A New And Effective Climate Model

The problem with existing climate models:

Guest post by Stephen Wilde

From ETH, Zurich - Climate model (Ruddiman, 2001)

Even those who aver that man’s activity affects climate on a global scale rather than just locally or regionally appear to accept that the existing climate models are incomplete. It is a given that the existing models do not fully incorporate data or mechanisms involving cloudiness or global albedo (reflectivity) variations or variations in the speed of the hydrological cycle and that the variability in the temperatures of the ocean surfaces and the overall ocean energy content are barely understood and wholly inadequately quantified in the infant attempts at coupled ocean/atmosphere models. Furthermore the effect of variability in solar activity on climate is barely understood and similarly unquantified.

As they stand at present the models assume a generally static global energy budget with relatively little internal system variability so that measurable changes in the various input and output components can only occur from external forcing agents such as changes in the CO2 content of the air caused by human emissions or perhaps temporary after effects from volcanic eruptions, meteorite strikes or significant changes in solar power output.

If such simple models are to have any practical utility it is necessary to demonstrate that some predictive skill is a demonstrable outcome of the models. Unfortunately it is apparent that there is no predictive skill whatever despite huge advances in processing power and the application of millions or even billions of man hours from reputable and experienced scientists over many decades.

As I will show later on virtually all climate variability is a result of internal system variability and additionally the system not only sets up a large amount of variability internally but also provides mechanisms to limit and then reduce that internal variability. It must be so or we would not still have liquid oceans. The current models neither recognise the presence of that internal system variability nor the processes that ultimately stabilise it.

The general approach is currently to describe the climate system from ‘the bottom up’ by accumulating vast amounts of data, observing how the data has changed over time, attributing a weighting to each piece or class of data and extrapolating forward. When the real world outturn then differs from what was expected then adjustments are made to bring the models back into line with reality. This method is known as ‘hindcasting’.

Although that approach has been used for decades no predictive skill has ever emerged. Every time the models have been adjusted using guesswork (or informed judgment as some would say) to bring them back into line with ongoing real world observations a new divergence between model expectations and real world events has begun to develop.

It is now some years since the weighting attached to the influence of CO2 was adjusted to remove a developing discrepancy between the real world warming that was occurring at the time and which had not been fully accounted for in the then climate models. Since that time a new divergence began and is now becoming embarrassingly large for those who made that adjustment. At the very least the weighting given to the effect of more CO2 in the air was excessive.

The problem is directly analogous to a financial accounting system that balances but only because it contains multiple compensating errors. The fact that it balances is a mere mirage. The accounts are still incorrect and woe betide anyone who relies upon them for the purpose of making useful commercial decisions.

Correcting multiple compensating errors either in a climate model or in a financial accounting system cannot be done by guesswork because there is no way of knowing whether the guess is reducing or compounding the underlying errors that remain despite the apparent balancing of the financial (or in the case of the climate the global energy) budget.

The system being used by the entire climatological establishment is fundamentally flawed and must not be relied upon as a basis for policy decisions of any kind.

A better approach:

We know a lot about the basic laws of physics as they affect our day to day existence and we have increasingly detailed data about past and present climate behaviour.

We need a New Climate Model (from now on referred to as NCM) that is created from ‘the top down’ by looking at the climate phenomena that actually occur and using deductive reasoning to decide what mechanisms would be required for those phenomena to occur without offending the basic laws of physics.

We have to start with the broad concepts first and use the detailed data as a guide only. If a broad concept matches the reality then the detailed data will fall into place even if the broad concept needs to be refined in the process. If the broad concept does not match the reality then it must be abandoned but by adopting this process we always start with a broad concept that obviously does match the reality so by adopting a step by step process of observation, logic, elimination and refinement a serviceable NCM with some predictive skill should emerge and the more detailed the model that is built up the more predictive skill will be acquired.

That is exactly what I have been doing step by step in my articles here:

Articles by Stephen Wilde

for some two years now and I believe that I have met with a degree of success because many climate phenomena that I had not initially considered in detail seem to be falling into line with the NCM that I have been constructing.

In the process I have found it necessary to propound various novel propositions that have confused and irritated warming proponents and sceptics alike but that is inevitable if one just follows the logic without a preconceived agenda which I hope is what I have done.

I will now go on to describe the NCM as simply as I can in verbal terms, then I will elaborate on some of the novel propositions (my apologies if any of them have already been propounded elsewhere by others but I think I would still be the first to pull them all together into a plausible NCM) and I will include a discussion of some aspects of the NCM which I find encouraging.

Preliminary points:

  1. Firstly we must abandon the idea that variations in total solar output have a significant effect over periods of time relevant to human existence. At this point I should mention the ‘faint sun paradox’:

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

Despite a substantial increase in the power of the sun over billions of years the temperature of the Earth has remained remarkably stable. My proposition is that the reason for that is the existence of water in liquid form in the oceans combined with a relatively stable total atmospheric density. If the power input from the sun changes then the effect is simply to speed up or slow down the hydrological cycle.

An appropriate analogy is a pan of boiling water. However much the power input increases the boiling point remains at 100C. The speed of boiling however does change in response to the level of power input. The boiling point only changes if the density of the air above and thus the pressure on the water surface changes. In the case of the Earth’s atmosphere a change in solar input is met with a change in evaporation rates and thus the speed of the whole hydrological cycle keeping the overall temperature stable despite a change in solar power input.

A change in the speed of the entire hydrological cycle does have a climate effect but as we shall see on timescales relevant to human existence it is too small to measure in the face of internal system variability from other causes.

Unless more CO2 could increase total atmospheric density it could not have a significant effect on global tropospheric temperature. Instead the speed of the hydrological cycle changes to a minuscule and unmeasurable extent in order to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. As I have explained previously a change limited to the air alone short of an increase in total atmospheric density and pressure is incapable of altering that underlying equilibrium.

2. Secondly we must realise that the absolute temperature of the Earth as a whole is largely irrelevant to what we perceive as climate. In any event those changes in the temperature of the Earth as a whole are tiny as a result of the rapid modulating effect of changes in the speed of the hydrological cycle and the speed of the flow of radiated energy to space that always seeks to match the energy value of the whole spectrum of energy coming in from the sun.

The climate in the troposphere is a reflection of the current distribution of energy within the Earth system as a whole and internally the system is far more complex than any current models acknowledge.

That distribution of energy can be uneven horizontally and vertically throughout the ocean depths, the troposphere and the upper atmosphere and furthermore the distribution changes over time.

We see ocean energy content increase or decrease as tropospheric energy content decreases or increases. We see the stratosphere warm as the troposphere cools and cool as the troposphere warms. We see the upper levels of the atmosphere warm as the stratosphere cools and vice versa. We see the polar surface regions warm as the mid latitudes cool or the tropics warm as the poles cool and so on and so forth in infinite permutations of timing and scale.

As I have said elsewhere:

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the rate of energy transfer varies all the time between ocean and air, air and space and between different layers in the oceans and air. The troposphere can best be regarded as a sandwich filling between the oceans below and the stratosphere above. The temperature of the troposphere is constantly being affected by variations in the rate of energy flow from the oceans driven by internal ocean variability, possibly caused by temperature fluctuations along the horizontal route of the thermohaline circulation and by variations in energy flow from the sun that affect the size of the atmosphere and the rate of energy loss to space.

The observed climate is just the equilibrium response to such variations with the positions of the air circulation systems and the speed of the hydrological cycle always adjusting to bring energy differentials above and below the troposphere back towards equilibrium (Wilde’s Law ?).

Additionally my propositions provide the physical mechanisms accounting for the mathematics of Dr. F. Miskolczi..”

http://www.examiner.com/x-7715-Portland-Civil-Rights-Examiner~y2010m1d12-Hungarian-Physicist-Dr-Ferenc-Miskolczi-proves-CO2-emissions-irrelevant-in-Earths-Climate

He appears to have demonstrated mathematically that if greenhouse gases in the air other than water vapour increase then the amount of water vapour declines so as to maintain an optimum optical depth for the atmosphere which modulates the energy flow to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. In other words the hydrological cycle speeds up or slows down just as I have always proposed.

3. In my articles to date I have been unwilling to claim anything as grand as the creation of a new model of climate because until now I was unable to propose any solar mechanism that could result directly in global albedo changes without some other forcing agent or that could account for a direct solar cause of discontinuities in the temperature profile along the horizontal line of the oceanic thermohaline circulation.

I have now realised that the global albedo changes necessary and the changes in solar energy input to the oceans can be explained by the latitudinal shifts (beyond normal seasonal variation) of all the air circulation systems and in particular the net latitudinal positions of the three main cloud bands namely the two generated by the mid latitude jet streams plus the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

The secret lies in the declining angle of incidence of solar energy input from equator to poles.

It is apparent that the same size and density of cloud mass moved, say, 1000 miles nearer to the equator will have the following effects:

  1. It will receive more intense irradiation from the sun and so will reflect more energy to space.

  2. It will reduce the amount of energy reaching the surface compared to what it would have let in if situated more poleward.

  3. In the northern hemisphere due to the current land/sea distribution the more equatorward the cloud moves the more ocean surface it will cover thus reducing total solar input to the oceans and reducing the rate of accretion to ocean energy content

  4. It will produce cooling rains over a larger area of ocean surface.

As a rule the ITCZ is usually situated north of the equator because most ocean is in the southern hemisphere and it is ocean temperatures that dictate it’s position by governing the rate of energy transfer from oceans to air. Thus if the two mid latitude jets move equatorward at the same time as the ITCZ moves closer to the equator the combined effect on global albedo and the amount of solar energy able to penetrate the oceans will be substantial and would dwarf the other proposed effects on albedo from changes in cosmic ray intensity generating changes in cloud totals as per Svensmark and from suggested changes caused in upper cloud quantities by changes in atmospheric chemistry involving ozone which various other climate sceptics propose.

Thus the following NCM will incorporate my above described positional cause of changes in albedo and rates of energy input to the oceans rather than any of the other proposals. That then leads to a rather neat solution to the other theories’ problems with the timing of the various cycles as becomes clear below.

4. I have previously described why the solar effect on climate is not as generally thought but for convenience I will summarise the issue here because it will help readers to follow the logic of the NCM.Variations in total solar power output on timescales relevant to human existence are tiny and are generally countered by a miniscule change in the speed of the hydrological cycle as described above.

However according to our satellites variations in the turbulence of the solar energy output from sunspots and solar flares appear to have significant effects.

During periods of an active solar surface our atmosphere expands and during periods of inactive sun it contracts.

When the atmosphere expands it does so in three dimensions around the entire circumference of the planet but the number of molecules in the atmosphere remains the same with the result that there is an average reduced density per unit of volume with more space between the molecules. Consequently the atmosphere presents a reduced resistance to outgoing longwave energy photons that experience a reduced frequency of being obstructed by molecules in the atmosphere.

Additionally a turbulent solar energy flow disturbs the boundaries of the layers in the upper atmosphere thus increasing their surface areas allowing more energy to be transferred from layer to layer just as wind on water causes waves, an increased sea surface area and faster evaporation.

The changes in the rate of outgoing energy flow caused by changes in solar surface turbulence may be small but they appear to be enough to affect the air circulation systems and thereby influence the overall global energy budget disproportionately to the tiny variations in solar power intensity.

Thus when the sun is more active far from warming the planet the sun is facilitating an increased rate of cooling of the planet. That is why the stratosphere cooled during the late 20th Century period of a highly active sun although the higher levels of the atmosphere warmed. The higher levels were warmed by direct solar impacts but the stratosphere cooled because energy was going up faster than it was being received from the troposphere below.

The opposite occurs for a period of inactive sun.

Some do say that the expansion and contraction of the atmosphere makes no difference to the speed of the outward flow of longwave energy because that outgoing energy still has to negotiate the same mass but that makes no sense to me if that mass is more widely distributed over a three dimensional rather than two dimensional space. If one has a fine fabric container holding a body of liquid the speed at which the liquid escapes will increase if the fabric is stretched to a larger size because the space between the fibres will increase.

Furthermore all that the NCM requires is for the stratosphere alone to lose or gain energy faster or slower so as to influence the tropospheric polar air pressure cells. The energy does not need to actually escape to space to have the required effect. It could just as well simply take a little longer or a little less long to traverse the expanded or contracted upper atmospheric layers.

The New Climate Model (NCM)

  1. Solar surface turbulence increases causing an expansion of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  2. Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation reduces, energy is lost to space faster.
  3. The stratosphere cools. Possibly also the number of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere increases due to the increased solar effects with faster destruction of ozone.
  4. The tropopause rises.
  5. There is less resistance to energy flowing up from the troposphere so the polar high pressure systems shrink and weaken accompanied by increasingly positive Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.
  6. The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move poleward and the ITCZ moves further north of the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle increases due to the cooler stratosphere increasing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.
  7. The main cloud bands move more poleward to regions where solar insolation is less intense so total global albedo decreases.
  8. More solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as more ocean surfaces north of the equator are exposed to the sun by the movement of the clouds to cover more continental regions.
  9. Less rain falls on ocean surfaces allowing them to warm more.
  10. Ocean energy input increases but not all is returned to the air. A portion enters the thermohaline circulation to embark on a journey of 1000 to 1500 years. A pulse of slightly warmer water has entered the ocean circulation.
  11. Solar surface turbulence passes its peak and the Earth’s atmosphere starts to contract.
  12. Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation increases, energy is lost to space more slowly.
  13. The stratosphere warms. Ozone levels start to recover.
  14. The tropopause falls
  15. There is increased resistance to energy flowing up from the troposphere so the polar high pressure systems expand and intensify producing increasingly negative Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.
  16. The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move back equatorward and the ITCZ moves nearer the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle decreases due to the warming stratosphere reducing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.
  17. The main cloud bands move more equatorward to regions where solar insolation is more intense so total global albedo increases once more.
  18. Less solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as less ocean surfaces north of the equator are exposed to the sun by the movement of the clouds to cover more oceanic regions.
  19. More rain falls on ocean surfaces further cooling them.
  20. Ocean energy input decreases and the amount of energy entering the thermohaline circulation declines sending a pulse of slightly cooler water on that 1000 to 1500 year journey.
  21. After 1000 to 1500 years those variations in energy flowing through the thermohaline circulation return to the surface by influencing the size and intensity of the ocean surface temperature oscillations that have now been noted around the world in all the main ocean basins and in particular the Pacific and the Atlantic. It is likely that the current powerful run of positive Pacific Decadal Oscillations is the pulse of warmth from the Mediaeval Warm Period returning to the surface with the consequent inevitable increase in atmospheric CO2 as that warmer water fails to take up as much CO2 by absorption. Cooler water absorbs more CO2, warmer water absorbs less CO2. We have the arrival of the cool pulse from the Little Ice Age to look forward to and the scale of its effect will depend upon the level of solar surface activity at the time. A quiet sun would be helpful otherwise the rate of tropospheric cooling as an active sun throws energy into space at the same time as the oceans deny energy to the air will be fearful indeed. Fortunately the level of solar activity does seem to have begun a decline from recent peaks.
  22. The length of the thermohaline circulation is not synchronous with the length of the variations in solar surface turbulence so it is very much a lottery as to whether a returning warm or cool pulse will encounter an active or inactive sun.
  23. A returning warm pulse will try to expand the tropical air masses as more energy is released and will try to push the air circulation systems poleward against whatever resistance is being supplied at the time by the then level of solar surface turbulence. A returning cool pulse will present less opposition to solar effects.
  24. Climate is simply a product of the current balance in the troposphere between the solar and oceanic effects on the positions and intensities of all the global air circulation systems
  25. The timing of the solar cycles and ocean cycles will drift relative to one another due to their asynchronicity so there will be periods when solar and ocean cycles supplement one another in transferring energy out to space and other periods when they will offset one another.

26) During the current interglacial the solar and oceanic cycles are broadly offsetting one another to reduce overall climate variability but during glacial epochs they broadly supplement one another to produce much larger climate swings. The active sun during the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Modern Warm Period and the quiet sun during the Little Ice Age reduced the size of the climate swings that would otherwise have occurred. During the former two periods the extra energy from a warm ocean pulse was ejected quickly to space by an active sun to reduce tropospheric heating. During the latter period the effect on tropospheric temperatures of reduced energy from a cool ocean pulse was mitigated by slower ejection of energy to space from a less active sun.

Discussion points:

Falsification:

Every serious hypothesis must be capable of being proved false. In the case of this NCM my narrative is replete with opportunities for falsification if the future real world observations diverge from the pattern of cause and effect that I have set out.

However that narrative is based on what we have actually observed over a period of 1000 years with the gaps filled in by deduction informed by known laws of physics.

At the moment I am not aware of any observed climate phenomena that would effect falsification. If there be any that suggest such a thing then I suspect that they will call for refinement of the NCM rather than abandonment.

For true falsification we would need to observe events such as the mid latitude jets moving poleward during a cooling oceanic phase and a period of quiet sun or the ITCZ moving northward whilst the two jets moved equatorward or the stratosphere, troposphere and upper atmosphere all warming or cooling in tandem or perhaps an unusually powerful Arctic Oscillation throughout a period of high solar turbulence and a warming ocean phase.

They say nothing is impossible so we will have to wait and see.

Predictive skill:

To be taken seriously the NCM must be seen to show more predictive skill than the current computer based models.

In theory that shouldn’t be difficult because their level of success is currently zero.

From a reading of my narrative it is readily apparent that if the NCM matches reality then lots of predictions can be made. They may not be precise in terms of scale or timing but they are nevertheless useful in identifying where we are in the overall scheme of things and the most likely direction of future trend.

For example if the mid latitude jets stay where they now are then a developing cooling trend can be expected.

If the jets move poleward for any length of time then a warming trend may be returning.

If the solar surface becomes more active then we should see a reduction in the intensity of the Arctic Oscillation.

If the current El Nino fades to a La Nina then the northern winter snows should not be as intense next winter but it will nevertheless be another cold though drier northern hemisphere winter as the La Nina denies energy to the air.

The past winter is a prime example of what the NCM suggests for a northern winter with an El Nino during a period of quiet sun. The warmth from the oceans pumps energy upwards but the quiet sun prevents the poleward movement of the jets. The result is warming of the tropics and of the highest latitudes (but the latter stay below the freezing point of water) and a flow of cold into the mid latitudes and more precipitation in the form of snow at lower latitudes than normal.

So I suggest that a degree of predictive skill is already apparent for my NCM.

Likely 21st Century climate trend:

There are 3 issues to be resolved for a judgement on this question.

i) We need to know whether the Modern Warm Period has peaked or not. It seems that the recent peak late 20th Century has passed but at a level of temperature lower than seen during the Mediaeval Warm Period. Greenland is not yet as habitable as when the Vikings first colonised it. Furthermore it is not yet 1000 years since the peak of the Mediaeval Warm Period which lasted from about 950 to 1250 AD

http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/medieval-warm-period-rediscovered

so I suspect that the Mediaeval warmth now emanating from the oceans may well warm the troposphere a little more during future years of warm oceanic oscillations. I would also expect the CO2 levels to continue drifting up until a while after the Mediaeval Warm Period water surface warming peak has begun it’s decline. That may still be some time away, perhaps a century or two.

ii) We need to know where we are in the solar cycles. The highest peak of solar activity in recorded history occurred during the late 20th Century but we don’t really know how active the sun became during the Mediaeval Warm Period. There are calculations from isotope proxies but the accuracy of proxies is in the doghouse since Climategate and the hockey stick farrago. However the current solar quiescence suggests that the peak of recent solar activity is now over.

http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif

iii) Then we need to know where we stand in relation to the other shorter term cycles of sun and oceans.

Each varies on at least two other timescales. The level of solar activity varies during each cycle and over a run of cycles. The rate of energy release from the oceans varies from each El Nino to the following La Nina and back again over several years and the entire Pacific Decadal Oscillation alters the rate of energy release to the air every 25 to 30 years or so.

All those cycles vary in timing and intensity and interact with each other and are then superimposed on the longer term cycling that forms the basis of this article.

Then we have the chaotic variability of weather superimposed on the whole caboodle.

We simply do not have the data to resolve all those issues so all I can do is hazard a guess based on my personal judgement. On that basis I think we will see cooling for a couple of decades due to the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which has just begun then at least one more 20 to 30 year phase of natural warming before we start the true decline as the cooler thermohaline waters from the Little Ice Age come back to the surface.

If we get a peak of active sun at the same time as the worst of the cooling from the Little Ice Age comes through the oceanic system then that may be the start of a more rapid ending of the current interglacial but that is 500 years hence by which time we will have solved our energy problems or will have destroyed our civilisation.

Other climate theories:

Following the implosion of the CO2 based theory there are lots of other good ideas going around and much effort being expended by many individuals on different aspects of the climate system.

All I would suggest at the moment is that there is room in my NCM for any of those theories that demonstrate a specific climate response from sources other than sun and oceans.

All I contend is that sun and oceans together with the variable speed of the hydrological cycle assisted by the latitudinal movements of the air circulation systems and the vertical movement of the tropopause overwhelmingly provide the background trend and combine to prevent changes in the air alone changing the Earth’s equilibrium temperature.

For example:

Orbital changes feed into the insolation and albedo effects caused by moveable cloud masses.

Asteroid strikes and volcanoes feed into the atmospheric density issue.

Changing length of day and external gravitational forces feed into the speed of the thermohaline circulation.

Geothermal energy feeds into temperatures along the horizontal path of the thermohaline circulation.

Cosmic ray variations and ozone chemistry feed into the albedo changes.

The NCM can account for all past climate variability, can give general guidance as to future trends and can accommodate all manner of supplementary climate theories provided their real world influence can be demonstrated.

I humbly submit that all this is an improvement on existing modelling techniques and deserves fuller and more detailed consideration and investigation.

Novel propositions:

I think it helpful to set out here some of the novel propositions that I have had to formulate in order to obtain a climate description that complies both with observations and with basic laws of physics. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Other new propositions may be apparent from the content and/or context of my various articles

i) Earth’s temperature is determined primarily by the oceans and not by the air (The Hot Water Bottle Effect). The contribution of the Greenhouse effect is miniscule.

ii) Changes in the air alone cannot affect the global equilibrium temperature because of oceanic dominance that always seeks to maintain sea surface and surface air equilibrium whatever the air tries to do. Warm air cannot significantly affect the oceans due to the huge difference in thermal capacities and by the effect of evaporation which removes unwanted energy to latent form as necessary to maintain the said equilibrium.

iii) Counterintuitively an active sun means cooling not warming and vice versa.

iv) The net global oceanic rate of energy release to the air is what matters with regard to the oceanic effect on the latitudinal positions of the air circulation systems and the associated cloud bands. All the oceanic oscillations affecting the rates of energy release to the air operate on different timescales and different magnitudes as energy progresses through the system via surface currents (not the thermohaline circulation which is entirely separate).

v) More CO2 ought theoretically induce faster cooling of the oceans by increasing evaporation rates. Extra CO2 molecules simply send more infra red radiation back down to the surface but infra red cannot penetrate deeper than the region of ocean surface involved in evaporation and since evaporation has a net cooling effect due to the removal of energy as latent heat the net effect should be increased cooling and not warming of the oceans.

vi) The latitudinal position of the air circulation systems at any given moment indicates the current tropospheric temperature trend whether warming or cooling and their movement reveals any change in trend

vii) All the various climate phenomena in the troposphere serve to balance energy budget changes caused by atmospheric effects from solar turbulence changes on the air above which affect the rate of energy loss to space or from variable rates of energy release from the oceans below.

viii) The speed of the hydrological cycle globally is the main thermostat in the troposphere. Changes in its speed are achieved by latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems and by changes in the height of the tropopause.

ix) The difference between ice ages and interglacials is a matter of the timing of solar and oceanic cycles. Interglacials only occur when the solar and oceanic cycles are offsetting one another to a sufficient degree to minimise the scale of climate variability thereby preventing winter snowfall on the northern continents from being sufficient to last through the following summer.

x) Landmass distribution dictates the relative lengths of glacials and interglacials. The predominance of landmasses in the northern hemisphere causes glaciations to predominate over interglacials by about 9 to 1 with a full cycle every 100, 000 years helped along by the orbital changes of the Milankovitch cycles that affect the pattern of insolation on those shifting cloud masses.

xi) Distribution of energy within the entire system is more significant for climate (which is limited to the troposphere) than the actual temperature of the entire Earth. The latter varies hardly at all.

xii) All regional climate changes are a result of movement in relation to the locally dominant air circulation systems which move cyclically poleward and equatorward.

xiii) Albedo changes are primarily a consequence of latitudinal movement of the clouds beyond normal seasonal variability.

ix) The faint sun paradox is explained by the effectiveness of changes in the speed of the hydrological cycle. Only if the oceans freeze across their entire surfaces thereby causing the hydrological cycle to cease or if the sun puts in energy faster than it can be pumped upward by the hydrological cycle will the basic temperature equilibrium derived from the properties of water and the density and pressure of the atmosphere fail to be maintained.

A New And Effective Climate Model

The problem with existing climate models:

Even those who aver that man’s activity affects climate on a global scale rather than just locally or regionally appear to accept that the existing climate models are incomplete. It is a given that the existing models do not fully incorporate data or mechanisms involving cloudiness or global albedo (reflectivity) variations or variations in the speed of the hydrological cycle and that the variability in the temperatures of the ocean surfaces and the overall ocean energy content are barely understood and wholly inadequately quantified in the infant attempts at coupled ocean/atmosphere models. Furthermore the effect of variability in solar activity on climate is barely understood and similarly unquantified.

As they stand at present the models assume a generally static global energy budget with relatively little internal system variability so that measurable changes in the various input and output components can only occur from external forcing agents such as changes in the CO2 content of the air caused by human emissions or perhaps temporary after effects from volcanic eruptions, meteorite strikes or significant changes in solar power output.

If such simple models are to have any practical utility it is necessary to demonstrate that some predictive skill is a demonstrable outcome of the models. Unfortunately it is apparent that there is no predictive skill whatever despite huge advances in processing power and the application of millions or even billions of man hours from reputable and experienced scientists over many decades.

As I will show later on virtually all climate variability is a result of internal system variability and additionally the system not only sets up a large amount of variability internally but also provides mechanisms to limit and then reduce that internal variability. It must be so or we would not still have liquid oceans. The current models neither recognise the presence of that internal system variability nor the processes that ultimately stabilise it.

The general approach is currently to describe the climate system from ‘the bottom up’ by accumulating vast amounts of data, observing how the data has changed over time, attributing a weighting to each piece or class of data and extrapolating forward. When the real world outturn then differs from what was expected then adjustments are made to bring the models back into line with reality. This method is known as ‘hindcasting’.

Although that approach has been used for decades no predictive skill has ever emerged. Every time the models have been adjusted using guesswork (or informed judgement as some would say) to bring them back into line with ongoing real world observations a new divergence between model expectations and real world events has begun to develop.

