Spencer: Clouds Dominate CO2 as a Climate Driver Since 2000

By Dr. Roy Spencer, PhD.

Last year I posted an analysis of satellite observations of the 2007-08 global cooling event, showing evidence that it was due to a natural increase in low cloud cover. Here I will look at the bigger picture of what how the satellite-observed variations in Earth’s radiative budget compare to that expected from increasing carbon dioxide. Is there something that we can say about the relative roles of nature versus humanity based upon the evidence?

What we will find is evidence consistent with natural cloud variations being the dominant source of climate variability since 2000.

CERES Observations of Global Energy Budget Changes
The following graph shows the variations in the Earth’s global-average radiative energy balance as measured by the CERES instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. These are variations in the imbalance between absorbed sunlight and emitted infrared radiation, the most fundamental quantity associated with global warming or global cooling. Also show (in red) are theoretically calculated changes in radiative forcing from increasing carbon dioxide as measured at Mauna Loa.
CERES-Terra-raw

Since there is some uncertainty in the absolute accuracy of the CERES measurements, where one puts the zero line is also somewhat uncertain. Therefore, it’s the variations since 2000 which are believed to be pretty accurate, and the exact dividing line between Earth gaining energy and Earth losing energy is uncertain. Significantly, all of the downward trend is in the reflected sunlight portion, not the infrared portion of the variations. We similarly can not reference where the zero line should be for the CO2 forcing, but the reasons for this are more complex and I will not address them here.

In order to compare the variations in the CO2 forcing (in red) to the satellite observations, we need to account for the fact that the satellite observes forcing and feedback intermingled together. So, let’s remove a couple of estimates of feedback from the satellite measurements to do a more direct comparison.

Inferred Forcing Assuming High Climate Sensitivity (IPCC View)
Conceptually, the variations in the Earth’s radiative imbalance are a mixture of forcing (e.g. increasing CO2; clouds causing temperature changes), and feedback (e.g. temperature changes causing cloud changes). We can estimate the forcing part by subtracting out the feedback part.

First, let’s assume that the IPCC is correct that climate sensitivity is pretty high. In the following chart I have subtracted out an estimate of the feedback portion of the CERES measurements based upon the IPCC 20-model average feedback parameter of 1.4 W m-2 K-1 times the satellite AMSU-measured tropospheric temperature variations
CERES-Terra-1.4-fb-removed

As can be seen, the long-term trend in the CERES measurements is much larger than can be accounted for by increasing carbon dioxide alone, which is presumably buried somewhere in the satellite-measured signal. In fact, the satellite observed trend is in the reflected sunlight portion, not the infrared as we would expect for increasing CO2 (not shown).

Inferred Forcing Assuming Low Climate Sensitivity (”Skeptical” View)
There has been some published evidence (our 2007 GRL paper, Lindzen & Choi’s 2009 paper) to suggest the climate system is quite insensitive. Based upon that evidence, if we assume a net feedback parameter of 6 W m-2 K-1 is operating during this period of time, then removing that feedback signal using AMSU channel 5 yields the following history of radiative forcing:
CERES-Terra-6.0-fb-removed

As can be seen, the relative size of the natural forcings become larger since more forcing is required to cause the same temperature changes when the feedback fighting it is strong. Remember, the NET feedback (including the direct increase in emitted IR) is always acting against the forcing…it is the restoring force for the climate system.

What this Might Mean for Global Warming
The main point I am making here is that, no matter whether you assume the climate system is sensitive or insensitive, our best satellite measurements suggest that the climate system is perfectly capable of causing internally-generated radiative forcing larger than the “external” forcing due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Low cloud variations are the most likely source of this internal radiative forcing. It should be remembered that the satellite data are actually measured, whereas the CO2 forcing (red lines in the above graphs) is so small that it can only be computed theoretically.

The satellite observed trend toward less energy loss (or, if you prefer, more energy gain) is interesting since there was no net warming observed during this time. How could this be? Well, the satellite observed trend must be due to forcing only since there was no warming or cooling trend during this period for feedback to act upon. And the lack of warming from this substantial trend in the forcing suggests an insensitive climate system.

If one additionally entertains the possibility that there is still considerable “warming still in the pipeline” left from increasing CO2, as NASA’s Jim Hansen claims, then the need for some natural cooling mechanism to offset and thus produce no net warming becomes even stronger. Either that, or the climate system is so insensitive to increasing CO2 that there is essentially no warming left in the pipeline to be realized. (The less sensitive the climate system, the faster it reaches equilibrium when forced with a radiative imbalance.)

Any way you look at it, the evidence for internally-forced climate change is pretty clear. Based upon this satellite evidence alone, I do not see how the IPCC can continue to ignore internally-forced variations in the climate system. The evidence for its existence is there for all to see, and in my opinion, the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.

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132 thoughts on “Spencer: Clouds Dominate CO2 as a Climate Driver Since 2000

  1. “and in my opinion, the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.”

    Scientific malpractice! That is a very strong statement from a scientist who is very nuanced with his words.

  2. Jasper Kirkby, a British experimental particle physicist currently with CERN, Switzerland presents a lecture in which cosmic rays show a strong correlation with global temperature over short and long time periods. He is currently involved in research on their effects on clouds at CERN.

    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073

    Kirkby originated the idea for the Tau-Charm Factory, an accelerator now under construction as BEPC II in Beijing. He has led several large particle accelerator experiments at SPEAR; the Paul Scherrer Institute and most recently, the CLOUD experiment at CERN.

  3. “I do not see how the IPCC can continue to ignore internally-forced variations in the climate system.”

    Dr. Spencer, I have to take issue with “internally”.

    There is a clear timing-framework here:

    I have other results I haven’t publicized yet.

  4. “the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.”

    IPCC — Is that the acronym for Ipecac?

  5. There must be a theoretical explanation for the existence of the “pipeline”.
    James Hansen seems to believe it exists. Anybody?

  6. I wonder why we never see posts of this kind at Realclimate, where they analyse empirical data in order to actually establish the climate sensitivity? That says more to me than any data!

    Good work

  7. 95% of the greenhouse efect is from clouds.
    Everytine Joe Romm posts pictures of “dirty coal” plants, he includes “smoke stacks” These are not smoke stacks but steam releasing cooling towers. Evaporation and otjher sources of H2O creat humidity and clouds. More shade and less radiation of heat.

  8. There is no doubt that the IPCC will continue to support AGW as it is in their political interest. There is no doubt that the current administration will continue to support AGW as it is in their political interest as well. Only a change in politics will change the position an AGW. No amount of science will make the change until people endorse that science. The U.N. and the U.S are against the science. Lobbyist from many corporations battle for AGW as it is in their interest. Climate change is a profit industry, let alone a political touchstone for control.

  9. “…. the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.”

    Bluddy not wrong there!

  10. This satellite evidence supports Miskolczi’s “Saturated Greenhouse Effect” that predicts little change in the atmospheric absorption or global optical depth.

    See: CO2 cannot cause any more “Global Warming”, Ference Miskolczi’s Saturated Greenhouse Effect Theory Miklós Zágoni, December 21, 2009

    New Developments in the Science of Greehouse Effect by Ferenc Miskolczi by Miklós Zágoni , Newcastle Australia April 15, 2009

    The new climate theory of Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi

  11. Seems like some numbers that have a lot of uncertainty. I still don’t understand this conclusion. It seems to suggest that heat is being stored somewhere in some form that isn’t being measured by temperature, either lot of ice is melting, it’s being stored chemically in some form somewhere, or it’s someplace where we aren’t measuring.

  12. since the assumption is that CO2 is the same globally (else why just one measurement site) and every experiment using CO2 shows it acts immediately to absorb and/or re-radiate energy how can there possibly be “warming in the pipeline” due to CO2 especially when those claiming that are talking “years” not days or weeks into the future ….

  13. Thanks, Dr Spencer, it’s always a pleasure to read your analyses. I only hope that your results influence the ways of our dear climate modelers.

  14. From the perspective of a chemist, that which is described here by Dr. Spencer is a buffer system in operation. Something(s) is/are buffering any forcings of the climate–that is my read.

