Royal Society to review climate consensus position

“I don’t think they were very pleased. I don’t think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society.”


Society to review climate message

By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst, BBC News

There is debate over “feedback” effects on the climate

The UK’s Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages.

They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.

The society’s ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document.

The panel should report in July and the report is to be published in September.

It is chaired by physicist John Pethica, vice-president of the Royal Society.

Its deliberations are reviewed by two critical sub-groups, each believed to comprise seven members.

Each of these groups contains a number of society Fellows who are doubtful in some way about the received view of the risks of rising CO2 levels.


It’s not clear to me how we are going to get precise agreement on the wording – Review member

One panel member told me: “The timetable is very tough – one draft has already been rejected as completely inadequate.”

The review member said it might not be possible for the document to be agreed at all. “This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates,” I was told. “In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members.

“There is very clear evidence that governments are right to be very worried about climate change. But in any society like this there will inevitably be people who disagree about anything – and my fear is that the society may become paralysed on this issue.”

Another review member told me: “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised. It’s not clear to me how we are going to get precise agreement on the wording – we are scientists and we’re being asked to do a job of public communication that is more like journalism.”

But both members said they agreed that some of the previous communications of the organisation in the past were poorly judged.

Question everything

A Royal Society pamphlet Climate Change Controversies is the main focus of the criticism. A version of it is on the organisation’s website. It was written in response to attacks on mainstream science which the Royal Society considered scurrilous.

It reads: “This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change…”

One Fellow who said he was not absolutely convinced of the dangers of CO2 told me: “This appears to suggest that anyone who questions climate science is malicious. But in science everything is there to be questioned – that should be the very essence of the Royal Society. Some of us were very upset about that.

“I can understand why this has happened – there is so much politically and economically riding on climate science that the society would find it very hard to say ‘well, we are still fairly sure that greenhouse gases are changing the climate’ but the politicians simply wouldn’t accept that level of honest doubt.”

Another society protester said he wanted to be called a climate agnostic rather than a sceptic. He said he wanted the society’s website to “do more to question the accuracy of the science on climate feedbacks” (in which a warming world is believed to make itself warmer still through natural processes).

“We sent an e-mail round our friends, mainly in physical sciences,” he said.

“Then when we had got 43 names we approached the council in January asking for the website entry on climate to be re-written. I don’t think they were very pleased. I don’t think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society.

“But we won the day, and the work is underway to re-write it. I am very hopeful that we will find a form of words on which we can agree.

“I know it looks like a tiny fraction of the total membership (1,314) but remember we only emailed our friends – we didn’t raise a general petition.”

much more here at the BBC

h/t to WUWT reader “Sandy in Derby”

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191 thoughts on “Royal Society to review climate consensus position

  1. “Another society protester said he wanted to be called a climate agnostic rather than a sceptic.”

    Which just goes to show, absurdly, that “skeptic” has actually become a smear when climate change is concerned.

    Somebody page the American Physical Society and get them to do the same. Our scientific associations are themselves diminishing the faith of the public in science by their political activism.

  2. “There is very clear evidence that governments are right to be very worried about climate change. But in any society like this there will inevitably be people who disagree about anything – and my fear is that the society may become paralysed on this issue.”

    As it clearly should. Is there virtue in plunging blindly into an economic and political abyss, oblivious of both contrary evidence and likely unintended consequences?

  3. The real problem for the climate alarmists is feedback.

    If it is zero there is no problem since CO2 is a poor GHG.[1 o C per doubling]

    If it is negative there is even less of a problem.

    If it is positive but small there is still no problem.

    Only if it is positive and large is there a problem and recent studies have shown this is not the case, so where is the problem ?

  4. Here’s a thought: Just make everyone’s views available; pro, con, or somewhere in between, sans recommendations, and let the damn politicians stew in their own juices.

  5. “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised”

    LMAO. Here is how the organisation works for me. I get up at 4:30am while the kids are sleeping. Sometimes an idea pops into my head. If so, I write it up and send it to Anthony. He decides if he wants to publish it. I spend my free time the rest of the day arguing with R Gates and Phil.

    Still waiting on the big oil paycheck. I could sure use that for a summer vacation. They must not really care.

  6. “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised…”

    Given that scepticism is one of the key ingredients in all science I really wonder if these plonkers actually hear what they themselves sound like when they make this kind of comment ….

    Whats the hell is wrong with scepticism ??

  7. Typically, Harabin spins the line about “Lobbyists funded by the fossil fuel industry” but doesn’t mention Lobbyists funded by the CO2 industry (e.g. Al Gore).

  8. ‘…mainly in physical sciences…’

    Ah, the sane ones…

    …they should set up a counter organization and leave the rump of the ‘Royal Society’ to promulgate their beliefs on climatology, ufology, and Feng Shui.

  9. Glory be. The thin end of a wedge of commonsense, reported by the BBC, no less. There’s hope for us yet, and “agnostic” works just fine for me, so I don’t want to knock it. It has the advantage that it can’t really be denigrated: how can you slag off a bloke who admits he doesn’t know? I hope it catches on as a label – who knows, it might be something that allows more and more doubting scientists to come out of the woodwork.

  10. How about letting each side and maybe the middle also write up their thoughts on the matter. But a requirement would be that proof of any claim would have to be supplied – along with any code and data. :)

  11. “They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.”

    woops, well there went that document.

    If they leave out the lies, exaggerations, fabrications, and wishful thinking………..

  12. David says:
    May 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    “Another society protester said he wanted to be called a climate agnostic rather than a sceptic.”

    Which just goes to show, absurdly, that “skeptic” has actually become a smear when climate change is concerned.

    I agree, and I agree that it’s absurd.

    I’m not wholly opposed to the transition from “climate sceptic” to “AGW agnostic”. I think it’s important to recognise “AGW belief” as a religious, non-scientific, non-proof-based ideology. The word “agnostic” can also be easily and helpfully juxtaposed with the word “atheist”, and of course there is a broader popular understanding of the meanings of the terms “atheist” and “agnostic”.. and of the familiar term “screaming evangelist nutter”. Climate sceptics are AGW agnostic in the main. The word “agnostic” literally means “without Knowledge” (big K, as in religious Knowledge), or “not known/not knowable”. To quote:

    I … invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic,’ … antithetic to the ‘Gnostic’ of Church history who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant.
    [T.H. Huxley, “Science and Christian Tradition,” 1889]

    Climate Atheists are an entirely different bunch that can be ignored almost completely. They tend to believe that climate change is all rubbish and that it’s never REALLY changed at all, during the the earth’s entire 4,000 year history. Err…

    Well, it’s something to consider anyway.

  13. It is a couple orders of magnitude harder to get a person or entity to “walk back” a long series of statements than it is to get them to not make them in the first place. The more dignity they perceive themselves to have, can add a few “x” on top of that.

  14. Tempest in a teapot. I am sure they are all wondering how foolish they will all look when climate change turns out to be cold and none of them has figured out how to make CO2 the scapegoat. Maybe they should have joined the debate at Oxford Union.

  15. The FRS whom I know best simply disbelieves in the whole Global Warming farrago.
    Another FRS whom I know will, I fear, agree to anything likely to lead to career advancement. Sad, innit?

  16. When the purpose of science becomes the need to persuade policymakers, real science is no longer possible.

    Actually I think the response should be rather easy and quite simple:

    Climate change is real.
    Human caused climate change is possible, but hasn’t yet been confirmed.

  17. Consensus on methods and so on is possible. To be a scientists is to be skeptical. It is almost a must. We must always question and re-question everything. Science deals with how things work and nothing more. If we are not totally amoral and do not lack humanity, the information we contribute to humanities knowledge must be just that, information on how things work. As citizens we must contribute our beliefs and faith to that information base. The most difficult part of these two contributions is keeping them separated. If we fail to do so we are little more then well paid and well educated hypocrites. If our organizations and associations can’t do that, then they deserve the lack of public trust that results from hypocrisy.

  18. The basic problem indeed lies in the failure to distinguish between genuine feedback, which requires an auxiliary power-source (positive) or a dissipative mechanism (negative) for physical operation, and mere redistribution or storage of energy in a conservative system. I wonder how many Society members are equipped to understand that critical distinction and come to the realization that the much-venerated climate models posit a perpetuum mobile of the second kind.

  19. I think the Royal Society nd other so called Scientific societies should dig in and hold their ground no matter what new evidence surfaces. They have already ruined their reputation by releasing the first statement based on flawed logic. Now it is time for the real scientists that remain to form real scientific societies and do real science!

  20. Well said, Netdr – The foundation of their fear is FEEDBACK.

    Without large positive feedback from cloud formation, etc., there is absolute nothing to worry about. They should admit that actual OBSERVATIONS of feedback so far are inconclusive or in the opposite direction of what AGW predicts. If they put that simple truth in their statement, I, for one, would be very impressed…

  21. The Royal Society motto used to be “Nullius in verba”.
    “Take nobody’s word for it”.
    It’s not on their website now. But what a superb summary of the scientific method, based on their founding principles.
    Let’s hope they drop political action for scientific truth, whatever the outcome.

  22. geo : unless there is a third-party shown to have been misleading them. Once someone becomes that third party (could it be the IPCC with another large error?) then you will see a lot more people backing away, or at least watering down, statements.

  23. Well it is a good thing that they are going to do a review; but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for any reversal of their position; that would be simply too cataclysmic to countenance.

    But there is good reason to review the “feedbacks” question. In some instances what is described as a feedback is nothing more than a physical system which is in transition from one state to another state, as a result of some perturbation or other; and since the transition can take some time (thermal times constants generally being large); then we get to watch intermediate unstable states pass by from one stationary state to a different one. There really isn’t any “feedback” going on at all.

    Then there is this cloud gospel that evidently all climatologers embrace:-

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=SV04AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=climate+basics+cloud+winter&source=bl&ots=LYvSPYNdu6&sig=xXSqGhPXIVBI6sCQj2UVi5TYj5s&hl=en&ei=iVkVSuHgNOPOjAfpkrn4DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    A quick glance at the cloud fraction graph shows that at zero cloud fraction it doesn’t matter what altitude the clouds are not at; the surface temperature does not change with the amount of no cloud.

    But for any amount of cloud cover greater than zero; there is one altitude; the magic cloud altitude; where the surface temperature does not change at all with the fraction of cloud cover from 0 to 100 %.

    Then for any amount of non zero cloud cover percent; if you move that cloud to a lower altitude, the surface temperature falls and presumably the lower you move it, the more the temperature falls.
    But if you move that cloud from the magic altitude to a higher altitude; then the surface gets hotter; and apparently the higher you move the cloud; the hotter the surface gets.

    So this has generated the legend of low clouds causing negative feedback cooling while high clouds cause positive feedback heating of the surface. That is the standard gospel.

    Well of course that defies both common sense and everyday observation. If you are standing out in the sun with a cloud near the sun direction at any altitude; and that cloud then moves across in front of the sun; then observation says that it ALWAYS cools down in the shadow zone. And common sense says that since the sun is a near point source (0.5 deg divergence) the shadow size is pretty much constant at the same size as the cloud regardless of how high the cloud is. Well the higher the cloud is; the wider the penumbral shadow perimeter gets; whereas at lower altitudes the shadow edge gets sharper (for a given cloud).

    So we are asked to believe that if you run that cloud up and down in altitude it will get hotter and hotter the higher you move the cloud (in the shadow zone). So if you had a cloud say 1 squ km in area and that cloud reflected say 50% of the sunlight hitting the top of it; and then absorbed say 50% of the remaining sunlight that enters the cloud (we could call it a IPCC-1-50-50 cloud for Intergovernmental Propaganda Concensus Cloud) and it would have a sunlight transmittance of 25%; so presumably instead of getting a maximum ground irradiance of about 1000 W/m^2 (in the hottest places) we would only get 250 W/m^2 in that shadow zone.

    Now that cloud is going to block the same amount of light in the shadow regardless of its height, so we should measure 250 W/m^2 in that zone; for all cloud heights.

    But the LWIR thermal emission from the ground in that shadow zone, is of course going to be reduced by the cooling; but more importantly that surface thermal emission is going to be at least Lambertian dispersed, into a complete hemisphere. The cloud however subtends a diminisheing solid angle, as the altitude increases; and therefore the amount of thermal emission from the shadow zone that gets intercepted by the cloud goes down as the cloud altitude increases.

    Now the rest of the ground outside the shadow zone, of course continues in its cloud free state; so its temperature is unaffected by the cloud; as far as solar blockage; BUT the cloud does block a small amount of the LWIR emitted from each surface element outside the shadow zone; which in this example is most of the surface.

    So the cloud now intercepts a small fraction of the LWIR surface emission from everywhere outide the shadow zone; and of course at a different oblique angle for each location; so one might need to integrate all of those small contributions to get the total for the rest of the surface outside the shadow zone.

    Actually you can eliminate the need for integration by just acknowledging that the problem is identical to the reverse problem where the cloud is emitting downward radiation in a Lambertian (probably) distribution pattern; and that emission will spread over the surface in exactly the same distribution as the elemental contributions from each surface element. The further away from the cloud a position is, (laterally) the smaller is the IR from the cloud at that point and also the contribution intercepted by the cloud from that location.

    So actually we can just use the Lambertian Cosine distribution from a diffuse (small) source to figure out the ground emitted LWIR intercepted by the cloud; and then partially re-radiated downward to the ground. We will find that the higher the cloud is the smaller this interception is; so more of the LWIR from the surface escapes around the cloud.

    Well somewhere along the line; as we look at that biblical cloud picture cited above; we will suddenly discover that it is phony; because that is not a graph of cloud cover at varying altitudes as first appears; because each of those cloud cover percent lines is actually for a totally different cloud. They are not keep ing the cloud constant as they change its altitude; they are changing the cloud as they go, and the higher they put the cloud the less dense they make the cloud thereby changing both its albedo reflectance, and it bulk absorptance. The highest cloud, and the lowest cloud are totally different clouds.

    What a crock that is; if you want to know the effect of altitude on the warming effect of a cloud; you can’t go changing the cloud itself at the same time as you change the altitude.

    So I would hope, that these Royal Society folks get with the program, and re-evaluate some of these biblical utterances about the effect of cloud cover. Then we shall see if clouds can cause positive feedback or not; they still result in the surface cooling inside the shadow zone; and the bigger that shadow zone cloud gets the bigger the cooler area gets; until the cloud finally is covering the entire visible sky (from that location); and I don’t see how it ever switches from being colder in the shadow zone to becoming hotter in the shadow zone; no matter how large an area the cloud covers; and I have never experienced any cloud at any height that warmed up the surface in the shadow zone, when it passes in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools; no matter what.

    So have at it Royal Society; it seems like some of the sacred cows need to be butchered.

  24. I do not see any significant organisations of “skeptics” (nor funding) beyong the holding of an accasional meeting and the provision, gratis, of a half dozen websites that have become significant through their excellence.

    The claim that the “skeptic” group is well organisised is simply not true. It is a fragmentation of concerned individuals. Fortunately, some of them are better at times with math and science and concepts than some IPCC contributors.

  25. Well Steve; you just need to stop getting up at 4:30 AM. There isn’t any solar insolation to speak of at that time; so nothing much to measure.

    I’d sleep in a bit if Iwas you; well to be honest; I’m usually awake by 3AM or so; and have to turn the radio on to find out what the flaming Gummint has done to us since last night.

    But I try to avoid getting up till my w ife clears out to go teach her little childrens.

    Well that is unless I have to get out my sandbox and stick and do some sand scratchings; on some idea that probably woke me up anyway.

  26. Paralysed? What they mean is that the citizens might not allow them to proceed with their schemes. That’s a bad attitude on the part of the citizens, who should be slapped down, I say.

  27. brc says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Yessir, you are correct. But that also assumes they are willling to throw IPCC under the bus at this point of history. At best, at this point I give the Scottish verdict –“unproven”.

  28. I am very surprised that from “skeptics” they may use insurgents.
    After all Global Warming became Climate Change which can encompass anything.

  29. netdr says:

    The real problem for the climate alarmists is feedback.

    Exactly! The Royal Society didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition feedback from other honourable members such as this!

    I certainly hope that some integrity, sense and detachment from political funding, will finally overcome those who control Western scientific societies before they lose all popular support. Their support for the rigid political line of AGW is making them look like Soviet Lysenko Lackies.

  30. It reads: “This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change…”

    Wait a freaking minute, ladies and gentlemen!

    “The science of climate change”??????

    Is this some new discipline?

    “Changeology” perhaps?

    When did it cease being just an area of study and get its own “ology”?

    . . . wow . . .

    I wonder which university will have the first Department of Changeology.

  31. Geoff Sherrington says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I do not see any significant organisations of “skeptics” (nor funding) beyong the holding of an occasional meeting and the provision, gratis, of a half dozen websites that have become significant through their excellence.

    The claim that the “skeptic” group is well organisised is simply not true. It is a fragmentation of concerned individuals. Fortunately, some of them are better at times with math and science and concepts than some IPCC contributors.

    There are no public service ads promoting the skeptic position, no PR agencies working for us forwarding packaged stories to the press (the other side is doing a superb job of that), no handy umbrella site for bloggers, etc., etc. (For more, see my “Notes from Skull Island” on this site last month somewhere.)

  32. sky says:

    I wonder how many Society members are equipped to understand that critical distinction and come to the realization that the much-venerated climate models posit a perpetuum mobile of the second kind.

    In other words, “I wonder how many Society members are equipped to misunderstand things in the same way that I do?” My guess is that fortunately very few of them are!

  33. The problem is positive feedback. But since the CO2 concentration has been much higher than today, and there was no positive feedback turning earth into Venus, then why isn’t the problem solved … there is no positive feedback.

    Sometimes boundary conditions are self testing.

  34. My, my, what a year can do. This may be one of those tipping point for which we have all been waiting.

    Don’t get me wrong though, as long as the EPA still continues to move on its regulatory path and as long as Britain (or Europe or Australia, or Canada) retains their current carbon legislation, it is still an uphill battle where we cannot relent if we hope to win. After all, there’s still a lot of momentum behind this insane policy.

  35. SimonH says:

    Climate Atheists are an entirely different bunch that can be ignored almost completely. They tend to believe that climate change is all rubbish and that it’s never REALLY changed at all, during the the earth’s entire 4,000 year history. Err…

    Count me a Climate Atheist! You haven’t reckoned on the PC rewriting of language. “Climate change” is defined as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.” So, quite literally, until the very last sliver of time of that 4 BILLION year history, there has been NO CLIMATE CHANGE WHATSOEVER (no humans, you see…). You see, this is a very underhanded game being played. Get people to think words mean one thing, whilst secretly they mean something else and then a false message can be “honestly” stated by those in the know. A few more thoughts about this: http://peacelegacy.org/articles/rose-rose-really

  36. George E Smith says:

    So this has generated the legend of low clouds causing negative feedback cooling while high clouds cause positive feedback heating of the surface. That is the standard gospel.