It is now some years since the weighting attached to the influence of CO2 was adjusted to remove a developing discrepancy between the real world warming that was occurring at the time and which had not been fully accounted for in the then climate models. Since that time a new divergence began and is now becoming embarrassingly large for those who made that adjustment. At the very least the weighting given to the effect of more CO2 in the air was excessive.

The problem is directly analogous to a financial accounting system that balances but only because it contains multiple compensating errors. The fact that it balances is a mere mirage. The accounts are still incorrect and woe betide anyone who relies upon them for the purpose of making useful commercial decisions.

Correcting multiple compensating errors either in a climate model or in a financial accounting system cannot be done by guesswork because there is no way of knowing whether the guess is reducing or compounding the underlying errors that remain despite the apparent balancing of the financial (or in the case of the climate the global energy) budget.

The system being used by the entire climatological establishment is fundamentally flawed and must not be relied upon as a basis for policy decisions of any kind.

A better approach:

We know a lot about the basic laws of physics as they affect our day to day existence and we have increasingly detailed data about past and present climate behaviour.

We need a New Climate Model (from now on referred to as NCM) that is created from ‘the top down’ by looking at the climate phenomena that actually occur and using deductive reasoning to decide what mechanisms would be required for those phenomena to occur without offending the basic laws of physics.

We have to start with the broad concepts first and use the detailed data as a guide only. If a broad concept matches the reality then the detailed data will fall into place even if the broad concept needs to be refined in the process. If the broad concept does not match the reality then it must be abandoned but by adopting this process we always start with a broad concept that obviously does match the reality so by adopting a step by step process of observation, logic, elimination and refinement a serviceable NCM with some predictive skill should emerge and the more detailed the model that is built up the more predictive skill will be acquired.

That is exactly what I have been doing step by step in my articles here:

Articles by Stephen Wilde

for some two years now and I believe that I have met with a degree of success because many climate phenomena that I had not initially considered in detail seem to be falling into line with the NCM that I have been constructing.

In the process I have found it necessary to propound various novel propositions that have confused and irritated warming proponents and sceptics alike but that is inevitable if one just follows the logic without a preconceived agenda which I hope is what I have done.

I will now go on to describe the NCM as simply as I can in verbal terms, then I will elaborate on some of the novel propositions (my apologies if any of them have already been propounded elsewhere by others but I think I would still be the first to pull them all together into a plausible NCM) and I will include a discussion of some aspects of the NCM which I find encouraging.

Preliminary points:

  1. Firstly we must abandon the idea that variations in total solar output have a significant effect over periods of time relevant to human existence. At this point I should mention the ‘faint sun paradox’:

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

Despite a substantial increase in the power of the sun over billions of years the temperature of the Earth has remained remarkably stable. My proposition is that the reason for that is the existence of water in liquid form in the oceans combined with a relatively stable total atmospheric density. If the power input from the sun changes then the effect is simply to speed up or slow down the hydrological cycle.

An appropriate analogy is a pan of boiling water. However much the power input increases the boiling point remains at 100C. The speed of boiling however does change in response to the level of power input. The boiling point only changes if the density of the air above and thus the pressure on the water surface changes. In the case of the Earth’s atmosphere a change in solar input is met with a change in evaporation rates and thus the speed of the whole hydrological cycle keeping the overall temperature stable despite a change in solar power input.

A change in the speed of the entire hydrological cycle does have a climate effect but as we shall see on timescales relevant to human existence it is too small to measure in the face of internal system variability from other causes.

Unless more CO2 could increase total atmospheric density it could not have a significant effect on global tropospheric temperature. Instead the speed of the hydrological cycle changes to a miniscule and unmeasurable extent in order to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. As I have explained previously a change limited to the air alone short of an increase in total atmospheric density and pressure is incapable of altering that underlying equilibrium.

  1. Secondly we must realise that the absolute temperature of the Earth as a whole is largely irrelevant to what we perceive as climate. In any event those changes in the temperature of the Earth as a whole are tiny as a result of the rapid modulating effect of changes in the speed of the hydrological cycle and the speed of the flow of radiated energy to space that always seeks to match the energy value of the whole spectrum of energy coming in from the sun.

The climate in the troposphere is a reflection of the current distribution of energy within the Earth system as a whole and internally the system is far more complex than any current models acknowledge.

That distribution of energy can be uneven horizontally and vertically throughout the ocean depths, the troposphere and the upper atmosphere and furthermore the distribution changes over time.

We see ocean energy content increase or decrease as tropospheric energy content decreases or increases. We see the stratosphere warm as the troposphere cools and cool as the troposphere warms. We see the upper levels of the atmosphere warm as the stratosphere cools and vice versa. We see the polar surface regions warm as the mid latitudes cool or the tropics warm as the poles cool and so on and so forth in infinite permutations of timing and scale.

As I have said elsewhere:

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that the rate of energy transfer varies all the time between ocean and air, air and space and between different layers in the oceans and air. The troposphere can best be regarded as a sandwich filling between the oceans below and the stratosphere above. The temperature of the troposphere is constantly being affected by variations in the rate of energy flow from the oceans driven by internal ocean variability, possibly caused by temperature fluctuations along the horizontal route of the thermohaline circulation and by variations in energy flow from the sun that affect the size of the atmosphere and the rate of energy loss to space.

The observed climate is just the equilibrium response to such variations with the positions of the air circulation systems and the speed of the hydrological cycle always adjusting to bring energy differentials above and below the troposphere back towards equilibrium (Wilde’s Law ?).

Additionally my propositions provide the physical mechanisms accounting for the mathematics of Dr. F. Miskolczi..”

http://www.examiner.com/x-7715-Portland-Civil-Rights-Examiner~y2010m1d12-Hungarian-Physicist-Dr-Ferenc-Miskolczi-proves-CO2-emissions-irrelevant-in-Earths-Climate

He appears to have demonstrated mathematically that if greenhouse gases in the air other than water vapour increase then the amount of water vapour declines so as to maintain an optimum optical depth for the atmosphere which modulates the energy flow to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. In other words the hydrological cycle speeds up or slows down just as I have always proposed.

  1. In my articles to date I have been unwilling to claim anything as grand as the creation of a new model of climate because until now I was unable to propose any solar mechanism that could result directly in global albedo changes without some other forcing agent or that could account for a direct solar cause of discontinuities in the temperature profile along the horizontal line of the oceanic thermohaline circulation.

I have now realised that the global albedo changes necessary and the changes in solar energy input to the oceans can be explained by the latitudinal shifts (beyond normal seasonal variation) of all the air circulation systems and in particular the net latitudinal positions of the three main cloud bands namely the two generated by the mid latitude jet streams plus the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

The secret lies in the declining angle of incidence of solar energy input from equator to poles.

It is apparent that the same size and density of cloud mass moved, say, 1000 miles nearer to the equator will have the following effects:

  1. It will receive more intense irradiation from the sun and so will reflect more energy to space.

  2. It will reduce the amount of energy reaching the surface compared to what it would have let in if situated more poleward.

  3. In the northern hemisphere due to the current land/sea distribution the more equatorward the cloud moves the more ocean surface it will cover thus reducing total solar input to the oceans and reducing the rate of accretion to ocean energy content

  4. It will produce cooling rains over a larger area of ocean surface.

As a rule the ITCZ is usually situated north of the equator because most ocean is in the southern hemisphere and it is ocean temperatures that dictate it’s position by governing the rate of energy transfer from oceans to air. Thus if the two mid latitude jets move equatorward at the same time as the ITCZ moves closer to the equator the combined effect on global albedo and the amount of solar energy able to penetrate the oceans will be substantial and would dwarf the other proposed effects on albedo from changes in cosmic ray intensity generating changes in cloud totals as per Svensmark and from suggested changes caused in upper cloud quantities by changes in atmospheric chemistry involving ozone which various other climate sceptics propose.

Thus the following NCM will incorporate my above described positional cause of changes in albedo and rates of energy input to the oceans rather than any of the other proposals. That then leads to a rather neat solution to the other theories’ problems with the timing of the various cycles as becomes clear below.

  1. I have previously described why the solar effect on climate is not as generally thought but for convenience I will summarise the issue here because it will help readers to follow the logic of the NCM.Variations in total solar power output on timescales relevant to human existence are tiny and are generally countered by a miniscule change in the speed of the hydrological cycle as described above.

However according to our satellites variations in the turbulence of the solar energy output from sunspots and solar flares appear to have significant effects.

During periods of an active solar surface our atmosphere expands and during periods of inactive sun it contracts.

When the atmosphere expands it does so in three dimensions around the entire circumference of the planet but the number of molecules in the atmosphere remains the same with the result that there is an average reduced density per unit of volume with more space between the molecules. Consequently the atmosphere presents a reduced resistance to outgoing longwave energy photons that experience a reduced frequency of being obstructed by molecules in the atmosphere.

Additionally a turbulent solar energy flow disturbs the boundaries of the layers in the upper atmosphere thus increasing their surface areas allowing more energy to be transferred from layer to layer just as wind on water causes waves, an increased sea surface area and faster evaporation.

The changes in the rate of outgoing energy flow caused by changes in solar surface turbulence may be small but they appear to be enough to affect the air circulation systems and thereby influence the overall global energy budget disproportionately to the tiny variations in solar power intensity.

Thus when the sun is more active far from warming the planet the sun is facilitating an increased rate of cooling of the planet. That is why the stratosphere cooled during the late 20th Century period of a highly active sun although the higher levels of the atmosphere warmed. The higher levels were warmed by direct solar impacts but the stratosphere cooled because energy was going up faster than it was being received from the troposphere below.

The opposite occurs for a period of inactive sun.

Some do say that the expansion and contraction of the atmosphere makes no difference to the speed of the outward flow of longwave energy because that outgoing energy still has to negotiate the same mass but that makes no sense to me if that mass is more widely distributed over a three dimensional rather than two dimensional space. If one has a fine fabric container holding a body of liquid the speed at which the liquid escapes will increase if the fabric is stretched to a larger size because the space between the fibres will increase.

Furthermore all that the NCM requires is for the stratosphere alone to lose or gain energy faster or slower so as to influence the tropospheric polar air pressure cells. The energy does not need to actually escape to space to have the required effect. It could just as well simply take a little longer or a little less long to traverse the expanded or contracted upper atmospheric layers.

The New Climate Model (NCM)

  1. Solar surface turbulence increases causing an expansion of the Earth’s atmosphere.

  2. Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation reduces, energy is lost to space faster.

  3. The stratosphere cools. Possibly also the number of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere increases due to the increased solar effects with faster destruction of ozone.

  4. The tropopause rises.

  5. There is less resistance to energy flowing up from the troposphere so the polar high pressure systems shrink and weaken accompanied by increasingly positive Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.

  6. The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move poleward and the ITCZ moves further north of the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle increases due to the cooler stratosphere increasing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.

  7. The main cloud bands move more poleward to regions where solar insolation is less intense so total global albedo decreases.

  8. More solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as more ocean surfaces north of the equator are exposed to the sun by the movement of the clouds to cover more continental regions.

  9. Less rain falls on ocean surfaces allowing them to warm more.

  10. Ocean energy input increases but not all is returned to the air. A portion enters the thermohaline circulation to embark on a journey of 1000 to 1500 years. A pulse of slightly warmer water has entered the ocean circulation.

  11. Solar surface turbulence passes its peak and the Earth’s atmosphere starts to contract.

  12. Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation increases, energy is lost to space more slowly.

  13. The stratosphere warms. Ozone levels start to recover.

  14. The tropopause falls

  15. There is increased resistance to energy flowing up from the troposphere so the polar high pressure systems expand and intensify producing increasingly negative Arctic and Antarctic Oscillations.

  16. The air circulation systems in both hemispheres move back equatorward and the ITCZ moves nearer the equator as the speed of the hydrological cycle decreases due to the warming stratosphere reducing the temperature differential between stratosphere and surface.

  17. The main cloud bands move more equatorward to regions where solar insolation is more intense so total global albedo increases once more.

  18. Less solar energy reaches the surface and in particular the oceans as less ocean surfaces north of the equator are exposed to the sun by the movement of the clouds to cover more oceanic regions.

  19. More rain falls on ocean surfaces further cooling them.

  20. Ocean energy input decreases and the amount of energy entering the thermohaline circulation declines sending a pulse of slightly cooler water on that 1000 to 1500 year journey.

  21. After 1000 to 1500 years those variations in energy flowing through the thermohaline circulation return to the surface by influencing the size and intensity of the ocean surface temperature oscillations that have now been noted around the world in all the main ocean basins and in particular the Pacific and the Atlantic. It is likely that the current powerful run of positive Pacific Decadal Oscillations is the pulse of warmth from the Mediaeval Warm Period returning to the surface with the consequent inevitable increase in atmospheric CO2 as that warmer water fails to take up as much CO2 by absorption. Cooler water absorbs more CO2, warmer water absorbs less CO2. We have the arrival of the cool pulse from the Little Ice Age to look forward to and the scale of its effect will depend upon the level of solar surface activity at the time. A quiet sun would be helpful otherwise the rate of tropospheric cooling as an active sun throws energy into space at the same time as the oceans deny energy to the air will be fearful indeed. Fortunately the level of solar activity does seem to have begun a decline from recent peaks.

  22. The length of the thermohaline circulation is not synchronous with the length of the variations in solar surface turbulence so it is very much a lottery as to whether a returning warm or cool pulse will encounter an active or inactive sun.

  23. A returning warm pulse will try to expand the tropical air masses as more energy is released and will try to push the air circulation systems poleward against whatever resistance is being supplied at the time by the then level of solar surface turbulence. A returning cool pulse will present less opposition to solar effects.

  24. Climate is simply a product of the current balance in the troposphere between the solar and oceanic effects on the positions and intensities of all the global air circulation systems

  25. The timing of the solar cycles and ocean cycles will drift relative to one another due to their asynchronicity so there will be periods when solar and ocean cycles supplement one another in transferring energy out to space and other periods when they will offset one another.

26) During the current interglacial the solar and oceanic cycles are broadly offsetting one another to reduce overall climate variability but during glacial epochs they broadly supplement one another to produce much larger climate swings. The active sun during the Mediaeval Warm Period and the Modern Warm Period and the quiet sun during the Little Ice Age reduced the size of the climate swings that would otherwise have occurred. During the former two periods the extra energy from a warm ocean pulse was ejected quickly to space by an active sun to reduce tropospheric heating. During the latter period the effect on tropospheric temperatures of reduced energy from a cool ocean pulse was mitigated by slower ejection of energy to space from a less active sun.

Discussion points:

Falsification:

Every serious hypothesis must be capable of being proved false. In the case of this NCM my narrative is replete with opportunities for falsification if the future real world observations diverge from the pattern of cause and effect that I have set out.

However that narrative is based on what we have actually observed over a period of 1000 years with the gaps filled in by deduction informed by known laws of physics.

At the moment I am not aware of any observed climate phenomena that would effect falsification. If there be any that suggest such a thing then I suspect that they will call for refinement of the NCM rather than abandonment.

For true falsification we would need to observe events such as the mid latitude jets moving poleward during a cooling oceanic phase and a period of quiet sun or the ITCZ moving northward whilst the two jets moved equatorward or the stratosphere, troposphere and upper atmosphere all warming or cooling in tandem or perhaps an unusually powerful Arctic Oscillation throughout a period of high solar turbulence and a warming ocean phase.

They say nothing is impossible so we will have to wait and see.

Predictive skill:

To be taken seriously the NCM must be seen to show more predictive skill than the current computer based models.

In theory that shouldn’t be difficult because their level of success is currently zero.

From a reading of my narrative it is readily apparent that if the NCM matches reality then lots of predictions can be made. They may not be precise in terms of scale or timing but they are nevertheless useful in identifying where we are in the overall scheme of things and the most likely direction of future trend.

For example if the mid latitude jets stay where they now are then a developing cooling trend can be expected.

If the jets move poleward for any length of time then a warming trend may be returning.

If the solar surface becomes more active then we should see a reduction in the intensity of the Arctic Oscillation.

If the current El Nino fades to a La Nina then the northern winter snows should not be as intense next winter but it will nevertheless be another cold though drier northern hemisphere winter as the La Nina denies energy to the air.

The past winter is a prime example of what the NCM suggests for a northern winter with an El Nino during a period of quiet sun. The warmth from the oceans pumps energy upwards but the quiet sun prevents the poleward movement of the jets. The result is warming of the tropics and of the highest latitudes (but the latter stay below the freezing point of water) and a flow of cold into the mid latitudes and more precipitation in the form of snow at lower latitudes than normal.

So I suggest that a degree of predictive skill is already apparent for my NCM.

Likely 21st Century climate trend:

There are 3 issues to be resolved for a judgement on this question.

i) We need to know whether the Modern Warm Period has peaked or not. It seems that the recent peak late 20th Century has passed but at a level of temperature lower than seen during the Mediaeval Warm Period. Greenland is not yet as habitable as when the Vikings first colonised it. Furthermore it is not yet 1000 years since the peak of the Mediaeval Warm Period which lasted from about 950 to 1250 AD

http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/medieval-warm-period-rediscovered

so I suspect that the Mediaeval warmth now emanating from the oceans may well warm the troposphere a little more during future years of warm oceanic oscillations. I would also expect the CO2 levels to continue drifting up until a while after the Mediaeval Warm Period water surface warming peak has begun it’s decline. That may still be some time away, perhaps a century or two.

ii) We need to know where we are in the solar cycles. The highest peak of solar activity in recorded history occurred during the late 20th Century but we don’t really know how active the sun became during the Mediaeval Warm Period. There are calculations from isotope proxies but the accuracy of proxies is in the doghouse since Climategate and the hockey stick farrago. However the current solar quiescence suggests that the peak of recent solar activity is now over.

http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif

iii) Then we need to know where we stand in relation to the other shorter term cycles of sun and oceans.

Each varies on at least two other timescales. The level of solar activity varies during each cycle and over a run of cycles. The rate of energy release from the oceans varies from each El Nino to the following La Nina and back again over several years and the entire Pacific Decadal Oscillation alters the rate of energy release to the air every 25 to 30 years or so.

All those cycles vary in timing and intensity and interact with each other and are then superimposed on the longer term cycling that forms the basis of this article.

Then we have the chaotic variability of weather superimposed on the whole caboodle.

We simply do not have the data to resolve all those issues so all I can do is hazard a guess based on my personal judgement. On that basis I think we will see cooling for a couple of decades due to the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which has just begun then at least one more 20 to 30 year phase of natural warming before we start the true decline as the cooler thermohaline waters from the Little Ice Age come back to the surface.

If we get a peak of active sun at the same time as the worst of the cooling from the Little Ice Age comes through the oceanic system then that may be the start of a more rapid ending of the current interglacial but that is 500 years hence by which time we will have solved our energy problems or will have destroyed our civilisation.

Other climate theories:

Following the implosion of the CO2 based theory there are lots of other good ideas going around and much effort being expended by many individuals on different aspects of the climate system.

All I would suggest at the moment is that there is room in my NCM for any of those theories that demonstrate a specific climate response from sources other than sun and oceans.

All I contend is that sun and oceans together with the variable speed of the hydrological cycle assisted by the latitudinal movements of the air circulation systems and the vertical movement of the tropopause overwhelmingly provide the background trend and combine to prevent changes in the air alone changing the Earth’s equilibrium temperature.

For example:

Orbital changes feed into the insolation and albedo effects caused by moveable cloud masses.

Asteroid strikes and volcanoes feed into the atmospheric density issue.

Changing length of day and external gravitational forces feed into the speed of the thermohaline circulation.

Geothermal energy feeds into temperatures along the horizontal path of the thermohaline circulation.

Cosmic ray variations and ozone chemistry feed into the albedo changes.

The NCM can account for all past climate variability, can give general guidance as to future trends and can accommodate all manner of supplementary climate theories provided their real world influence can be demonstrated.

I humbly submit that all this is an improvement on existing modelling techniques and deserves fuller and more detailed consideration and investigation.

Novel propositions:

I think it helpful to set out here some of the novel propositions that I have had to formulate in order to obtain a climate description that complies both with observations and with basic laws of physics. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Other new propositions may be apparent from the content and/or context of my various articles

i) Earth’s temperature is determined primarily by the oceans and not by the air (The Hot Water Bottle Effect). The contribution of the Greenhouse effect is miniscule.

ii) Changes in the air alone cannot affect the global equilibrium temperature because of oceanic dominance that always seeks to maintain sea surface and surface air equilibrium whatever the air tries to do. Warm air cannot significantly affect the oceans due to the huge difference in thermal capacities and by the effect of evaporation which removes unwanted energy to latent form as necessary to maintain the said equilibrium.

iii) Counterintuitively an active sun means cooling not warming and vice versa.

iv) The net global oceanic rate of energy release to the air is what matters with regard to the oceanic effect on the latitudinal positions of the air circulation systems and the associated cloud bands. All the oceanic oscillations affecting the rates of energy release to the air operate on different timescales and different magnitudes as energy progresses through the system via surface currents (not the thermohaline circulation which is entirely separate).

v) More CO2 ought theoretically induce faster cooling of the oceans by increasing evaporation rates. Extra CO2 molecules simply send more infra red radiation back down to the surface but infra red cannot penetrate deeper than the region of ocean surface involved in evaporation and since evaporation has a net cooling effect due to the removal of energy as latent heat the net effect should be increased cooling and not warming of the oceans.

vi) The latitudinal position of the air circulation systems at any given moment indicates the current tropospheric temperature trend whether warming or cooling and their movement reveals any change in trend

vii) All the various climate phenomena in the troposphere serve to balance energy budget changes caused by atmospheric effects from solar turbulence changes on the air above which affect the rate of energy loss to space or from variable rates of energy release from the oceans below.

viii) The speed of the hydrological cycle globally is the main thermostat in the troposphere. Changes in its speed are achieved by latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems and by changes in the height of the tropopause.

ix) The difference between ice ages and interglacials is a matter of the timing of solar and oceanic cycles. Interglacials only occur when the solar and oceanic cycles are offsetting one another to a sufficient degree to minimise the scale of climate variability thereby preventing winter snowfall on the northern continents from being sufficient to last through the following summer.

x) Landmass distribution dictates the relative lengths of glacials and interglacials. The predominance of landmasses in the northern hemisphere causes glaciations to predominate over interglacials by about 9 to 1 with a full cycle every 100, 000 years helped along by the orbital changes of the Milankovitch cycles that affect the pattern of insolation on those shifting cloud masses.

xi) Distribution of energy within the entire system is more significant for climate (which is limited to the troposphere) than the actual temperature of the entire Earth. The latter varies hardly at all.

xii) All regional climate changes are a result of movement in relation to the locally dominant air circulation systems which move cyclically poleward and equatorward.

xiii) Albedo changes are primarily a consequence of latitudinal movement of the clouds beyond normal seasonal variability.

ix) The faint sun paradox is explained by the effectiveness of changes in the speed of the hydrological cycle. Only if the oceans freeze across their entire surfaces thereby causing the hydrological cycle to cease or if the sun puts in energy faster than it can be pumped upward by the hydrological cycle will the basic temperature equilibrium derived from the properties of water and the density and pressure of the atmosphere fail to be maintained.

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Ohmygosh
April 6, 2010 9:03 pm

This seem well prepared

April 6, 2010 9:08 pm

Wow great work gonna have to reread and digest!

davidmhoffer
April 6, 2010 9:11 pm

Stephen Wilde;
Wow. That’s a whole lot of issues that have been expounded upon by a whole lot of people in isolation pulled together into one package that makes logical sense.
The piece that I didn’t see (my apologies if I missed it) was ice cover. Increased ice extent would effect albedo and the hydrologic cycle. Did you leave it out because you don’t think it significant?

Gary Hladik
April 6, 2010 9:13 pm

Quite a lot to digest. I like the emphasis on the oceans. Water is the only so-called “greenhouse” gas that exists in three phases on the earth. Given the abundance of this compound, the differing properties of its phases, and the amount of energy involved in phase transistions, it’s intuitively plausible that the hydrological cycle could dominate the planet’s climate system.

April 6, 2010 9:14 pm

I think the first two points:
1: Solar surface turbulence increases causing an expansion of the Earth’s atmosphere.
2: Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation reduces, energy is lost to space faster.

are wrong, and hence the rest.
The part of the atmosphere [the thermosphere] that expands and contracts is 1 centimeter thick [if at same pressure as at the surface] and contains 1/1000,000 the number of molecules, so has no measurable effect on point 2.

jaypan
April 6, 2010 9:14 pm

Wow.
However true or strong this model may prove, I am impressed to see how more and more contributors show up here and elsewhere, after the CO2 house of cards obviously fell apart.
Real scientists are coming back on stage, overrunning the pseudo science we have been offered for too long.
I’ll be happy and grateful to follow these discussions, wherever it goes, and get such a lot of insight. Thank you.

meh
April 6, 2010 9:19 pm

Environmental lobby group International Rivers has condemned the emergence of trade in fake carbon credits and says the biggest source is hydroelectric power projects on the mainland.
Under what is known as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries can support projects that decrease emissions in developing countries and then use the resulting emission reduction credits towards their own reduction targets.
But International Rivers says the CDM is “failing miserably and is undermining the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol” because most of the emission reduction credits are fake and come from projects that do not reduce emissions.
It says hydropower projects constitute a quarter of all projects in the CDM pipeline, and 67 per cent of these, or about 700 projects, are on the mainland.
However, International Rivers says there has been no substantial jump in hydropower development to match the large number of supposedly new projects applying to generate CDM credits.
The CDM recently withheld approval of carbon credits from numerous mainland dams and wind farms.
Controversy over the Chinese dams recently led the European Climate Exchange (ECX), the world’s leading market for trading carbon credits, to renew its ban on large hydropower Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), which are carbon credits issued by the CDM executive board.
The European Union is the biggest buyer of CERs, while China sells 70 per cent of the world’s CERs.
Dams built before applications are made for carbon credits are deemed not to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and thus should not qualify to sell carbon credits. Such dams are called “business-as-usual” in the industry jargon.
“There are blatant cases of hydro plants being business-as-usual, whereas other hydro projects seem to really require CDM credits,” Axel Michaelowa, a founding partner of the CDM consultancy Perspectives and a researcher at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, said.
The accuracy of assessments of the eligibility of mainland dams for carbon credits is distorted by questionable data, Michaelowa said.
“Many hydro plants in China use an artificially low utilisation rate for the calculation of their profitability. The regulators have also discovered some hydro projects reported a very low electricity tariff, lower than coal power plants and other hydro projects in the same province.
“Such projects are now increasingly being rejected.”
At a meeting of the CDM executive board in February, 38 mainland dams failed to get carbon credits. The board also decided to review 36 wind projects in China, Katy Yan, a campaign assistant with International Rivers, wrote in her blog.
“These 74 projects hope to produce almost 38 million carbon credits by 2013,” worth about US$600 million, she said.
“The problem is very serious,” Patrick McCully, executive director of International Rivers, said. “Dams are the largest single project type in the CDM. Almost all are likely projects that would have been built anyway regardless of receiving credits, meaning that any credits they generate are fake.”
A World Commission on Dams report has set guidelines that determine whether a dam qualifies to sell carbon credits.
By March 6, 16.32 million CERs had been issued for 132 dams, and China accounted for 71.52 per cent of the 653 large hydropower projects in the world that have been registered or are seeking registration under the CDM to sell CERs, according to International Rivers. A large hydropower project is defined as one with a capacity of more than 15 megawatts.
On March 24, ECX announced it would renew its ban, imposed in 2008, on contracts with large hydro CERs, ECX market development director Sara Stahl said. “We have always excluded large hydro because it’s a grey area,” she said.
Two types of carbon credits are traded on the exchange: CERs and EU allowances, which are carbon credits issued under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Since trading at ECX began in 2005, trading of carbon credits and related instruments has soared.
Last year, the value of ECX’s trades surged 82 per cent year on year to €68 billion (HK$708.4 billion).
ECX’s renewal of its ban on large hydro CERs came about after discussions with its members, which include more than 100 large multinational companies, this year, Stahl said. “We felt there were some legitimate criticisms,” she said. “Companies are nervous about it.”
Michaelowa said there was concern that some Chinese dams had required the resettlement of the local population without proper compensation and about whether large hydro plants are sustainable.
In December 2008, an International Rivers press release alleged that German utility RWE, one of the biggest carbon dioxide emitters in Europe, planned to buy carbon credits from the Xiaoxi dam in Hunan – which failed to meet World Commission on Dams guidelines – and that would be a breach of EU law.
On a site visit, International Rivers found 7,500 people had been evicted to make way for the Xiaoxi dam without proper compensation, which violated the World Commission on Dams guidelines. Xiaoxi is one of at least 11 Chinese large hydropower projects from which RWE was buying credits. TUV SUD of Germany was auditor for the project.
At a CDM executive board meeting in March, the board suspended TUV SUD from auditing hydro projects, as it had approved dams that were later found to have problems. Another carbon credit auditor, Korea Energy Management Corp, was partly suspended.
“The fact that only a few of the projects validated by TUV SUD have been rejected is proof of the quality of TUV SUD’s activities,” Heidi Atzler, a TUV SUD spokeswoman, said.
An RWE spokeswoman, Julia Scharlemann, said every CDM project in which RWE was involved was “thoroughly reviewed” by an independent auditor, and RWE adhered to German Emissions Trading Authority rules, which were more rigorous than CDM processes and the standards of other EU nations.
RWE bought carbon credits only from projects approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, she added.
Michaelowa admitted CDM’s process of approving dams was imperfect, with room for improvement, while McCully said the best solution would be to scrap the CDM and the whole concept of international carbon offsetting entirely.
“If that is not possible, then ban hydropower from CDM,” he said.

