‘the norm’ given a chance.

  55. AFTER READING ALL OF THE ABOVE, I COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA FOR SPENCER TO GO TO MIT AND SIT DOWN WITH LINTZEN UNTIL THEY CAN THRASH THIS OUT. THIS DISCUSSION REMINDS ME OF A QUOTATION FROM OMAR,
    “MYSELF WHEN YOUNG DID EAGERLY FREQUENT
    DOCTOR AND SAINT,HEARD GREAT ARGUMENT
    ABOUT IT AND ABOUT; BUT EVERMORE
    CAME OUT BY THE SAME DOOR AS IN I WENT”

    REPLY: THE CAPLOCK BUTTON TOGGLES ON MOST KEYBOARDS AND CAN BE USED FOR TYPING WITHOUT SHOUTING ~ CHARLES THE REALLY LOUD MODERATOR

  56. Re AMIP vs. CMIP: AMIP is not part of CMIP, but it is used to validate it. Here is a comment I left on a recent board:

    CMIP and AMIP agree closely in their fundamental predictions. If you remove the positive feedback from the AMIP, they will diverge considerably.

    In this paper, the authors state of the CMIP models:

    These coupled climate models have exhibited a problem not evident in the behavior of atmospheric GCMs run with prescribed SSTs and sea ice. Errors in fluxes of heat, momentum and water across the ocean-atmosphere interface can lead to “climate drift” away from observations. Nonphysical, ad hoc flux adjustments were initially regarded as necessary to correct the problem.

    The paper then discusses “two recently developed coupled models that do not use flux adjustment.” I read that as, the CMIP models were tweaked specifically to bring them closer in line to the AMIP results, i.e., the AMIP models were used as “truth” models to validate the CMIP. It follows that if the AMIP models are buggered, so are the CMIP models, yes?

    The CMIP typically diverges from AMIP. To bring them in line, researchers use fudge factors. Or, they find a CMIP which agrees with AMIP. Therefore, the veracity of AMIP is fundamental.

  57. And, when I say AMIP, I generally mean an AMIP conforming AGCM model or models and mutatis mutandis for CMIP. I’m writing in shorthand, so don’t anybody give me any grief for what should be understood.

  58. “A net positive feedback CAN be quite stable; and there are many examples of such.”

    Only when stabilized by a more potent negative feedback. Your brake pad example has an overriding negative feedback in the ablation of the asbestos pads, which prevents ever increasing pressure. Or, if the pads cannot ablate fast enough, the wheel locks, at which point the positive feedback has driven you to the boundary of the state space.

    A positive feedback within an overall negative feedback loop is not unstable, but it does amplify the response and bring the system closer to the boundary of instability.

    Consider a very simple heuristic CO2 model. Let the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere be quantified by X. Assume there is a forcing function pushing CO2 into the air, call it U. At the same time, CO2 is being taken out by processes on the ground, and suppose the rate that they take it out is proportional to the amount in the air with a proportionality constant K > 0. The differential equation is then

    Xdot = -K*X + U

    The -K*X term is a negative feedback. In the steady state, with U constant, X approaches XSS = U/K.

    Suppose there is another process with adds CO2 into the air proportional to the amount already there, with proportionality constant eps > 0. The differential equation becomes

    Xdot = -K*X + eps*X + U = -(K-eps)*X + U

    As long as K > eps, the system is stable. But, the steady state value of X is XSS = U/(K-eps), i.e., the sensitivity XSS/U is increased by a factor K/(K-eps).

    If eps happened to be negative, the sensitivity would have decreased. That is what the Lindzen paper is all about. A positive feedback would amplify the temperature, while a negative one would attenuate it. Lindzen says this crucial feedback, which is positive in all the AIMP models, and begets the increased sensitivity upon which the dire prognostications are based, is, in fact, observationally negative.

  59. “…but it does amplify the response and generally brings the system closer to the boundary of instability.”

  60. Bob Tisdale (09:23:45) :

    “Richard M (07:02:12) : I believe it could be argued that the paper indicates that the interpretation of the models has been wrong. Regardless, it’s an interesting paper.”

    Well, I may have been a little strong but, they did throw out about half the models up front. The others were then re-interpreted based on findings that were not understood by any of the model developers. Hmmmm. Add in the fact that many models are often “averaged” to get meaningful results and my own interpretation is ALL the models are now in question … as they should be.

  61. “”” Bart (20:30:12) :

    “A net positive feedback CAN be quite stable; and there are many examples of such.”

    Only when stabilized by a more potent negative feedback. Your brake pad example has an overriding negative feedback in the ablation of the asbestos pads, which prevents ever increasing pressure. Or, if the pads cannot ablate fast enough, the wheel locks, at which point the positive feedback has driven you to the boundary of the state space. “””

    Sorry; but I don’t agree. In the case of the leading shoe brake positive feedback; it is a very trivial leverage situation designed into the particular geometry of the shoe. The circumferential friction force is simply the net outward force between the shoe and the drum times the coefficient of friction. The fulcrum point of the lever arm at which that friction force acts, is the center of the stop pin at the leading edge of the shoe, and by design (and necessity) that is placed at a smaller radius than the drum radius. The torque set up by that friction force times that short lever arm creates an additional outward thrust on the shoe that is that torque divided by the effective length of the shoe, which depends on the exact design of the shoe. But that additional outward force is a fraction of the hydraulically applied force., so the gain is only fractionally greater than one.

    There is no overall negative feedback whatsoever. Any rate of wear of the brake pad material is so slow that there is no geometry change that results from brake erosion during any braking incident.

    But that is quite beside the point, because your statement That the positive feedback system can only be stable in the presence of “more powerful” negative feedback is simply not true. the system will only be unstable when the Nyquist condition says it is unstable; meaning the complex plane plot of the loop gain locus encircles the -1,0 point. That condition can occur in “negative feedback” systems, because the propagation delays in both the forward gain block (Dr Roy’s (A),) and also in the feedback block (B). results in a phase shift at some frequency that turns a subtractive feedback into an additive one, and the amplitude is such at those frequencies that the -1,0 point is encircled.

    However it is in fact (used to be anyway) quite reasonable to employ positive feedback inside the forward gain block (A) of a feedback system; that employs a negative feedback block (B).

    The reason for that is that the magnitude of the forward gain (A) is thereby increased, due to the positive feedback, and that will result in the residual errors (at low frequencies) of the overall system to be reduced..

    In feedback systems where |A| is high, the closed loop gain can be made highly independent of (A), and dependent only on the feedback network (B) which in electronic feedback systems, can be made from highly accurate and stable components. The fact that the positive feedback inside the (A) block makes |A| more noisy and variable; does not detract from the potential benefits of having a higher forward gain because of the positive feedback.

    Stable positive feedback is similar in concept to the idea of the infinite sum
    S = 1 +1/2+1/4+1/8+… which sums to 2.
    Whereas the sum 1+1/2+1/3+1/4+1/5+… is unstable.

    Certainly positive feedback gain blocks inside negativew feedback loops are not as good as a system where the full forward gain is obtained without regeneration; but they can be a better solution than one that simply makes do with a lower gain (A).

    Of course this is all irrelevent to climate systems, since none of the processes of climate have anything like the kind of gains that electronc feedback systems can conjure up.

    But the more important point is that as near as I can tell from the literature; absolutely nothing is known about the time domain or frequency domain response of any of the putative elements of any climate feedback system; and I still think the concept of feedback is quite overused when discussing climate; particularly because none of the involved processes are even remotely unidirectional; which is a fundamental assumption of simple feedback analytical mathematics. More often the processes are like chemical reactions where the equilibrium can be driven in either direction depending on the conditions; they are not really gain systems at all.

    Once integrated operational amplifiers became popcorn elements of analog circuitry, the op-amp people went totally nuts, and the ideal op amp in their minds had gains of over a million; and they weren’t at all concerned that the open loop frequency respons had a cuoff frequency of 1-10 Herz.

    It was always my contention that the open loop forwqard gain of any feedback amplifier system; should be at least that which was required of the closed loop final result; and that the forward gain should be whatever one could muster, while still meeting that bandwidth need. The result of course would be that the dc accuracy of the system might be lower (well it would be) but if for example you were trying to build a hi-fi stereo system; who the hell wants a DC resonse anyway.

    The result of using the infinite gain zero bandwidth op amp approach is that since the forward gain starts dopping at very low frequencies, the benefits of the feedback get shed right from those lower frequencies; once the gain of the (A) block starts falling.

    But these days; people have no idea what high fidelity stereo sounds like; they are quite happy with MP3 quality; well it is more than adequate for the current song du jour mentality of today’s “music” listeners. Stereo system sound quality has gone steadily backwards since about 1980; and now you can get a whole “hi-fi” system about the size of a match box. it takes 500 Watts to run it; but it sure is small.

    All you have to do is play a French Organ work through it to learn what a piece of crap it really is.

    None of which has anything to do with climate; but I’m quite sure that the climate science folks don’t know any more about feedback systems than the MP3 people and ipod people do.

  62. I don’t understand either the Lindzen paper or Spencer’s alternative. Here’s my rudementary understanding of thew way things should work from a basic physics perspective. If you can explain how the analysis of the satellite data and the climate system should differ from this, please let me know how and why.

    Take the theoretical example of a planet irradiated by a sun and encircled by an imaginary device that measures all radiant energy (black body energy or whatever you want to call it) leaving said planet. Let’s say there is a certain rate of energy absorbed by the planet (actually a sum of energy made by the planet in the form of geothermal energy, plus radiant energy from the sun absorbed by the planet), expressed in watts. Let’s call that number of watts W in. Let’s say that W in is constant over a given interval of time. Now let’s designate the amount of black body irradiation leaving the planet as W out. Let’s start off with the planet very cool, emitting relatively little black body irradiation, such that W out < W in. My understanding of physics, the planet and its atmosphere will gradually warm, this increasing the black body radiation emitted by the planet, until W out approaches and becomes exactly equal to W in. That's the steady state, when the outgoing black body radiation is exactly equal to the incoming radiation absorbed by the planet plus the geothermal energy, W (a measure of power). W out = W in.

    Now let's introduce a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere of this hypothetical planet, leaving the input W in the same. What should happen? Well, initially, the amount of black body radiation emitted by the planet should decrease due to the greenhouse gas blocking some of the outgoing black body radiation, such that W out < W in. However, because W out < W in, the planet should gradually warm. How much should it warm? Well, the surface should warm, resulting in more black body radiation leaving the surface, until conditions are met such that, even when some of this radiation is blocked by the greenhouse gas, the total amount of black body radiation leaving the planet once again equals W in. So once again, W out = W in.

    So here is the part I don't understand. You have a satellite that is ostensibly measuring black body radiation leaving a planet. It is essentially measuring W out. How can this satellite detect the temperature influence of a greenhouse gas? You may introduce a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. This will block some of the block body energy leaving the planet; initially the detected W out will decrease, but only for so long as it takes for the surface to warm to compensate for absorbance of the greenhouse case, until W out once again = W in.

    So from my perspective as a physicist, a satellite measuring outgoing black body radiation from a planet may see changes in outgoing intensity only under the following conditions:

    A) Changes in solar irradiance, resulting in changes in W in.
    B) Changes in albedo of the planet, resulting in changes in W in.
    C) Changes in the geothermal energy production of the planet, resulting in changes in W in.
    D) Changes in the directionality of the flux of energy W out flowing from different parts of the planet (e.g. more proportion of outgoing black body irradiation leaving the equator vs. the poles if the satellite only measures at the equator).

    However, a change in greenhouse gases should be completely undetectable to a satellite measuring black body irradiation, even if the surface temperature of the earth beneath the atmosphere changes. And if it is completely insensitive to one greenhouse gas (e.g. CO2), then it will also be completely insensitive to other greenhouse gases (e.g. water vapor, the basis for proposed high climate sensitivities).

    What am I not understanding about this discussion?

  63. I guess what I’m saying is, if the surface of a planet warms due to the effect of a greenhouse gas, a satellite measuring outgoing black body irradiation shouldn’t see it. It shouldn’t see any change in outgoing black body irradiation at all.

    That is, unless there is some sophisticated stuff aboard that satellite that I don’t understand, or the satellite is measuring something other than what I think it’s measuring. What is that technology?

  64. Bart (19:57:04) :

    “Re AMIP vs. CMIP: AMIP is not part of CMIP, but it is used to validate it. Here is a comment I left on a recent board:

    CMIP and AMIP agree closely in their fundamental predictions. If you remove the positive feedback from the AMIP, they will diverge considerably.

    In this paper, the authors state of the CMIP models:

    These coupled climate models have exhibited a problem not evident in the behavior of atmospheric GCMs run with prescribed SSTs and sea ice. Errors in fluxes of heat, momentum and water across the ocean-atmosphere interface can lead to “climate drift” away from observations. Nonphysical, ad hoc flux adjustments were initially regarded as necessary to correct the problem”

    The modellers would certain have you believe that ‘flux adjustments’ are no longer required in their latest models BUT who is to say exactly what other ‘adjustments’ they have done to their models in order to keep stable on multi-centennial simulations?

    For me, this is just ‘fluff’ and as Steve McIntyre would put it ‘moving the pea under the thimble’ i.e they;ve just swapped in a better numerical method for a lousey numerical method. The fact is the GCMs are full of parameterised equations which can be ‘tweaked’ to produce any desired result and changes to some of these parameters can have dramatic effects on their predictions (or should that be projections?). For example have a look at this link

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2564

    From AR4 Chapter 8

    “In many climate models, details in the representation of clouds can substantially affect the model estimates of cloud feedback and climate sensitivity (e.g., Senior and Mitchell, 1993; Le Treut et al., 1994; Yao and Del Genio, 2002; Zhang, 2004; Stainforth et al., 2005; Yokohata et al., 2005). Moreover, the spread of climate sensitivity estimates among current models arises primarily from inter-model differences in cloud feedbacks (Colman, 2003a; Soden and Held, 2006; Webb et al., 2006; Section 8.6.2, Figure 8.14). Therefore, cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates.

    Yet the science is supposed to be settled to the extent that in December we will sign up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Treaty and transfer up to 2% of our GDP annually to developing countries in compensation for the ‘climate damage’ we have done to them? NOT!

    KevinUK

  65. If Lindzen&Choi’s ERBE paper were the main argument against AGW, the issue would be settled pretty soon. But of course it isn’t. Real climate feedback are overly complicated.

    Lindzen in his Deconstruction: “The fact that _all_models show a negative slope corresponding to a positive feedback, has led virtually all scientific bodies including the IPCC to declare this property to be ‘robust’. But, what does the data show?”

    Is this a precise account of the reasons for the widespread assumption of a net positive feedback from CO2 forcing? And if not, should it have any consequences for Lindzen?

  66. Okay, just me being dumb again. But it seems to me that a satellite that measures outgoing black body irradiation from earth, provided its measurements are that of a steady state system (big if), should only be able to detect climate feedback changes originating from changes in albedo (e.g. clouds). It will not detect any changes in outgoing black body irradiation arising from greenhouse-type effects (e.g. CO2, water vapor, maybe also clouds) – because at least in the steady state, there are none.

  67. julian (23:56:40)

    Wouldn’t the satellite record a discrepancy between energy in and energy out during the period of time that the system is adjusting it’s temperature to an ongoing change, such as a steady increase in a particular greenhouse gas ?

    Presumably, during the period of transition to a new equilibrium the energy out would be slightly less than the energy in.

    The thing is that the Earth’s climate is in a state of constantly changing temperature equilibrium, not primarily because of changing levels of GHGs but much more because of the changes in the rate of energy flow through the system caused by large changes in the rate at which the oceans release energy to the air.

    Yet the satellites seem not to notice that process of constant change as much as I think they should (do they see it at all ?).

    Hence my suggestion that some process in the air is applying an equal and opposite climate forcing to the climate forcing provided by those changes in the rate of energy flow from the oceans.

    My favoured candidates are the speed of the hydrological cycle in the troposphere combined with changes in the radiative properties of the stratosphere possibly caused by changes in the height, density and depth of the layers in the stratosphere.

  68. Julian (23:56:40) :

    I suppose the ERBE scatter plot, that shows Delta(radiationflow) versus delta(SeaSurfaceTemperature) is part of your

    Julian (23:46:09) :

    Now let’s introduce a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere of this hypothetical planet, leaving the input W in the same. What should happen? Well, initially, the amount of black body radiation emitted by the planet should decrease due to the greenhouse gas blocking some of the outgoing black body radiation, such that W out < W in. However, because W out < W in, the planet should gradually warm. How much should it warm? Well, the surface should warm, resulting in more black body radiation leaving the surface, until conditions are met such that, even when some of this radiation is blocked by the greenhouse gas, the total amount of black body radiation leaving the planet once again equals W in. So once again, W out = W in.
    i.e. the transient part until the new equilibrium is reached, that energy has to leave and is what is being measured. That is why Spencer is picking on the short feedback and long feedback issue, a time issue, but before the new equilibrium is reached. Things do not happen instantaneously and give rise to the deltaXXX plotted. These quantities are drastically different for the AMIP protocol following model runs than for the ERBE data, and thus the models are exposed as giving wrong results and therefore should be scrapped..

    If as Bart says the CMIP protocol runs are dependent on the AMIP protocol, all models are then exposed as wrong despite what Spencer is talking about above.

    quote from Bart (19:57:04) :

    Re AMIP vs. CMIP: AMIP is not part of CMIP, but it is used to validate it.
    ……..

    CMIP and AMIP agree closely in their fundamental predictions. If you remove the positive feedback from the AMIP, they will diverge considerably.

    ……..
    The CMIP typically diverges from AMIP. To bring them in line, researchers use fudge factors. Or, they find a CMIP which agrees with AMIP. Therefore, the veracity of AMIP is fundamental.

  69. Julian, you are correct.

    There is a time lag to consider though. How long does it take for “W out” to equilibrate with “W in” if there is an imbalance? The climate models consider this to be lag to be very long. I think this all mostly happens at the speed of light (with some molecules storing up the energy for a short of period) so the W out energy just takes a random walk sort of path on the way “out” but it is still very, very short. As a physicist, what do you think the lag times can be.

    Secondly, the climate models consider the level of the atmosphere the W out temperature/radiation occurs on average to be the important metric (the tropopause). If there is more warming, the tropopause just goes up higher in the atmosphere. It is still the same W out, but now it is 500M higher up.

    Given a standard lapse rate of 6C/km (temps increase in the atmosphere by 6C for every km below the W out tropopause layer), the surface will now be warmer.

    So, if the satellites measured the change in radiation at the exact same layer where the tropopause started at 30 years ago, one could maybe calculate how the greenhouse effect is actually operating. (It sounds too hard to calibrate this properly to me however.)

    Given all these complications, it is not hard to see where a climate model/theory could take a wrong turn and not describe the real Earth properly.

  70. Julian,
    Some of your questions arise, I believe, because you are not clearly distinguishing between the surface of the planet and the top of atmosphere (TOA) where the emissions are being measured here. While it may be legitimate to assume in some models that the planetary surface acts as a blackbody, or more accurately a greybody, radiator, one cannot treat the TOA as one.

    If one goes back to the original Kiel and Trenbarth paper to calculate radiative forcing from GHGs, it is clear that they EXPECTED to see a reduction in outgoing radiative emissions in the CO2 bands if atmospheric CO2 increased. This is not compatible with blackbody or greybody radiative behaviour at TOA. If you go to this site:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-do-we-know-CO2-is-causing-warming.html you will also see some slightly dubious but probably valid empirical evidence supporting a reduction in radiative flux in the CO2 bands at top of atmosphere over a timeframe (taken from Harries in a series of accessible post-2001 papers) as CO2 has increased.
    What I am saying therefore is that while your inferences about greybody behaviour at the surface may be correct, the results being considered here are not “blackbody” nor even “greybody” radiation. They are look instead at the emitted spectrum from the Earth’s surface after it has been filtered and “processed” by Earth’s atmosphere as well as those wavelengths reflected by Earth’s albedo. The variation in these emissions therefore does become a function of: variation in GHGs, changes in albedo and feedback effects on flux induced over different periods of time by the different impacts of changesin temperatures. I hope this helps.

  71. Julian (23:46:09) :

    these are indeed the simple headed principles borrowed from physics and engineering to explain the complexities of nature and ecodiversity. They’re used in physics to expedite technology.

  72. how it became applied to explain a sophisticated paramenter like the earth -well, its probably due to NASA. I’ve always thought that NASA’s grasp of earth science and even physics were dense and incredible. Incidentally, the planet cools through low frequency infrared radiation (below the wavelength absorbed by “greenhouse gasses”); and therefore greenhouse gasses do not reduce the rate of cool-down. Its only through introducing physics used in engineering that the system is contrived otherwise. They just don’t apply.

  73. Bill Illis,

    first off Bill – did you ever get the last info I posted for you back on the 350 co2 thread last week???

    Second, while the 1997 activity is undoubtedly strongly impacted or caused by ENSO, it also resulted in a massive change (drop) in albedo due to reduced cloud cover as well. I think the peak to peak magnitude of that facet was about 10 W/m^2. Since balance indicates an average emission close to 239 W/m^2 and clear skies tend to emit something in the order of 260 W/m^2, it’s only natural to expect that top of cloud emission be in the rough vaccinity of 210 W/m^2 (averaged) as cloud cover runs about 60% (and cloud tops are cooler for emissions which bring it down towards that level. The variable cloud cover (and hence variable albedo) are capable of causing both a change in the incoming solar and in the variation of outgoing LW without direct regard to the SST. Greater cloud cover reduces OLR (replacing surface outgoing with top of cloud) and it reduces incoming SW even more. a Stefan’s law solution for Earth including the variation of albedo for SW would result in about a 10 deg C rise for clear skies over what we have at present. A total overcast (100% cover) is much more subjective but it would result in somewhat lower mean T than we have now. Net result suggests that the radiated power is not just a function of SST but also of the cloud cover. It also suggests the presence of a major negative feedback (cloud formation) that creates a setpoint control over the cloud fraction to stabilize it (Lindzen Iris effect or something similar).

    Consequently, I don’t see how the system can be analyzed without taking into account the albedo variation as well and what albedo measurements seem to exist have a failure and missing data around the most critical 1997 time frame (except for the proxy by Palle’ & Goode).

  74. Bill Illis,

    These figures in wm/2 are quite absurd. Are they from the Steffan Bolzzman constant? If so they apply to electronics, engineering and incandescent metals. They can’t be borrowed for gases and liquids

  75. on th eSteffan Bolzzman: someone calculated with this that the human emits 500wm/2. Calorimeters and remote sensors detect 85w/m2

    500 w/m2 is the required energy to boil sunflower oil

  76. Bill Illis (06:14:37)

    it could be calculated according to temperatures. The troposhere loses 6C for every kilometre. At the top of the troposphere, typical temperatures are -60C, varying on season, and equator/pole. At this point c02 has 5% of its peak efficiency, so absorbs at the shoulders where it competes in the same wavelengths as nitrogen and oxygen. There are millions of times more 02 and N2 molecules in the upper troposhere than c02 molecules.

    the greenhouse effect takes place at the 1st 15 metres from ground level.
    The period of time a molecule like c02 holds heat is a trillionth of a second before it transmits to other molecules with which it thermalises, such as 02 and N2

  77. Bill Illis says:

    There is a time lag to consider though. How long does it take for “W out” to equilibrate with “W in” if there is an imbalance? The climate models consider this to be lag to be very long. I think this all mostly happens at the speed of light (with some molecules storing up the energy for a short of period) so the W out energy just takes a random walk sort of path on the way “out” but it is still very, very short.