    Dr. Spencer, could you invoke, somehow, Lindzen’s “iris theory” in this? Is it relevant?

  15. Could the strong negative feedback be simpler than that? Not disputing that clouds might be the issue but I noticed a comment on NASA web site that temperature delta at the north pole has been 8 times that of the equator over the observed warming period. If we model the earth system at the highest level, and measure in degrees K to show relative radiation from earth to space, we would get (rough numbers mine for discussion and easy figuring, not actual measurements)

    before warming:
    mean temp at equator 300 K
    mean temp at pole 200 K

    after warming +.25 K at equator:
    mean temp at equator 300.25 K (+0.08%)
    meant temp at pole 202 K (+2.00%)

    This would result in an increase in earth radiance to space out of proportion to the change in global temperature resulting in a large negative feedback. It would be facilitated by a deficit of greenhouse gases at the poles, water vapor (too cold) and ozone in particular.

  16. And I thought he science is settled for long …

    Seriously, I like this ongoing process of discussing those issues back and forth, and right, this kind of peer-to-peer review seems to me to become the way real and fast progress is made in science.
    It’s creating valuable results, not what the climate criminals have made of the original peer-review process. Their mantra about non-climatologists and non-peer-review process completely falls apart and back onto themselves.
    How satisfying to see it.
    Who needs year-old and still-wrong, agenda-driven reports from an Ignoring Panel of Climate Criminals (IPCC) anyways?

  17. The natural climate will always tend towards equilibrium – open systems always do… That’s why they continue to ‘exist’ ( +/-) instead of going into melt-down every time there is an external change or stress on the system…

  18. I can’t say I understand what information is being shown here. Seems to me that CLOUDS should do exactly the opposite of CO2; while water vapor should either cool or warm, depending on whether you are talking solar spectrum or surface LWIR.

    But the first graph suggests that clouds are doing the same as CO2 in spades.

    Are these plots of extraterrestrial radiation FROM the earth; and what is the wavelength range included.

  19. So is the Earth’s climate a pendulum or a gyroscope? Does it swing between the extremes while trying to slow down to a lower energy state and finally end up at rest, while different things keep nudging and whacking it? Or does it have its own position that it firmly wants to maintain, pushing back against any force that tries to move it, with very strong forces able to push it into a different preferred position?

  20. Another excellent educational post by Dr. Spencer.

    WRT where at the end he sez:
    ”I do not see how the IPCC can continue to ignore internally-forced variations in the climate system. . . . . the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.”

    Yea verily; from the perspective of objective science.

    But of course there is another major factor at work here:
    The huge vested interest of the world-wide AGW ”industry”; and especially its most prominent leaders and advocates; i.e.:
    FOLLOW THE MONEY; and note who is most at risk of losing funding if the whole AGW house of cards finally collapses. . . .

  21. I’m still wondering where this “pipeline” is located… Saudi Arabia? Georgia? The Sahara? Putting a decade of “we’re all going to burn up and die” heat into a pipeline has got to take a pretty big pipe… Don’t see it on the Satellite photos though… ;-)

  22. The last sentence of this post “The evidence for its existence is there for all to see, and in my opinion, the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.” will be read as harsh by most people. However; after searching the working group one report of AR4 it could be read as generously granting good motives for the oversight.

    Searching http://www.ipcc.ch/ for ‘clouds’ yields 540 hits mostly admitting that the effect of clouds is unknown. But the unknown did not stop the IPCC from building assumptions about clouds into their models that are consistent with external forcing from CO2.

    The first hit shows that the IPCC knew about the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formations but choose to discount the effect. The first of the 540 hits is excerpted below. Looking through the hits and analyzing how little the IPCC admitted to knowing about such a major factor lowered my confidence in their modeling skills to zero.

    “Working Group I: The Scientific Basis
    6.11.2.2 Cosmic rays and clouds
    Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) demonstrated a high degree of correlation between total cloud cover, from the ISCCP C2 data set, and cosmic ray flux between 1984 and 1991. Changes in the heliosphere arising from fluctuations in the Sun�s magnetic field mean that galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) are less able to reach the Earth when the Sun is more active so the cosmic ray flux is inversely related to solar activity.




    We conclude that mechanisms for the amplification of solar forcing are not well established. Variations in ultraviolet and solar-induced changes in O3 may have a small effect on radiative forcing but additionally may affect climate through changing the distribution of solar heating and thus indirectly through a dynamical response. At present there is insufficient evidence to confirm that cloud cover responds to solar variability.”

  23. davidmhoffer:

    after warming +.25 K at equator:
    mean temp at equator 300.25 K (+0.08%)
    meant temp at pole 202 K (+2.00%)

    I’m sure you meant +1.00% at the pole. :)

  24. davidmhoffer:

    after warming +.25 K at equator:
    mean temp at equator 300.25 K (+0.08%)
    meant temp at pole 202 K (+2.00%)

    I’m sure you meant +1.00% at the pole. :-)

  25. George E. Smith (11:39:01) :

    I’m with you George. The data doesn’t seem to make sense. The CERES data is measurement, no feedback terms should be required or used. I also hate the use of the term forcing, it make no sense to me when I’m looking at servo systems.

    DaveE.

  26. People, follow the link at the start of the article and read that first. It explains what’s being measured.

    The funny thing seems to be that ATM the earth emits less radiation than it receives even though we see a pretty cold winter in the northern hemisphere. So where does this energy end up? Nobody knows.

    Even more important is the fact that the temporary imbalances in the earth’s radiation balance are far greater than even the exaggerated forcing effects of anthropogenic CO2.

    Now this is maybe a dumb question: But as the satellite scans earth’s light side, can the reason for the huge energy imbalances maybe be caused by changes in the emitted radiation on the dark side, in other words, nighttime radiation? At least that’s how i understood the way the satellite works.

  27. I was always taught in my engineering courses to go back and do “sanity check” calculations at the completion of each problem. The idea being that if the answer doesn’t look even plausible, it probably is not. To me, this is the essence of Global Warming it its entirety. There’s just no way that humans can have any kind of impact on a chaotic system on the order of the earth, with the atmosphere, oceans, solar and galactic forces, negative feedbacks, etc. They all simply dwarf us. If you look at how little of the earth’s actual area that humans even occupy, you realize quickly that with all of the water, ice, mountains, deserts, etc. that the earth is essentially uninhabited.

    Good to see the science backs up the sanity checks.

  28. It’s a travesty.

    Well, according to Trenberth anyway. I think Ceres was what he was referring to when he said the energy balance is off. We should be warming but we’re not.

    It’s not a travesty. It’s odd. It’s a ‘huh’ moment. After which usually a re-think occurs and breakthroughs are made. Usually.

    This will surprise warmers and coolers alike. The only ones who won’t be surprised by this graph are, well, the actual deniers!

    Which makes Spencer’s work not only extremely important, but gives me a chuckle.

  29. The third chart, flipped upside down looks like global temperature trend. There is a change in 2005-2003 and each La Nina (2000, 2008) shows that more clouds are generated, cooling the earth. Clouds rulezz.

  30. Maybe you should check out this webpage: http://gustofhotair.blogspot.com/

    which shows s significant decrease in cloud cover in the last 50 years. This decrease in cloud cover occurs only during the day, with steady rates at night. Temperatures have not been increasing at night but only during the day. Cloud cover is shown to be strongly related to temperature, and it will show that 75% of all warming is caused by cloud cover and proper statistical analysis of temperature.

  31. Can someone tell me this… it isn’t related to CO2, but another man-made concept. The amount of the earth that has been covered with asphalt and concrete, that is exposed to the sun re-radiates how much heat? I am not talking about minor heat islands, I am talking about the entire planets man-made radiators.

    My house, at night, after the sun sets radiates so much heat (brick) I can put my hand a few inches away and feel it. Now multiply that by every concrete/brick home, roadway, etc., then add asphalt in the same manner and we have a good bit of radiative heat. It may be NOTHING… but, the world is getting paved over and that MUST have some effect of warmer nights, at least.

    Am I completely wrong, or somewhat wrong? After all, it is an observation that can be seen and felt… and every year the amount increases… hopefully it will stop.