April 6, 2010 9:24 pm

meh (21:19:54) :
Environmental lobby group International Rivers has …
And what has that to do with the topic at hand?

Jeff Alberts
April 6, 2010 9:31 pm

Leif Svalgaard (21:24:29) :
meh (21:19:54) :
Environmental lobby group International Rivers has …
And what has that to do with the topic at hand?

Nothing whatsoever. Why would the mods let it through?

John F. Hultquist
April 6, 2010 9:34 pm

As a narrative summary of your ideas and the ideas of many others this posting has merit. As a “model” it lacks measured inputs, mathematical relationships, and specific outputs. When all of the above are cobbled together and you run it out 30, 60, 90 years what will you know? Will you be able to say London will have cool or warm summers during the 2070s? I don’t think so. This is like a high priced auto without a drive train – it may look elegant but it won’t go. Still, it is better than relying on CO2 to control all the stuff that the Earth systems do.

April 6, 2010 9:37 pm

I especially liked the inclusion of air pressure in your model. I’m really surprised how many people overlook that property.
I’m wondering how well your model is at predicting the future. For example, will the world be warmer or cooler 10 years from now according to your model, and by how much.

John Blake
April 6, 2010 9:42 pm

Dating from 2.6 million years-before-present (YBP), the current Pleistocene Era is characterized by periodic well-defined glaciations averaging 102,000 years, interspersed with remissions of median 12,250-years’ duration. Over the preceding 62+ million years from the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) Boundary defined by the Chixculub meteorite strike in Yucatan, five widely variable geological eras averaged some 14 – 16 million years, uniformly without cyclical ice ages.
Atmospheric dynamics, solar cycles, Milankovic factors respecting Earth’s axial tilt, orbital eccentricity, equinoctial precession etc. remain constant in historical context and perspective. What varies over the long term are not impacts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, but the global disposition of continental landmasses due to “continental drifting”, plate tectonics.
Once North and South American continents walled off eastern from western hemispheres, global atmospheric-ocean circulation patterns apparently lent themselves to regularly recurring chill phases. Over the next 10 – 12+ million years, continental dispositions will likely change so as to prevent continental glaciations for some hundred-million years. Meantime, we note that 500-million year pre-Cambrian ice ages entailed a “Snowball Earth” until tectonic forces moved fragmented landmasses into temperate zones.
“Does the Earth have a climate?” asked Edward Lorenz in 1960. “The answer, at first glance obvious, improves on acquaintance.” Over geological time-spans, Earth in fact does not… since processes of punctuated equilibrium plus regression-to-the-mean are inherently subject to indeterminate fluctuations, any satisfactory climate model is bound to be quite local both in space and time. Go for it, in any case… but be aware that partisan political agendas will always mount hysterical ideological attacks on objective, rational conclusions at odds with preconceived attitudinal claims.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
April 6, 2010 9:53 pm

One thing I like about Mr. Wilde’s New Climate Model is that it is more inclusive of the tremendous complexity of systems contributing to “climate” than the models used by climatologists.
With their emphasis upon carbon dioxide, conventional climatologists have developed a dose/response relationship, reminding me of standard approaches in toxicology. Inputs due to solar variance/minimums & maximums, biological uptake of carbon dioxide and other factors are either ignored or calculated out of the model with a wave of the hand.
I’m still rather partial to Henrik Svenmark’s theories regarding the influence of the sun’s magnetosphere on the earth during minimums, and I still think our sun is struggling to pull itself out of its rather historic minimum. I hear Leif coming up behind me…..
At least on this blog, there is ample room for discussion and presentation of alternative ideas!

pat
April 6, 2010 9:57 pm

This is the primary problem with models: the programmers keep static what they want to change. And then model, thus moving the static figure along a desirable course. If you did that in real life, you would be considered a fool. Congress does this all the time. “Raise taxes and government revenues will increase.” The fact that it does not after a year, seem oblivious. It is the same way with the idiots who are trying to convince us we must give them all aour money so they can save us.

HarryG
April 6, 2010 10:05 pm

I would be interested in Erl Happs take on this.

Richard G.
April 6, 2010 10:05 pm

My muse asks: why the search for a global temperature average? The search for an average is a fools errand. All climate is local. In ecological studies we speak of micro-climates. Climate zones are described in terms of biological communities, not temperature averages. The key is frost free growing periods. The plants growing on the north side of my home could care less about the south side of my home, let alone the southern hemisphere.

April 6, 2010 10:08 pm

I can see how you put this together, I would like to add a couple loose pieces to this puzzle, that will make it more realistic, for instance here;
“”iv) The net global oceanic rate of energy release to the air is what matters with regard to the oceanic effect on the latitudinal positions of the air circulation systems and the associated cloud bands. All the oceanic oscillations affecting the rates of energy release to the air operate on different timescales and different magnitudes as energy progresses through the system via surface currents (not the thermohaline circulation which is entirely separate).””
___________
I would add that the 18.6 year Mn lunar declinational atmospheric tidal signal, modulates to some extent, the latitudinal positions of the Jet streams, as well as the energy balance and temperatures you suggest, as part of a natural weather generating thermostatic balancing mechanism.
“”vi) The latitudinal position of the air circulation systems at any given moment indicates the current tropospheric temperature trend whether warming or cooling and their movement reveals any change in trend””
____________
I agree but think that the Lunar declinational tidal driver, is also influencing as well but to what extent, you are not considering, and in order to be better at forecasting weather, and hence climate by extension, needs to be included in the process.
“”viii) The speed of the hydrological cycle globally is the main thermostat in the troposphere. Changes in its speed are achieved by latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems and by changes in the height of the tropopause.””
____________
It is just that I think the mechanism for this action can be found in the cyclic periodicity found in above mentioned Lunar declinational cycles. As patterns in Tornado, unusually heavy precipitation, drought, and hurricane production can be shown to come and go, with the Lunar declinational cycles.
The rest is sound enough for initial testing IMHO, and wish you well on the outcome of investigations into how well your idea works. I am sure there are lots of others who will be adding their helpful comments as well.
(My suggested revisions, in reviewing your ideas, Richard Holle.)

April 6, 2010 10:12 pm

P.S.
Rereading my question about forecasting, I realize I wasn’t clear.
I saw that the model makes predictions such as “If the jets move north, then it may warm” and “If the solar surface becomes active, the intensity of the AO will drop”
But what I was wondering is if it’s possible to predict that the jets will move or the solar surface will become active.
I know that we can predict sunspots to some degree. I don’t know about the jets. Do we have the ability to forecast these events to the accuracy needed by your model?

davidmhoffer
April 6, 2010 10:15 pm

Pat:
It is the same way with the idiots who are trying to convince us we must give them all aour money so they can save us>>
you missed the finr print. They didn’t promise to save us, they primised to save the planet. If there’s any of “us” left that’s just a bonus. Or may be an irrittent.

Richard G.
April 6, 2010 10:16 pm

My muse strikes again: When I was young I loved to build model airplanes. They looked so real that I was often tempted to try to make them fly. Alas they always crashed to earth and I learned a sad lesson: they were only models of the real thing. They never worked. Ever.

jorgekafkazar
April 6, 2010 10:20 pm

Very interesting. The expansion of the atmosphere part raises a flag. There isn’t much of a 3D effect, as near as I can tell, and the gauntlet that photons have to run involves the same number of molecules. Or does it? There may be a small difference in resistance if higher temperatures in the ionosphere have an effect on outward radiation (despite the extremely low density) comparable to a charged grid in a vacuum tube.
A good start, but needs some rethinking, IMHO. Are there any satellite radiation measurements that can confirm or establish parts of this model?

April 6, 2010 10:28 pm

Richard G. (22:16:44) :
My muse strikes again: When I was young I loved to build model airplanes. They looked so real that I was often tempted to try to make them fly. Alas they always crashed to earth and I learned a sad lesson: they were only models of the real thing. They never worked. Ever.
___________________________
Maybe the real critical things like weight distribution, proportional density, wing shape, response time of flaps and rudder, and engine power output, needed more consideration, modification?

Dennis Wingo
April 6, 2010 10:36 pm

I was talking with a senior contractor to Oracle (the company) tonight at dinner and it seems that the ultimate climate model is a huge multi-tiered database with the science to tie it all together.

April 6, 2010 10:47 pm

jorgekafkazar (22:20:04) :
The expansion of the atmosphere part raises a flag.
With my usual subtlety I again note that that part is complete nonsense. It is not clear to me to what degree this is important for his model. Take away all the solar stuff and there may still be some substance left.

April 6, 2010 10:48 pm

jorgekafkazar (22:20:04) :
The expansion of the atmosphere part raises a flag.
With my usual subtlety I again note that that part is complete nonsense. It is not clear to me to what degree this is important for his model. Take away all the solar stuff and there may still be some substance left.

April 6, 2010 10:49 pm

Dennis Wingo (22:36:20) :
ultimate climate model is a huge multi-tiered database
What is a ‘multi-tiered’ database?

John Wright
April 6, 2010 10:50 pm

@Richard G. (22:16:44) :
“My muse strikes again: When I was young I loved to build model airplanes. They looked so real that I was often tempted to try to make them fly. Alas they always crashed to earth and I learned a sad lesson: they were only models of the real thing. They never worked. Ever.”
It was a problem of scale. We were always told, “you can’t scale nature.” So the various constituting elements of the miniature have to be proportioned differently.
My own muse is a bit more on topic: does Willis Eschenbach’s Thermostat Hypothesis (I think one of his first posts on WUWT) have any bearing on a model such as this?

April 6, 2010 10:52 pm

Leif Svalgaard (21:24:29) : to meh (21:19:54) : Environmental lobby group International Rivers has …
And what has that to do with the topic at hand?
It is in there for the scatterbrains like me, Leif. I was struggling with the “topic at hand” from which I wanted to gain at least a glimmer of understanding — meh threw me a bone with “International Rivers” which I snatched (if only as a diversion) because it interested me, and therefore added one more tiny scatter to my brain, but perhaps, more importantly, an addition to my puzzle: What Makes AGM Run?

I endorse these outliers in the mix of WUWT simply because they often do add dimension, and believe Anthony’s place would be the poorer without them.

April 6, 2010 10:54 pm

[quote Leif Svalgaard (22:48:11) :]
jorgekafkazar (22:20:04) :
The expansion of the atmosphere part raises a flag.
With my usual subtlety I again note that that part is complete nonsense. It is not clear to me to what degree this is important for his model. Take away all the solar stuff and there may still be some substance left.
[/quote]

.
Would you mind explaining your objection to this a bit more, for us laymen, Dr. Svalgaard?
.
As I understand it, extra heat causes air to rise. The reduced pressure at higher atmospheres causes the rising air to expand. The expanding air cools.
.
This is fairly common. It’s how clouds are formed.
.
So I’m wondering how this differs from what’s being presented in Stephen Wilde’s model.

rbateman
April 6, 2010 10:58 pm

The presentation is interesting in that it follows through a series of oceanic and albedo effects. Do we have (or are we planning) any set of deep-ocean probes to determine the speed/temperature of the thermohaline currents?

April 6, 2010 11:05 pm

magicjava (22:54:43) :
As I understand it, extra heat causes air to rise. The reduced pressure at higher atmospheres causes the rising air to expand. The expanding air cools.
The air in the thermosphere that expands and contracts is only one millionth of the air in the troposphere and can therefore hardly control the radiative processes for the atmosphere as a whole.

Al Gored
April 6, 2010 11:06 pm

CRS, Dr.P.H. (21:53:20) wrote: “One thing I like about Mr. Wilde’s New Climate Model is that it is more inclusive of the tremendous complexity of systems contributing to “climate” than the models used by climatologists.”
I agree. It was an eye-opening education just reading it. So many moving parts. A fascinating far cry from the simplistic CO2 story.
And its getting more interesting with the comments. John Blake (21:42:10) adds plate tectonics to the mix, plus another whole perspective.
This blog just keeps getting more interesting! Thanks!

April 6, 2010 11:09 pm

rbateman (22:58:41) :
Do we have (or are we planning) any set of deep-ocean probes to determine the speed/temperature of the thermohaline currents?
We recently had a posting on that:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/29/atlantic-conveyor-belt-still-going-strong-and-will-be-the-day-after-tomorrow/#more-17910

April 6, 2010 11:10 pm

rbateman (22:58:41) :
It seems that at least part of the ocean is being monitored.
http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/index.html
Argo is a global array of 3,000 free-drifting profiling floats that measures the temperature and salinity of the upper 2000 m of the ocean. This allows, for the first time, continuous monitoring of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean, with all data being relayed and made publicly available within hours after collection.

rbateman
April 6, 2010 11:11 pm

What is a ‘multi-tiered’ database?
Sounds like a bunch of database operations that all feed into ‘science’ database. In order to get the relations correct, it would first have to know what the correct science model is supposed to be.
Or it’s a networked bunch of climate databases, each with it’s own slice of the climate facet pie, and they war it out for who wins at any given moment. The output would hopefully look like the end product: the climate. Each database has inputs and outputs to all other databases, and can go in any mess with it’s data.
Sounds like fun.

April 6, 2010 11:13 pm

[quote Leif Svalgaard (22:49:30) :]
Dennis Wingo (22:36:20) :
ultimate climate model is a huge multi-tiered database
What is a ‘multi-tiered’ database?
[/quote]

It’s the standard solution for large (enterprise-wide or bigger) applications. Rather than putting all the code into a single application, like, say, Microsoft Word does, code is split into “tiers”.
There’s a Presentation Tier (example: A web browser), a Logic Tier (example: a web server), and a database tier (example: Oracle database).
The multi-tier architecture is used when the number of people using the application is very large.

bubbagyro
April 6, 2010 11:16 pm

I would like comment on a hypothesis which I call the “stiff earth shell” hypothesis. I mentioned this briefly in an earlier posting. It goes as follows (briefly):
The earth’s solid crust is very thin compared to the volume of the rest of the globe. Much thinner, comparatively speaking, than an egg shell is to an egg. It is also stiff, compared to the molten mantle beneath. When the earth cools, the mantle must contract (2nd law), but the molten mantle, retaining internal heat, does not. Therefore, where tectonic plates collide, and one is subducted, it must be subducted faster as the crust shrinks. This would create faster fault slippage, for one thing, and more earthquakes. The converse, of course, would be true if the earth’s surface were to heat up allowing the thin crust to expand, leading to more failures, producing upwellings of lava to form volcanoes. So, this would be a modulating force to prevent short term heating of the surface, as more volcanoes would produce short term cooling from volcanic aerosols.
Of course, this may only happen mostly on the 30% land surfaces, predominantly at lower elevations, I would think – not on water covered surfaces where the heat capacity of water would limit the cooling or heating of the crust, although any part of the affected plate that is land bound would still lever the whole plate to or fro.
This may be one of the many attenuating mechanisms the earth uses to prevent wild swings when other cyclical drivers may be sinusoidally stacked.
Comments? Is this likely to happen, or am I on thin crust?

pat
April 6, 2010 11:19 pm

Oh. Another spelling test commenter. No doubt the smartest among us. lol

April 6, 2010 11:20 pm

magicjava (23:13:12) :
Rather than putting all the code into a single application, like, say, Microsoft Word does, code is split into “tiers”.
Not code, but data. So, again, what is a multi-tiered database?

Doug in Seattle
April 6, 2010 11:22 pm

Joe Bastardi and some woman from the Union of Concerned Scientists had a “Climate Cat Fight” this evening on The Colbert Report. It was quite funny and even with Colbert’s silly antics Bastardi cleaned up.

April 6, 2010 11:26 pm

[quote Leif Svalgaard (23:05:06) :]
magicjava (22:54:43) :
As I understand it, extra heat causes air to rise. The reduced pressure at higher atmospheres causes the rising air to expand. The expanding air cools.
The air in the thermosphere that expands and contracts is only one millionth of the air in the troposphere and can therefore hardly control the radiative processes for the atmosphere as a whole.
[/quote]

I see. Yes, that makes sense.
.
However, I didn’t notice Wilde’s model mentioning anything higher than the stratosphere, so perhaps we could get some clarification on whether he meant “the entire atmosphere up to the thermosphere and perhaps the exosphere”, or whether he had a more limited meaning of “atmosphere” in mind. I took what he said as the latter.

April 6, 2010 11:27 pm

It makes sense to talk about a multi-tiered application, or multi-teired access, but the database itself is not tiered. It can be distributed, which is different. The booze must have been flowing at Dennis’s dinner, because the ‘multi-tiered’ database is just sloppy usage.

Friar
April 6, 2010 11:28 pm

Model?
Where are the equations?
The comments above in relation to model aeroplanes hit the nail on the head – Is this model simply to paint and decorate and look nice? Or is it to fly?
If it is to fly then a great deal more work is required. So far it seems to be a model in the first sense only.

April 6, 2010 11:29 pm

P.S.
The Oracle guy’s idea of a multi-tier climate application is actually not that bad at all. It would certainly be a big improvement over the bazzilon flat files and custom programs that the science currently uses.

April 6, 2010 11:31 pm

[quote Leif Svalgaard (23:27:49) :
The booze must have been flowing at Dennis’s dinner, because the ‘multi-tiered’ database is just sloppy usage.
[/quote]

Probably. Plus, a sales guy will often have sloppy usage of terms even when they’re sober. And even when they’re a sales guy for a large technical company like Oracle.

Steve Goddard
April 6, 2010 11:35 pm

Dennis Wingo (22:36:20) :
Many calculations done in climate models could be done much faster with a huge multi-dimensional lookup table. However, the amount of memory required is prohibitive.

Anu
April 6, 2010 11:40 pm

I once designed an automobile on paper – it looked great, accelerated strongly, was very affordable, and got over 100 mpg.
Unfortunately, I forgot to include windshield wipers, and brakes.
Luckily, nobody ever built it.

April 6, 2010 11:41 pm

The observed climate is just the equilibrium response to such variations with the positions of the air circulation systems and the speed of the hydrological cycle always adjusting to bring energy differentials above and below the troposphere back towards equilibrium (Wilde’s Law ?).
I think it more likely to be the integrated response to the partial differentials which locally and over larger scales tend to equilibrium.
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/08/big-heat-pipe-in-sky.html

April 6, 2010 11:43 pm

Improved formatting:
The observed climate is just the equilibrium response to such variations with the positions of the air circulation systems and the speed of the hydrological cycle always adjusting to bring energy differentials above and below the troposphere back towards equilibrium (Wilde’s Law ?).
I think it more likely to be the integrated response to the partial differentials which locally and over larger scales tend to equilibrium.
http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/08/big-heat-pipe-in-sky.html

Al Gore's Holy Hologram
April 6, 2010 11:51 pm

The ONLY way to predict weather and climate changes is to have millions upon millions of data collecting bots in the air, on the surface, in the sea and also in space, that are all networked together and sending petabytes of data to extremely powerful networked servers to crunch through that data in real time to make predictions.
BUT, four problems.
1. The software necessary would need the very precise climate models. It would be even better if the software was intelligent and was able to study all the data and learn about how the climate works without biased humans getting in the way. The software itself could thus create an adapting climate model based on the petabytes of data it processes.
2. We don’t have all those millions of sensors and what a mess it would be.
3. We don’t have the processing power to crunch through petabytes of data in realtime or to power an artificial intelligent observer of the climate.
4. We don’t have the network bandwidth for all those sensors to send petabytes of data on such a wide, massive scale.
I must reiterate, this is the ONLY way to create a reliable climate model. Anything else is a human’s best guess.

DirkH
April 6, 2010 11:51 pm

“Dennis Wingo (22:36:20) :
I was talking with a senior contractor to Oracle (the company) tonight”
Oracle guys will always tell you that a huge database solves the problem.
(And when you’re foolish enough to build your continent-wide communication system on that basis and it falls straight over they’ll tell you to just add more servers… good luck…)
Ask an IBM guy and he’ll tell you that a zzzzz-Server will do it best…
Ask a GreenPeace guy and he’ll tell you civil disobedience and lots of donations will work best…

GaryT
April 6, 2010 11:57 pm

Leif Svalgaard :
You make sense in a world of nonsense. You must find a way to make sense to the populace. I think, and I guess, hope, that you know that the obsession on climate is futile. Someone needs to point this out. Monckton has tried and I laud his efforts. But someone has to stop this madness. It is consuming a larger portion of my life than is necessary. I don’t want to die knowing that a majority of my life was obsessed on a non entity.

Dave F
April 7, 2010 12:04 am

Sorry, only managed para. 1 & 2, so if point is made elsewhere, forgive me.
The term ‘climate’ refers to an avergae of weather, or what we can expect the weather of an area to be, sorta.
This entire term rests on the foundation of past experiences hitherto unquantified by dynamic models and supercomputers and satellites. We are in an era of unprecedented knowledge, so I would chill out a bit on the predictions of doom, but I digress.
Let us assume that the tree ring proxies and direct readings of temperature from dinosaur anal bones gives us a real idea of what Celsius the past encompassed. Do we have current proxies to put them up against? Oh? What say you? We do?!?!?! Finally! We can settle this global warming business once and for all! What do our modern tree ring proxies say?! Oh, yes, I understand. The trees can’t breathe anymore, despite their continued growth, so no longer do they measure a consistent temperature.
But, we have advances!! Yes, let us use our thermometers! We can do that for certain! Where are they?

Martin Mason
April 7, 2010 12:31 am

Very well done and good to see fresh thinking.

April 7, 2010 12:31 am

1. Solar surface turbulence increases causing an expansion of the Earth’s atmosphere.
2. Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation reduces, energy is lost to space faster.

..Every serious hypothesis must be capable of being proved false. In the case of this NCM my narrative is replete with opportunities for falsification if the future real world observations diverge from the pattern of cause and effect that I have set out.

On falsification –
Can you clarify what you mean by “Solar surface turbulence” and how it’s measured?
How much would the Earth’s atmosphere expand? And where? Could we measure the change in density at the earth’s surface?
What does “Resistance to outgoing longwave radiation reduces” mean?
Do you mean there would be a measurable reduction in OLR? What kind of value over what time period?

April 7, 2010 12:32 am

..in the last comment I meant “measurable increase in OLR”

GaryT
April 7, 2010 12:45 am

I think that we are all a bunch of wussies. We don’t want to do anything because we were taught that the things we need to do were wrong. We were taught that they were un-American when they are in fact, very American.
Legislatiting the weather? Someone has to stop this.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 12:58 am

Thanks for the comments so far including Leif’s.
I am aware that this is just a tentative beginning. Something causes the polar oscillations to shrink and grow over decadal time periods. Many have suggested that the primary influence comes from above. I have made one suggestion, let others find an alternative if they can.
I am content to rely on future real world climate developments and improvements in data collection to rebut, refine or even overturn the model proposed.

wayne
April 7, 2010 1:12 am

Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (23:51:09) :
Be careful thinking that even then you could actually get an answer, remember this is an extrapolation into the future type of problem, the climate system is much like solving the traveling salesman problem with a thousand nodes or solving a non-NP problem. That is, even if you had all of the data, all of the equations of all of the interactions and all of the time in the world you still may not be able to EVER solve it. That is a problem in complexity theory itself.
If you don’t know of ‘travaling salesman problem’ or ‘non-NP problem’, you probably would enjoy knowing of them, look them up.

DavidB
April 7, 2010 1:33 am

In several places the author uses the expression that such-and-such happens IN ORDER TO produce such-and-such an effect. Can he explain what he means? Is he implying that there is some ‘design’ built into the system? If not, he runs into the same problem as Lovelock’s Gaia: in the absence of some kind of natural selection among planetary systems, we have no reason to expect such a system to be self-regulating ‘in order to’ maintain conditions within a certain range.

son of mulder
April 7, 2010 2:05 am

I have 2 problems with this
You say
“1) When the atmosphere expands it does so in three dimensions around the entire circumference of the planet but the number of molecules in the atmosphere remains the same with the result that there is an average reduced density per unit of volume with more space between the molecules. Consequently the atmosphere presents a reduced resistance to outgoing longwave energy photons that experience a reduced frequency of being obstructed by molecules in the atmosphere.”
I say…. But this also means that the back radiation has a longer free path as well and because the atmosphere will be higher there is a risk of collisions for further out.
There must be someone who has integrated over the whole atmosphere for 2 temperature states with constant CO2 and everything else to establish the theoretical veracity of your claim or not and the magnitude.
2) You conclude from Miskolczi that “He appears to have demonstrated mathematically that if greenhouse gases in the air other than water vapour increase then the amount of water vapour declines so as to maintain an optimum optical depth for the atmosphere which modulates the energy flow to maintain sea surface and surface air temperature equilibrium. In other words the hydrological cycle speeds up or slows down just as I have always proposed.”
I say this seems at odds with your statement “The observed climate is just the equilibrium response to such variations with the positions of the air circulation systems and the speed of the hydrological cycle always adjusting to bring energy differentials above and below the troposphere back towards equilibrium (Wilde’s Law ?).”
ie More CO2 = less water vapour = speeded up hydrological cycle. I don’t buy this as warmer air holds more water vapour but I would buy more water is in the form of more clouds and so higher albedo and more than offsets the water vapour effect?

