Statistics expert Briggs: Actually, Weather Is Climate

Guest post by William M. Briggs professional  statistician

It is statistically appropriate to point to this year’s frigidity as evidence that the theory of man-made global warming is suspect.

From NASA Earth Observatory: December temperatures compared to average December temps recorded between 2000 and 2008. Blue indicates colder than average land surface temperatures, while red indicates warmer temperatures. Click for source.

Sure is cold out there, unusually so. By “unusual,” I mean the temperature is on the low end of the observed temperatures from previous winters.

Of course, we don’t have any more than about 100 years of reliable measurements, so it’s possible that the freeze we’re experiencing now isn’t as unusual as we suspect. But, anyway, it still sure is cold.

If you recall, a lot of global warming models predicted it would be hot and not cold, and to risk redundancy, it sure is cold. Does this dissonance between the models’ predictions and what is actually happening mean that those models are wrong?

No. But it sure as ice doesn’t mean that they are right.

Here’s the thing: No matter how cold the winter is, no matter how much snow falls, the global warming models will not be disproved. In technical language, they cannot be falsified by the observations.

Another way to say this is that the winter we’re seeing is consistent with what the models have been predicting. Again — does this consistency mean that the models are right and that the theories of man-made warming are true?

No.

Consistency is such a weak criterion that almost any imaginable theory of climate will produce predictions that are consistent with observations. The term is probabilistic: It means that what actually happens had to have some chance of occurring according to a model. If global warming climate models said, “It is impossible that this winter will see temperatures below X,” and temperatures did, in fact, drop below this threshold, then the models would be inconsistent with the observations. The model would be falsified.

But global warming climate models never make statements like that. They say that any temperature is possible, even if this possibility is low. Certain temperatures have probabilities as low as you like, but they are never precisely zero. (To anticipate an objection: “that number was practically zero” is logically equivalent to “she was practically a virgin.”)

Man-made global warming is just one of many possible theories of climate. Another is the Business-as-Usual Theory (BUT), which states that whatever happened last year will more or less happen this year, and so on into the future.

The winter we’re seeing is consistent with the BUT, which like the man-made global warming theory, never says any temperature is impossible. Further, BUT is corroborated more strongly by this winter than is the man-made warming theory. BUT’s predictions are closer to what we actually see.

“Stop right there, Briggs! You’re making the classical mistake of confusing weather with climate. The global warming models make predictions of climate and not weather. This winter doesn’t mean anything!”

I am not making that mistake, and it is you who are confused. Weather is climate. More specifically, aggregations of weather are climate. Means, averages, and distributions of daily weather comprise climate. That is, climate is a statistical phenomenon and depends for its existence on defining a reference time frame.

For instance, if “climate” is defined as the yearly mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will produce a yearly mean temperature that is colder than average (as long as the coming summer isn’t abnormally hot: winter, of course, overlaps two calendar years and a hot summer can balance out a cold winter in the yearly mean).

So it is appropriate to point to this year’s frigidity as evidence that the theory of man-made global warming is suspect. If “climate” is defined as the decadal mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will push the decadal mean lower. And it is still acceptable to point to this year’s winter as evidence against the man-made global warming theory.

Just as it was appropriate when the media trumpeted each and every “record setting high!” as evidence for that theory.

The difference is that one day’s temperature has little influence on a yearly mean — it is just one out of 365 other numbers that make up the average. One day’s temperature is thus weak evidence for or against any theory of climate.

But a slew of months with higher- or lower-than-average temperatures will push that yearly mean higher or lower. A season’s mean temperature is stronger evidence for or against any climate theory than is a day’s.

Back in the 1990s, when the yearly mean temperatures were increasing, this was touted as evidence for the man-made global warming — but those years’ temperatures also corroborated the Business-as-Usual theory. Which theory was better?

For the past decade, we have had a string of years with mostly decreasing temperatures. This is strong evidence against the man-made global warming theory, but pretty good testimony for the BUT. So far, the BUT theory is winning on points (there are other climate theories the BUT doesn’t beat). This doesn’t mean that BUT is true and that the man-made global warming theory is false, but it does suggest that this is so.