    Actually, you are misusing the terminology somewhat: The standard picture is that an increase in low clouds will generally cause cooling in net and an increase in high clouds will generally cause warming in net. However, it is not always straightforward how cloudiness will change in a warming world. (There is more evaporation but only such that relative humidity is expected to remain approximately constant.) Hence, whether low clouds cause a positive or negative feedback depends on whether they decrease or increase, respectively in a warming world. And, similarly whether high clouds cause a positive or negative feedback depends on whether they increase or decrease, respectively in a warming world.

    Well of course that defies both common sense and everyday observation. If you are standing out in the sun with a cloud near the sun direction at any altitude; and that cloud then moves across in front of the sun; then observation says that it ALWAYS cools down in the shadow zone.

    Not if you happen to be on the half of the planet that is experiencing the phenomenon that we call “night”. If you don’t believe that high clouds tend to have a stronger warming effect than cooling effect, you might want to take up this with Richard Lindzen, whose “iris hypothesis” (now pretty well debunked) was based on the notion that a warming tropics would lead to a decrease in high clouds which would then cause a negative feedback. (“Much like the iris in a human eye contracts to allow less light to pass through the pupil in a brightly lit environment, Lindzen suggests that the area covered by high cirrus clouds contracts to allow more heat to escape into outer space from a very warm environment.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Iris/ )

    You might want to warn Lindzen that your analysis says that in fact this decrease in high clouds would be a positive feedback. Or, alternatively, you might entertain the notion that those people who have thought about this more deeply than you have…and have looked at empirical data from satellite measurements and so forth…actually have things basically correct in regards to how changes in low or high clouds affect the temperature. (I think that the more difficult question is honestly how the low and high clouds do in fact change with temperature.)

  37. tarpon says:

    The problem is positive feedback. But since the CO2 concentration has been much higher than today, and there was no positive feedback turning earth into Venus, then why isn’t the problem solved … there is no positive feedback.

    When climate scientists talk about net positive feedback, they mean that the net feedbacks are positive other than the “trivial feedback term” of about -0.26 K per W/m^2 that is provided by the Steffan-Boltzmann Equation (i.e., when something like the earth heats up, it radiates more). As long as the “net positive feedbacks” are smaller in magnitude than this, what one gets is a magnification of the (~1 C per CO2 doubling) warming computed using the direct radiative effect of the CO2 and applying the S-B equation alone.

    So, no, on the sense that climate scientists talk of net positive feedback, the fact that we haven’t had a runaway does not show that the feedbacks are negative. In fact, most of the computations of the climate sensitivity derived from paleoclimate data suggest a sensitivity in the same range as the climate models predict.

  38. Some false dilemmas being posed there. If they can’t agree the answer is to say so very clearly what they disagree about. Certainly a document can be arrived at even if it does not include what certain individuals very much want it to include.

  39. ***********
    Joel Shore says:
    May 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    sky says:

    I wonder how many Society members are equipped to understand that critical distinction and come to the realization that the much-venerated climate models posit a perpetuum mobile of the second kind.

    In other words, “I wonder how many Society members are equipped to misunderstand things in the same way that I do?” My guess is that fortunately very few of them are!
    *************
    Looks like at least some of them are smart enough to realize some of the science is dodgy. Remember, science isn’t done by consensus.

  40. “Then when we had got 43 names we approached the council in January asking for the website entry on climate to be re-written. I don’t think they were very pleased. I don’t think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society.”

    “I don’t think they were very pleased.”

    To put it mildly! LOL. And I’m sure Prince Charles is not amused either. Last I heard from him was some dire Al Gore style prediction.

    “I don’t think this sort of thing has been done before in the history of the society.”

    Well, there’s never been a scientific scam this large before in history either.

    Did the Royal Society fall for the Piltdown Man?

    Time to rename AGW Humpty Dumpty.

  41. The correct way of doing science, or any other logical exercise, it to form a hypotheses and try to disprove it.
    You make a testable prediction and say to yourself if X is true is true then Y must also true. You then observe if Y is true.
    Example: Einstein predicted that if mass warped space light would be bent around the sun and a particular star would be visible during an eclipse.
    Climate alarmists reverse the procedure and try to prove their hypotheses is true.
    Example: Mike Mann and his hockey stick.
    By standing logic on it’s ear anything can be proved. The scientist must be his own most thorough critic.
    The only predictions climate alarmists make are in the form of models which are always too high after a few years. They somehow convinced themselves that it is easier to predict 100 years than 20 years. Which they have proven they can not do.
    They only fool the faithful.

  42. This is a marvellous development.

    The propaganda the RoySoc exec has been gushing for so long has been challenged by a grass-roots protest…and the BBC is reporting it in more rounded way giving respectful voice to the sceptics (mention of the crux issue of feedback, quoting Linzen). It’s another step our way for Harrabin and the BBC…and it might be the turning of the tide at RoySoc – and right before the 350 year celebration in November.

    The fear that the society may become paralysed on this issue is real, and if it does become paralysed then we will know at least that its heart is still beating as a society for scientific discussion.

    As for Lord Rees, make no mistake that this will be difficult for him.
    For his brand of cool alarmism try his book Our Final Hour.
    The Cicerone-Rees weasel-worded letter to Fin Times is here:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/72e349c8-436e-11df-833f-00144feab49a.html

    Or listen to Rees in Oz last month:
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/2881446.htm

    …given the lack of belief in very well established science like evolution, one should not be so surprised that there is a large body of people who don’t accept arguments about climate change because the climate change arguments are not entirely straightforward, the evidence is not staring us in the face….

  43. Don’t worry about someone wanting to avoid the skeptic label. Skeptics have mostly been bad for science, with some occasional usefulness. See Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a very friendly reading of skeptical history: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism-ancient/

    And as this learned article observes, most modern skeptics who argue from a position of skepticism don’t wish to be known as such.

  44. Here is something to make you laugh. Algor is a Latin word that means cold or coldness. See Whitaker’s words: http://archives.nd.edu/words.html
    algor, algoris N M 3 1 M [XXXCO]
    cold, coldness; chilliness; a fit of shivering; cold weather (pl.);

    This is so unbelievable that I now believe in supernatural phenomena (and I will also consult other dictionaries to check the source) :)

  45. “… there is so much politically and economically riding on climate science that the society would find it very hard to say ‘well, we are still fairly sure that greenhouse gases are changing the climate’ but the politicians simply wouldn’t accept that level of honest doubt.”

    Why should that be hard to say? The Royal Society should be saying what it believes to be true regardless of the way it will be received by politicians.

    For a Fellow to acknowledge that the Society would find it hard to express doubt on a particular scientific topic for fear of the political response is the clearest proof there could be that the RS has abdicated its position as an impartial reporter of current scientific thought and adopted a political role. That was the stance taken by so-called scientific bodies in the Soviet Union and East Germany – they were part of the State machine rather than apolitical observers. For the RS to have sunk to that level is a disgrace.

  46. “do more to question the accuracy of the science on climate feedbacks”

    So that would mean they will include language about negative feedbacks?

    Are they feeling embarrassed about Spencer’s work on cloud cover? Christy’s, Singer’s, et al work on in inaccurate climate models? Or about Svensmark’s work on cosmic rays? Or on all the work done showing how flawed “manmade global warming” is?

    p.s., thank you “Sandy in Derby”

  47. terrybixler says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Tempest in a teapot. I am sure they are all wondering how foolish they will all look when climate change turns out to be cold and none of them has figured out how to make CO2 the scapegoat. Maybe they should have joined the debate at Oxford Union.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    The article is dated Thursday, 27 May 2010. I wonder if the results of the Oxford Union debate has something to do with it. I don’t imagine the Royal Society wants to look so bad to the young Oxfords’ over ‘global warming’.

  48. “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised…”

    Gosh, I didn’t know I was well organized with anyone.

    p.s., I’m not really a skeptic. You can only be a skeptic of something that could possibly be real. (got that one from Lindzen)

  49. Michael Larkin says:
    May 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Glory be. The thin end of a wedge of commonsense, reported by the BBC, no less.

    I’d say they’re just reading the handwriting on the wall. These dam cold winters can thaw a rock hard frozen political disposition.

  50. Let it be known that these blowhards have been far more wrong than right over the last couple of centuries. As most American and British science, they view their occupation as a means of riches and fame, thus shunning real science unless they manage to hop on the wagon before it leaves the market scare, oops, did I mean square?

  51. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    May 27, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised…”
    Gosh, I didn’t know I was well organized with anyone>>

    Well golly gee but they might be right. Global warming is causing more hurricanes and less hurricanes, more rain and less rain, more snow and less snow, more unseasonable warm weather and more unseasonable cold weather, more ice and less ice, more sea level rise and less sea level rise. And that was just on Tuesday.

    So by comparison, the skeptics are organized.

  52. Do they do this on every subject in science? Do they need to get “consensus” on every idea? This is insane… it’s not science… it’s politics.

  53. I have often wondered why the leaders of the alarmist movement always point blank refuse to publicly debate climate change with sceptics – apart from the obvious fact they would lose the argument.

    After all, if you are the purveyor of truth and all that is good, then you need to get people to believe in what you say.

    Then I thought of the Holy Inquisition, the Taliban, the Nazis solution to the ‘Jewish Problem’, etc etc. If you are downright wrong, there is no way you want to debate anything, you just want to impose your will on the masses.

    I am not comparing the Royal Society to any of the above, but they like most alarmists from Gore to Milliband, are guilty of trying to stifle the debate with statements like ‘the science is settled’. As the general public becomes increasingly sceptic, the alarmist leaders’ statements and demands likewise become increasingly shrill.

    At the end of the day, the climate debate comes down to one thing, the concept of ‘forcing’ – an extremely dubious theory not supported by any facts or geological history. If you believe this theory is fact, then you are an alarmist, but if you reject it or doubt its veracity then you are a sceptic.

  54. Panel reports by July? LOL. They’ll need an extension or two. Or three. In fact, if they’re bright, they can just keep on getting three month extensions for a decade or so, watch the data, and when they see which way the trend actually goes, they can issue a report and claim that was what they were going to say all along.

    I use the same technique with the lottery. I never get around to buying a ticket and then the day after the draw I can read the winning number and scream “%@@#^%!! that was the number I was going to pick”. Got it right 14 weeks in a row.

  55. “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised…” They cannot even admit that the earth is shooting their diaphonous theory out of the sky. Reminds me of the line used by someone with a black eye : “You should see the other guy”. They are getting facepalmed and they cannot even see that it is by natural variability of the climate system, not a clever band of skeptic insurgents. If the crops are poor this year, you are gonna see an angry public backlash against the people who tried to convince us to prepare for the wrong eventuality.

  56. I dislike the tone of Harrabin’s piece — it’s got a mean flavour, with his prejudice showing through where he harps on about ‘well organised and funded deniers’. Yes, it’s nearer real science reporting than usual, but he’s not there yet. I have a general purpose letter for climate journos, and a poem. Here’s the letter:

    “Are you convinced by any of the arguments for proxy evaluation of temperatures for the last 1000 years? If so, please elaborate — skip the baby talk, skip the ‘polar bears are in trouble’ hand-waving, lay out a numerical argument for your thesis that humanity is warming the planet. Yes, I know, it’s not ‘your’ thesis, but you are a flag-waver for it and, if you’re prepared to wave the flag, the least you can do is defend it with cogent arguments. Which proxy, to your mind, is defensible as a thermometer for the times when we don’t have real glass tubes filled with alcohol or mercury? Not bristlecone pines, surely, evaluated and found wanting. Ababneh’s trees? Briffas? Those before or after the decline? Come now, old chap, is there no remnant of a reporter’s instincts in that indoctrinated and battened-down heart?

    There’s a story here, a story of fudge and obfuscation and weasel words. Is there not a twitch from the deep-down nosiness that every reporter needs if he is to be anything other than a mouthpiece for other people’s press releases? Frogs? Remember when it was all the frogs dying which showed global warming but it turned out to be a fungus disease? Don’t you owe it to the frogs to be a real reporter?
    .
    I was frightened when I saw the first hockey stick. Then I read about it, how it was created, read the Wegman report and felt like fool. You have read the Wegman report, of course. How, as a decent, intelligent man, let alone a reporter, one of the breed known for their resistance to spin, can you look at the attempts to resurrect the stick, that scion of corrupt wishful thinking, as anything other than scandal? I know the temptation to which you are subjected: green advocates are passionate about the needs of nature, our responsibility for the ecosystems on which we depend, the love for the fragile Earth. That love does not absolve you from the necessity of pursuing truth. In the end the science will win, truth will out and one side or the other will be triumphant.

    However, if you have been shown as a fudger, if you have swept aside legitimate doubts about the reality behind the claims, you will have done huge damage to the cause you think you are serving and, more important to a man trying to earn a living in what we hope will be a world purged of this hysterical nonsense, you will have made yourself a laughing stock. The hockey-stick farce turned me into a luke-warmer, convinced that the world was warming but unconvinced as to the cause. Can you really, in your heart, treat it as good, unbiased science?
    .
    The best temperature measuring system in the world, so they say, is in the USA. You will have watched Anthony Watts and his team of volunteers assess that system. The ‘best system in the world’ has about half of its locations measuring to an accuracy of greater than + – 5 degrees. Global warming caused by CO2, at its IPCC -enhanced greatest, is about .7 degrees. You _know _ this. If you have any trace of integrity you’ve read the reports as they come in, the thermometers a few feet away from sewage farms, the air conditioner outlets, the acres of concrete and asphalt, the MIG fighter exhaust pointing straight at the sensor. What are you doing to your mind to see that and still to spout the party line that the world is warming, it’s all CO2 and there’s nothing else it could be?
    .
    There are those who feel it is acceptable to tell lies that the greater good be served. Read the leaked — leaked, not stolen – emails from the CRU at UEA. Can you really face yourself in the mirror in the morning, can you sincerely describe yourself as a reporter if you don’t follow the story and be damned where it leads?”
    .
    And here’s the poem:

    “You cannot ever bribe or twist
    The honest climate journalist.
    But when you see what he will do
    unbribed
    You’ll find you don’t need to.”

    Me, I’ve moved from luke-warmer to confused and I want the world to share the causes of my confusion. Call me a dissident, a climate dissident.

    JF

  57. That would be the same Royal Society that producd a report claiming that “increased rain and severe weather due to climate change” would result in increased tectonic activity and more volcanic eruptions (report in UK Daily Telegraph days after the Icelandic eruption), talk about jumping on bandwaggons.

  58. Do you know what you call a system where the ELITE agrees on a CONCENSUS, and noone is allowed to go against the CONCENSUS after the fact?

    It’s called MARXISM!!!

    I hereby urge the whole society to read Dr. Roy Spencers book on the Great Climate blunder. Learn how a whole group of scientists might have misinterpreted data.

  59. @ George E. Smith: George, I liked your argument about cloud thermo effects of shadowing. However you may have over looked the very large energy release in cloud formation. Evaporation and condensation in cloud formation is the heat pump that cools the surface and transfers the energy higher up to be radiated into space. Heat energy and temperature are not always the same thing. This is why the climate models are so crappy, too simple minded about cloud effects.

    This is why I have little confidence in the Royal Societys’ review as specialists generally can’t see past the end of their noses and accept the postulations of other not-related specialists as fact.

  60. So 43 members of the Royal Society have finally proved they have something between their legs! Whilst it gladdens the heart, it still makes me wonder why they took so long!

  61. perhaps their first and only ‘consensus’ should be:

    the Royal Society will never again use the generic ‘climate change’ when referring to the IPCC’s ‘catastrophic anthropogenic climate change’.

    if they did just that, and the media was forced to follow suit, we’d be over the biggest hurdle we face.

  62. I do hope the Royal Society will debate the application of the Stefan-Boltzmann’s equations as used in the IPCC reports as against the methods devised by NASA to ensure the safety of the astronauts during the Apollo Moon landings.

  63. – crack –

    “The first thing to do is to get away from the idea that you can only be using single-valued metrics like the global temperature.”
    Gavin Scmidt 26 May 2010
    On attribution (Real climate)

  64. I smell a rat.

    First I checked out the Royal Soc site
    http://royalsociety.org/
    There’s no news of this new reflection there, but there’s news of 44 new fellows
    elected to the Royal Soc..

    Harrabin’s propoganda states “Lobbyists funded by the fossil fuel industry were fighting to undermine that consensus (…)” – which I suspect is a lie, and
    follows with this;
    “Climate change doubters among the society’s Fellows say that in their anxiety
    to support government action, the academies failed to distinguish between “hired guns” and genuine scientific agnostics wanting to explore other potential causes
    of climate change. ”

    Now that scenerio has skeptics being understanding and forgiving of abuse
    from alarmists, which they understood was really intended for the evil oil
    lobbyists.

    It looks like a work of fiction to me.

    Now, “The panel should report in July and the report is to be published in September” tells me the report is already written, and awaiting some
    approval.

    So I’m expecting a rehashed alarmist report which expresses doubt about
    the importance of ludicrously minor details: say, the albedo of seagulls.

  65. netdr says: Only if it is positive and large is there a problem and recent studies have shown this is not the case, so where is the problem ?

    It has to be positive and large AND there must be no other larger negative feedback like clouds…

    Look at the history of interglacials. There is a hard lid on temperatures just a tiny bit above our present temperatures (and even that may simply be an overshoot before the lid slaps back down to here,,,)

    There is a tipping point, but it is only to the downside from here.

    ZT says: …they should set up a counter organization and leave the rump of the ‘Royal Society’ to promulgate their beliefs on climatology, ufology, and Feng Shui.

    Hey! Quit slandering ufology and Feng Shui! Put them in with AGW climatology and you will damage their reputation ! ;-)

    And, I’d note, the very idea of “scientific consensus” is a broken one. Like most things from the AGW camp, they have the sign backwards. Science only defines the rules we use for the moment as we search for a better set…

    If “scientific consensus” mattered, we could stop issuing new Ph.Ds as there would be nothing new to discover so no one could produce a significant advance in the art…

  66. Scepticism about CAGW has come a long way since this ‘cargo cult science’ quote from Lord May, who in his desire to please his master forgot what real science is all about:-

    The first “climate agnostic” also said he was angry at previous comments from the previous president Lord May who declared: “The debate on climate change is over.”

    Lord May was once quoted as saying: “On one hand, you have the entire scientific community and on the other you have a handful of people, half of them crackpots.”

    Now ‘the debate’ really is in full spate and the ‘crackpots’ are winning!

  67. I’m not a climate sceptic because climate is real and I would be stupid to deny it. Nor am I a climate agnostic (what the heck is one of those when it’s at home?) What I am is a catastrophic anthropogenic climate change sceptic as most of us who read and comment here are. I would think a scientist would be able to distinguish and understand the not very subtle difference. Apparently not…

  68. “I know it looks like a tiny fraction of the total membership (1,314) but remember we only emailed our friends – we didn’t raise a general petition.”