Spector
April 7, 2010 2:10 am

I believe that Stephen Wilde’s top-down approach is much better way to obtain a true understanding of this problem. It has the sound of real science. Good work!

MartinGAtkins
April 7, 2010 2:12 am

To Leif Svalgaard
I’m having trouble with this statement by the author.
1. Firstly we must abandon the idea that variations in total solar output have a significant effect over periods of time relevant to human existence. At this point I should mention the ‘faint sun paradox’:
We have discussed in the past whether TSI alone during long solar durational variability could be the driver of relatively strong climate impacts.
After doing all the calculations that are reasonably possible, I had to concede that your position that TSI alone could not explain the MWP or the little ice age was built on sound ground.
I’m having trouble grasping the concept of the ‘faint sun paradox’. The author gives the wikipedia as a starting reference but as usual, that source is contaminated with agenda driven drivel.
On the face of it FSP appears to contradict the laws of thermal dynamics. Is the hypothesis built on sound physics or is it another scientific consensus?
I’m interested the time the star has progressed early into it’s main sequence and is no longer adding mass through accretion.
Do you have a reference I can use to advance my understanding that’s geared toward the theoretical concept rather than the complex calculations?
Thank you for any help.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_young_Sun_paradox

TLM
April 7, 2010 2:31 am

Gosh – where to start with this one…?
The biggies here are:
(iii) Counterintuitively an active sun means cooling not warming and vice versa.
and
(v) [re CO2 forcing causing back radiation of infrared] …since evaporation has a net cooling effect due to the removal of energy as latent heat the net effect should be increased cooling and not warming of the oceans
Well if (iii) is correct then the less energy we receive from the sun, the warmer we get, and the more energy the cooler we get. How do I falsify that one? I know, lets compare a planet close to the sun, such as Mercury, with one that is far away such as Neptune. By this theory Neptune should be boiling hot and Mercury freezing cold. Hmm…
It also blows out the Milankovitch Cycles as an explanation for the ice ages. This theory predicts (extremely accurately as it happens) that known variations in the orbit of the Earth bring us closer or move us further away from the sun creating really quite small changes in insolation. However, these small changes are enough to cause huge areas of the northern hemisphere to be covered in vast ice sheets.
Sorry, I don’t buy (iii). You need to explain the mechanism in more detail.
For (v) I would try an experiment involving a pan full of cold water. Above this I would put an infrared lamp. Now according to your theory the water should get colder due to evaporation as the heat from the infrared lamp hits the water.
But if this were to happen then as soon as the water warmed a little under the lamp it would instantly cool due to evaporation and evaporation would stop. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the physical process. If the water does not get warmer then greater evaporation cannot occur. The greater evaporation only happens because the water is warmer! Sunshine (infrared, ultraviolet, and visible spectrum) all warm the sea – as anybody who has paddled in the water on a beach in the Summer and avoided doing so in the Winter will testify.
Sure, evaporation (and re-emission of infrared radiation) will moderate the speed of the rise in temperature and eventually return it to a steady (but much higher) temperature – but rise it most definitely will.
I could go on and on but I have a life to lead.

stephen richards
April 7, 2010 2:37 am

magicjava (22:54:43) :
I’ll have a go at this one, Leif. The problem for most scientific lay people is that “physics is not about common sense”, as Einstein once said. Expansion of materiels requires kinetic energy ( the energy of movement) to create the molecular collisons which in turn force the expansion. In metal, for instance, the molecular structure is agitated by the increased flow of electrons which in turn cause the structure to vibrate and therefor expand. Its what makes an electric fire work. The energy creates collisions and therefore heat as well as movement. The total energy remains the same, of course. Conservation of energy law.
In the upper atmosphere the molecules have so much space to move (low density environment) that collisions are much less probable and therefore expansion much less likely.
STEPHEN.
Makes a great debating point and I realise that you never intended it to be other than that. You have left open many issues which will need further investigation, experimentation and proof but, never-the-less at least you took the time and trouble to do something useful rather than slagging off your detractors.

anna v
April 7, 2010 2:56 am

I tend to agree with Leif that the stratosphere has too little mass to play the role it is given, whether expanding or contracting. It cannot be a driver.
I also have, as Richard has, a soft spot for the, ignored by all climate players,, moon cycles . The tides in the ocean mixing waters twice a day close to land, and the atmosphere following the clockwork.
Re: Richard Holle (Apr 6 22:08)
Mainly because the moon phases and cycles play such a role in fishing sailing and agriculture in my part of the world.
And folklore: it always rains on Good Friday because nature itself is weeping for Christ. It often does, in a land where a month without rain is not uncommon in spring. Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after equinox and after the next full moon.
It is good though that other models are brought fourth to compete with the failed GCMs. I could see a neural net model a la Tsonis with these extra inputs . It would not need the stratosphere. Just the connections with the patterns of winds and currents.

April 7, 2010 3:00 am

Stephen Wilde (00:58:02) :
Thanks for the comments so far including Leif’s.
I am aware that this is just a tentative beginning. Something causes the polar oscillations to shrink and grow over decadal time periods. Many have suggested that the primary influence comes from above. I have made one suggestion, let others find an alternative if they can.
___________________
Have you looked to see if there is a correlation between the declination of the outer planets above, and then below the ecliptic plane, that would be influencing polarity of the solar wind as it goes by? Causing the switch in size, strength, polarity of the polar circulations? Or as Harry says you could just ask Erl Happ, (calm down Leif, I just asked is all.)
HarryG (22:05:04) :
I would be interested in Erl Happs take on this.

Claude Harvey
April 7, 2010 3:14 am

I think a “forked stick” would be about as useful as any of the predictive climate models I’ve seen to date.

April 7, 2010 3:24 am

RE multi-tiered database, we built a few to overcome processing speed issues. Instead of one massive database, the data is segregated into discrete databases, so that each database can be accessed simultaneously. With very large amounts of data, this speeds up the retrieval process so the number crunching / report generation steps can provide results in a meaningful time. Somewhat analogous to distributed processing.
In one version, an executive module evaluates the data requirements, then sends requests out to each affected database, where data retrieval occurs. As data flows back up out of each database, the executive monitors the progress. When all the required data is available, the executive triggers the processing module. One variation has the processing module operate segmentally, rather than waiting for all the data to arrive.
This was but one approach to solve the processing time problem presented by very large databases. One can make a fortune if one has a better idea in this area. Time is money, and especially so for database operations. Databases are growing very large very fast, so this is a hot topic. Very hot.

BBk
April 7, 2010 3:31 am

“iii) Counterintuitively an active sun means cooling not warming and vice versa.”
I thought we just went through an extended period of inactive sun, but declining temperatures over the last decade? Is this model falsified already?

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 3:50 am

TLM (02:31:17)
All points familiar to me that I have dealt with before, for example:
i) The more turbulent the solar energy flow the more the atmosphere is disturbed from the top of the stratosphere upwards which seems to increase the rate of energy loss to space. The entire atmosphere above the stratosphere and possibly the upper portion of the stratosphere itself is affected which seems to at least partially deal with the density based objections from Leif and others. Any change in net solar power output is relatively small as Leif says and being a seperate issue apparently incapable of explaining observed variability in the climate system.
Bear in mind that the NCM does not rely on my solar suggestion. Any mechanism capable of affecting the size and intensity of the polar high pressure systems from above will suffice.
ii) I’ve considered the issue of infra red on a water surface in considerable detail previously. Whatever happens the extra infra red cannot cause warming of the ocean body. Whether it actually causes enhanced cooling or is simply neutral doesn’t matter for the NCM. A neutral effect is sufficient. No one has proved that there is a net warming effect though there is speculation about a proposed ocean skin effect which is supposed to reduce the rate of energy loss from water to air. It has not been proved to be true.
My NCM identifies the areas that must be resolved. The data is not currently available. Whatever the truth turns out to be the NCM will simply need refinement. At present it potentially explains a great deal, covers most if not all observed climate changes and broadly complies with the laws of physics subject to resolution of the issues raised about the solar effects on the atmosphere and infra red effects on the oceans.
The suggestion that there are no solar effects seems to contradict observations and the suggestion that extra infra red warms the oceans on timescales that are meaningful is against logic given the net cooling effect of evaporation. However if either aspect can be resolved the NCM remains intact overall but needs refinement.
The picture I have painted fits what we see. We just need to explain it more precisely than I can do at this point. It is a work in progress and I appreciate assistance but will not accept blind prejudices.

GabrielHBay
April 7, 2010 4:27 am

@Leif: Multi-tiered database? Hmmm… dunno what the standard definition would be, but would the following arrangement be disqualified?
A primary set of data, the first tier. A second tier, containing additional data referenced to parameters contained in the first tier. A third tier, containing additional data referenced to parameters contained in the second tier… etc. etc. For me any grownup database is designed on this model, since commonality and maintenance of “additional” data can be optimized?

April 7, 2010 5:13 am

magicjava (23:26:16) :
“the entire atmosphere up to the thermosphere and perhaps the exosphere”, or whether he had a more limited meaning of “atmosphere” in mind. I took what he said as the latter.
Except that it is the former that expands and contracts.

April 7, 2010 5:17 am

Stephen Wilde (03:50:49) :
but will not accept blind prejudices.
Valid criticism is often classified as ‘blind prejudice’, especially when devastating.

April 7, 2010 5:22 am

GabrielHBay (04:27:24) :
A primary set of data, the first tier. A second tier, containing additional data referenced to parameters contained in the first tier. A third tier, containing additional data referenced to parameters contained in the second tier… etc. etc.
This is a hierarchal database [the first databases created 50 years ago were of this kind – which are very efficient]. Oracle sells a relational database which as a defining characteristic has that it is ‘flat’. The ‘multi-tiered database’ just seems to be a commercial buzz-word with little or no substance.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 5:23 am

BBk (03:31:31)
I think you will find that global temperatures have held up pretty well over the past decade despite the inactive sun and a strong La Nina a couple of years ago. Much puzzlement has been expressed as regards that.
The La Nina reduced tropospheric air temperatures but the quiet sun may have mitigated the effect.
Currently the tropics and the highest latitudes are warm despite the cold mid latitudes to give a high global temperature overall.
Model not falsified as yet. In fact it is being confirmed as time passes although the precise mechanisms and chains of cause and effect remain open for debate.

Curiousgeorge
April 7, 2010 5:35 am

“Then we have the chaotic variability of weather superimposed on the whole caboodle.”
It’s not just the above. It’s the entire non-linear dynamical complexity of the entire universe. This planet does not exist in isolation from the rest of the cosmos. So, if you really want to model the weather on our little speck of dust, you would need to create a computerized clone of the entire cosmos, which means accounting for all of the initial and boundary conditions as well as all feedback and feed-forward influences. Good luck with that. 🙂

Editor
April 7, 2010 5:46 am

Can I play too?

When the atmosphere expands it does so in three dimensions …. Consequently the atmosphere presents a reduced resistance to outgoing longwave energy photons that experience a reduced frequency of being obstructed by molecules in the atmosphere.

The expansion of the thermosphere is the largest change, but that’s near vacuum conditions. Even there if it impacts satellite orbits for, (wild guess) 100 km, that’s pretty small compared to the 6400 km radius of the Earth. Perhaps a better analogy is that a filter made out of several screens separated by some gap behaves the same if the gap is increased.
Perhaps the horizontal stretching is enough for the small changes you need, but I think the killer is that the majority of the atmosphere, say the first 90%, undergoes far less expansion.
Do you envision adding the math to your verbal framework? It would seem to me that once that’s done you’d have a model that manages to predict climate (averaged weather) without having to predict the weather along the way. I’d consider that a good thing, at least a useful alternative.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 5:53 am

curiousgeorge (05:35:55)
I’m not sure we have to go quite that far 🙂
As Leif is always telling us, issues of scale are highly relevant.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 5:58 am

Leif Svalgaard (05:17:20)
Your comments are hardly ‘devastating’. If there is no solar effect on the strength of the polar atmospheric high pressure systems then another mechanism must be found. The overall NCM still holds. The latitudinal positions and relative intensities of all the air circulation systems do clearly respond to oceanic pressures from below and atmospheric influences from above. From that, all else follows. The precise mechanisms are not critical.

Leonard Weinstein
April 7, 2010 5:59 am

There were many good points made by the author, but there was too much effort to make a complete story, which was not justified at this point. I would suggest backing down on trying to be so complete, as the portions that seem to be wrong make the entire story less reasonable. Barometric pressure and local temperatures have been measures at large numbers of locations for a long time. This would give air density variation. Solar intensity has been observed in the form of spot number. The intensity of cosmic radiation (related to spot number) has been deduced from their interaction with the Earth going back much longer. There has not been shown to be a density variation of significance that correlates with average temperature variation (e.g, the recent high average temperature came from a small very hot area over the ocean and a small northern area, and more normal to even colder temperatures everywhere else, not global temperatures being warmer), and Solar activity has been shown to correlate very well with much of the long term (thousands of years time scale) global temperature trend.

Pamela Gray
April 7, 2010 6:09 am

Steven, the AO winter anomaly data has a fairly good correlation with ice build up and lower summer melt. This seems a much stronger argument than solar influences as the mechanism can be clearly understood. Of course there still needs to be an explanation of why the AO goes negative, or whether or not it has an oscillatory or random behavior pattern.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 6:10 am

‘anna v (02:56:45) :
I tend to agree with Leif that the stratosphere has too little mass to play the role it is given, whether expanding or contracting. It cannot be a driver.’
It doesn’t need to be a driver. Merely involved in processes whereby the rates of energy release upward from the stratosphere can vary. The stratosphere seems to cool when the upper layers of atmosphere are warming and/or when the troposphere is warming. Since the mid 90’s it seems to have reversed the earlier cooling and is now warming slightly at a time of cooling upper atmosphere from the quiet sun and a cooling troposphere from a negative PDO.
As far as I know there has never been uniform cooling or warming right through from surface to space so there is clearly a regulatory process involving the speed of upward energy transfer going on at some point between surface and space.
My NCM proposes the stratosphere regulating the speed of energy flow from tropopause or thereabouts to space and the troposphere regulating the flow from surface to tropopause.

Tom in Florida
April 7, 2010 6:37 am

Stephen,
Perhaps you could clear up a couple of things for me.
1. #6 & #16. It is my understanding that the ITCZ moves with the Sun due to increases and decreases in insolation caused by the Earth’s axis tilt, moving northward in NH summer until the solstice and then back towards the equator in a well known pattern.
2. You talk of jet streams moving. It is my understanding that the location of the jet streams are at the boundry of warm and cold air masses, the stronger winning the day and moving the stream north or south accordingly. What mechanism is used to make one of these air masses stronger than the other in order for the jets to move?
Thanks

Richard M
April 7, 2010 6:37 am

I did not see any reference to the bio-sphere. Look at:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/uoc-ruo032910.php
May or may not be valid but the climate is very, very complex and I’m not sure how anyone can model it to the degree necessary to make policy decisions.

Mike
April 7, 2010 6:39 am

Don’t you just love a science article with no references to the existing literature?
And it is like totally amazing that Steve has developed a new mathematical model without presenting a single equation. Wow!

April 7, 2010 6:52 am

Stephen Wilde (05:58:28) :
If there is no solar effect on the strength of the polar atmospheric high pressure systems then another mechanism must be found. The overall NCM still holds.
A model is about mechanisms. You say that ‘solar’ is not critical. So, try to remove everything solar from your ‘model’ and see where you are. A good model eliminates all that is not essential so that the truly determining factors stand out and can be discussed. It is a favorite ‘trick’ [to use a word that climate ‘science’ has popularized] to load up a ‘model’ or ‘theory’ with extraneous elements in order to obscure the essential flaws and to erect enough straw men to fend of criticism for a long time.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 6:54 am

Tom in Florida (06:37:41)
Hi Tom,
1) I’m interested only in latitudinal movements beyond normal seasonal variation. It appears that during the LIA the ITCZ was nearer the equator than it is now. During the recnt warming spell the jets moved poleward. They have now moved back equatorward again.
2) The equatorial air masses become stronger or weaker as they are warmed or cooled by variable rates of energy release from the oceans. The polar air masses become stronger or weaker as they are allowed to warm or cool by variable rates of energy release to space (unless someone has a better idea).

April 7, 2010 6:55 am

Leonard Weinstein (05:59:16) :
there was too much effort to make a complete story, which was not justified at this point. I would suggest backing down on trying to be so complete
Often, when you try to explain everything, you end up explaining nothing, because there are just to many loose pieces.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:01 am

Leonard Weinstein (05:59:16)
Fair points but I’d rather start with as complete a story as possible and then change it as necessary when more data is available.
As regards density I’d say that total density stays much the same. What changes is density per unit volume which I propose affects energy distribution within the system.
I’m resigned to the fact that it is going to take time for the thought behind all this to be fully appreciated. It is very easy for misinterpretations to be made by those who are newly considering the points made.

Todd Tilton
April 7, 2010 7:03 am

I googled on multi-tier database. It seems to be just a database used as the data tier in an n-tier architecture.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:03 am

Leif Svalgaard (06:52:35)
Advice noted but not accepted. I think a solar influence is persuasive enough to include it.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:07 am

Mike (06:39:35)
Where do I claim it to be a ‘science article’ or a ‘mathematical model’ ?
It is a logical description of the processes that must be occurring in one form or another or to one degree or another to get long term observations to fit the basic laws of physics.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:14 am

Pamela Grey (06:09:41)
Hi Pamela.
Quite true but the ice build up follows the development of a negative AO so I have considered it a consequence rather than a cause.
As you say, the cause of the AO changes is critical. The only evidence I see so far is solar. AO was largely positive whilst the sun was active from cycles 21, 22 and 23 and also during active cycle 19. It is now more negative whilst the sun is less active for cycle 24. It was also somewhat negative during relatively weak cycle 20. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is looking rather like evidence.
However I do consider the oceanic effects far more substantial than the solar effects.

April 7, 2010 7:17 am

Stephen Wilde: Just a couple of questions/comments to start. You wrote, “However that narrative is based on what we have actually observed over a period of 1000 years with the gaps filled in by deduction informed by known laws of physics.”
Observed or reconstructed? Reconstructions of climate indexes can vary greatly, depending on the proxy and its location. Which reconstruction is correct? Example, the PDO:
http://i40.tinypic.com/2vjbj91.png
The graph is from this post:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/03/is-there-60-year-pacific-decadal.html
You wrote, “The current models neither recognise the presence of that internal system variability nor the processes that ultimately stabilise it.”
Please provide links to sources (papers or web pages) that support this.
You wrote, “It is likely that the current powerful run of positive Pacific Decadal Oscillations is the pulse of warmth from the Mediaeval Warm Period returning to the surface…”
Please define the period (years, decades, centuries) of “the current powerful run of positive Pacific Decadal Oscillations.” Please also document how you came to the conclusion that “the current powerful run of positive Pacific Decadal Oscillations is the pulse of warmth from the Mediaeval Warm Period returning to the surface”.
You wrote, “The length of the thermohaline circulation is not synchronous with the length of the variations in solar surface turbulence so it is very much a lottery as to whether a returning warm or cool pulse will encounter an active or inactive sun.”
In the above quote, are you referring to THC as the hypothetical 1500-year cycle or to the measured shorter-term, multidecadal and less, cycle?
In closing, based on the title and your introduction, I was expecting to find a working climate model, one with outputs of simulations to show how your model is better than existing models. What I found was a discussion of factors you would include in your climate model. So your assumptions about your “model” are simply that, assumptions. This was disappointing. Or have I missed a link to the model itself?

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:21 am

Ric Werme (05:46:20)
I’m not a mathematician so I can’t go there.
You say,
“Perhaps the horizontal stretching is enough for the small changes you need, but I think the killer is that the majority of the atmosphere, say the first 90%, undergoes far less expansion.”
but I’m not sure that is a killer point.
Any expansion or contraction would change rate of flow and we clearly see changes in rates of flow at different levels because troposphere, stratosphere, and the upper layers never warm or cool in tandem.
The climate observations suggest that however small the changes in the rate of energy flow they are enough to produce what we see.

Curiousgeorge
April 7, 2010 7:30 am

Stephen Wilde (05:53:08) :
curiousgeorge (05:35:55)
I’m not sure we have to go quite that far 🙂
As Leif is always telling us, issues of scale are highly relevant.

Probably not, but there are some more local issues that I think merit consideration. For example the biological impacts; and relevant to space, the 7300 tons or so of space borne matter that we gain annually – suppose that went up by a factor of 10 or 100 in a single year due to passage thru a cometary tail, etc.? I realize that much of this is completely unpredictable, but that is the nature of chaotic systems, is it not? 🙂

April 7, 2010 7:31 am

I insist they are losing money. There is a big commercial niche available for a “Climate modelling computer game”, hope now that “El Gordo” is involved in Google they will do it. Can imagine? : “Build your own Armageddon scenario”, be it a Global Warming or an Ice Age one, you can include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, gigantic CME reaching the planet…WOW!!!…there are a lot of possibilites, as scientific as any post normal science models from NASA, CRU or MET Office computer games, NOW in your PC o favorite video game console!!.

April 7, 2010 7:31 am

Stephen Wilde (00:58:02): “Something causes the polar oscillations to shrink and grow over decadal time periods. Many have suggested that the primary influence comes from above. I have made one suggestion, let others find an alternative if they can.”
Refer to Wu et al presentation “The Impact of ENSO on NAO Variability” for a starter:
http://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/seminars/presentations/2004/Wu_COLA2004.ppt
Their conclusions:
“The observational evidence showed that NAO interannual variability is well correlated to ENSO variability in the tropical Pacific
“The modeling studies demonstrate that the relation of ENSO and NAO is hidden in the seemingly white noise like NAO variability”
Have you looked at ENSO, Stephen, for decadal correlations with AO/NAO and SAM?

davidmhoffer
April 7, 2010 7:32 am

On “multi-tiered” databases
I’ don’t presume to speak for the Oracle techie who suggested this as I don’t know what exactly he was thinking, but there is merit in building a multiple tier object oriented database model. In fact that was what I initially thought climate models were, only when I started doing a lot of reading did I discover how simplistic they were.
Let’s start with “object oriented”. By taking this approach you would be able to build “simple” models of specific things that have known inputs and outputs. For example, you could take each of the relationships described in the article above and create one model for each. Suppose you have a researcher who has figured out how to predict the position of the jet stream based on a certain set of factors and can build a model that uses those factors as input, and provides the position of the jet streams as output. Then you have a completely different researcher who has figured out based on the jet stream position, how to calculate average distribution of cloud cover. A different researcher still might have built a model that predicts ice coverage based on ocean heat content. What you do is build up a library of objects. You may even have more than one object that does the same thing. For example you might have a “Svensgaard” object for TSI and you might have a “Lean” object for TSI, though I’ve heard strong opinions expressed in this blog that the former is more accurate 🙂
The reason it is multi-tiered is to keep data separate from the objects themselves. Suppose you have several objects each of which uses temperature series as their input. You could then have in your data layer, a UHI temperature series, or GISS, or several. As the data gets updated, the output of the models gets updated at the same time. Now you have a tier of objects, and you have a tier of data.
Now you can build more tiers by defining relationships between the objects. So if a researcher believes that jet stream position is a leading indicator of ice extent, she need not model either jet stream position or ice extent if those models already exist. She can simply build her theory and use the models to hindcast and forecast and see if it matches her theory. She could go crazy and postulate a relationship between TSI, OHC, jet stream position, and a dozen other factors and test it without researching all those other factors first. If she can prove her theory right, there is now a new object in the library that outputs predictions of ice extent. In essence, you can now build models comprised of models (objects) driven by data. You can change the data as new data becomes available, change the objects as new research becomes available to make them more accurate, and so on, without compromising the over arching models that people are building to understand the big picture.
You do in fact need a very good DBA to put this together. Put it together wrong and performance and maintenance will be a nightmare.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:33 am

Richard M (06:37:43)
I have seen that link and it refers to thinner clouds when the sun was fainter.
That suggests a slower hydrological cycle back then. Confirmation of my proposition. No need to invoke the biosphere as a driver at all. Generally the activity level of the biosphere is a consequence and not a cause.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:35 am

curiousgeorge (07:30:50)
Quite true but as I said in my article you can deal with those effects within my NCM in so far as they affect the system in one way or another.

April 7, 2010 7:35 am

Stephen Wilde (07:03:55) :
Advice noted but not accepted.
You have this backwards. It is for you to try to make us accept your theory.

April 7, 2010 7:38 am

Stephen Wilde (07:21:39) :
Any expansion or contraction would change rate of flow
This is the fundamental flaw.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 7:39 am

Bob Tisdale (07:17:79)
Hello Bob,
We have a past history of difficulties arising from our respective styles and use of language so I hope you will understand if I refrain from engaging with you here. It would probably derail the thread.

Vincent
April 7, 2010 7:42 am

The strangest prediction of all seems to be that cold or warm pulses from a thousand years ago can be predicted to “pop out” at specific times in the future.
“20.Ocean energy input decreases and the amount of energy entering the thermohaline circulation declines sending a pulse of slightly cooler water on that 1000 to 1500 year journey.
21.After 1000 to 1500 years those variations in energy flowing through the thermohaline circulation return to the surface.”
Surely it is a mistake when talking about 1000 year journeys to imagine that the heat in warmer pulses remain intact for these lengths of time. I would guess that the second law of thermodynamics would make sure that these temperature anomalies don’t last that long.

johnnythelowery
April 7, 2010 7:46 am

Regarding the Amazon River/Solar connection….Brian Cox in the this BBC2
part 3 of Episode 1 of ‘Wonders of the Solar System’ weighs in with this:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?username=AnonH5N1&q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DNi7dKceWbHc&video_id=eQSy4NFKZko&event=url_redirect&url_redirect=True&usg=RnZDlizVFYbZV57v-uuBRTdnOcE=

Larry Geiger
April 7, 2010 7:52 am

Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (23:51:09) :
The ONLY way to predict weather and climate changes is to have millions upon millions of data collecting bots in the air, on the surface, in the sea and also in space, that are all networked together and sending petabytes of data to extremely powerful networked servers to crunch through that data in real time to make predictions.
(I am not a scientist).
This is not always true. Sometimes a simple formula will simply describe the interactions of millions upon millions of interacting agencies. Sometimes not. When I see the graphs of the glacial periods, each over 102,000 years, it looks pretty simple at that scale.
Trying to model the system by looking at individual components over very short time periods may not be the best way to model climate. Maybe.
We seem to be able to mostly agree on the long term cycles. Maybe the best way is to slowly refine what we know from the long term. We may never be able to make reliable predictions over a few years or decades. YMMV

ICE
April 7, 2010 8:13 am

Steven, to test your hypothesis you could consider a reverse situation:
If expansion and contraction of the upper level of atmosphere regulates the escape of heath by radiation, than in exactly the same manner this expansion/contraction should regulate the incoming radiation. This would be than easily detectable effect on 1362W/m2.
Leif Svalgaard or anyone else: is there such effect?