You can’t have it both ways. It is a mistake to extol evidence that supports the man-made global warming theory and to cry foul when presented with evidence which weakens that theory.

That so many do this says more about their desires than it does about any theory of climate.


Reposted from:  http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/actually-weather-is-climate/

with permission from the author. Visit his website: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
K. Bray

EARTH”S INTERNAL FURNACE
The real answer is within.
Temperatures inside the Earth are close to those on the surface of the Sun, somewhere around 10,000 Degrees Fahrenheit.
This internal Earth heat slowly dissipates through the Earth’s crust.
This heat must logically play some role in surface temperatures, certainly keeping our orb from freezing. Temperatures only 1 Kilometer below most land masses are too hot to survive in without mechanical cooling.
The heating process probably has cycles over time of hotter and cooler periods, or some kind of heat pulsing. Some change is happening inside our planet if our magnetic poles keep alternating from time to time, and super-volcanoes periodically explode.
What if climate change is really related to variations in the heat being transmitted and released through the crust in pulses of decades or centuries or longer periods of normal fluxuations ?
Has this been mentioned as a factor to be taken into consideration before we completely condemn carbon dioxide by humans as an alleged cause of irreversible warming destined to destroy the planet and our way of life as we know it ?
There must be some deep mine temperature statistics somewhere to reveal this detectable component.
I submit that Earth’s Internal Heat must play some role, even if minor, in climate variability.
“Look more closely grasshopper, the real answer is within.”

bucko36

I’m confused?? What did he say?????

IsoTherm

A very good article, and I’m beginning to wonder whether the distinction between climate and weather isn’t just a hangover from the days everyone thought the climate long-term weather was static.
An area that really needs to be extended is the frequency analysis of the variability of the global warming signal. Evern the UK Met Office know that variation increases the longer the period you are considering, so that the noise signal INCREASES over longer periods and so it is HARDER to predict the long term rather than short term. So, how ironic it was for us in the UK to hear the Met Office exuse for their prediction of a mild winter when we had one of the coldest winters in 30 years: “its far more difficult to predict season to season than century to century” HAVEN’T THEY READ THEIR OWN PUBLICATIONS ON NOISE PROFILE OF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE.
Any for anyone who wants to see a natural reproduction of the global temperature signal from purely natural noise have a look at this link: http://www.tursiops.cc/fm/pink.gif
And the final noise, is that there is going to be a UK parliamentary investigation into climategate: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/s_t_pn14_100122.cfm
AND IF THERE IS ANY NEED TO HELP CO-ORDINATE SUBMISSIONS I AM WILLING TO GIVE MY TIME TO THIS!

dbleader61

Bravo! Some more cogent analysis with a bit of wit from Mr. Briggs. We skeptics/denialists are usually quite good at qualifying our comments about cold as “weather not climate” but maybe its not necessary.

hunter

Very good and very clear.
Pielke Sr., I believe, said it this way: Climate is experienced as weather.
Part of the dumbing down due to AGW theory is that many people implicitly believe that there is something called ‘climate’ that is seperate from weather.

Jason F

It’s ok, honest someone from the Met office is going to explaine why we had extreme snow
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/snowstorm-britains-big-freeze
what do you think their explination is likely to be?

IsoTherm

We in the UK are in the middle of the fifth or sixth Iraq inquiry into WMD – an issue that is notorious for the “sexed up data”, the “dodgy dossier”, with “real and imminent threats of WMD”.
Change Weapons of Mass Destruction to “Weather of Mass Destruction”, and the sexed up claims in the dodgy IPCC dossier of real and imminent threats of hurricanes snow, heat, rain, drought, and politicians in pink leatards pretending to be cats (google Galloway, big brother).
The only concern I have about the analogy is that “weather isn’t climate” – but since the WMD – hurrucanes, droughts, etc. that constantly gets in the news isn’t climate but weather …

James F. Evans

It always a good ice breaker to talk about the weather…

John Luft

K Bray says “Temperatures inside the Earth are close to those on the surface of the Sun, somewhere around 10,000 Degrees Fahrenheit.”
No…no…..you haven’t been listening. Al Gore says the temperature of the interior of the earth is “millions of degrees.” And they have special drill bits that can drill into that. Now go into the corner and repeat that over and over until it is true.

