Sense and Sensitivity

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

This is an extension of the ideas I laid out as the Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis on WUWT. For those who have not read it, I’ll wait here while you go there and read it … (dum de dum de dum) … (makes himself a cup of coffee) … OK, welcome back. Onwards.

The hypothesis in that paper is that clouds and thunderstorms, particularly in the tropics, control the earth’s temperature. In that paper, I showed that a falsifiable prediction of greater increase in clouds in the Eastern Pacific was supported by the satellite data. I got to thinking a couple of days ago about what other kinds of falsifiable predictions would flow from that hypothesis. I realized that one thing that should be true if my hypothesis were correct is that the climate sensitivity should be very low in the tropics.

I also figured out how I could calculate that sensitivity, by using the change in incoming solar energy (insolation) between summer and winter. The daily average top of atmosphere (TOA) insolation is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Daily TOA insolation by latitude and day of the year. Phi (Φ) is the Latitude, and theta (Θ) is the day of the year expressed as an angle from zero to 360. Insolation is expressed in watts per square metre. SOURCE.

(As a side note, one thing that is not generally recognized is that the poles during summer get the highest daily average insolation of anywhere on earth. This is because, although they don’t get a lot of insolation even during the summer, they are getting it for 24 hours a day. This makes their daily average insolation much higher than other areas. But I digress …)

Now, the “climate sensitivity” is the relationship between an increase in what is called the “forcing” (the energy that heats the earth, in watts per square metre of earth surface) and the temperature of the earth in degrees Celsius. This is generally expressed as the amount of heating that would result from the forcing increase due to a doubling of CO2. A doubling of CO2 is estimated by the IPCC to increase the TOA forcing by 3.7 watts per metre squared (W/m2). The IPCC claims that the climate sensitivity is on the order of 3°C per doubling of CO2, with an error band from 2°C to 4.5°C.

My insight was that I could compare the winter insolation with the summer insolation. From that I could calculate how much the solar forcing increased from winter to summer. Then I could compare that with the change in temperature from winter to summer, and that would give me the climate sensitivity for each latitude band.

My new falsifiable predictions from my Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis were as follows:

1 The climate sensitivity would be less near the equator than near the poles. This is because the almost-daily afternoon emergence of cumulus and thunderstorms is primarily a tropical phenomenon (although it also occurs in some temperate regions).

2 The sensitivity would be less in latitude bands which are mostly ocean. This is for three reasons. The first is because the ocean warms more slowly than the land, so a change in forcing will heat the land more. The second reason is that the presence of water reduces the effect of increasing forcing, due to energy going into evaporation rather than temperature change. Finally, where there is surface water more clouds and thunderstorms can form more easily.

3 Due to the temperature damping effect of the thunderstorms as explained in my Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis, as well as the increase in cloud albedo from increasing temperatures, the climate sensitivity would be much, much lower than the canonical IPCC climate sensitivity of 3°C from a doubling of CO2.

4 Given the stability of the earth’s climate, the sensitivity would be quite small, with a global average not far from zero.

So those were my predictions. Figure 2 shows my results:

Figure 2. Climate sensitivity by latitude, in 20° bands. Blue bars show the sensitivity in each band. Yellow lines show the standard error in the measurement.

Note that all of my predictions based on my hypothesis have been confirmed. The sensitivity is greatest at the poles. The areas with the most ocean have lower sensitivity than the areas with lots of land. The sensitivity is much smaller than the IPCC value. And finally, the global average is not far from zero.

DISCUSSION

While my results are far below the canonical IPCC values, they are not without precedent in the scientific literature. In CO2-induced global warming: a skeptic’s view of potential climate change,  Sherwood Idso gives the results of eight “natural experiments”. These are measurements of changes in temperature and corresponding forcing in various areas of the earth’s surface. The results of his experiments was a sensitivity of 0.3°C per doubling. This is still larger than my result of 0.05°C per doubling, but is much smaller than the IPCC results.

Kerr et al. argued that Idso’s results were incorrect because they failed to allow for the time that it takes the ocean to warm, viz:

A major failing, they say, is the omission of the ocean from Idso’s natural experiments, as he calls them. Those experiments extend over only a few months, while the surface layer of the ocean requires 6 to 8 years to respond significantly to a change in radiation.