    No…The time constant in question is determined by how long it takes to heat up the system when a give radiative imbalance is applied, which is quite long once you consider the fact that the oceans provide a lot of thermal inertia. There are some legitimate questions about exactly how long this is since it depends quite sensitively on mixing between the mixed layer and the deep oceans…but even if one assumes the mixed layer is completely isolated from the deep ocean, one still gets a time constant of about 5-10 years. Mixing with the deep ocean then makes the effective time constant even longer.

  78. cba (06:53:37) :

    first off Bill – did you ever get the last info I posted for you back on the 350 co2 thread last week???

    No, sorry I didn’t see it until now. I checked back a few times but I guess I lost track of the thread. Sorry.

    Let’s continue the discussion there, but give me till later tonight to go through it in more detail

  79. “”” Julian (23:56:40) :

    I guess what I’m saying is, if the surface of a planet warms due to the effect of a greenhouse gas, a satellite measuring outgoing black body irradiation shouldn’t see it. It shouldn’t see any change in outgoing black body irradiation at all. “””

    I’m not sure you are seeing the picture Julian. The earth continually receives 1366 W/m^2 from the sun, over a projected area of pi.R^2, which constantly illuminates a bit more than twice that area (2pi.R^2); actually about 50.4% of the total earth surface area of 4pi.R^2.

    That EM radiation has the typical solar spectrum distribution, which approximates a black body radiation spectrum, at a temperature of roughly 6000K. That spectrum has it peak spectral irradiance at about 0.5 microns wavelength; and about 98% of that energy is contained between the points at half the peak to 8 times the peak; or 0.25 to 4.0 microns wavelength range. That is what continually bathes half of the planet’s surface area. The extra 0.4% results from the angular diameter of the sun being 0.5 degrees, and the atmosphereic refraction adds about another half degree.
    As a result of atmospheric refractionwhen the sun appears to be sitting just touching the horizon, it is actually already completely below the horizon. The twilight condition adds some extra area to the fraction of the earth that is sunlit at all times.

    That solar spectrum radiation is partly absorbed by the earth and partly reflected (albedo). The major contributors to albedo are clouds and snow/ice which roughly reflect the whole solar spectrum. Other surfaces may be more spectrally selective; but what they refelct is still within that solar spectrum 0.25 to 4.0 micron range (1% residual below 0.25 microns, and 1% above 4 microns).

    Most of the non reflected solar energy goes into the oceans; but some of it is absorbed by the land, and some also is absorbed by the atmosphere. As a result, the oceans, the land, and the atmosphere are all directly heated by solar spectrum radiation; which as I said is roughly 6000K BB radiation.

    In turn the components of the earth are heated to temperatures ranging from about -90 C to about +60 C in the extremes (183K to 333K).

    ALL of these components in turn emit thermal radiation which approximates black body radiation corresponding to whatever the local temperature is; but modified by non spectrally constant emissivities; but they all still generally follow a fourth power of T law for total emittance.

    At the “global mean” temperature of about 288K, the emitted LWIR spectrum peaks at about 10.1 microns; but has 98% of its energy from about 5 microns up to 80 microns. The hotter tropical deserts emit a shorter wavelength spectrum (Wien’s Displacement Law), and the colder polar regions emit a longer wavelength spectrum.

    Overall, then the total emission spectrum is not black body, because the earth is not an isothermal emitter; but it generally still follows the fourth poower law as to total energy emitted; which ultimately must balance the energy absorbed from the sun.

    The thermal radiation emitted by the atmosphere is emitted in all directions; so some of it goes downwards towards the surface, and some of it goes upwards to escape to space as LWIR; which can be seen from a satellite; which of course can also see the LWIR emitted from the surface areas.

    One can argue that the atmosphere emissions are warming the surface; but really that is energy that came from the sun; and either heated the atmosphere directly or indirectly as a result of so called GHG capture of LWIR emissions from the surface. In that the GHG capture process results in a delay of the escape of the LWIR; that slows the cooling of the planet, and in the meantime more sunlight arives, so the temperature moves up a little.

    Anyone who believes that the atmosphere does not emit LWIR thermal emissions, (BB like) just as the surface does; might like to come up with a quick alternative explanation for why it is that the gaseous sun emits a BB like thermal radiation spectrum; but the gaseous earth atmosphere does not.

    As for the downward thermal radiation emitted from the atmosphere; that is mostly absorbed in the top ten microns or so of the oceans urfaces; whcih comprise about 73% of the earth surface; and intercept decidedly more that 73% of the total absorbed incoming solar energy. (the tropics are somewhat more oceanic than land).

    All of the plots I have ever seen of the earth’s radiation as seen from outer space; show a spectrum that looks very much like a black body spectrum; with a somewhat flattened peak due to the range of temperatures actually emitting; but with some cuts in it, mostly due to CO2 and Ozone absorption holes. These curves are often calculated; and they pretty universally omit water vapor as a component of the atmosphere; even though water vapor is always present in the atmosphere in amounts that are greater than the CO2 abundance. I suspect that in the stratosphere the water content is small; but then so is the atmosphereic gas content as in N2 and O2 and Ar; and the amount of CO2 up there can hardly be capturing much LWIR energy.

    Be that as it may; what little LWIR is captured by CO2 in the stratosphere; when distributed to the normal atmosphere gases in collisions; will raise the temperature; because there is so little mass to heat anyway. But as a source of heat to warm the surface it must be rather puny.

  80. George E. Smith (23:08:51) : “Sorry; but I don’t agree…The system will only be unstable when the Nyquist condition says it is unstable…

    That is the very definition of dominant positive feedback.

    That condition can occur in “negative feedback” systems, because the propagation delays in ….

    Then, the negative feedback has become ‘positive feedback’. Why? Because a transport lag can be modeled as a network with right half plane zeros. When you put in a negative feedback, the open loop poles necessarily are attracted to the open loop zeros. If the gain is too high, the poles go over into the right half plane. The feedback becomes self-reinforcing, i.e., an induced positive feedback.

    I did not say a more powerful negative feedback will always stabilize a plant. I said it is necessary. But, it is not sufficient. The general rule is, when you have a right half plane pole, for stability, your negative feedback has to be ‘faster’ than the unstable pole. But, it has to be ‘slower’ than any right half plane zero, or ate least some (it only takes one) closed loop poles will migrate into the right half plane.

    I’ve actually thought this effect could be used to vet some of the climate models and possibly disqualify some, if anyone involved has the know-how to derive the zero dynamics. Non-minimum phase (right half plane for a linear system) zero dynamics constrain the magnitude of negative feedbacks which would yield a stable system. If we take it as given that the Earth climate is autonomously stable, then any unforced model which became unstable in the presence of known feedbacks would be inadmissible. An instability might be very long term, and so not be observable in a practical time domain simulation.

  81. anna v (05:27:40) : “If as Bart says the CMIP protocol runs are dependent on the AMIP protocol…”

    I’m not saying it and expecting anyone to take my word for it, because I have not offered any curriculum vitae for people to take me seriously on the subject. I provided a link, and that is how I interpret it. Make your own determination.

    The link.

  82. Bill is quite correct. It takes radiation little time to leave the atmosphere. Heat via convection stays around in the atmosphere for considerably longer. Oceans however, can absorb a great deal of heat without increasing ocean temperatures. This is from where the atmosphere is in fact heated.

  83. “The general rule is, when you have a right half plane pole, for stability, your negative feedback has to be ‘faster’ than the unstable pole. But, it has to be ’slower’ than any right half plane zero…”

    More generally, it has to be bracketed by the two. Most non-minimum phase systems I deal with are of the former type.

  84. Paul:
    > Some of your questions arise, I believe, because you are not
    > clearly distinguishing between the surface of the planet and
    > the top of atmosphere (TOA) where the emissions are being
    > measured here. While it may be legitimate to assume in
    > some models that the planetary surface acts as a blackbody,
    > or more accurately a greybody, radiator, one cannot treat
    > the TOA as one.

    Well that’s an interesting concept, and it goes towards the question, what exactly are these satellites measuring? My understanding, is that the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) carried on the ERBS satellite, which is the source of data for these discussions, was designed among other things to measure total radiative output from earth – not just from the top of the atmosphere. While in fact the satellite may be positioned somewhere near the top of the atmosphere, it should be measuring not only radiative output originating from the atmosphere, but also the radiative output from the earth surface that manages to be transmitted through the atmosphere out to space. See:

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

    This is in contrast to the satellites which form the basis for the UAH and RSS data sets, which actually measure atmospheric temperatures at different altitudes according to the amount of radiative heat visualized originating from the atmosphere at different altitudes. By my understanding this is done by looking at radiation intensities at specific wavelengths (rather than a measure of total radiative output) and by calculations from different view angles. These satellites are not typically measuring total radiation budget as per my understanding. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_temperature_measurements#The_satellite_temperature_record

    But if in fact ERBE is measuring total radiative budget, then I think that the W in vs. W out argument should hold in a steady state system. If it does not hold, then I think it should be clear that ERBE is measuring something other than total radiative budget.

    Paul
    > If one goes back to the original Kiel and Trenbarth paper to
    > calculate radiative forcing from GHGs, it is clear that they
    > EXPECTED to see a reduction in outgoing radiative
    > emissions in the CO2 bands if atmospheric CO2 increased.

    In the CO2 bands, true. But in the steady state the total radiation budget must be balanced. In the steady state, where CO2 rises, outgoing radiative energy in the CO2 bands decreases. This causes an increase in temperatures. Then, outgoing radiation across a broad spectrum increases to compensate for the low amount of outgoing radiative nerve in the CO2 bands. But in the steady state the radiation budget must still be balanced.

    Illis:
    > There is a time lag to consider though. How long does it
    > take for “W out” to equilibrate with “W in” if there is an
    > imbalance? The climate models consider this to be lag
    > to be very long.
    Wilde:
    > Wouldn’t the satellite record a discrepancy between energy
    > in and energy out during the period of time that the system
    > is adjusting it’s temperature to an ongoing change, such as
    > a steady increase in a particular greenhouse gas ?

    This is particularly true. The Earth is probably almost never in a complete steady state. But still, it becomes difficult for me to grasp what exactly is being measured in the ERBE experiments and what the analysis of the data is seeing.

    And maybe that is the point. The paper posits to measure feedback response to changes in temperature. So, we look at the planet at a time where temperature is increasing. For example, increasing global temperatures may release of additional water into the atmosphere which is in a form (vapor or cloud at a given altitude) that it can act as a greenhouse gas, then the radiative output from the earth will initially decrease. But how gradually would the vapor enter into the atmosphere after the increase in global temperatures and how gradually would the feedback increase in atmospheric vapor increase global temperatures such that the outbound radiative budget completely compensates for the shielding effect of the additional vapor?

    I understand how the results seriously challenge the models. I’m just not sure what it means in terms of forming an estimate for tactual climate sensitivity. Can an estimate of climate sensitivity really be derived in this fashion in a reliable manner?

  85. I tried to put my head around this but I can’t. I must be too dumb. Which is just as well, because I don’t understand how a bunch of crapped up computer models can come up with a realistic estimate of climate sensitivity either.

  86. George,

    solar radiation is coming from a much hotter gas.

    In general, you need a solid or liquid to achieve a bb type spectrum. Now whereever there are clouds, you have very small solids and/or liquids. Also, it seems there are dimers – present that create a broadening to spectral lines in the atmosphere. This gives one a bb spectrum at even lower temperature than surface radiation.

    For gases, one is limited to spectrums that are preferential to molecules present. The bb spectral distribution actually gives one the population of excited states or the liklihood of emission at each wavelength that can radiate but a particular molecule is limited to its lines which are the same as the absorption lines. These are broadened by temperature and pressure (and by doppler shifting when there is massive convection like at the solar photosphere “surface”P). As it turns out, the difference between a gas absorbing spectral lines from a radiating source behind it or whether it radiates spectral lines is a function of how hot the gas is relative to the radiating source. If it’s the same – there will be neither emission nor absorption lines evident and if it is hotter – there will be emission lines.

    As one goes up above the cloud layer area, one finds most of the h2o vapor gone. The top of the clouds is also where one finds the particles of h2o liquid or solids capable of radiating a continuum. It’s much colder up there so it radiates somewhat less than the surface – but then again – there’s very little to stop any of it. Note that while one sees the climate 101 books describing the reduction in temperature with altitude as a consequence of the ideal gas law and the gravitational potential energy – the presence of h2o vapor and co2 and other ghgs in significant quantities really means that the temperature lapse rate is a function of energy balance.

    joel shore,

    shortwave incoming energy does penetrate to significant depths. Any effect caused by ghg warming is going to be LW. THat means, it’s not going to penetrate the ocean radiatively for any distance. Above 4 deg C, warmer water is lower density than colder so it rises. There is plenty of discussion around concerning the skin effect where the skin is at a lower temperature than the area just underneath – supposedly impeading the outward heat flow. That’s because the skin is able to radiate some energy out and to evaporate, carrying the heat of evaporation out of the water. This is also where all of that energy from the GHG generated IR is blocked and absorbed. All you’ve got to convey heat down into the oceans from IR at the surface is conduction and whatever convection might actually move low density water down – in opposition to its tendency to rise. In short, you are stuck with no serious mechanism to bring the heat down into the deep ocean in any meaningful way. I’d like to see you try to boil a beaker of water by heating only from the top using IR. All you can succeed in doing is to evaporate it from the top at a higher rate.

    As for the ocean capacity being massive but taking decades to transfer energy, that’s another crock. Surface radiation at 288K mean temperature is dealing with emissions of 390w/m^2 with about 70% radiating off into space. Once you extend the time frame out for these massive ocean sink/source of energy, you’ve just restricted the flow of energy to or from to the point of miniscule levels relatively speaking. The atmosphere will reach equilibrium in days to weeks, if not hours – proven by the existence of seasons with warm and cold weather. Who cares what an almost infinite energy source is going to do at limiting a return to full equilibrium if the actual energy transfer contribution involved is so low as to cause a T imbalance of only 0.01 deg C ???? The longer it takes for that equilibrium to come about, the less temperature contribution will be possible.

    Since you claim to be a phd physicist, here’s a tidbit concerning the real system. Orbital differences between aphelion and perihelion is around 90 w/m^2 with peak solar being December. Doing an rms calc., one should see there is a substantial difference in annual energy going to the southern and northern hemispheres when compared to the ghg variations of the last century or so with the southern hemisphere receiving quite a few W/m^2 more than the nothern one. Of course, most of the land mass is in the NH and most of the Pacific ocean is in the SH. We know too that winter time is much colder than summer time for much of each hemisphere indicating that yes indeedy folks – there is sufficient time for the atmosphere to adapt to the various seasons. Despite the significantly greater power hitting the SH, NH summer when the incoming solar is at a minimum is actually the hotter hemisphere during summer.

  87. cba (22:24:39)

    “Above 4 deg C, warmer water is lower density than colder so it rises.

    All you’ve got to convey heat down into the oceans from IR at the surface is conduction and whatever convection might actually move low density water down – in opposition to its tendency to rise.”

    If I remember rightly from my undergratuate physical oceanography (Southampton Univ) water at depths below 2-3 km is always at 4 deg C, it is thermodynamically fixed at that temp due to pressure, not heat exchange. Since this temp indeed is where water (idiosyncratically) has its density maximum, it would require too much energy to change the temperature and thus lift the whole water column. (If by contrast 0 deg C – the melting point – was the density maximum, like with most other liquids, then we would have a frozen bottom to the oceans and no deep circulation.)

    I believe the most important mechanism of taking water down – and the heat that the water has down with it – is downwelling at cold locations: an important example is the Norwegian sea. Major downwelling at the Norwegian sea drives a southward deep current; the North Atlantic drift is a surface current going the opposite direction, perhaps in a compensatory manner.

    However downwelled water at the Norwegian sea will be colder than 4 deg C. Relative to the 4 deg C deep water, downwelled water from the surface brings down cold (so to speak) not heat. So the interesting question is – when this water reaches the bottom and attains the forced temperature of 4 deg C, where does the energy come from to raise it to that temperature? Does gravitational pressure effectively heat the water?

  88. CBA.

    one of the laws of energy is that it can be transformed into other form of energy. Some solar energy is converted into biomass. There’s no way of knowing how much solar energy entering the oceans is converted, or how much total solar energy absorbed at land and sea level is converted into other forms or how much is disippated. It opens the question as to whether the “budget has to balance”. Its too mechanical a concept.

    What happens to the heat that water systems cool? It either disippates or else it is transferred elsewhere. If you had a piece of aluminium at 200C cooled by water then its heat disippates as its electrons become unexcited.

    There is a notion that heat is a constant, although no form of energy is a constant.

  89. Phlogiston (01:57:22) :

    cba (22:24:39)

    “Above 4 deg C, warmer water is lower density than colder so it rises.”

    Water also has the unusual property of to start expanding below 4C and contracting above 4C as its polarities of molecules attract with greater force. Its usually thought this happens at the interface between liquid and solid

  90. Wilson:
    > one of the laws of energy is that it can be transformed
    > into other form of energy. Some solar energy is
    > converted into biomass. There’s no way of knowing
    > how much solar energy entering the oceans is converted,
    > or how much total solar energy absorbed at land and
    > sea level is converted into other forms or how much
    > is disippated.

    True, the earth is not a steady state system – though I doubt that the difference between biomass formation and decompensation has a very large effect on the blanace of heat tranfer in and out of the planet. The oceans in particular however, are a very large heat sink.

    But if in your words “there’s no way of knowing” how much is going this way and how much that way, then how can an estimate of climate sensitivity be derived from this type of analysis?

    1. If in fact there is a significant contribution of GHG to climate sensitivity…

    2. … and if in fact global climate responds to increased concentrations offeed back GHG by increasing temperatures over the time scale of the measurements analyzed in the Lindzen paper…

    3. … and if ERBE measures endergy budget as it is said to measure energy budget..

    … then ERBE will not detect a GHG component to climate feedback. Granted, it’s no more or less valid than modeling, but is that saying much?

    Here’s a couple proposals: is there satellite data that is capable of detecting reduction in outgoing radiative from earh in the CO2 and water vaopr bands? Is there a change in outgoing radiative flux in the CO2 and water vapor bands in response to changing temperatures across the globe? IMO, this would go much further toward quantifying at least some component of climate sensitivity, though it is limited in that it doesn’t encompass all types of feedback mechanisms which contribute to climate sensitivity (e.g. clouds).

    Unless someone has reasoning otherwise though, ERBE seems potentially at least, blind to the effects of GHG.

  91. Phlogiston (01:57:22) :
    cba (22:24:39)

    “Above 4 deg C, warmer water is lower density than colder so it rises.

    All you’ve got to convey heat down into the oceans from IR at the surface is conduction and whatever convection might actually move low density water down – in opposition to its tendency to rise.”

    If I remember rightly from my undergratuate physical oceanography (Southampton Univ) water at depths below 2-3 km is always at 4 deg C, it is thermodynamically fixed at that temp due to pressure, not heat exchange. Since this temp indeed is where water (idiosyncratically) has its density maximum, it would require too much energy to change the temperature and thus lift the whole water column. (If by contrast 0 deg C – the melting point – was the density maximum, like with most other liquids, then we would have a frozen bottom to the oceans and no deep circulation.)

    You’ve described freshwater, saltwater has its maximum density at the freezing point. Salinity is also a major factor in density, the expulsion of brine from freezing ice being a player in the thermohaline circulation.

  92. I’m not even sure that heat transfer in – heat transfer out is as closely allied to balance as is maintained. Heat, or thermal energy isn’t an independent absolute in the way that is characterised, and in any case, when it is converted into biomass, there is a tendency for it to have a negative efect on atmospheric warming.

    it is a mystery what happens to heat. Some is radiated out, most leaves by convection. However: What of the theory of its disappearance as it thermalises? In a closed system, the introduction of cooling agents has this effect. The heat doesn’t migrate necessarily. The theory that heat reduces as electrons become less excited is a plausible one. Not the same as saying that thermal energy is a fixed quantity.

    it is similar to the notion that during the operation of a fulcrum and a lever, we infer resistance and force, but when the lever returns to normal state, that force is no longer incurred. ie, it disappears.

    As for climate sensitivity: The state of the oceans – as ghg’s as they’re called tend not to interfere with the cooling rate, as longwave radiation leaves at wavelengths too low for ghg’s.

    The climate may be sensitive to solar radiation and ocean heat content – however, OHC is purely theoretical. there isn’t a strong argument that heat entering the oceans must automatically be stable and accumulate as it supposedly migrates like whales to other parts of the oceans to reappear at others. It is surely a percentage, of total solar heat…

  93. Philogiston,

    Sounds about like what I recall hearing/reading. Of course by the time one reaches a km down, one has no relevent visible light energy reaching there to heat up things and by the time one jumped in the water, their feet were a long long way below where IR can reach directly. For the far northern (or far southern) climes, one does have the case of turnover going on but this is not the area where one gets much solar energy power from.

    Concerning your interesting question, the gravity potential energy should convert to some heat as one drops a chunk of water down deeper and and there is some also some energy from an increase in pressure as water is not perfectly incompressible. It is a fairly good insulator. FInally, one has geothermal energy coming in from below. While small compare to radiative values, the ocean is only dealing with conductive and convective modes of heat transfer.

    P Wilson,
    I was using the 4 deg C as the example – which is valid for fresh whater but like the freezing point, it is slightly different for salt water, which is denser than fresh as well so it adds complexity that may be very important in some situations but can obscure the basic concepts as well in understanding.

    Concerning the life factor and energy conservation, there certainly is some effect as life absorbs energy and generally converts it to chemical storage of some sort – either that or uses it and it ultimately converts to heat. Life, even though it’s responsible for 21% oxygen in the atmosphere, is still a tiny fraction of energy balance in terms of absorption and generally, it’s not permanent on the moderate term, except perhaps for rock formation. A tree absorbs energy and makes wood. A fire will release that energy again. Decay will ultimately release the energy again. And on the long term, I bet even the rock – calcium carbonate built – up by life absorbing energy is going back into the subduction zones and will be cooked back into its original constituents giving back its energy.

  94. cba (05:57:17)

    different densities of ocean generally classed as thermohaline density gradients, although the common factors are temperature, density and salinity – what drives the THC with freshwater fluxes – as its name suggests, thermo-salt circulation. I don’t even know if we have an adequate picture of the oceans according to these characteristics.

  95. cba:

    (1) I don’t understand your whole point about the LW radiation not penetrating. Indeed, the skin layer plays the important role of reducing the transfer of the heat that is absorbed from the SW radiation back out into the atmosphere. See further discussion here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/

    (2) You seem to be waving your hands around a lot talking about seasonal changes and what that has to say about the time constant for heating the oceans and then you go off on a big tangent about the relative radiation received by the two hemispheres and their climate, but it seems to me you are generating more “heat” than “light”. In particular, if you really believe that this shows anything significantly wrong with the time constants derived for long-term warming of the climate system, then you ought to be able to point to some definite issues, e.g., you could point to demonstrations that the climate models that forecast this timescale for response to the long-term warming aren’t able to correctly simulate the seasonal cycle or the relative temperatures of the two hemispheres. If that were the case, then we might really have something interesting to talk about, but to me your arguments now just seem like a lawyer bringing up all sorts of superfluous issues and questions in an attempt to distract the jury from the fact that his client was caught red-handed with the murder weapon.