    I was hoping for some comment, although I do realize it is off this topic, but seems like another factor completely ignored, as we have seen at Darwin, for example.

  32. From Climate Change Reconsidered:

    Chapter 2 – Feedback Factors and Radiative Forcing

    Chapter 2 describes feedback factors that reduce the earth’s temperature sensitivity to changes in atmospheric CO2. Scientific studies suggest the model-derived temperature sensitivity of the earth for a doubling of the pre-industrial CO2 level is much lower than the IPCC’s estimate. Corrected feedbacks in the climate system reduce climate sensitivity to values that are an order of magnitude smaller than what the IPCC employs.

    Chapter 2 Key Findings

    * Scientific research suggests the model-derived temperature sensitivity of the earth accepted by the IPCC is too large. Corrected feedbacks in the climate system could reduce climate sensitivity to values that are an order of magnitude smaller.

    * Scientists may have discovered a connection between cloud creation and sea surface temperature in the tropics that creates a “thermostat-like control” that automatically vents excess heat into space. If confirmed, this could totally compensate for the warming influence of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions experienced to date, as well as all those that are anticipated to occur in the future.

    * The IPCC dramatically underestimates the total cooling effect of aerosols. Studies have found their radiative effect is comparable to or larger than the temperature forcing caused by all the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations recorded since pre-industrial times.

    Chapter 2. Feedback Factors and Radiative Forcing (PDF, 384 kb)

    2.1. Clouds (PDF, 50 kb)

  33. @ Eric Smith (10:09:41) :

    Jasper Kirkby, a British experimental particle physicist currently with CERN, Switzerland presents a lecture in which cosmic rays show a strong correlation with global temperature over short and long time periods.

    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073
    —————————————–
    Thank you for that. I have just watched it – absolutely fascinating; and very definitely shows that there is sun-cosmic-climate connection which they are investigating.

  34. Steve M. (12:02:18) :

    davidmhoffer:

    after warming +.25 K at equator:
    mean temp at equator 300.25 K (+0.08%)
    meant temp at pole 202 K (+2.00%)

    I’m sure you meant +1.00% at the pole. :-)

    OOOPS! Well if I make the temp at the pole 100 K then my final number would fit the data…yes that’s it :-)

    But I think my theory still stands. Even at only 1% that’s still a huge boost in radiance at the pole relative to the over all temperature increase.

  35. The 6 W graph is very close to the inverted temp graph. Is that an indication of 6 W feedback being close to correct?

  36. “The satellite observed trend toward less energy loss (or, if you prefer, more energy gain) is interesting since there was no net warming observed during this time. How could this be?”
    Could it be that there is less energy loss and no net warming because there has been reducing solar energy output, particularly in the UV range?

  37. TanGeng (10:37:40) :

    Seems like some numbers that have a lot of uncertainty. I still don’t understand this conclusion. It seems to suggest that heat is being stored somewhere in some form that isn’t being measured by temperature, either lot of ice is melting, it’s being stored chemically in some form somewhere, or it’s someplace where we aren’t measuring.

    My first thought was that in 1998 there was a super El Niño-Southern Oscillation event that spiked global temperatures.  Basically the tropical Pacific burped a lot of heat.  Looks like the earth was shedding that heat up to (within the error of the CERES instrument) sometime in 2004.

    But then I recalled that Dr. Spencer said, “Significantly, all of the downward trend is in the reflected sunlight portion, not the infrared portion of the variations.”  What is going “down” is the energy emitted by the earth relative to the energy that the earth is receiving.  “… in the reflected sunlight portion …” means that the earthshine is dimming.  I would infer that the infrared “blackbody” radiation that the earth gives off into space is not decreasing.

  38. Maurice Garoutte said:

    Searching http://www.ipcc.ch/ for ‘clouds’ yields 540 hits mostly admitting that the effect of clouds is unknown. But the unknown did not stop the IPCC from building assumptions about clouds into their models that are consistent with external forcing from CO2.

    As a bog standard member of the public this is what bothers me about the IPCC. A very wide spectrum of science and scientific opinion, both for and against CO2 warming the Earth, both for and against man being behind the warming, both for and against the Earth warming substantially and even whether warming would be bad, come together and are mashed into documents for policymakers that say matter of factly that it is warming, it is because of man and if we don’t do something now it will be a catastrophy for everyone some time in the future.

    There is a great deal of uncertainty in climate science but for political reasons the uncertainties are shuffled out of sight, minimised, ridiculed and so on in order to achieve a consensus. That isn’t science.

  39. David L. Hagen (13:02:43) :

    From Climate Change Reconsidered
    They should reconsider instead their credentials…it’s too late now, justice draws nearer…

  40. “The satellite observed trend toward less energy loss (or, if you prefer, more energy gain) is interesting since there was no net warming observed during this time.”

    OK now I’m really confused. The earth is gaining energy but getting colder. That does not compute. With all due respect Dr. Spencer, Lindzen and Choi’s paper was easier to follow.

  41. KDK (12:53:14) :


    Can someone tell me this… it isn’t related to CO2, but another man-made concept. The amount of the earth that has been covered with asphalt and concrete, that is exposed to the sun re-radiates how much heat? I am not talking about minor heat islands, I am talking about the entire planets man-made radiators.

    KDK, I believe this is one of the main claims of Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. He is critical of the climate models that attributes almost all of the blame for global warming to CO2. He argues that the way humans use the land (deforestation, asphalting, dams, etc) is just one of many other forcings that affect global temperatures. I just did a little research in his website for a specific paper I read a while a go but couldn’t locate it. Nevertheless, if you visit his blog you’ll see that land use issue is featured prominently.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/

    Frankly, his arguments make a lot more sense and more persuasive for the case of AGW. I’d consider him to be a pro-AGW scientist. But because he does not toe the line with the AGW dogma that all the blame for global warming is CO2 related, he is considered as a ‘denialist’ by the climate science establishment.

  42. “Jasper Kirkby, a British experimental particle physicist currently with CERN, Switzerland presents a lecture in which cosmic rays show a strong correlation with global temperature over short and long time periods. He is currently involved in research on their effects on clouds at CERN…”
    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073

    Thank you Eric Smith for leading me towards this. From my amateur readings, it seems the IPCC has entered the climate change debate with a clear purpose, and without understanding the physics of climate change. I have been waiting for more details to come from the CLOUD experiment, and hope that their results clarify the basic mechanisms of cosmic ray/cloud interaction.

  43. David,

    If the conditions have changed from mostly heating the northern hemisphere to mostly heating the southern the situation will be exactly that because it takes much more energy to heat all that ocean down there.

  44. The scientific approach in this thread looks carefull and forthright to me.

    Joe Romm has just announced this is an anti-science blog. Joe romm is financed by convicted felon George Soros according to a post over there. Climate progress.

    I really don’t accept the influence of CO2 in small traces as having much impact.

    REPLY: Romm’s be labeling WUWT that way for quite some time, nothing new. It’s his MO to rant like that. – Anthony

  45. BTW, I don’t think it’s sunk in with some here yet. According to Spencer the downward trend (or higher radiation retention) is due to less reflected sunlight. That means fewer clouds over the period, not more. I would say it looks like el nino and la nina have far more effect on clouds than cosmic rays.

    And far far far more effect than CO2 which we can actually forget because we can’t really find it among the red red noise.

    Also, Lubos Motl discovered that Gisstemp IS basically ENSO with a two month delay and a bit of longer accumulation (forgot the techy term). Bob Tisdale has shown that the tropical heat moves mostly to the northern hemisphere in his wonderful latitude plots.

    The main climate driver of this planet of ours is the tropical oceans.

    Eat that, Hansen.


  46. Vincent (10:08:48) :
    “and in my opinion, the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.”

    Scientific malpractice! That is a very strong statement from a scientist who is very nuanced with his words.

    I think the correct term is realistic… The simple truth of the matter is that when there is doubt, express it and when all the facts seem in you then say as far as we know, because the only true certainty is that by locking into a statement of… this is the truth you curtail people from looking further.

    Malpractice comes from saying the world should spend trillions on a potential issue that may occur… perhaps. To, if you don’t act you WILL condemn the world.