I have always found this argument to be specious, for several reasons:

1 The only part of the ocean that is interacting with the atmosphere is the surface skin layer. The temperature of the lower layers is immaterial, as the evaporation, conduction and radiation from the ocean to the atmosphere are solely dependent on the skin layer.

2 The skin layer of the ocean, as well as the top ten metres or so of the ocean, responds quite quickly to increased forcing. It is much warmer in the summer than in the winter. More significantly, it is much warmer in the day than in the night, and in the afternoon than in the morning. It can heat and cool quite rapidly.

3 Heat does not mix downwards in the ocean very well. Warmer water rises to the surface, and cooler water sinks into the depths until it reaches a layer of equal temperature. As a result, waiting a while will not increase the warmth in the lower levels by much.

As a result, I would say that the difference between a year-long experiment such as the one I have done, and a six-year experiment, would be small. Perhaps it might as much as double my climate sensitivity values for the areas that are mostly ocean, or even triple them … but that makes no difference. Even tripled, the average global climate sensitivity would still be only on the order of 0.15°C per CO2 doubling, which is very, very small.

So, those are my results. I hold that they are derivable from my hypothesis that clouds and thunderstorms keep the earth’s temperature within a very narrow level. And I say that these results strongly support my hypothesis. Clouds, thunderstorms, and likely other as-yet unrecognized mechanisms hold the climate sensitivity to a value very near zero. And a corollary of that is that a doubling of CO2 would make a change in global temperature that is so small as to be unmeasurable.

In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, the hemispheric average temperature change winter to summer is about 5°C. This five degree change in temperature results from a winter to summer forcing change of no less than 155 watts/metre squared … and we’re supposed to worry about a forcing change of 3.7 W/m2 from a doubling of CO2???

The Southern Hemisphere shows the IPCC claim to be even more ridiculous. There, a winter to summer change in forcing of 182 W/m2 leads to a 2°C change in temperature … and we’re supposed to believe that a 3.7 W/m2 change in forcing will cause a 3° change in temperature? Even if my results were off by a factor of three, that’s still a cruel joke.

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R E Daw

We can see the effects of water vapour rising but could CO2 also rise in the same way?

DirkH

Very interesting. You should even be able to make quantifiable predictions for rising CO2 levels with your theory, Willis.

Bryn

For those who might be interested in seeing Willis’s tropical thunderstorms in action, I recommend a visit to the Typhoon Watch site http://agora.ex.nii.ac.jp/digital-typhoon/index.html.en.
This site, maintained in Japan, compiles daily images into mpeg and wmv files for each month as far back as 1979. Recent observations are available in 120 hr and 240 hr packages. The view is of the western Pacific and east Asia, from pole to pole, centred on the equator just north of Papua New Guinea and provides particularly good impressions of the growth and development of storms in the tropical zone.

Eschenbach: Figure 2 shows my results
Willis, what are you showing?
The chart states: climate sensitivity
Nowhere here or in your other post do you provide a formula for that.
If we take the standard definition
climate sensitivity = change in Radiative Forcing / change in Temperature
I guessing (?) from your wiki insolation chart, you are calculating dRF as the change in daily incoming solar insolation and dividing by dT to calculate a climate sensitivity? Aggregated monthly? Seasonly? If this is roughly correct, what temperature series are you using?
I would really like to understand what you did, but you have included no discussion of the methods or equations used. If the description is too hard, could you provide the code instead?
Thanks

Weather Bug

What Willis has not addressed is the fact in some captive environments there are no thunderstorms or atmospheric electrical phenomena at all. None. These are artificial environments never-the-less in which some people exist. Giving rise to the need for a wholly new set of analytical criterion.