This was exactly the point that I was trying to make on the story http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/14/spencer-a-demonstration-that-global-warming-predictions-are-based-more-on-faith-than-on-science/#comments.
Of course, it comes out so much better when the person explaining it knows what they are talking about 🙂
Thank you Mr. Briggs

Kevin Kilty

Briggs,
Surely we can find some means of “updating” our belief one way or the other vis a vis AGW on the basis of seasonal outcomes. That is, an update on Bayesian grounds. If this is not possible then AGW is not a testable hypothesis. I haven’t given much thought to how to go about this, though.
A consistent “experiment” should make more distinct the difference between a hypothesis and its alternative(s) with more data. I don’t see this as occuring with respect to AGW–if anything doubt is now growing and that is more like a “pathological” hypothesis–i.e. per Irving Langmuir.
In engineering we run “factorial” experiments. Once our “table of contrasts” is filled and sufficiently replicated, we ought to be able to say what factors and interactions are significant and which are not. No one has tried this yet with regard to AGW, although I think it may be possible to look at instances of past climate change and do such a thing. However, as the outcome of temperature increase/decrease seems to not have a clear connection with historical changes in CO2, analysis of my hypothetical table of contrasts would probably throw it away as a factor.

a breath of fresh air from a statistician!
You are a credit to your discipline. Only someone with a deep grasp of his field could so succinctly expose such a widespread abuse, especially by warmers and their coterie.
You’ve explained it so well that even I understand it.
Common-sense, the bedrock of wisdom.

Mike

@bucko36
He said if it’s cold, it suggests it’s not getting warmer.

Kevin Kilty

IsoTherm (13:56:14) : The link gives me an access violation.

DocMartyn

Is there any statistical test for a random walk? Could ‘average temperature’, what ever that is, be following a random walk? The lags that are evident in the auto-correlation statistics make me wonder.

ShrNfr

K. Bray, I’m confused. Al Gore assured me it was millions of degrees just under the surface. 😉

Gary Hladik

‘(To anticipate an objection: “that number was practically zero” is logically equivalent to “she was practically a virgin.”)’
OK, now I’m reminded of a certain scene from the film “Chasing Amy.” Who knew Kevin Smith was a climatologist? 🙂
IsoTherm (13:56:14) : ‘[quoting the Met Office] “its far more difficult to predict season to season than century to century” HAVEN’T THEY READ THEIR OWN PUBLICATIONS ON NOISE PROFILE OF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE.’
Just out of curiosity: back in 1909, what did they predict for the winter of 2009-2010?
My take from this article: 21st Century temperature records are “consistent with” global warming, global cooling, neither, “…UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis.” (with apologies to “Ghost Busters”)

D. Ch.

There is a way of looking at the weather-climate distinction that should be easy for everyone to understand. When a student goes to class, in most school systems there is an overall course grade based on the average of the grades of a series of tests (and other graded activities). The weather is like the test grade for a single test, one of many in the course, and the climate — based as it is on “average” weather — is like the overall grade for the course. Hence it makes sense to say that unusually cold weather is like a failing test grade for global warming, and unusually hot weather is like a passing test grade for global warming. Just as one failed test does not necessarily mean a student fails the course, so one cold winter does not necessarily disprove global warming — but failing a test makes failing the course that much more likely, and a cold winter makes it more likely that global warming is false.