    They only emailed their friends, somehow that gives the appearance of conflict to me, and appearance is everything.

  69. At least Lord May, Placeman of the Royal Society is not biased:-
    “Although an atheist since age 11, May has stated that religion may help society deal with climate change. While referring to what he believes to be a rigid structure of fundamentalist religion, he stated that the co-operational aspects of non-fundamentalist religion may in fact help with climate change. When asked if religious leaders should be doing more to persuade people to combat climate change, he stated that it was absolutely necessary.”
    Ref Wikipaedia.

  70. sky says:

    I wonder how many Society members are equipped to understand that critical distinction and come to the realization that the much-venerated climate models posit a perpetuum mobile of the second kind.

    They do understand eg Makarieva et al 2010 a

    A critique of some modern applications of the Carnot heat engine concept: the dissipative heat engine cannot exist

    In several recent studies, a heat engine operating on the basis of the Carnot cycle is considered, where the mechanical work performed by the engine is dissipated within the engine at the temperature of the warmer isotherm and the resulting heat is added to the engine together with an external heat input. This internal dissipation is supposed to increase the total heat input to the engine and elevate the amount of mechanical work produced by the engine per cycle. Here it is argued that such a dissipative heat engine violates the laws of thermodynamics. The existing physical models employing the dissipative heat engine concept, in particular the heat engine model of hurricane development, need to be revised.

    http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/466/2119/1893

  71. George E. Smith said ”
    “I have never experienced any cloud at any height that warmed up the surface in the shadow zone, when it passes in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools; no matter what.”

    And yet cloudy nights are still a lot warmer than clear ones.

  72. Please can you delete my post as it is factually incorrect Lord May is a Past President.

    Please accept my apologies.

  73. By Roger Harrabin Environment analyst, BBC News

    There is debate over “feedback” effects on the climate

    That’s it in a nutshell. Feedback has always been the big uncertainty. We can expect the world to be warmer with more CO2 but will it be ‘catastrophically’ warmer or just a bit warmer. In a sense, all the arguments about ocean cycles, solar cycles, etc are largely irrelevant. A cool PDO phase in 2050 might still be warmer than the warm 1910-1940 phase – even though it might be relatively colder than the years immediatelybefore it.

    The evidence is looking increasingly as though feedback will be small (not sure it’s negative) so a warming of 1-1.5 deg for CO2 doubling seems about right.

  74. Offtopic, but funny. :-)

    Beyond polar bears? Experts look for a new vision of climate change to combat skepticism

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-05/w-bpb052710.php

    Climate change is about more than just polar bears. That is the message from Dr Kate Manzo whose research into climate change communication has been published in Meteorological Applications. The research, which reviews the efforts of journalists, campaigners and politicians to engage the British public with climate change, explores how new ‘visual strategies’ can communicate climate change messages against a backdrop of increased climate scepticism.

    “There have been various efforts to put a face on the climate change issue,” said Dr Manzo, from Newcastle University. “Communicators need to move away from the traditional images of polar bears or fear-laden imagery to find new, inspirational motifs to engage people with climate change. My research has uncovered a variety of possibilities – such as windmills as icons of renewable energy – as well as alternatives to documentary photography as the dominant form of climate change communication. Artists and cartoonists are among the producers of inspirational alternatives.”

    (…)

  75. George E. Smith says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Interesting discussion. Will have to think about it.

    tarpon says:
    May 27, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    “The problem is positive feedback. But since the CO2 concentration has been much higher than today, and there was no positive feedback turning earth into Venus, then why isn’t the problem solved … there is no positive feedback.”

    The jargon can be confusing if you are just being introduced to the problem. It is more subtle than that. The hypothesis is not that there is overall positive feedback. It is that there is positive feedback embedded in a dominant negative feedback system (at the very least, T^4 radiation is an extremely large negative feedback, which grows rapidly with temperature). You can easily show yourself that such an internal positive feedback tends to amplify the response. And, the CAGW scenario requires that this amplification be large.

  76. They have promised to make the new statement “robust”. I guess that should make it OK then.

  77. “and my fear is that the society may become paralysed on this issue.”

    Better paralysed than consensual and wrong.

  78. Even our greatest, most well-educated minds make grievous errors of consensus. Here is the caption from a portrait of Royal Society Fellows London:

    John Cooke, R. A., Royal Academy Portrait. In 1915, the partisans of Piltdown Man gathered to celebrate his arrival. On wall: picture of Charles Darwin FRS. Standing (left to right): F. 0. Barlow (British Museum), G. Elliot Smith FRS, C. Dawson, and A. Smith Woodward FRS. Seated: A. S. Underwood, A. Keith FRS, W. P. Pycraft FRS, E. R. Lankester FRS. Royal Geological Society archives.

    http://www.clarku.edu/~piltdown/map_expose/the_pilt_hoax.html

  79. I find myself nodding vigorously in agreement to some of the excellent postings on this site and wish I could be as eloquent.
    I wonder if you would consider giving readers the chance to ‘recommend’ postings which they particularly approve as is done by “The Times” It would also cut down on repetition of views. Just a suggestion.

    [I don’t think WordPress supports it. ~dbs, mod]

  80. To understand the Royal Society requires a more than superficial understanding of the class system which still holds sway in the UK. The leaders of the Royal Society generally inhabit a certain position in the British class structure which perceives those who did not attend an Oxbridge university as inferior beings; there is a stronger bond between Oxbridge Political Science grads and hard science grads than there is between science grads from other universities. This bond is most evident in politics in the UK – a head-count of millionaire Oxbridge grads on the front benches of the current UK parliament, then a trawl through the backgrounds of the leaders of various industries and occupations shows a high degree of shared experience and values; there are always exceptions, such as Lord Sugar (formerly Sir Alan Sugar) and Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin everything, both remarkably successful self-made men who became entrepreneurs in their teens without bothering with formal education beyond high school.
    The Royal Society has usually reflected the common beliefs of the social class of its leading members. The fiasco in the society’s history of their outright rejection, then grudging acceptance which eventually morphed into full approval of Harrison, the village carpenter and his sons, deemed to be working class in the extreme at the time, who defied the class and education barriers to become brilliantly inventive horologists and invented a new technology embodied in their successively more accurate naval chronometers which solved the age old problem of defining longitude exactly while at sea and out of sight of land.
    The Royal Society is a bastion of wealth, priveledge and class; it will eventually accede and recognise scientific method and ethics, but not without defending its position vigorously. Those of us whose antecedents fled the UK to carve out new societies in the New World, be they the Americas or other English-speaking nations such as Australia and New Zealand, tend to see the Royal Society in a different light from our English cousins – it is an anachronism, a piece of history, an artifact of society in the UK but not very important in the modern world beyond the confines of old-world priveledge and upper-class cronyism.

  81. The only climate change which is dangerous to the Establishment is the decreasing gullibility of Joe Public in swallowing whole the propaganda that they wish to disseminate for the purposes of control.

    Shocking implications for rulers if a society were truly able to discern the truth from propaganda, eh?

  82. Julian Flood, 10.10
    Don’t throw out the proxy baby with the bathwater, they substantiate the Medieval Warming Period, globally, to an amazing degree. See CO2science.org, and to paraphrase their statement, according to published data by 833 scientists from 466 research institutes in 43 countries there WAS a Medieval Warm Period !

  83. Science is inherently sceptical. It is entirely different from denial unless that denial is of opinions and assertions which are unsupported by evidence.

    Scepticism is a noble tradition to which we should all aspire:-

    Sceptic via latin Scepticus, disciple of Pyrrho of Elis, from Greek Skeptikos, from skeptesthai, to examine;

    Philosophical skepticism (from Greek σκέψις – skepsis meaning “enquiry” – UK spelling, scepticism) is both a philosophical school of thought and a method that crosses disciplines and cultures. … One kind of scientific skepticism refers to the critical analysis of claims lacking empirical evidence.

    A scientific (or empirical) skeptic is one who questions the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation. The scientific method details the specific process by which this investigation of reality is conducted.

  84. Before the Royal Society or any other institution tries to figure out what the actual climate feedback is, it would be wise to actually go back and review the basic assumptions about the Greenhouse Theory itself, which says that the ability for Greenhouse gasses to hold onto some heat emitted from the surface of the earth, makes the earth warmer than the theoretically calculated one using the Stephan-Boltzmann function.
    What if there are actually other materials (solid, liquid or gaseous) that actually can hold onto solar heat energy and then emit that heat at a later stage (at night). This is determined by the heat capacity of that material.
    An element with a high heat capacity needs more energy to warm by a certain amount (and will thus take longer), than one with a lower capacity. However once the heat source is no longer applied and if the surrounding environment has a lower temperature, the materials will try to lose the heat to come into equilibrium with its environment. The element with the higher capacity has more energy stored and will need to lose more energy than the lower one. It will thus take longer for the higher one to obtain equilibrium.
    Water, which covers 70% of the surface of the earth, has a very high heat capacity compared to dry air (also higher than humid air) (See: by Professor Nasif Nahle).
    Even on the moon the ability for the regolith, which covers its surface, to hold on to some heat on the night side (= about 13 earth days), makes it 60 deg Celsius warmer than the Stephan-Boltzmann calculations. (It is even 20 degrees cooler on the day side as new analysis of Apollo 14 and 17 data has shown – see Alan Siddons, Martin Hertzberg & Hans Schreuder Source Link: source
    The question to ask is which the likely source of the warmer earth is: The greenhouse gasses (only trace gasses in the earth atmosphere), which can hold onto its heat radiation for a fraction of a second only, before re-emitting or the oceans and the materials on the earth land surface, which have the ability to hold onto that heat for far longer.

  85. “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised…”

    Yeah, well enough organised to be the only ones engaged in following the requirements inerrant in the practice of the scientific method, of which ‘sceptical inquiry’ is an essential pre requisite.

    If the Alarmists are finding their selective and optional use of ‘scepticism’ and ‘open peer-review’ and ‘consideration of all the empirical evidence’ to be not working for them anymore, then they should feel free to reject their own unscientific confirmation bias and return to proper and full scientific methodology.

    Yeas, it would slash their budgets, but it might just reduce their alarmism too.

  86. When the new revised edition of “Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” gets published will it contain a chapter on the Skeptics or Warmists as being the deluded madness of crowds of scientists?

    My money is on the AGW folk being the meat and potatoes of that chapter. Why? Because I meet so many airheads who believe that their own little plan will solve this “problem”. People who think that vegetarianism, banning airplanes, living underground, and on and on and on , will make the place cooler. These same people who believe that the climate of 150 years ago was the best climate imaginable for all things on Earth despite the fact that they didn’t live then.

    The Royal Society book by Bill Bryson “Seeing Further” ISBN 978-0-00-730256-7 has a chapter on climate change by a very decent sounding chap called Stephen H. Schneider who bases most of what he says on IPCC 4 and some Bayesian stats. Done before the holes in IPCC 4 began to appear. Is he one of the scientists who will be involved in the review?

    Bah!

  87. For any of you not be familiar with ” Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds” here is a link to get you started . . .

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Mackay/macEx1.html

    The opening paragraph should whet your appetite . . .

    “THE OBJECT OF THE AUTHOR in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes. “

  88. The whole point is that Global Warming is a political agendum! There is no interest whatsoever in saving the planet other than tokenism & a sop to the genuine greenie eco-stalinists who want to return to the stone age. It’s all about wealth distribution, rich nations tapping the wallet to give to the poor nations, which are run primarily by Marxist Socilaist dictators & or criminals creaming off their share of the aid money doled out to them.

    Never in the last 500 million years has CO2 been shown to have driven temperatures on Earth. When CO2 levels were up to 20 times what they are today, no runaway greenhouse effect occurred. So, could somebody on the greenie side please explain “exactly” (no ifs buts or maybes) what mechanism changed all that for a small increase of the current pityfully low level of CO2 in todays atmosphere? Please, I really do want to know like the millions of us out there!

  89. This is Roger Harrabin everyone’s talken about.

    a Monbiot sock puppet.

    Let’s see what happens, before we start casting the spersions. Societies are just groups of scientists.

    Last time I looked, Catastrophists they are doing re education and advertising campaigns.

  90. There is debate over “feedback” effects on the climate

    Perhaps I’m a bit slow but isn’t that what most ‘sceptics’ have been suggesting all along?

    They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.

    Understatement of the last two decades there if you ask me.

    “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised. … “

    What can one say? Must be our infinite funding trough feeding layers of advocacy combined with unfettered access to the MSM and Government. Can’t fight that so you may as well just give up and join us (we know where you live).

    The society’s ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document.

    While a review by the RS is welcome I’m not quite sure they will ever produce a ‘consensus document’. Too much riding on CO2 politically to suggest that 1.4 billion cubic Km of liquid water (or whatever) may have some part in regulating climate. The advocacy hotline at RS HQ will be ringing 24/7 after this announcement. Long before anyone gets down to reviewing the science.

  91. E.M.Smith says:
    May 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    There is a tipping point, but it is only to the downside from here.

    For clarity we could refer to it as Ice from now on.

  92. Re education camps, for the publicly employed.

    It’s all falling apart.

    In a revolution you need the Polity. Unfortunately we are tech societies nowadays.

  93. I disagree with those concerned about the need for consensus. It is an important part of science (as is nonconsensus). Mainstream science is limited to consensual reality. Consensual reality is all about agreement between scientists. Agreement comes through peer review. It is important for such groups to consider concensus when making statements. Some people look to mainstream when considering new policy, hoping there is “safety in numbers”.

    But truth is another matter altogether, and individuals must be willing to disagree with consensus when it is evident to do so. Otherwise consensus only perpetuates old understanding, be it true or false.

    Sounds like the society understands the importance of agreement and members are willing to disagree. I see no problem with that.

  94. Yes, Lord May is perfectly happy to use other forms of mind-control instead when the AGW one is becoming tired and ineffective :)

  95. “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised”

    Do the alarmists ever look at themselves? They are well organised and strident, and have the force of Government and taxpayer funding to back them up. As usual the argument most flung at an opposition is the one that applies most to the flinger.

  96. I suspect this is only a puff to show how accommodating and rational the RS really is, even in the face of hysterical critics who aren’t *real scientists like Rees and cronies. There will be some sort of whitewash which takes us back to the consensus position and a flurry of concentrated odium academicum in which the agnostics are either booted out or get their coats and leave in disgust. You should not believe a word of what the Beeb and Harrabin say – after all, the “prestigious” Reith Lectures are being done by Rees this year.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2010/01_january/04/reith.shtml
    “His Reith Lectures will explore the role of science as a common culture and the scope and limits of our scientific understanding.
    Professor Rees will also discuss how science might further transform our lives in the rest of the 21st century – posing new opportunities, threats and ethical challenges.
    And he will consider scenarios, some optimistic, some less so, for a world in which pressures on resources and the environment will become ever more acute. ”
    Yeah.

  97. “Roger Harrabin Environment analyst”

    He does NOT analyse anything. Ask Jo Abbess.

  98. ImranCan says:
    May 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised…”

    Given that scepticism is one of the key ingredients in all science I really wonder if these plonkers actually hear what they themselves sound like when they make this kind of comment ….

    Whats the hell is worng with scepticism ??
    __________________________________________________________________________

    Nothing is wrong with scepticism.

    All scientist are supposed to be sceptics so there is something very very wrong with so called scientific bodies that brand sceptics as deniers and worse. To any intelligent person these announcements of “the science is settled” and “there is a consensus” especially in a very young science like Climatology, shouts “We are no longer a scientific organization but a political propaganda outlet for the government.”

    Shades of the Soviet Union me thinks.

  99. Christopher Wood says:
    May 28, 2010 at 1:36 am
    I find myself nodding vigorously in agreement to some of the excellent postings on this site and wish I could be as eloquent.
    I wonder if you would consider giving readers the chance to ‘recommend’ postings which they particularly approve as is done by “The Times” It would also cut down on repetition of views. Just a suggestion.

    [I don’t think WordPress supports it. ~dbs, mod]

    This plugin: Comment Rating does that and a lot more. Has a useful reader-defined twit filter too :-)

  100. ‘Another review member told me: “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised.”‘

    Well that hackneyed defamatory guff had better not find its way into print. For a start, I represent an organisation of just one: me. Not a red cent from anyone on this. What’s driving me (and, I’m sure, millions of other sceptics) is watching the good name of science being trashed by scammers peddling an idiotic hoax to make a buck. It’s downright sickening. That’s what’s “unprecedented”.

    Reading this prelude to the next RS attempt at a formal statement is depressing. It looks like they’re not going to shift much from the utterly childish claptrap they delivered last time, straight from Gore’s abominable song sheet.
    http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/science/2009/12/royal-society-statement-on-cli.html

  101. “Ian H says:
    May 28, 2010 at 12:39 am
    George E. Smith said ”
    “I have never experienced any cloud at any height that warmed up the surface in the shadow zone, when it passes in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools; no matter what.”
    And yet cloudy nights are still a lot warmer than clear ones.”

    Two different issues. One is blocking radiation from being added to the system, one is insulating radition to keep it in the system negating blackbody effect, etc.

    But lets ask this question… does blocking radition reduce energy input more than the insulative value retains it? Intuitively, I’d say yes but I haven’t read anything concerning it.

    Retained energy from insulation just keeps the energy in the system locally, and it can be radiated later. The higher the energy level of the system, the more energy it can radiate. Blocked radiation is reflected back into space and is never part of the system at all.

    It seems to me that cloudcover reduces the total energy being pushed to the earth, while it merely delays outgoing radiation in a local region.

  102. stevengoddard says:
    May 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    “The sceptics have been very strident and well-organised”
    LMAO. Here is how the organisation works for me. I get up at 4:30am while the kids are sleeping. Sometimes an idea pops into my head. If so, I write it up and send it to Anthony. He decides if he wants to publish it. I spend my free time the rest of the day arguing with R Gates and Phil.

    Suggestions:

    1) Spend more time writing the original, anticipate sources of confusion, include links to some of those concepts.

    2) Learn how trolls work. People who have been here for a while take R Gates and Phil with a large grain of salt, New people figure it out soon enough. Do give them credit for an occasionally interesting piece of information, but I usually skip your discussion with them. It’s no longer possible for me to keep up with everything at WUWT.

    3) Realize you don’t need to have the last word in any discussion, even one involving your articles.

    In summary – more time at the beginning, less time bickering later, and you’ll have a better product and more time for the next.


  103. Writes Gail Combs: “All scientist are supposed to be sceptics so there is something very very wrong with so called scientific bodies that brand sceptics as deniers and worse.

    To which I would add the following remark by H.L. Mencken (from his Minority Report (1956):

    Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.