Bah: Inverted the formula!
climate sensitivity = change in Temperature / change in Radiative Forcing

TA

It’s a very interesting hypothesis. I must admit, I am not convinced at present, but I am open to persuasion on it.
The area where I would need more evidence is the claim that change from one season to the next is the same (for purposes of measuring sensitivity) as the change from one decade to the next. It does seem to me that some accumulation of heat is possible, or there could be other long-term factors which are not included in seasonal comparisons. However, you could of course be correct.

jcspe

Willis,
You clearly have the wrong answer. You have not employed a multi-gazillion dollar super-computer, and you have not needed representatives of nearly 200 countries to fly all the way across the world to talk about it.
So you see, there is no way anyone can give your work any credence at all.

Baa Humbug

Good article. I must read it again to digest. But I can hear the responses now, “not peer-reviewed”

kuhnkat

AAAYYYUP!!

Steve Keohane

Interesting approach Willis. Would the sensitivity be lower yet if the source information was over estimated. The reason I ask is that your source for the thermal/latitude/time graph has a PV map of the US. I have a PV system, and get an average of 4.2 KW/day (exactly what the system is spec’ed to) where the map says I should get 5.5-6KW. In other words, the color of upper Michigan should be in western Colorado. I don’t know what to think of the source data. I always thought PVs would be a great way to look at insolation changes.
Map here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Us_pv_annual_may2004.jpg

Paul Linsay

Good work Willis, nothing like a simple direct analysis to understand a physical problem. I guess we won’t die after all.
This reminds me of an analysis a friend of mine and his postdoc did of a problem in plasma physics. They came up with an analytic solution by hand that they could solve on a pocket calculator. They absolutely crushed a team of ten physicists at Livermore that used a supercomputer to model the problem. It just goes to show that supercomputers make you stupid, or is it vice versa?

Steve Keohane

On the ‘SOURCE’ page, under the US map it says “US annual average solar energy received by a latitude tilt photovoltaic cell (modeled).”

Anand Rajan KD

Isn’t what you are saying similar to LC09’s estimation of climate sensitivity from the 20-20 tropics, also derives?

Douglas DC

Hmmm- a very interesting hypothesis- the planet has its own way of dealing with extra heat. Now, how much is due to man, or nature. This appears to be nature taking care of itself…

Steve Goddard

The main problem with climate models is that they don’t model cloud cover accurately. All IPCC models use parameters which show clouds as a positive feedback. This is the result of some extraordinary group think.
If you make a 5% change in cloud cover using a radiative transfer model like RRTMG, you see a large change in temperature. GCMs mishandle clouds, which is why most of them produce nonsensically large climate sensitivities.

EdB

Hmm.. what do you define as North and Southern hemisphere? Some sort of average latitude from 45 to 90 degrees? Also, how do you compute the winter to summer change? I like your concept, but need some maths, as I suspect it is not trivial to sum an “average” over latitudes and seasons.

JAE

RIGHT ON! Several years ago, I did a similar, though much more crude, exercise, looking at winter to summer temperatures for various individual locations. For example, for Phoenix, the radiation goes from 483 Wm-2 in summer to 275 in winter, for a change of 208. Annual temperature change is 22.5. “Sensitivity” is, therefore, 0.1 For Guam, there’s only 62 watts difference and only a 1.5 C change in temperature, so the “sensitivity” is 0.024 (all 30-year averages from: http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/nsrdb/redbook/sum2/state.html )

igloowhite

Chaco Canyon.
What they knew, when they knew it and how they used the knowing.
Who are the late ones to a way of knowing?
http://www.exploration.edu/chaco/

Alexander Harvey

Willis,
I really do not think you can derive anything much from this at all.
For example over the oceans the thermal admittance for seasonal changes is far greater than the thermal admittance into space (the part you are trying to characterise).
You need to subtract the oceanic admittance from the total value that you obatin in order to find the admittance into space.
I do not know what you have taken into consideration. Things like that in the equatorial band, you have a pronounced six month cylcle. This faster cycle makes the oceanic admittance even higher.
In general there are good reasons why the amplitude of the seasonal cycle varies from as little a 1C to as much as 30C, between open equatorial ocean and deeply landlocked areas and it is due in the major part to the the thermal admittance of the surface.
Alex