DirkH

The problem is, tell it to a warmer, point outside to the snow, and he says “So what?” The MSM have told him that the planet is warming and he trusts the MSM more than his own lying eyes. People really do, they are proud that their educated upbringing made them so good at abstracting away their own sensory experiences and suspend their disbelief and understand that it must be pretty hot EVERYWHERE ELSE.
To shake up the belief system of warmers, i made good inroads telling them about the logarithmic nature of CO2 forcing (they usually don’t know that!), the tiny amount of the forcing compared to the sun’s radiative flux, and the fact that temperatures started rising BEFORE 1950 when CO2 started rising. It’s exhausting but i keep hacking away at the foundations of the believes of the ones that are still able to listen. Some are lost cases, though. They won’t find out of the believe in AGW even when they freeze to death in midsummer.

Curiousgeorge

Probability is just so damn “uncertain”.

Neil Crafter

Thankyou Dr Briggs for your very logical comments. Of course weather is climate and vice versa. The whole “weather is not climate” meme is very frustrating to me. After all climate is composed of statistical measures of weather, as Dr Briggs has clearly enunciated. Thankyou!

Fernando ( in Brazil)

Briggs…said:
Man-made global warming is just one of many possible theories of climate. Another is the Business-as-Usual Theory (BUT), which states that whatever happened last year will more or less happen this year, and so on into the future.
Right: 0.5 ºC in 150 years should be this

JohnH

Nice article, using statistics always gets them just look at Steve Mc, do any of ‘the team’ have maths qualifications or is enough to have a good imagination when deciding the latest temps.

I know this is off topic but the first comment is of some interest to me. I, too, thought the internal heat of the earth’s core was bound to have SOME effect on global surface temperature. Just think what it’s like hugging a hotwater bottle (I’ve been doing a lot of that this last month). But then I thought, well, the effect is obviously not enough to prevent a snowball earth and all the extensive glaciations over the last 2 million years. But maybe there is a teensie bit of an effect to add to all the others – solar radiation, sunspots, cosmic rays, UHI etc. I really find it hard to totally discount all those undersea hydrothermal vents.
Does anyone else have a view?
p.s. I enjoyed the Briggs article, BTW, and am really cheered the UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee is shaking its feathers at last re CRU.

Antonio San

Marcel Leroux had convincingly demonstrated it a while ago…

DirkH

Re the pink noise graphics Isotherm mentioned:
http://www.tursiops.cc/fm/
Scroll down a little to see the pink noise picture. Looks damn like a temperature record. Nice.

Pascvaks

Ref – Gary Hladik (14:41:03) :
“Just out of curiosity: back in 1909, what did they predict for the winter of 2009-2010?”
_______________
More of the same?

K. Bray

{ John Luft (14:17:45) :} Thanks John.
Damn, I didn’t know the internal temps had gone up so much !
Thanks for the update from a trusted source like big AL.
Well Hell, there’s the source global warming right there… straight from HADES !
Millions and millions of degrees ! Where’s the confusion?

George E. Smith

Well actually, we only have about 30 years or less of reliable measurements; not 100.
Prior to the polar orbit satellites, and the oceanic air/water sensing buoys; both dating to about 1979/80, the surface data comes mostly from ocean water data, which John Christy et al showed in jan 2001 is not correlated, between surface water temperatures, and near surface air temperatures.
So all the ocean data prior to about 1980 is pure tripe in my book.

Michael

Trolling Huffington Post, I came across a post by the name of Fumes who said;
“uh..
God invented climate change..
so those who try to stop it go to he!! not to heaven lol.”
I just had ti give this person credit for this earth shattering quote.

DirkH

“marchesarosa (14:58:13) :
[…]
But maybe there is a teensie bit of an effect to add to all the others – solar radiation, sunspots, cosmic rays, UHI etc. I really find it hard to totally discount all those undersea hydrothermal vents.
Does anyone else have a view?”
My view is: If it’s a small bit, forget it. More CO2 also adds a tiny bit (1.5 W/m^2 according to the IPCC i think), and tiny bits are just compensated for by the earth’s built-in cooling system: the weather – convection, evaporation, precipitation (and a drop in humidity in the troposphere, see Ferenc Miskolczi). Negative feedback.
The earth’s climate toggles from Ice Age to Interglacial ATM, two stable local minima, and it takes more than a tiny influence to lift the system through the local maximum in between these two local minima. What exactly causes the flip is not known ATM and is not researched because big science busies itself by exploring global meltdown. Never happened, never will.