  47. I have a very basic question which I’m sure someone can explain.

    The IPCC “sensitivity” of 1.4W/m^2K suggests that a 1’C rise due to doubling CO2 to a “first order forcing” leads, with feedback to an extra rise of 1.4’C so a total of 2.4’C (or is it 1.4×1 = 1.4’C?).

    I.e. the IPCC has positive feedback.

    Dr. Spencer then says, “evidence suggests that the climate is quite insensitive.. assume 6W/m^2K..”

    So that implies, for a 1’C rise due to CO2 first order forcing, that we will get a total of 7’C temperature increase.

    Obviously he doesn’t mean that. But I can’t work out what he does mean. Can someone please enlighten me?

  48. sHx (13:59:23) :

    The other thing that Dr. Pielke espouses is that all these changes need to be looked at, at no greater then a regional scale. He has a big problem with the concept of a “Global” temperature. That really gets him in trouble with the IPCC and the AGW crowd: No excuse for the big power grab and a world government.

    When you read Dr. Pielkes statements and papers he makes a lot of sense and it easely passe the common sense and smell tests. One study he did with Dr. Christy in California’s Imperial Valley is a prime example. People changed a desert area into a farming area through irrigation. Now anyone that has spent time in a desert knows they typically get very cold, very quickly at night. When you change that enviroment through irrigation you have done two things.

    1. The new farm area doens’t cool as much at night, thus gives you a higher Tmin over what it used to be.

    2. You now have put more water vapor into the atmosphere in that area through evaporation. When most people think of Desert they think heat, what they should think about is precipitation.

    Now depending on the local conditions and air patterns that could mean more rain/snow in areas that don’t need it and also increase clouds in other areas.

    Now most people start with the old “thats weather not climate argument”, however when that has now lasted over 30 years it is climate by their own definition.

    That is just one example and of course people conviently over look what happened in the 1930’s and the Dust Bowl, which again was due to farming techniques. Dust from the midwest made it all the way accross the continent to the Atlantic Ocean, how did that effect the enviroment and that happened for many years.

  49. @ KDK (12:53:14) :

    First, an important scientific consideration. When observing the warmth coming from your house in the absence of sunlight, is there anything in the house generating heat? Central heating, hot water tank, electrical devices, living or decaying bodies, anything?

    Mankind’s assorted architectural follies do generate considerable heat. The mega-city Tokyo generates its own weather by the massive column of heated air rising from it. For what is important in this discussion, we do tend to have dark surfaces that convert sunlight to heat.

    But so do forests, with evergreens doing so year-round. Rain forests can be self-cooling, they soak up sunlight and use it to to create so much water vapor that it leads to localized forming of clouds, from which will often come rain. Concerning surfaces, with nature’s preference for dark green foliage that soaks up as much energy as possible, mankind’s contribution to warmth in the world seems far smaller than nature’s, for both on land and considering the entire planet, negligible, since what would be considered is the difference between man’s surfaces and what nature would have in their place.

    With our surfaces and building materials, what is mostly noticed is the retained heat. When the sun goes down the green leafy things quickly cool off, with the ground right at the surface soon following. Our thick substances like concrete and asphalt take longer to cool. But after the sun comes up, they stay cool for awhile and take some time to warm up. Thus a moderating effect is noticed, averaging out the warmth and the cold.

    Surrounded by these materials, outdoors we feel that the nights are warmer. Then go to bed. In the morning we notice the immediate warmth of sunlight, and tend to ignore our cold materials. You will notice if the heating isn’t working and the house is cold, but who checks if the exterior of their house and their driveway are cold? We just leave our heated caves and go out to enjoy the sun. Thus a good chunk of the perceived added warming is an illusion.

  50. ‘It should be remembered that the satellite data are actually measured, whereas the CO2 forcing (red lines in the above graphs) is so small that it can only be computed theoretically.’
    Bingo.

  51. scienceofdoom (14:50:36) :

    You need to look just prior to where he mentions that energy amoiunt to where he reference’s his GRL paper. What is in his paper you can also find on his website and I believe was in another post here at WUWT not that long ago. Here is the pertinent part from his website:

    The slopes of the striations seen in the right panels of Fig. 4 (relative to atmospheric temperature) correspond to strongly negative feedback: around 6 Watts per square meter per degree K of temperature change (6 W m-2 K-1). In fact, even though we expect feedbacks diagnosed from the data to be biased toward zero, here the lines fitted to all the data have slopes actually approaching that value: 6 W m-2 K-1. 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.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/satellite-and-climate-model-evidence/

    People should read that article I linked above to better understand his post here, since the numbers are based on his paper that shows net negative Cloud feedback (IE: Low level clouds blocking incomming energy and reflecting it back into space).

  52. @KDK

    I think the covering of the world with roads and buildings will have a limited effect. The colour of roads is generally black, which does not help. The effect is, however, limited, and in no way cumulative. Cities tend to be a few C warmer than rural areas, but that does not increase over time (assuming the city remains the same). This tells us that the heat balance is not changing, ie as much energy is transmitted as absorbed, as I see it in my limited understanding.

    As for bricks and road storing heat, so do rocks, and the process is identical. Again, it does not create any additional ‘warming’ any more than oceans do. Water does the same as rock, but to a greater extent I believe. All that means is the heat takes more time to re-radiate instead of being re-radiated immediately (or reflected). No change in net warming occurs, as I understand it, though.

    Apologies for my loose usage of the term ‘heat’, BTW.

  53. The Hansen Pipeline: Inertial Momentum
    Since the Earth was warming for 20 years, it has a warming momentum.
    When the cooling ends, there will be no cooling momentum but returns to the warming momentum.
    Why would there be a warming momentum but not a cooling momentum?
    Because Hansen believes that a cooling phase will only counteract his beloved AGW C02 forcing. The system cannot go to a lower (cooler) state. It can only vary on the line demarked by subtracting the cooling from the C02 forcing.
    If the system departs further from it’s current 10-year line and established a new and steeper decline, then Hansen is very wrong.
    There are signs that it may be doing exactly what Hansen is implying it won’t do. Well, let’s have the latest data tossed onto those charts above.

  54. Additional: I think the Hansen line of CO2 forcing-cooling extends from mid 2002 (after lagtime and reaching new equilibrium) to Dec 2007, but then appears to depart south once again.
    Really would like to see the charts updated to Dec.2009.

  55. To Scienceofdoom:
    It gets all wiggy because you track every number back to who said it, when, and in what context. I”m not an expert but I do know that:

    IPCC refers to CO2 doubling as resulting in an extra 3.7 watts per m2 which would result in a direct temp increase of about 1 degree, but with positive feedback mostly from increased water vapor wold result in 2 to 4 degrees. If you figure 3 for an average, that’s triple, so about a 7.4 watt positive feedback less what ever negative feedbacks they subtracted from that… to get to…6?
    BUT… read deep into the report and…
    The actual increase SO FAR is only measured at 38%. The total of all greenhouse gases is currently (from memory here) 1.7 watts and I think CO2 was most of that so 1.4 sounds about right.
    BUT… if you think through the math, since the current increase is 38%, but it started at 0, the effective average contribution since 1900 would be 0.85 watts across all contributors, perhaps 0.7 for co2.
    Actual temp change according to IPCC for that period 1.1 degrees.

    What I believe was meant by Pielke is that he thinks it takes a total of about 6 w/m2 to achieve a 1 degree change because of negative feedbacks not considered while IPCC is claiming it was done with only about 1 watt.

  56. Sorry, OT and already asked on an older post.

    PLEASE HELP.

    Can someone please help me with analyzing (subtext rebutting) David Archer’s Book, The Big Thaw. I finally have a chance to reach someone with influence but I won’t have any cred without it. I don’t want to buy the book, it will be out-of-date “science” and I am assuming propanda as well, and even if I did buy it I can’t do this alone.

    Thanks.

    Air Vent readers, you will see this at Jeff’s site. Originally I thought here would cover it – when I posted at previous thread – but now I have to try everywhere.

    Or, does anyone know kind of an info site for people like me?

  57. Clouds are water vapor. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Ah… Ummmm…. And… no, ahhh…

    Oh forget it.