  104. “To be, or not to be, that is the question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them”

    Whether they incline in favor of next AGWrs´Cancun and face bankruptcy or …

  105. Climate Change Controversies. A Simple Guide?

    Science is not mature enough to distinguish between natural and human- induced climate change. It is for this reason developing policy is very difficult. Many scientists argue that uncertainty is not a reason for inaction. This is a sensible argument, given that humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. A suitable policy measure would be to limit the amount of human produced carbon dioxide. An increasing amount of research and literature supports reducing carbon emissions.

    However, there are other arguments. In spite of the increasing amount of research and literature supporting measures to reduce atmospheric carbon, large uncertainties remain. Climate science still has very big questions to answer, and it is important that they are answered correctly. There is a danger that science will inevitably be influenced by the policy it defends. If this is the case then it would be better not to have a policy at all.

  106. Julian Flood says:
    May 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Please forward your letter to as many media outlets as you can think of.

  107. I just don’t do irony well.

    We aint a top secret evil organisation anymore, we are now dastardly bastards, paid for by evil aliens who want to suck brains out of nuns and very pretty primary school teachers in summer dresses.

    Of course their science problem remains the same Measuement and they are lieing dumb arse salesmen and women not scientists.

  108. Diamond Duke says:
    May 28, 2010 at 6:20 am
    that uncertainty is not a reason for inaction
    Uncertainties? just in your imagination:
    Facts about CO2:
    CO2 it is not black, but trasparent and invisible
    CO2 is the gas you exhale. You exhale about 900 grams a day of CO2
    CO2 that you exhale is what plants breath to give you back O2 (oxygen) for you to breath.
    CO2 is heavier than air, it doesn´t fly up, up and away CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038 per cent of it, or 3.8 parts per ten thousand.
    The atmosphere, the air you know, does not have the capacity to “hold” enough heat, it only “saves” 0.001297 joules per cubic centimeter, while water , the sea you know, has 3227 times that capacity (4.186 joules).
    Would you warm your feet with a bottle filled with air or filled with hot water?
    The so called “Greenhouse effect” does not exist, see:

    But if you have been cheated to the core and still believe in it, think the following:
    Svante Arrhenius, the guy of the greenhouse effect, said he thought CO2 acted as the “window panes” of a green-house, but as its concentration in atmosphere it is just 3.8 per ten thousand, you would have a greenhouse with 3.8 window panes and 9996.2 empty holes

  109. It is a big choice: Whether they follow EU’s climate’s mantra and become a dark province of EU or they keep Union Jack at the top of the mast.

  110. I would rather not be termed a “climate agnostic” or even an “AGW agnostic”. I believe the science has been so distorted with political overtones that the science is warped or nonexistent. The term “agnostic” gives opportunity for the opposition to simply say: “Well, come–let us educate (or convert) you”.

    As I’ve stated in prior posts, I would rather be called a “climate realist”–someone who takes the anti-intellectual, anti-political, anti-fadist and even anti-populist position based on real, unadulterated science (unfortunately the web site “Real Climate” has helped to obfuscate the meaning of “real” in this context, much the same way the movement changed their slogan from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” once the former became an obvious embarrassment, while the latter lets them embrace the status quo (these people have no scruples or shame)).

  111. Enneagram says:
    May 28, 2010 at 6:12 am

    “Whether they incline in favor of next AGWrs´Cancun and face bankruptcy or …”

    Socialists dont mind bancruptcy. That is exactly what they want, Enneagram.
    Didnt you know?

  112. This is the best news I’ve heard out of the Royal Society in years. I could not imagine how the RS could have been so sure of itself regarding Co2 and climate change. I used to believe in AGW, but I became a climate skeptic/denier from reading the UN IPCC Ar4 report and the Royal Society website covering climate change. I had more faith in the opinions of the RS than the IPCC but I figured I must have misread the Royal Society climate change pages because they provided so much evidence which was contrary to AGW. Yet the RS sided with AGW, it made no sense to me. So perhaps I did not misread the RS pages after all, and now they are going to end up fighting over it. Welcome to the club.

  113. I feel I am a typical sceptic of AGW; reasonably well educated, with some leisure time in which I can pursue my interests who knows people whose scepticism ranges from ‘not much’ to ‘ardent’ and I also know a tiny number of people who believe totally in AGW. The common threads shared by the sceptics are; lack of demonstrable proofs for AGW, the obvious religion-like advocacy from proponents of AGW, the terrible downside of killing our industrial society to reduce CO2 emissions and the fact that politicians lie to us as a matter of routine. Organised and well-paid – I wish!

  114. Is it too a hard choice to choose between Politicians’ Invented Science and Science?.
    BTW, If Nikola Tesla could be alive again, he should have died once more by laughing watching those silly “Wind-Farms”.

  115. Dr Spencer mentioned his paper showing negative feedback comes out in a few weeks. Hope it’s not too late for this review. Someone should send it.

  116. “This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates,” I was told. “In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members.

    Sooooo… the consensus of Scientific Societies could really just be a consensus of non-consensus views?

    Well.. I guess we knew that. It’s fun knowing things 10 years before everyone else

  117. “Royal Society to Review Climate Consensus Position”

    I honestly think they’re a few thousand days late and a few million pounds short. Constant review in the search for truth is the life blood of science. To take any position that “all that is knowable is known” and “anyone who doubts is a fool” is truly stupid and contemptable. Yet, what has their “Official” position been? All that is knowable on Global Warming and Climate Change is known! Anyone who disagrees is a fool! They, as a Society, are beneath contempt. Their Royal Charter should be burned. The Society should be disbanded. The fools who are manageing members and responsible for the Society’s “Official Position on Global Warming” should be exiled to St Helena and administered a little hemlock with their dinner wine.

  118. I usually refer to myself as a “climate change heretic,” as I’m firmly opposed to the Church of Infinite Warming and their theological basis for disaster!!

    Skeptic? Sure, I paid for that title with my degrees. Denier? I don’t deny anything, I just say “show me the data and prove it.”

    Good for the Brits, I wonder how they overcome the influence of Mad Prince Charlie?

  119. The question to me is why does the RS need to have a consensus position at all?

    Science has never worked by consensus so why should a society of scientists try to develop one?

    A telling quote from one review member mentioned in the article:

    “In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members.”

    So, what is the role of the the RS? My memory is that they were one of the original scientific publication organisations and pretty much invented peer review, but it seems that now – in the view of the quoted member – their role is to give advice to governments.

    Fine, but why should that advice have to be a single (over-simplistic) position?

    Governments (politicians) want to hide behind scientists when taking unpopular actions. This is an abdication of their responsibilities and quite simply immoral. Scientists should not let this happen. When a body such as the RS plays along with this, they have completely lost their moral standing as well.

    Science is not certain, it never will be. Governments have to make decisions based on a multitude of factors, some of them scientific, about which they limited information and almost never any certainty. Leadership is doing just that – making a decision and taking responsibility for the outcome.

    I am fed up with governments hiding behind fake scientific certainty – and even more fed up with scientists playing along with it.

    Sorry, rant over.

  120. I thought the Royal Society’s motto includes the translated words “on no one’s word.”

  121. Having written to the Royal Society some time ago pointing out that their web site appeared to have the mental level of a child , (and not receiving a reply), I’m interested to see this. Significant result here!.

    “To doubt things is the best and only way to know them”
    attributed to Agostini Scilla (1629-1700)

  122. “‘Another review member told me: “The skeptics have been very strident and well-organized.”‘

    I thought that was the funniest comment too.

    I suppose it can look that way to them, but then, they shouldn’t make it so easy. Which they do.

    The biggest hurdle they have to get over is still the original hurdle.
    Convincing people that weathermen can predict the future.

  123. So a “consensus paper” will solve……what????

    Consensus is not TRUTH. It is, by definition, statements or actions “agreed on” by a willingness of all involved in the process to agree that they have reached the “best guess”. It includes the willingness to suspend, for now, disagreements and doubts.

    Consensus is NOT NOW AND FOREVER.

  124. There are only two facts to consider.

    1. There has been a moderate general warming over the last two hundred years as we have emerged from the Little Ice Age.

    2. Scientists at the principle institute in the country charged with investigating climate science, the UEA CSU, have been found to have been less than professional in the way in which they and the other major institutes in America have manipulated evidence which has ascribed this warming to a substantially anthropogenic cause.

    If the RS wishes to demonstrate that it is the world’s premier learned professional society that it once used to be, rather than the evangelising pressure group that it now appears to be, it must demonstrate this by acting with scientific rigour and declaring that the evidence that exists is contaminated and must therefore be set aside until such a time that it can be objectively reviewed by the wider scientific community and further, until such evidence is reinstated there remains no evidence of an anthropogenic element to recent warming. Alas, I doubt very much that this will be the actual outcome.

  125. Julian Flood
    “Is there not a twitch from the deep-down nosiness that every reporter needs if he is to be anything other than a mouthpiece for other people’s press releases?”
    The problem for the Press is that they are no longer profitable, as year on year their advertising income falls. Independence and truth with regard to everything must needs be sacrificed in order to keep the revenue streams running, and when that means taking the paymaster’s line that is what they do, willy -nilly.
    The reporter at the sharp end cannot question too closely lest that mouthpiece refuses to be interviewed in the future, and thus his teeth are drawn.
    The Government takes our taxes and brainwashes our children through shameless manipulation of the education system and brainwashes us by big bucks advertising in the cash-strapped Press.
    The three main parties in the recent General Election unbelievably ran a four week campaign without reference to the disastrous financial circumstances we were, and remain, in.
    The Press and the TV companies colluded in this for fear of reprisals from the government to come. What a shameful state of affairs!
    On the plus side we are, however, well informed on celebrity sexual arrangements, the state of Footballers metatarsals, and which caterwauling recording artist is top of the heap. God help us!

  126. I just hope the Royal Society remembers its motto. Scientists are not sceptics per se; their approach to any solution/theory must be sceptical. In short show me the evidence, show me how this works and now how can we test this?

  127. “‘Another review member told me: “The skeptics have been very strident and well-organized.”‘

    Organization is a byproduct of truth.

  128. The Royal Society has now put up a statement about the report:

    Royal Society to publish new guide to the science of climate change

    Of course, it was planned all along:

    The new guide has been planned for some time but was given added impetus by concerns raised by a small group of Fellows of the Society that older documents designed to challenge some of the common misrepresentations of the science were too narrow in their focus.

    And Martin Rees has always had the greatest respect for sceptics:

    He [Rees] continued: “It has been suggested that the Society holds the view that anyone challenging the consensus on climate change is malicious – this is ridiculous.”

    There’s more linked from that page http://royalsociety.org/Climate-Change/ explaining the process by which the report will be agreed (though not specifying the membership of the various groups).

  129. And while it’s still there, here is the 2005 document
    http://royalsociety.org/Climate-change-controversies/

    Climate change controversies

    The Royal Society has produced this overview of the current state of scientific understanding of climate change to help non-experts better understand some of the debates in this complex area of science.

    This is not intended to provide exhaustive answers to every contentious argument that has been put forward by those who seek to distort and undermine the science of climate change and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of global warming. Instead, the Society – as the UK’s national academy of science – responds here to eight key arguments that are currently in circulation by setting out, in simple terms, where the weight of scientific evidence lies.

  130. Update – there was another piece on the BBC just now (Radio 4 PM programme)

    A guy called Bob Ward spoke and eventually grudgingly admitted that the range predicted by the models was between +1C and +10C. He was very grumpy about not being able just to say that it was between +3C and +6C.

    I thought he was a typical shifty and patronising cove from the warmist camp. Did not like at all being put under a wee bit of pressure from Harrabin.

    Harrabin had previously payed an old tape from May (ex President of the Royal Society) repeating that ‘there is no room for doubt’ about climate change…and referred to his ‘colourful language’ when discussing anyone who had expressed such doubts.

    Overall, the listener was left with the impression that the RS hadn’t known its arse from its elbow and was trying to play catch up.

  131. “”” Ian H says:
    May 28, 2010 at 12:39 am
    George E. Smith said ”
    “I have never experienced any cloud at any height that warmed up the surface in the shadow zone, when it passes in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools; no matter what.”

    And yet cloudy nights are still a lot warmer than clear ones. “””

    “”” And yet cloudy nights are still a lot warmer than clear ones. “””

    “”” And yet WARMER nights are still a lot CLOUDIER than COLD ones. “””

    So which is it Ian ? Are the clouds the reaon for the warmth; or is it that the warmth (and humidity) are the reasons for the clouds. And the warmer it is at the surface, the higher the water vapor has to rise before it reaches the dew point and forms clouds; so the warmer teh surface is the higher the clouds form.

    You could do a test on some warm balmy (cloudless day), if clouds start to form late in the day. Start taking the temperature; and keep taking it throughout the night as those clouds form and then tell us whether the temperature rises during the night; or whether it falls.

    And for the record I DO BELIEVE THAT CLOUDS SLOW THE EXIT OF LWIR RADIATION.

    In fact if you reread my post about the clouds and altitude, you will find this part:-

    “”” Now the rest of the ground outside the shadow zone, of course continues in its cloud free state; so its temperature is unaffected by the cloud; as far as solar blockage; BUT the cloud does block a small amount of the LWIR emitted from each surface element outside the shadow zone; which in this example is most of the surface.

    So the cloud now intercepts a small fraction of the LWIR surface emission from everywhere outide the shadow zone; and of course at a different oblique angle for each location; so one might need to integrate all of those small contributions to get the total for the rest of the surface outside the shadow zone. “””

    That’s the part where I acknowledge that the cloud reacts to LWIR from everywhere outside the shadow zone, to absorb LWIR, and subsequently that slightly warmed blob of atmosphere that is the cloud will itself radiate LWIR back towards the earth (and of course out towards space as well; about half in each direction). And nowhere did I say or intimate, that this process suddenly stops at sunset.

    I’m going to assume that you understand how black body radiation works; and that earth radiation at least approximates BB radiation (specially from the oceans which after all are only about 73% of the total surface). Actually the BB result defines a limit envelope within which the real emission must be bounded by the spectral emissiviies of the various surface materials.

    Bottom line is that emission is a highly non-linear process; the total energy emitted still varies about as the fourth power of the surface Temperature (K) but the emission spectrum PEAK emittance (Watts/metresquared/micron of bandwidth) varies as the FIFTH POWER of that temperature; and it is that spectral peak region that happens to fall in the ATMOSPHERIC WINDOW between water bands (as well as the CO2 15 micron band)

    So what does that mean. It means that by far the most efficient escape of energy and cooling of the earth takes place in the daytime; AT THE TIMES AND PLACES WHERE THE TEMPERATURE IS HIGHEST. The Earth doesn’t lose energy (much) at night; it loses it BIG TIME, in the heat of the day.

    So the energy loss during the daytime far outweighs the slower cooling on cloudy nights; and those clouds during the day inhibit a lot moreINCOMING solar energy, than they stop at night.

    And reread that part where after I point out that it ALWAYS is colder in the shadow zone (dayitme); and that is true for the shadow zone of every piece of cloud on the day side; all the way up to total dayside cloud cover (which I don’t think ever actually occurs).

    So before somebody jumps on me; and says I didn’t compute the downward radiation from the cloud; I DON’T HAVE TO because it is irrelevent; the shadow zone is always cooled no matter how large that shadow zone grows; and that is blockage of incoming solar energy; the rest of it is simply redistribution of some of the energy that is already there.

    NOTE: The part of the incoming solar energy that the cloud absorbs (50 % of 50 % in my sample cloud) ends up warming the atmosphere too. It is a NEGATIVE feedback (well cooling) effect; in that it is blocked from the ground; but a positive (or warming) effect; in that that warmer chunk of atmopshere subsequently re-radiates; both towards the ground, and towards space.

    Does it sink in; if the cloud wasn’t there to block it, it would reach the ground (or ocean) directly and heat the ground (or get stored deeply in the ocean); but since the cloud absorbed it, and got warmer; it ends up being re-radiated (much of it) BUT in that re-radiation; only half of it heads towards the ground. The rest heads for escape to space (wiht some reabsorption by GHG); so much of the downward radiation from the cloud i actually energy that could have reached the surface directly as solar spectrum energy that is more efficient at warming the surface. Why do I say it is more efficient? Because the LWIR spectrum downward emission, gets mostly absorbed in the top ten microns of the oceans; and does not go deep; and when it warms that thin surface film it causes prompt evaporation that transports massive amounts of water vapor, AND LATENT HEAT, into the upper atmosphere.

    So the real net surface heating of downward LWIR is much reduced by evaporation.

    So is it warmer at night because of the clouds; or are those clouds there because it was warmer during the late day time; we know for sure it WAS warmer before sundown; because it DOES cool down during the night; clouds or no clouds.

    And yes I fully understand that arid deserts get cold very fast at night.

  132. Sorry (typo in my post above) the RS’s Climate Change Controversies dates from 2007 not 2005.

  133. …and my fear is that the society may become paralysed on this issue.

    Of course that’s a fear when you pose a poorly constructed political question to a scientific body. The best answer is no answer in such cases.

  134. “”” P.G. Sharrow says:
    May 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm
    @ George E. Smith: George, I liked your argument about cloud thermo effects of shadowing. However you may have over looked the very large energy release in cloud formation. Evaporation and condensation in cloud formation is the heat pump that cools the surface and transfers the energy higher up to be radiated into space. Heat energy and temperature are not always the same thing. This is why the climate models are so crappy, too simple minded about cloud effects. “””

    Thanks for the thought P.G. BUT !!!! I didn’t and haven’t “”” over looked the very large energy release in cloud formation. “””

    If you read my more recent follow up; you will see where I point out that the evaporation process; which is highly favored by ocean absorption of downward LWIR does in fact transport astronomical amounts of latent heat of evaporation into the upper atmosphere; where yes, as you point out, that heat is dumped out in the formation of the cloud; and even more so in high clouds where you not only get the about 545 Cal/gm LH of condensation; but you then get dumped out another 80 cal/gm LH of freezing when ice crystals form in those high clouds; and all of that heat; deposited up there is then able to be lost to space at those higher altitudes. (well of course it gets distributed in multiple ways).

    But the point is; the focus of my first post; was to point out that the existence of those clouds has certain Optical effects which favor cooling. The fact that the very formation of the clouds themselves is an earth cooling phenomenon; is not overlooked; it just wasn’t the focus of the essay.

    But your mentioning of it, is indeed useful; because it gives us the opportunity, to futher expand on the role that clouds play in providing a VERY LARGE negative feedback cooling of the planet.

    That’s why I keep screaming at the top of my lungs:- IT’S THE WATER!