  96. cba: Just to give you an idea of why your argument about seasons doesn’t seem too convincing to me – If one looks at a graph of insolation vs latitude for, say, Dec 21, one sees that the variation is huge…Of course, areas north of the Arctic Circle get no insolation but even at 30deg north, the insolation is only about half of what it is for the whole Southern Hemisphere south of 30deg south. So, in fact, without considerable thermal inertia, temperature swings would be much more dramatic. Of course, the real earth is very complex, with lots of heat transport by advection, ocean currents, and other means, issues of cloud albedo and trapping of longwave radiation to consider, etc., etc. But, my point simply is that making a statement like, “The atmosphere will reach equilibrium in days to weeks, if not hours – proven by the existence of seasons with warm and cold weather” is really way too simplistic.

  97. “”” Joel Shore (10:23:19) :

    ” But, my point simply is that making a statement like, “The atmosphere will reach equilibrium in days to weeks, if not hours – proven by the existence of seasons with warm and cold weather” is really way too simplistic. “””

    Say Joel,

    Why don’t you give me a shout, next time you obseve; or even hear about the atmosphere being in “equilibrium.”

    That I gotta see !

  98. “”” Bart (11:24:22) :

    George E. Smith (23:08:51) : “Sorry; but I don’t agree…The system will only be unstable when the Nyquist condition says it is unstable…

    That is the very definition of dominant positive feedback.

    That condition can occur in “negative feedback” systems, because the propagation delays in ….

    Then, the negative feedback has become ‘positive feedback’. Why? “””

    Well I’ll let you use your definitions; mine have worked ok for me for over 50 years.

    Negative feedback systems subtract from the input signal AT ZERO FREQUENCY; while Positive feedback system add to the input signal AT ZERO FREQUENCY.

    Can’t say I’ve ever heard the term “Dominant Positive Feedback”; why wouldn’t one just call that an oscillator ? I’ve seen plenty of positive feedback systems that were not oscillators; qite stable at any operating frequency; and without the use of anything even approximating a negative feedback effect anywhere in the system.

    My whole point has been that classical feedback analysis relies on the assumption that the forward gain and feedback blocks are unidirectional. I don’t have a single textbook in which there is any discussion of reverse transmission of the forward gain block or forward transmission of the feedback block, even though forward propagation through a passive feedback network is quite obvious.

    When you try to model anything like a climate process as if it were a feedback system; yopu can’t find anything in the phuysical system that is even approximately unidirectional.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t analyse systems with bidirectional propagation; they are just more complicated to analyse; so very few would bother to do it; rather than arrange system elements to conform to designs whose analysis is well uinderstood.

    I don’t think the feedback model adds any understanding whatsoever to climate systems. Water vapor is a simple GHG just like CO2 except it has a much greater efect than CO2; and it is silly to believe that water vapor doesn’t start to act until jolted into action by CO2, in some supposed feedback process.

  99. Phil. (05:34:50)

    “You’ve described freshwater, saltwater has its maximum density at the freezing point.”

    You’re right, I stand corrected. Seawater (35 p/th) does not have a density minimum at 4 C but actually subzero. But sea ice floats. So close to or at freezing there must be expansion. I looked up some references – there is in fact small adaiabatic warming of water when it descends to kilometer depths due to slight compression.

  100. cba (05:57:17)

    I looked up some references – there is in fact small adaiabatic warming of water when it descends to kilometer depths due to slight compression.

    Joel Shore (10:23:19)

    What do you mean by thermal inertia?

    I agree that atmospheres and oceans never get anywhere close to equilibrium. The deep ocean currents can be considered as separate from surface currents and frequently the two flow in different directions. A round trip on oceanic circulation takes about 1000 years. This is why CO2 increase lags up to several centuries after climate temperature increase – slowly warming oceans hold less CO2 just as warm lager loses its fizz.

    The non-equilibrium status leads to nonlinear-chaotic behaviour and the implications for feedback that have been discussed before.

    I’ve noticed some engineers are joining in the debate. That brings back memories from University days – the engineers corridors in the prison-like halls of residence were always the most rowdy and noisy. Engineers always seemed aggressively self-confident. This is a good thing of course – who would want to step onto a bridge or plane designed by someone plagued by self-doubt?

    Engineers make their own little worlds in what they design and need to have total understanding and control of all processes happening within those worlds. This is also a good thing. But taking this mind-set into climate study is problematic. There is more to climate feedbacks than what happens in a Fender Stratocaster and amp. The scale and complexity need to be more appreciated, including the role of chaotic non-linear dynamics that changes everything in terms of feedbacks and cycles/oscillations. Read some Tsonis.

  101. “”” Phlogiston (14:55:18) :

    Phil. (05:34:50)

    “You’ve described freshwater, saltwater has its maximum density at the freezing point.”

    You’re right, I stand corrected. Seawater (35 p/th) does not have a density minimum at 4 C but actually subzero. But sea ice floats. So close to or at freezing there must be expansion. I looked up some references – there is in fact small adaiabatic warming of water when it descends to kilometer depths due to slight compression. “””

    The data I have says that salt water freezes at its point of maximum density for about 2.47% salinity. Sea water averages about 3.5% salinity, so seawater has a positive temperature coefficient of expansion always above its freezing point; and the problem with the freezing, is that the segregation coefficient ejects the salt on freezing so that the frozen sea ice is still pretty much fresh water (with inclusions of salt laden brines) In any case the isea ice is less dense that the surface waters, and the waters below have a positive coefficient of expansion; so there always is a positive convection density gradient in sea water; meaning that warmer waters want to rise, and colder waters sink.

    Another problem is that at greater depths the sheer water pressure depresses the freezing temperature; so the water never freezes other than at the surface. The “lake turnover effect” is a phenomenon of fresh water lakes only; because of the 4 deg C temperature of maximum density OF FRESH WATER.

    Engineers actually have to build stuff that works in a real world setting; so what may happen inside a computer simulation is of little use if it doesn’t properly model the real world.

    For me it has been very beneficial to work as an engineer, as a Physicist, rather than an EE of ME or such; because I can always go back to the bare metal, and work with the physical fundamentals.

    So I can start with a slab of Silicon (or Gallium Arsenide for that matter) and I can design the doping processes to create the various semiconducting layers; then I can design the active and passive circuit elements; and figure out how to build them out of the process layers; and then I can also do the detailed circuit design; specially in the analog world (digital circuit design is trivial ( at the circuit design level; not the logic design level)).

    While I can and have done digital or mixed signal circuit design, I draw the line at programming any of that stuff. I never could come to grips with Smith’s first law of programming; “Before doing anything; it is always necessary to first do something else; no matter where you start.”

    That is why Micro$oft Windows is the world’s largest computer virus; constructed of layer upon layer of bandaid’s du Jour.

    I find too many people who write software never ever use it themselves.

    Try taking some relatively ordinary process spec, and follow it to the letter; meaning; “Do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it; and do nothing at all (except continue to breathe) that I do not specifically tell you to do.”

    In other words; assume nothing that you are not specifically told to do, is required to run the process.

    Very few process specs following this rule, result in carrying out the process they were written for. In the end; operators make assumptions that they need to do things that are not specified. That’s great so long as you still have that operator; but try running the process; without that operator and see what happens to your product.

  102. George E. Smith says:

    Why don’t you give me a shout, next time you obseve; or even hear about the atmosphere being in “equilibrium.”

    I was quoting cba, so you might want to take this up with him. I have to admit that I have used the term “equilibrium” myself sometimes too and I know that it is a little sloppy. Better is “steady-state” (although one might argue about that too) or “in radiative balance”. At any rate, I think what is meant is usually clear from the context.

    Phlogiston says:

    What do you mean by thermal inertia?

    Just that it takes a lot of energy to heat up the oceans because of their large total mass and specific heat. So, just like we say something with a lot of mass has lots of inertia because it takes a lot of energy to accelerate it to some speed, something that takes a lot of energy to heat up to some temperature has a lot of thermal inertia. People also sometimes use the term “thermal capacity”…and the top ~2.5 meters of the ocean have as much thermal capacity as the entire atmosphere!

  103. One must deal in concepts other than pure textbook equilibrium. For instance a star is said to be in radiative equilibrium because it’s not collapsing or blowing up or even oscillating or fundamentally changing to any degree. Despite this, fusion is going on, hydrogen to helium (actual process is not important to this discussion), energy is flowing outward by radiative in some layers and by pure convection in other layers until it escapes into space. On the flip side, the material is attracted towards the center and it is a fluid which would/will collapse were it not for the injection of more energy inside. For a star like the Sun, this keeps up in a fairly stable fashion for several billion years. There is a temperature gradient starting around 16 million kelvins in the interior and by the time one reaches what we see every day, the photosphere, it’s down to around 6000 kelvins. It’s clearly not in thermal equilibrium yet it is in what is termed radiative equilibrium.

    Joel shore, you say you’re a physicist (although some of your arguments have reminded me of the term ‘activist lawyer’ more so than the term ‘physicist’ at times as well). I am perplexed that you refer to some of my comments as handwaving when I’m attempting to convey things that a physicist should be able to grasp quite readily when laid out properly. I’m usually pretty good at laying things out in an understandable fashion and am concerned that perhaps I didn’t succeed in this effort.

    The skin effect is simply the fact that the ‘skin’ has conducted/convected/evaporated/radiated off every bit of energy it can receive from below (and above) and that the temperature had to drop for energy to balance. It’s cooler condition also means that there is a greater delta temperature which results in an increase in conduction of heat to the layer.

    The SW is going to penetrate, to a very limited amount below the region an amateur diver can go. Most will be absorbed much higher and only SW will penetrate down. It doesn’t take long before even the visible reds are missing. No IR is going anywhere and no IR / temperature effect on the ‘skin’ is going to have any measureable direct effect upon the incoming SW. The only significant effect is going to be more IR creating more evaporation creating more rising parcels of moist atmosphere that are likely to turn into clouds which will block massive amounts of incoming SW when present.

    You’ve mentioned something about NH SH examples with Dec. 21 that didn’t make much sense as to what you’re driving at. Let’s put it more into a context and have you try it again. Peak solar occurs around June and minimum solar occurs around December. The difference from our orbital eccentricity is about 90 W/m^2 peak to peak and it looks rather much like a sine wave. Why don’t you ascertain the average solar incoming for NH and SH summers and try your arguments again. Despite NH summer time having an average power that is less than the SH’s average power incoming, the NH is slightly warmer in summer than the SH is in summer. The other factor is what is the fraction of NH land mass versus ocean surface and what is the fraction of SH land mass versus ocean surface? The answer should be telling about the effect of oceans and their storage versus continents with a particular lack of storage and convection.

    phlogistan,

    thanks for looking up the ref. it’s nice to get validated on theory sometimes.

  104. cba says:

    Joel shore, you say you’re a physicist (although some of your arguments have reminded me of the term ‘activist lawyer’ more so than the term ‘physicist’ at times as well).

    Whatever. It would be helpful to know what your background is. I had earlier guessed you were in the atmospheric sciences but not climate science, although your description of stellar processes got me thinking astrophysics?

    No IR is going anywhere and no IR / temperature effect on the ’skin’ is going to have any measureable direct effect upon the incoming SW. The only significant effect is going to be more IR creating more evaporation creating more rising parcels of moist atmosphere that are likely to turn into clouds which will block massive amounts of incoming SW when present.

    Well, what do you make of the experiment described in this RealClimate post: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-gases-heat-the-ocean/ ? I am trying to understand your hypothesis. Here’s what it seems to be to me, correct me if I am wrong: There are large fluxes of SW and LW energy impinging on the surface. You seem to be positing that if the LW energy increases a little bit, then the result will (or may?) be very different than if the SW energy increases a little bit. I.e., the longwave increase will all go into evaporating moisture and producing more clouds and lowering albedo.

    My question is what evidence you have to back up this hypothesis? Is there any support for it in the current literature? As far as I understand it, the general belief has been that the cloud feedback is mainly sensitive to the change in temperature, not the nature of the radiation that has increased.

    Also, it is far from obvious that an increase in temperature would cause an increase in cloudiness since the atmosphere both warms (so the saturation vapor pressure increases) and moistens. In fact, the current climate models generally tend to predict an overall DECREASE in cloudiness as the climate warms, which causes both an increase in the escape of LW radiation from the atmosphere into space and an increase in SW radiation to the surface. In fact, although it varies from model-to-model, this tends to occur to a degree that by 2100 that there is very little net change in LW radiation and most of the change in radiative heat balance is provided by a change in SW radiation ( http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/2009GL037527.pdf ) Of course, there is a fair bit of uncertainty in this due to the uncertainty in the cloud parametrizations.

    The other factor is what is the fraction of NH land mass versus ocean surface and what is the fraction of SH land mass versus ocean surface?
    The answer should be telling about the effect of oceans and their storage versus continents with a particular lack of storage and convection.

    I agree…I think it tells us that the oceans have a large thermal inertia.

  105. It depends on where LW impinges on the oceans – at what wavelength/temperature. In order to ascertain what effect it had on oceans, it would have to be against the background/comparison of solar heating on oceans, ie, negligible. The first, or most potent effect from LW would be via water vapour which has enough peaks and shoulders to have a tiny effect. C02 would obviously add a tinier amount of surface to very cold parts of ocean surface. Generally, the wavelengths of ghg’s escape the longwave radiation at the surface – particularly c02. The claims of the RC are quite farfetched, and argue in reverse to some degree. I’m not sure that oceans even have a skin. Or has one been invented to justify the argument?

  106. In 2009 (July) NOAA said ocean surface heated a lot, and the air heated a little. How can the air be heating the oceans when the ocean surface heats more than the air? its something of an impossibility.

    The AGW consensus are moving the argument to oceans, hitherto overlooked, as the air temps failed to materialise, although that is going to be even more difficult to justify, and bring forth greater contradictions.

  107. How can an increase in global warming lead to a decrease in cloud cover? Surely it would lead to an increase in cloud cover and increased precipitation at some point, which in turn initiate autonomous cooling events? At least, that’s what we’ve been experiencing for our several decades of “global warming”.

    I’m not sure about others, who are labelled as sceptics, think about climatology as it is, though what should be clear is that climatologists don’t have much grasp of the present climate to be making predictions about future climates.

  108. That Realclimate ocean skin theory is a bit of a hobby horse of mine because I see it as the only hope that the AGW theory has of overcoming the problem of getting air to warm oceans.

    Given that the oceans control air temperatures they really do have to demonstrate warming oceans in order to maintain any credibility.

    In effect the Realclimate theory relies on Fourier’s Law but ignores the much more powerful contrary effect of increased evaporation.

    I have done my best to analyse the issues here:

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=4245

    and if I have made any serious error I would like to know.

  109. P Wilson (13:08:22)

    Warmer air holds more water vapour so the initial reaction of the air from a warming influence from the oceans is for low level cloud to evaporate.

    That leads to more insolation and that warming effect is added to the warmth emanating from the oceans so that increased convection soon ensues with increased cloud at all levels plus less insolation and cooling wind and rain.

    It’s just like a morning with low cloud in unstable air which burns off by mid morning then after a clear period cumulus and cumulonimbus grow to give showers.

    The energy released during an oceanic warming period is however long lasting and leads to an expansion of the equatorial air masses and a shift of all the air circulation systems poleward. The movement latitudinally of the ITCZ is a good proxy for whatever is going on whether it be global warming or cooling.

  110. “The thing is that greenhouse gases absorb incoming solar energy at several wavelengths of the solar spectrum but only radiate it out again in the infrared.

    Consequently increased greenhouse gases intercept some of the solar energy that would otherwise reach the ocean surface and penetrate it to add to ocean energy content.”

    Water vapour absorbs some incoming solar radiation where it coincides with its wavelengths, and c02 absorbs some IR at 2.7 and 4. It is the LW that is seen as important for ghg’s – 4-10 and 13-70 microns for water vapour, although water vapour spans the whole range from 0.9 microns to 70 microns in the wavelength.

    For the purposes of Atospheric temps however, it is the longwave that climatology thinks is the important factor

  111. joel shore,
    Rutherford is attributed with having said something like ‘physics is science. all else is stamp collecting’. I suppose you could say I do a bit of science and a bit of stamp collecting. I find that tending to categorize others is usually an indication of an attempt to change the issue or attack the opponent.

    BTW, you’ve got albedo backwards. Cloud presence increases albedo and reduces total incoming power, especially the power capable of being deposited deeper in the ocean. Also, even incoming solar has a greater fraction below the visible than in the visible range.

    Looking at the experiment, the first thought that came to mind was the not too relevent thought that mathematicians should leave physics to physicists. It was hard to follow and made little sense. And, it doesn’t prove what the author claims.

    As an example, radiation is emitted from everything that above absolute 0. In a box of uniform temperature containing an object of same temperature, that radiation is balanced between that emitted by the object and that absorbed by the object. Consequently, nothing is changing concerning heat flow.

    The author does determine that the ‘skin’ drops in temperature relative to the 5cm interior as the atmosphere radiates back less. What he fails to present (or perhaps fails to realize) is that as long as there is a difference in temperature between the ‘skin’ and the 5 cm point is that the heat flow from the interior is lower than what the ‘skin’ will radiate/convect/evaporate away. Rather he presumes that the emission will be less if the temperature gradient decreases. It doesn’t work that way. If there were no ‘skin’ effect, the temperature would be higher in the skin and it would radiate at a higher rate and the limitation would be with the surface. Also, the author only considers radiation.

    His cloud cover is going to increase LW a bit but it’s going to decrease SW substantially. There’s going to be less heat entering the ocean at depth so less that needs to escape to maintain a balance.

    Being the author has some nice fancy equipment and one would expect him to be able to correctly use it, I won’t comment on his measured results. There is though plenty of opportunity for plenty of problems.

    Of course his co2 doubling delta forcing is the typical over estimate based upon clear sky tropopause altitude. In reality, it’s closer to 3.5 or 3.6 W/m^2 than to 4.0 and it’s not that meaningful since as you go higher – say to 70km, you find the co2 doubling effect for radiative transfer is closer to 2.6 W/m^2 (assuming fixed temperatures).

    Concerning your interpretation of my statements, it’s fairly close. The increase in IR cannot heatup the ocean lower than the surface. It can though heat up the surface as well as evaporate more moisture. The experiment shows that in the data, using his results, the surface was never heated up beyond the 5cm layer. That means no actual heating is occuring from the surface. All one can claim from it is that the flow rate is reduced due to back radiation – but again, because the temperature is not at or above the 5cm below the surface point, the limitation in outgoing power (of all types) is due to the heat flow limitation below.

    What claims do you feel need verification or validation? Generally, the scientific method simply requires a hypothesis to be falsified given one solid case of the data refuting it. Considering the state of cloud cover understanding including formation, it’s a bit premature to claim much of anything beyond the way basic physics works.

    BTW, you’ll note that the experimental relationship established by that author shows 0.002 K/W/m^2. If the relationship were correct, it’d result in a whopping increase of 0.016 k rise for TWO doublings of CO2. That will result in a radiative increase of 0.09 W/m^2 despite the reception of an additional 8 W/m^2. This 8 W/m^2 is far IR and it isn’t going down into the ocean as radiation and 2nd law says it isn’t going down period. It’s also not radiating away so what do you think that leaves for the ‘disposal’ of this extra power?

    while the general concensus of cloud formation is probably temperature, the nature of the radiation concerned may have an effect upon that temperature. Really short uV doesnt make it down through the atmosphere. IR doesn’t penetrate the ocean. Longer uV can ionize as can cosmic rays. Ion trails abound and there is a relationship (original wilson cloud chamber experiment was about cloud formation).

    The bit of uncertainty in your cloud formation is more like the ten ton King Kong being called a little monkey. Cloud variation of albedo over the last 30 years is about 10 times greater than the dynamic range of the ipcc’s little uncertainties bar chart for all the forcings. Evidently, the other forcings and uncertainties are so small relative to this that they decided just to truncate it at something that fits within the chart in order for the other forcings to be seen.

    you seem to confuse the simple notions of large inertia and large effect. Let’s try a simple electrical analogy. Let’s say you have a 12V power pack composed of D-cells in parallel with a 100AH 12V car battery feeding a 10 Amp headlight. Now let’s add one more item, a 10 k ohm resistor is connecting the car battery to the rest of the circuit. By itself, the D-cells could run this light for perhaps an hour to two hours and with a good connection, the car battery could run it for perhaps ten more hours. How substantial is this car battery reservoir going to be and how long will it keep the light lit? Just to provide the answer here, the car battery won’t discharge for quite a few days but its effect upon light will be so small as not even heat it up to a dull glow.

    The moral of the example is that it’s not the size of the reservoir but the flowrate in and out of the reservoir that counts towards its contribution to the rest of the system. Applied to an ocean and climate, it means that the longer the time constant, the less the impact will be while it approaches some sort of equilibrium or constant state.

    The fact that the NH has greater land surface and less ocean surface than the SH and achieves a warmer temperature in summer despite a significant increase in solar incoming radiation on average for the SH summer indicates there’s a difference between ocean and land effects. However, the fact that both have seasons that are somewhat comparable means there is not some massive difference brought on by mostly ocean. What’s more, precession does occur and eventually, over several thousand years, the aphelion and perihelion dates are going to swap around such that the NH gets the max during its summer and the SH gets the minimum during its summer. Since this has happened many times in the past and the Earth didn’t burn up totally you can also kiss your notion of high sensitivities goodbye and the proof of that is staring at you in the bathroom mirror early every morning.

  112. wow, it took a while to finally get that response done.

    p wilson,

    actually the skin as mentioned above proves the opposite – that the limitations is the heat flow below – requiring the heat drop for energy to balance. LOL.

    I like their stuff about increased h2o vapor causing a reduction inclouds. Didn’t you know? cloud cover is formed because of low moisture content LOL. I guess if they are going to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, they might as well trash the water vapor cycle as well. Obviously, warmer air with lower average molecular weight (making it less dense) doesn’t rise unless it is inside a hot air balloon. As it travels up the h2o vapor gets special dispensation from momma nature so that it doesn’t have to have an increase in relative humidity as the temperature drops nor does it become a candidate for cloud formation once it rises sufficiently high to be supersaturated. It’s all about special priveledges.

  113. cba says:

    Didn’t you know? cloud cover is formed because of low moisture content LOL. I guess if they are going to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics, they might as well trash the water vapor cycle as well.

    These claims about violating the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics get rather tiresome. Where are you proposing the conventional theories violate this law?

    As for the water vapor cycle, the point is that both temperature and water vapor are increasing as the climate system warms. In fact, both models and observations suggest that they seem to do so in a way that keeps the relative humidity on average roughly constant (although it does increase in some places and decrease in others). Hence, it is not at all obvious in which direction cloudiness will go.

    And, if you want to argue that reduced cloudiness with warming is unphysical, then you would also have to take this up with Richard Lindzen, since it is the basis of his “iris hypothesis” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_hypothesis ) that warming would lead to a reduction of cirrus clouds (which reduce outgoing LW radiation more than incoming SW radiation) and that this would thus increase the amount of heat escaping to space, providing a negative feedback.

  114. Joel Shore (19:17:25):

    As for the water vapor cycle, the point is that both temperature and water vapor are increasing as the climate system warms.