Warming happens. So does cooling. But they are not necessarily global. The anomaly maps and graphs do a very effective job of hiding this. But the trends are very interesting, particularly if you start to think of 30/60 year cycles ENSO/PDO etc. see here

rbateman

I do agree that there is no precise dviding line between weather and climate.
I prefer weather as an instance of climate: You add up enough instances – you get climate.
Probablistically speaking, the chances of Global Warming overriding this cooling phase in the short term are slim pickins.
With the oceans flipped to cold phases, I don’t see anything in the next 20 years to bail AGW out of the pit it’s dug for itself. These same AGW models were used to predict warmer than ever seasons, and they fell on thier collective faces in cold slush. The snail’s pace of Solar Activity, if indeed that has something to do with it, and the predicted even lower SC25 is no comfort for phantasmaGoracle warming either.
With Trillion of bucks and scads of economies poised on the brink of monetary pits, the odds are very good that the AGW proposals to take on the Climate to smash it into submission… are doomed. Given the choice of watching to cooling proceed and betting on an outlier are foolish to the nth degree. And we know they have been busy bees fudging the records, so the presumpition of slight cooling is in serious doubt.

As Briggs says: “More specifically, aggregations of weather are climate. Means, averages, and distributions of daily weather comprise climate.
Seems correct. And if it gets colder one year there needs to be a real explanation for it. Many in both camps treat one year of climate data as “weather” and, therefore, as “noise”. And the AGW crowd point to papers which show that GCMs also predict a few years of declining temperatures in amongst the general warming. No specific years unfortunately!
For more on this, see: http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/12/19/is-climate-more-than-weather-is-weather-just-noise/
There are a lot of claims from the climate modeling community that the GCMs produce excellent results that are verifiable. Like the wonderful people over at realclimate.org for example.
As a skeptic I can’t say they are wrong because I don’t know. But it would be very useful to see some specific claims that the rest of us can understand and review.
“Go read some papers” is nice and probably meant in a spirit of healthy co-operation, but most papers are quite inaccessible to most non-modelers, and also it is hard to get a grasp of the “sum of knowledge” and “sum of known problems” that the climate modeling community is aware of.
As an example, I find the Radiative Transfer Equations that model a 1-d climate and demonstrate a 2W/m^2 increase from 380ppm CO2 to be very convincing. But I wouldn’t have easily found that from papers without an existing background in the field. Instead I found a few reference books on the subject that started from the basics and worked through the subject in detail. I use this as an example not to make any claims about CO2 but for the difficulty of a non-specialist in getting to grips with what specialists know.
As Briggs rightly points out, if we stay with the generalist claims made for climate models they are useless (as forecasts) because no event or year, or even decade will falsify them.
So I believe it’s entirely possible that there are specific claims that climate modelers could make about what their models predict that might help to convince me and others that they have predictive value.
So if any climate modelers or climate scientists who know lots about climate models do read this blog and want to help those with an open mind, it would be wonderful to see.

Ian L. McQueen

K. Bray (13:50:19) :
EARTH”S INTERNAL FURNACE [snipped]
This internal Earth heat slowly dissipates through the Earth’s crust.
This heat must logically play some role in surface temperatures, certainly keeping our orb from freezing. Temperatures only 1 Kilometer below most land masses are too hot to survive in without mechanical cooling.
What if climate change is really related to variations in the heat being transmitted and released through the crust in pulses of decades or centuries or longer periods of normal fluxuations ?
There must be some deep mine temperature statistics somewhere to reveal this detectable component.
I submit that Earth’s Internal Heat must play some role, even if minor, in climate variability.
*****************
K. Bray:
See if you can google any information on temperatures inside South African mines. They go deep and the temperature at depth is uncomfortabloy hot, and the temperature varies quite regularly with depth.
Water from an undergrond spring will be at ground temperature. Where I am, at 45°N in eastern Canada, the temperature is around 6°C. It should be this year-’round for, below a certain depth, the temperature is more-or-less constant throughout the year. Similarly, the air temperature inside deep caves will be relatively constant at the temperature appropriate to that depth.
IanM

Colin_d

I’m no statistician but isn’t there a distinction to be had here- the proposition that globe is getting warmer and the further proposition that recent warming has anthropogenic origins?
So the unseasonal cold weather in the NH can legitimately call into question the first proposition but has no bearing on the second.
Pedantic?