    I am quite certain; beyond any reasonable doubt; that the water evaportion/cloud fomation/precipitation cylce is more than capable of negating any amount of CO2 that humans are ever likely to add to the atmosphere. I do not deny the CO2 atmospheric warming effect; that is a fool’s game; a totally crazy place to make your last stand.
    Sadly there’s a few very enthusiastic climate skeptics; who insist there is no such thing as the “greenhouse effect”; and they erroneously drag in the Second Law of Thermodynamics; where it doesn’t apply. I know it drives Joel Shore up the wall; and Joel is quite right to object.
    Of course what WE call the “greenhouse effect” is NOT the way real green houses operate; but we know that; and we all know what is meant in climatology by the greenhouse effect; so talking about glass windows is not useful.

    But no I don’t ignore any of those other thermal processes that you mentioned; it’s just that if we talk about too many of them all at once; we end up with a picture; which may be quite accurate; but it is too damn complicated to try and understand all at one.

    I like to keep it at a level of complexity; where you can make some chicken scratchings in the sand with a stick; and don’t have to delve into higher mathematics, or advanced Physics texts to get an understanding of what is going on.

    So don’t assume I’m overlooking something; sure I’m leaving it out to keep things less complex; but by all means feel free to add any of those sorts of things on. The more of this that is made available to others without scientific training to understand; the better off we will all be in the end.

    george

    PS By the way; since the Hurricane season will soon be officially upon us; it is often pointed out that when a hurrican sweeps through the Gulf of Mexico; it leaves a long trail of cold ocean waters behind it; like a snail lubricating its path across the sand. The news papers almost invariably describe this as a result of the hurricane stirring up the ocean depths and bringind cold deep waters to the surface. Funny thing is they never mention trails of dead fish on the surface destroyed by all that violence in the depths.

    I’m sure some such mixing occurs; but the vast majority of that water cooling is what you pointed out; the transport of epic amounts of latent heat energy from the ocean surface waters; which cools those surface waters themselves. In the Florida Keys region for example; there isn’t any deep water to stir up (well I know of a place called the 26 foot hole); but when a tornado water spout goes through there and tears the place up; it too leaves cold water behind it; having sucked the heat out of the warm surface waters. (I’ve watched it happen from close up while Tarpon fishing down there.)

  135. oh for goodness sake

    no one is a climate sceptic….
    we are man made alarmist, tipping point, catastrophic climate sceptics.
    the vast majority people will concede a 1.0C degree of warming should total co2 double is plausible.. then there is negative feedback, vs +ve feedbacks of alarmist computer projections.. yet to say this is to be asceptic/deniar

  136. George E. Smith says:
    May 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Very good George!
    Maybe one day, the Gaia people will understand that they have been fooled by Big Government. Fooled to believe that you can trade Air.

    hehe.

  137. “”” Joel Shore says:
    May 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm
    George E Smith says:

    So this has generated the legend of low clouds causing negative feedback cooling while high clouds cause positive feedback heating of the surface. That is the standard gospel.

    Actually, you are misusing the terminology somewhat: The standard picture is that an increase in low clouds will generally cause cooling in net and an increase in high clouds will generally cause warming in net. However, it is not always straightforward how cloudiness will change in a warming world. (There is more evaporation but only such that relative humidity is expected to remain approximately constant.) Hence, whether low clouds cause a positive or negative feedback depends on whether they decrease or increase, respectively in a warming world. And, similarly whether high clouds cause a positive or negative feedback depends on whether they increase or decrease, respectively in a warming world.

    Well of course that defies both common sense and everyday observation. If you are standing out in the sun with a cloud near the sun direction at any altitude; and that cloud then moves across in front of the sun; then observation says that it ALWAYS cools down in the shadow zone.

    Not if you happen to be on the half of the planet that is experiencing the phenomenon that we call “night”. “”

    Well Joel, I always enjoy your inputs. It would be extremely enjoyable to read your point by point “criticism” of the simple “mental exercise” situation I offered.

    It is not helpful to simply re-introduce extraneous materials from some other points of view that do not adress any of the issues pointed out in my example; well unless you can point out to us why that invalidates any parts of my analysis.

    I particularly enjoyed this input:-

    “”” Well of course that defies both common sense and everyday observation. If you are standing out in the sun with a cloud near the sun direction at any altitude; and that cloud then moves across in front of the sun; then observation says that it ALWAYS cools down in the shadow zone. (my statement)

    Not if you happen to be on the half of the planet that is experiencing the phenomenon that we call “night”.
    (your response).

    Now Joel, try to keep it simple; we aren’t too bright here or we might become Climatologers too. Where (on the surface of the earth) would fall THE SHADOW ZONE formed by the sun shining on a cloud that is on THE NIGHT SIDE

  138. “”” Joel Shore says:
    May 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm
    George E Smith says:

    So this has generated the legend of low clouds causing negative feedback cooling while high clouds cause positive feedback heating of the surface. That is the standard gospel.

    Actually, you are misusing the terminology somewhat: The standard picture is that an increase in low clouds will generally cause cooling in net and an increase in high clouds will generally cause warming in net. However, it is not always straightforward how cloudiness will change in a warming world. (There is more evaporation but only such that relative humidity is expected to remain approximately constant.) Hence, whether low clouds cause a positive or negative feedback depends on whether they decrease or increase, respectively in a warming world. And, similarly whether high clouds cause a positive or negative feedback depends on whether they increase or decrease, respectively in a warming world.

    Well of course that defies both common sense and everyday observation. If you are standing out in the sun with a cloud near the sun direction at any altitude; and that cloud then moves across in front of the sun; then observation says that it ALWAYS cools down in the shadow zone.

    Not if you happen to be on the half of the planet that is experiencing the phenomenon that we call “night”. “”

    Well Joel, I always enjoy your inputs. It would be extremely enjoyable to read your point by point “criticism” of the simple “mental exercise” situation I offered.

    It is not helpful to simply re-introduce extraneous materials from some other points of view that do not adress any of the issues pointed out in my example; well unless you can point out to us why that invalidates any parts of my analysis.

    I particularly enjoyed this input:-

    “”” Well of course that defies both common sense and everyday observation. If you are standing out in the sun with a cloud near the sun direction at any altitude; and that cloud then moves across in front of the sun; then observation says that it ALWAYS cools down in the shadow zone. (my statement)

    Not if you happen to be on the half of the planet that is experiencing the phenomenon that we call “night”.
    (your response).

    Now Joel, try to keep it simple; we aren’t too bright here or we might become Climatologers too. Where (on the surface of the earth) would fall THE SHADOW ZONE formed by the sun shining on a cloud that is on THE NIGHT SIDE of the planet ?

    As I understand the Science of geometrical optics; it the sun forms a shadow of a cloud that is on the night side of the earth (presumably as a result of sunlight diffracting around the whole planet); then that shadow would be projected somewhere out in space on the night side of the earth. It would not be possible for a person on the earth surface to actually stand in the shadow (of the cloud) zone to experience whether it warms up or cools down.

    So I cannot swear what the outcome would be of such an observation since it seems to me that the geometry is impossible to achieve.

    Do you ever have any original thoughts of your own Joel that you can contribute to the discussion; or can you only regenerate the arguments or observations of others and never link them to the subject matter under discussion.

    And for the record; I have in fact communicated essentiially the same argument as in my above post; to Professor Lindzen; and also to Dr Roy Spencer for that matter. No response from either of course; I suspect both are busy with their own works.

    But I would like to read your own analysis; specially where you can demonstrate the fallacies you believe are in my argument; I’m eager to learn.

    But please don’t keep drumming up silly comments like solar shadows on the night side of the earth. My explanation of the experimental circumstances (sans drawings) clearly describes a common situation of a cloud in the sky, moving from a non-sunblocking position (for the observer) into a clearly sun blocking position; and the consequences of such an event. Yes I postulated a particular cloud having 50% (albedo) reflectance, and 50% optical absorption; all of which is quite irrelevent to the argument; being merely ONE example of a plausible cloud. Use your own cloud if you like; that would be good; if you can describe a different cloud that causes it to warm up rather than cool down, when it passes from a non-sun blocking geometry, into a sun blocking shadow forming position; have at it Joel.

  139. I have always maintained that these scientific societies should not be expressing opinions on scientific consensus, whether it be climate science or the heliocentric nature of the solar system. From a post at Bishop Hill, I got this statement that I understand was in the Philosophical Transactions until the 1960’s. This is so apropos and timely that I had to pass it on.

    It is likewise necessary on this occasion to remark, that it is an established rule of the Society, to which they will always adhere, never to give their opinion, as a Body, upon any subject, either of Nature or Art, that comes before them. And therefore the thanks, which are frequently proposed from the Chair, to be given to the authors of such papers as are read at their accustomed meetings, or to the persons through whose hands they received them, are to be considered in no other light than as a matter of civility, in return for the respect shown to the Society by those communications. The like also is to be said with regard to the several projects, inventions, and curiosities of various kinds, which are often exhibited to the Society; the authors whereof, or those who exhibit them, frequently take the liberty to report and even to certify in the public newspapers, that they have met with the highest applause and approbation. And therefore it is hoped that no regard will hereafter be paid to such reports and public notices; which in some instances have been too lightly credited, to the dishonour of the Society.

    Wow! That says it all.

  140. Robert Austin says:
    May 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Fabulous! Just what I want to hear from them today. I wonder what changed in the 1960’s to have them change this policy?

  141. Go back to the early days of the Royal Society and you will see its history is not great. it was driven by the politics of the day to obtain funding.

    They wrote Robert Hooke out of history after depending on him for years.

    Thank goodness if there are still some independent minded questioning members – if so the spirit of Hooke lives on

  142. sky says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm
    The basic problem indeed lies in the failure to distinguish between genuine feedback, which requires an auxiliary power-source (positive) or a dissipative mechanism (negative) for physical operation, and mere redistribution or storage of energy in a conservative system. I wonder how many Society members are equipped to understand that critical distinction and come to the realization that the much-venerated climate models posit a perpetuum mobile of the second kind.

    ———–

    beautifully put sky

    Joel Shore does’nt understand the relationship between feedback and energy conservation. If he is correct (that the SB response can be offset and therefore amplified by positive feedback) he will surely be able to develop his thinking into a demonstration of amplification by temperature resonance (should be possible if he is correct).

    But this has never been done – even by the greatest minds that science has seen – and Joel ain’t gonna change that. In fact, any reply from Joel is surely only going to demonstrate how he doesn’t understand what he is talking about.

  143. Maybe someone can explain this to me. The IPCC and others say the the climate is dominated by positive feedbacks. If there are more positive feedbacks than negative then the climate change would eventually become unidirectional. In other words, in the earth past why have there been periods of cooling? If increasing temperature begets more warming there could be no ice ages…unless the external forcing was much greater than internal I guess.

  144. This taxpayer thinks that the Royal Society should be deprived of any further taxpayer money. They are pompous and understand less about climate science than I do. We can no longer afford them. They cost us money and then they expect us to pay up for useless windmills and renewables and pay oil companies who make profits from all these alternative ‘green’ fuels and on and on and on. Off with their heads!! At last I understand how those old ladies knitting by the guillotine felt. Useless aristocratic Royal Society. And I am beginning to think useless BBC and Roger Harrabin as well. End their license fee unless they allow James Delingpole to make a programme on the global warming scam. Now that will be the day.

  145. George E. Smith says:
    May 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    “Now Joel, try to keep it simple; we aren’t too bright here or we might become Climatologers too. Where (on the surface of the earth) would fall THE SHADOW ZONE formed by the sun shining on a cloud that is on THE NIGHT SIDE of the planet ?”

    I guess Joel is trying to say that the cloud will trap IR on the night side without blocking any incoming sunlight. How he thinks this might add up to a net gain of energy, I really don’t know, but it’s a comfort to learn that, if everything we thought we knew about the life cycle of stars were wrong, and the Sun were to be extinguished tomorrow, the clouds will keep us warm.

  146. maksimovich (12:36am):

    Makarieva appears to be that avis rarum in climate science: an academic whose ideas are firmly anchored reality. If those who preach the “climate feedback” gospel attempted to build any physical model of their conceptions, they would soon discover that it doesn’t operate. In computer models this embarrasing flaw is hiodden via programming fiat.

  147. David Ball says:
    May 27, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    “…They are getting face-palmed and they cannot even see that it is by natural variability of the climate system, not a clever band of skeptic insurgents. If the crops are poor this year, you are gonna see an angry public backlash against the people who tried to convince us to prepare for the wrong eventuality.”
    _________________________________________________________________________
    If the crops are poor this year, you are gonna see an angry public backlash Boy you can say that again.

    California denied farmers water for irrigation because of a minnow. 2/3 of the state OF California have depended on water for their crops. [Now] The water is turned off here, so none of these farmers can expect to get any water This has caused California’s Man-Made Drought On top of that Florida’s fish farms, citrus and tomato crops have been hard hit and other areas have had trouble getting the seed into the ground.

    The USA grows 25% of the World’s grain, and is the leading exporter of corn and soybeans, producing 40 percent of the global corn crop and 38 percent of all soybeans. The grain traders eliminated all the US grain reserves as of 2008. On top of that Congress by law has diverted a lot of our grain into biofuel.

    The “House Concurrent Resolution 25″ states “…not later than January 1, 2025, the agricultural, forestry, and working land of the United States should provide from renewable resources not less than 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States…”

    Anyone reading WUWT regularly may have noticed comments about crop planting this spring. Some are already forecasting a major food crisis UN envoy: World set for new food crisis in 2010

    “..Inaction to halt speculation on agricultural commodities and continued biofuels policies is paving the way for a re-run of the 2008 food price crisis in 2010 or 2011, argues Olivier De Schutter, UN special rapporteur on the right to food…”

    2010 Food Crisis of 2010 USDA vs Reality

    Coming food crisis will lead economy into tailspin

    “These two realities can’t coexist!

    Farmers can’t be going bankrupt across the US thanks to the worst harvest season [2009] ever seen while at the same time producing the USDA’s Biggest Crop Ever! Someone is lying, and evidence supports the farmer’s story.

    …All someone needs to do to know the world is headed for a food crisis is to stop reading USDA’s crop reports predicting a record soybean and corn harvests and listen to what else the USDA saying.

    Secretarial disaster declarations
    Presidential disaster declarations
    Space down four times to see USDA disaster designations map (2009)

    (Mis)Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab

    “Following the 2008 food and financial crises, World Bank was to play a central role in what was intended to be a massive overhaul in international food policy and a vast improvement to food security in the developing world. Evidence, however, reveals that World Bank Group policies and efforts are doing just the opposite.”

    Why am I not surprised to learn this.

  148. Jordan says:
    May 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    sky says:
    May 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    There are real objections to be made about how the climate modelers evaluate and utilize feedback, but this isn’t one. See my post at May 28, 2010 at 1:22 am.

  149. It appears to be some sort of an announcement that the Spirit of Science has now left all Academic institutions and Societies, and is now completely in the hands of those who develop expertise in a subject out of love and self-disciplined devotion, while holding a day job.
    :-)

  150. “well, we are still fairly sure that greenhouse gases are changing the climate”

    Well I hope they have a good look at the hurricane findings – despite all the scare talk, Knutson et al say in “Tropical cyclones and climate change” Nature Geoscience 3, 157 – 163 (2010): “Therefore, it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes.”

    The people running the Royal Society must surely realise that the authors of this paper, despite all the research, are unable to state categorically that increased CO2 concentrations affect hurricane frequency and intensity. This means that this aspect of the climate scare is unfounded, and the Royal Society’s overarching statement MUST be changed to reflect the weakness of the science.

    Same goes for malaria and infectious diseases – see Paul Reiter’s testimony to the House of Lords.

  151. Bart says:

    “There are real objections to be made about how the climate modelers evaluate and utilize feedback, but this isn’t one….”

    I believe positive feedback is one of the bigger issues Bart. Feedback is not a new concept to me.

    Right now, I say that sky’s post was correct – although I am ready to hear other views.

    I agree that the problem is the way positive feedback is used in climatology. It gets into all sorts of issues with the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and (IMO) allows the models to call on energy from the fairies at the bottom of the garden.

    We can look at feedback loop as a set of components, interacting through “across variables” and “through variables”. Place a voltage across a resistor, current will flow through. With a capacitor, voltage is the integral of the current. At the component level, we have no benefit from using feedback to describe these properties. If we link and combine them in simple RC networks, the combination of different properties starts to justify analysis using feedback principles.

    It is also worth saying that the feedback analysis is wholly negative feedback when the components are all passive (energy dissipative). This supports one of the points made by sky, which I agree with.

    We can argue the same for extending springs versus combining springs with dampers and mass. And thermal systems.

    So how do we view SB? My starting point is that that it should be treated as a property of a passive component. If a body’s temperature is raised (across variable) it will dissipate energy to surrounding components (flow of energy is the through variable). The relationship is non-linear, but I do not think this justifies the use of feedback.

    SB is the passive response. I see climate models as – in effect – postulating processes or properties of the system which allow us to modify at least one component’s SB response. The effect is that a body’s temperature can then be raised to a level above the purely passive response.

    This must mean that there is more energy in the system than its purely passive response. So where did that extra energy come from?

    And that’s why I had a little bit of fun, challenging Joel Shore to produce a passive thermal oscillator. If he is correct, he should be able to come up with a design. I don’t think he’ll come up with anything other than a design for perpetual motion. So sky was right on that point too.

    In a way, you are right Bart – I could easily show myself that an internal positive feedback tends to amplify the response. And, the CAGW scenario requires that this amplification be large. But turning that into a real physical system is where the law of thermodynamics will scupper the design.

  152. Pascvaks says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:11 am
    “Yet, what has their “Official” position been? All that is knowable on Global Warming and Climate Change is known! Anyone who disagrees is a fool! They, as a Society, are beneath contempt. Their Royal Charter should be burned. The Society should be disbanded.”

    Absolutely. The damage to science may well be irreparable, whatever they come up with. Even so, an unconditional mea culpa may be a step in the right direction.

  153. Can the Royal Society please answer the following;

    We know that the icore data shows that when the temperature went up, CO2 went up to, but lagging with approx 6-800 years. When the temperature went down , CO2 went down too, but lagging maybe 6-800 years.

    How does the RS explain that CO2 couldt cause the rise? 800 years later?

    Not to mention; How could the temperature decrease again? And then CO2? Shouldnt it continue to rise?

    Please explain.
    I have heard people say something like…well, you see, first temperature went up, heating the CO2 (which took 800 years?) , which again was heating water vapour which again heated CO2 which again……

    That sounds more like a nuclear reaction to me……

  154. The Royal Society is a registered charity and receives its funding from a variety of sources, by far the greatest of which is a goverment grant.
    nuff said

  155. The Royal Society will just fudge it, i.e., produce a fuzzy document permitting anybody to read anything they want (within limits) into it. However, as a skeptic, I am cheered by this development, as the Royal’s support for the alarmist case was important. For me, they lost credibility some time ago: their President used the Hockey Stick graph as a central theme of his lectures, but when the Hockey Stick became questionable (to say the least) shortly afterwards, the Royal simply dropped it from its printed material without any comment. Orwellian!