    Yo, Joel, what color is the sky on your planet?

    click1

    click2

    click3

    You bring to mind the movie: “Say Anything.”

  115. “To conclude, it is perfectly physically consistent to expect that increasing greenhouse gas driven warming will heat the oceans – as indeed is being observed.”

    from your referenced article – what is being claimed amounts to colder atmosphere heats warmer water. What’s more, the presumption is present that because there is an extremely minor increase in the skin temperature, that this means the oceans will warm. there’s plenty of other references around as to 2nd law violations.

    as for relative humidity staying constant with increase in temperature – that’s a so what. It offers nothing as to suggest a change in the way cloud cover behaves. It does offer something entirely different though.

    If one presumes constant relative humidity, one has the problem that the increase in absolute humidity cannot provide anywhere close to the positive feedback being promised from h2o vapor.

    Lindzen’s early ideas concerned high level clouds. I believe that his view has changed some with time. I think there is an iris effect and it associated with low level clouds. Those cirrus clouds of the original iris effect are rather high up and the factors involved are quite complex and still not well understood but include factors such as dissipating thunderstorms. Just for the record, Lindzen is an expert on clouds and cloud formation and I am definitely not.

    One problem with the more radiation escaping to space is that thick clouds (radiatively speaking) not only substantially block radiation from the surface, they also are composed of particles, ice and water droplets which also radiate a continuum – like a surface. That’s not to say exactly like a surface but then again, continuum emissions from small particles I think is still an active and ongoing area of research. Also, the temperatures are a bit cooler there so the total radiation is not as much – although only about 70% of the surface radiation under clear skies makes it to space. Then again, clear skies radiate around 260-270 w/m^2 and the balance point with current albedo is around 235 w/m^2 so we’d be in real trouble if that 60% + cloud cover radiated much over around 220 w/m^2 anyway.

    While ice may have high reflectivity in the visible, both it and liquid water reflectivity plummets as one enters the micron wavelength range.

    Since the claim is that cirrus clouds are supposedly quite transparent to visible, making them low albedo, their disappearance should result in increased clear skies and more outgoing radiation. However, despite what Lindzen’s view is, my own view is closer to the surface for the main iris effect. We’ll just have to see how that one plays out.

    Also, less cirrus doesn’t necessarily mean less of the ‘averaged’ cloud that provides the overall averaged effect. There’s still plenty of opportunity for that as well.

    Concerning again, the notion of relatively fixed rh, it should be obvious that rising temperatures cannot increase the absolute humidity in places where there is no available additional water to become vapor. Hence, one cannot expect a uniform increase. I think though that the important concept to draw from this arena is that CO2 without feedbacks is capable of around 1/2 to 1 deg C rise in temperature for a doubling. If one assumes a 5 deg C rise in temperature due to the co2 doubling and the h2o feedback, one finds that the permissible increase in absolute humidity caused by a 5 deg. C rise is roughly comparable to the same power absorption increase for water vapor as for the CO2 doubling. That leaves one short by 3 degrees C in causality. If one assumes only a 2 deg C rise total, again with the co2 around 1 deg.C, one finds that this rise only increases absolute humidity by a small fraction of the previous amount. Net result is that there is still insufficient feedback to produce a 2 deg C because the water vapor feedback increase is much less than the forcing from a doubling in co2. Consequently, anything resembling catastrophic warming due to water vapor feedback is missing the causality needed for it to occur.

  116. cba (14:39:52)

    heh. Its quite intellectually degrading to follow the logic on that particular forum at RC. Anyway, since most heat leaves by convection, clouds inhibit convection and explains why its warmer during cloud cover.

  117. addendum: convection, not radiation. Its believed that overcast nights are warmer because of infrared radiation from earth being held by clouds. In fact, overcast skies means that convection is being limited, whilst on clear nights, convection isn’t limited

  118. p wilson,

    clouds are a product of convection. There is nothing to inhibit convection in a cloud and in fact, that is what is going on in spades inside big clouds. What is blocked is infrared and visible light, i.e. radiation. Clouds absorb and radiate. In the visible, they also are good at reflecting. Very little is good at reflecting in the IR though. Cloud bottoms are warmer than cloud tops. Cloud tops radiate away power at a lower rate due to lower temperatures but they still radiate. Cloud bottoms are lower down and receive and capture a lot of surface radiation and they radiate downward at their temperature. Power primarily convects inside the cloud to feed the upper areas which are losing power (and would drop even lower in temperature without getting additional heat energy from below). Have you ever wondered how baseball sized hail in a severe thunderstorm grows to become baseball sized? It’s due to some really serious upward convection inside the cloud.

  119. p wilson,
    P.S.

    that was the first time I’ve been to real climate this year. I avoid it as I find their claims about being scientific to be quite nausiating.

  120. I mean something else. I think it is convection holding in heat when cloud cover makes it warmer at night when there is clou cover. Its not much considered as a possibility in the climatologist community, just like oceans were not much considered hitherto -very little radiation leaves the earth. A clear sky gives to heat convection occuring, whilst cloud blocks convection, as overcast nights give stable air layers so it is warmer at the surface. Sure, radiation takes place, though quite negligible.

  121. Here’s something else that uses the satellite data to preclude AGW. The data is used to extract the response of the climate system to hemispheric specific seasonally variable solar forcing. One of the things it shows, is that the ratio between the surface energy and incident energy gets smaller as surface temperatures increase. This is the signature of strong net negative feedback acting on the climate system.

    http://www.palisad.com/co2/eb/eb.html

    George

  122. cba says:

    from your referenced article – what is being claimed amounts to colder atmosphere heats warmer water. What’s more, the presumption is present that because there is an extremely minor increase in the skin temperature, that this means the oceans will warm. there’s plenty of other references around as to 2nd law violations.

    No…What is being claimed is that the increase in the skin temperature reduces the flow of heat from the oceans to the atmosphere. A violation of the Second Law would occur if there was a net flow of heat occurred from a colder body to a warmer body. No such flows are posited and claims of violations of the 2nd Law are pernicious nonsense that I frankly think you are smart enough to know are wrong

    If one presumes constant relative humidity, one has the problem that the increase in absolute humidity cannot provide anywhere close to the positive feedback being promised from h2o vapor.

    More nonsense, frankly. The models that predict that the relative humidity remains constant have the positive feedback due to water vapor that they have. (It is roughly enough to double or so the climate sensitivity, although a part of this is then taken back by the lapse rate feedback, which is a negative feedback.)

    Concerning again, the notion of relatively fixed rh, it should be obvious that rising temperatures cannot increase the absolute humidity in places where there is no available additional water to become vapor. Hence, one cannot expect a uniform increase.

    Some places may be limited by lack of water…but over the globe as a whole, water is very accessible. Noone is saying that the increase in absolute humidity (or the constancy of relative humidity) is uniform. However, what does happen to be true, for what it is worth, is that the strength of the feedback is about the same whether you assume the relative humidity is uniform everywhere or whether you allow it to vary.

    I think though that the important concept to draw from this arena is that CO2 without feedbacks is capable of around 1/2 to 1 deg C rise in temperature for a doubling.

    The 1 dec C number is approximately correct. I am not sure where you get the 1/2 C number from.

    If one assumes a 5 deg C rise in temperature due to the co2 doubling and the h2o feedback, one finds that the permissible increase in absolute humidity caused by a 5 deg. C rise is roughly comparable to the same power absorption increase for water vapor as for the CO2 doubling…

    As I said, the water vapor feedback roughly doubles the climate response. It does not bring it up to 5 deg C. Models with feedbacks up around 4.5 C get that from a combination of water vapor, albedo, and cloud feedbacks (and the negative lapse rate feedback).

  123. Smokey,

    Repeating posting up plots that are nonsense doesn’t do anything but discredit the arguments of the so-called climate “skeptics” by illustrating how little skepticism you actually have and how the skeptic movement is based on just repeating the some debunked arguments over and over. It makes it easy for the policymakers to ignore you because you are dooming yourself to irrelevancy. It also shows a deep and profound lack of personal responsibility. (Perhaps you would behave more responsibly if you didn’t hid behind a pseudonym, a point that Anthony makes when those who disagree with his point of view use them.)

    Your first plot is from radiosonde sensors, for which the long term trends in humidity are simply unreliable due to changes in sensor technology and other problems. The short-term variations in humidity both from radiosondes and satellite data in fact show that the water vapor feedback is operating as expected…and the long-term trends from the satellite data (which also have to be treated with some caution but are better than the radiosonde data) support this too. See http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;310/5749/841 and http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/323/5917/1020

    Your other two plots suffer from the problem that they look at temperature trends over short periods of time, conveniently cutting off the data at shorter times as well as the data since 2008. Here in Rochester, it got well into the 60’s the last 2 days and I am quite sure that a plot of temperature over the last week would show not only an upward trend but quite a strong one. Do you think this provides convincing evidence disproving the seasonal cycle theory whereby the temperature trend in Rochester should be negative at this time of year? Furthermore, if it is then cooler in the next few days, is it okay for me to continue to show a plot ending today when I try to convince people that the “seasonal cycle theory” is wrong?

  124. Joel,

    When Radiosonde measurements feature in ‘skeptic studies’ they are “unreliable”. But when the same measurements are used in AGW papers, they are “robust”.

    WUWT?

  125. cba says:

    Rutherford is attributed with having said something like ‘physics is science. all else is stamp collecting’. I suppose you could say I do a bit of science and a bit of stamp collecting. I find that tending to categorize others is usually an indication of an attempt to change the issue or attack the opponent.

    I am just trying to understand where you are coming from. And, as I noted to Smokey, people who use pseudonyms and disagree with Anthony Watts on AGW and post here tend to be given a hard time about using pseudonyms rather than posting under their real name.

    BTW, you’ve got albedo backwards. Cloud presence increases albedo and reduces total incoming power, especially the power capable of being deposited deeper in the ocean.

    Yeah…I said “lower albedo” when I should have said “raising albedo” in that post that you are referring to.

    As an example, radiation is emitted from everything that above absolute 0. In a box of uniform temperature containing an object of same temperature, that radiation is balanced between that emitted by the object and that absorbed by the object. Consequently, nothing is changing concerning heat flow.

    The author does determine that the ’skin’ drops in temperature relative to the 5cm interior as the atmosphere radiates back less. What he fails to present (or perhaps fails to realize) is that as long as there is a difference in temperature between the ’skin’ and the 5 cm point is that the heat flow from the interior is lower than what the ’skin’ will radiate/convect/evaporate away. Rather he presumes that the emission will be less if the temperature gradient decreases. It doesn’t work that way. If there were no ’skin’ effect, the temperature would be higher in the skin and it would radiate at a higher rate and the limitation would be with the surface. Also, the author only considers radiation.

    No, it seems to be you who are only considering radiation. The author’s point, as illustrated in the flow chart is that the warming of the skin layer reduces conduction of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere through that layer.

    The bit of uncertainty in your cloud formation is more like the ten ton King Kong being called a little monkey. Cloud variation of albedo over the last 30 years is about 10 times greater than the dynamic range of the ipcc’s little uncertainties bar chart for all the forcings. Evidently, the other forcings and uncertainties are so small relative to this that they decided just to truncate it at something that fits within the chart in order for the other forcings to be seen.

    How do you know what the cloud variation of albedo has been…and are you also considering the change in LW radiation that the clouds produce?

    you seem to confuse the simple notions of large inertia and large effect.

    The moral of the example is that it’s not the size of the reservoir but the flowrate in and out of the reservoir that counts towards its contribution to the rest of the system. Applied to an ocean and climate, it means that the longer the time constant, the less the impact will be while it approaches some sort of equilibrium or constant state.

    No…I am not confusing a large inertia with a large effect. The effect is what it is given the radiative forcing produced. The inertia just tells you how long it takes to reach radiative balance. I’m not claiming that the ocean increases the amount of warming; I am claiming that it slows down the warming so it takes a longer period of time to occur (and if you start talking about oscillatory forcings, such as the seasonal forcing, then it can even reduce the effect because the delay in the response of the system means that it never gets into radiative balance).

    What’s more, precession does occur and eventually, over several thousand years, the aphelion and perihelion dates are going to swap around such that the NH gets the max during its summer and the SH gets the minimum during its summer. Since this has happened many times in the past and the Earth didn’t burn up totally you can also kiss your notion of high sensitivities goodbye and the proof of that is staring at you in the bathroom mirror early every morning.

    Nonsense. If this were the case, then models with high sensitivities would show such problems when one ran them with the sort of insolation variations that you describe. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that this occurs?

  126. Joel said, “Do you think this provides convincing evidence disproving the seasonal cycle theory…?”

    Huh? I haven’t heard about this theory… I thought seasonal cycles are fact… Climate change is fact… Natural variability is fact… And only the much discredited and disproven CAGW theory is limping around as desperate climate scientists try to prop it up along with their endangered carreers….

  127. The only way a doubling of c02 could lead to an increas of 1/2 to 1C could take place is if c02’s molecular structure changed to increase its bandwidth of absorbtion. This is not a possibility. Regardless of quantity, whether 200ppm or 500ppm, it still absorbs at an optimum 15micron peak, so over its entire shoulders and peak, this is less than 8% of longwave radiation (which, incidentally, is a small fraction of outgoing heat. Most is convection and evaporation). Only 8% or less radiation is available to c02 to be absorbed, and this doesn’t increase with doubling. so: Assuming 33C (neither proven nor falsified) – 33Cx2% outgoing radiationx8%=0.05 for all c02

    even if we were to accept the exagerrated claim that 41% radiation leaves earth, the scenario still can’t be justified.

    So 33°C X 41% X 8% = 1.08°C — The total heat that CO2 supposedly produces.
    however, as maintained above, there is no physical mechanism for c02 causing a water vapour feedback. Water vapour could cause a negligible amount of its own feedback, as it has more absorbtion spectra than c02, although it is a feedback from solar forcing.

    In truth though, neither ghg can absorb much LW radiation, as cooling via radiation takes place below the bandwidths available to them, and largely escapes them.

    The most potent of the ghg’s – is water vapour, though it doesn’t react with c02 as an amplified product. thats a purely philosophical notion from computer models.

    The ocean doesn’t have a skin. It has the same molecular structure as any other layer within its vicinity, and turns over regularly. (being a liquid).

    stephen Wilde explained the process well in his link above

  128. However, there is much scepticism regarding whether Stephen Wilde is correct about a warming effect over land through c02. It is an intensively studied gas. Those of Angsrom’s follower’s by experimental procedure maintain that a doubling doesn’t increase temperatures. Those followers of Keeling and Arrhenius maintain that it theoretically increases temperatures with quantity. Today, we have enough information on absorbtion spectra of various ghg’s and a fair enough knowledge of thermodynamics to form an impartial conclusion about the effect of “greenhouse gases”

  129. George E. Smith (14:23:48) :

    “Negative feedback systems subtract from the input signal AT ZERO FREQUENCY; while Positive feedback system add to the input signal AT ZERO FREQUENCY.”

    That is a rather arbitrary distinction which would make all Type II stabilizing feedback “positive”. Really, you are more interested in the gain at the crossover frequency.

  130. Joel Shore (13:30:20) says:

    “Repeating posting up plots that are nonsense doesn’t do anything but discredit the arguments of the so-called climate ‘skeptics’ by illustrating how little skepticism you actually have and how the skeptic movement is based on just repeating the some debunked arguments over and over.”

    Poor Joel. Anything he disagrees with gets hand-waved away like this: “Plots that are nonsense”. In fact, he repeatedly labels cba’s different opinion ‘nonsense’. It’s becoming clear who’s spouting the nonsense.

    Joel was referring to these 3 charts that I posted up @19:32:24:

    click1
    click2
    click3

    I doubt that the people who made those charts would accept them being labeled “nonsense.” Joel is simply throwing a hissy fit, because they contradict his mistaken belief that CO2=CAGW. I posted those charts because Joel made the incredible claim: “…both temperature and water vapor are increasing as the climate system warms.”

    Earth to Joel: the climate has been cooling, not warming. [That graph reflects data from GISS, two satellite systems, Hadley, and the ARGO buoy system. Cue the Joelism: “B-b-but, they don’t start where I want them to start! They’re too long! Or too short. They don’t prove that CO2 means we’re all DOOO-O-O-O-M-E-D! So that makes them total nonsense!”]

    Joel also believes that just about all the increase in CO2 has been due to human activity. But not even the UN’s IPCC believes that canard.

  131. Smokey (16:42:09) :

    Poor Joel. Anything he disagrees with gets hand-waved away like this: “Plots that are nonsense”. In fact, he repeatedly labels cba’s different opinion ‘nonsense’. It’s becoming clear who’s spouting the nonsense.
    ——————————

    Not totally true Smokey. He has other tools besides hand-waving. All, of course, designed to get the new reader to believe that there is still some controversy in the field regarding the now farcical doomsday scenario.

    For example:

    (1) He also doesn’t respond to certain “unpleasant” comments, such as my remark to his suggestion that the 2006 book on temperature reconstruction proxies is “respected”. Since the Briffa expose, I suggested obliquely that the hard copy of this work is probably about as “respected” as toilet paper right about now.

    (2) When lost for data, he also falls back on the “trust me I’m a doctor” approach and suggests that the poster believe “some” or “all of” the models by unnamed “peer-reviewed by their mates” scientists, that are not even referenced, let alone what the inputs are (since he likely doesn’t know himself – or care for that matter).

    (3) ….. and then, presumably to try to impress the mentally soft reader, he will also explain how the world as Joel Shore sees it is the only way possible that the world could be, and people who really should know better should see the world exactly as Joel Shore sees it, and he’s totally dumbfounded as to why they don’t.

    I kinda like him on here. I suspect that the number of converts he has to his name is, in round numbers, probably a round number. He provides good talking points for other posters, with more knowledge in specific areas, to demolish in public.

  132. Joel,

    “To conclude, it is perfectly physically consistent to expect that increasing greenhouse gas driven warming will heat the oceans – as indeed is being observed.

    If you want people to stop accusing warmers of theories that violate the 2nd law of thermo, then they need to stop making statements implying that they are promoting theories in violation of the 2nd law. The (lack of) rigor in the statement leaves them open to the charge, regardless of whether the actual mechanism being presumed does or does not violate it.

    as for my id or pseudonym, I’ve seen people persecuted for their non mainstream views and even attempts made to have them fired or arrested on trumped up allegations. I do not maintain any presence on the web like a facebook page or personal information website, either in my name or any pseudonym. That is other than what is required for work and for some unknown reason, there has been a minor failure in that area to properly include any photo. As for Anthony, he is provided a private email address which carries a bit more information than some blind third party blind address.

    “No, it seems to be you who are only considering radiation. The author’s point, as illustrated in the flow chart is that the warming of the skin layer reduces conduction of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere through that layer.

    Actually, I’m considering conservation of energy and all modes of power transfer. Transfer of power from the skin depends on the temperature of the skin and temperature change of the skin depends upon the difference in power out versus power in. The fact that there is a temperature difference between skin and 5cm down means that the heat flow from below is insufficient to keep the skin temperature elevated.

    Again, the fact is the outgoing power is a function of skin temperature, not a direct function of power from below. Heat capacity and conservation of energy determines the temperature.
    If this decrease in differential temperature between 5cm and skin resulted in less heat flowing from below, then the skin temperature would have to decrease for energy flow balance. You’d think a decrease in T at the skin would increase the skin-5cm differential in T.

    Cloud albedo variation? One reconstruction of albedo is via ashen light – Palle’ & Goode ’07. It’s based on a combination of cloud cover measurement and ashen light measurement for calibration. It seems that the direct measurements of albedo via satellite has some serious holes at the most inopportune times.

    Albedo has a massive effect. It is the difference between 341 w/m^2 coming versus about 235 w/m^2 using averaged values. Clear skies in the averaged case have about 270W/m^2 outgoing after atmospheric absorption after losing around 30% or 120 W/m^2. Clouds absorb a tremendous amount of the outward IR. Some radiates back down based on the cloud base temperature (and optical thickness) and some of this energy convects/conducts up to the top of the cloud where it radiates out at the cloud top temperature – which is usually less than the cloud bottom. Note that since clear skies is 270 and required balance is 235 W/m^2 or so, one must have somewhat less than 235 W/m^2 for top of cloud emissions. Remember the top of the clouds are above most all of the water vapor and hence above most all of the ghgs. This is going on regardless of minor changes in co2 forcings.

    The inertia isn’t just time duration, it’s intensity too. Large inertia with a long time delays have far less effects than does a large inertia with very a short time delay. Do you realize that the Earth’s center is about the same temperature as the Sun’s photosphere? The mass of the Earth is far far larger than the mass of Earth’s oceans. The time to reach equilibrium is in the billions of years and the effect of that additional geothermal power does not on average provide any significant fraction of a degree C of surface temperature rise.

    you’re asking me if I have proof that solar insolation varies by about 90 W/m^2 between aphelion and perihelion?????? Look up the distances and calculate it!

  133. P Wilson (14:37:07)

    I accept that even the effect of more CO2 over land is in debate but the effect of it over land is nevertheless very different from it’s effect over water and that was the point I was trying to get across.

    I felt it prudent not to challenge the so called consensus regarding the effect over land because that would have distracted from the main point.

    That said, I am not yet convinced by the suggestions that CO2 does not have a warming effect even over land. Of course it will be largely offset by increased convection, radiation and some evaporation and evapotranspiration but those effects are as nothing compared to the evaporation effect over water.

  134. tallbloke says:

    When Radiosonde measurements feature in ’skeptic studies’ they are “unreliable”. But when the same measurements are used in AGW papers, they are “robust”.

    Where did I say that the measurements are “robust” when used in “AGW papers”? What does tend to be true for the satellite measurements and I think also the radiosonde measurements is that fluctuations on a timescale of a year or so are robust whereas the long-term multidecadal trends are more problematic because they are subject to artifacts. This is not that hard to understand actually…Going back to temperatures for example, just imagine adding a spurious trend of 0.1 C per decade to the data; You will see that this makes a large change in the multidecadal trend (changing it by 0.1 C per decade) but will actually make very little change to a fluctuation on the timescale of a year or so, such as occurs due to ENSO.

  135. cba says:

    If you want people to stop accusing warmers of theories that violate the 2nd law of thermo, then they need to stop making statements implying that they are promoting theories in violation of the 2nd law. The (lack of) rigor in the statement leaves them open to the charge, regardless of whether the actual mechanism being presumed does or does not violate it.

    Frankly, I think this is a poor excuse for putting up bogus arguments. The statements seem to only imply such things to people who want to interpret them in the most critical light. And, if people think that the lack of rigor in the statement is a problem, they could do what Alistair Fraser does ( http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadGreenhouse.html ) and suggest more rigorous pedagogy rather than pretending that they have a substantive disagreement. That what a real scientist would do rather than someone who just sees himself as a lawyer trying to raise doubts about AGW. I know it is always tempting to set up “strawmen” and know them down but such temptation should be resisted.

    As for Anthony, he is provided a private email address which carries a bit more information than some blind third party blind address.

    Right…and in some cases, he has used that information to say publicly where people using pseudonyms are posting from and has challenged them to drop their pseudonym and post under their real name. You are fortunate enough that you are on the “correct side” as far as he is concerned. When this happens, I hope you will defend the right of people on “my side” of the argument to use pseudonyms if they so desire.

    At this point, I am no longer sure what we are even arguing about in regards to the skin temperature and the albedo.