stumpy

Willis, I think this is common knowledge to alot of people gifted with skills of observation and common sense. Areas of the earth where summer / winter and day / night change are largests are the most sensitive and vise versa, statistics are not needed to support such a claim, its the elephant in the room! A single day would also be a good example of this, it also has the highest change in temperature and greatest change in incoming radiation.
The equator enjoys moderate temperatures with little variation annually and daily due to the high humidity (evapotranspiration) and action of storms / clouds / rainfall. The monsoon belt for example sits over the area of the earth that recives the most energy and here the negative feedback is strongest. In theory, this belt should increase in size to any warming to counter act it. I also have also observed that increased humidity leads to reduced distance of observation (distance objects are whiter), could this change the surface albedo? It seems effects how fast I sunburn and the colour of the sky looking up!
Deserts experiance large diurnal temperature change, some deserts I have experianced can go from -5 at night to 30 or greater in the day – this is apparently due to the lack of water and very low humidity (also long distances of observation and quikcer sun burn as a result). Water vapour helps moderate the temperature as does the sea, hence less diurnal range in coastal zones.
It is a shame that climate scientists miss the elephant in the room and ignore empirical observation and data and opt for some kind of pseudo science based on models and unjustified assumptions over real data. I think you should progress this train of thought as it is something that needs to be brought to the attention of those that think 3.8w/m2 causes large warming in the scale of natural climate variation!
However, they will argue its about extra energy acumulating in the sea causing increased humidity etc… and feedbacks etc… and you need to do your test over 30 years or its just weather!

igloowhite

Simple, elegant–two hallmarks of an excellent proof.

Graeme W

It’s an interesting theory and I think it deserves more research, but unless I’ve got it wrong, there appears to be one significant issue that it doesn’t explain:
What caused the MWP and LIA?
The theory shows a short term governor. The feedback and control is in days, if not hours. What is the long term system that caused the MWP and LIA? This theory would indicate that they shouldn’t have happened, because the mechanism would mitigate any variation due to TSI fluctuations. What caused this mechanism to be less effective during the MWP and more effective during the LIA?
You can tell by the way that I’ve asked the questions that I’m half-convinced already, but there are definitely things it doesn’t explain.

3x2

Ron Broberg (16:38:25) :
Eschenbach: Figure 2 shows my results
Willis, what are you showing?
The chart states: climate sensitivity
Nowhere here or in your other post do you provide a formula for that.

I may have misinterpreted the post but you seem to have answered your own question with your formula
climate sensitivity = change in Temperature / change in Radiative Forcing
plugging in T (summer – winter for a particular band) and R (summer – winter for that band)
Where R is in the range Willis suggests (150/180) there is a lot of latitude in the value of T. So much so that I would doubt that it matters much how T is sourced so long as it is legitimate.
(still digesting the post but he will no doubt be along later to clarify things)

3x2

Steve Goddard (17:12:27) :
The main problem with climate models is that they don’t model cloud cover accurately.
Or convection generally in my view.

DeNihilist

“Alexander Harvey (17:38:31) :
Willis
…….”
And this is the big difference that makes me trust the skeptic sites so much more then The Team sites. We actually have OPEN discussions of peoples theories, not everyone singing in the same choir! I think the old timers used to call this science……

Pamela Gray

What does the OLR data series look like when compared to your analysis? Might that be a way to verify? Also, you can “calculate” downward LW radiation as another way to check your data.