  156. I heard Roger interview an FRS yesterday: he asked some genuinely searching questions – which has pretty pathetic answers.

    The Telegraph also reported it today.

    To which I wrote:

    Dear Sir,

    What a timid bunch of scientists make up the Royal Society. The case for man-made climate change has been dead and buried for a decade, but they are behaving as if they are in the Monty Python ‘dead parrot sketch’.

    Yours faithfully,

  157. Calm down people.

    If it’s getting warmer this year or decade, or the ice is more or less than some arbitrary time all it means is that things are changing climate wise. It doesn’t mean anything else.

    We all know it changes but please don’t behave like those warmistas and attribute every warm related change with their theory de jour as proof any more than our cooling narrative is proof of anything but change.

    CO2 isn’t the enemy, nor is change.

  158. Atheist…Agnostic… These are words that describe religious belief. How appropriate that they are no in play in AGW context.

  159. Bart says:

    I guess Joel is trying to say that the cloud will trap IR on the night side without blocking any incoming sunlight.

    Exactly.

    How he thinks this might add up to a net gain of energy, I really don’t know, …

    Well, I believe these sort of things have been both calculated and measured using satellite data. And, indeed, high clouds tend to produce a net gain of energy, i.e., they reduce outgoing longwave radiation more than they reduce incoming shortwave radiation. For low clouds, it is the opposite.

    but it’s a comfort to learn that, if everything we thought we knew about the life cycle of stars were wrong, and the Sun were to be extinguished tomorrow, the clouds will keep us warm.

    Cute but not an accurate portrayal of what I’m saying unless by “keep us warm” you mean that they would slow the cooling that would occur in their absence somewhat. This indeed would be the case, but obviously the earth would still cool very rapidly because extinguishing the sun would produce a huge radiative imbalance.

    As I noted, low clouds block more shortwave radiation from reaching the earth than they reduce longwave leaving the earth, and it turns out that the net effect of clouds is to cause cooling. Note that this is not the same thing as saying that clouds are a negative feedback. To determine what the feedback due to clouds is, you have to understand how the amount of low clouds and high clouds (and also the optical properties of the clouds themselves) change in response to a warming. This is not at all obvious because warming both increases the amount of moisture in the air and increases the saturation vapor pressure in a way that seems to keep relative humidity on a global scale roughly constant (although there does seem to be some variability at the regional level). And, as I noted, Lindzen’s proposed “iris” negative cloud feedback was actually a REDUCTION of high clouds in the tropics in response to warming, which he argued would lead to a net cooling because it would allow more longwave radiation to escape. (So, if you don’t believe that high clouds cause a net cooling, take it up with Lindzen, not me.)

  160. Jordan says:

    Joel Shore does’nt understand the relationship between feedback and energy conservation. If he is correct (that the SB response can be offset and therefore amplified by positive feedback) he will surely be able to develop his thinking into a demonstration of amplification by temperature resonance (should be possible if he is correct).

    I’m not clear why resonance is relevant here. Usually resonance occurs because there is a natural frequency at which a system wants to absorb energy so that if you send energy close to that frequency, you get a large response from the system…such as occurs on a swing.

    I am also not sure what you think the relationship between feedback and energy conservation is, but a positive feedback, particularly in the sense that it is meant in climate science, does not violate energy conservation. In fact, the equations used in all the various climate models from the most simplistic to the most complex explicitly invoke energy conservation.

    What a positive feedback means is that as the earth warms in response to the initial radiative perturbation (whether due to an increase in greenhouse gases, an increase in solar luminosity, or something else), changes occur that slow the recovery to radiative balance so that it takes a larger increase in temperature to restore radiative balance than would be predicted by the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation considering only the original radiative effect. Such changes can be, for example, an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere, which itself has a radiative effect.

  161. “”” Bart says:
    May 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm
    George E. Smith says:
    May 28, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    “Now Joel, try to keep it simple; we aren’t too bright here or we might become Climatologers too. Where (on the surface of the earth) would fall THE SHADOW ZONE formed by the sun shining on a cloud that is on THE NIGHT SIDE of the planet ?”

    I guess Joel is trying to say that the cloud will trap IR on the night side without blocking any incoming sunlight. How he thinks this might add up to a net gain of energy, I really don’t know, but it’s a comfort to learn that, if everything we thought we knew about the life cycle of stars were wrong, and the Sun were to be extinguished tomorrow, the clouds will keep us warm. “””

    I don’t have any interest in dumping on Joel. I read pretty much all that he posts; and I do follow up most of his leads (if I can).

    But he does tend to exhibit, a characteristic; that I encounter a lot with the AGW proponents (I’m sure they aren’t alone).

    Here’s an example: In a past publication, I was commenting on a book review; of a book on “Global Warming” by a well known author; the review; not the book, which I have not read. Specifically, I was asking the reviewer whether the author had settled the question as to whether the Temperature Change followed the CO2 change or Preceeded it. Then in another comment, I stated that “the laws of Physics would require that when the floating sea ice melts, the sea level would go down”. This was confirmed two years later from satellite measurements in the arctic.

    The magazine posted (unseen by me) a reply, by the author; not the reviewer, saying: “when the oceans warm the water expands and the sea level rises.” giving my no opportunity to comment.

    Well duh ! what does floating sea ice melting have to do with ocean warming (someplace else) ?

    He never addressed the issue I brought up; but offered a totally different problem.

    Joel does that too. I provided a (longwinded) discussion of the Temperature change between a shadow zone, and an adjacent non-shadow zone, claiming that my argument showed that any surface warming by either GHG of all existing species, plus surface warming due to radiation from cloud areas, NEVER makes up for the loss of heating due to blocked solar insolation.

    Now I’ve even had a “polar scientist” challenge that; he stated that he had observed clouds move in overhead in the high arctic; and the temperature (in his location) rose. I believe him; I’ve not been in the high arctic to see such a phenomenon; but one thing I do know about that region; is that it is not common to see the sun overhead. If ti can be seen at all, it is relatively low in the sky (angle wise). So the cloud overhead was in fact NOT blocking the sun; so his observation did not conform to the experimental model I specified; the cloud moving in front of the sun, and placing me in a shadow zone.
    What this chap had indeed observed, was that a block of warm moist air moved into the region; nowhere near the sun direction; and that warm air both raised the local temperature; and incidently also formed clouds overhead.

    So Joel didn’t attack my argument to show readers where he believes I erred. He introduced quite extraneous things like a situation where no solar shadow zone adjacent to a solar illuminated zone existed. Then he resorted to “appeal to authority” citing Professor Lindzen and some research of his; but Joel never pointed to just how and why Lindzen’s work (which I haven’t read) refuted points of my argument.

    Well I too could have resorted to “appeal to authority”. Instead of my lengthy ‘stick in the sand’ reasoning (hoping others could follow that) I could simply have cited well known Laws of Optics; and recognised Optics Experts; whose writings have withstood the test of time and rebuke from peers far more scholarly than me.

    The illuminated earth/atmosphere/cloud system is an optical system; admittedly a somewhat unusual one. Arguably the illumination of a cloud (from below) is simply an optical image of the earth surface which is the source (one of them) of that illumination (irradiation). The subsequent (re) illumination of the surface is an image of the cloud source.

    Standard laws of Optics state that ‘no optical system can form an image that exceeeds in irradiance (illuminance ‘brightness’), the image formed by an Aplanatic System.
    They further state that ‘no Aplanatic system can form an image whose irradiance exceeds the radiance of the source. Then of course any Aplanatic optical system must satisfy the ‘optical sine theorem’.
    This fundamental optical theorem was first published in 1873 by Abbe and Helmholtz; but more importantly it was most likely discovered ten years earlier by Rudolph Clausius; a very well known pioneer in Thermodynamics. He derived the Optical sine theorem condition from arguments based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Of course absolutely none of that is of any use to most WUWT visitors; but if Joel prefers appeal to authority; well I can do that too; but I’d rather try to illuminate; rather than obfuscate.

    And may I remind everyone that we are interested in Climate; not last night’s weather; and to speak of changes in cloud cover; we are talking about changes that persist for climatically significant time scales; not some cloud that forms overnight because it was hot and humid during the day.

  162. George E. Smith says:
    June 1, 2010 at 11:02 am

    “….I don’t have any interest in dumping on Joel. I read pretty much all that he posts; and I do follow up most of his leads (if I can).

    But he does tend to exhibit, a characteristic; that I encounter a lot with the AGW proponents (I’m sure they aren’t alone)…”
    _______________________________________________________________________
    No this is not a characteristic seen only in AGW proponents. Farmers have been dealing with it from the USDA and WTO for several years too.

    This is a similar type of manipulation in a more structured setting:
    “In the USDA Friday March 18-19 meetings that were held for Traceability they have facilitators at each table. Now notice in these docs that each topic discussion is timed and then the groups move to another topic. No group knows what the other is saying. They did this in all the other NAIS sessions. It is highly manipulative and I highly doubt these people know who attend know what is going on other then the believers. What the USDA is using is the Hegelian dialectic to get a predetermined consensus. This process was designed by George Wilhelm Hegel, a transformational Marxist

    Here is how it works: A diverse group of people ( Farm Bureau, American Horse Council, VETS ( believers (thesis) and unbelievers (antithesis) gather in a facilitated meeting (USDA and with a trained facilitator/teacher/group leader/change agent) using group dynamics (Peer pressure) to discuss a social issue (NAIS/Traceability) and reach a pre-determined outcome (consensus, compromise, or Systhesis)

    To understand it more (typing the HTTP http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/brainwashing/dialectic.htm ) Read it all and you will see that the very groups we know use the ‘Process’ to sway our thinking. Learn and understand it. The Delphi technique ( type in Http http://www.learn-usa.com/transformation_process/acf001.htm) is based on the Hegelian principle and there is ways to break this up but you must know how to recognize when the Delphi/Hegelian principle is being used.(type in the Http http://www.learn-usa.com/transformation_process/acf002.htm ) “ Comment gisela — April 6, 2010 http://nonais.org/2010/04/01/nais-is-back/#comment-1754066

  163. George E Smith says:

    Joel does that too. I provided a (longwinded) discussion of the Temperature change between a shadow zone, and an adjacent non-shadow zone, claiming that my argument showed that any surface warming by either GHG of all existing species, plus surface warming due to radiation from cloud areas, NEVER makes up for the loss of heating due to blocked solar insolation.

    So Joel didn’t attack my argument to show readers where he believes I erred. He introduced quite extraneous things like a situation where no solar shadow zone adjacent to a solar illuminated zone existed. Then he resorted to “appeal to authority” citing Professor Lindzen and some research of his; but Joel never pointed to just how and why Lindzen’s work (which I haven’t read) refuted points of my argument.

    Well, I hardly think that it is extraneous to point out that an argument that looks at the total radiative effects of clouds has to consider the fact that the sun is not always present. I haven’t thought enough about your argument to know what else might be wrong with it…but that is certainly something that is.

    As for “appeal to authority”:

    (1) There seems to be a strange viewpoint among many on this website that because authorities are not infallible, it is therefore useless to consider their opinion and, in particular, that their own opinion deserves to be accorded at least as much weight as the opinion of a respected scientific authority. I happen to find this attitude strange and, frankly, rather arrogant. Scientific authorities in a field are authorities because they have thought about these issues a lot more than you and have probably acquainted themselves with the literature (and the basic textbooks) much better than you have. They have also proven that they can do original research in the field. To think that you can come in and show them to be wrong based on just a little bit of thought is certainly holding yourself in very high esteem. If you find something generally accepted in the field that doesn’t make sense to you, the thing to do…if you have any degree of humility…is to try very hard to understand where you might be wrong before you go off and conclude that the conventional wisdom is wrong and you are right.

    (2) In the case of Lindzen, it is not just that he is an authority but that he is one of the few authorities who agrees with you on the larger issue (that AGW is no big deal) but who nonetheless still seems to have concluded that the conventional wisdom that high clouds have a net warming effect is correct…And, in fact, he has based a hypothesis of why he thinks AGW is no big deal on this being the case. That, I think, should give you pause.

  164. “”” Joel Shore says:
    June 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm
    George E Smith says:

    ……………

    ………………Then he resorted to “appeal to authority” citing Professor Lindzen and some research of his; but Joel never pointed to just how and why Lindzen’s work (which I haven’t read) refuted points of my argument. “””‘

    Well, I hardly think that it is extraneous to point out that an argument that looks at the total radiative effects of clouds has to consider the fact that the sun is not always present. I haven’t thought enough about your argument to know what else might be wrong with it…but that is certainly something that is.

    As for “appeal to authority”:

    (1) There seems to be a strange viewpoint among many on this website that because authorities are not infallible, it is therefore useless to consider their opinion and, in particular, that their own opinion deserves to be accorded at least as much weight as the opinion of a respected scientific authority. I happen to find this attitude strange and, frankly, rather arrogant. Scientific authorities in a field are authorities because they have thought about these issues a lot more than you and have probably acquainted themselves with the literature (and the basic textbooks) much better than you have. “””

    Well Joel; perhaps you should distinguish between my criticism of “appeal to authority” and your quite unwarranted conclusion that ergo; I must be dismissing that authority. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t in any way dismiss what Professor Lindzen or any other recognized expert have to say on any of these matters; and suggest that “maybe I know better.” I have never said or implied that. In fact I have almost no knowledge whatsoever as to Lindzen’s specific teachings on climate; never read anything; except for things of his that Anthony has posted here.
    That makes it even less helpful in understanding your criticism of my sketchings, without ever pointing out just where you feel that Professor Lindzen is in disagreement with something I have said.

    I presented an argument; not for the entirety of reported climate science; but for a very simple to understand single aspect of the matter. Namely the common observation that two nearby locations; one in a cloud shadow (any cloud shadow) and the other out of that shadow that argued from that observation and some simple optical geometry reasoning, that the subsidiary warming of the surface by LWIR radiation from cloud regions due to the cloud having captured surface emissions; never makes up for the loss of direct heating due to the cloud shadowing of the sun.

    I’m happy to read of any credible observation of the reverse being true; or of a particular cloud type for which that has been observed to be not true; or of any argument from Professor Lindzen or any other climate science authority which addresses that phenomenon.

    But it isn’t helpful to simply say to me:- “Steven Hawking or Michio Kaku know more physics than you do.” and not offer how they would refute my reasoning.

    As to this: “”” (2) In the case of Lindzen, it is not just that he is an authority but that he is one of the few authorities who agrees with you on the larger issue (that AGW is no big deal) but who nonetheless still seems to have concluded that the conventional wisdom that high clouds have a net warming effect is correct…And, in fact, he has based a hypothesis of why he thinks AGW is no big deal on this being the case. That, I think, should give you pause. “””

    As I have pointed out I’m not conversant with the whole of climate science literature. For one thing; I have an actual job to do; so I can only read so much in spare time. So in particular I’m not conversant with Lindzen’s writings; and I take his authority and credibility simply on his reputation and what i have seen od his adresses. Also I have no free access to most of the climate science literature which is largely behind pay walls.

    So the argument I have often seen in print as to why high clouds “warm the surface” has been that they are thin clouds, and don’t block much sunlight; yet they reradiate LWIR from the ground.

    So it should be trivial to place two thermometers; one in the shadow of such a cloud; and the other out of the shadow. You’ll get no argument from me that the high thin cloud doesn’t block much sunlight; and the higher the cloud, the thinner it is and the less sunlight it blocks so the surface warms even more. And if the cloud is high enough it will almost be invisible, and it will block very little sunlight; so there will be almost as much sun in the shadow as out of the shadow. The thermometers will show whether the LWIR re-radiation ever replaces the lost solar insolation.

    It would be nice if you can give a reliable peer reviewed paper citation from a reputationally accredited expert on research results that prove that the clouds are the direct cause of the observed warming; and are not in fact caused by the warming itself.

    I’m familiar in some very primitive way; with the concept of a warmed surface leading to evaporation that rises in the atmosphere until the Temperature relapse rate gets the Temperature down to the dew point and clouds form. I understand to some extent; how higher surface temperatures and lower relative humidity will tend to delay the onset of cloud formation until colder lower density higher atmospheric conditions prevail.

    What I have no understanding of, is how clouds can form at great heights without first having water evaporated from the ground because of the ground being warmer and moister.

    I guess if it can be observed in the Arctic; that warm moist air moving into a colder region can give rise to clouds while warming the local surface; surely it can be observed elsewhere too.

    No Joel; I do not challenge any of the authorities you want to name; as I am not even able to read most of their works; let alone understand them.

    But if you choose to cite them as authorities; please try to link that to your criticism of my reasoning; instead of simply saying they know more than I do; which conclusion I am more than ready to accept.

    It would be even more enjoyable, if you would refute my arguments with your own reasonings, since this does appear to be your field of expertise, and certainly not mine.

  165. George E. Smith (11:02am):

    You are spot-on in citing “no Aplanatic system can form an image whose irradiance exceeds the radiance of the source” from the Optics Handbook as physical refutation of the misguided “feedback” arguments favored by the AGW crowd. But this substantive point makes little difference to their public stance, which is all about form, not substance. Their incessant appeal to authority–when convenient, even those who disagree with them in the main–and ad hominem arguments provide ample evidence of that.

    Instead of arguing real-world physics scientifically, they choose to ride the radiation-only hobby horse as if it were the only mechanism of transfering heat from the surface to the atmosphere. That’s why I don’t waste my time responding to them, even when they egregiously ignore the surface-cooling effect of evaporation and pretend that the consequent presence of water vapor in the atmosphere must somehow increase surface heating–above and beyond that provided by thermalization of the sole source of energy: insolation. Energy conservation, my foot!

  166. George E Smith says:

    It would be even more enjoyable, if you would refute my arguments with your own reasonings, since this does appear to be your field of expertise, and certainly not mine.

    Well, it is not mine either…What I have studied in this field has been haphazardly and informally in my free time. But, I did make what I think is a pretty fundamental point (although for reasons that I cannot fathom, you seem to think it is “extraneous”): Namely that your argument obviously fails for clouds that are on the night side of the earth. Such clouds clearly will have no effect on the incoming shortwave radiation…because there ain’t any but will have an effect on the outgoing longwave radiation. So, even if your argument about what happens on the day side of the earth is correct (and I haven’t really thought about whether it is or not), it would not demonstrate that high cloud necessarily causes net cooling.

    And, I have pointed out another problem with your argument: You are fundamentally misusing the terms “positive feedback” and “negative feedback” in reference to high and low clouds because you are confusing two different issues: What effect an increase in certain types of clouds has on the radiative balance and whether those given cloud types are expected to increase or decrease with warming. Hence, your notion that low clouds are a “negative feedback” and high clouds are a “positive feedback” are fundamentally mistaken. In fact, it is my impression that most of the climate models predict that low clouds are a positive feedback (i.e., that there will be a decrease in low clouds with warming and hence this will produce additional warming), although this is something that Roy Spencer disputes. I am not sure what the models predict for high clouds although I believe that the general feeling is that it is the effect on low clouds that is more uncertain.