    The inertia isn’t just time duration, it’s intensity too. Large inertia with a long time delays have far less effects than does a large inertia with very a short time delay. Do you realize that the Earth’s center is about the same temperature as the Sun’s photosphere? The mass of the Earth is far far larger than the mass of Earth’s oceans. The time to reach equilibrium is in the billions of years and the effect of that additional geothermal power does not on average provide any significant fraction of a degree C of surface temperature rise.

    As near as I can figure out what you are saying, I don’t think this is a good analogy. For the case of heat transfer out from the earth’s center, one can calculate that in W/m^2 and find that it is very small. We can also calculate the radiative imbalance due to an increase in greenhouse gases and it is considerably larger…and, in fact, large enough to be important. I don’t see where the thermal inertia provided by the oceans is going to make the response to this radiative imbalance smaller. I think it will just delay the re-establishment of radiative balance.

    you’re asking me if I have proof that solar insolation varies by about 90 W/m^2 between aphelion and perihelion?????? Look up the distances and calculate it!

    I frankly don’t see how you could interpret me as asking for that. My statement was: “Nonsense. If this were the case, then models with high sensitivities would show such problems when one ran them with the sort of insolation variations that you describe. Do you have any evidence whatsoever that this occurs?” So, what I am contesting is not how much the insolation varies between aphelion and perihelion (although it is worth noting that this insolation needs to be divided by 4 to account for the difference between the earth’s surface area & the cross-section area of the sun’s insolation that it intercepts and then multiplied by 0.7 to account for albedo in order to convert it to an average radiative forcing).

    Rather, I am contesting your notion that such variations along with high sensitivity would cause the “Earth [to] burn up totally”. In particular, I am asking you for evidence that climate models that have these “high sensitivities” (which you didn’t precisely define but which I assume means sensitivities in the IPCC likely range of 2 to 4.5 C) show dramatically unphysical effects when the insolation is varied in this way. Basically, you are making a claim that high climate sensitivities are incompatible with the observed behavior under the variations in when aphelion and perihelion occur (relative to the earth’s axial tilt) and I want you to back that claim up.

  136. This is the real issue as regards the ocean skin:

    1) The location at which Fourier’s Law applies is dictated by the interplay between forces within the ocean and forces within the air. Without evaporation the location would be at or very near the very topmost molecules of the oceans. With evaporation and radiation it is 1mm down from the surface.

    2) Below that point 1mm deep, solar effects and convective effects are dominant. Above that point 1mm deep, evaporative and radiative effects are dominant.

    3) What does it take to change the temperature differential at that point 1mm deep if there is extra downwelling IR ?

    4 ) Either the warming effect of the IR in the top 10 microns has to change the differential 1mm down or the cooling effect of increased evaporation in the remaining 990 microns of the ocean skin has to change the differential 1mm down.

    5) The ocean skin theory requires that the warming of the topmost 10 microns somehow magically leaps across the evaporative cooling effect in the remaining 990 microns to decrease the differential.

    6) I say that the warming effect in the top 10 microns has no effect on the differential. Instead the differential is increased by extra IR because it enhances the evaporative cooling of the lower 990 microns of the ocean skin.

    That about sums it up.

  137. Joel, In your commentary above the only sentence that seems worth responding to is:

    “We can also calculate the radiative imbalance due to an increase in greenhouse gases and it is considerably larger…and, in fact, large enough to be important. ”

    verified Data? causative physical mechanism?

    regarding the impending smoking gun of oceans, can you provide data for that? Unless some can be found then we’re back to square 1: That solar IR can heat the oceans, whilst ghg’s can’t. If so, then any smoking gun is the process of slow solar heating and heat transport along ocean circulation thereof. At the moment the earth is trying rather hard to conserve heat.

  138. take into consideration that radiation exitfrom its source is more potent than radiation intercepted by ghg’s – most radiation escapes them.

    Its a very big hurdle to argue that an optimum emission of re-radiated energy can return a much smaller amount and have an effect of *imbalance*

  139. Smokey says:

    Joel also believes that just about all the increase in CO2 has been due to human activity. But not even the UN’s IPCC believes that canard.

    Yes, they do (correctly) believe that all of the increase in CO2 has been due to human activity because they understand the difference between the large exchanges of CO2 between the various reservoirs (atmosphere, biosphere, and oceans) which were in a quite stable steady-state before the Industrial Revolution and the rapid addition of a new source of CO2 that has been locked away from these reservoirs for millions of years. They discuss this here http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-7.1.html and say:

    Yes, the increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases during the industrial era are caused by human activities. In fact, the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations does not reveal the full extent of human emissions in that it accounts for only 55% of the CO2 released by human activity since 1959. The rest has been taken up by plants on land and by the oceans.

  140. Joel Shore,

    You can believe the UN/IPCC all you like, but they have ulterior motives for grossly exaggerating the CO2 situation. Here, you might even learn something: click. And anyone who takes the IPCC at face value is a credulous fool.

  141. Stephen Wilde says:

    5) The ocean skin theory requires that the warming of the topmost 10 microns somehow magically leaps across the evaporative cooling effect in the remaining 990 microns to decrease the differential.

    I have no idea what you are talking about here. Why does the warming have to leap across anything? It will penetrate by conduction and mixing just like heat generally does. Even if you neglect mixing (which may be a good approximation over such short distance scales…I’m not sure), heat conduction over a distance as small as 1mm ain’t that hard. In fact, if you use the thermal conductivity of water (0.58 W/m/K), you get that the amount of heat per unit area per unit time that can be conducted over a distance of 1mm is (580 W/m^2/C) *delta_T where delta_T is the temperature difference in C across the 1mm layer. That’s a lot of heat!

    6) I say that the warming effect in the top 10 microns has no effect on the differential. Instead the differential is increased by extra IR because it enhances the evaporative cooling of the lower 990 microns of the ocean skin.

    Well, that’s not what the data of Peter Minnett says. It shows the differential decreased. And really, it seems sort of desperately ridiculous to propose that the radiative imbalance that occurs due to the reduction in IR radiation escaping from the atmosphere will not lead to warming. Just on basic principles, that is what it ought to lead to. There could be some debate about where that warming is distributed vertically in the troposphere (although in the tropics, the temperature distribution is generally dominated by the moist adiabatic lapse rate), but it really seems rather unlikely that heat that we know is getting absorbed and not reflected would somehow magically not go into heating up the system. If you want to talk about “magic”, that would be some pretty good magic!

  142. Smokey:

    You can believe the UN/IPCC all you like, but they have ulterior motives for grossly exaggerating the CO2 situation. Here, you might even learn something: click. And anyone who takes the IPCC at face value is a credulous fool.

    You, I am afraid, is the one who is credulous and who is frankly putty in the hands of those spouting scientific nonsense! The residence time of atmospheric CO2 is not relevant for determining how long an elevation in CO2 levels will last because, while exchanges between the atmosphere, upper ocean, and biosphere are quite fast, what is slow and becomes the rate-limiting step is the mixing of the CO2 down into the deep ocean, which takes on the order of a thousand years or more. So, if you put a new slug of CO2 into the atmosphere, it is only a matter of a few years before the ocean – atmosphere -biosphere system comes to a new steady-state but that steady-state will still have a healthy fraction (somewhere around 40%, if I remember correctly) of the original slug remaining in the atmosphere (with the rest partitioned between the upper ocean and biosphere). And, even the mixing down to the deep ocean doesn’t get rid of all of the elevation; the remainder (~10-15%) has to wait to be absorbed by the even-slower process of weathering of rocks, which will take on the order of 200,000 years. Those who are interested in learning more about this can read David Archer’s post here or, better yet, read his book “The Long Thaw”. Basic textbooks on climate science, such as “Global Warming: The Hard Science” (Chapter 8) by L.D. Danny Harvey also discuss this.

    But, hey, if you want to go around claiming that the current elevation of CO2 levels is not due to our burning of fossil fuels, I encourage you to mention this in everything that you ever post or say to a policymaker or scientist because I can almost guarantee you that it will make them decide very rapidly how seriously to treat you comments. You may be able to fool some credulous folks around here but you won’t fool many whose opinion really matters.

  143. joel,

    you are right of course concerning the .7 and /4 averaging in addition to the need to convert from peak to peak to average.

    as for the world catching fire – won’t happen for a few billion yrs yet but it’s obviously not intended as a literal interpretation but more of a parody of a parody with the extremist warmers like hansen. You’ll note too that my original comment concerning the 2nd law was not directed to you and was also associated with sarcasm. It was also not presented as an argument.

    I did note you have not attempted to comment on or refute my last comments concerning the skin, conservation of energy, and the total screwup of that experiment by your author (or at least the failure to provide any of the information that might be somewhat meaningful).

    The point of ocean contribution is that due to the low power transfer rate (associated with the long time constant), the contribution in increased temperatures or the net imbalance in temperature will be quite minimal, like that of the geothermal factor.

    The radiative change you speak of in regards to imbalance is actually a misconception. The simple conceptual models used say that there’s only one mean temperature for the surface given X solar insolation and Y ghg absorption. Even conceptually and simplistically, it’s not right. Cloud cover enters in as a factor. Taking cloud cover fraction (again with an averaged cloud cover) one has a linear relationship for two lines in a graph of power density versus cloud cover fraction. One line is incoming power reaching the surface which decreases from 235 w/m^2 down to (probably about 10% of that value for total overcast of heavy clouds) and the other line is outgoing power to space based on clear sky surface emission minus atmospheric ghg absorption for clear skies down to totally top of cloud emissions at around 220 K with very little ghg absorption considering it is pretty much at the top of the water bearing area of the atmosphere. Those two lines will interesct somewhere in the vacinity of about 0.62 cloud cover and represent the balance point for radiative power into and out of the Earth system. Note that this can occur without a change in surface averaged temperature. Also note that total clear skies would result in about a 10 deg. C rise in surface temperature to achieve balance.

    In reality, this cloud cover fraction must be a function of parameters, such as incoming solar power, along with quite a few pertubational factors, such as potentially cosmic ray intensity. Otherwise, we would not have a rather stable temperature average nor would we have a fairly consistent cloud cover. Unfortunately, some of these factors are almost certainly somewhat chaotic. Whatever the case, one is only going to ascertain this by analysis of the actual system response. Using defective, incomplete, and extremely course models will never cut it. If it is truly chaotic, it will not ever be modeled accurately from what I understand from the chaos experts.

  144. Joel Shore (19:15:56)

    I consider Minnett to be wrong because his description completely omits evaporative cooling.

    I have tried to find independent support for his description to no avail.

    In normal outdoor conditions the downwelling IR produces a very slight slackening of the cooling gradient in the topmost evaporating layer. That would explain why there is insufficient energy in the 100 micron deep evaporating layer to provide enough energy for the phase change so that much of the energy needed comes from below and the lower 900 microns of the ocean skin experiences evaporative cooling.

    A temperature sensor would record an increased temperature in the topmost 100 micron deep evaporating layer when the rate of downwelling IR rises. However, that would lead to additional evaporative cooling in the lower 900 microns so that the temperature differential between skin and bulk would increase and not decrease as required by AGW theory.

  145. Joel:
    Data? Direct calculations based on such data? Empirical evidence? Causative and verified physical mechanism?

    all so far is pure rhetoric and notion. At least try and answer the question as to why In 2009 (July) NOAA said ocean surface heated a lot, and the air heated a little. How can the air be heating the oceans when the ocean surface heats more than the air?

  146. The IPCC formulation of Anthropogenic c02 is refuted here:

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/ESEF3VO2.htm

    Although there is no way that the IPCC tries to account for its figures, which are pulled out of thin air. There are some 38,000GT’s of c02 in the oceans which regulate how much c02 is in the atmosphere.

    none of this answers how c02 causes a temperature increase. The reason why its so difficult to argue with the logic of RC or the IPCC is because there is none, as they’re both run by political hacks. They pick the ballooned number they need, then work backwards to defend them. It makes it difficult for scientists to unravel, since all such arguments depend on authority and authority can’t replace evidence, and at that point, they can’t explain what they claim to know.

    Why for instance, now that projected air temperatures have failed to materialise do these cool temperatures heat oceans? How do 15 microns worth of a trace gas put heat into a system that has already exhaled it at a lower thermal ratio? It is lke arguing that the steam from water increases the temperature of water beyond 100C, and that this temperature increae will be dependent on how much steam re-enters the boiling water. None of the proponents of the c02 theory have attempted to explain a single point of the c02 mechanism, notwithstanding arguments pointing to the fact that it doesn’t have the thermal capacity to.

  147. Joel says:

    “But, hey, if you want to go around claiming that the current elevation of CO2 levels is not due to our burning of fossil fuels, I encourage you to mention this in everything that you ever post or say to a policymaker or scientist because I can almost guarantee you that it will make them decide very rapidly how seriously to treat you comments. You may be able to fool some credulous folks around here but you won’t fool many whose opinion really matters.”

    The amount of c02 release by oceans is some 26 times that of man – ther are 1,000GT of c02 at the ocean surface alone, which can be released during warm oceans episodes, whilst that released by soils, decay, vegetation and are some 2,600 GT, although each year , the surface ocean and atmosphere exchange an estimated 90 GT C; vegetation and the atmosphere, 60 GT C; marine biota and the surface ocean, 50 GT C; and the surface ocean and the intermediate and deep oceans, 100 GT C.”

    Anthropogenic is some 8GT per year, which is 1% as natural c02 exchanges. Yet c02 is well regulated and increases uniformly each year. If there were no regulating effect of c02 by oceans, which determine how much c02 resides in the atmosphere, then it would vary erratically every year with geo and biological fluxes.

  148. “And really, it seems sort of desperately ridiculous to propose that the radiative imbalance that occurs due to the reduction in IR radiation escaping from the atmosphere will not lead to warming.”

    Well, if it were, it must be water vapour feedback which absorbs LW at 4-9.4 microns, then from 12-70 microns. C02 is only operative at a peak 15, with shoulders from 13-16. Outgoing radiation coincides with the water vapour area, though most outgoing radiation escapes either ghg. c02 depends on subzero temperatures. To maintain that it has a warming effect where it can capture heat does depend on upper toposheric temperatures, which can go as low as -60C, although there is not a physical mechanism by which such extremes can cause elevated warm temperatures at the surface.

  149. It’s the standard understanding of the physics of the phase changes of water as per all the textbooks that describe evaporation as a net cooling effect and which confirm that infra red radiation does not get deep enough into a body of water in the open air to avoid being removed by increased evaporation.

    It’s the AGW proponents who are trying to avoid the known physical laws.

    I’ve been asking for real world evidence for 18 months now and zilch so far. Just a bleating appeal to Mr. Minnett’s authority and his unproven and apparently unsupported ocean skin theory.

    To go with that theory one has to show that extra infra red, despite producing increased evaporation, manages to reduce the evaporative cooling of the ocean skin.

    I really don’t see it. More evaporation must of necessity give stronger evaporative cooling in the ocean skin thus increasing the energy flow upwards, not decreasing it.

    Where is the evidence that ANY downwelling IR whether natural or man made provides enough surplus energy 1mm down where it really matters given that it only penetrates to one tenth of that depth.

    The truth is that ALL IR goes to accelerating energy from the oceans because it substantially drives the evaporative process and the more of it the faster.

    I was reluctant to go that far for over a year but given the lack of evidence to the contrary I currently think it to be so

  150. From Joel’s link:

    “The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is known to be caused by human activities because the character of CO2 in the atmosphere, in particular the ratio of its heavy to light carbon atoms, has changed in a way that can be attributed to addition of fossil fuel carbon.”

    The keyword there is “can”. It can also be attributed to decrease in the rate of production of heavy carbon atoms. While the reported data are consistent with the hypothesis, consistency is not proof.

    ” In addition, the ratio of oxygen to nitrogen in the atmosphere has declined as CO2 has increased; this is as expected because oxygen is depleted when fossil fuels are burned.”

    Again, it is consistent with the hypothesis, but it is not proof. They talk about the relative abundance of 12C in vegetation (and, these adjectives need to be treated cautiously, as the actual preference is quite small), but they do not delve into the production of 13C or 14C and what mechanisms might have altered their rate of production in the given timeline.

    The evidences presented are circumstantial. [snip]. What fair-minded jury would convict beyond a reasonable doubt in this case?

  151. Stephen Wilde says:

    It’s the standard understanding of the physics of the phase changes of water as per all the textbooks that describe evaporation as a net cooling effect and which confirm that infra red radiation does not get deep enough into a body of water in the open air to avoid being removed by increased evaporation.

    Can you provide such references? It is obvious that the phase change due to increased evaporation has a net cooling effect when all else is equal. However, all else is not equal when you are increasing the IR radiation. What happens in reality is that some of the energy from increased IR radiation will go into heating the oceans and some will go into increasing evaporation.

    I really don’t see it. More evaporation must of necessity give stronger evaporative cooling in the ocean skin thus increasing the energy flow upwards, not decreasing it.

    So, are you saying that the way to cool the ocean is to bombard it with more and more IR radiation?

    I’ve been asking for real world evidence for 18 months now and zilch so far. Just a bleating appeal to Mr. Minnett’s authority and his unproven and apparently unsupported ocean skin theory.

    Wow…What double standards! Minnett provides not only theory but data to back it up. You by contrast just supply the handwaving hypothesis with nothing whatsoever to back it up.

    Where is the evidence that ANY downwelling IR whether natural or man made provides enough surplus energy 1mm down where it really matters given that it only penetrates to one tenth of that depth.

    As I pointed out in my post of (19:15:56) 9 Nov 2009, even if you restrict yourself to only conduction of heat, you find that there is a lot of heat that can be conducted over small distance scales of order 1mm even for rather modest temperature differences. This is because a modest temperature difference over a small distance is still a large temperature gradient. It is thus likely a very good approximation to assume that the skin layer is at a uniform temperature…and Minnett shows that this temperature is higher (relative to the temperature 5cm below) when more IR radiation is impinging on the ocean surface.

    The truth is that ALL IR goes to accelerating energy from the oceans because it substantially drives the evaporative process and the more of it the faster.

    I was reluctant to go that far for over a year but given the lack of evidence to the contrary I currently think it to be so

    Well, I guess it makes it nice when you serve as judge and jury for the validity of your own hypotheses. I would say that by “lack of evidence to the contrary”, you just mean that you have dismissed any evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, you seem to have mainly presented your notions to a sympathetic audience, with only a few of us (who are not experts in the field) to provide a modicum of balance. If you want to get serious about this, you need to actually submit it to a peer-reviewed journal. Otherwise, you are just grand-standing.

    Another big problem with your “theory”, by the way, is that even if most of the energy from increased IR does go into increased evaporation, that energy is released as latent heat when the water condensed, so there is no net transfer of heat out of the atmosphere…only transfer from the surface up into the atmosphere. To the extent that such transfer does cause the upper atmosphere to warm more than the surface and thus provides a negative feedback, it is already included in all of the climate models. (And, of course, the increase in water vapor also provides a positive feedback because water vapor is a greenhouse gas.)

  152. P Wilson: I frankly don’t have time to waste with someone who just rejects laws of physics (such as the S-B Equation) when they uncomfortable to his political beliefs and who can write nonsensical posts faster than I can try to correct them. I only suggest that wherever you go to communicate your views to scientists or policymakers, you should be certain to tell them your views on the origin of the current rise in CO2 and your notions that the S-B Equation does not apply to objects radiating at terrestrial temperatures. I am sure that they will be suitably impressed.

    Bart says:

    The keyword there is “can”. It can also be attributed to decrease in the rate of production of heavy carbon atoms. While the reported data are consistent with the hypothesis, consistency is not proof.

    Science doesn’t deal in proof. In fact, one can always say “God did it” and that statement cannot be shown to be false.

    The evidences presented are circumstantial. Moreover, the witnesses have been observed doctoring the data in other testimony. What fair-minded jury would convict beyond a reasonable doubt in this case?

    Well, basically every scientific body on the planet would and has.

    The evidence that the current CO2 rise is due to man is so ridiculously overwhelming that I frankly am amazed that anyone disputes it. All that it shows is how strongly people will cling to unscientific beliefs when their desire to do so is strong enough. Even if you ignore the isotopic evidence entirely, one has to posit all sorts of magical things that occur in order for the current rise not to be due to our emissions. You have to imagine that at the same time that we started emitting CO2, the oceans and/or biosphere magically started absorbing all of this CO2 but then independently also started emitting more CO2 (just because they felt like it) and that it magically did this in a way that kept the ratio of the excess CO2 building up in the atmosphere to the amount we emit almost perfectly constant even as our emissions increase! Frankly, one can’t even formulate a hypothesis to explain the CO2 buildup that doesn’t sound ridiculous on its face. And, then one is also faced with the very strong circumstantial evidence provided by the fact that CO2 levels are higher than they have been in at least 750,000 years.

  153. Bart: I should add that your [snip] is without foundation and follows a similar pattern of the echo chamber on the internet, whereby people like McIntyre make mountains out of molehills, basically making claims that pretty much fall apart or a shown to be much less important than they claim them to be under closer scrutiny. Such people are usually, however, careful to avoid any sorts of [snip].

    If Roy Spencer and John Christy were on the on the side of the consensus instead of the “skeptic” side, they would have been absolutely pilloried by you folks for all the errors that they made in analyzing the satellite data, which were primarily in the direction of cooling artifacts. These errors, unlike the ones that have been discovered in the work of Mann and others, were enough to significantly change overall conclusions.

    • REPLY: to Joel I don’t agree with Bart’s choice of words, and I’m snipping it in the original and in your reply.

      However, the important difference is, Spencer and Christy recognized and corrected their error associated with satellite orbit decay, and it was a very complex mathematical issue that only a few experts could see. They were in fact pilloried for it, recognized it, and corrected it. Science at its best.

      As an example of the problem on the other side:

      Dr. Mann cannot and apparently, will not, recognize and correct a simple proxy data inversion that is as “plain as day”, even to laymen. Defend Mann all you want, we’ll enjoy the entertainment, but the truth is he is creating his own problems by not addressing the issue head-on. So far his actions on these topics have not inspired trust. I am hopeful that will change and he’ll correct the issue. Once he does, there would be no reason then to have issue with the data.

      The biggest problem in climate science today is the stubbornness to let the science self correct. – Anthony

  154. P Wilson (23:38:39),

    Thanks for that citation, it was new to me. Here’s another, from a real rocket scientist: click.

    Also, the U.S. Department of Energy shows that human emitted CO2 is little more than one-fortieth of the amount emitted through natural processes. The UN’s IPCC was the source of that data. Even Joel Shore’s guru, Al Gore, is backing away from CO2 as the central cause of [apparently non-existent] CAGW. Demonizing harmless, beneficial CO2 is so 2008.

    Hey, WUWT has an actual Rocket Scientist. And a real Viscount! No wonder Gavin is so envious. But he has something we don’t: his own self-reinforcing echo chamber. Who needs different points of view anyway?

  155. “Science doesn’t deal in proof.”

    Then, it is not science. It is, at best, pre-science,i.e., an informed hypothesis, a vague conjecture, or rank speculation, take your pick.

    I can tell you without any doubt that, in a specific regime, gravity acts as an inverse square law. I can tell you that particles move with wavelike characteristics. I can tell you that light emission is definitely stimulated by the absorption of photons, and that its energy is proportional to its frequency, while its momentum is inversely proportional to its wavelength, and I can tell you the constant of proportionality to seven significant digits in specific regimes.