Kevin Kilty

marchesarosa (14:58:13) :
The average heat flow from the interior is about 40milliW/m^2 whereas average solar irradiance is 240 W/m^2. The former is infinitesimal compared to the latter.
In a few places the internal heat is very important (Yellowstone in winter), and the indirect effects of volcanoes are possibly quite large, but the direct effect is nil.

Reading the clarity expressed by great minds such as Briggs and the Mc and Mac’s makes me think that the only people who should be allowed to call themselves “Climatologists” would be expert statisticians. I have long thought that climate does not exist, except as a statistical concept. The rest of them are Meterologists and not Climatologists at all. That particular “science” is in desperate need of overhaul.

Thanks, Mr. William M. Briggs, for confronting the Global Warming Scam with yet another another inconvenient truth.
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI for Apollo

Alan S. Blue

Add one more theory to the repetoire:
Iceage Contraction Epoch (ICE).
ICE is basically the prevailing model prior to Dr. Mann’s temperature reconstruction of 1998. The simplest version is: there’s a vaguely linear rebound (1-2C/Century) from the Little Ice Age, andor the possibility we’re still slowly warming from the last true ice age.
A completely flat historical temperature reconstruction basically rules ICE out. If there wasn’t a Little Ice Age, arguing about the rebound is quite silly. But if one isn’t comfortable with the methodology used for reconstructions extending beyond the instrumental period, then there’s nothing credible ruling ICE out as a competing method.
It should be even more difficult to rule ICE out on statistical grounds with solid satellite data than it is to rule out BUT.