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 8:22 am

Vincent (07:42:18)
“Surely it is a mistake when talking about 1000 year journeys to imagine that the heat in warmer pulses remain intact for these lengths of time. I would guess that the second law of thermodynamics would make sure that these temperature anomalies don’t last that long.”
It would be a mistake to assume that a temperature change caused by a change in insolation lasting some 500 years would entirely dissipate and have no effect on the temperature of the water that eventually comes out at the end.
They don’t ‘pop out’. The ocean surface temperatures change gradually over time as the effect feeds through. I suspect that the gradual recovery from the LIA is from just that cause.

TLM
April 7, 2010 8:24 am

Stephen Wilde (03:50:49)
I will leave your bizarre theory that higher insolation cools the atmosphere for others to discuss in detail if they want to. You are putting up a complex argument as a way of confusing a very simple issue. The energy budget of the atmosphere is such that if more solar energy finds its way in past the stratosphere, and is not immediately reflected back out by clouds or other reflective surfaces, then that energy will warm something up, and the generated heat cannot escape without the temperature of the atmosphere increasing. Period.
Sorry, but you totally misunderstand the most basic of physical laws if you think that an increase in infra-red directed at the ocean will not warm it up, or that evaporation causes a “net cooling” or even has a “neutral” effect.
The fact that evaporation from the sea increases is an indication that it is warming. As the water warms, the rate of evaporation increases. This causes a loss of heat from the surface of the water through phase change. In other words if you gave it a quick burst of heat (a.k.a. infra-red radiation) then this would warm the water and increase the rate of evaporation. This would then cool it back to its original temperature (there are other forces that contribute of course such as convection and radiation). However if those bursts of heat were to become more frequent or more intense then in order for the rate of evaporation to increase from the surface to counteract it, the kinetic energy of the water molecules (i.e. the water’s temperature) would need to increase.
Over a “climatic” period of many years (rather than a “weather” period of hours or days) the amount of infra-red radiation reaching the sea will be relatively predictable assuming a static sun and an unchanging atmosphere. Seasonal, annual and even decadal variations would cancel each other out if measured over a long enough period. La Nina would counteract El Nino, PDO and NAO will cycle round and back again and so on.
However, if the sun were to become less active (solar cycles) – or further from the earth (Milankovitch cycles) then the amount of infra-red hitting the ocean would reduce and the seas would cool. Sure, some years they would warm up and in other years they would cool down – but on average the trend would be inexorably cooler.
Similarly if you change the composition of the atmosphere by introducing large quantities of a greenhouse gas that causes greater back-radiation of infra-red towards the surface of the surface from the air, then over a climatic period of time the seas will get warmer. Sure, in some years they would warm up and in other years they would cool down – but on average the trend would be inexorably warmer.
The only questions are “when?”, “how fast?” and “how much?”. Lots of stuff to debate there, but your paper does not add to that debate because it is just so wrong in so many very fundamental ways.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 8:28 am

Leif Svalgaard (07:38:05)
It’s not a fundamental flaw for the entire NCM. Just a ‘possible’ flaw in one component but which would have to be replaced by an alternative even if you are right.
Do forgive me for daring to disagree with you. I made my decision when you failed to distinguish between two dimensional and three dimensional expansion in another thread. Hence my illustration of a fabric container allowing water through faster as it is stretched by expansion.
Any porous material will become more porous if stretched to enclose a greater volume.

Roger Knights
April 7, 2010 8:40 am

Curiousgeorge (05:35:55) :
… you would need to create a computerized clone of the entire cosmos, …

Done!!! (Astrologically.) It would be amusing to see if this site’s predictions do better than the IPCC’s: http://weathersage.com/

April 7, 2010 8:46 am

Stephen Wilde (07:14:23) : In reply to Pamela Grey you wrote, “As you say, the cause of the AO changes is critical. The only evidence I see so far is solar. AO was largely positive whilst the sun was active from cycles 21, 22 and 23 and also during active cycle 19. It is now more negative whilst the sun is less active for cycle 24. It was also somewhat negative during relatively weak cycle 20. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is looking rather like evidence.”
Unfortunately, the data contradicts your “evidence”. There is no correlation between AO and sunspot numbers/TSI. The correlation coefficient for AO and sunspot numbers = 0.02.
http://i40.tinypic.com/fkr5n6.png
I believe we’ve been through this before on an earlier thread, Stephen.

Richard M
April 7, 2010 8:50 am

davidmhoffer (07:32:09) ,
Thanks for the chuckle. When you mentioned “Svensgaard” I pictured a two headed scientist arguing with himself. Now, what about Svalmark?
Stephen Wilde (07:33:07) :
I have seen that link and it refers to thinner clouds when the sun was fainter.
That suggests a slower hydrological cycle back then. Confirmation of my proposition. No need to invoke the biosphere as a driver at all. Generally the activity level of the biosphere is a consequence and not a cause.

Well, you may be right, and then you may be wrong. If you are wrong your model is worthless and your effort wasted. Before you can determine if
“biosphere is a consequence and not a cause”, you will need to understand this paper.
I think it’s all going to get down to H2O (clouds, etc.) eventually with many varied drivers. You probably have some of the factors correct but it may take a lot more work to get ALL of them correct (while not adding in superfluous ones).

bubbagyro
April 7, 2010 8:51 am

Heat capacity of water and solids. The heat sink of the planet as a whole:
Until we know the distribution of the heat sinks and their insulation from the atmosphere we will not find correlation demonstrable, because we do not know the lag times of various inputs of heat elements, nor how they are subsequently distributed. El Nino and La Nina, Sea Oscillations, etc. are mechanisms that utilize previously stored heat elements that are modulated in various ways. I would advance that, e.g., an active solar cycle may not demonstrate an effect for 5 or 10 or 20 cycles, so that we may find apparent correlation, but not true correlation. Until several or many are sinusoidally in phase, that is. Sort of like rogue ocean waves! Witness the multi-centennial large solar cycles that Milankovich, and now Lorraine Lisiecki and others have teased out of the record because a correlation from a side-effect of causality was apparently found. My point is that we will only ever be able to demonstrate “apparent” correlations that are coincidental according to chaos theory.

April 7, 2010 8:51 am

Stephen Wilde (07:39:48) : You replied, “We have a past history of difficulties arising from our respective styles and use of language so I hope you will understand if I refrain from engaging with you here. It would probably derail the thread.”
You’ve made statements and I’ve asked for documentation. I’ve asked other, simple questions. So, I will take you reply as, you have nothing to support the statements you’ve made that I quoted and you do not have answers to the simple questions I asked. Not good, Stephen.

April 7, 2010 8:57 am

ICE (08:13:38) :
If expansion and contraction of the upper level of atmosphere regulates the escape of heath by radiation, than in exactly the same manner this expansion/contraction should regulate the incoming radiation.
is there such effect?

Not that I know of.
The thermosphere is equivalent to a layer of air one centimeter thick, so does not regulate the radiation in any measurable way. Expanding a 1 centimeter layer to two centimeter on top of a 10 km thick troposphere is what is supposed to control our climate. I don’t think this is the case. Some calculations as how this is done would seem in order.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 9:15 am

Bob Tisdale (08:46:04)
Yes we did refer to that on an earlier thread and you took no note of my replies.
A 50 year period is inadequate because of the lesser cycles and short term chaotic variability overlaying the longer term patterns.
However even in your link AO was generally positive when sunspot numbers were relatively high from the 1970’s to 2000 which is as I say it should be.
The main discrepancy during that short time span is a high sunspot number around 1960 when we had strong solar cycle 19 but the AO was negative. I would say that that was because cycle 19 was preceded and followed by weaker cycles and accompanied by a negative ocean phase. As you may recall I say that the ocean phases also have an effect so if you have a weak ocean phase when there are a lot of sunspots the lack of poleward pressure from the weak oceanic influence fails to take full advantage and allows the AO to remain stronger than it otherwise would be on the basis of solar activity levels alone. By AO being ’stronger’ I mean ‘negative’ because it is the negative phase that pushes the air circulation systems equatorward.
If you can keep your points specific I may feel able to deal with them.

April 7, 2010 9:16 am

Mr Wilde:
You must be aware of the IPCC AR5 RCP models – representative concentration pathways?
The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7282/full/nature08823.html
Paper in Nature on how CO2 could not have been higher in the early geological past w.r.t the ‘early faint sun paradox’
Rosing et al. No climate paradox under the faint early Sun. Nature 464, 744-747 (1 April 2010)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7289/full/nature08955.html

Mike
April 7, 2010 9:17 am

Stephen Wilde (07:07:25) :
“Where do I claim it to be a ’science article’ or a ‘mathematical model’ ?
It is a logical description of the processes that must be occurring in one form or another or to one degree or another to get long term observations to fit the basic laws of physics.”
You have nothing. Nothing at all.

April 7, 2010 9:20 am

Stephen Wilde (08:28:11) :
I made my decision when you failed to distinguish between two dimensional and three dimensional expansion in another thread.
You failed to make sense, is why. The thickness of the atmosphere compared to the radius of the Earth is so small that there is no difference between 2D and 3D, and the number of molecules remains the same. And the amount of air expanding/contracting is 1/1000,000 of the total atmosphere, so whatever influence that may have is too minute to worry about. As I said, this is the fundamental flaw.

Robert of Ottawa
April 7, 2010 9:22 am

This’ll require careful reading;

April 7, 2010 9:23 am

[quote stephen richards (02:37:55) :]
magicjava (22:54:43) :
I’ll have a go at this one, Leif. The problem for most scientific lay people is that “physics is not about common sense”, as Einstein once said. Expansion of materiels requires kinetic energy ( the energy of movement) to create the molecular collisons which in turn force the expansion. In metal, for instance, the molecular structure is agitated by the increased flow of electrons which in turn cause the structure to vibrate and therefor expand. Its what makes an electric fire work. The energy creates collisions and therefore heat as well as movement. The total energy remains the same, of course. Conservation of energy law.
In the upper atmosphere the molecules have so much space to move (low density environment) that collisions are much less probable and therefore expansion much less likely.
[/quote]

Understood. My response was (and still is) that it’s not clear to me that Wilde is talking about anything more than expansion taking place in the stratosphere and lower. At those levels of the atmosphere, expansion happens all the time as warm air rises.
So I’d request that Mr. Wilde specifically say whether or not his model requires expansion of the entire atmosphere, including the thermosphere and exosphere, or if all that’s required is just expansion in the troposphere, tropopause, and stratosphere.
I’d also like to know if his model requires a global expansion, like a ballon being blown up, or if multiple local expansions will do the trick. I’m not sure if the atmosphere at any layer expands and contracts like a balloon. But I’m 100% certain that local expansions happen all the time all over the world.

Robert of Ottawa
April 7, 2010 9:25 am

I think we should throw no variable out of this “NCM”. Thus, include the stratosphere, lunar effects and cosmic ray cloud seeding; their effect may be small but they may surprise us.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 9:28 am

TLM (08:24:20)
Then I think you need to account for the faint sun paradox.
And why CO2 changes never preceded temperature changes throughout the ice core history.
Something prevented the Earth’s temperature from changing much at all despite a substantial increase in solar input.
Your objections are wrong in so many fundamental ways that I would hardly know where to start even if I had the energy.

DeNihilist
April 7, 2010 9:32 am

DavidB (01:33:58) :
A differing view on the state of physics:
http://discovermagazine.com/2009/may/01-the-biocentric-universe-life-creates-time-space-cosmos

April 7, 2010 9:32 am

TLM: You wrote, “Seasonal, annual and even decadal variations would cancel each other out if measured over a long enough period. La Nina would counteract El Nino…”
First, the amplitude and frequency of El Nino events are not counteracted by the frequency and amplitude of La Nina events.
Second, La Nina events are not the opposite of El Nino events. A La Nina event is an exaggeration of an ENSO-neutral state. That is, trade winds increase during a La Nina, decreasing cloud cover over the tropical Pacific, increasing Downward Shortwave Radiation, increasing Pacific Equatorial Current flow. This is how the Pacific Warm Pool is recharged after an El Nino event. It is also one of the reasons why ~25% of the global oceans warm during a La Nina event, (in addition to warming from the El Nino).
http://i48.tinypic.com/2qamu88.png

April 7, 2010 9:37 am

I just read this over for the first time. Great! I will need to study it more completely of course. My first reaction is more then positive because it makes sense and meet the criteria of falsification. Is this a true revolutionary Kuhnian shift? I can’t answer that yet but I can say it is going to be a great ride in the doing. Thank you Stephen Wild.

April 7, 2010 9:40 am

P.S.
Just to be clear about what I’m asking: Do thermals rising into the troposphere and stratosphere and expanding there due to lower air pressure qualify as the “expansion mechanism” in this model?

Michael Ozanne
April 7, 2010 9:49 am

“Leif Svalgaard (22:49:30) :
Dennis Wingo (22:36:20) :
ultimate climate model is a huge multi-tiered database
What is a ‘multi-tiered’ database?”
Well I architect Enteprise Business Intelligence solutions for a living. If I were tasked with doing this the overall solution would have the following bits :-
Databases
1 Stageing – A place to store the raw data
2 Exceptions A place to store items in 1 that can’t be cleansed validated and forwarded to 3
3 Climate Datawarehouse A place to store cleansed validated entries gleaned from 1. These entries will have been re-keyed with surrogate primary keys and rationally determined business keys, all missing values and keys discarded or marked as null. Logic embedded to allow management od slowly changing references and late arriving data
4 Models Derivatives from 3 based on different assumptions, theories, modelling methods, and purposes. All null/missing values and keys fostered to unambiguous missing data missing key references
5 Presentation Views over the models optimised for reporting/analytical performance
SQL entities
6 Set of procedures and functions to populate 1 from sources
7 Set of procedures and functions to populate 3 from 1 and park exceptions in 2
8 Sets of procedures functions and objects to populate 4 from 3
9 Sets of procedures functions and objects to build 5 from 4
In an industrial setting you would also expect
10 Metadata Management tools to broker access to 5
11 Reporting/Analytical tools that pull data from 5 via 9
In our trade jargon 1 to 5 are the database layers or tiers 6 to 9 are the ETL layers or tiers, 10 is the metadata layer/tier 11 is the reporting layer/tier
Possible in practice that additional layers/tiers might be added in the interest of getting the F**king thing to work right…
In hardware terms there would be seperate server resources ( that might be clusters) to database management, ETL processing, Application management and user access. Sometimes these are helpfully referred to as tiers or layers too…
In practical terms I ballpark estimated the land record raw data at about 4Tb, same again for the warehouse, the models should be aggregated so maybe 2Tb for them, can’t promise on the presentation layer as can’t tell how much of it could be kept virtual. Obviously as you started adding in sea records, Argo, Satellite and other sources these would add to the overall size. If you wanted image/blob storage as well then shares in disk manufacturers would be on the up….:-)

Ryan
April 7, 2010 9:58 am

This all seems overly complicated to me. The climate is one of three possibilities:
“open loop” – it has no feedback mechanism and any change in energy levels will result directly in a change in temperature – this is more or less the position of Team AGW.
“positive feedback loop” – inherently unstable with the smallest change leading to catastrohpic irreversible climate change. This is the “tipping point” theory, and we can throw this one out because in billions of years the Earth’s climate has been remarkably stable.
“negative feedback loop” – this is the position held by most in Team skeptic and the most plausible since we know that the Earth’s clmiaet has been pretty stable since its first beginnings. The questions then becomes “how do we prove it?” and “just how stable is the negative feedback loop?”. The idea that the climate was not much different 3.5bn years ago when the sun had an output of 70% of what it is today suggests that it is pretty darn stable. Even wacking it with an asteroid the size of France and setting off multiple huge volcanic eruptions didn’t cause much long-term upset. What we need is a climate forcing event of known magnitude and a measurement of the clmiate change caused to be able to get a feeling for the gain in the negative feedback loop and hence a feeling for the sensitivity to other changes that might influence the climate.

April 7, 2010 10:23 am

How to write a scientific paper:
You start by putting the paper in context. Cite several papers [pro & con]. this shows that you are not working in a vacuum, but have knowledge of the field. Then you set out your analysis of the data/evidence or, if it is a new theory, your salient points and what data/evidence backs up your points. Which points are crucial and which are peripheral. What new experiments/data would further support/refute your theory. In other words, where the strong/weak points are. You end by highlighting where your theory differs from other work. Always stress the fundamental points and don’t overwhelm the reader with details that may or may not be relevant. Then write a 250-word abstract that summarizes your paper. Many readers won’t get past the abstract, so it has to be good and understandable.
This method has been honed over centuries and has proven its value. The first ‘modern’ scientific paper along those lines was De Magnete by Gilbert published in 1600 AD. I’m holding a copy in my hand right now and it is amazing how modern it reads.

April 7, 2010 10:29 am

magicjava (09:23:59) :
At those levels of the atmosphere, expansion happens all the time as warm air rises.
The crucial point is that the expansion/contraction you are talking about is a consequence of changing temperature. Stephen wants it the other way: the expansion/contraction is the cause of change of temperature. It is perhaps telling that Stephen has not clarified which part of the atmosphere he is talking about, although the statement that ‘the turbulent Sun causes the expansion/contraction points to the thermosphere’ where this is true.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 10:33 am

magicjava (09:40:26)
For the purpose of my NCM I’m only referring to expansion caused by changes in solar activity.
As Leif says that is most higher up where density is lowest and reduces as one goes down to lower altitudes. However an increase in the rate of energy loss to space has been observed as described here:
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/AGU-SABER.html
The expansion and contraction locally within the troposphere relates to the speed of the hydrological cycle which is a seperate issue.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 10:38 am

Leif Svalgaard (10:29:18)
Not so. Temperature changes first then the expansion occurs but that seems to increase the porosity of the entire atmosphere. The outgoing longwave emissions face reduced resistance from the molecules in the atmosphere above them.
A porous material becomes more porous as it expands to surround a larger volume.

Curiousgeorge
April 7, 2010 10:47 am

Stephen, it will be interesting to follow the development of your project, I hope you will keep us up to date on it.
I don’t want to come across as a wet blanket, but just as a general comment on prediction (weather, climate, or otherwise ): If a prediction is made and believed then people will act on that prediction in order to change the predicted future in some manner if it is in their interest and power to do so. Thus invalidating the original prediction, and setting up some other possible future with a different ( and likely unknown ) set of probabilities and outcomes. I have some professional experience of this behavior in industrial settings, and it is not a trivial issue.
This is one of the things that drives any number of “climate modification” proposals currently being considered, and why I tend to be very, very cautious and skeptical of anything that is justified by pleading the so-called “precautionary principle”.
Let us not forget Niels Bohr’s admonition that prediction is very difficult, especially if it concerns the future. 🙂

April 7, 2010 10:48 am

I think most of this theory boils down to the conclusion that global warming as such is not possible. I also came to that conclusion some time ago (with some help from Stephen! Thx.) but I still believe that some variation in warming and cooling is possible due to the variation in cloud formation caused by GCR. I note that Stephen makes no mention of this. Did I miss something? Do we still believe GCR is a factor in cloud formation or not? What is the consensus about that, here on WUWT?

Andy Krause
April 7, 2010 10:58 am

“The Oracle guy’s idea of a multi-tier climate application is actually not that bad at all”
Oracle made a complete mess of the California DMV database. If they couldn’t handle that I wouldn’t let them near climate science data.

DirkH
April 7, 2010 11:09 am

” Ryan (09:58:28) :
This all seems overly complicated to me. The climate is one of three possibilities:
“open loop” […]
“positive feedback loop” […]
“negative feedback loop”[…]

It’s definitely a combination of all three, with different feedback strengths and time lags. That’s why you get the wild and as yet unpredictable local and temporal swings, like the El Nino spike in 1998.
Skeptics and catastrophists differ in their estimation of the potential minima of the system. Catastrophists postulate a local potential minimum in the high temperature range and our CO2 emissions pushing the system over the potential wall towards this hypothetic local minimum, hence the “tipping point”. Skeptics posit that this scenario is unlikely and unproven and assume that the negative feedbacks are stronger than positive feedbacks.
Are positive feedbacks possible at all? Yes; a heating up for whatever reason might drive the humidity up when there’s water available and that might improve the water vapour GH effect locally (it wouldn’t work in the Sahara). I as a skeptic would doubt that this effect lasts long as i think that Miskolczi’s theory indicates a subsequent balancing out of this effect.
This would correspond to a fast positive feedback followed by a negative feedback with a longer lag time. Getting the feedback strengths and the time lags right would result in better prediction.
The major problem of the conventional GCM’s is that they fiddle with the aerosols every time they get it wrong.

Frank
April 7, 2010 11:16 am

Stephen writes: “In the case of the Earth’s atmosphere a change in solar input is met with a change in evaporation rates and thus the speed of the whole hydrological cycle keeping the overall temperature stable despite a change in solar power input.” If this statement were always true, then the non-tropics would not warm every summer and cool every winter.
Stephen writes: “During periods of an active solar surface our atmosphere expands and during periods of inactive sun it contracts.” Only the sections of the atmosphere that are warmed by an active solar surface expand when the sun is active. The troposphere can be warmed when visible and near-visible solar radiation increase, but the increase in visible and near visible radiation is only about 0.1% during a typical solar maximum. High energy particles increase dramatically during the sun’s active periods, but they only warm/expand the thermosphere where very little GHG can be found.
Stephen writes: “When the atmosphere expands it does so in three dimensions around the entire circumference of the planet but the number of molecules in the atmosphere remains the same with the result that there is an average reduced density per unit of volume with more space between the molecules. Consequently the atmosphere presents a reduced resistance to outgoing longwave energy photons that experience a reduced frequency of being obstructed by molecules in the atmosphere.” According to quantum mechanics, each molecule has a given probability of absorbing a photon of a given wavelength passing nearby. Absorption doesn’t change when the concentration of absorbers drop by a factor of 2X and the path length during which absorption increases by a factor of 2X. For a sphere, a 2X increase in path length produces an 8X increase in volume. But the earth’s atmosphere is not a sphere, it is a thin spherical shell surrounding a much larger earth. If R is the radius of the earth and h is the “height” of the atmosphere above the earth, the volume of the atmosphere (V) is given by:
V = (4/3)*Pi*(R+h)^3 – (4/3)*Pi*R^3
V = 4*Pi*R^2*h + 4*Pi*R*h^2 + 4/3)*Pi*h^3
Since R>>h for the vast majority of the earth’s atmosphere, V can be approximated by 4*Pi*R^2*h. So when the volume of the atmosphere doubles from warming thus decreasing the concentration of absorbers by 2X, the path length of absorption will double. Total absorption of outgoing long wavelength radiation will remain constant.
Stephen writes: “iii) Counterintuitively an active sun means cooling not warming and vice versa.” However, the coldest periods of the LIA took place during the Dalton and Maunder minimums.

April 7, 2010 11:20 am

Stephen Wilde (10:33:56) :
However an increase in the rate of energy loss to space has been observed as described here:
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/AGU-SABER.html

You have completely misunderstood this. All the observations say is that when you heat something it increases the radiation from what is being heated. In any event the energy involved is extremely minute because the thermosphere is so thin.
Stephen Wilde (10:38:11) :
Not so. Temperature changes first then the expansion occurs</i<
They go together without delay
but that seems to increase the porosity of the entire atmosphere.
Nobody [except you] claims such a thing. ‘Porosity’ is meaningless in this connection anyway. Perhaps a link to a paper claiming porosity of the entire atmosphere changes when the thermosphere expands might be useful.

April 7, 2010 11:20 am

Thank you Stephen and Leif for your answers.
Unfortunately for me, the behavior of the thermosphere as it interacts with the sun is a bit outside my area of understanding. So I’ll read the paper Stephen provided, sit back, and munch popcorn. 😉

April 7, 2010 11:23 am

Michael Ozanne (09:49:47) :
Well I architect Enteprise Business Intelligence solutions for a living. If I were tasked with doing this the overall solution would have the following bits :-
You are describing a multi-tiered application or solution. The database itself has no tiers. Now, from an Oracle salesman’s point of view EVERYTHING is the database and that is why HIS database is so important and why you MUST buy it.

stan stendera
April 7, 2010 11:28 am

Fascinating post and comments. I have not made up my mind if I have “Wilde” birds or just wild birds on my birdfeeder.