    “The evidence that the current CO2 rise is due to man is so ridiculously overwhelming that I frankly am amazed that anyone disputes it.”

    Yet, you cannot cite a reference upon which I cannot cast reasonable doubt. You cannot cite mathematical equations which tie the increase in the isotope ratio to a specific increase in overall concentration, because there is not enough information on hand to do so.

    When the stakes are high, you had better, by God, be dealing with at least a reasonable doubt standard. In the 19th century, it was observed that aboriginal peoples with little contact to the outside world tended to be less advanced, and the theory of racially linked intelligence was born. It was consistent with the known facts at the time. The evidence was “ridiculously overwhelming”. But, I would risk triggering Godwin’s Law if I detailed to you how that particular hypothesis played out.

  156. “You have to imagine that at the same time that we started emitting CO2, the oceans and/or biosphere magically started absorbing all of this CO2 but then independently also started emitting more CO2 (just because they felt like it) …”

    No, I just have to presume that CO2 levels vary all the time, as is shown in the geologic record, and that it happened to be on the upswing when we started measuring it directly. Moreover,

    “…and that it magically did this in a way that kept the ratio of the excess CO2 building up in the atmosphere to the amount we emit almost perfectly constant even as our emissions increase!”

    What does this mean? Why do you believe this is evidence in support of your cause? Firstly, it is not true. Secondly, even if it were, it would be like arguing that the increase in CO2 is directly proportional to the increase in the parallax to Vega – to the degree these two slowly changing time series may be modeled as trends, they are inherently proportional to one another. It means nothing.

  157. The point being made Joel,. can you provide data and verified physical mechanisms ?

    The IPCC can’t. NASA can’t. The Royal Societ can’t

  158. Never mind your vituperations Joel. All that is being asked for is evidence and data that is verified, and explanations of such

    if you can’t answer some rather basic questions, then fine. No-one is condemning

  159. Joel.

    Ok. The SB equation applies to certain things associated with mechanics and engineering. It can’t cover the complexities of nature. It was pulled into liquids and gases since it exagerrates tenfold their effect. It cannot be applied to all matter, liquids, gases and solids, as well as biological matter. If so it produces absurd results. If a calorimeter using remote temperature sensors record the fact that for example a human produces 85wm2, or 150w/m2 if he/she is playing tennis (at 27C) then sure, the SB gives 525w/m2. The latter figure is enough to bring sunflower oil to its boiling point. So the proposition is that if thermal imaging gives highlights for human s against a cooler terrestruial background, it implies that earth readiates less than 85w/m2.

    Normal temperature matter doesn’t radiate that much energy that the SB gives. It can’t, as a physical equation, be taken and adapted to suit a purpose. You might as well measure the volume of chicken eggs by using Boyle’s law

    I frankly don’t have time to waste with someone who just rejects laws of physics (such as the S-B Equation) when they uncomfortable to his political beliefs and who can write nonsensical posts faster than I can try to correct them.

  160. Smokey (11:42:52) :

    I always thought Schmidt had it in for Lord Monckton. I’m guessing that they *crossed paths* at some debate in Oxford university whilst Mann was a student there and Monckton was in Thatcher’s (Hadley) policy unit

  161. I guess joel is now speechless concerning my earlier posts as he has now had plenty of time to respond yet has concentrated totally upon more recent posts.

  162. oops. I just read someone write “science doesn’t deal in proof”. Not sure if that was a sarcastic comment.

    If not, then that the same as saying that science is the exercise of rhetoric or persuasion?

    It would be possible to say that the increase in televisions cause global warming, as the relation between television increase and global temperatures shows a good correlation. This is caused by increasing use of transmission per million of the population”.

    If this were questioned, I’d reply “Are you doubting the authority of this obvious correlation? If you are, you’re ridiculous, and I have no time to waste correcting you, since it is so self-evidently obvious”

  163. wattsupwiththat (11:15:40) :

    The chief problem for AGW is explaining with verified data how c02 today causes an increase in temperature. C02 intervenes with radiation at very cold places, like Antarctica or the upper troposphere, where it doesn’t have the energy to change the present state of affairs of the climate. The analogy is frying a piece of bacon and arguing that the water from the bacon feeds back into the cooking process to produce a serious risk of burning it. When this doesn’t happen, then it is formulated that the effect must be taking place further up in the kitchen , where it is cooler. I’m sure (I hope) that other have better analogies

  164. cba says:

    I did note you have not attempted to comment on or refute my last comments concerning the skin, conservation of energy, and the total screwup of that experiment by your author (or at least the failure to provide any of the information that might be somewhat meaningful).

    The honest fact is that I have read what you said a few times now and I still can’t make heads-or-tails regarding what you are trying to say.

    The point of ocean contribution is that due to the low power transfer rate (associated with the long time constant), the contribution in increased temperatures or the net imbalance in temperature will be quite minimal, like that of the geothermal factor.

    No…The geothermal factor is small because the rate of thermal transfer limits the radiative heating that can be supplied to the surface. For the oceans, the radiative imbalance is not determined by the oceans…The oceans merely act as a heat sink delaying the approach to re-establishing radiative balance. I am surprised that you can’t see the difference.

    <blockquote
    The radiative change you speak of in regards to imbalance is actually a misconception. The simple conceptual models used say that there’s only one mean temperature for the surface given X solar insolation and Y ghg absorption. Even conceptually and simplistically, it’s not right.

    I agree with you that, in principle, a spontaneous change in cloud cover could produce a radiative imbalance and that a change in cloud cover in response to a radiative imbalance can provide a feedback. However, there is little evidence to support the hypothesis that significant cloud cover changes occur spontaneously in a sustained way on a global scale…And, furthermore, one would have to suppose that they have occurred with a strong bias in a particular direction…and also that the cloud feedbacks act in a particular direction in response to increases in greenhouse gases (producing a strong negative feedback) in order to explain the lack of response to the known perturbation caused by increasing greenhouse gases. This is a lot to believe in light of quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.

    However, in principle, I agree with you that if anything is going to save us from the fate of considerably altering the earth’s climate through our greenhouse gas emissions, it will have to be a strong negative cloud feedback…Because it sure ain’t going to be provided by the sort of nonsense that others here are spouting off about (not believing basic radiative physics or not believing that we are even responsible for the current rise in CO2 levels). If my prejudices pre-disposed me to the “skeptic” point-of-views, as most of the people’s here do, I would focus on providing real evidence of a negative cloud feedback rather than arguing all this other nonsense, which frankly just tells me that some people will believe just about anything in order to avoid truths that they find inconvenient. To their credit, Spencer and Lindzen seem to be taking this route of looking for evidence of such a negative feedback, but their evidence to date isn’t very convincing (and Spencer’s latest argument [ https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/04/spencer-on-finding-a-new-climate-sensitivity-marker/ ] even seems to be that the climate sensitivity is just a tiny bit low of the low end of the IPCC’s 2 to 4.5 C likely range).

    If it is truly chaotic, it will not ever be modeled accurately from what I understand from the chaos experts.

    Chaos limits predictability in certain ways but not all ways. In particular, it limits predictions that are sensitive to initial conditions. It may make it impossible to believe a detailed weather forecast for a day two weeks hence, but it does not limit our ability to predict that here in Rochester the climate in January is going to be a lot colder than in July.

  165. radiative physics are fascinating (Joel). We’ve gone through the human calorimeter results here:

    http://personal.cityu.edu.hk/~bsapplec/heat.htm

    underfloor heating has an output of 100w/m2 to produce 24C, at fl0or level though more normally used at 60w/m2.

    http://www.energyinst.org.uk/content/files/4g.pdf

    At the floor surface, the temperature is 24C, but falls on altitude to 20C at the ceiling, since rising heat cools. This is warmer than the average equivalent temperatures outside. It seems clear to me that an average earth temperature of 15C produces a great deal less energy than 100w/m2

    regarding the physical impossibility of c02 heating the surface level of oceans, I don’t see what the fuss is about. If oceans emit heat, and c02 captures a tiny proportion of it, then how exactly does that vastly reduced aerial heat content transmit itself back to oceans, which are already heating cooler air? When you say that oceans are “thermally inert” it means that they have a high heat capacity, whereas air doesn’t have much heat capacity. Oceans can heat air, though the reverse doesn’t count. The Sun can heat oceans – they depend on shortwave prolonged heat. So its the IPCC’s and the NASA’s of this world that strangle thermodynamics by concocting numbers then working backwards to justify them.

    so prove otherwise!

  166. Joel,

    You’re confusing evidence for man putting CO2 into the atmosphere with evidence that this CO2 is causing warming. Even including evidence suggesting warming is insufficient to establish causality when the expected ‘trends’ are small relative to natural variability..

    You’re also confusing Plank distributions of energy with S-B. Even if all of the energy is concentrated in a small band, it can still have an equivalent S-B temperature. Measurements of the surface, including the oceans, indicate that the surface is an almost ideal BB radiator. Once the radiation passes through the atmosphere, there are gaps in the spectrum and the equivalent temperature of the energy leaving the planet is lower. This is the difference between a surface average of 288K and an outgoing radiative average temperature of 255K. You also fail to understand that emissivity, while representing a deviation from ideal BB behavior, is something that can be completely characterized and quantified.

    Let me ask you the question I ask all AGW proponents, none of whom has been able to supply an answer.

    We can agree that the the additional energy absorbed by the atmosphere from doubling CO2 is about 3.7 W/m^2 (my Hitran simulations give 3.6). Half of this is redirected back to the surface and half is redirected back into space, resulting in 1.85 W/m^2 of additional surface forcing. A 3C increase in average surface temperature requires the surface to emit about 16 W/m^2 more surface power. Whether the resulting energy spectrum is Plank or not, this much surface power much still be emitted. What possible mechanism can provide the gain to amplify 1.85 W/m^2 into 16 w/m^2 (a factor of 8.65)? If you’re hung up on the half/half down aspect, what can amplify 3.7 W/m^2 into 16 W/m^2 (a factor of 4.33), when captured solar power is only amplified by a factor 1.64 (calculate the power ratio between 278.5K and 255K)..

    George

  167. There is a great tendency to treat heat as a constant, a fixed currency, in order to balance the books, as though it were a solid. Even a lot of sceptics are taken in by this audacity.

  168. “No…The geothermal factor is small because the rate of thermal transfer limits the radiative heating that can be supplied to the surface. For the oceans, the radiative imbalance is not determined by the oceans…The oceans merely act as a heat sink delaying the approach to re-establishing radiative balance. I am surprised that you can’t see the difference”

    Actually, the fact that the oceans have a large delay means that it is quite limited in thermal transfer as well when it comes to the bulk of the oceans. Another difference is that energy can only be injected into the ocean deeper than a few cm by visible light power transfer, not by IR radiative, not by convection, and not by conduction in any meaningful fashion. You’ve still not addressed this – that is the failure of the experiment to take into account the details of energy balance at the surface when it comes to energy flow. Your failure to comprehend it is problematic, perhaps symptomatic.

    The experiment you referenced attempted to establish a delta temperature between surface and 5cm below and then to claim that a low differential temperature was evidence that the heat flow was being cut off because the surface temperature – the 5cm temperature was less, resulting in a lower rate of heat transfer.

    Given the kitchen physics example of two frying pans simmering on the stove at 350 F where one has a wooden handle and the other has a cast iron handle, which of these has the greater temperature differential and which has the greater heat flow? (and which would you pick up without benefit of an insulating pot holder?)

    Concerning the ocean, if you apply conservation of energy in and out of the upper layer, you find that it will radiate/evaporate/conduct energy into the atmosphere based upon its absolute temperature and for radiative it’s going to increase in power output proportional to the 4th power of absolute temperature. Other methods will also increase with temperature, but not to the 4th power. The total energy coming in consists of the incoming IR and convection/conduction from below. Since there is (per your statement) no violation of the 2nd law, there is no net power going from the cooler skin to the warmer lower area. That can only be heated by the incoming solar visible light.

    The temperature drop between the 5cm layer and the surface is determined by energy balance of the surface which determines its absolute temperature and by the energy balance at the 5cm point. It is the failure to deliver sufficient power to maintain its absolute temperature which causes that temperature to drop to the point where energy flow is balanced. Only if the temperature differential goes negative with the skin at a higher temperature than lower down will you power flowing down. That was never the case in the author’s experiment.

    Even with practically 100 W/m^2 variation in IR coming in, in no case did the skin get close to exceeding the 5cm temperature. That’s over 25 times what a co2 doubling can do. In all cases, the skin temperature had to drop to less than the 5cm mark in order to reach an energy flow balance. It means the capability of that skin to give off excess power is greater than the flow rate of heat from reaching the skin. It also indicates that the variation in this temperature due to ghg forcings is practically nonexistent.

    I’ve noticed in some of your posts that there is a problem in your comprehension. When it was brought up that the water evaporation was a powerful conveyor of heat from the surface, you responded that this heat of evaporation never left the atmosphere. While correct in a simple theory sense, it is horribly wrong in the context of the overall system.

    That latent heat or heat of evaporation being removed from the ocean surface is substantial on average. It amounts to between 1/3 and 1/2 of the total radiated heat from the surface which leaves the atmosphere. Each gram of water evaporated absorbs far more energy than it takes to heat a gram of water from 0 to 100 deg C. What happens with that vapor is simple, its molecular weight is 18 versus the average of 28.8, meaning moist air is lighter than dry air. Hence it can rise. It also absorbs radiative heat, something not found in climatology 101. Absorbing heat (net) means less density yet so more opportunity to climb in altitude.

    If the vapor is absorbing IR based upon a BB temperature distribution of the same temperature – there will be no net absorption or emission. If the vapor is cooler than the heating source, it will absorb more than it emits and if it’s hotter, it will emit radiation lines that are emission lines rather than absorption lines. As the vapor rises, it cools off, becoming a net absorber for sure. That cooling includes conversion to gravitation potential energy, radiation, and conduction. Where water is in the atmosphere and quite a large amount of area beyond that, one has local thermodynamic equilibrium – meaning that the same temperature (locally) is enjoyed by all the molecules in that little area. IE, the ghg radiation absorption is thermalized to the entire gas constituency.

    Additionally, that water vapor is now risen to the point where it has become supersaturated and must come out of the vapor phased and become liquid – or even solid. Once aloft, it is above a good deal of the atmosphere and most all of the other water vapor – the major ghg contributor by far. Up there, the vapor is radiating – essentially half outward and half downward – each according to stefan’s law as stefans law is for a solid with a surface radiating outward from that surface. At this point, the radiating lines have a good chance of escaping the atmosphere – but that is not all. Water vapor cannot stay supersaturated forever, it has to drop out of the vapor phase and liquify or become a solid. When that happens, you’re no longer limited to only spectral absorption/emission lines, you’ve got a continuum going. In fact, there is a continuum started when one has dimers (dymers?) – apparently small strings of h2o molecules which create extra modes of vibration which cause non spectral line emissions. The theory isn’t well developed or modeled at present but it does exist somewhat in accord with measurement.

    What you wind up with is particulates, and clouds, which radiated in a continuum – even though it is at a lower temperature and hence lower power rate. That though is how your evaporating h2o power transfer at the surface arrives at radiating power away from the planet just like what happens at the surface. Since it is a continuum, it is not blocked completely by higher ghgs, up in the stratosphere.

    Convection operates strongest close to the ground where the vast bulk of the absorption takes place. It’s practically nonexistent at the tropopause as there is no need for it there. Actually, it would seem the tropopause is the altitude where that transition occurs.

    Since you seem to thing that we are fundamentally out of radiative balance due to measurements, let’s look a bit in that direction. Again, we’re talking the astronomical concept of radiative balance – which includes more than simply radiation as stars have convection zones where the stellar material is completely opaque to radiation present and only convection is occurring there. What it means of course is that while things are not in thermodynamic equilibrium nor are they in perfect instantaneous energy balance, it does mean that conditions are not in the process of changing – like some hidden buildup of energy in the oceans.

    Measurements are by necessity done by satellites. There have been claims our average incoming power is 238 or 239 w/m^2 while our outgoing is only 234 or 235 w/m^2. I’m sure you’ll see error bars that are microscopic as well. If you check out the incoming solar, you’ll find SORCE, the most recent satellite shows 1361 w/m^2 and it even has multi stellar calibration capability built in. Theoretical black body caculations and the older satellites indicate solar incoming is about 1367 w/m^2 at mean Earth orbit distance. That’s a half percent error for absolute measurement showing up as a difference between measurements of one parameter of several. Usually, these satellites, which are quite hostile environments for sensitive equipment, often have abreviated measurement approaches such as bands of radiation sensing that then calculate results – not unlike the typical stellar photometry filter measurements being used to determine a star’s surface temperature. In astronomy though, 1-3 % accuracy can be more of a goal than an achievement when it comes to measuring some things.

    Given these sorts of things, a less than 2% difference in planetary energy balance, 235 vs 239 w/m^2, is probably well within the real margin of error, regardless of the claims of short error bars that are so pervasive today, especially when related to climatology. The simple fact is that we cannot do a 0.0001% accurate measurement of a whole Earth energy balance and we may not be able to do even an honest 2% measurement either.

  169. george,

    the 3.7 w/m^2 or about 3.5 w/m^2 is the outgoing absorption increase – or emission to space at around the 22km nominal tropopause altitude. At 70km, it drops to around 2.7 w/m^2 difference. There is an increase in emissivity due to this increase in absorption but the emission rate at 22km or 70km is not a function of the absorbed power or absorbed power difference. it is a function of the temperature of the air parcel or layer and the emissivity. Increasing the ghg concentrations result in an increase of the emissivity, meaning that the air parcel will radiate more power at the same temperature. what’s more, near the upper edge of the absorbing region – where emissions are much less likely to be absorbed again – we find that increase in emissions will be up and down and that an increase in the emssivity will result in a lower temperature being required for energy to balance. This can be understood by using an arbitrary small unit so that a shell parcel of air increases the ghg content and absorbs an additional 1 unit of power from outgoing radiation. If the parcel’s temperature were the same as the radiation source, then the emissivity increase would be responsible for emitting outbound power by 1 additional unit. Unfortunately, it also has to emit a downward 1 unit of power additional as well. That means we’ve received 1 unit and have to emit 2 units – it’s out of balance and the temperature will have to drop. In the general case, the parcel will absorb 1 unit and have to emit 1/2 unit up and 1/2 unit down additional after the emissivity has been increased. While it’s possible that this might require a temperature increase, it will certainly be much less than a simple S-B calculation that ignores the nature of the emissivity change and the fact that the radiation increases in 2 directions instead of one. Since parcels or layers tend to be rather thin compared with the whole atmosphere, one winds up with absorption and emissions that are far from emissivity = 1.

  170. cba (18:29:45)

    “Given the kitchen physics example of two frying pans simmering on the stove at 350 F where one has a wooden handle and the other has a cast iron handle, which of these has the greater temperature differential and which has the greater heat flow? (and which would you pick up without benefit of an insulating pot holder?)”

    same “heat flow”, except at the handle, as wood, like air, is a poor conductor. If it were a very dark wood handle, then more, as… let me think… the SB constant says that it absorbs more energy and so emits more..

    Sometimes, its necessary to think out of the box

  171. Has anyone else noticed that a 2C increase around a nominal temperature of 288K requires about 11 W/m^2 per the SB equation and that this is exactly the slope of the dFlux/dSST graph in the paper? How about that, theory and measurements actually align!

    The slope, indicating net negative feedback, is really the consequence of SST increasing linearly with incident energy (i.e. 1cal/gm per degree C), while radiated energy increases as the 4’th power of temperature. Another prediction of this is that the ratio between the radiated surface energy and the incident solar energy should increases as the incident energy decreases and visa versa.

    George

  172. co2isnotevil (George) says:

    You’re confusing evidence for man putting CO2 into the atmosphere with evidence that this CO2 is causing warming.

    No I’m not. I’ve been drawn into an argument about whether we are responsible for the increasing CO2 just because some people here are so far out in the weeds that they actually contest this point. In my post of (16:38:07) 10 Nov 2009, I noted clearly that in fact I think it would be wiser for skeptics to focus on arguments about climate sensitivity rather than all of this other nonsense (at least if they are actually interested in convincing scientists and not just confusing the public).

    I think there is considerable evidence for at least a moderately high climate sensitivity (e.g., in the 2 to 4.5 C range that the IPCC considers probable) but at least it is not a priori ridiculous to suggest that the sensitivity could be lower, as it is to suggest that we aren’t causing the current rise in CO2 levels or that the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law or other such nonsense.

    You’re also confusing Plank distributions of energy with S-B. Even if all of the energy is concentrated in a small band, it can still have an equivalent S-B temperature. Measurements of the surface, including the oceans, indicate that the surface is an almost ideal BB radiator. Once the radiation passes through the atmosphere, there are gaps in the spectrum and the equivalent temperature of the energy leaving the planet is lower. This is the difference between a surface average of 288K and an outgoing radiative average temperature of 255K. You also fail to understand that emissivity, while representing a deviation from ideal BB behavior, is something that can be completely characterized and quantified.

    I don’t really disagree with anything you say here except the claim that I am confused about it.

    Let me ask you the question I ask all AGW proponents, none of whom has been able to supply an answer.

    We can agree that the the additional energy absorbed by the atmosphere from doubling CO2 is about 3.7 W/m^2 (my Hitran simulations give 3.6). Half of this is redirected back to the surface and half is redirected back into space, resulting in 1.85 W/m^2 of additional surface forcing. A 3C increase in average surface temperature requires the surface to emit about 16 W/m^2 more surface power. Whether the resulting energy spectrum is Plank or not, this much surface power much still be emitted. What possible mechanism can provide the gain to amplify 1.85 W/m^2 into 16 w/m^2 (a factor of 8.65)? If you’re hung up on the half/half down aspect, what can amplify 3.7 W/m^2 into 16 W/m^2 (a factor of 4.33), when captured solar power is only amplified by a factor 1.64 (calculate the power ratio between 278.5K and 255K)..

    There are a number of mistakes here. First of all, the 3.7 W/m^2 is not the amount of radiation absorbed by doubling CO2, half of which is directed up and half directed down. Rather, it is the change in the amount of radiation emitted at the top of the atmosphere (technically speaking, once the stratosphere has adjusted to the radiative change). So, yes indeed, your division by 2 for the half up / half down aspect is incorrect.

    Second of all, since it is a top-of-the-atmosphere value, it is incorrect to compare emission at the surface (at ~288 K). You should be comparing things at the effective radiating temperature of 255K. That will lower your estimate of 16 W/m^2 to about 11 W/m^2.

    So, the question is basically how the 3.7 W/m^2 gets increased to 11 W/m^2. And, the answer to that is feedbacks. The most important feedback is the water vapor feedback, i.e., the warming due to the increase in CO2 leads to an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere and that has a radiative effect. (Although closely associated with this is the lapse rate feedback, which is a negative feedback that occurs because the temperature in the upper troposphere is expected to warm more than the surface. This means that the surface does not have to warm as much as the upper troposphere does in order to restore radiative balance. This feedback essentially takes back some fraction of the warming due to the water vapor feedback.) Then there is the ice-albedo feedback due to the fact that the melting of ice reduces the albedo of the earth, causing more solar energy to be absorbed. And, finally, there is the cloud feedback. This feedback is the most uncertain…and this uncertainty is responsible for most of the uncertainty in estimates of the climate sensitivity.