George E. Smith

Well the recent Haiti earthquake demonstrates that cataclysmic events can and do happen with considerable regularity.
To argue that such events are consistent with some model; is not the least bit helpful; even with the caveat that the probablilies are not zero.
But to offer such a model as a thesis for what the real world physics of the situation is doing, is just plain silly.
It is well known in classical climatology, that the earth’s mean surface temperature is a logarithmic function of the atmospheric abundance of CO2. Dr Steven Schneider of Stanford evidently said so when he started his concept of “Climate Sensitivity”; one of the keystones of classical climatology, and central proposition of the AGW theory.
There is only one problem with Dr Schneider’s thesis. There simply is nowhere to be found any data sets of simultaneous earth surface temperature, and atmopsheric CO2 abundance that have been shown to be related either logarithmically; or the reverse; exponentially. Not only are there no such simultaneous data sets; but there are not even any time delayed data sets, that show earth surface mean temperature to be logarithmically related to any earlier time epoch CO2 atmospheric abundance; nor to an data sets where the CO2 abundance changes follow after the Temperature changes, as Antarctic ice cores seem to show, with a time delay of about 800 years, between temperature rise and CO2 rise.
No such data for any time scale in the last 600+ million years, can be shown to fit a lograthithmic function. Yet many very common physical phenomenon most certainly do follow a logarithmic/ exponential relationship; depending on the order of the variables.
Radioactive decay, forward current of semiconductor diodes, and resistive charge decay of a capacitor held charge, are all known to be logarithmic, or exponential over many orders of magnitude of the wider range variable.
Well actually there really are two things wrong with Dr Schneider’s thesis. Not only is there no experimentally observed data sets that follow his theory; but there isn’t even any physical cause and effect relationship between atmospheric CO2 abundance, and mean earth surface temperature.
And any high school science student would be able to suggest why such a postulate is rather silly to say the least.
The purported mechanism by which CO2 via the “Greenhouse effect” warms the earth, rests on the selective absorption of Long Wave Surface Emitted thermal Infra-Red Radiation. (LWIR).
Now nobody that I know, who knows any physics at all, has any doubt that CO2 and indeed other molecules such as H2O do in fact absorb such radiant energy from the earth’s surface, and in turn warm the rest of the atmosphere via molecular collisions. It simply is not rational to claim this is not so.
It is far less certain that this heated atmosphere in turn warms the earth’s surface. Certainly a warmer atmosphere at any altitude, will of course radiate thermal radiation into outer space more effectively, and thereby add to the cooling effect of the earth. It can be argued that the cascade process of reabsorption and re-emission of LWIR in the atmosphere, favors the escape to space, rather than the warming of the surface, since the upward path traverses through ever less dense and colder atmosphere and GHG gases, thereby narrowing the width of the IR absorption spectrum lines as altitude increases, and both temperature and pressure broadening subside.
On the downward path, however, the density and temperature both increase, so the absorption band widens, as you go lower, increasing the probablility of recapture, and so lowering the probability of reaching the surface.
And when it does reach the surface; most of it is going to be absorbed in the top 10 micorns or less of surface waters; and that concentrated surface warming is going to promote prompt evaporation from the surface.
This prompt evaporation increases the atmospheric H2O concentration; which already exceeeds CO2 abundance virtually everywhere in the atmosphere, and conveys huge amounts of energy into the upper atmosphere in the form of latent heat of evaporation; thereby resulting in surface cooling of a substantial amount. The resulting cloud increases result in further cooling of the surface due to increased albedo, and more blocking of solar radiation to the surface.
So almost nobody pooh poohs the GHG mechanism.
The trouble is that the extreme range of earth surface temperatures, most of which can be present simultaneously, covers the range from about -90 deg C, to about +60 deg C or more.
Over that range, the emittance of LWIR from the surface will vary by more than an order of magnitude; closer to a range of about 11:1.
So the putative driver of climate sensitivity; CO2 absorption of surface emitted LWIR varies by more than an order of magnitude depending on where you are on earth; and virtually nowhere on the earth is such a relationship even sampled; so there is not any measured real world data, to even establish some global average; of what is a highly ranging variable; namely the heating of the atmosphere by CO2 capture of LWIR from the surface.
So no; there isn’t any physical mechanism to support Schneider’s thesis; nor is there any recognised data sets that demonstrate his logarithmic “climate sensitivity” notion.
As I said, any high school science student, can see it is a ludicrous idea.
But then dozens of University faculties have a vested interested in indoctrinating new generations of mushheads, into this bizarre dogma.

Erik

I just had ice land on my balcony in downtown San Diego, California. I’m pretty damned sure that wasn’t in the models..

latitude

Thanks Will, very well done.
We have a 50% chance of rain tomorrow. 😉

AnonyMoose

Incidentally, the newest PhD Comics is about basic statistics.

DirkH

“John (15:38:23) :
[…]
That particular “science” is in desperate need of overhaul.”
The major shortcoming is that clouds and humidity are not computed by their models but preset by parameters as far as i could find out.
A while ago i found von Storch’s institute on the web and while trawling it i found an offer for a Diplomarbeit or Master’s thesis to model the effect of clouds. I find it striking that even by 2010 they still don’t have that. I mean their grid cells are too large to model local phenomena but how difficult can it be to add a cache that at least approximates cloud formation by getting a best match to the state of the grid cell and retrieves the best observed data for that state. That wouldn’t be perfect but way better than what they have.
This is really poor given that they cry wolf since at least 1988 now. My impression is that they did not try in earnest to model the earth’s climate but tried in earnest to milk the system for all it’s worth.

Gail Combs

marchesarosa (14:58:13) :
“I know this is off topic but the first comment is of some interest to me. I, too, thought the internal heat of the earth’s core was bound to have SOME effect on global surface temperature….
Does anyone else have a view?”