  58. Global warming? Now this is what we chould really be worried about.

    “A mystery object from space whizzed close by Earth today but scientists are somewhat stumped by what it was.

    The fast-moving entity only measured between 33 and 50 feet wide so would not have caused devastation had it hit the planet.”

    Daily Mail – 13th January 2010

  59. the IPCC’s lack of diagnostic skill in this matter verges on scientific malpractice.”

    What this august organisation lacks in diagnostic skill it more than makes up in cunning!
    A cunning that keeps it on the gravy train tracks, thank you Casey O’Pachauri, because it appeals to the baser instincts and self-loathings of MSM stalwarts such as JR and those to whom his brand of vitriol has a magnetic attraction.
    That hoary old axiom, the science is settled, now needs laid to rest. The precautionary principle wrt CAGW was, with hindsight, an insurance premium too far.
    Let’s get the survivors on Haiti sorted to the best of our abilities first. Forget the expensive brochurist tokenism that fills our screens nightly. It’s time to sort out the real problems, it’s time to make the non-issues get to the back of the line!

  60. Excellent article! My only minor concern is that “force” is not the correct word for internal natural oscillations here on earth. In an analogy with a pendulum, I think of a force as the external gravitation and the resulting movement due to the force as a velocity. In the climate the external force is sun. However, our planet is spinning and wobbling with regular changes in tilt and axis. This may lead to ocean cycles that may cover a wide range of timescales, from years and decades to centuries and millennia. The ocean cycles are the velocities. Sure, an ocean cycle may alter the climate dramatically, but it is not a force as such, it is a natural oscillation.

  61. kadaka (11:43:40) :

    “So is the Earth’s climate a pendulum or a gyroscope? Does it swing between the extremes while trying to slow down to a lower energy state and finally end up at rest, while different things keep nudging and whacking it? Or does it have its own position that it firmly wants to maintain, pushing back against any force that tries to move it, with very strong forces able to push it into a different preferred position?”

    The lunar declination swings North / South moving tropical air masses containing heat and moisture, along with it into the mid-latitudes on a 27.32 day period. This is the most powerful thermal transport mechanism at work in the atmosphere, and drives most of the basic patterns in the weather, the rest are due to turbulence caused by the topographic forcing, of the flow around mountains.

    The pattern of movement is pendulum like, fast across the equator and slow at the culmination, giving rise to the surges in cyclonic weather patterns like we see today (Maximum South lunar declination was on the 12th) and we are seeing a secondary tidal bulge being produced in the USA today. Due to the topographical forcing of the Rocky mountains, acting as the lower half of a venturi to the zonal wind from the west, the lunar tidal forces act as the tripping bias in a N/S fluiditics switch.

    When the declinational tides bias the flow south we have the flow patterns we have seen for the past couple weeks, Canadian air masses hugging the East slope of the Rockies, sweeping down into the southern plains, with the resultant cold farther South than is expected.

    Now as the Moon is Maximum South and returning toward the equator on the 19th of January 2010, the secondary tidal bulge generated is forcing the switch to flop toward the swift intrusion of more tropical air into the evacuated great plains, producing a January thaw for the next couple days.

    Heat being brought into the mid-latitudes by this surge will be better radiated out into space, than from the equator, as well as pushing the heat into the soils and melt water of the receding snow cover, which will also be radiated off into space during the night.

    Because the pattern is one that shifts from small to large total declinational angular movement relative to the equator over an 18.6 year Mn period the turbulence patterns generated, that take the form of weather, will evolve through a long wave pattern of 18.6 years as the angle swings from minimum to maximum back to minimum.

    Most research into looking for patterns in the weather limit the search period to 5 to 10 years, so these driving forces in the weather that end up being the “Hard to find natural variability” that is (overlooked) is the pump mechanism behind the pulstile surges in cool / warm phases, shifting the decade long phases of the ocean basins.

    As the 27.32 day periods over base period of 18.6 years is not an even number of years, months or any of the other base periods used by the weather service to chop up data to average for reports, it has been over looked. With the initiation of the peer review process in the 50’s the funding was cut for any further studies.

    Now we have problems with researchers trying to figure out the main signal in the weather / climate from looking at the random noise, that would be left after you remove the Lunar tidal signal, while it is still in the data. It’s like trying to hear the rattle of loose screws in a 500 watt 12″ bass speaker while at full volume.

    I have created a natural analog weather forecast for the next four years based on the Lunar tidal reoccurring patterns, as a demonstration of the repeatability of the base patterns. Daily maps posted till end of 2013 on website http://www.aerology.com/national.aspx

    Richard Holle
    Concordia Kansas

  62. Please stop! I’ve been trying for the last several months to put together a “talk” for my retired “professionals” club (PROBUS). No sooner than it’s finished more excellent data (or revelations) appear. I understand Sysiphus better by the day.
    I’ve decided medication is the only solution for my WUWT and links addiction.
    Thank you Dr Spencer, although I feel I know you ALL by Christian names.

  63. Pascvaks (15:38:41) :

    Clouds are water vapor. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Ah… Ummmm…. And… no, ahhh…

    depends… if you are in a north temperate zone, and it is summer clouds have a mostly cooling effect during the day because they block more sun energy than they keep in from the earth. But in the winter, the suns rays are very weak so cloud cover reflects more of the earth’s energy than it blocks from the sun.

    trust me… when you wake up on the Canadian prairie in mid January to a bright blue sky without a cloud in sight… go back to bed because it’s 30 below. Pray for cloud.

  64. Thank you Dr Spencer for this.

    So proof at last that Kevin Trenberth is correct in his travesty email
    the energy in is greater than the energy out = warming (not seen!!!)

    Kevin Trenberth:
    ” The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”
    ….
    ” We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”

    Michael Mann wrote:
    ” Kevin, that’s an interesting point. As the plot from Gavin I sent shows, we can easily account for the observed surface cooling in terms of the natural variability seen in the CMIP3 ensemble (i.e. the observed cold dip falls well within it). So in that sense, we can “explain” it. But this raises the interesting question, is there something going on here w/ the energy & radiation budget which is inconsistent with the modes of internal variability that leads to similar temporary cooling periods within the models.
    I’m not sure that this has been addressed–has it?”

    Perhaps an apology to Trenberth is in order?

    Spencer attribute the warming to clouds – this does not seem to agree with Svensmark where increased clouds = cooling.
    Also clouds should be increasing – causing cooling – due to increased GCRs with quiet sun.

    Would it be fair to say it is a travesty?
    ……….
    GCR-climate connection – GCR’s increase low cloud cover via increased CCN production (via increased atmospheric ionization), which acts as a cooling effect on the climate.
    IPCC
    6.11.2.2 Cosmic rays and clouds
    Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) demonstrated a high degree of correlation between total cloud cover, from the ISCCP C2 data set, and cosmic ray flux between 1984 and 1991. Changes in the heliosphere arising from fluctuations in the Sun’s magnetic field mean that galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) are less able to reach the Earth when the Sun is more active so the cosmic ray flux is inversely related to solar activity.

  65. Henry chance (10:32:39) :

    “95% of the greenhouse efect is from clouds.
    Everytine Joe Romm posts pictures of “dirty coal” plants, he includes “smoke stacks” These are not smoke stacks but steam releasing cooling towers. Evaporation and otjher sources of H2O creat humidity and clouds. More shade and less radiation of heat.”

    I work at a Coal fired Power Plant and the stacks release water vapor and carbon dioxide. Coal is about 30% water and maybe 60% carbon with other impurties that generate ash. When the coal burns the water vapor goes out through the stack as does the carbon dioxide that is generated from the exothermic reaction of carbon and oxygen (the heat from this reaction boils water to steam to turn the turbine which then turns the generator to create the electricity). We also have a cooling tower but it only forms the clouds on cold days. In the summer the 7000 gallons per minute of evaporation go into the air as water vapor.

  66. I Hesitate to jump in to this august group but, gentlemen, you are confusing me. According to Lindzen and Choi’s analysis of ERBE data, They seem to come to the exact opposite conclusion. The only way can accept the data is if Steve Sadlov is right and the y coordinates are reversed. I am wide open to be educated on the matter.