    I have no idea how you arrived at the claim that “captured solar power is only amplified by a factor 1.64”.

  173. joel. Since gases don’t have surfaces they radiate in all directions. The most important feedback as you note is water vapour chiefly to its absorbtion range. The second is c02, chiefly too because of its minimal absorbtion range.

    translating these figures into temperature we have 0.2C for c02 as a ghg, and that figure is exagerrated to 0.6C by incurring it as an amplifier of water vapour. Since there is no logic to this theory – that only 0.2C can be obtained by c02, it was then coupled with water vapour – the sun’s and PDO’s & ENSO’s completely ignored to make it look like c02 drives the water vapour effect. It is hard to unravel this logic because it is not based on physical logic.

    to say top of the atmosphere, (presuming you mean the upper tropopause) then co2 only absorbs at the shoulders – not at peaks, where is crosses with the bands of oxygen & Nitrogen, and there are millions more of these molecules that c02 has to compete with. However, temperature records reveal not 255K but 203K (-70C) or 228K (-45) at the “top of the atmosphere” depending on season and whether at the equator or the poles

  174. Joel,

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve actually run simulations based on HITRAN_2008 absorption line data and that simulation tells me that the atmosphere absorbs 3.6 more W/m^2 of surface energy when the CO2 concentrations are increased from 280ppm to 560ppm.

    Your assertion that the 3.7 W/m^2 represents a reduction in energy leaving the planet is based on the assumption that all energy absorbed by GHG finds it’s way back to the surface and none is re-emitted into space. While I contend this is a flawed and unsubstantiated assumption, it really doesn’t detract from my point since even 16/3.7 is far larger than the gain of the climate system can support.

    Your assertion that water vapor feedback amplifies this is incorrect. If water vapor feedback, whose time constant is on the order of days, it at fault, then the net 20 W/m^2 surface difference between aphelion and perihelion should cause a temperature difference of about 16C, which is clearly not evident. Why would water vapor feedback only affect surface forcing resulting from changes in atmospheric heating of the surface and not from changes in solar forcing? If feedback is a response to surface temperatures, then it will apply equally to any change in surface temperature.

    To arrive at the 1.63 number is relatively simple. The energy entering the system from the Sun has an equivalent temp of 255K, which represents 239.8 W/m^2. The surface temperature has an average of 288K, which represents a surface power of 390.1 W/m^2. The ratio of these 2 power densities is 390.1/239.8 = 1.63, which represents the power gain of the climate system. Again, if incident energy is amplified by 1.63 at the surface, why would incremental surface forcing originating from atmospheric heating be multiplied by a factor > 4 (actually >8).

    Relative to comparing things, temperature is irrelevant. What matters is energy and energy ratios, or more precisely, power density and power density ratios. Moreover, the 16 watts is 16 watts and not 11 watts, as what we are measuring is a change in surface temperature.

    I agree that to make a definitive case against AGW, the sensitivity must be quantified. The 1.63 number I presented is the measured climate sensitivity as a ratio of power densities. See this, http://www.palisad.com/co2/eb/eb.html, for more.

    George

  175. Joel Shore wrote:
    “There are a number of mistakes here. First of all, the 3.7 W/m^2 is not the amount of radiation absorbed by doubling CO2, half of which is directed up and half directed down. Rather, it is the change in the amount of radiation emitted at the top of the atmosphere (technically speaking, once the stratosphere has adjusted to the radiative change). So, yes indeed, your division by 2 for the half up / half down aspect is incorrect.

    Well, you’re right about there being a number of mistakes there in your’s as well. While you’re right about 3.7 or so W/m^2 being the difference in outgoing radiation, it would seem the where it’s outgoing from is a bit incorrect. I think you’ll find that the 3.7 is outgoing as measured from around 22km above the surface, close to typical tropopause. Measured from 70km, using a typical atmospheric column like US 1976 standard atmosphere, you’ll find it is about a W/m^2 less than the 3.7 at around 22km. You can see this using Archer’s modtran calculator online if you don’t happen to have a one dimensional model up and running. It also only applies to clear skies, and that is less than half the surface at any one time.

    “Second of all, since it is a top-of-the-atmosphere value, it is incorrect to compare emission at the surface (at ~288 K). You should be comparing things at the effective radiating temperature of 255K. That will lower your estimate of 16 W/m^2 to about 11 W/m^2.

    That better not have come from a physics text – or a climatology 101 text either. It’s in gross error. For one thing, the 255k temperature assumes a uniform situation, not half cloud, half surface. If you consider only the clear sky condition, you do not have radiative balance assuming a temperature at the surface of 255k because the cloud half is below 255k in radiative emissions.

    What you have for clear skies is 288k along with an absorption of about 30% of the total emissions. That’s about 391 W/m^2 – 120 W/m^2 = ~ 270 W/m^2. That’s roughly 40% of the Earth’s ‘surface’. The rest is emissions from cloud cover which balances out to around 239 W/m^2 overall average and basically, you’re trapping with clouds all that you would have trapped with increased co2 in clear sky conditions.

    Taking a surface increase of 3 deg C – to 291 K, you’re up to 407 W/m^2 radiated powerfrom the surface. Since initially one has 120 w/m^2 blocked and ~4w/m^2 added – subtract that from the emitted yields 283 w/m^2 radiated power from the surface – and if you like – subtract out the 3,7 and that leaves 283 w/m^2 rather than the 270. You’ve got around 13 W/m^2 unaccounted for here with the presumption that surface T rises 3 deg C from a no feedback co2 doubling, not 16, not 11.

    If one simply works back from what it takes to overcome the change in radiative component, the surface T rise will be just under 1 degree C, excluding feedbacks and convection.

  176. cba,

    I have to stand by my 16 W/m^2 number. Whatever forcing is claimed to cause 3C of warming must increase radiated surface energy by about 16 W/m^2, as calculated by (291^4 – 288^4)*5.6704E-8 = 16.5 W/m^2. The point I want to make is that the surface will radiate the same energy at the same temperature, independent of what the atmosphere is doing.

    If seems that your value of 13 is really the amount of power that must be added to the system via feedbacks, as all you seem to have done is subtract out the original, 3.7 W/m^2 of forcing power. This sets your baseline ‘unit gain’ to 0, rather than 1, which is more appropriate. You did bring up something that I frequently point out, and which few AGW’ers seem to get, which is that incremental CO2 between clouds and the surface has almost no effect as the clouds are already absorbing most of the surface energy.

    In the no feedback case, an incremental watt of forcing increases surface temperatures as specified by SB. Starting at 288K (390.1 W/m^2), 2 more W/m^2 of surface power, 392.1 W/m^2 results from a temperature of 288.37, or a 0.37C increase. If you plot delta power/delta temp for values of temperature around 288K, they fall on the linearized line of the dFlux/dSST plot in Lindzens paper. Actually, a linear fit is not exactly right and it needs to be fit to a T^4 curve instead, but over only a 2C range, the linear approximation is sufficient for illustrative purposes.

    George

  177. Presumably, CBA and George, that figure is taken from the SB constant, expressed as 5.67051 x 10-8 x K4.

    This equation is irrelevant to climatology and conflicts tenfold with actual recorded energy given off by normal temperature matter, which doesn’t emit that much radiation. In an averagely large room, with different objects this equation says that they shold be emitting at different temperatures. Actual measurements show they equiibriate at room temperature. If radiation were that significant, then they wouldn’t equilibriate: Even the paltry effect of air mlecules over-ride radiation to form an equilibrium. This constant was pulled into climatology to justify the exagerrated numbers required. There are a lot of telemetric results that show it is so far off, though the same results are used in climatology repeatedly without any accountability.

    To correct this power of 10, you could divide by 10 and assume that the average energy radiated by earth is 39w/m2.

    Underfoor heating produced 100w/m2 to produce 24C at floor level, yet the SB constant produces 390w/m2 at 15C. In the prior case, 100 w/m2 is enough to reach thermal equilibrium for the human rate of 85w/m2 when he not at rest

    most heat in the atmosphere gets there as conduction, convection and evaporation, very little by radiation

  178. These AGW absurdities are even embraced by those labelled as sceptics. At -19C 235 w/m2 are emitted. Ice would never freeze if that much energy were being tranferred. At 0C, its 315w/m2 – more than thrice the uniform power of underfloor heating, or else the power of three lightbulbs m2. Water would have to reach -40 before it froze. The fact that it freezes at 0C shows that environmental radiation is not that energetic

  179. P Wilson,

    The SB Law is very relevant to climate physics. In fact, what this paper does is show that the climate system behaves according to the SB Law. If you plot power density vs temperature based on the SB law, zoom in to the region at about 288K and normalize the power and temperature to the 288K values, you will get the same deltaFlux vs. deltaSST plot that was extracted from the best fit to the ERBE data.

    Relative to your underfloor heating example, you are neglecting 2 important factors. First, is the steradian aspects of the equation. A 100 w/m^2 radiating in a specific direction is equivalent to 400 W/m^2 radiating in all directions. Note that this is also the ratio of the surface area of a sphere to the area of a circle. The other thing you are missing is that the power delivered by the heater is raising the temperature from say, 0C to 24C and not from 0K to 297K.

    George

  180. Actually, underfloor heating at the most thermally efficient area where it rises, through insulating effect of screed floors delivers 100w/m2 to the floor surface to produce 24C, which raises temperatures from an ambient 288K to297K.

    Joel and I were having a discussion recently about why thermal imaging equipment delivers images of humans against a dark (cool) background, under the assumption that 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. 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. There’s also a cambridge paper on the matter which can be accessed on a google search. Hyper link don’t allow for Cambeidge journals, but can be linked to under ‘Description of a human direct calorimeter’ from a google search.

    It was found that at 27C 100wpsm optimum is emitted. That is not because 450 is absorbed, as the SB infers, but what the “human generator” produces, which is relatively warmer than its surrounding objects. NASA assume an human being to be 0.85m2

  181. It brings another anomaly with actual recorded temperatures and temperatures inferred by wavelength sensing. remote sensing infers a temperature at the “top of the atmosphere” at 255k (-18) the confusion here is what is meant by the top of the atmosphere. If it were the top level of the troposphere then actual temperatures are average 208K (-55C). If its the physical top of the atmosphere then its 772K upward

  182. co2isnotevil (15:49:23) :

    I agree the trend of the equation is correct. Just that the equation has to be corrected for climatology by a factor of 10, even before the many elusive and other complex factors associated with gases and liquids (air and water) of the climate are taken into account. Some molecular bonds don’t emit heat well, or reduce its ability to emit -increased moecular weight being such a factor

  183. P Wilson,

    To raise the temp from 288K (390 W/m^2) to 297K (441 W/m^2), requires adding 51 W/m^2 to the system. In rough terms you can say a 100 W/m^2 heater on half of the time and off the other half can do this. Now, it’s really more complicated than this and there’s the thermal mass of the house, heat loss through insulation, etc. In any event, I don’t see any contradiction here.

    People need to be considered as gray bodies, i.e., a black body radiator (at 37C) wrapped in insulation, moreover; this insulation has a relatively low R value which is modulated by activity. When you are very active, your body must radiate away excess heat produced as the result of the chemical reactions driving muscles. It does this by modulating surface blood flow, sweat induced evaporative cooling and other mechanisms that strive to maintain the black body inside at it’s nominal 37C value. The thermal imaging results are all consistent with this.

    George

  184. co2isevil and cba: Just to help you out in regards to P Wilson since I have gone around and around with him on this stuff. – His basic confusion is that he doesn’t understand the difference between the NET amount of heat lost by a human and the amount of radiation that would be calculated by the S-B Equation (and measured by an infrared detector). So, he uses results based on calorimetry that suggest that the net heat loss from humans amount to only about 50-100 W/m^2 to conclude that the S-B Equation (for a blackbody) that would imply about 400 W/m^2 emission must be incorrect.

    In some sense I can understand the confusion since it is sort of counter-intuitive to imagine that we are constantly bathed in radiation and we just don’t have much experience sitting in interstellar space where there is no significant thermal radiation impinging upon us or air conducting / convecting heat. However, his ability to decide that a cornerstone of modern physics, which is used in technologies ranging from infrared goggles to remote sensing by satellites is incorrect and his poor intuition based on fallacious logic is correct is rather mind-boggling.

    REPLY: Joel, Freudian slip? Note first word. – A

  185. P Wilson,

    The 255K radiated temperature of the planet is the equivalent temperature of the radiation leaving the planet. If you examine it’s spectral components, it will have gaps caused primarily by water vapor, CO2 and O3. If you integrate the power over all wavelengths, the total energy will be less than that of an ideal BB without the spectral gaps. If you convert this total energy into an equivalent temperature with SB, you get 255K.

    If you examine the spectral composition of the power leaving the planet, it’s peak amplitude is that of the Plank power distribution corresponding to warm surface temperatures, even though the total power is consistent with
    a colder temperature.

    George

  186. co2isnotevil (George) says:

    Your assertion that the 3.7 W/m^2 represents a reduction in energy leaving the planet is based on the assumption that all energy absorbed by GHG finds it’s way back to the surface and none is re-emitted into space.

    No…That would be a silly assumption to make and is not at all what it is based on. The 3.7 W/m^2 is how much less energy is emitted back out into space as a result of a doubling of CO2 (once stratospheric adjustment has occurred). The amount absorbed by GHGs is irrelevant in the sense that the radiation can be multiply-absorbed and emitted, which is why you need line-by-line radiation transfer codes to accurately compute the radiative forcing.

    Your assertion that water vapor feedback amplifies this is incorrect. If water vapor feedback, whose time constant is on the order of days, it at fault, then the net 20 W/m^2 surface difference between aphelion and perihelion should cause a temperature difference of about 16C, which is clearly not evident. Why would water vapor feedback only affect surface forcing resulting from changes in atmospheric heating of the surface and not from changes in solar forcing? If feedback is a response to surface temperatures, then it will apply equally to any change in surface temperature.

    In fact, the water vapor feedback is needed to explain various data for changes in temperature. For example, it is needed to explain the temperature response to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption ( http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5568/727 ). It is needed to explain the data from satellites that probe the upper troposphere: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;310/5749/841 (see also http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/323/5917/1020 ) And, it is apparently also need to explain the general climate variability ( http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.143.6379&rep=rep1&type=pdf ).

    Your statement about apehelion and perihelion is not correct (and your estimate of the forcing, once you account for albedo is a little high anyway…it is more like 15 W/m^2) because the climate system does not adjust instantaneously to a forcing. In particular, the oceans provide a large thermal inertia. So, yes, you are correct that the water vapor feedback operates on a timescale of days but that does not mean that the climate system re-establishes radiative balance (after a perturbation of that balance) on such a short timescale…In fact, it’s way longer than that.

    To arrive at the 1.63 number is relatively simple. The energy entering the system from the Sun has an equivalent temp of 255K, which represents 239.8 W/m^2. The surface temperature has an average of 288K, which represents a surface power of 390.1 W/m^2. The ratio of these 2 power densities is 390.1/239.8 = 1.63, which represents the power gain of the climate system. Again, if incident energy is amplified by 1.63 at the surface, why would incremental surface forcing originating from atmospheric heating be multiplied by a factor > 4 (actually >8).

    I think the word you are looking at is “simplistic”, not “simple”. In fact, this is a way too simplistic way to calculate things. If only it were that easy, the calculation of climate sensitivity could have been settled a long time ago!

    Relative to comparing things, temperature is irrelevant. What matters is energy and energy ratios, or more precisely, power density and power density ratios. Moreover, the 16 watts is 16 watts and not 11 watts, as what we are measuring is a change in surface temperature.

    No…The effective radiating temperature of the earth is what matters for the top of the atmosphere radiative forcing…and that is the 255 K number.

  187. Joel, what is being explained is that the human body is relatively warmer than its surroundings, that it generates up to 100w/m2, which is what it radiates. It certainly doesn’t absorb 400w/m2 from air or objects in a room. Contrarywise, central heating is used to reach a thermal equilibrium with the body – which always stays at an emission of 1-2 met

    George: at 24C at an emission level of 100w/m2 from the floor surface, rising air cools, so the ceiling may be 20C or 17C in a poorly insulated room.

    The SB says that at 59F, the energy of (lets say) a wall in a dark basement is 235W/m2 – which is what it emits. At 27C the wall in a room of the cambridge experiment it is 459 w/m2. At the basement, a human will emit what he generates – aroung 85w/m2 since he’s warmer than the walls or objects in that basement, so he can’t be receiving radiation from them. However, air being a poor conductor, its unlikely he will increase the dark room at 15C to his own temperature. If something is giving off radiation it is getting cooler. This basement at 235 w/m2 is the same as what the constant says the earth on average emits. My contention with Joel was that thermal imaging equipment shows that little radiation is given off by *normal* temperature matter.

  188. co2isnotevil (16:51:28) :

    What is observed is that a uniform radiating surface of 100w/m2 produces 24C at the floor. Though this is the optimum.

    Here are some indicative temperature differences, ΔT, for the individual
    floor thicknesses, based on an output of70 W/m2, and normal operating output of 50 W/m2.

    Output: 70W/m2: ΔT for: [°C]
    22 mm boards: +9
    20.5 mm wide boards: +8
    14 mm boards: +6
    Output: 50W/m2: ΔT for: [°C]
    22 mm boards: +6
    20.5 mm wide boards: +6
    14 mm boards: +4
    Example: With a surface temperature
    on the boards of 27°C and output of 70
    W/m2 the surface temperature of the
    concrete for a 14 mm clip system laid
    on Polyfilt (UK: PolyLay) can be calculated
    as:
    27+ (Σ md x 70) = 37.5 °C,
    where Σ md = 0.15 m2 ºK/W.

  189. oh as for the insulation of clothes , there are quite a few experiments that measure human radiative output in the nude

  190. recognizing misconceptions is one of the job requirements here.

    co2isnotevil,

    read through my post. While the average required T is 255, the emission for clear skies turns out to be about 270w/m^2 not 239. Also, the atmosphere blocks about 1/3 of outgoing radiation from the surface.

  191. cba says:

    Well, you’re right about there being a number of mistakes there in your’s as well. While you’re right about 3.7 or so W/m^2 being the difference in outgoing radiation, it would seem the where it’s outgoing from is a bit incorrect. I think you’ll find that the 3.7 is outgoing as measured from around 22km above the surface, close to typical tropopause. Measured from 70km, using a typical atmospheric column like US 1976 standard atmosphere, you’ll find it is about a W/m^2 less than the 3.7 at around 22km. You can see this using Archer’s modtran calculator online if you don’t happen to have a one dimensional model up and running. It also only applies to clear skies, and that is less than half the surface at any one time.

    Not really…I think that you are confused on this. The distinction is between the “instantaneous” and “adjusted” radiative forcings. The “instantanous” is the value before the stratosphere has responded at all to the change. The “adjusted” value means the value once the stratosphere (and above) has adjusted, which occurs relatively rapidly and is usually what is discussed. For the adjusted case, the values at the tropopause and top-of-the-atmosphere are equal by definition, since if there was net radiation into or out of the stratosphere, further adjustment would occur.

    Here are the numbers according to “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey (which I recommend for a nice basic grounding in these and other issues): The instantaneous forcing is ~4.3 W/m^2 at the tropopause and 2.4 W/m^2 at the top of the atmosphere. After stratospheric adjustment (i,e., it cools), the values are reduced to ~3.8 W/m^2 at both the tropopause and the top of the atmosphere. (All these numbers are good to about +/-10%.)

    As an interesting sidelight, both both and after adjustment, the additional radiation at the surface is only 1.4 W/m^2, which in fact is further evidence that the 3.7 W/m^2 number is not the value that finds its way back to the surface. Of course, the temperature at the surface can’t just be calculated based on this additional radiative amount because the tropospheric temperature distribution is determined by a combination of radiation, convection, and evapotranspiration / condensation. That is why scientists tend to focus on the top-of-the-atmosphere forcing (which, as noted above, is also the forcing at the tropopause when we speak of the forcing after stratospheric adjustment).

    That better not have come from a physics text – or a climatology 101 text either. It’s in gross error. For one thing, the 255k temperature assumes a uniform situation, not half cloud, half surface. If you consider only the clear sky condition, you do not have radiative balance assuming a temperature at the surface of 255k because the cloud half is below 255k in radiative emissions.

    The point is that the earth radiates as a blackbody at an effective temperature of 255 K and it is this temperature that is thus relevant in computing the radiative forcing. However, the difference between 11 and 13 W/m^2 is barely outside of error bars on the accuracy to which radiative forcings can be calculated (and well inside of errorbars for estimates of the climate sensitivity), so I don’t think it is worth a lot of argument. Still, my estimate that the central value for equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3 C/(W/m^2) is approximately a factor of 3 larger than the value of ~1.0 C in the absence of feedbacks is what is generally agreed upon…The 11 W/m^2 being about 3X the 3.7 W/m^2.

  192. A couple corrections to my last post:

    “both both and after adjustment” should read “both before and after adjustment”.

    And, my phrase “the values are reduced to ~3.8 W/m^2 at both the tropopause and the top of the atmosphere” is poorly worded since the 3.8 W/m^2 final value corresponds to a reduction of the value at the tropopause (from ~4.3 W/m^2) but an increase of the value at the top of the atmosphere (from ~2.4 W/m^2).

  193. co2isnotevil (17:09:15)

    i understand the concept although it doesn’t match with temperatures, since the greenhouse effect occurs in the lower troposphere where it hits the peaks of the spectra – some 3-7 and 12-70 microns for vapour and 13.4-16 for c02. radiation leaving averages 10 microns at 15C, though at 15microns its very cold energy being absorbed. Although the SB says that 235w/m2 is emitted from matter at 255k. not only is the equation overstated but the attempt to argue that energy is emitted into space at -19C looks spurious. It seems that if these figures for energy expressed in watts are divided by 10, we might have a good appraisal of the basic numbers involved, but they still don’t equate with the actual temperatures, which go from 288k at the surface to as low as 193k at the top.

    so i don’t see the sb constant as having value for climatology since it juggles so many mathematics when what appears to occur is no change in the heat that ghgs “trap” or absorb

  194. Joel says:

    “Here are the numbers according to “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey (which I recommend for a nice basic grounding in these and other issues): The instantaneous forcing is ~4.3 W/m^2 at the tropopause and 2.4 W/m^2 at the top of the atmosphere. After stratospheric adjustment (i,e., it cools), the values are reduced to ~3.8 W/m^2 at both the tropopause and the top of the atmosphere. (All these numbers are good to about +/-10%.)”

    have you seen the data regarding stratospheric cooling due to infrared being trapped by ghg’s?

    http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t4/tlsglhmam_5.1

    there doesn’t seem to be a cooling trend to me.

    Another case of “if it were not for global warming it would have been even colder?”

  195. P Wilson: 255 K is the effective blackbody temperature for the earth radiating into space. It is not the temperature at some simple specific location such as the surface or the top of the troposphere because it represents the temperature of an effective radiating level that lies somewhere in between. Of course, the actual way it works is that the radiation that escapes into space comes from a distribution of different levels of the atmosphere (including some that even escapes directly from the surface, an amount equal to about 10% of what the surface emits or about 17% of what the earth / atmosphere system as a whole emits to space, as shown here: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/Atmosphere/images/radiation_budget_kiehl_trenberth_2008_big.jpg ).