    By the way, having gone back and read through your argument again, I also realize that you also seem to be completely missing a rather fundamental piece of physics in your discussion: namely, you do not seem to understand why it is said that high clouds tends to have a greater effect on the longwave radiation. The reason is that these clouds absorb radiation from the ground and then (re-)emit radiation; however, the rate of emission is governed by the temperature (i.e., it increases with temperature like T^4) and hence the higher clouds, which are colder because of their height, cause less radiation to be emitted back out into space. (It is much more useful, by the way, to consider the radiative balance between the earth-atmosphere system and space than it is to consider the radiative balance at the earth’s surface because the temperature at the surface is not fundamentally controlled by the radiative balance at the surface…Convection and evaporation / condensation play a very large role. So, a view focused solely on what is happening radiatively at the surface can lead you astray.)

    Finally, I should note that just because people sometimes simplify things for the purposes of discussion does not mean that those things are actually studied in such a simplistic manner. In particular, climate scientists understand that both the thickness and the height of the clouds matter and there is a nice figure somewhere in the conference proceedings “Clouds in the Perturbed Climate System” that attempts (in a still oversimplified way) to show the radiative effect of clouds as a function of BOTH their height and thickness. So, rather than get all stressed out about the fact that you found one paper that had some simplified graph of the effect of clouds simply as a function of their height, you need to understand that it is understood that the real world is actually more complicated than that.

    This all goes back to my original point that one needs to approach a field of science that you are not intimately involved in with a degree of humility rather than making arguments that seem to be based on multiple misunderstandings of some of the basic ideas.

  167. Joel Shore says:

    “As for ‘appeal to authority’:

    (1) There seems to be a strange viewpoint among many on this website that because authorities are not infallible… & blah, blah, etc.”
    *
    The Appeal to Authority argument is false when the presumed authority is false. To test whether the appeal is false, ask whether:

    1. The person is an expert in the specific field
    2. The expert is identified [versus a vague “consensus”]
    3. There is sufficient agreement [No: CAGW is a falsified hypothesis]
    4. The person’s opinion is biased

    Prof Lindzen is, in fact, an internationally esteemed authority on the climate, and therefore a true authority. [Unlike those with degrees in sociology, geology, etc.]. So it is not a false Appeal to Authority in that particular case.

    #3 and #4 disqualify most presumed, self-identified authorities in climate science. Certainly the “consensus” is hyped up, fabricated, and has actually been shown to be heavily on the side of skeptical scientists [cf: OISM Petition]. Therefore, there is no agreement; no CAGW ‘consensus.’ None — no matter how red in the face the alarmist contingent gets over that fact.

    To a greater or lesser degree, every scientist who is paid by outside entities with a pro-CAGW agenda is biased. Every last one of them. Some may, in fact, personally agree with the doom and gloom of CAGW, but that is not the point. The fact that large amounts of outside money is available for climate alarmists, at about a 1000:1 ratio over the minuscule funding, if that, available to skeptical scientists [the only honest kind of scientist], shows that the system is compromised. Corrupt. Broken. FUBAR.

    $2 billion a year buys plenty of biased alarmism: who pays the piper calls the tune. If anyone believes that Michael Mann’s latest $1,800,000 grant to ‘study’ mosquito vectors was not payola, raise your hand…

    …I see. Well then, it’s unanimous. Everyone understands that if the grant payor had actually wanted a mosquito study, they would have gone straight to a mosquito expert; a biologist/epidemiologist. And gotten their study done for one-tenth Mann’s payola. Big Climate science is rife with similar payola [want examples? Just ask.]

    So rather than appeal to a phony consensus of self-identified climate “authorities,” it would be more productive to heed George E. Smith’s last sentence above.

  168. Well Joel, you truly are a jewel. You come as close as you can, without saying it in so many words; that I am arrogant, because I reject the works of experts in the filed who know far more than I do, and know much betetr text books than mine.

    So then you tell us that; well you didn’t actually follow my argument; and so you don’t really know whether it is correct or not. And now you say that this isn’t even your field either; just some hobby interest that you dabble with in your free time.

    Well so who is it that is arrogant ? Is this some new kind of National communicable disease? The State of Arizona passes a law that essentially says; whatever the Federal Statute signed into law in 1940 regarding non US citizens in America by Franklin Roosevelt; the darling of the left; as to the requirements for all legal resident non citizens to permanently carry on their persons, proof of legal residency status; to be produced on demand to any government official; that requirement shall now also be Arizona State Law.
    so everybody has a conniptioon fit. President Obama calls it “misguided”; his radical activist AG Eric Holder says the justice depoartment will study the situation for Constitutionality; the Czarina od Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano; the Nation’s last line of defense, says it is a bad law. And not one of those Radical lefties has even read the law; it’s only ten pages; and does exactly nothing that Roosevelt’s Federal Law; that all three of those clowns took an oath to uphold, does not do.

    So Joel criticises my Arrogant Optical analysis; which he has not followed and does not understand; yet he is sure that it isd wrong; because well all of his AGW heroes from the IPCC on down disagree with me; but he doesn’t know in what way; since he doesn’t understand my argument.

    No it is not a complete theory of cloud climatology; and as Sky points out I do not adress all the heat transfer mechanisms of the atmosphere including evaporation; I didn’t intend to ; just the optical coupling issue; which doesn’t mean I ignore the issues sky raises; they just aren’t a part of this particular element.

    Then of course we all know that by far the most Robust part of Climate Science and the computerized climate models the GCMs if you will, is the precision and completelness with which they address the role of clouds in climate. Yes it is not like that flaky near ground Temperature anomaly crap that Anthony has shone the spotlight on; you know the stuff that Hansen roared in front of the Congress more than 20 years ago; about all the warming that is supposed to happen by 2100; none of which (almost has yet shown up; and of course we know that CO2 has been rising inexorably at about 1.5 ppm per year, and the Temperature faithfully follows the log of the CO2, so considerably more than that 20% of Hansen’s warming, should already have occurred since the logarithmic process gradually slow down with time; so the big changes happen early. No, that part of the models is a big joke; but the cloud modelling; well that is the epitome of physical theoretical modelling; the crown jewel of climate science, and Joel’s Expert cadre.

    So far be it from me to offer a simple analysis; of part of the most robust aspect of climate modelling; the treatment of clouds.

    You shouldn’t have any trouble following it Joel; it is nothing more nor less than the simple optical coupling problem that is to be found in any common Opto-Coupler; well we are somewhat bipolar on that and some times we refer to them as Opto-Isolators instead.

    Well actually they are supposed to Optically couple signals; either analog; or digital; while at the same time, electrically isolate two parts of a circuit.
    So on one side you have an LED driven by a current signal to emit light proportional to the drive current. On the other side you have a receiving Photo-detector, that absorbs some of the light and generates a photo-current proportional to the received light. And the two are packaged in a single device separated by an electrical insulating; but light conducting medium capable of operating with perhaps 1500 -2500 Volts Electrical Potential difference between the input an output; but actually able to endure short discharge spikes of perhaps 15 to 25 kV.

    So the Earth surface is the equivalent of the LED; and it is powered by the sun which heats it, so that it can emit roughly Black body thermal radiation proportional to the 4th power of the Temperature; and emit that in a Lambertian Radiation pattern.

    Well of course neither the LED, nor the earth is truly a Lambertian radiator; but either one of them is so close to that; that nobody would ever bother to assume otherwise. The black body on the other hand Truly is a Lambertian radiator; but then the earth is only an approximation to that.
    The photo detector is of course our cloud.

    so the optical coupling problem is quite trivial; you have a circular disk uniformly emitting radiation in a Lambertian pattern from a source of radius (R1), and co-axially with that at some separation (d), you have a uniformly absoirbing disk of radius (R2); which can be greater than R1 or less; or even equal.

    Well you see they are not really point sources or detectros; so you have light from any point on the LED heading off at some angle to the normal, until it strikes the photo-detector. Of course the Irradiance on the photodetector falls as Cos^4 of the off axis angle; that is pretty obvious almost by inspection.

    So it’s a trivial Integral Calculus problem to solve for the coupled energy. You need to integrate over R from zero to R1, then again over R from zero to R2, and then twice more over (theta and phi) to cover the range of possible ray angles. Pretty simple actually; if you are curious, Joel you migh want to try your hand at it. Maybe Mike can give you a hand; he’s a Mathematician.

    I did it over 35 years ago, in fact an Applications Engineer from Hewlett Packard, and I did it together, although I worked for a competitive company. When I say together; we both did it independently and then compared notes. The order of the integrations makes a huge difference to the difficulty of the problem Joel; so watch out that you choose the right sequence to do the four integrals. I have to fess up, that Hans selected a better order than I did, and his solution was much cleaner than mine; but then I turned the table on him; and showed him, that his solution equation; which was absolutely correct, was nevertheless, a very bad computing equation, because it had on the denominator, a difference of two nearly equal numbers, which could lead to high computation errors. I showed him how to derive a much more sanitary expression that eliminated the difference of near equal numbers, and replaced it with the sum of the same two numbers; but on the top of the expression. You’ll see that when you get that far Joel.

    And then you will have an exact geometric expression for the coupling from ground to cloud, and also from cloud bacxk to ground. It’s a little different from the Optocoupler case, because one would take the diameter of the earth as infinite compared to a finite cloud size. It’s an important problem, because you want to make both the LED and the detector large in diameter compared to the spacing to increase the optical coupling. Unfortunately those two conductive surfaces also comprise a capacitor, so there is undesirable direct capacitive coupling from one side to the other; so that dictates towards small emitter and detector, and a long gap spacing; whcih you also want for high Voltage break down. Well the cloud height may affect Lightning strikes; but we can ignore that for the simple warming case.
    Maybe I forgot to tell you Joel, that I am an expert on Optocoupler design and manufacturing. Started in earnest around 1970; and did it solidly for 12 years before going on to other things; but then coming back to it when I went to HP myself. Haven’t done any of that for the last decade or so; but the results fall right into use when figuring out the optics of clouds.

    I somehow doubt that you will find the answer to that quadruple integral in any climate science text book Joel; not even the ones written by your AGW heroes.

    But I’m not knocking them; that would be arrogant; since they are recognised as being experts on modelling of clouds.

    And no Joel; I do not miss the point that at night, without the sun, the earth cools at a slower rate if there are clouds; well it cools more slowly even if there are not clouds, but a more humid atmosphere; the H2O in the atmosphere simply puts the CO2 to shame; either with or without clouds.

    And if it is warmer but less humid; then those clouds will form at a higher altitude; and create the illusion that they are causing the warmer surface.

    The point is Joel, from the Trenberth energy budget model, we can say that the night side cooling rate on average, in W/m^2 is only about 1/4 of the dayside peak solar input; and the resulting higher daytime surface Temperatures result in much faster cooling than the lower nightside Temperatures. In the daytime, those same clouds will also slow the cooling rate; but the sun blocking of incoming energy will outweigh any cooling slowdown. The fact is it still cools at night; cloud or no cloud.

    And I’d still like to see that peer reviewed paper, that proves that the high clouds are the cause of the warmer surface Temperatures; and NOT the result of those warmer surface temperatures (along with a moisture source).

    Good luck with your integral Calculus Joel; somebody on another thread said I couldn’t do integrals; so maybe you should try this one Joel.

  169. “”” By the way, having gone back and read through your argument again, I also realize that you also seem to be completely missing a rather fundamental piece of physics in your discussion: namely, you do not seem to understand why it is said that high clouds tends to have a greater effect on the longwave radiation. The reason is that these clouds absorb radiation from the ground and then (re-)emit radiation; however, the rate of emission is governed by the temperature (i.e., it increases with temperature like T^4) and hence the higher clouds, which are colder because of their height, cause less radiation to be emitted back out into space. “””

    Truly remakable reasoning you have there Joel. Yes the higher clouds are less dense; and they contain less GHG molecules; so they absorb less LWIR emitted from the GROUND, than would a lower more dense cloud.

    And yes I agree completely with you; they are aslo colder; as is the atmosphere around them; whcih exchanges thermal energy with them; so because they and the atmsophere are much colder they radiate less to space (T^4). Now Joel; just where was it in your expert analysis; that you pointed out that since those high clouds are colder they also radiate much less LWIR to the ground. Don’t tell me you didn’t see that Joel ! Teh cloud/atmosphere LWIR emission is inherently isotropic; so first order, the amount of radiation emitted towards the ground is exactly the same as the amount emitted towards space; it is a 50-50 split.

    But then as I have explained many times; far too many times on this forum, the spectral shift of the LWIR radiation with temperature lapse, and the narrowing of the absorption lines as temperature and density drops, favors the escape route to space, over the return trip to ground, because there can be multiple re-absorptions going either way;a dn there will be more of those coming back down, than escaping to space.

    How come you missed that important physical principle Joel; that the re-radiation back down to the ground can’t be any more than the amount going upwards to space, and would seem to be considerably less. So the higher the clouds are, the less dense they are, the leass surface emission they intercept, the colder is their reradiation, and the less LWIR they return towards the ground; but even so; the higher the cloud is the hotter the ground gets with that ever diminishing (with height) returned LWIR radiation. A really excellent analysis Joel. Perhaps a little more spare time dabbling in logical reasoning, would be beneficial.

  170. The synopsis seems to be that regardless, pretty much, of the height of the cloud standing underneath it in it’s daytime shadow will always make things cooler.

    At night time there is no shadow so it feels much the same wherever you are because it’s the humidity of the air that carries heat.

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  171. George E Smith says:

    So Joel criticises my Arrogant Optical analysis; which he has not followed and does not understand; yet he is sure that it isd wrong; because well all of his AGW heroes from the IPCC on down disagree with me; but he doesn’t know in what way; since he doesn’t understand my argument.

    I am not criticizing the calculation that you did in the sense of saying that you did it wrong. I am criticizing the conclusions that you draw from that calculation because, for the multiple reasons that I explained in my post (and perhaps some additional ones that didn’t occur to me), I don’t see the relevance of your calculation to the basic climate science question that you seem to be trying to address.

    No it is not a complete theory of cloud climatology; and as Sky points out I do not adress all the heat transfer mechanisms of the atmosphere including evaporation; I didn’t intend to ; just the optical coupling issue; which doesn’t mean I ignore the issues sky raises; they just aren’t a part of this particular element.

    But, the whole point is that it is not particularly relevant to do radiative balance calculations for the earth’s surface when the surface temperature is not determined primarily by the radiative balance at the surface. There is a good reason why climate scientists worry about the radiative balance “at the top of the atmosphere”.

    Then of course we all know that by far the most Robust part of Climate Science and the computerized climate models the GCMs if you will, is the precision and completelness with which they address the role of clouds in climate.

    Nice strawman but I have never claimed anything close to what you say here. In fact, when I recently presented a problem on the radiative balance of the earth to my introductory physics students, I found myself saying that clouds are the Achille’s Heel of climate models…which may have been a little stronger than what I meant to say, but that’s what came out of my mouth (and, ironically, within a day after I said that, someone on this website with whom I disagree on the bigger picture used that exact same metaphor).

    However, just because there is a lot that is not understood about clouds and their affect on climate change does not mean that nothing is understood. My point in bringing up Lindzen was in fact to demonstrate that someone who disagrees profoundly with the IPCC conclusions on AGW and, in particular, the treatment of clouds by the models, nonetheless does not disagree with the notion that high clouds tend to cause more warming than cooling.

    As I have noted before, if you are going to argue against the consensus on AGW, it seems best for everyone if you do so by spending your time on points for which there is at least legitimate room for scientific debate rather than on issues for which there is not.

    The point is Joel, from the Trenberth energy budget model, we can say that the night side cooling rate on average, in W/m^2 is only about 1/4 of the dayside peak solar input; and the resulting higher daytime surface Temperatures result in much faster cooling than the lower nightside Temperatures. In the daytime, those same clouds will also slow the cooling rate; but the sun blocking of incoming energy will outweigh any cooling slowdown. The fact is it still cools at night; cloud or no cloud.

    Well, sure, since the earth presents a disc of area of pi*R^2 to the sun but has a surface of area of 4*pi*R^2, it follows that the PEAK solar input in W/m^2 is about 4 times the average cooling rate. But, I fail to see the relevance.

    Also, the cooling rate difference between day and night is not that dramatic. Let’s take a place where the diurnal temperature range is from 280 K to 295 K…That’s a pretty good diurnal range (27 F), probably larger than average, but the increase in radiative emission in going from 275 K to 290 K is less than 24%. And, I believe that once one gets above the boundary layer, the diurnal temperature range is sharply muted, so only the fraction of emission into space that is coming from close to the earth’s surface will show such a large variation.

    And I’d still like to see that peer reviewed paper, that proves that the high clouds are the cause of the warmer surface Temperatures; and NOT the result of those warmer surface temperatures (along with a moisture source).

    Did you ever see an infrared satellite photograph? How do you think that they are imaging the clouds? They are imaging them using the fact that higher cloud tops are colder and that the radiative emission goes like T^4. The fact that high clouds absorb radiation from the warmer earth and atmosphere below and then (re-)emit less radiation because of their colder temperature causes there to be less emission back out into space. The necessary result of the radiative imbalance at the top of the earth’s atmosphere is that the system as a whole must warm.

  172. Well Joel; or course I was being facetious; even sarcastic, when I suggested that cloud modelling is the most robust part of climate science.

    Most of the literature; pro and con, would argue that it is the most poorly understood , and modelled part of climate science. Some go a bit overboard, and claim that water vapor isn’t considered in the GCMs; which of course isn’t true; but that doesn’t mean it is modelled correctly; but even IPCC fans say cloud modelling leaves a lot to be desired.

    But despite that, you believe it is more fruitful for even more people to simply waste time and effort playing with standard deviations and linear trend lines, trying to find the magic set of their favorite numbers to prove that we are in a runaway warming trend.
    I would think, that the prudent scientist; specially ones who seek peer recognition; would address the least understood parts. You know on an exam paper, it is always easier to get the first 20% of the available marks, than the last 20%; so one should always do the required amount of questions; even at the cost of not completing all of them. Don’t forget to tell your students that.

    So a beginning Physicist should start out his career by working on gravitation; because that is well understood by the peer group, who will then appreciate his non-contributory utterances. Perish the thought he should work on something less well understood to actually make a contribution to knowledge.

    So you don’t think surface emission has much to do with the radiative balance of earth’s energy.