  67. [quote TanGeng (10:37:40) :
    Seems like some numbers that have a lot of uncertainty. I still don’t understand this conclusion. It seems to suggest that heat is being stored somewhere in some form that isn’t being measured by temperature, either lot of ice is melting, it’s being stored chemically in some form somewhere, or it’s someplace where we aren’t measuring. /quote]

    Or that the satellites just don’t work as described and expected. There’s been differences between satellite measurements and ground measurements as high as 6 watts per meter squared.

    So I will again ask if the raw data and computer source code used to come up with these satellite numbers is available to the public so the world can take a look at these processes for themselves.

  68. “It should be remembered that the satellite data are actually measured, whereas the CO2 forcing (red lines in the above graphs) is so small that it can only be computed theoretically.”

    On RealClimate, I posted an idea that might get a real measurement of the contribution of CO2 to warming but no one responded to the post. I guess I will try here. One should be able to get an actual measurement of adibatic cooling of a mixture of just oxgen and nitrogen. The current rate is about 10 degrees C per 1000 feet.

    My idea is that once you get a real measurement of the adibatic cooling of air with no carbon dioxide. Then you can directly measure the actual adiabtic cooling of dry air with a known concentration of carbon dioxide. Since the carbon dixoide is absorbing energy from the ground (via Infrared emission) as the air rises, the warming of this absorbed energy should lower the adibatic cooling rate. It should end up less than 10 degrees per 1000 feet. The differenc between the experiment tested adibatic cooling of just oxygen/nitrogen and with the carbon dioxide added should give a real amount of energy carbon dioxide absorbs. Thanks to any who might answer this.

  69. “Last year I posted an analysis of satellite observations of the 2007-08 global cooling event, showing evidence that it was due to a natural increase in low cloud cover”

    So from the chart the Earth has been gaining energy for 8 years, especially from 2007 to 2008, despite increasing cloud cover that allows less energy to reach the surface.

    “Significantly, all of the downward trend is in the reflected sunlight portion, not the infrared portion of the variations.”

    More energy is being reflected, thus less is being absorbed, IR is constant. Forgive me, but shouldn’t this mean we are cooling (losing energy)? I mean, we are cooling if you go by the thermometer, it’s colder. I live on an Island thats usually 65-75 deg F this time of year and it’s 50, and there is no indoor heating. I know thats just weather, but….I just don’t see where the energy gained is going, the sea ice is recovering from it’s melting which was due mainly to ocean currents and wind patterns.

    Don’t really get it, maybe I will reread it and his previous article and see what I missed.

  70. tfp (16:14:03) :

    Maybe you need to go back and read what Dr. Spencer referenced in his GRL paper and the first sentence of this article.

    Last year I posted an analysis of satellite observations of the 2007-08 global cooling event, showing evidence that it was due to a natural increase in low cloud cover.

    Low level Clouds=COOLING

    Lack of low level Clouds=WARMING

    Not

    more low level clouds=Warming

    Spencer agrees with Svenmark more clouds, more cooling

    Lack of reading comprehension is a travesty.

  71. pft (16:46:47) :

    As I read it there’s less reflected sunlight (trend) which means fewer, not more, clouds. There are ups and downs, of course. And you can detect the 2007/2008 La Nina where the reflected sunlight went up (more clouds).

    Looks to me like el Nino/la Nina dominate not only over the itsy bitsy bikini-clad CO2 but the Svensmaark effect as well.

    As for the ‘lost’ heat, I think what lgl (14:08:22) said makes sense:

    “If the conditions have changed from mostly heating the northern hemisphere to mostly heating the southern the situation will be exactly that because it takes much more energy to heat all that ocean down there.”

  72. Henry chance (14:16:46) :
    Joe Romm has just announced this is an anti-science blog
    That is quite possibly an overblown claim, but there is a large amount of pseudo-science being peddled.

  73. Am I the only one who can see my posts?

    What is so hard to understand about the Moon and Earth sharing a dynamic interaction?

    Have you all bought into the idea that the weather is a product of the surface conditions alone?

    Then why would you believe the Sun had anything to do with it?

    Oh yeah I mentioned the Moon!

  74. “”” Pascvaks (15:38:41) :

    Clouds are water vapor. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Ah… Ummmm…. And… no, ahhh…

    Oh forget it. “””

    Clouds may be a lot of things, including volcanic ash or sand or dust; but the one thing they most certainly are NOT is WATER VAPOR.

    Water vapor is pretty much quite transparent to visible light, until you get to about 750-760 nm wavelength which is a very deep red; and a whole lot of people can’t see 760 nm red; specially old folks like me.

    Water clouds, consist of water droplets or ice crystals, both of which scatter visible light; which is why you can see them.

  75. The big thing to remember about clouds is that AT NIGHT they keep the surface warmer than it would be without them – ever had a frost on a cloudy night? During the DAY they reflect sunlight & keep the surface cooler than it would be in direct sunlight. This tends to bring the maximum & minimum temperatures closer together. Water vapour in the atmosphere does exactly the same thing, even without clouds. Look at the daily temperature range of a place on the coast compared to a point 100km inland – there is much less variation at the coast.

  76. As I remember from an atmospheric physics course, the stratosphere is stable (temperature increases with altitude) and therefore no convection like you get in the troposphere. My question is how does convection and redistribution of energy affect the time constant for the earth atmospheric engine? Presumably it takes a while for the engine to respond to a radiative input – just like a capacitor/resistor circuit – you get a delayed response.

    How do we know that comparing the radiative balance is meaningful in terms of a system that might be capable of storing energy for decades or centuries and, in which case, what makes Dr Spencer able to make short term suppositions ( cloud cover) from changes in the radiative balance?

  77. boballab (16:49:58) :
    Last year I posted an analysis of satellite observations of the 2007-08 global cooling event, showing evidence that it was due to a natural increase in low cloud cover.
    Low level Clouds=COOLING
    Lack of low level Clouds=WARMING
    Not
    more low level clouds=Warming
    Spencer agrees with Svenmark more clouds, more cooling

    Low solar activity = high gcrs
    high gcr=more low cloud=cooling = svensmark

    as solar minimum was approached (=high gcrs=cooling=svensmark) the plots above show earth gaining excess energy.
    I do not, I admit, understand how more energy = cooling
    The plots show CO2 line doing the correct thing more co2=earth gaining excess energy so the plots are named correctly.

    To me svensmark does not equal spencer
    but trenberth = honest:
    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate”

    svensmark says -ve
    spencer says +ve
    trenberth says our observing system is inadequate.

    Who is being honest here?

  78. I’ve always thought that modeling against an RLC circuit per jeremy made sense. As I understand it, IPCC is claiming 3.7 watts/m2 from CO2 doubling, but the rise so far is only 38%. So for easy figuring, call it 1 watt to date. As I also understand, most heat storage is in the oceans, so lets put aside the atmosphere and the land mass and just heat up the ocean. Here’s the math (I think)

    It takes 4 watts to heat up 1 cc of water 1 degree in 1 second. A square meter is 100 cm by 100 cm, so 10,000 cm2. So we need 40,000 seconds to heat 1 square meter to a depth of 1 cm. Lest the numbers get too large fast, that’s 11 hours. To get to 1 meter we would need 1100 hours, or around 46 days. To get to 100 meters, would take 12 years to transfer enough energy to make a 1 degree rise happen. 300 meters would take 36 years.
    BUT – that assumes the capacitor doesn’t leak. Since a warming body increases the amount of energy it radiates back at its surroundings, it does in fact leak. My math skills have just been exhausted, but yeah, there should be serious latency between an energy increase and final temp.

  79. boballab (14:55:24) :

    Thank you for the reply. I wasn’t aware that Dr Pielke, Sr had problems with the concept of ‘global’ temperatures. And the Imperial Valley example you provided reminded me of something closer to home… my former home.

    I am originally from the Kurdish South Eastern region of Turkey. I know that from 1970s onward the Turkish government began to implement a series of major dam construction projects on the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers for hydroelectricity generation as well as irrigation. The project is very controversial for many reasons and is still not finished. But in the last thirty years the geography has altered substantially and there are no many huge reservoirs that weren’t there thirty years ago. Several years back when I heard someone mentioning how the winters had become milder over several decades, I automatically attributed the reason to global warming. It is now more reasonable to assume that the winters had become milder simply because of the vast nearby water reservoirs. Similarly, most of the draught witnessed downstream -in Syria and Iraq- is more likely because less water is available to those places for irrigation and other purposes.