  196. Whoops, in my (17:39:06) post, in the sentence that reads, “Still, my estimate that the central value for equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3 C/(W/m^2) …”, that number should be 3 C per CO2 doubling, not 3 C/(W/m^2). The corresponding value in C/(W/m^2) is (roughly) 0.75 C/(W/m^2). [If the climate sensitivity were really 3 C/(W/m^2), we’d really be hosed!]

  197. Joel,

    I have done the line by line spectral analysis using the latest HITRAN_2008 spectra. When CO2 is increased from 280ppm to 560ppm, the open loop amount of additional surface power captured by the atmosphere increases by about 3.6 W/m^2. That is, 3.6 W/m^2 less surface power is leaving planet. This power is captured by the atmosphere, mostly within the first km. Considering this a thin shell, half of the captured power is redirected up and half down. Now, whether this is kinetic energy of motion passed by collisions or emission by photons, it really doesn’t matter, the energy is still directed up and down and only the energy directed down heats the surface. The reduction in power leaving the planet is 1.8 W/m^2 and the increase in surface forcing is 1.8 W/m^2. The equilibrium surface temperature, given 1.8 W/m^2 of additional surface forcing, increases by about 0.33C. This produces 1.8 W/m^2 of new surface energy, about 1/2 of which is absorbed by the atmosphere while half passes through. Of the half thats absorbed, half of this goes up and half goes down. The total reduction in output power is decreased to 0.45 W/m^2 (1.8 – .9 – .45), while surface energy increased to 2.25 W/m^2 (1.8 + 0.45). Continuing the series, the net change in the power leaving the planet ultimately becomes zero, while the surface energy ultimately increases by 2.6 W/m^2, resulting in a net surface temperature increase of about 0.5C. A more precise analysis gives 0.55C.

    George

  198. Joel,

    I’ve seen references to these 10%/17% numbers in many places that support AGW, but they are absolutely incorrect.

    The amount of surface energy that leaves the planet under clear sky conditions is about 50%. Do the line by line HITRAN simulations and you will see this. The amount surface energy that leaves from under clouds is only the few percent that leaks through. However, you mustn’t forget that clouds are also radiating energy into space and must be considered part of the radiative system. Clouds are subject to less atmospheric absorption for ienergy directed up, primarily because there’s no water vapor above clouds. About 75% of the energy emitted by clouds and pointed up makes it off the planet.

    The Earth is about 66% covered in clouds. The total surface + cloud energy fraction that leaves the planet is about 66% (0.33 * 0.5 + 0.66 * 0.75 = 0.66). Now, .33 * 0.5 is about 0.17 and this is probably where the 17% number comes from.

    George

  199. Just as a general philosophical comment: There is probably no one right way to make the calculations that we are arguing about. I.e., one could in principle consider the heat balance at the surface rather than at the top of the atmosphere. However, the problem with that is that it is much more difficult to do so because that involves lots of complex issues like how the convective and evapotranspiration processes change and so forth.

    The nice thing about the top-of-the-atmosphere (after stratospheric adjustment) viewpoint is that it makes the calculation of the heat balance simpler…and it in some sense represents what is most important since the overall energy balance of the earth-atmosphere system depends on that value (and the heat exchange into and out of the earth-atmosphere system is due essentially solely to radiation) and also because temperature distribution in the troposphere is determined by the strong mixing that occurs within the troposphere and not so much by the details of where the radiative-only effects of the changing greenhouse gas concentrations (or other changes that cause radiative forcings) occur.

    Of course, the complexity doesn’t disappear from the whole picture when one looks at the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative balance…But now it is relegated to the role of feedbacks and, hence, in determining how the final surface temperature depends on the radiative forcings themselves.

  200. co2isnotevil says:

    The reduction in power leaving the planet is 1.8 W/m^2 and the increase in surface forcing is 1.8 W/m^2. The equilibrium surface temperature, given 1.8 W/m^2 of additional surface forcing, increases by about 0.33C. This produces 1.8 W/m^2 of new surface energy, about 1/2 of which is absorbed by the atmosphere while half passes through…Continuing the series, the net change in the power leaving the planet ultimately becomes zero, while the surface energy ultimately increases by 2.6 W/m^2, resulting in a net surface temperature increase of about 0.5C. A more precise analysis gives 0.55C.

    No. You are not correct in what the 3.6 W/m^2 number represents. And, furthermore, your estimate of the increase in radiative energy at the surface is not correct either…It is actually an overestimate! As I noted, it is actually only about 1.4 W/m^2 increase in radiation at the surface. However, it is also incorrect to calculate the resulting temperature change based on this value since the troposphere is tightly coupled and its temperature distribution is thus not simply determined by the radiative effects. That is why the more fundamental radiative forcing numbers are those at the top-of-the-atmosphere.

    As I noted to cba, it is worth reading a textbook like “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey. It helped explain clearly to me a lot of things that were kind of fuzzy in my mind before I read it. When you approach a field of science that is new to you, it is always useful to get a good solid grounding from those in the field who have come before you. They may not have everything right; however, unless you are absolutely brilliant beyond belief, they have the advantage of a lot more cumulative brainpower invested in gaining the current understanding…and it is necessary to come to grips with that current understanding before you challenge it. Having said this, my only regret is that I myself didn’t take this advice as seriously as I should have and it was not until recently that I went beyond the IPCC reports and recent scientific literature and actually started actually reading textbooks like Danny Harvey’s or Dennis Hartmann’s “Global Physical Climatology” (which I am still only part-way through.

    Unfortunately, in this modern age, it is often easier to do calculations than it is to correctly interpret what they mean and I am afraid this applies to whatever you have done using the HITRAN spectra. (Although it isn’t quite clear to me if the problem is that you did the calculation incorrectly or interpreted the result incorrectly.)

  201. The contention, Joel and c02 isnot evil, is that if the constant exagerratess by 10 times the radiative properties of ghg’s and is corrected in line with *recorded* energy emitted from the terrestrial surface, then the surface emits 37w/m2 to the 1st km altitude, the 2nd 34w/m2 until at the stratosphere, cooling with height it decreases to 4w/m2, assuming all along that the change in air pressure increases the distance in which ghg’s absorb and re-emit radiation. C02 then ceases to absorb at it peak of 15 and goes down to the shoulders, but that occurs even if the SB equation is introduced. With or without SB, this is normal radiative activity, so no ghg’s are needed to explain the norm, as they do what they do on their own properties, and so do not change the location of heat/energy , given their ability to emit in all directions.

    in a terrestial surface attaining to equilibrium with the incoming solar radiation, very little radiation is given off – most atmospheric radiation is convection, conduction and as you say evaporation, which accounts for the majority of the 235 w/m2 (If that is adirect measurement than an inference from an equation). That leaves 37 w/m2 for ghg’s to delay – and explains the data above from NSTC. I’ve tried to go through the examples of other thermal magnitudes at certain temps, such as underfloor heating as a comparison, and the *human generator* at 15C and 27C – there are many more, although the reason its brough up here is the SB constant is brought in as it exagerrates the effect of ghgs, and normal temperature matter tenfold. this is accepted by both AGW and *sceptics* alike, although they are not responsible for it, since its borrowed directly from physics. Normal temp matter equilibriates with air so it doesn’t need to give off much radiation.

    It is possible, given that heat is not a constant, that it is absorbed by land and disaippates, and oceans where it can be stored, end of the affair. This land and oceans can cool or give off heat according to their own thermodynamics. What for example happens to the heat in a kiln when the kiln is turned off for good? Does it vanish or does it somehow transfer itself to other places? There is a strong argument that it naturally thermalises/cools with the immediate environment without adding the sum total of its heat content to its environment. It is natural that poor emitters, that increase in molecular density due to heat treatment lose velocity and absorb heat without re-emitting it. For most things, the exponent of the SB would have to be changed from a fixed radiative factor of 4, to much lower depending on its molecular structure: As the 2 pan experiment from CBA shows: non metals give off much less radiation a a given temperature than metals. THe SB works very well for incandescent metals

  202. **Bump**

    Joel says:

    “Here are the numbers according to “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey (which I recommend for a nice basic grounding in these and other issues): The instantaneous forcing is ~4.3 W/m^2 at the tropopause and 2.4 W/m^2 at the top of the atmosphere. After stratospheric adjustment (i,e., it cools), the values are reduced to ~3.8 W/m^2 at both the tropopause and the top of the atmosphere. (All these numbers are good to about +/-10%.)”

    have you seen the data regarding stratospheric cooling due to infrared being trapped by ghg’s?

    http://www.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t4/tlsglhmam_5.1

    It even shows a warming trend

  203. Joel,

    I don’t know about Harvey. He seems to be Canada’s Hansen. Someone who’s built a career on AGW and who’s ego would never handle being wrong about it. I’m sure he can spin a good yarn though.

    George

  204. addendum on borrowing from physics: Physics tends not to do an analysis of conception, unlike biology, medicine, or chemistry largely due to the abstract nature of it and this is what makes physics unaccountable – so its possible to have people like Eddington or James Jeans arguing for a mathematical deity that can be proven by physics, or even such arguments as made today that the universe is expanding (How can infinity expand on itself, and what is is expanding into). Is it a big bang or is it a steady state?

    they (we) don’t know, so formulate equations to expedite the answer according to what is thought the desirable end..often out of relationship to what is observed. When physics is used in technology however, then these musings can’t be afforded. Its possible to argue with physics that 100 gentle taps on the head with a pencil will produce the same effect as a whack with a mallet, although in reality, something else happens. AGW is very much in Aristotle’s camp of logic -that a ten pount shot will reach the gound 10 times more quickly than a 1 pound shot from the same height. With exceptions, there has been little escape from deductive logic in physics at this level.

    PS i still think my fried bacon analogy is a good one

  205. In the time I had this morning, I checked on some number runs using more common values. I still use 384ppm as a co2 baseline for doubling and halvings though. At 12km as the start of the stratosphere (I use the basic1976 US std atm), the absorption at the bottom is about 0.85W/m^2 absorption per km. This is for both the baseline co2 and 2x co2 (initial conditions. The difference between absorption at 50km is less than 1/100 W/m^2 per km with a total absorption at 50km of 0.45W/m^2 per km. At the upper end of the stratosphere, 50km, the outgoing power intensity is about 3.25 W/m^2 greater than the incoming for the 2x co2 and about 1.5 W/m^2 greater than incoming for the 1x co2. These are your initial conditions.

    You do need to be careful using the term ‘adjusted’. Apparently, you mean a temperature equilibrium condition has been reached. In climate science, ‘adjusted’ has degenerated into being a synonym of ‘fudged’.

    As I’m not a climatologist and the model I use was not designed for that task, doing things like adjusting temperatures to an equilibrium condition is not easy. In fact, running the model at even a low resolution like 1 nm over a reasonably large range is quite time consuming. What I found in attempting an equilibrium recalculation was that the differences in absorption were so low as to be in what would be expected to be the noise.

    As to some of the later posts, I haven’t had time to read them properly. Your comment to surface radiation escaping being 17% doesn’t ring right although I don’t distinguish between what would be called re-emission and the original surface emission as radiative transfer is radiative transfer. What I find is that 70% of the power amount emitted at the surface makes it to the 70km mark. By that time, one starts to see other problems potentially begin to emerge, like the loss of local thermodynamic equilibrium.

  206. from your computer model then, do we have 50 days to save the world, or can catastrophe be postponed until next year?

    70%, 41% 17% radiation are all figures from different math flowcharts of energy budgets. Radiation from earth is calculated by adding the amount radiated into the atmosphere from earth to the amount radiated durectly into space then dividing it by the percentage reflected from earth and clouds to give 41% in the case of NASA’s flowchart.

    These are math equations that don’t simulate what happens. In fact there are many wildly different math results for radiation according to different stories/simulations. If it were a real number it would be easy to measure by virtue of measurement of objective reality and we’d all be able to use it. Normal temperature matter at earth equilibrium doesn’t give off that much radiation. Its a figure generated to balance the mathbooks or energy budget ledger. 99% heat leaves by evaporation and convection – whilst that puts radiation at 1%, of this 1%, c02 intervenes with less than 8%, although most normal matter in equilibrium gives off little radiation anyway. It needs to be understood that the radiation something gives off is a function of its temperature and nothing else.

  207. cba says:

    You do need to be careful using the term ‘adjusted’. Apparently, you mean a temperature equilibrium condition has been reached. In climate science, ‘adjusted’ has degenerated into being a synonym of ‘fudged’.

    The term “adjusted radiative forcing” is the standard terminology. See, for example, http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11175 for a lot more discussion on radiative forcings (which I have only briefly glanced at myself).

    Your comment to surface radiation escaping being 17% doesn’t ring right although I don’t distinguish between what would be called re-emission and the original surface emission as radiative transfer is radiative transfer. What I find is that 70% of the power amount emitted at the surface makes it to the 70km mark.

    Yes…I was talking about original surface emission that has escaped from through the atmosphere without being absorbed at all. If you look at Kiehl and Trenberth’s diagram ( http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/Atmosphere/images/radiation_budget_kiehl_trenberth_2008_big.jpg ), you see that about 60% of the surface radiation eventually makes it out of the atmosphere when one includes absorption and re-emission within the atmosphere. I am not sure where you are getting 70% from; it is true that this escaping IR radiation is ~70% of the incoming solar radiation (although, since we have radiative balance to a good approximation, this is really just equivalent to saying that the earth system’s albedo is ~30%).

    P Wilson: I think it goes without saying that you continue to spout utter and complete nonsense here. The split in energy leaving the earth’s surface is that ~4% leaves via thermals, ~16% via evapotranspiration, and ~80% via radiation, as Kiehl and Trenberth’s diagram shows. And, it is simply wrong to claim that there is no observational evidence to support these numbers. There are lots of measurements of radiation…and even the evapotranspiration number can be obtained simply by knowing the latent heat associated with the phase change from liquid to vapor (and vice versa) along with the average amount of precipitation (or, equivalently, the average amount of evaporation) over the surface of the earth.

  208. thats odd, as NASA’s energy flowchart says that 25% leaves as evaporation.

    I guess it all depends on what acounting procedures are used

  209. Before the AGW theory was concocted, it was known that most heat leaves by convection.

    “It is common knowledge that nights cool down a lot more when the sky is clear than when there is an overcast. There is a tendency to assume that the overcast absorbs infrared radiation from the surface of the earth holding in heat. it is convection, not radiation, that accounts for the overcast holding in heat.

    An overcast means there are stable layers, and convection is not occurring. A clear sky means convection is occurring. Since the earth is warmer near the surface, there is always a lot of convection unless blocked by layering of air masses.”

  210. P Wilson says:

    thats odd, as NASA’s energy flowchart says that 25% leaves as evaporation.

    25% of what? The 80 W/m^2 that leaves by evapotranspiration represents ~16% of the energy that leaves the earth’s surface. However, it represents about 23-24% of the energy that is incident from the sun at the top of the atmosphere.

    Before the AGW theory was concocted, it was known that most heat leaves by convection.

    Well, since the AGW theory in some form has been around since at least Arrhenius around 1900, God knows what people thought on overall earth energy balance before it. However, the quote that you give was apparently lifted from this site: http://nov55.com/41r.html which is by some crank who calls himself an “independent scientist” and who doesn’t even believe in relativity ( http://nov55.com/eins.html ). His claims about clear skies indicating convection whereas overcast indicates stability is pretty close to being backwards! (The real truth is probably more complicated than any simplistic statement like this but, as a general rule, clouds are associated with convection and clear skies indicate a relatively stable atmosphere.) Why do you go around trolling for garbage on the internet and then accept it as gospel? Is that what being a “skeptic” means to you?

  211. By the way, now that I have looked around that site a bit, it seems to be where you are getting a lot of your wacky ideas from, P Wilson, isn’t it? Here is where your ideas on the Stefan-Boltzmann Eq. seem to originate from, complete with references to night vision equipment: http://nov55.com/steph.html Why do you fall for this crap?

  212. one has to be a bit cautious with K&T as it’s dated and there seems to be a few things that are problematic. I seem to recall that there was some serious muddling somewhere in it that had values which should have been clear sky only being applied to the clear cloudy averaged condition – or something similar to that. However, there is a lot of good basic info there. Seems that convection (including evaporation) is indicated to be about 100 W/m^2 at the surface. Actually, running an energy balance, one sees that around 100 W/m^2 of nonradiative power is needed at the surface, dropping down to zero around the tropopause for balance in the various levels.

    As for sunlight, TOA, it’s about 341w/m^2 but only about 266 W/m^2 ever reach the surface on overall average, excluding incoming absorption.

    To try to use radiative theory while ignoring ‘re-radiation’ is something unrelated to anything. The 70% is clear sky transmission which amounts to around 270W/m^2 outgoing radiation. You’ll note that this is way too much for current balance – based upon around 235 W/m^2 average incoming after clouds and atmospheric albedo has removed its portion from the total 341 w/m^2 incoming. You should also note that this is also not nearly enough for a planet with no cloud cover to balance if one had an average of 341 w/m^2 coming in and an albedo of only 0.08 which is the total surface albedo.

    Whether it was mentioned or not, your 60% number is referring to the overall average composed of about 40% clear skies and 60% cloudy (with some sort of averaged cloud effect value). Cloudy skies emits power from well into the troposphere where temperature and hence power is somewhat lower – less than 235w/m^2 and the weighted average is what must balance.

    This is not related directly to albedo, it’s simply happens to be a similar value. You’ll note it doesn’t actually provide balance but rather provides balance only by the combination of clear and cloudy sky fractions and clear and cloudy sky emissions. Clear sky emissions from the surface, cloudy sky emissions are essentially done from cloud tops.

  213. Thats someone who I corresponded with yes, and who’s ideas I agree with though some that I don’t- at least the ones I learned at University and beyond. However, that was before the AGW theory become popular, or fashionable some 20 years ago. So I don’t think its crap. Most of the results of radiative energy when they are measured conform to the reduced values that certainly not those of the SB equation. Take underfloor heating as a good comparison. It radiates more heat than the earth’s average, and is verified at – in the UK at least – to run at 100 w/m2 maximum. like the earth, the ground level is where radiationmatters the most, although a room is closed to convection.

    The same for the production of human heat, which is its own generator. Why are these values measured more than a 1/4 of terrestrial matter which is much cooler?

  214. The flowchart on that page shows 17% radiation leaving from the surface and 59% radiation from the atmosphere, yet this one:

    shows 51% absorbed by land and oceans. 41% radiation from the surface and 64% from the atmosphere

    If earth had to radiate all the heat it received, then 51% should be the radiation that leaves the earth’s surface

  215. … and the flowchart on the graph immediately below the 1st link

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

    shows 6% reflected by the surface

    whilst this:

    http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/radiation_facts.html

    shows 4% reflected by the surface.

    these equations are made up according to context and are all different scores from the same institution.

    these anomalies could all be cleared if the measurement was the actual radiation that earth gives at its average temperature 0f 59F

  216. P Wilson: There are two issues here:

    (1) All values are not known or measurable to perfect precision, so yes, there will be some variability in the values. The ability to measure the various radiative fluxes from satellites is getting better all the time. In particular, the link you gave here http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/radiation_facts.html seems to be to an older chart than the one from Kiehl & Trenberth (in fact, I found it on one page dated 1998). I think http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php is also newer but I am not exactly sure.

    (2) You are not correctly reading some of the charts. For example in reference to http://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/radiation_facts.html , you say “If earth had to radiate all the heat it received, then 51% should be the radiation that leaves the earth’s surface”. In fact that is what the chart shows. 23% leaves via water vapor, 7% via conduction and rising air, and 21% (net) via radiation (of this 21%, 6% is radiated directly out into space and 15% is “radiation absorbed by the atmosphere” that is subsequently emitted into space). [I know that diagram is a little confusing in regards to the 15% because they didn’t put a directional arrow meaning that it could mistakenly be seen as an extension of the “absorbed by atmosphere” component of the incoming solar energy…but it’s not.] Another thing to note is that this diagram is a bit different in how it breaks things down than the one from Kiehl and Trenberth in that it only shows the NET flow of thermal radiation from earth to atmosphere whereas Kiehl and Trenberth break it down into the amount that the gross amount that the earth emits and then the amount that the atmosphere emits that goes back to the Earth.

  217. Joel,

    I cringe when looking at that KT09 paper and those graphs made up from imitating it. They imply accuracies for incoming solar, outgoing solar and albedo are known to 0.1 accuracy. Albedo is known to vary and that affects the outgoing. They have chosen a very low value for albedo as compared with practically all measurement studies, just under 0.3. There is debate on whether the SORCE satellite at 1361 is correct or previous satellites at 1367W/m^2 have the correct value. Averaged, that’s over 1, not 0.1 W/m^2 uncertainty. From this they deduce there’s a 0.9 W/m^2 imbalance in the overall budget, like a rabbit out of the hat. It’s not statistically significant beyond 0 for their uncertainties which must be greater than 1W/m^2 based upon incoming alone and considering the variations in albedo, it’s a lot more than that.

    As for their cartoon, the numbers are in the ballpark. I think they are high in incoming absorption and low in cloud albedo. Differences between kt09 and kt97 all seem to be in the same direction – that direction is the same as the promoted view points. The segegration between power flowing from the surface and reradiation is neither relevent nor clear in understanding. Radiative transfer is radiative transfer and emission is simply a part of that. Do you think a photon or sensor exiting the atmosphere cares if it was emitted at 30,000 ft or at the surface or that one could ever distinguish between origin?

  218. F = 1 would imply instability (which they explicitly exclude as nonsensical for “equilibrium” analysis). A positive f < 1 describes a stable system in which equilibrium is IMPLICITLY achieved. Remember, total radiation increases with the temperature of the radiating body, and this is IMPLICITLY part of the UNDERLYING equilibrium equations and models (although not discussed in the paper). Hence, even for a realistic positive "f" (i.e. < 1) the larger resulting total radiation power (for a CO2 doubling increment) results in equilibrium at a higher atmospheric temperature despite a reduction of the net radiative-loss factor.

    The "f" in Lindzen/Choi is an equilibrium factor and NOT a dynamic feedback-loop factor.

    They do make the point that as f approaches 1 the "relative" (as opposed to "absolute") stability of the system becomes pretty low — intuitively this does seem less realistic for a life-sustaining atmosphere as old as Earth's.

    The underlying system dynamics are only crudely discussed in the text of the paper, strictly in terms of the various time responses that are assumed in order to justify the validity of the atmospheric response measurements. These largely seem to rely on earlier work of their (i.e. Lindzen's and Choi's) own earlier work. They have nothing to do with "f", and indeed if "f" were part of a dynamic feedback system then the system would have to include dynamics/delays (described by differential equations with respect to time, since it takes time for energy transfers to take place).

    Before reading the paper, I myself was confused by the discussion of a "positive" feedback factor, assuming this referred to an overall dynamic system feedback rather than an equilibrium-equations factor.
    The final graph/curve of the paper shows that the IPCC models fall pretty closely to the curve described the simplified equilibrium equation dT= dTo / (1 – f). This implies that the models can be reasonably well approximated or described in this way, although some clearly incorporate small deviations from the simple equation.

    Any criticism of the paper's quantitative conclusions will have to rely upon verifiable invalidation of the underlying assumptions and/or the measurement methods (in the form of a published paper). It seems to be implied (by Lindzen/Choi) that the IPCC models, in terms of feedback, are based purely upon theoretical hypotheses and/or model-tuning (the latter being essentially fraudulent if not done transparently).

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