pat

Memphis Commercial Appeal: Al Gore, Dolly Parton to receive honorary degrees from Tennessee
Meeting at UT Martin Friday, the UT Board of Trustees voted to award Gore an Honorary Doctor of Laws and Humane Letters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The honorary degree will be presented to Gore, also a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, at the spring commencement of the UTK College of Arts and Sciences on May 14.
He will be the featured speaker at the ceremony, addressing graduates and their families.
The board’s vote comes eight months after Republicans in the state Senate voted down a resolution urging the state to raise money from private donors to erect statues on the State Capitol grounds in honor of Gore and Tennessee’s only other Nobel Peace Prize winner, Cordell Hull, President Roosevelt’s secretary of State during World War II.
“Vice President Gore’s career has been marked by visionary leadership, and his work has quite literally changed our planet for the better,” UTK Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said. ..
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/feb/26/al-gore-dolly-parton-receive-honorary-degrees-tenn/
what a cheek!
Chattanooga Times Free Press: Tennessee: Gore degree debated
Trustee Crawford Gallimore sparked the debate when he asked if the board should be recognizing a public figure aligned with controversial research..
“Should we be giving honorary degrees to people with controversial advocacies,” asked Mr. Gallimore. “We have given people (honorary degrees) with a professional life in politics, but those were retired or at the state of senior statesmen. Let us not forget our responsibility of proceeding with exceeding care.”
Other trustees were quick to defend the recognition and Mr. Gore’s record.
“I think we need to be realistic about this,” said Doug Horne, a UT trustee. “Al has been a leader. Al Gore won the popular vote. He gave up the presidency. I can’t think of any better statesmanship than that.
“Every leader has to learn to live with opposition. That certainly applies to the president… I mean… sorry… vice president Gore,” said Mr. Horne, the room erupting in laughter.
UT board vice chair Jim Murphy said UT should be awarding more honorary degrees and stirring debate on politically hot button issues, especially in an area like climate change where UT and Oak Ridge National Lab has pumped millions of dollars into research.
“We need to promote our image and our expertise in that area, and nothing will do that more than having someone like Mr. Gore come and do a commencement speech,” Mr. Murphy said. “I don’t view this an endorsement of a particular position. One of the things universities are for is encouraging disagreement and dialog. If there are, in fact, people out there that are doing scientific research that disagree with the vice president, I welcome them to come to Oak Ridge and research with us. We need to be careful of pulling us to far under the shell.”..
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/feb/26/gore-degree-debated/?breakingnews

Mesa

Here’s a look using the same idea of seasonal temperature changes to estimate sensitivities, with standard climate models:
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/knutti/papers/knutti06jc.pdf


Weather Bug (16:42:27) :
What Willis has not addressed is the fact in some captive environments there are no thunderstorms or atmospheric electrical phenomena at all. None.

Can you be more specific?
No charge separation mechanism – no visible display/exhibition – what?
.
.

Lon Hocker

Holey moley! You just found the missing link!
You might remember Beenstock’s paper (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/14/new-paper-on/), or perhaps my writeup (http://www.2bc3.com/warming.html) where we see that the temperature rise seems to be related to the rate of increase of CO2, not the absolute amount of CO2. Neither of us were aware of your earlier paper showing the earth’s temperature governor, and so we could come up with no explanation for the results we found.
It appears that you have provided us with an explanation! The CO2 is produced in the mid latitudes, and takes a while to get to the tropics where it is better tied to the governor. Uniformly distributed CO2 will have no effect, but it can have an effect if it isn’t distributed uniformly, which it sure as heck isn’t (for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-bhzGvB8Lo. The time-constant is the equilibration time, which appears to be less than a year.
Nothing short of beautiful…

Willis Eschenbach

Ron Broberg (16:38:25)

Eschenbach: Figure 2 shows my results

Willis, what are you showing?
The chart states: climate sensitivity
Nowhere here or in your other post do you provide a formula for that.
If we take the standard definition
climate sensitivity = change in Radiative Forcing / change in Temperature
I guessing (?) from your wiki insolation chart, you are calculating dRF as the change in daily incoming solar insolation and dividing by dT to calculate a climate sensitivity? Aggregated monthly? Seasonly? If this is roughly correct, what temperature series are you using?
I would really like to understand what you did, but you have included no discussion of the methods or equations used. If the description is too hard, could you provide the code instead?
Thanks

No code, it was done in Excel. What I did was calculate the change in temperature from winter to summer in each latitude band, and divide it by the change in forcing winter to summer in that latitude band.
This gives the climate sensitivity for that band.

old construction worker

‘Paul Linsay (16:59:26) :
It just goes to show that supercomputers make you stupid, or is it vice versa?’
It just goes to show you, a computer is a tool, only as good as it’s operator.

DR

Hence, Reid Bryson’s famous quote

“You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide”.