    So one may easily conclude that the change in weather patterns (climate?) around and across the length of the Euphrates and Tigris has more to do with those dams than global warming. I haven’t read any report regarding the climatic impacts of the projects in the region. It would make an interesting case study, I think.

  80. The important missing piece to this puzzle is the ability to accurately measure low level cloud cover.

    If we go by the ISCCP who appear to be part of “the Team” they are telling us low level cloud has been on the decrease for the past decade. Perhaps this is another area of ClimateGate that needs to be investigated?

  81. One explanation of the lack of current warming is the pipeline. Perhaps these guys that propose the pipeline should come up with the pipeline and how it can hold surplus energy and then some how miraculously scorch the earth in the future.

    Sounds like trying to prove a negative to me.

  82. Leif Svalgaard (17:26:56) :
    Henry chance (14:16:46) :
    Joe Romm has just announced this is an anti-science blog
    That is quite possibly an overblown claim, but there is a large amount of pseudo-science being peddled.

    Leif, broadly characterizing people wins you no points. Maybe you could be a little more charitable with your thoughts?

  83. I am lost:

    “If one additionally entertains the possibility that there is still considerable “warming still in the pipeline” left from increasing CO2, as NASA’s Jim Hansen claims, then the need for some natural cooling mechanism to offset and thus produce no net warming becomes even stronger.”

    I can think of several possibilities. Assuming the satellite data is correct, energy stored in the oceans, increased vegetation mass or melting ice, for example, could reduce warming for a period of time. None of these natural “cooling mechanisms” however, could be effective indefinitely. What did I miss as I don’t seem to come to the same conclusion as Roy Spencer?

  84. TerryBixler (10:35:51) :

    Only a change in politics will change the position an AGW.

    Which could start next Tuesday in Massachusetts.

  85. It’s dicey to trust James Hansen’s predictions of a pipeline since his predictions in the past have been wrong in the past. Track record counts.

  86. as solar minimum was approached (=high gcrs=cooling=svensmark) the plots above show earth gaining excess energy.
    I do not, I admit, understand how more energy = cooling
    The plots show CO2 line doing the correct thing more co2=earth gaining excess energy so the plots are named correctly.

    Yes in broad terms, however, I think everyone accepts (apart from IPCC and AGWers who believe in ONLY one GOD – the GOD of man-made CO2) that the whole climate system is complex and NOT SIMPLY EXPLAINED BY ANY ONE SINGLE FACTOR.

    Therefore the physical response from physical mechanisms of one particular factor may be masked or swamped by another factor as the atmosphere responds to the combined effects of MANY FACTORS.

    So in theory (or until proven WRONG): Trenbeth, Svensmark and Spencer may ALL be correct to some degree!!!!

  87. Eric Barnes (21:14:53) :
    Leif, broadly characterizing people wins you no points. Maybe you could be a little more charitable with your thoughts?
    I’m not fishing for points. Just making an observation. Science results from being critical, not charitable.

  88. “Leif Svalgaard (17:26:56) :

    Henry chance (14:16:46) :
    Joe Romm has just announced this is an anti-science blog
    That is quite possibly an overblown claim, but there is a large amount of pseudo-science being peddled.”

    Leif refers to people with alternative views on cosmology here. Leif is our local expert for the sun’s activity for all those who don’t know.

    Leif, you should really explain it some more when you drop the anti-science word. You’ll confuse newcomers otherwise.

  89. “(The less sensitive the climate system, the faster it reaches equilibrium when forced with a radiative imbalance.)”

    Given all the talk recently about oceans and overpowering the “anthropogenic signal”, I would argue that oceans must have been contributing before hand to a rate at least equal to half of the rate observed if nature’s version of ‘overpowering’ the signal means flattening the signal out. If it were contributing less than half, then the ‘signal’ could overpower the natural process, and if it were contributing more than half… well, I guess we’ll find that part out in the next ten years, huh?

  90. Leif Svalgaard (21:47:03) :

    Science results from being critical, not charitable.

    I actually think what he meant by being ‘charitable with your thoughts’ was to share them, as in why do you think pseudo-science is peddled here. I believe you are referring to electric universe stuff, but I am not really sure either.

  91. bc browser (21:18:03) :

    I am lost

    Seems to me “pipeline” “latency” and “clmate sensitivy” are all similar concepts here. When you add additional new energy into a complicated system like a planet, it Kicks off all sorts of processes. Icreased heating, incresed negative feeback loops, increased radiance to space. Still those processes have to damp out until we reach a new quilibriium. Pipeline, latency and climate sensitivity are wll words the the same thing – how long after the input energy changes does the temp go up? Hansen seems to think a few yesrs, Pielk is saying decades. The more the various feedbsck loops cancel each other out, the longer it will take and the lower the end result temp delta.

    My personsal feeling is the timescsale is even bigger than what Pielke thinks, about 150 years. My opinion comes not from scientific analysis. I noticed that the reconstruction of the solar constant to 1000 AD looked almost identical to tempersature reconstructions, but with the time scale slid sideways by 150 years. Here are some exasmples:


    and even displayed sgainst the 9 construction spasghetti graph from IPCC

    I freely admit that I cut graphs and did a so so job of getting scale right, but you csn see what I mean. The effective solar radiance we are talking about here is about .85 watts/m2 , half of what IPCC claims is the current level from co2. Since CO2 was very stable going back to 1000 AD, it was a steady state actor not influencing equilibrium before 1900. In brief, the pipeline is being proposed as a delay of a few years, Pielke is saying a number of decades, and I, with the sophisticated tools of cut and paste at my disposal, think it is 150 years. If you check my graph, we should see a cooling trend start early in this decade based on drop in solar radiance 150 years ago. Who know Paint was a climate model tool?

    Of course if I am right, and the CO2 trapping heat thing is right, some folks in sbout 2100 ought to be getting a problem coming their way.

  92. [quote tfp svensmark says -ve
    spencer says +ve
    trenberth says our observing system is inadequate.

    Who is being honest here? [/quote]

    I don’t think Svensmark and Trenberth are taking about the same thing.

    Svensmark talks about how low level clouds cool the Earth. That’s pretty much an accepted fact. Svensmark’s contribution to it is that GCRs seem to play a role in forming low level clouds. But whether they do or not, low level clouds are still considered to cause cooling.

    Trenberth was talking about how the CERES satellite was showing significantly more warming than could be accounted for from other forms of measurements. And that the instruments (probably the CERES satellite, if I understand him correctly) where not up to their task.

    So I think there is little doubt in the main messages of these two men. Low level clouds cool. Our instruments aren’t reliable when it comes to measuring temperature.

    Both are true and the statements don’t conflict one another.

    So both men are right. And both are talking about different things.

  93. “Syl (17:15:53) :

    pft (16:46:47) :

    As I read it there’s less reflected sunlight (trend) which means fewer, not more, clouds. There are ups and downs, of course. And you can detect the 2007/2008 La Nina where the reflected sunlight went up (more clouds).”

    After rereading this I agree, thanks.

  94. magicjava (23:01:12) :
    I don’t think Svensmark and Trenberth are taking about the same thing

    OK

    1. Svensmark says GCRs create more low cloud at solar minimum (i.e. NOW)
    2. Spencer’s plots show earth gaining excess energy over the solar minimum.

    Both 1 and 2 cannot be correct.

    I know Trenberth is not talking about clouds. He simply said the data Spencer used is wrong or the earth is stroring energy but there is no measurement that can allow choice of either one.

    For making this comment he and AGW have been trashed by the anti-AGW blogs

    It does not add up!

  95. GCR-climate connection – GCR’s increase low cloud cover via increased CCN production (via increased atmospheric ionization), which acts as a cooling effect on the climate.
    IPCC
    6.11.2.2 Cosmic rays and clouds
    Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) demonstrated a high degree of correlation between total cloud cover, from the ISCCP C2 data set, and cosmic ray flux between 1984 and 1991.