George E. Smith
April 7, 2010 11:38 am

Most of the time at WUWT, I tend to briefly scan the “essay” or article; whatever you want to call what Anthony has posted for us to see; and if that immediately triggers any thoughts I think might be relevant, I tend to start writing. Once I get something down, It may force me to go back and reread the essay to clear up details. Quite often after I post, I find that others have already made all the observations I just spent time on.
I also find that if I excerpt from somebody else’s post, either to try and explain (if possible) or maybe add on, or to dispute, that often doesn’t post till way beyond the original , so there is a lot of disconnect as one reads through the various posts.
This time, I decided to not say anything, until I had read everything, including all the posts (so-far).
The first thought that came to mind, is that when I was an early teener, and doing my first explorations of Elec& Mag, and Electronic circuits (Valves; or maybe to you, Vaccuum Tubes), I had learned enough mathematics to do all the usual elementary circuit calculations for AC circuits containing RLC components and Vacuum Tubes. Well I read a lot of interesting books.
When I ran into some early discrepancies, between the simple theory, and some of the more arcane concepts; maybe transit time in valves, or cathode lead inductance; I decided to get serious.
It should be possible I reasoned to mathematically describe the whole process, without any of the simplifying assumptions, and really find out what made things tick.
Well needless to say, even with my quite restricted math skills at that age, I very quickly became embroiled in a hodge-podge of mathematical minutiae, that might even have been accurate; but gave absolutely no seat of the pants feel for what the hell was really going on.
In retrospect, I realize that my attempt at a complete theory ov vacuum tube electronics, was like trying to hand draw a fractal object, like Mandelbrot Set or somesuch. I realized that my very simply described task of a complete theory, was quite impossible to achieve, and if it could be done; it wouldn’t be understandable as a whole. Small corners could probably be understood, and rendered quite useful. I decided that no matter how much my math repertoire might grow in the future, I would never be able to construct a complete theory of vacuum tube behavior, and it was of little use to the practical circuit designer even if possible.
Well I feel the same way about climate. I wouldn’t ever be so bold as to propose that a completely chaotic, and also quite fractal system that is earth’s climate, could ever be accurately described; well in any way that was useful; which would imply some ability to predict future behavior.
We can describe a lot about some systems that are in equilibrium; we can even describe how they might transition from one “state” to some other state; but one thing we know for sure about earth’s climate, is that nothing in it is in equilibrium. Neither static nor dynamic equilibrium exists in earth climate; and we know for sure that must be true, since weather represents a significant change of the system from one state to another; and does so, at all time, and space scales.
The very rotation of the earth, which scans the solar blowtorch across earth’s surface, ensures that nothing ever reaches equilibrium.
Today, I know pretty much what happens to a vacuum tube circuit as a result of cathode lead inductance; even wrote an IEEE paper on the subject (not published; but presented at a “meeting”). But that is really a small scrap of a totally intransigent problem.
I find such niches in the climate puzzle that I feel comfortable talking about, with some degree of understanding; but I am not going to drive myself insane trying to understand the whole kit and caboodle.
I am however quite confident; that Gaia knows exactly how it all works; and we will never match her laboratory measurement skills, no matter how big a computer we may set to work on the problem.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 11:57 am

Frank (11:16:34)
i) I’m discussing changes beyond normal seasonal variation.
ii) You are referring to raw energy output which I concede seems to have little effect. I am referring to solar surface turbulence.
iii) I have difficulty with that proposition because like Leif you are suggesting a simple doubling which would be a response to a two dimensional situation such as elongating a tube with parallel sides where I concede you would be right. The Earth’s atmosphere does not expand in only two dimensions but in three so the distance between molecules increases disproportionately as one moves outward during the expansion process. The path length of aborption will not quite double and I see that you use approximations on the basis that Radius is so much greater than height
“V can be approximated by 4*Pi*R^2*h.”
The main valid point I see from you and Leif is that the approximation is good enough and the effect is too small to consider.
Against that we have observational evidence that the polar high pressure cells do vary from influences above and until there is another explanation I’ll go with the solar/expansion idea but any idea that demonstrably works is good enough for me.
iv) “However, the coldest periods of the LIA took place during the Dalton and Maunder minimums.”
Quite so but only because, during the current interglacial low solar activity generally occurs around the same time as low rates of energy release from the oceans so that during the LIA the quiet sun was mitigating the effect of the cooler ocean surfaces. You need to re read parts of my article.
So, if someone could provide a convincing non solar cause of changes in the polar atmospheric oscillations I’ll see if I can slot it in instead of solar but for the time being solar fits well enough on the basis of historical data even if we haven’t yet pinned it down adequately.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 12:06 pm

Henry Pool (10:48:59)
Thanks Henry. I did refer to the Svensmark cosmic ray idea in passing and have always been prepared to accept some truth in it. However my current view is that the albedo changes from shifting the cloud masses latitudinally beyond normal seasonal variation would be far greater.

April 7, 2010 12:09 pm

Stephen Wilde (11:57:21) :
Against that we have observational evidence that the polar high pressure cells do vary from influences above
What evidence? Link?

April 7, 2010 12:10 pm

Stephen Wilde (11:57:21) :
I am referring to solar surface turbulence.
And what would that be?

AGW-Skeptic99
April 7, 2010 12:18 pm

Stephan,
Can you please use a different combination of words for “Modern Warm Period” that doesn’t reduce to the same acronym as Medieval Warm Period. The acronyms are confusing enough already. Late Twentieth Century Warm Period would be LTCWP, for example.
Nice work.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 12:23 pm

Leif Svalgaard (12:09:30)
“They say the trend toward a stronger, tighter circulation around the North Pole could be triggered just as well by processes in the stratosphere as by those in the ocean.”
http://www.washington.edu/newsroom/news/1999archive/12-99archive/k121699.html

Al Gored
April 7, 2010 12:34 pm

Fascinating comments. I’m guessing that Mr. Wilde’s NCM just got more critical peer review than anything the Jones-Mann gang ever did.
Global climate is sooooo much more complex than the simple CO2 fairy tale!

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 12:35 pm

AGW-Skeptic99 (12:18:44)
Good point. I had to keep typing them in full for that reason.
I’ll see how the general usage develops and adapt as necessary.

April 7, 2010 12:36 pm

Right or wrong, I think Stephen’s article clearly demonstrates that current climate models are using the equivalent of Grade 2 mathematics to solve something probably more complex than Einsteinian physics. In other words, these models should all put into the trash can, along with the ignorant/unscrupulous politicians who insist on financing them.
Not surprisingly, the climate predictions of the Establishment are either wrong or forecast so far into the future that it is impossible to prove them wrong.
Somehow – I don’t know why – but for climate forecasts, Stephen’s NCM seems a little more logical than relying on historic tree ring growth from strip bark bristlecone pines.

April 7, 2010 12:44 pm

Stephen Wilde (12:23:46) :
“They say the trend toward a stronger, tighter circulation around the North Pole could be triggered just as well by processes in the stratosphere as by those in the ocean.”
Sigh. Those changes are caused by upwards traveling Rossby waves that break in the stratosphere and then influence stuff below.

April 7, 2010 12:46 pm

Leif Svalgaard (12:44:47) :
Sigh. Those changes are caused by upwards traveling Rossby waves that break in the stratosphere and then influence stuff below.
Forgot a reference: http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/SEES/ozone/class/Chap_6/
See section 4.

Graham Green
April 7, 2010 1:04 pm

How refreshing to read this thought provoking piece.
I bet Greenpeace have your name.
The sad problem here is that the chattering classes cannot understand what is being said. Hansen and the Cake Science gang propose a ludicrously simple model which, although wrong, is easily understood.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 1:05 pm

Al Gored (12:34:51)
Yes and I’m grateful for that.
Mostly positive with a few good suggestions and trenchant opposition only in relation to the two aspects where I know it might have to be adjusted as I have already accepted.
The thing is that as regards the sequence of observed events leading to changes in tropospheric temperature trends and the cyclical poleward and equatorward shifts in the air circulation systems the NCM is pretty robust.
We should be able to predict changes in global temperature trends from the net latitudinal position of all the air circulation systems and regional climate changes follow from those latitudinal shifts.
Furthermore warm ocean surfaces really do send the air circulation systems poleward whilst changes in the intensity of the polar high pressure cells work in opposition to those oceanic effects.
That is as good a starting point as anyone else has ever proposed, perhaps better.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 1:18 pm

Leif Svalgaard( 12:46:46)
Interesting stuff. Thank you, I’ll digest it over time.
However on first glance it doesn’t cover the question whether solar variability can affect the scale or speed of the various mechanisms and features described.
Do you actually have a link that definitively addresses the point and clearly refutes it on the basis of actual data ?
Theory is all well and good as you keep telling me but if you want to express certainty the burden is on you to demonstrate it.

April 7, 2010 1:19 pm

Stephen Wilde (10:38:11) :
“….A porous material becomes more porous as it expands to surround a larger volume.”
Stephen I think you got this fundamentally wrong.
Your idea of a ‘porosity’ is a function of density, so if you consider this layer of atmosphere as an expanding/contracting sieve, holes are so large in the relation to what got through the lover denser levels, that it would not make slightest difference.
ICE (08:13:38) : made a good point, if there is such effect it should work in the opposite direction as well, i.e. change the incoming TSI in same proportion, which should produce large oscillations as measured at the ground level, but there is no sign of that.

Anders L.
April 7, 2010 1:22 pm

Where is the model and what does it predict?

Dan C.
April 7, 2010 1:29 pm

I’m not competent to comment on the merits of Stephen’s proposed model, but do have a few thoughts:
Leif, you are probably right regarding the lack of effect from the exosphere expanding due to solar activity, but even I seem to be getting something you’re not. Thought experiment: have a group of 100 people stand in a circle around you shoulder-to-shoulder. Hold an AK47 horizontally, close your eyes, spin in a circle and empty the clip. Hit rate will be about 100%. Now take the same number of people, starting in a circle shoulder-to-shoulder around you, and have them walk directly away from you for 100 meters. Repeat the clip-emptying exercise and tally up your kills.
With Stephen’s proposal, it would be more like having the group of people walk a pace away instead of 100 meters, so I agree there would not be much effect, but there would be some.
But this begs the question of what mechanism exactly is responsible for the amazing stability of the earth’s temperature over time. I’m in process control and understand feedbacks pretty well. I certainly know what happens to a system when there are positive feedbacks that overwhelm the negative feedbacks (not pretty). Weak positive feedbacks, on the other hand, cause oscillations (climate?) that tend to center around a baseline. I believe that this is the essence of Miskolczi’s paper that has been referenced here, as well as Stephen’s proposal. Miskolczi’s argument (I think) is that CAGW proponents have to be out to lunch if they can believe water vapor is a negative temperature feedback EXCEPT when temperature rise is caused by CO2, in which case it magically becomes a positive feedback.
Stephen’s changes in solar activity is a suggestion of what might be the strongest positive feedback that affects the earth’s temperature. It may not be correct, but I tend to prefer his top-down methodology of finding and accounting for the strongest influences first in building a workable hypothesis. Its an Occam’s razor approach that makes a lot more sense than what “Climate Science” appears to be currently doing.
I do agree that the title is misleading. It should read “Assumptions to be used in building a new climate model”.

Scott Lurndal
April 7, 2010 1:35 pm

Leif:
While ‘tiered databases’ is not a term of art, one possible implementation is the so-called ‘federated’ database provided by IBM’s DB2. This can be considered to be a ‘database of databases’, in that one database is linked to one or more other databases in such a way that the upper tier (the initial DB2 instance) can aggregate data from the other databases without necessarily holding the data itself.
Consider for example the following scenario:
1) An oracle database that contains a table consisting of one row per USHCN or GHCN raw temperature measurement.
2) A mysql database with a table consisting of one row per sea surface temperature measurement, along with meta tables for the measurement method (buckets vs. intakes etc).
3) A SQL server database with a table containing one row per ARGOS buoy measurement.
4) And so forth, each database is independent and managed by a different entity, but provides public access.
Now, with a federated database such as DB2, a view (a pseudo table represented by a query) can be created combining columns from each of the aforementioned databases, or queries can be generated combining all the data without having to first replicate all the tables in the top level database.
One could also use ‘create table as select’ type operations to create meta tables on the DB2 instance containing selected rows/columns from the federated databases.
One could consider this a “tiered” database.
(Note that DB2 will federate with all the above mentioned databases).

April 7, 2010 2:13 pm

Stephen Wilde (13:18:10) :
Theory is all well and good as you keep telling me but if you want to express certainty the burden is on you to demonstrate it.
It is theory to assume what you do. There has never been an empirical demonstration of the what you claim. I cannot prove a negative, like prove that never were any unicorns.
Dan C. (13:29:29) :
Repeat the clip-emptying exercise and tally up your kills.
The point is that the expanding/contracting part of the atmosphere is 1/1000,000 of the whole, yet Stephen wants that to control the whole.
Scott Lurndal (13:35:16) :
Now, with a federated database such as DB2, a view (a pseudo table represented by a query) can be created combining columns from each of the aforementioned databases,
That is just an implementation detail. Some relational databases are implemented by having a separate file for each column [makes it easy to add/remove columns]. The ‘multi-tiered’ was just a buzz-word [IMHO]. ‘Data’ and ‘Information’ are two very different things which are often confused. Data has no meaning in itself, being just bits. Information is the Meaning we attach to those bits. The information content being the surprise a bit gives you. Consider this anecdote to illustrate the difference: One day the first officer got bad news from home and was drunk and the ship’s captain entered into the logbook “today the first officer was drunk”. The next day, the first officer entered “today the captain was sober”.

April 7, 2010 2:14 pm

Sigh.
Okay, you start by claiming that other models, which people have actually taken the time to implement in reality rather than in fantasy, have no predictive skill. This is a flat out lie. They do.
You then outline, in extreme detail, the climate model that you feel would have great predictive skill, but for all of your effort, you don’t actually put your time into building it and proving your concept. You just throw it out there and expect people to believe in it, and people around here do. It’s oh so easy when you don’t have to do the hard part.
I once read an article about a homeless woman from Korea who lived in Newark, NJ, and was actually, seriously building an ark (as in “Noah’s Ark”) in an abandoned lot, so she could sail back to Korea. Her plans included defensive lasers. It looked like a wonderful idea, and she’d even gone so far as to construct the frame. It showed the tremendous power of individual effort and ingenuity, while highlighting how worthless and ridiculous such efforts can be when founded on a seemingly strong but in fact flimsy foundation.

April 7, 2010 2:32 pm

You also misunderstand how models are constructed, what they are for, and what “hindcasting” is.
Hindcasting is a way of validating a model, not changing or improving it. You start from some point back in time, so that you have a period of actual data (from then to the present) against which to compare the results of the model. If the two match well, then you know your model is accurate. If not, your model is inaccurate and needs improvement, but you do not improve it by simply applying actual measurements to force the model in line.
Your statement that this is what is done by climate scientists is completely inaccurate.

April 7, 2010 2:32 pm

Stephen Wilde (09:15:56) : You replied with respect to the lack of corralation between the AO and Sunspots, “A 50 year period is inadequate because of the lesser cycles and short term chaotic variability overlaying the longer term patterns.”
Your statement was very specific with respect to solar cycles. You wrote, “AO was largely positive whilst the sun was active from cycles 21, 22 and 23 and also during active cycle 19. It is now more negative whilst the sun is less active for cycle 24. It was also somewhat negative during relatively weak cycle 20.”
Again the data contradicts what you’ve written:
http://i40.tinypic.com/fkr5n6.png
The AO and sunspot number were only in phase for two cycles. The rest of what you’ve written is incorrect. If you’d now like a longer-term comparison, here it is:
http://i40.tinypic.com/2mc7eki.png
It isn’t any better.
You replied, “Yes we did refer to that on an earlier thread and you took no note of my replies.”
I took note that you failed to accept that the data contradicts your belief of a correlation between sunspots and AO, and I’ve illustrated it again here in this thread because you mentioned it again.
You replied, “However even in your link AO was generally positive when sunspot numbers were relatively high from the 1970’s to 2000 which is as I say it should be.”
“[G]enerally positive”???? The correlation coefficient is 0.02, Stephen.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 2:42 pm

Vuk etc (13:19:57)
I’m not sure that I follow your first point. Any increase in porosity will let more out. The question then is whether any such changes produce an effect that is significant in changing the intensity of the polar high pressure cells. Since they do change intensity cyclically we need an explanation. Suggestions welcome.
As regards the second point you have to remember that the return of energy reaching the surface is primarily affected by the speed of the hydrological cycle and by the extent of water penetration and some of the water penetration takes the period of the thermohaline circulation to resurface.
Thus in the shorter term a variation in outward speed would have a free hand to alter the balance of the energy budget in the air from stratosphere upward. The issue is whether such variations in outward speed can be solar induced and then whether they affect the polar high pressure cells. Observations suggest that they do.

April 7, 2010 2:49 pm

I fail to even see the point in this exercise. This so called model, if indeed it qualifies as such, is based on far too many unfounded suppositions.
The only thing we need be concerned with, is whether or not CO2 causes the atmosphere to warm?
The answer of course is NO it does not.
What else do we need to know?
Climate Models will never be able to predict the unpredictable. It is impossible to consistently predict the flip of a coin even with a million super computers, yet there is only two possible variables involved,
1. Which side the coin is on when you flip it.
2. How hard you flip the coin.
and only two possible outcomes.
Heads or tails!
It’s just climate change for Christ’s sake. We’ve only had our entire evolutionary existence to get used to it.
As a species we should always be prepared for the onset of cooling or warming. That way we can stop wasting billions in taxpayers money on pseudo science and get on with more important things.

April 7, 2010 3:02 pm

Dan C
You need help.
I surely hope you are never given access to anything more dangerous than a toffee hammer.
Your AK47 analogy is sick, god damn it!
Where is the [snip] for that? Or am I the only one offended by such an analogy?

DCC
April 7, 2010 3:15 pm

Seems like the bottom line is “there’s much work to be done.”
As a geologist, I would like to see more modeling of oceanic circulation as the continents drift and mountain ranges come and go. We know enough about their positions to have a good start. If we can model paleoclimate as a function of landmass distribution and oceanic circulation, we have a huge leg up because they are obviously major factors affecting climate. That leaves a delta that needs additional fine-tuning for other factors. But I doubt that CO2 is one of them; the geologic record shows virtually zero correlation between CO2 concentration and climate.

Steve Fitzpatrick
April 7, 2010 3:17 pm

Leif Svalgaard (21:14:01) :
“I think the first two points”
are basically nonsense (forgive me for paraphrasing).
Leif, you are completely correct about this.

DirkH
April 7, 2010 3:40 pm

“Dan C. (13:29:29) :
[…]
around you shoulder-to-shoulder. Hold an AK47 horizontally, close your eyes, spin in a circle and empty the clip.”
You got a funny approach to physics, kid…
Don’t worry – it’ll go away once you stop watching “Saw” and “Hostel”.

Legatus
April 7, 2010 4:01 pm

A problem:
“Despite a substantial increase in the power of the sun over billions of years the temperature of the Earth has remained remarkably stable. My proposition is that the reason for that is the existence of water in liquid form in the oceans combined with a relatively stable total atmospheric density. If the power input from the sun changes then the effect is simply to speed up or slow down the hydrological cycle.”
The problem, the atmospheric density has almost certainly gone down on average over time. The time I speak of is the time when the surface of the planet cooled enough that the planet itself was not contributing noticably to its atmospheric temperature, and when the atmosphere was substanially like it is now in composition (after all the volcanic crud had settled out and early plant life had created free oxegen). In short, there is considerable evidence that the atmospheric density used to be substantially higher on avarage than it is today.
Data:
There has been recent findings that show that earths magnetic field provides less protection against solor wind stripping away the atmosphere than was thought, scientists were suprised at how much was stripped away regularly. This, plus some stripping away from the gravitational effects of the moon, strongly suggests that the atmosphere formerly used to be denser than it is now.
Micro bubbles found in deep polar ice cores of the ancient atmosphere (1-200,000 years ago) showed a higher atmospheric density than now, perhaps 2 atmospheres, also higher water vapor and CO2. Note that this is a reletivly short time period and I am not sure how accurate it is, however, scientists seemed to think that it was a relativly accurate representation of this ancient atmoshere.
A relativly ingored evidence is the giant flying dinosaurs and dragonflies with 3 foot wingspans that existed in ancient times. The conventional explaination from non multidisciplinary scientists (those who never look beyond their own branch) is that the dinosaurs flew off cliffs, a ridiculous essertion since they would quickly die off when forced down at any non cliff, it would restrict them to such a small zone where they could fly and hence live that they would be non viable, it also does not explain the giant dragonflies. However, if we add the solar wind and moon slow stipping of the atmosphere, which show that atmosphere must have been denser in the past than now, a simpler and more logical explaination, that the giant flying critters could fly due to the denser atmosphere then extant, is warrented.
In short, there is evidence that, going back in time, the atmosphere was more dense. This would to some extant conteract the smaller dimmer sun. Also, there is evidence that CO2 levels, on avarage, were much higher in ancient times than today, although how much effect that had on temperature is hard to tell, since these high CO2 levels did not stop any ice ages. All that CO2 did allow abuntanct plant and hence animal and other life on land and in the sea which must also have had some effect on climate if only by changing albedo. However, the two together, especially the higher atmospheric density, must have had some effect on heat retention of the earth system.
Also, do we really know what a smaller dimmer sun was like? Was it’s solar wind stronger or weaker, what about magnetism, sunspots and solar activity, the effect of that different magnetism and sunspot activity on cosmic rays, etc? What about spectrum, did the sun put out the same or different types of energy than today, more or less infra-red, visible, ultraviolet, xrays, and what effect wuld that have on climate?
In short, your idea that the temperature of the earth has been remarkably stable over times is correct, and the idea that water seems to dominate also looks correct, but the idea of a stable atmospheric density appears incorrect, and the ancient sun is a complete unknown that needs looking into.

Frank
April 7, 2010 4:02 pm

Stephen your new look at climate modelling is commendable. I just hope that you can get the necessary finding to continue with this work given the current frenzied CO2 world. From the above comments some work still needs to be done.
One of the issues that puzzle me with the current climate models is that they do not follow the protocols of numerical models used in other earth sciences such as hydrogeology for example. These models (I have more than 35 years experience running these) ideally require a historical record of long duration that is used for calibrating (fitting the data) for part of the record and then validating (checking the sim results with measured data) for the remaining part of the record. It seems to me that unless a climate model can both calibrate the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age and then validate the 20th and 21st Century true (un-manipulated) temperatures using all of the known influencing factors, it cannot be claimed that such a model is a representative simulation of earth’s climate.
Currently climate models use ALL of the data (without validation) from the late 19th Century onwards and fudge fit the data using a number of “tuning” parameters. The results of course can look quite good but of course bear no relation to the causes of the actual changing climatic conditions.
The whole human induced climate change belief and its doomsayers remind me very much about Copernicus (the skeptics) and Ptolomy (the IPCC et. al.). Ptolemy’s geocentric version of the solar system was supported by religious fervour and dogma together with a few high priests spelling out the “End is nigh” for the human race to believe otherwise. Any naysayers of course were at the time ceremoniously burnt at the stake. In the 21st Century they’re simply labelled as environmental criminals and “flat earthers”.
When Ptolemy’s model of the planets didn’t quite fit with observations, he manipulated/ fudged his model to fit the observations. His model was totally wrong of course. The Sun turned out to be at the centre of the solar system not the earth and ironically it is also one of the main drivers of global warming (and cooling) in the geological history of the earth, including the 20th and 21st Century.

April 7, 2010 4:33 pm

Leif Svalgaard (12:44:47) :
Sigh. Those changes are caused by upwards traveling Rossby waves that break in the stratosphere and then influence stuff below.
Forgot a reference: http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/SEES/ozone/class/Chap_6/
See section 4.
___________________________
The article quoted does a very good job of describing of how Lunar declinational tidal action progresses, for the 27.32 day cycle of movement, they just never label it as “Lunar tides”. There is a similar patterns in over all global circulation as an over all 18.6 year and 18.03 year Saros cycle that shows up in the data. This feature alone can be used as a daily forecast, for the next 18 years, from the repeatability of the global circulation patterns driven by the moon’s tidal effects and modulated by the passing of the outer planets heliocentricly. Pattern recognition is a good thing, repeating patterns on repeating periods, are not hard to find. There are additional effects not yet considered, that when understood from their meaning in satellite data, will prove to be useful in both weather and climate forecasting.

AlexB
April 7, 2010 6:06 pm

RE: Sphaerica (14:32:04) :
“Hindcasting is a way of validating a model, not changing or improving it. You start from some point back in time, so that you have a period of actual data (from then to the present) against which to compare the results of the model. If the two match well, then you know your model is accurate. If not, your model is inaccurate and needs improvement, but you do not improve it by simply applying actual measurements to force the model in line.”
In your first sentence you state “Hindcasting is a way of validating a model, not changing or improving it” and in your last sentence you state “If not, your model is inaccurate and needs improvement”. So then hindcasting is a method of improving the model.
The process you have described is exactly using actual measurements to force the model into line. You continually re-iterate your model until it fits the past data. Therefore it is your data that is forcing your model into line. Hindcasting cannot then confirm how accurately your model approximates the real world. For the stock market you could easily construct a model through a few iterations that hindcasts very well. I can remember doing that exercise in undergrad. What do you expect the forecasting power of our models were? They were very poor, but how could that be? After all they fitted the past data perfectly.
The important test of any scientific theory/model is that it predicts something new. Otherwise you are engaging in inductivism instead of deductivism. Hindcasting is just inductivism. For a model to be scientific it mast prove itself as being able to be correct in a deductive way. In other words for a completely new situation you should be able to deduce the outcomes correctly from your model. Look at the projections of the IPCC models. They continually have to be updated as the deductions they make are wrong and the new data produces a different induced model.

johnnythelowery
April 7, 2010 6:23 pm

—————————————————————
DeNihilist (09:32:16) :
DavidB (01:33:58) :
A differing view on the state of physics:
http://discovermagazine.com/2009/may/01-the-biocentric-universe-life-creates-time-space-cosmos
————————————————————-
DeNihilist:
I nautighly suggested to Lief in a thread that the affect of the sun on the
earth was perhaps from entanglement. That is, entangled particles, some
how seperated (at birth) but now aggregated into balls the size of the earth and the sun, with entangled kindred particles aggregated into their opposite bodies, but remain entangled with each other. This is of course is ridiculous. But never the less, entanglement is a reality. So, it’s force is neglible…but if two particles are entangled at a distance of 7 miles, the distance is irrelevant and as affecting one affects the other virtually concurrently, and while the force between two particles can barely be measured; an aggregation the size of a planet……
I didn’t arrive at my idea by the article in Discover Mag. or anyone’s idea but from the indication that the ‘sun did not shine for 3 hours’ in the gospels (14th of Nisan, AD 26 (?)) a suggestion to me that everything is connected. No room for religion here and sorry to bring it up.
But……….entanglement would provide that connection. FYI. Not proposing anything. This can’t be true. But what the hell is entanglement? and how is it that one affects the other by way of a communication faster than light. Both notions are as rediculous as the other, but the latter appears to have been accepted as a reality. I know Discover is a ‘pop’ magazine. Anyway, for the sake of discussion I say this but also accept that it’s probably not worth discussing!
Heres the blip from the Discover article:
‘………………In 1997 University of Geneva physicist Nicolas Gisin sent two entangled photons zooming along optical fibers until they were seven miles apart. One photon then hit a two-way mirror where it had a choice: either bounce off or go through. Detectors recorded what it randomly did. But whatever action it took, its entangled twin always performed the complementary action. The communication between the two happened at least 10,000 times faster than the speed of light. It seems that quantum news travels instantaneously, limited by no external constraints—not even the speed of light. Since then, other researchers have duplicated and refined Gisin’s work. Today no one questions the immediate nature of this connectedness between bits of light or matter, or even entire clusters of atoms………….’
————– ———————————————

johnnythelowery
April 7, 2010 6:35 pm

Anthony: I’m in favor of the removal of Dan C (13:29:29) comments. Totally out of place here. Doesn’t represent the spirit of things here at all.
=================
DirkH (15:40:06) :
“Dan C. (13:29:29) :
[…]
around you shoulder-to-shoulder. Hold an AK47 horizontally, close your eyes, spin in a circle and empty the clip.”
You got a funny approach to physics, kid…
Don’t worry – it’ll go away once you stop watching “Saw” and “Hostel”.