John Whitman

Willis,
Why is the error bar of the Artic (90N to 70N) so much smaller than the Antartic (70S to 90S) error bar?
Is this related to amount of data or quality of data?
John

Willis Eschenbach

Steve Keohane (16:56:04)

Interesting approach Willis. Would the sensitivity be lower yet if the source information was over estimated. The reason I ask is that your source for the thermal/latitude/time graph has a PV map of the US. I have a PV system, and get an average of 4.2 KW/day (exactly what the system is spec’ed to) where the map says I should get 5.5-6KW. In other words, the color of upper Michigan should be in western Colorado. I don’t know what to think of the source data. I always thought PVs would be a great way to look at insolation changes.
Map here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Us_pv_annual_may2004.jpg

If I understand you correctly, you’ve misunderstood the insolation chart. It is not insolation shown as latitude versus longitude. It is shown as latitude versus the day of the year. If I have misunderstood you, let me know.

Phil M.

This is precisely the kind of material that should be prepared for peer review. Arguments like this need to be brought to the attention of experts, and subjected to their critiques.

Leonard Weinstein

This analysis seems to reasonably explain the overall limited level range part of climate variation. If the Solar magnetic field interaction on cloud formation, tilt of the Earth axis , and the location and variation in elevation of land masses (and their effect on large ocean circulation, and wind patterns) are included, I think you are getting closer to the full main causes of variation. There is a likely tipping effect when some of the above interact in the correct way to produce the glacial/interglacial cycles, and the smaller sub-cycles. The main question I would have is how we got into and out of icebox Earth. I do suspect volcanic CO2 accumulation may have had a part in the exit event. However, when large extents of liquid oceans became open, the argument seems to be reasonable that water vapor/clouds took over.

Willis Eschenbach

EdB (17:12:50)

Hmm.. what do you define as North and Southern hemisphere? Some sort of average latitude from 45 to 90 degrees? Also, how do you compute the winter to summer change? I like your concept, but need some maths, as I suspect it is not trivial to sum an “average” over latitudes and seasons.

To get the results, both the Northern and Southern hemispheres need to be “area averaged”. This is because there is a much smaller area in a latitude band near the poles than in the same width band near the equator. This is done by using a weighted average, where the weighting is the cosine of the latitude of the mid-point of the band.
I have used March – August (spring and summer of the meteorological year) as summer and September – February (fall and winter of the meteorological year) as winter. You can use April – September and November – March instead, the results are very similar.

Willis Eschenbach

Alexander Harvey (17:38:31)

Willis,
I really do not think you can derive anything much from this at all.
For example over the oceans the thermal admittance for seasonal changes is far greater than the thermal admittance into space (the part you are trying to characterise).
You need to subtract the oceanic admittance from the total value that you obatin in order to find the admittance into space.

What I am interested in is the sensitivity, which is defined as change in temperature divided by change in forcing. Thermal admittance affects that, which is why the ocean is less sensitive than the land. But the formula for sensitivity doesn’t contain a thermal admittance term. In fact there are many things that affect the sensitivity, with the main one (in my opinion) being the thunderstorms and clouds. But those don’t change the calculation, which is ∆T/∆F, the change in temperature divided by the change in forcing. In other words, the difference in thermal admittance can explain the sensitivity, but it doesn’t change the sensitivity.

I do not know what you have taken into consideration. Things like that in the equatorial band, you have a pronounced six month cylcle. This faster cycle makes the oceanic admittance even higher.
In general there are good reasons why the amplitude of the seasonal cycle varies from as little a 1C to as much as 30C, between open equatorial ocean and deeply landlocked areas and it is due in the major part to the the thermal admittance of the surface.

I don’t understand what “pronounced six month cycle” you are talking about in the tropics. But again, those are things that might explain why the sensitivity is so low … but they don’t mean that the sensitivity is incorrect.