    Unfortunately this ‘high degree of correlation’ didn’t really exist, it was due to the fortuitous mixing of the ISCCP data and the DMSP data to hide the decline in the former by S & F-C.

    See for example:
    Kristjansson, J.E., Kristiansen, J., Journal of Geophysical Research 105 (D9), 11851–11863, (2000).

  96. ((Richard111 (10:22:06) :

    There must be a theoretical explanation for the existence of the “pipeline”.
    James Hansen seems to believe it exists. Anybody?))

    the ‘pipeline’ is what connects the Hooka to your lips, maybe???
    regards

  97. Phil. (06:11:48) :
    Unfortunately this ‘high degree of correlation’ didn’t really exist, it was due to the fortuitous mixing of the ISCCP data and the DMSP data to hide the decline in the former by S & F-C

    Ah! so Svensmark is wrong and Spencer’s satellite is correct.

    So now all we have to do is find where all the excess energy is going, since it hasn’t increased temperatures for a few years.

    It really is a TRAVESTY that we don not have instrumentation to show us where it has gone!

  98. Thanks for your replies.. the only problem I have with saying rocks store heat in relation to nature is the fact that, if left to nature, we wouldn’t have the amount of ‘rocks’ (rock, concrete, brick, asphalt surfaces all exposed) that we have today.

    Anyway, thanks again. It’s nice to know people are looking at all the variables that mankind ‘adds’ to nature. I, for one, can’t seem to wrap my head around the science using ONE factor, CO2, and finding some ‘correlation’ then turn that into causation… even when the correlation barely exists… then, saying it is BAD for earth, as if there is a manual for the earths ‘gasses’…

    Keep up the great work, everyone.

  99. ***************
    Henry chance (14:16:46) :
    Joe Romm has just announced this is an anti-science blog. Joe romm is financed by convicted felon George Soros according to a post over there. Climate progress.
    **************
    The fact that Joe Romm has a physics degree does not mean he isn’t a political hack. He is a political hack. JMO.

  100. Matbe you guys missed this post
    sportpunter (12:47:52) :

    Maybe you should check out this webpage: http://gustofhotair.blogspot.com/

    which shows s significant decrease in cloud cover in the last 50 years. This decrease in cloud cover occurs only during the day, with steady rates at night. Temperatures have not been increasing at night but only during the day. Cloud cover is shown to be strongly related to temperature, and it will show that 75% of all warming is caused by cloud cover and proper statistical analysis of temperature.

    It shows a practical application of the theory that shows less clouds = higher temperatures (In the day)

  101. From previous posts, it sounds like Australia should be de-salinating Water and pumping it to in land reservoirs to cool their country down a bit. They also need it for drinking water and irrigation so it is a win win situation.
    Much better than paying Carbon Taxes to make others rich

  102. Dave F (23:05:32) :

    What does all that energy do for 150 years? Hide in the ocean

    It isnt hiding. when you transfer energy to something via a steady input it will rise to a new temperature, but it doesn’t get there in a single jump, or a straight line. It follows a logarythmic curve that is 5 time constants long. So, if the new temp is a rise of one degree, 63% of the rise would occur in one time constant, 63% of what is left in the second time constant (about 85% of the total) and so on. Here is a picture that is illustrative

    So when someone says LOOK temperature of the earth started going up at exactly the same time as XYZ happened, they are proposing a time constant of 0. As Mr Einstein once quipped, that’s not right, that’s not even wrong. Hansen is suggesting that the time constant is perhaps a few years meaning that the increased energy input that started due to co2 increases in 1940 will result in a new temperature, but we may only be part way through the first one or two time constants, meaning that there is more temp rise “in the pipeline”. Pielke is saying that due to negative feedbacks and other issues, the time constant is perhaps decades and the total change may take 75 years. Given that the solar energy fluctuates by about 0.85 watts/m2, about half of what IPCC is claiming as a positive CO2 increase so far, and there were negligible greenhouse gases increased before 1900, we should be able to “see” the solar variation in the millenial temperature reconstructions and work backwards to determine what 5 time constants is. Using the incredible climate modeling tools of copy, paste, paint and resize, I concluded 150 years. If Pielke is right, the current cooling trend over the last few years would be attributed to a reduction in energy input about 75 years ago. I propose 150 because if you take as look at:

    you see there was a solar max about 1850 implying a cooling trend starting about 2000 give or take a few years, which is what we are seeing. There was a major solar min about 1700 implying that we we should have seen a general warming trend starting in about 1850. Actual temp records indicate 1830 was the low. There was a solar max about 1600 implying a peak about 1750. IPCC has about 9 temp reconstructions in their report, all showing a hump at about 1750.

    This is really important to understand because the bulk of the climate models are built on the assumption that the time constant is a few years at best. Perhaps a decade. But they are built on very detailed information from just the last few decades. If the time constant is larger than the data set time span as Pielke (and I) suggest, then it would be near impossible to build a mathematical model that was precise.

  103. August is good month in lincoln, uk. for high temperatures. Temperatures get higher if there a lot of sunshine and little rain in one month but even higher if the previous month had a lot of sunshine and little rain .Could evaporation be causing a build up of water vapour over time in the atmosphere raising temperatures higher?

  104. Re: boballab (14:55:24)

    I would be interested in hearing how you think N. American farming practices affected Earth orientation parameters in the ’30s.

  105. davidmhoffer (22:58:15)

    Thanks for your comments; good points. I am still digesting your article on Theory of Earth Temperature Regulation. What I was getting from Roy Spencer’s article was that Trenberth could actually be onto something except that what we were seeing was a very fuzzy object in the distance. We think it is coming toward us but don’t know how far it is, how fast it is moving, how big it is and what’s it made of. Hardly grounds for preparing a sensible, evasive action. Oceans, biomass, ice melt were just the first few things that came to my mind but I am sure there are many more potential cooling mechanisms, acting in synch or in sequence and the one mentioned in your article via north and south poles sounds very plausible. I am just hoping that after all the excitement of the last year we’ll reach that “tipping point” when most scientists, including those involved in the climategate, will stop wasting their considerable intelligence and energy on what to say and instead focus on the clues. I tend to side with Lomborg on this one. We need some time and we have that time.

  106. I wonder how much of the energy gap between E(in) and E(out) is used to do work in chemical reactions on the Earth. For example, just the estimated 2 trillion tonnes of biomass must use quite a lot for growth and motive power???

  107. Tenuc (14:08:25) :

    I wonder how much of the energy gap between E(in) and E(out) is used to do work in chemical reactions on the Earth. For example, just the estimated 2 trillion tonnes of biomass must use quite a lot for growth and motive power???

    Around 0.023% of sunlight (solar constant) is used for photosynthesis. So, of the average of 340W/m^2 that is spread over the surface of earth, only about 78 milliW/m^2 is used in this way.

  108. Richard Holle (15:49:27) :
    “Because the pattern is one that shifts from small to large total declinational angular movement relative to the equator over an 18.6 year Mn period the turbulence patterns generated, that take the form of weather, will evolve through a long wave pattern of 18.6 years as the angle swings from minimum to maximum back to minimum.”

    I wonder what happens to the NH in the winter when the long moon cycle is dragging the jet stream towards the equator at times of solar minimum, allowing cold Arctic air to move further south? Have you tried modelling the lunar/solar cycle phase relationship and how it effects NH temperature and precipitation? Do you know if the position of neighbouring planet also effects these relationships?

  109. Re: Tenuc (14:58:54)

    It’s the 3rd harmonic of LNC that is relevant:


    Nutation longitude crossed the north-south NAO axis in the late ’80s.

    See the Russian literature.

  110. I guess I must profess ignorance on what Leif is referring to as pseudo-science. I don’t claim to read all posts. Exactly what theories are pseudo-science? Why the criticism for Wattsupwiththat.com, when a group of climate alarmists has hijacked climate science for political purposes?

  111. Leif Svalgaard (12:59:17) :
    Eric Barnes (16:32:04) :
    “Exactly what theories are pseudo-science?”
    For an example, just see the comment preceding yours.

    or the one before that…

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