For what it is worth, I was an avid caver and spent a lot of time underground. Cave temperatures are usually close to the average yearly temp. For example caves in Indian were 55.5F in 1970, caves in Texas were around 70F and caves in Vermont and England were around 45F (BRRrrr) To see warming in mines you need to go deep so I do not think there is much surface effect. However the internal heat of the earth’s core does effect climate through volcanoes, and plate tectonics.
Hope that helps

K. Bray

Overcast skies trap heat and keep temperatures warmer all night.
Clear skies let the ground heat quickly dissipate off earth at night allowing significant cooling.
This is observable and obvious, even by just sleeping “under the stars.”
Perhaps a solution to warming, (if that is a “problem”) would be dehumidifying atmospheric air. The drought issue however would be seriously problematic, but it would be cooler.
Water vapor appears to be the biggest obvious factor in temperature regulation.
The other factors like co2, methane, internal heat, etc. are incidentals.
Let’s get back to manufacturing things and controlling the toxic chemicals… leave CO2 alone… CO2 is beneficial and necessary for life.
How to “UNSETTLE” the “SETTLED” science ? That is what is necessary and is slowly being done. I want to help however I can… even if just with humor…

Mike Ramsey

K. Bray (13:50:19) :
“Indications from temperature profiles and from modeling are that these temperature bands are controlled by the a vection of fluids from the deep basin upward along the growth-fault zone. The source of the fluids appears to be quite deep, over 12,000 ft (4,000 m) below the surface. In addition, temperatures generally increase from the northeast to the southwest within the area. This trend is presumably created by variation in basement heat flux.”
http://payperview.datapages.com/data/open/offer.do?target=%2Fbulletns%2F1988-89%2Fdata%2Fpg%2F0072%2F0001%2F0000%2F0021.htm
I don’t recall reading any papers that talk about the variation over time in the heat flux rising up from the earth (as a whole) into the atmosphere.  Can you point me at any?
Uranium and thorium within the Earth produce a major portion of terrestrial heat.  I don’t know how much this production varies over, say, a century or two.  Nor how much the heat flux is influenced by the flow of fluids through faults.
Interesting questions.
Mike Ramsey

DirkH

“George E. Smith (16:02:09) :
[…]
The trouble is that the extreme range of earth surface temperatures, most of which can be present simultaneously, covers the range from about -90 deg C, to about +60 deg C or more.
Over that range, the emittance of LWIR from the surface will vary by more than an order of magnitude; closer to a range of about 11:1.”
Very good, i didn’t think of that.
George, when you say that nobody has observed the logarithmic relationship: My guess is that it exists but is obfuscated by the water vapour content. When CO2 concentrations rise, LIR rays are more likely to be reflected back closer to the surface. This means more energy at the surface and less energy higher up, leading to a cooling higher up and a drop in air humidity higher up. That’s how i interpret Miskolczi. The overall greenhouse effect is thus constant even when CO2 varies.
You say that the direction upwards for a LIR ray is easier because the absorption bands get narrower. True, but consider that a LIR ray is absorbed after 10m or 30ft on average. For the LIR band, the atmosphere is a very dense fog. Imagine the atmosphere to be made of layers each 10m thick: It will take a lot of absorptions and re-emissions until a LIR ray reaches space. I think it’s very unlikely.
Look into these slides by Miskolczi :
http://miskolczi.webs.com/ZM_v10_eng.pdf
Slide 62 is interesting, ED for downward emittance is the LIR flux emitted downwards. It’s practically ALL of the LIR flux that goes downward; and it has been so in pre-industrial times if Miskolczi is right. It’s always been a saturated greenhouse effect, mostly caused by water vapour.

Leo G

{For instance, if “climate” is defined as the yearly mean temperature, then this year’s cold winter will produce a yearly mean temperature that is colder than average (as long as the coming summer isn’t abnormally hot: winter, of course, overlaps two calendar years and a hot summer can balance out a cold winter in the yearly mean).}
Fine. Then let us staighten this out and start collating yearly data from March 21 of the year, to March 20th of the next year. Start from the sun over the equator. We can call it the equitorial year!
Actually, has anyone tried this?