DCC

“R E Daw (16:13:28) :
We can see the effects of water vapour rising but could CO2 also rise in the same way?”
Oxygen, argon and nitrogen are all more abundant in the atmosphere than CO2 and all, including CO2, are heavier than water vapor.
CO2 — 12+(2*16) = 44
O2 — 2*16 = 32
Ar — = 40
N2 — 2*14 = 28
H2O — (2*1)+16 = 18
Thus water vapour is lighter than air and triggers convection currents that lead to clouds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_vapor

Willis Eschenbach

Graeme W (17:55:14)

It’s an interesting theory and I think it deserves more research, but unless I’ve got it wrong, there appears to be one significant issue that it doesn’t explain:
What caused the MWP and LIA?
The theory shows a short term governor. The feedback and control is in days, if not hours. What is the long term system that caused the MWP and LIA? This theory would indicate that they shouldn’t have happened, because the mechanism would mitigate any variation due to TSI fluctuations. What caused this mechanism to be less effective during the MWP and more effective during the LIA?
You can tell by the way that I’ve asked the questions that I’m half-convinced already, but there are definitely things it doesn’t explain.

I raised several possible explanations for that in the section entitled “Gradual Equilibrium Variation and Drift”.

PJP

One additional prediction from the thermostat paper, which I suspect should be verifiable, is that there should be distinctly more radiation from the right-hand side of the thunderstorm band if it does in fact pull hot air from the surface and dump it into the upper atmosphere.
As for pulling CO2 up too – so what? Its hot CO2 which can now radiate all the heat it has captured into space. In fact, it it really is such an efficient hoarder of heat as we have been told, it should increase the efficiency of this “heat pump”.

chris y

Willis- you say “This is still larger than my result of 0.05°C per doubling, …”
Are you sure this is per doubling, i.e. an additional 3.7 W/m^2, or is it per W/m^2? Inspired by JAE and Idso’s paper a few years ago, and having an ongoing interest in solar PV, I did this same calculation for various spots in the contiguous US, both coastal and inland, and came up with 0.05 C/W/m^2 for coastal, and about 0.1 C/W/m^2 for inland locations. The average of 0.075 C/W/m^2 would give about 0.3 C for a CO2 doubling.
Excellent discussion.

Jim Clarke

I seemed to recall similar methods being presented by the late John Daly on his “Still Waiting for Greenhouse” website way back in the 1990’s. A quick search revealed that my memory is not totally shot. Here is the link:
http://www.john-daly.com/miniwarm.htm
There just doesn’t seem to be a way of calculating a high climate sensitivity to increasing CO2 using the actual Earth as a starting point. It appears to be only possible if you ignore the Earth and any ‘real’ data in favor of computer models with built in, massive positive feedbacks.
All of these methods may be over simplified. There may be some factors not accounted for in the calculations, but there is no physical way for these methods to be off by an order of magnitude or more, which would be required for the IPCC to be correct.

Willis Eschenbach

Pamela Gray (18:04:14)

What does the OLR data series look like when compared to your analysis? Might that be a way to verify? Also, you can “calculate” downward LW radiation as another way to check your data.

Don’t know … another thing to check. I’ll have to see what I can find in the way of ULR and DLR data. I suspect, however, that the answer is in the clouds and thunderstorms, and because of the localized nature of both those phenomena, average values don’t help much.

http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/FCMTheRadiativeForcingDuetoCloudsandWaterVapor.pdf
The above paper calculates the net effect of cloud cover as a -18 Watts per square meter of cloud cover.
That is a LOSS to outer space, making clouds a NET COOLING effect.
Willis, figure you can put that into your work!
Good luck.
Max

JackStraw

This all seems very unscientific to me. Somebody puts out a hypothesis complete with the data and methods used and asks others to comment and critique the conclusion without even the hint of a government grant.
This is dangerous stuff.

timetochooseagain

“The climate sensitivity would be less near the equator than near the poles. This is because the almost-daily afternoon emergence of cumulus and thunderstorms is primarily a tropical phenomenon (although it also occurs in some temperate regions).”
It’s well known that changes in climate tend to be much smaller near the equator than the poles.
If we consider, say, the Eocene, mean global temperatures were about 8 degrees warmer than the present, but polar temperatures were something like 30 degrees warmer and equatorial temperatures were similar to modern (some old analyses actually claimed they were actually five degrees colder than present equatorial temperatures, and of course this had to be adjusted-now the high estimates are slightly warmer than the present and the low two degrees colder.).