April 7, 2010 6:46 pm

This is precisely the type of climate “model” that the science of climatology needs, in its current infancy. Such thought models can be turned into testable hypotheses — and can be falsified since they lack the quasi-reverence that is accorded to the “CO2 is ALL” theory of climate change.
Orthodox climate modelers have failed miserably because they attempted to model a theory which had not been well thought out. Hence plenty of equations, but no content of any significance. GIGO GIGO GIGO

April 7, 2010 7:03 pm

Richard Holle (16:33:09) :
driven by the moon’s tidal effects and modulated by the passing of the outer planets heliocentricly.
Lunar [and solar tides] are measurable. The outer planets’ absolutely not, much too small. The tides are proportional to the mass divided by the cube of the distance. Jupiter is 25,000 heavier than the Moon, but is 2000 times further away, so the tides are 25,000/2000^3 = 0.000,003 times that of the Moon [that is 300,000 times smaller], completely negligible.

sky
April 7, 2010 7:09 pm

Stephen Wilde is quite correct in pointing to evaporation from the oceans and the rate of the hydrological cycle as the pre-eminent regulator of surface temperatures on Earth in his conceptual “model.” The physics of that regulation, however, is misunderstood by many, whose concept of thermodynamics is confined to Stefan-Boltzman graybody approximations. What is essentially different about the oceans from a graybody is that energy absorption is entirely radiative, whereas emission is only partly radiative. On a NET climatic basis, more energy leaves the global ocean surface in the form of latent heat than in LW radiation and conduction/convection combined. Most models do not get this right and forget that IR is totally absorbed within the top fraction of a millimeter of the ocean, going largely into evaporating the surface skin. Unlike the situation on land, which can be well approximated as a graybody, it does NOT go into raising the temperature of the underlying layers. Moreover, the LW backradiation of from the atmosphere is largely a net null exchange, wherein the insolation thermalized near the surface brings the nearby air to close the same temperature. It no more “heats the surface” than exchanging checks with your wife increases household spending power.

Claude Harvey
April 7, 2010 7:32 pm

Doesn’t everyone love watching the “big cats” in this global climate scientific cage spitting and hissing back and forth? At their technical conferences, I’m guessing they practice professional decorum to a flaw. On the pages of this blog, they slash and burn with wild abandon. This is a great site!

Dug M
April 7, 2010 9:00 pm

Outstanding ……………
One thing seems inconsistent.
One aspect of the theory revolves about solar activity heating and expanding the atmosphere – thus making it easier to long wave radiation to escape because of the less dense molecule phenomenon. Seems wrong.
Say the atmosphere is heated and expands. Look at a single cylinder originating from the surface of the earth and ending at the top of the atmosphere. The volume of this cylinder increases as the contents are heated and thereby expand. Note the diameter remains unchanged since there are neighboring cylinders doing the same expansion, thus constraining any expansion of the walls of the cylinder. Only the top moves – upward in our ‘heating’ example.
The theory is that since the molecules are now further apart there are less collisions for escaping radiation to survive before reaching space, thus more outbound radiation happens. Not so, I suggest.
There exist the same number of molecules in the cylinder, regardless of the volume. Regardless of their proximity to each other, there still exist the same opportunity for collisions by outbound radiation. think of it this way: the molecules are less densely packed, but the DISTANCE the radiation must survive to escape the cylinder has increased since the top surface of the cylinder has moved outward as the contents expanded.
At least, that’s how i see it.

April 7, 2010 9:56 pm

Leif Svalgaard (19:03:11) :
Richard Holle (16:33:09) :
driven by the moon’s tidal effects and modulated by the passing of the outer planets heliocentricly.
Lunar [and solar tides] are measurable. The outer planets’ absolutely not, much too small. The tides are proportional to the mass divided by the cube of the distance. Jupiter is 25,000 heavier than the Moon, but is 2000 times further away, so the tides are 25,000/2000^3 = 0.000,003 times that of the Moon [that is 300,000 times smaller], completely negligible.
___________________
(brevity in loo of detail, where is the line?)Sorry the more words I leave out the less sense it makes, maybe putting them back will help?
There is a discernible repeating pattern in the weather data, due to the Lunar declinational atmospheric tides that, also shows recognizable patterns of interference, that leaves the Earth homopolar effects mechanism, modulated electromagnetically from the effects of Earth passing through the concentrated magnetic field flux, extending from the sun out to that outer planet, that defines the pattern of magnetic field coupling of the solar wind into and through the magnetically permeable content of each planet. Resulting in Angular momentum and LOD changes, and driving an increase in the equator to pole voltage gradient, shifting poleward more positive ions than before, then just past peak EM coupling the system discharges back to close to average, by generating greater than normal precipitations, connected interactively and striving for total energy balance between them.
In the research pages of text on my web site more detail can be found.

April 7, 2010 10:06 pm

Richard Holle (21:56:31) :
magnetic field coupling of the solar wind into and through the magnetically permeable content of each planet. Resulting in Angular momentum and LOD changes,
Well, putting them back in did not help. The solar wind does not couple to the Earth through magnetism. It would be rather O/T to discuss this here and now [it has been discussed many times before]. There are no changes in Angular Momentum or LOD related to the solar wind.

maksimovich
April 7, 2010 11:33 pm

Leif Svalgaard (12:44:47) :
Stephen Wilde (12:23:46) :
“They say the trend toward a stronger, tighter circulation around the North Pole could be triggered just as well by processes in the stratosphere as by those in the ocean.”
Sigh. Those changes are caused by upwards traveling Rossby waves that break in the stratosphere and then influence stuff below.

SEPPÄALÄA ET AL 2009 suggests
Ozone changes could affect stratospheric winds so that breaking of vertically propagating planetary-scale Rossby waves from the troposphere would be affected, this breaking could drive the downward propagation of NAM-like patterns which would ultimately be seen in the SAT. The resemblance of the NH ¢SAT patterns to the typical cell-like NAM pattern effects in the meteorological data used here and the similarity of model predictions of Rozanov et al. to the positive NAM SAT pattern perhaps indicates a common mechanism between the NAM and changes induced by geomagnetic variations. The origin of the annular mode patterns is not yet fully understood, although it is possibly linked to polar
vortex strength [Baldwin et al., 2003
The enhanced polar vortex restricts the annular or seasonal expansion or contraction of the high latitude stormtracks it tends to retain the ST in the higher latitudes in the SH in winter where there is interference in the competing periodicites and systems eg Trebneth 1986 2010.
Ramanathan provides some interesting conjectures
Cloud radiative forcing (CRF) is defined as the difference between the radiation budget (net incoming solar radiation minus the outgoing long wave) over a cloudy (mix of clearand clouds) sky and that over a clear sky. If this difference is negative clouds exert a cooling effect, while if it is positive, it denotes a heating effect. Five-year average of the cloud radiative forcing [1] is shown in Fig. 2. The global average forcing is about –15 to–20 W m-2 and thus clouds have a major cooling effect on the planet.
The enormous cooling effect of extratropical storm track cloud systems
Extra-tropical storm track cloud systems provide about 60% of the total cooling effect of clouds [2]. The annual mean forcing from these cloud systems is in the range of –45 to –55 W m–2 and effectively these cloud systems are shielding both the northern and the southern polar regions from intense radiative heating. Their spatial extent towards the tropics moves with the jet stream, extending farthest towards the tropics (about 35 deg latitude) during winter and retreating polewards (polewards of 50 deg latitude) during summer. This phenomenon raises an important question related to past climate dynamics. During the ice age, due to the large polar cooling, the northern hemisphere jet stream extended more southwards. But have the extra tropical cloud systems also moved southward? The increase in the negative forcing would have exerted a major positive feedback on the ice age cooling. There is a curious puzzle about the existence of these cooling clouds. The basic function of the extra tropical dynamics is to export heat polewards.
While the baroclinic systems are efficient in transporting heat, the enormous negative
radiative forcing (Fig. 2) associated with these cloud systems seems to undo the
poleward transport of heat by the dynamics. The radiative effect of these systems is working against the dynamical effect. Evidently,we need better understanding of the dynamic-thermodynamic coupling between these enormous cooling clouds and the
equator-pole temperature gradient, and greenhouse forcing.

Stephen Wilde
April 7, 2010 11:33 pm

Let’s take a step back because most of the negative contributors here are missing the point.
Contrary to what Leif suggests I do not ‘want’ any particular feature of the so called ‘model’.
My description is based (as per Occam’s Razor) on the the simplest solution wherever real world observed phenomena appear to be offending the basic laws of physics. Two examples:
i) It is clear that there is differential warming and cooling of the layers in the system. Troposphere, stratosphere and the upper layers of the air never warm or cool in tandem.The stratosphere seems to go in the opposite direction to the other two. Thus the simplest explanation is internal system variability in the rate of upward transmission of energy between the layers. Below the tropopause the behaviour of the oceans and the speed of the hydrological cycle will suffice but that won’t have much effect above the tropopause. Above the tropopause the only feasible cause of differential warming and cooling in seperate layers has to be differential responses to solar changes. It’s all very well asserting that that is impossible as per Leif and Frank but that gets us nowhere. If the simplest explanation is impossible then kindly come up with a plausible alternative.
ii) Likewise with the latitudinal positions of the air circulation systems. It is clear that the positioning varies over time and cyclically as a balance of influence shifts between oceanic effects from below and atmospheric effects from above. In accordance with that proposition the ocean surface temperatures change cyclically and the polar atmospheric oscillations change cyclically. As before, the ocean effects are not going to do much above the tropopause and indeed the polar oscillations appear to vary independently of the oceans. Occams’ Razor suggests a solar influence from above which, logically, can be linked to the differential warming and cooling of the layers above the tropopause.That is merely the starting point.If the simplest explanation is impossible then kindly come up with a plausible alternative.
All I have done is fire a starting pistol. The finish line may or may not be where I have proposed it should be. However the further away from my proposals that it is necessary to go then the less likely it is to be right as per Occam’s Razor.
Now, can anyone else cut it ?

April 7, 2010 11:52 pm

Here is my problem:

To be taken seriously the NCM must be seen to show more predictive skill than the current computer based models.
In theory that shouldn’t be difficult because their level of success is currently zero.
From a reading of my narrative it is readily apparent that if the NCM matches reality then lots of predictions can be made. They may not be precise in terms of scale or timing but they are nevertheless useful in identifying where we are in the overall scheme of things and the most likely direction of future trend.
For example if the mid latitude jets stay where they now are then a developing cooling trend can be expected.
If the jets move poleward for any length of time then a warming trend may be returning.
If the solar surface becomes more active then we should see a reduction in the intensity of the Arctic Oscillation.
If the current El Nino fades to a La Nina then the northern winter snows should not be as intense next winter but it will nevertheless be another cold though drier northern hemisphere winter as the La Nina denies energy to the air.
The past winter is a prime example of what the NCM suggests for a northern winter with an El Nino during a period of quiet sun. The warmth from the oceans pumps energy upwards but the quiet sun prevents the poleward movement of the jets. The result is warming of the tropics and of the highest latitudes (but the latter stay below the freezing point of water) and a flow of cold into the mid latitudes and more precipitation in the form of snow at lower latitudes than normal.
So I suggest that a degree of predictive skill is already apparent for my NCM.

The problem is that your predictions for the NCM are not falsifiable in time or space. There’s far too much wiggle room in the “degree of predictive skill” that you claim (and too much ambiguity in the term).
If I read those claims correctly, then there’s not a single climate modeler out there (including the wretched Schmidt) who can’t make the same predictions as yours do.
There’s no “If the current El Nino fades to a La Nina then…” language required if your model has any predictive skill. It should tell us when and by how much these phenomena will occur. The predictions should also be unique to your model and unambiguous.
Otherwise all I can see are another set of vague claims that this or that climate phenomenon “are consistent with the model”

Feet2theFire
April 8, 2010 1:53 am

If this reminds me of anything, it would be the late theoretical physicist David Bohm’s Wholeness and the Implicate Order, in which he critiques science for its bottom up approach to understanding the universe. Bohm was thought of by some as the closest thing to Einstein his time produced.
From his book:

In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the “explicate” or “unfolded” order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the implicate orders (Bohm, 1980, p. xv)

And:

Bohm noted of prevailing views among physicists: “the world is assumed to be constituted of a set of separately existent, indivisible and unchangeable ‘elementary particles’, which are the fundamental ‘building blocks’ of the entire universe … there seems to be an unshakable faith among physicists that either such particles, or some other kind yet to be discovered, will eventually make possible a complete and coherent explanation of everything” (Bohm, 1980, p. 173).

Wikipedia sums up the concept with 9 points, the first 2 of which are:
1.) That phenomena are reducible to fundamental particles and laws describing the behaviour of particles, or more generally to any static (i.e. unchanging) entities, whether separate events in space-time, quantum states, or static entities of some other nature.
2.) Related to (1), that human knowledge is most fundamentally concerned with mathematical prediction of statistical aggregates of particles.
These, taken with the last sentence in the previous quote sum up the approach of climatology, as I see it – that they approach it from the bottom up, certain that they can re-create and understand the entirety by predicting the aggregate of the particles in the atmosphere, and that in the end, they will be able to construct and atmospheric theory of everything.
That seems – especially from his hubristic attitude – Mann’s attempt to bring all proxies and instrument data together, and that it would be the end-all and be-all of climate studies.
The climate models certainly are built on the concept of “from the gazillion particles the entire atmosphere can be re-created inside a computer.”
Bohm argued that primacy be

given to the undivided whole, and the implicate order inherent within the whole, rather than to parts of the whole, such as particles, quantum states, and continua.

and that

“[t]he new form of insight can perhaps best be called Undivided Wholeness in Flowing Movement. This view implies that flow is, in some sense, prior to that of the ‘things’ that can be seen to form and dissolve in this flow”.

Hardly anything we can have studied could be more aptly called a “Flowing Movement” as our climate. Applying Bohm’s approach would come up with something very close to this approach of Stephen Wilde, irregardless of whether every part of Wilde’s New Climate Model is perfectly true or not. As Wilde says, (if I understand him correctly) since it starts out from the top, from a vision of its whole, correcting parts of it does not destroy the entirety – only the way we approach that portion of it.
There IS an inherent weakness in constructs whose whole is built from the pieces. And that is mainly that there soon becomes no whole of which those pieces really are a part – the whole gets lost in the territorial claims made by each part. And the parts fail to – in Bohm’s experience in physics especially – become a whole that makes the sense it is intended to. In other words, the parts contradict each other and researchers spin their collective wheels forever trying to get the parts to fit – which Bohm strongly implies will never happen, not until the whole becomes the construct into which the parts are then fitted.
The whole gives a guide to what the parts will be and where they fit in.
Climatologists will almost certainly argue that the “whole” in their studies IS climate. Yet none study it all; all break it into parts and then believe that they are re-constructing it via analysis of its parts. Such was (and is) the approach of theoretical physics, too – and the “schizoid” approach (my term not his) makes for a lot of little pieces of something that he basically asserts isn’t the right “something”, the right “whole.”
So, whether Wilde here has pegged it – nailed what the whole is – or not, Bohm would approve of this approach. And Bohm would predict it will have greater understanding come out of it – and, like Wilde asserts – will be able to predict more consistently correct results.
Nothing in climatology (that I see) is as embarrassing for the field than the strident assertions that such and such is going to happen to temps in the near future and then it not happen. The silliness with which such failures are defended is probably the only thing sillier than the strident nature of the predictions in the first place.
Extrapolating a whole from parts – the CO2 in the stratosphere as Earth incubator being one of them – means that the parts REALLY have to be nailed AND COMPLETELY AND CORRECTLY UNDERSTOOD in order for the whole to eventually be apprehended.
Without the whole as an overall guide, as Wilde and Bohm suggest, extrapolated wholes seem nigh on impossible to achieve. Bohm decried the state of physics, that its lack of a wholeness framework led to its piecemeal understandings and fragmented and disjointed concepts which did not (and still do not) fit together. Climatologists might not think that is the case in their filed, too, but nearly every part of it is contended by some major part of its adherents – regardless of the claim to “consensus” on anthropogenic global warming. (Even there, they are looking at only temperature as if that is the entirety of climate, so their own work indicts them.)
I side with Wilde, even though I am certain that parts of what he has attempted will be shown to be in need of revision.
.

Michael Ozanne
April 8, 2010 1:57 am

“Leif Svalgaard (11:23:51) :
Michael Ozanne (09:49:47) :
Well I architect Enteprise Business Intelligence solutions for a living. If I were tasked with doing this the overall solution would have the following bits :-
You are describing a multi-tiered application or solution. The database itself has no tiers. Now, from an Oracle salesman’s point of view EVERYTHING is the database and that is why HIS database is so important and why you MUST buy it.

Not going to argue a point about whether Oracle salesmen have been known to verbally jack off, thats a Bear-Catholic, Pope-craps-in-woods scenario…:-)
You are essentially correct a relational database is essentially simple, records in tables that have constraints upon them and relations between them. A good database management system lets you use these artefacts to construct a solution to your requirement, a bad one gets in the way until you beat it into submission. So as far as I’m concerned a “multi-tier database” would be a particular achitectural design built to answer a requirement rather than a type of RDBMS. This applies no matter how shiny you’ve built it so federation, clustering, server partitioning, SAN’s, Data devices such as netezza, meta-linking to SOA’s or message brokers, etc etc are all solution techniques rather than definitions of a different type of database manager.
OTOH the AS/400 integrated database did allow the use of physical file members below the file main member and logical files above it so it could be considered multi-tier to that extent……:-)

TLM
April 8, 2010 3:08 am

Stephen Wilde (09:28:51)
Then I think you need to account for the faint sun paradox.

Sorry? Where in your “model” do you discuss the “faint sun paradox”? You are just citing the last article you read in an effort to confuse the reader.
At the time this was relevant the Earth’s entire system was totally different. Bigger oceans, different land-mass distribution, different atmospheric chemistry, different sea-water chemistry hotter core / mantle and so on. This was hundreds of millions of years ago, its relevance to the Earth’s current climate is zero.
And why CO2 changes never preceded temperature changes throughout the ice core history.
Why is this relevant? The ice ages were caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit, not by CO2. The latter may have had some impact in reinforcing the warming (positive feedback) but CO2 was not the primary cause.
Your “model” seems to be a random collection of various studies you have read on this site. Take a step back and have a look at the bigger picture. it really is a lot simpler than even your model tries to describe.
The problem for the climate models is not that they cannot predict the future, just that they cannot predict the near future, i.e. the next 5 to 10 years. What they can do, however, is predict a trend. I think a problem for the modellers is that they are probably trying to claim too much for their models.
They are almost certainly predicting the correct “trend”, i.e. a gradually warming climate. What they cannot do is account for all the internal variability – and to be honest I think it is beyond any climate model to do that.
Internal variability is by definition “weather”. Predicting chaotic variations in weather gets more difficult as the period of time increases. However, predicting a long term trend in the climate becomes easier as the period of time increases because the chaotic internal variations cancel each other out and the trend becomes clearer above the noise. If you do not understand that then you misunderstand the whole point of climate modelling!
Ryan (09:58:28) :
Even wacking it with an asteroid the size of France and setting off multiple huge volcanic eruptions didn’t cause much long-term upset.

Er what?
I presume you mean the Chicxulub impact. I suppose it depends on what you mean by “long term” and “upset”.
About 17% of all families, 50% of all genera and 75% of species went extinct. It ended the reign of dinosaurs and opened the way for mammals and birds to become the dominant land vertebrates. In the seas it reduced the percentage of sessile animals by about 67%.
Now I call that quite some “upset”. And the long term impact is, of course, a total and utter change in the dominant flora and fauna inhabiting the Earth, a probable major shift in plate tectonics, and a change in atmospheric chemistry that lasted at least several hundreds of years.
Up to the point of this statement I had some sympathy with your comments – but I think you over-state your case!
The thing that the climate modellers are trying to achieve is a prediction of the effect of adding billions of tons of CO2 to our atmosphere over the next hundred years – that is a human timescale of two or three generations. It is worth stating what they are not trying to achieve:
1. Prediction of the weather and temperature over the next one, two or even ten years.
2. Prediction of the climate over the next thousand years.
3. Prediction of the climate over the next million years.
Their major problem is that it is going to take another 10 or 20 years of empirical data for the trend to become apparent enough to “prove” that their models are correct – by which time it will probably be too late for us to do very much about it.

April 8, 2010 3:23 am

George E. Smith (11:38:13) : Most of the time at WUWT, I tend to briefly scan the “essay” or…
Beautiful piece, George! Thank you.

Stephen Wilde
April 8, 2010 3:26 am

Feet2theFire (01:53:43)
“since it starts out from the top, from a vision of its whole, correcting parts of it does not destroy the entirety – only the way we approach that portion of it.”
Exactly. Thank you.
I want to provoke a new approach and provide the starting position. I do not claim a uniquely comprehensive degree of completeness, accuracy or correctness as regards every portion.
We must start with what we observe the Earth system to actually be doing as a coherent whole and then fill in the blanks. Working up from data alone and having everyone concentrating on individual components and then defending their positions and pet theories tooth and nail has caused enough chaos and confusion.

Ryan
April 8, 2010 3:28 am

@DickH: It doesn’t really matter if the climate is sufficiently complex that it has parts which are open loop or positive feedback. In control loop theory if you have a negative feedback loop with enough gain it will override all the other influences.
This is my point – we don’t need a complicated model of the earth’s climate because it is clear from historical data that the earth’s climate is in a powerful negative feedback loop which keeps the clmiate very stable, and we can find out all sorts of things about how this negative feedback loop responds to changes at its inputs by looking at past data.
For instance, we can see that when the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs hit the earth it caused a lot of volcanic eruptions at the same time such as the one that created the Deccan. These events together would have released huge amounts of CO2 and particulates into the atmosphere, changing the climate. Nevertheless, we know that the climate before this event and the climate after this event were not so very different. So we can see that despite this huge step change in the climate system inputs the output settled back to the same equilibrium point. Thus there is a strong negative feedback loop and although the climate may have been influenced in many ways , open loop or positive feedback or whatver, this negative feedback loop is sufficiently powerful to override all of them bringing the climate back to its normal equilibrium – there were no tipping points that permanently damaged the climate. If we investigated this further we could get an idea of the response time of the negative feedback loop and its gain.
Step changes to climate like El Nino or volcanic eruptions will impact climate for short periods because negative feedback loops take some time to recover to their equilibrium. furthermore, permanent changes to the climate system (such as the Sun’s output power changing) will have a permanent impact on the Earth’s climate (but negative feedback would suggest this impact not as great as it might at first appear).
It follows from this we don’t really need to model the entire complexity of the Earth’s climate. All we are interested in doing is modelling the climate as a simple input/output control block, and these can be modelled by looking at their response to step changes in their input. Volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes are perfect examples of step changes at the input. What we need to do now is simly investigate how big those step changes were and how the Earth’s climate responded to them.
A modern hi-fi amplifier can be a complex system of feedback loops, but in the end what matters is how the output responds to a change at the input. You can get an idea of how an amplfier might respond to a change in its inputs by computer modelling every individual component in its design, but it is far easier and more reliable to simply measure the response on the real system.
This 2-port approach is of course simple, but it is simple only if you realise that massive climate change has not been caused by massive impact to the Earth’s climate in the past – that there must be a negative feedback loop. Team-AGW is unwilling to admit that, so building a simple model from investigations of those step changes in climate is not something on their agenda. There is of course more grant money in modelling the complex rather than investigating the simple.

Tenuc
April 8, 2010 3:45 am

Thanks Stephen, for a very thought provoking piece. I don’t have the time at the moment to digest it, but here are my first thoughts.
It is too early in it’s development for what you have posited to be called a NCM. I think a better term would be a new climate paradigm or premise.
I think your broad ‘top down’ approach to the development of a new climate oscillation premise is more likely to bear fruit than trying to build it bottom up. The climate system is is driven by deterministic chaos and involves many non-linear over-lapping interdependent mechanisms. Scrutinising each separate bits in detail and hoping to understand the whole is not the way forward.
More detail to follow when I have digested your ideas and read the comments.
Thanks again for an insightful post.

April 8, 2010 4:28 am

No, AlexB, you are dead wrong. Hindcasting is a test that helps to tell you whether or not your model is behaving accurately, but it is not also the source of the corrections. Those corrections must come from evaluating your understanding of the actual physical scenario that you are trying to replicate (not just the numbers and the results), and determining where you made mistakes.
Simple example:
Model for a toy car rolling down a hill is v=at, where v is velocity, a is acceleration per unit time, and t is time.
You measure an actual toy car, and find out that the velocity evens out after a certain point. You look at the hill and realize that the slope is not constant, that the hill begins to level off near the bottom. You made a mistake in assuming that acceleration was constant. You measure the slope of the hill at various points, create an equation to describe that slope, modify your velocity equation to vary acceleration with position, and you get closer.
But you’re still wrong. Then you realize that the car is going fast enough for air friction to affect the velocity, and friction also increases with velocity. You look that equation up in a manual on aerodynamics, run some easy “wind tunnel” tests with a little house fan, factor that in and find you are very close (close enough for your purposes).
You used hindcasting to compare your model to the real world. You used that as an indicator that you needed to do more work. But you didn’t simply take the difference between the real world and your model and add a fudge factor.
At no time did you simply take the effect that you wanted to achieve and retrofit it into your model. The comparison to the real world simply told you whether or not your model was accurate. The adjustments came from observing the real world, relating that to your knowledge of physics, and separately coming up something that made sense, not simply something that fit.
Now let me ask you… where did you get this fabulous, unequivocal “knowledge” of modeling that you have? Did you take courses in college? Do you work professionally on models? Did you even bother to download the GISS GCM ModelE code and read it?
Or did you just make assumptions that were convenient, and read what bloggers say about it, and then not only take their word for it, but spew it yourself as if it was gospel?

TLM
April 8, 2010 4:53 am

Ryan (03:28:46) :
Right… I understand your point now. I still think your choice of the Chicxulub meteor is a difficult one to use as it so clearly had major and long lasting impacts over the time scales that current climate modellers are working on.
What you are describing is the effect of a transient atmospheric event on the climate. If we use a less extreme example, such as a volcano, it is clear that the climate does work to bring itself back into equilibrium. However this does not require a negative feedback mechanism over all time scales. A volcano is a transient event. The CO2 it releases is quickly and easily absorbed by the oceans and by the biosphere. The dust falls out of the sky and sulphates are washed out as acid rain.
What the climate modellers are trying to do is model the effect of a sustained and long lasting increase in the CO2 level above the ocean’s and biosphere’s natural ability to absorb it. Basically the consistent raised output of CO2 swamps the normal negative feedback ability of the climate causing a forced warming of the atmosphere.
What we are talking about here is a feedback to warming not a feedback to CO2, sulphates or dust. In other words, a sustained warming of the climate triggers feedbacks that reinforce that warming. It really does not matter what the cause of the warming is.
The fact that our climate swings backwards and forwards between extreme ice ages and warm inter-glacials as a reaction to quite modest but sustained changes in insolation shows this effect. We are not entirely certain of the magnitude of the positive feedbacks but it is fairly certain that the climate’s reaction to a sustained change in temperature is very different to its reaction to a transient change in atmospheric chemistry.
Remember that most positive feedbacks do not lead to a tipping point. Most gradually decline to reach a new equilibrium, albeit higher than if there had been no feedback.