    By your own admission; you have stated that high clouds warm the planet more; and the higher the cloud, the more warming they cause. At the highest elevations, where the air density is lowest and the moisture content even lower, and other GHG molecules even less abundant; any cloud that exists there, will of course capture less and less radiation from the surface; or for that matter from re-emission from lower hotter atmosphere layers.
    Now the radiant emittance from the surface is quite independent of the presence of that high cloud. If the surface is at +60 deg C during the desert day; or maybe 288 K for a ho hum general earth location; the surface emittance is quite independent of that cloud. But the amount of that LWIR radiation from the surface that is intercepted by that cloud is very much dependent on that cloud; as you have pointed out; because only something a bit more than half of that captured energy will be radiated to space; and slightly less than half; will be returned to the earth surface. With each subsequent GHG capture, a further division by two will occur.

    Now the big mystery Joel; and here is where your reasoning powers would really help, is this. The surface is still emitting the same amount; but the ever higher cloud is absorbing and radiating to space, an ever diminishing amount, as cloud height increases. So what the hell happens to all the rest of that surface emitted radiation that doesn’t change with cloud height ?

    Is there any chance at all Joel, that all of that surface emitted radiation that is not captured by GHG or your high cloud, simply passes on by the cloud and is lost to space, in a spectrum that is characteristic of the hotter surface temperature ? I’m sure the laws of Physics won’t simply allow that energy to simply vanish; isn’t that the first or zeroth law.

    I’m trying hard to understand how a cloud that intercepts an ever diminishing amount of radiant energy, and reradiates to space about half of it, somehow prevents the rest of the non-captured energy from escaping.

    Yes I know radiation is not the only cooling mechanism so don’t go there; but it is the final cooling mechanism since we don’t have many convective or conductive paths to the rest of the Universe. But if you think that somehow the earth cools by suddenly having some stratospheric layer of the atmosphere; where mean free paths and times exceed the lifetime of excited states, so that GHGs start to spontaneously decay; and in some supernova of radiant emission they dump the earth’s extra heat to space; somehow that doesn’t work.

    The hottest desert surfaces at Temperatures of +60 deg C or higher; are the most efficient radiating bodies that are ridding the planet of it’s excess thermal energy. And they do so at spectrally shifted wavelengths where the influence of GHG like CO2 are somewhat diminished compared to 288 K average radiating surfaces.

    Given the poor state of cloud modelling results; it seems to me that is where useful advances can be made.

    You know Optics (geometrical) is one branch of Physics where it is hardest to make new progress, since the art goes back hundreds of years.

    I once had to defend the Federal Government of the USA; specifically the Department of the Army, and the US Post Office, as an optical expert witness on a patent infringement lawsuit. I actually found pertinent prior art going back to the region around 1610; 400 years ago; some guy by the name of Johannes Keppler; later there was a newcomer by the name of Huygens who discovered some new stuff around 1700; only 310 years ago.

    The late Warren J. Smith; a true giant in Optical theory and design; once told me, that it was his opinion that there were virtually NO valid lens design patents in the US patent office; because there was so much prior art; stuff so ancient that no newcomer would find anything new to discover in that field.

    When Moses descended from Mt Sainai, with the ten commandments he actually had another tablet with some facts of Optical design enscribed on it.

    One of those ancient truths was the fact that for a spherical imaging surface; reflector or refractive; there are only three cases of a spherical surface forming an extended image having zero spherical aberration. In every other situation, a spherical surface produces spherical aberration; which is why many astronomical telescopes employ parabolic mirrors for imaging of stars.

    All three of those magic situations also have zero coma for off axis images; so they are also Aplanatic; the only three cases of Aplanatism for a single spherical surface. Two of the three also produce zero astigmatism, so they are Anastigmatic as well as Aplanatic.

    One of the three is a trivial degenerate case; the object and image coincide on the surface itself; so it actually produces no Optical image magnification at all, and is usually avoided since images coincident with surfaces will inevitably be contaminated by dust or scratches on the surface, which will be painfully obvious to an observer. No matter, I have seen useful applications for that configuration; even used them. That case does contribute to the Petzval Sum, which is a fundamental Optical property that is important in every lens design and even for things as exotic as the magnetic lenses of the Large Hadron Collider. Well they may refer to it as “strong focussing”, but it is simply Petzval sum control.
    The object and image, can also be coincident at the center of curvature of the surface of an immersion lens; where the object is inside the lens material. This case is Aplanatic; but not Anastigmatic; in fact it produces the maximum amount of astigmatism for s single spherical surface. It has a lateral magnification (angular) equal to the refractive index; but it is a very dangerous case; to be avoided; as many in the early LED display field discovered to their dismay. The spherical surface is also image forming as a partial reflector and the image is once again coincident with the object at the center of the sphere, and also with the refractive image. Problem is the reflected image has unity magnification; so you get a ghost image coincident with the magnified image and maybe 4% of its intensity for ordinary uncoated lenses. Looks really bad in a magnified LED display to have a 2/3 size ghost image superimposed on the desired image, and in sharp focus also.

    So the only truly useful of the three cases is the so-called Aplanatic or Weierstrass Sphere lens; where the object is immersed in the lens material at a depth of R/n beyond the center of the surface of radius R. It is completely Aplanatic, and Anastigmatic, and it can focus a complete hemisphere of 2 pi steradians of rays from a point source, into a diffraction limited geometrically perfect point image which is outside the lens at a distance of n.R from the center of the sphere. The angular lateral magnification is n^2 or an areal magnification of n^4, and the image is also perfectly Lambertian from zero degrees out to an angle of arcsin (1/n); where it sudenly plunges to zero beyond that angle. All rays originating from a concentric sphere of radius R/n, which pass through the R/n sphere on their way to the surface emerge from the lens as if they came from the n.R Sphere that is also concentric with the lens.

    It is the cornerstone for high power microscope immerison objective lens design.

    So you’ll probaly find all three of those unique cases in whatever favorite optical text books you use; even the ones used by those experts that are a lot smarter than me, and know better books.
    What you won’t find in any of those texts; by any of those super authors or in peer reviewed papers going back to Galileo; is the totally unknown fourth configuration of perfect diffraction limited Aplanatic/Anastigmatic imaging by a spherical surface. You won’t find it in any of those text books because it isn’t in any of them.

    You could check the US Patent office to see if you can find any mention of it. The Patent office is sort of the Industrial Peer review process that reiews and passes muster on the works of actual working scientists and engineers. Whereas Academics must publish or perish; the working stiff must patent or perish; given that patents allow businesses and others to profit from their research results; which fortunately provides for the gainful employment of many people, besides those inventors.

    If I’m not mistaken; you might find, a US patent # 7,495,837 granted on Feb 24, 2009 to a George E. Smith; who discovered that new fourth case of Aplanatic refraction by a perfect sphere.

    No not the 2009 Physics Nobel Prize winner; he didn’t discover it; it was that arrogant know it all, that wastes our time on WUWT.

    If you own one of the correct models of Logitech laser mice, you might even have one of those new refractive surfaces in your mouse; since it actually does useful things. Well it actually is combined with a unique ellipsoidal surface to expand the divergence angle of a VCSEL, laser, then colimate it to a perfect diffraction limited Gaussian beam; and in the process bend the beam by maybe 30 degrees from its original direction, so a surface mounted laser can throw a colimated Gaussian beam off at an angle to illuminate objects on the mousing surface.

    No sorry; it isn’t any use in determining whether high clouds warm surfaces, and the higher the cloud the more the warming; or whether those warmer surfaces are the sole reason that the cloud is there at all.

    So you see Joel; sometimes it is possible for amateur tinkerers like you for example to discover useful things that were not known to even the most respected and learned Academic practioners; or generations of such, going back centuries.

    So keep tinkering Joel; it might be you who discovers the correct trend slope for the global mean lower tropospheric Temperature anomalies, and the correct standard deviation to use to prove that AGW is an acknowledged fact of science.

    But be careful who you call arrogant; it might come back to bite you someday.

    Hopefully some for those mushheads, whose parents entrusted their children to you; actually survive the experience, and maybe learn something along the way; it could help them out, a half a century down the road.

  173. George E Smith says:

    Now the big mystery Joel; and here is where your reasoning powers would really help, is this. The surface is still emitting the same amount; but the ever higher cloud is absorbing and radiating to space, an ever diminishing amount, as cloud height increases. So what the hell happens to all the rest of that surface emitted radiation that doesn’t change with cloud height ?

    Good question. My guess would be that it goes into warming the IR-active layers (including the high cloud layers, but also the other absorbing layers).

    You could check the US Patent office to see if you can find any mention of it. The Patent office is sort of the Industrial Peer review process that reiews and passes muster on the works of actual working scientists and engineers. Whereas Academics must publish or perish; the working stiff must patent or perish; given that patents allow businesses and others to profit from their research results; which fortunately provides for the gainful employment of many people, besides those inventors.

    Believe it or not, I’ve actually spent most of my career so far in industry too and, for what it’s worth, have several patents to show for it. The transition to academia is just something that happened to me in the last year. And, in fact, you and I weren’t working in areas that are too far afield from each other. (I did much of my work in the area of OLED.)

    If I’m not mistaken; you might find, a US patent # 7,495,837 granted on Feb 24, 2009 to a George E. Smith; who discovered that new fourth case of Aplanatic refraction by a perfect sphere.

    Congratulations on the patent. It sounds very interesting. My point about “arrogance” that you seem to have taken a bit of offense at is not any statement about whether or not you are very knowledgeable in the fields that you have worked in. My point is simply that when you come into a new field like climate science with the idea that the people in that field don’t know what the heck they are doing and you don’t really study up on the field but instead just read a small amount of the literature and immediately jump to the conclusion that the people in the field are idiots whenever you encounter something doesn’t make sense to you, then such an approach would tend to lead anybody, even very smart people, to make rather elementary mistakes. The fact is that in modern science the collected wisdom of many people is usually greater than the wisdom of one person who has not benefited from that collected wisdom (because they haven’t familiarized themselves with the literature and basic underlying concepts). There may be exceptions to this for people who are just incredibly brilliant, but I think few of us can claim that.

    I’m not against questioning the prevailing wisdom in the field. In fact, my thesis was based (on a small scale) on my advisor and I coming into a small subfield that we hadn’t been working in and challenging part of the conventional wisdom in that subfield. However, we did that only after carefully reading a lot of the literature in the field and really working hard to show an example of where the conventional wisdom was wrong.

    I am all for challenging conventional wisdom…but it has to be done with enough respect accorded to truly understanding the conventional wisdom first … and not jumping to the conclusion that it is wrong whenever you encounter an aspect of it that doesn’t seem to make sense to you.

  174. “”” Joel Shore says:
    June 2, 2010 at 6:11 pm
    George E Smith says:

    Now the big mystery Joel; and here is where your reasoning powers would really help, is this. The surface is still emitting the same amount; but the ever higher cloud is absorbing and radiating to space, an ever diminishing amount, as cloud height increases. So what the hell happens to all the rest of that surface emitted radiation that doesn’t change with cloud height ?

    Good question. My guess would be that it goes into warming the IR-active layers (including the high cloud layers, but also the other absorbing layers). “””

    Come now Joel; aren’t you grasping at straws ? I’m quite sure that you are smarter than that.

    Let’s just step back; and see where we are with this specific issue.

    We both agree that GHG of all kinds, including H2O and CO2 do absorb LWIR radiation that originates from the surface; BUT also from any lower layers of air that already caught some. By the way; I pretty much ignore all the other GHGs as not really mattering if we can get past the CO2/H2O issue. But I reserve a special place for Ozone, since it is uniquely placed in a thin high layer; and it falls right in “the atmospheric window”, and apaprently we need it any way.

    So cloud or no cloud, GHGs are absorbing LWIR and THEREFORE warming the atmosphere, basically by molecular collisions that happen too fast for spontaneous re-emission (from the GHG) to occur. I don’t think we differ much on this concept.

    Then it is a somewhat undisputed experimental observation tht arid deserts that are at record high surface Temperatures during the day; cool extremely rapidly; precipitously so, after sunset. (absent clouds of course). To me this is pretty indisputable proof, that CO2 is quite ineffectual in blocking enough LWIR emitted from hot surfaces, to do much surface warming by either the trapping or the re-radiation downwards. And of course I believe this is so because of the Wien shift to a shorter (8.8 microns) spectral peak wavelength for the LWIR spectrum. Even though this is right on the Ozone hole (spectral); even the Ozone can’t be doing much surface heating.
    Now add in the H2O in a hot but not so arid situation (still sans clouds); and the observation is that it stays warmer longer; the cooling rate slows down; fairly establishing that H2O truly is a powerful GHG with a lot of warming potential. Note also that this same H2O during daylight hours intercepts quite a significant amount of energy out of the incoming sunlight in the 0.75-3-4 micron range; perhaps as much as 20% of the solar energy. Now this adds heating to the atmosphere; but it keeps that insolation off the surface and so cools the surface; so this is a negative feedback aspect of H2O as it relates to solar spectrum radiation of the surface. But the resultant atmospheric warming by the H2O is not really different from any other kind of atmospheric warmign from any GHG absorption of surface LWIR; it simply warms the atmosphere, and then that warmer atmosphere (by any means) sends increased LWIR re-emission from the atmospheric gases (and characteristic of THEIR Temperature; back to the surface; and of course about half of any such emission directed outwards rather than inwards; and the downward emissions then warm the surface and cause increased evaporation (since 70+ % of the surface is oceans. And in particular, I believe that this atmospheric warming of the surface; strongly results in evaporation since it is absorbed in the top ten microns of the surface (waters). But in any case this is arguably a positive feedback since the atmospheric warming (by any means either H2O or CO2) leads to further H2O in the atmosphere. This is the much loved “positive water feedback enhancement of CO2 heating.” Well you see that happens without any need for CO2; and the arid desert observation demonstrates pretty conclusively that CO2 sucks compared to H2O when it comes to GHG warming of the atmosphere.

    Wentz et al support the surface temp rise to evap conversion at a rate of 7% evap increase per one deg C surface temp rise.

    There is the additional fact that evaporation also transports a lot of surface (water) heat into the atmosphere (to great heights); which is a surface cooling effect. Trenberth doesn’t assign a very large amount to this effect. he says 78 W/m^2 versus 390 for the BB surface LWIR radiation. I have no reason to dispute those numbers; as to their relative amounts; I don’t like his methodology though. Teh Gaianian Language does not contain words like ‘average’, ‘trend’, ‘standard deviation’ etc. Gaia does NOT do statistical mathematics. Gaia’s Mantra is:- “What happens next, starts now !” but enough of that; Trenberth seems to be saying that evap at 78 isn’t much alongside 390 for radiation; and even less at 24, is ‘thermals’; aka conduction/convection.

    I have no quarrels with that. I’ve always believed that conduction sucks compared to convection; and even moreso compared to evaporation. All of my computer microprocessors have evaporative heat pipe cooling sinks.

    So according to Trenberth; conduction/convection/evaporation accounts for only 20% of surface cooling; 102 W/m^2 : 390 W/m^2. That pretty much sums up why I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to those other heat processes; since radiation is still 80% of the game. But the fact that I don’t pay a lot of attention to those doesn’t mean I ignore them. The radiation cooling is still the 800 pound gorilla that has to be dealt with.

    I’m not sure you and I are in much disagreement WRT the above.

    Where I disagree with Trenberth, is in the whole concept of averaging all this stuff out. If you look at his cartoon drawing he manages to find a way to claim that out of a grand total of 235 W/m^2 outgoing LWIR , THROUGH the top of the atmosphere; ONLY 40 w/m^2 exits DIRECTLY from the surface via the atmospheric window in the 8-12 micron region. Oddly; and presumably deliberately; Trenberth draws that 40 Watt trail right through the biggest cloud in the sky; presumably implying that it is of course spectrally in the water window; AND IT IS PASSING OUT THROUGH THE CLOUDS.

    Joel; that is simply insane. The Peak Spectral Emittance of BB radiation is given by:-
    W(lambdamax) = 1.288 E-11 . T^5 W/m^2/micron
    At 288 K, that comes to 25.5 W/m^2/micron and the water window is reasonably open from about 8 to 12 microns; so that would give something like 100 W/m^2 going right out through the atmosphere (sans clouds). I actually don’t have a problem with believeing that something like 40 goes out right through (non-precipitating) clouds; but that is in addition to something like 100 simply bypassing the clouds and the GHGs.
    But now if you go to a hot desert surface; well lets not be greedy; we’ll limit it to +50 deg C; although they can get much higher than that; so that is 323 K. Now the spectral peak has moved from 10.1 microns down to 9.0 microns. But the peak Spectral emittance has gone up to 45.3 W/m^2/micron; and that peak has moved into a better position in the window; and 4 microns of bandwidth now gives 181 W/m^2 direct escape to space sans clouds; along with maybe 45.3/25.5 8 40 = 71 W/m^2 through the clouds.

    It’s the averaging; that Gaia does NOT do, that is gumming up the works.

    Anyway; I don’t diss the folks who ares till repeating all the old fashioned measurements and hoping to find a different result. I don’t have any confidence in the anomaly methodology; since it still relies on a baseline, that itself is unmeasureable. And the there’s that OOoops! at around 1980 that Christy et al reported on in Jan 2001; that effectively black flags all the previous surface (ocean) measurements.

    In the end; I don’t think it matters since I firmly believe that nothing more than simple cloud modulation is regulating the whole thing in a quite stable feedback loop.

    Thanks for the comment on the patent thing; I’ve lost count of how many there are; but that one sort of grips me. Conrady gave an exact (geometrical) expression for Longitudinal Spherical Aberration’ and showed that it is zero for only the three conditions that are well known. Amazingly; what neither he; nor anybody else before or since discovered; was that his third solution; which is the useful Aplanatic or Weierstrass sphere; itself has two solutions. The one everybody knows about being the hyperhemispherical converging lens; but they all missed that if you reverse the refractive indices; you get a hollow concave hyper-hemisphere (well you can only mold the hemisphere part) that expands the beam angle perfectly (in the geometric approximation). We used it to increase a laser divergence angle which increases the expansion rate so you reach a beam diameter in a shorter more compact length and then a special ellipsoidal second surface perfectly colimates the beam (geometrically). Since both surfaces work at any beam angle size; you can then go off center with a smaller beam angle; and get a deflection of the principal ray at each surface. If you make the deflection equal at each surface you set up the minimum deviation prism condition; which makes the total deviation a minimum and stable against small angular rotations of the optical element. So it is highly tolerant of assembly tolerances.

    Interesting that you worked in OLED. The small Sony one I have seen is spectacular. I have wondered about the chemical stability of OLED from contamination; but then LCDs had that problem in spades; and they have largely overcome that so it is a non issue. Probably will happen with OLED as well.

    You need to think a bit more openly about the options Joel; the standard model sin’t too darn robust; none of the projections are happening on schedule.

    I’ m with Lindzen; whatever is happening is of no consequence; a storm in a teacup.

    Take care Joel.

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