April 8, 2010 4:54 am

Dan C. (13:29:29) : Hold an AK47 horizontally…

It puzzles me that this analogy is considered offensive by anyone. It pictures exactly what Dan C means in a succinct manner.

April 8, 2010 7:24 am

Stephen Wilde (23:33:51) :
Above the tropopause the only feasible cause of differential warming and cooling in seperate layers has to be differential responses to solar changes. It’s all very well asserting that that is impossible as per Leif and Frank but that gets us nowhere.
It is amazing that you can come up with this straw man. The thermosphere is strongly [fully even] controlled by the Sun. Nobody is doubting or denying that. Your error [and what we are pointing out] is that those changes in turn control the troposphere in any way.

Dan C.
April 8, 2010 7:45 am

I realize this thread is about done, but wanted to extend apologies to anyone I offended. Substitute “30-round paintball gun” and the analogy is still valid. I’d thought of that, but didn’t know if a paintball gun can fire 100 meters. It seemed to me that nobody was directly addressing Stephen’s point. That doesn’t mean he’s correct that atmospheric expansion caused by changes in solar activity is the primary positive feedback that drives climate change. I agree with Leif (who’s smarter than me, anyway) that the effect is likely too small to make a difference, but I don’t know.
Nevertheless, like the analogy I was trying to make, Stephen offered up some easy-to-understand ideas on what might drive climate, which is important to those of us with a less sophisticated understanding than a lot of people that post here. Whether he’s currently right or not, his approach makes much more sense as a way to describe a chaotic system than what I’ve seen generally. In my mind, you have to start with the most important drivers and add only those additional factors necessary to describe the system.
As far as I know, water vapor is the aerosol with by far the largest effect on climate. It’s apparent that the negative feedbacks from water in all its phases are much stronger than the positive feedback from water vapor as a GHG. It’s never made sense to me that the miniscule GH effect of CO2 can somehow overwhelm that and transform the effects of water vapor to a net positive feedback. That’s the main reason I think “climate science” deserves the scare quotes.
It seems the main argument the alarmists have is that the earth’s temperature, contrary to all evidence, maintains itself in a steady-state equilibrium. At least in my field, there is no such thing. Thus the constant attempts to hide the decline, eliminate the MWP, etc. so that current warming can only be “explained” by CO2.
I hope I’m understanding this right, but it looks like Stephen is attempting to describe a natural, non-steady-state system where temperature rises and falls are expected to happen, yet are centered around a long term average due to strong negative feedbacks, primarily from water. This is important because it kicks the legs out from under the warmists main argument.

April 8, 2010 8:08 am

Dan C. (07:45:24) :
This is important because it kicks the legs out from under the warmists main argument.
A theory should rest on its own merits [if any] and not on how much it debunks someone else’s theory.

Stephen Wilde
April 8, 2010 8:09 am

Leif Svalgaard (07:24:57)
Your constant references to the thermosphere constitute a straw man.
Differential warming and cooling clearly occurs in the different layers of the atmosphere. I am not suggesting that the thermosphere controls the troposphere.
I am suggesting that the solar effects cause different responses in each layer giving rise to irregularities in the energy flow from layer to layer.
The stratosphere appears to cool down when the sun is more lively and warm up when the sun is less lively. that is the opposite of the response in the thermosphere.
If the stratosphere cools then either less energy is coming up from below or more energy is going upwards.
If the stratosphere is normally cooling during periods of an active sun then the most likely cause is faster energy loss upwards.

DirkH
April 8, 2010 8:27 am

” TLM (04:53:25) :
[…]
ability to absorb it. Basically the consistent raised output of CO2 swamps the normal negative feedback ability of the climate causing a forced warming of the atmosphere.”
I hear this “swamps the negative feedback” and “overwhelms the negative feedback” a lot from the AGW crowd. So they assume a strongly nonlinear negative feedback, essentially cut off at a certain amplitude. In an amplifier setting, that’s like limiting the negative feedback with – for instance – a Zener diode.
Unfortunately i don’t know which physical mechanism should provide such a limit to the negative feedback(s). Any ideas?

phlogiston
April 8, 2010 8:33 am

Tenuc (03:45:54)
I agree with your comments. Over the last few decades science has become equipped with powerful new technologies which have enabled important advances; however one downside has been that it has some scientific disciplines become bedazzled by this technology and consequently led on a reductionist wild goose chase. As Stephen’s article sets out clearly, climate science was dazzled by computing power and chased a dream of bottom up inductive Cartesian modelling of climate with general circulation models, following ever smaller cubic parcels of air and water explicitly – with little to show for it. Similarly, biomedical and pharmaceutical research is bedazzled by molecular genetics, has sequenced the genome of one or two humans and a handful of other species and invested trillions on very rigidly reductionistic bottom-up research into medicines and diseases – with the result of empty drug pipelines for the big pharma companies in spite of all this investment. By focusing only on the gene and molecule level, it screens for drugs on the assumption that humans are single celled organisms.
I’m sounding like a grumpy old man again no doubt. Perhaps climate and the failure of C-AGW and the the GCMs will be the rock on which the reductionist science supertanker is shipwrecked. It would be good for science it it were.

Stephen Wilde
April 8, 2010 8:33 am

Dan C. (07:45:24)
I didn’t see anything offesnsive in your initial example either and I appreciated the assistance.
The effect I describe appears not to be capable of reduction to zero so it is unsafe to discard it until we know how much, if at all, the energy flow upwards through the climate system is affected.
Something is causing what we observe by way of differential warming and cooling at different levels above the tropopause so start with the simplest option first.

April 8, 2010 8:40 am

Stephen Wilde (08:09:48) :
I am not suggesting that the thermosphere controls the troposphere.
Your very first point was:
“Solar surface turbulence increases causing an expansion of the Earth’s atmosphere.”
The only reasonable interpretation of this statement is that you are talking about the solar wind and its effect on the thermosphere. But, if you want to scratch that point of the list, then we have made some progress. If this is a straw man it was that from the beginning, no?
The stratosphere appears to cool down when the sun is more lively and warm up when the sun is less lively.
Just the opposite: more UV causes heating of the stratosphere.

Ryan
April 8, 2010 8:57 am

TLM: you are very wrong in much of what you have said, but I don’t have time to give a full explanation. However, a good start for you would be to udnerstand what a positive feedback realyl is and a clear explanation is given here:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_feedback
you will see that positive feedback is always unstable, and since the earth’s climate has proven itself very stable despite cataclysimc events it cannot be governed by a positive feedback mechanism of any kind.

Phil.
April 8, 2010 9:15 am

Dug M (21:00:56) :
Say the atmosphere is heated and expands. Look at a single cylinder originating from the surface of the earth and ending at the top of the atmosphere. The volume of this cylinder increases as the contents are heated and thereby expand. Note the diameter remains unchanged since there are neighboring cylinders doing the same expansion, thus constraining any expansion of the walls of the cylinder. Only the top moves – upward in our ‘heating’ example.

Geometrically impossible, you’d need something more like the frustrum of a cone and in that case the diameter at the top changes as well as the height.

Invariant
April 8, 2010 9:23 am

Quick question to Leif: would it be possible to argue that cloud formation could increase in the night with cosmic rays? (In the night the energy argument that daylight has 10 million times more energy than cosmic rays becomes invalid because it is – yes – night!).

Stephen Wilde
April 8, 2010 10:18 am

Leif Svalgaard (08:40:43)
I suppose it’s progress if you stop reading ‘atmosphere’ as ‘thermosphere’ 🙂
You could just have said that the expansion of the atmosphere below the thermosphere is insignificant but then it still wouldn’t be zero would it ?
I don’t think one can go abruptly from the sun controlling the thermosphere to it suddenly having a zero effect at some specific point. There has to be a graduated effect as density increases.
Besides I’m not going for a direct solar impact but rather an effect on energy flows from layer to layer which is a more subtle process not properly investigated as far as I can find.
Anyway I seem to recall the stratosphere having cooled during the late 20th century whilst the sun was in Modern Maximum mode. The warmists said that cooling was due to increasing CO2 reducing the energy flow from troposphere to stratosphere but I don’t think either of us accept that.
Furthermore I think I’ve already referred you to a report that the stratosphere started warming a little as the sun got less active from the late 90s.
Where does that leave your assertion about the effect of more UV ?

April 8, 2010 10:20 am

Invariant (09:23:26) :
would it be possible to argue that cloud formation could increase in the night with cosmic rays?
The argument is not an energy-argument, so this would not make any difference. Enthusiasts may try to look for such an effect. That none have may indicate that even they don’t think there is one.

Invariant
April 8, 2010 10:36 am

Leif Svalgaard (10:20:46) :That none have may indicate that even they don’t think there is one.
OK. I am just curious…
🙂

April 8, 2010 10:50 am

Stephen Wilde (10:18:46) :
You could just have said that the expansion of the atmosphere below the thermosphere is insignificant but then it still wouldn’t be zero would it ?
If we put the lower border of the thermosphere at 100 km, then the expansion of everything below that would be precisely zero.
Where does that leave your assertion about the effect of more UV ?
This has been established for decades. See e.g. http://solarphysics.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrsp-2007-2/
There has been a long-term [i.e. not solar cycle related] change in stratospheric temperature, attributed to chemical composition changes [and Global Warming, even]

April 8, 2010 10:51 am

Invariant (10:36:07) :
OK. I am just curious…
Me too.

April 8, 2010 11:03 am

Stephen Wilde (10:18:46) :
Where does that leave your assertion about the effect of more UV ?
A rather more accessible account is here:
http://www.weather-climate.org.uk/02.php
“The stratosphere defines a layer in which temperatures rises with increasing altitude. […] This rise in temperature is caused by the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun by the ozone layer.”
More solar activity, more UV, thus …

Feet2theFire
April 8, 2010 11:25 am

@TLM (03:08:13) :

The ice ages were caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit, not by CO2. The latter may have had some impact in reinforcing the warming (positive feedback) but CO2 was not the primary cause.

I would dispute that what you state about the orbit is fact. It is a current hypothesis and only one of several. If that is the one you ascribe to, that is just one extra vote for that concept, not fact.
Also:

The problem for the climate models is not that they cannot predict the future, just that they cannot predict the near future, i.e. the next 5 to 10 years. What they can do, however, is predict a trend. I think a problem for the modellers is that they are probably trying to claim too much for their models.

Not only can they not predict the 5-10-year future, they cannot even “predict” the past. About 3 years ago there was some silly MSM article in which they were happy as larks that they’d gotten their models down to two which would match the last 50 or so years. Unfortunately, each one only did half of the past – one up to a certain date, after which it failed, and then the other did the second half, but could not do the first. Why in heaven’s name they considered that anything but an embarrassment is beyond my “poor powers to add or detract.”
And:

However, predicting a long term trend in the climate becomes easier as the period of time increases because the chaotic internal variations cancel each other out and the trend becomes clearer above the noise. If you do not understand that then you misunderstand the whole point of climate modelling!

Yes, but if they are using homogenized and non-time-rectified blends**, the basis for their projections are all watered down, averaged till the curves are almost flat (low SD) – so their projections will also be aimed at being in the vanilla range – and every sizable fluctuation will be an alarm going off. Their projections will be as flat as their blended past record.
**I contend that the graphs of the proxies need to be time-rectified. The locations of the peaks and valleys on any one proxy graph will be based on the C14 dates mainly, which are approximates. Other proxies’ dating will be also approximate. If the dates come out a bit forward or backward of each other, the timing of the peaks and valleys don’t line up as they should – based on the reality the data was trying to represent: the temperature. If one trace slides 100 years relative to the other, they are out of phase – which isn’t what the reality was, but is what the graphs show. And if they are out of phase, then combining the two has a lot of canceling out and flattening of the curves. But such flattening will not have been true – just a result of the numbers. When all of the curves are out of phase – and I contend that they are – then peaks don’t exist. The Standard Deviations are all muted.
I have wondered for a long time HOW anyone could think that a couple of degrees C can cause a Medieval Warm Period or a Little Ice Age. The temps in the Little Ice Age were more severely low than all the graphs show. I couldn’t make sense of that. I thought the numbers must be wrong. But it isn’t the raw numbers; it is the blending that just wipes out the extremes, high and low both.
@Ryan (09:58:28) :

Even wacking [sic] it with an asteroid the size of France and setting off multiple huge volcanic eruptions didn’t cause much long-term upset.

I suggest you read up on the Younger-Dryas period and the Younger-Dryas Impact that is only recently being “discovered.” The Y-D was an anomalous and very sudden cold period in the late Pleistocene when the world was coming out of the last ice age, that lasted over 1,000 years. It appears it likely was caused by a cometary impact in the Great Lakes region or southern Ontario. It’s not an established fact yet, but the evidence is building.

Feet2theFire
April 8, 2010 11:34 am

On that non-time-rectified issue I mentioned, it is not enough just to shift each curve in toto forward or backward in time. The approximations in the dating means each entire time line has been stretched or compressed at various times – probably at many points. I posit that getting the peaks and valleys to line up is more important than having the timing of the overall curve matching up to the C14 dates, which are only approximates in the first place. Without lining up the peaks and valleys – which should be possible to recognize and align between proxy graphs – the SD just all gets moved closer to unity than the individual proxy graphs show. If that happens, the graphs stop showing the reality and they just show a flattened-out overall graph that just doesn’t match the real temperatures.

TLM
April 8, 2010 11:35 am

Ryan (08:57:53) :
I suggest you read the articles you cite before you cite them.
Exactly the effect I am talking about is explained in the first paragraph of your Wikipedia article:
Positive feedback, sometimes referred to as “cumulative causation”, refers to situations where some effect causes more of itself. Under strong positive feedback, most systems quickly move to a limit state, where the limit is provided by external factors, or into some other new stable state where the positive feedback is somehow negated.
No tipping point or instability is necessarily the result, it can simply settle at “some other new stable state”. Only a gain of more than 1 per cycle will create a runaway feedback. A gain of less than 1 will lead to a steady state.
For instance, let us say a rise of 1c gives rise to positive feedback of 0.5c a year (an exaggerated amount just to make the point). The series would then run as follows:
Year 1: 1c
Year 2: gain of 0.50c
Year 3: gain of 0.25c
Year 4: gain of 0.125c
etc
As the term extends towards infinity the maximum temperature would be 2c. The formula being 1/(1-n) where n is the gain. In this case 1c/(1-0.5) = 2c.
If the gain were 0.25c a year the formula would be 1c/(1-0.25) = 1.33c.
Further on in the article it refers particularly to Climate feedback as follows:
Within climate, it is important to remember that a positive feedback subsystem never acts in isolation, but is always embedded within the overall climate system, which itself is always subject to one very powerful negative feedback, the Stefan–Boltzmann law: that emitted radiation rises with the fourth power of temperature. Hence, on earth the gain of the overall system is always less than one, stopping the system from suffering runaway effects. While there may have been periods of time such as the exit from an ice age where the gain was greater than one, this has not lasted long enough for extreme effects such as the evaporation of the oceans as is believed to have happened on Venus.

Stephen Wilde
April 8, 2010 11:51 am

Leif Svalgaard (11:03:19)
I wasn’t intending to deny the UV effect.
I was just pointing out that despite that effect there was stratospheric cooling during a period of active sun and now stratospheric warming with a less active sun.
You accept a long term stratospheric temperature trend (presumably downward) but attribute it to non solar causes. Others suggest the cause is more CO2 or variations in chemical composition (just speculation at this point) but whatever it is it more than offsets the UV effect.
That would be fine and I would have accepted it had there not been a return to a slight warming trend since the mid 90s which is unlikely to have happened if the cause of the downward stratospheric temperature trend were other than solar.
I am not aware of any non solar influence on stratospheric temperature trends that has reversed it’s effect sice the mid 90s which is around the time that solar cycle 23 started showing general weakening compared to the previous several cycles.
On the basis of that apparent correlation and the absence of any non solar cause having gone into reverse I prefer the idea that in some way the change in solar activity levels is responsible and the simplest explanation is the one I have advanced but I remain open to sensible alternative suggestions of which there are precisely none.
If the real world does not behave as expected then there is something wrong with the expectation. By your account the stratosphere should still be cooling from some unconfirmed long term cause. It isn’t, apparently.
Despite your confidence the issue remains wide open.

NickB.
April 8, 2010 12:45 pm

BUT…BUT…BUT!!!!!
The bottom line is that CO2 is absolutely, positively, and without question, the single most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It acts very much like a control knob that determines the overall strength of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Failure to control atmospheric CO2 is a bad way to run a business, and a surefire ticket to climatic disaster.
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/lacis-at-nasa-on-role-of-co2-in-warming/

/sarcoff
The oceans contain 1000 times the amount of energy the atmosphere does. Thinking that the behavior of the atmosphere controls the ocean is what we call in Economics fantastical thinking… the stringing together of multiple unlikely outcomes (in this case relationships) to support a preconceived and desired end result.
It will be interesting to see what sticks and what doesn’t with Mr. Wilde’s work here, but it is a quite impressive effort with a lot of meat on its bones. Atmospheric expansion aside, the discussion on oceanic currents are of particular interest for me and, AFAIK, considered noise in the current GCMs. After all, they’re looking for CO2’s fingerprint – they know it’s there. Too bad objective statistical tests for correlation (see the VS thread on Bart’s blog or here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/14/new-paper-on/) between CO2 and temperature don’t seem to hold up. In my mind at least, the case that CO2’s effects are not capable of being totally and completely drowned out by bigger forces at play, has not been made and that is, for me, the null hypothesis.

April 8, 2010 12:51 pm

Stephen Wilde (11:51:44) :
stratospheric cooling during a period of active sun and now stratospheric warming with a less active sun.
Just goes to show that although the Sun has an effect, other effects [e.g. chemical changes or AGW] are larger. without having a physical cause, you cannot interpret changes over a few years. and, BTW, stratospheric warmings [the short-term ones] are caused by Rossby waves from the Troposphere breaking. Your whole scheme does not hang together at all. I gave you a recipe for how to write a scientific paper. Try it. Especially the crucial Abstract. Your next post should be the 250-word abstract explaining the salient point of your theory. If you cannot do that, then you are just piling on.

Stephen Wilde
April 8, 2010 1:24 pm

Leif Svalgaard ( 12:51:44)
There you go again. Overegging your case and diverting attention by giving advice.
Even if you are right it’s only a small part of the whole so you are not in a position to say that the whole scheme does not hang together.
You clearly cannot seperate the solar effects from the other (supposed) effects so your own position is weaker than you admit. You don’t even know what those other supposed effects might be.

Chris V
April 8, 2010 1:56 pm

Stephan-
Have you tried running one of the available atmospheric radiation transfer codes (like MODTRAN) to see if (and by how much) an expanding atmosphere will effect outgoing radiation? There are others besides MODTRAN- and a few that can be downloaded for free.
It seems to me that that should be your first priority.

Matthew L
April 8, 2010 2:44 pm

DirkH (08:27:31) :
No special mechanism is needed, just the inability of the Earth’s ecosystem to absorb the magnitude of the change in CO2.
The carbon cycle absorbs a fairly constant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. The main mechanisms are the conversion of CO2 and water into carbohydrates and oxygen via photosynthesis, and the solution of CO2 in bodies of water – oceans, lakes, reservoirs, rivers etc.
The oceans and biosphere have shown themselves capable of absorbing more CO2 than is naturally produced, but unable to absorb quite as much CO2 as we are currently emitting. Hence the inexorable rise in CO2 measured at Mauna Loa.
http://www.climate4you.com/GreenhouseGasses.htm#Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)
The rate of absorption may increase slightly over time due to CO2 fertilisation effects – but it is very unlikely that this will rise sufficiently, or quickly enough to counteract our increasing outputs – particularly if we carry on cutting down the rainforests at the rate we are.

AlexB
April 8, 2010 2:49 pm

RE: Sphaerica (04:28:43)
Firstly if you re-read my post you will see that I have taken undergraduate courses in modelling and in my professional capacity I work on thermal modelling of laser welding and have worked on thermal modelling of aluminium reduction cells in the past.
I never stated that there was a fudge factor involved. With my work on thermal modelling of laser welding I have gone through the exact hindcasting process that you described. Based on measured data that I had on a number of trials I first developed a simple conduction model, this wasn’t approximating my results well so I added convection, this still fell short of the mark so I took into account complex absorption of the weld plasma and then my model was a good approximation of the past data.
That entire process was inductive. At no point have I used the model to deduce what would happen in a new situation and test it. That model is therefore not scientific. When a model becomes sufficiently complex it is not sufficient just to assume that because it was built using tested scientific theory and because it fits past data that it is correct. Complex models have complex interactions whose summations can be greater than the effects of the underlying theory and this has to be understood by people modelling complex systems.
The model you describe is invalid as an example because in that particular case the physics has been well tested through deductive means and interactions are not significant and all major factors can be easily considered. That model has also been tested deductively by any number of laboratories around the world.
It is not acceptable from an epistemological standpoint however to assume that because you can construct some macro models by using past data to induce what micro laws might control their behaviour that you can do this for all models. You certainly cannot do it for complex models. The practice of hindcasting remains unscientific because it circumvents deduction and, as has been widely discussed by the great philosophers of our time (e.g. Popper), just because induction works in some cases does not prove that it works in all cases and does not make it an acceptable scientific method.
When I tested my welding model in a new scenario, it was wrong, despite being only based on deductively tested theories and fitting the past data very well.

April 8, 2010 3:24 pm

Stephen Wilde (13:24:30) :
You clearly cannot seperate the solar effects from the other (supposed) effects so your own position is weaker than you admit. You don’t even know what those other supposed effects might be.
By the same token neither can you, and that’s why they cannot be part of a serious model, that is all.

phlogiston
April 8, 2010 4:06 pm

A very nice synthesis, thank-you Stephen – now I have no more excuse for not understanding any part of your climate model!
A couple of questions from a quick look through the article. First to jump on the thermosphere thickness bandwagon. Leif’s point is understandable – thermosphere equivalent to 1 cm of sea level atmosphere. However this statement as it stands is not complete as an objection to your hypothesised “expansion and contraction” of the atmosphere and concomitant effect of this on rate of heat escape from the planet. However thin and evanescent the thermosphere is, it is the “gatekeeper” of planetary heat in the sense that 100% of radiated heat from the earth must pass through the thermosphere. So to argue for the insignificance of the thermosphere to radiative balance it is not sufficient to point to its small mass and number of molecules – one must accompany this with physics showing for instance the mean free path of photons between interactions with air molecules to be sufficiently long that the thermosphere will not significantly affect outgoing flux. What is the mean free path?
This argument BTW is used to rescue C-AGW from the saturation hypothesis – that the narrow IR absorption band of CO2 is completely absorbed by a few tens of meters of air only, and that something like 50 ppm CO2 “saturates” the IR absorption – more CO2 has no effect. The counter to this is that CO2 repeatedly absorbs and re-radiates IR, so that heat energy as IR moves up the atmosphere by a kind of radiative diffusion. That CO2 absorption-re-radiation can occur is confirmed by the modus operandi of an industrial CO2 laser – the type that cuts 2-inch steel for instance. The “ser” in laser is stimulated emission of radiation – so CO2 clearly can absorb and re-radiate.
So if heat is escaping by radiative diffusion (diffusive radiation?) then there is a mean free path. How long is this in the thermosphere? cm? m? km? This is the important parameter, not equivalent sea-level thickness per se. (It looks like Frank (11:16:34) addressed this issue).
Perhaps the effect of an active sun creating turbulent boundaries between atmosphere layers (with greater surface area) might be equally or more important.
Secondly, your treatment of thermohaline circulation (THC) and the picture of alternating pulses of warmer and colder water entering THC. I have a problem with this – water enters THC by downwelling at certain key locations – the Norwegian Sea is one of them. The reason and mechanism for downwelling is cooling combined with increased salinity associated with ice formation – linked to cooling. Only cold water can downwell – you cant push warm water down into cold. OK there might be small variations. But at ocean depths of one or more km – where most water and most climate heat resides – the huge gravitational pressure starts to dictate temperature – water converges near a temperature of minimum density. So I dont feel it is plausible to envisage parcels of significantly warmer water lurking at kilometer depths writing to re-emerge centuries later and exert an influence on climate cycles, global warming politics and blog debates.
However I still strongly believe that the whole ocean including the deep ocean with the THC is a major climate driver. However I doubt that the mechanism is an alternating pipeline of warm-cold deep water. Bob Tisdale for instance probably has data that shows absence of evidence for such thermal structure in the deep ocean and would present it to refute your hypothesis. But I dont think your argument for a time-delayed role of THC requires thermal structure in the deep ocean – there are plenty of other ways that variability in THC could exist in response to solar-atmospheric dynamics. The rate of downwelling could oscillate. Thus the strength (and pattern) of deep currents could oscillate accordingly. As I have posted before, I have a hunch that the AMO is characterised by oscillations in the strength of the north Atlantic drift current caused originally by oscillations in the strength and volume of Norwegian Sea downwelling (and resultant Southstream deep current, the flip-side of the North Atlantic Drift). The Arctic ice melt -recovery cycle, currently a focus of attention, could be linked to this (recall the ~4deg C fluctuation of 100-150m deep Barents Sea water over a century cycle closely correlated with AMO).
Now I’ll read the whole article in detail, an important “breath of fresh air” in the field.

Frank
April 8, 2010 5:00 pm

Matthew says:
“The oceans and biosphere have shown themselves capable of absorbing more CO2 than is naturally produced, but unable to absorb quite as much CO2 as we are currently emitting. Hence the inexorable rise in CO2 measured at Mauna Loa.”
Sorry to have to pore cold water on this belief but a rise in CO2 at Mauna Loa is not evidence that the oceans can’t accommodate CO2. CO2 concentrations are now much lower than earlier in earth’s history. Up to 4000 ppm or more and the oceans were able to accommodate these levels. The evidence? – Huge thicknesses of oceanic limestone (calcium carbonate CaCO3) deposits formed from the conversion of CO2 to bicarbonate and then CaCO3 assisted by the biosphere.
Remember also that Mauna Loa sits on a hot spot in the oceanic plate and the site is subject to surface and sub-surface volcanic activity (high CO2 emissions) in the region. Also a rise in temperature in these tropical waters causes CO2 expulsion from the oceans. Colder waters elsewhere on the other hand take up CO2.

sky
April 8, 2010 5:24 pm

Upon fuller reading of the article, my earlier praise of Wilde’s recognition of the essential role of the oceans in regulating climate has to be tempered by his basic miscomprehension of thermohaline circulation. It does NOT, as he supposes, bring any replica of the globe’s past thermal history back to the surface ~1000yrs later. On the contrary, whatever warm, hypersaline water sinks below the surface because of its great density is mixed relatively quickly by winds into the upper layer of the ocean, where it transfers its heat to colder parcels by conduction. Despite its suggestive name, THC is NOT a consequential means of redistribution of thermal energy by advection/convection. That role belongs to the wind-driven global circulation.