Examining Trenberth’s ‘The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later’ statement

Inspired by a WUWT comment from Bill Illis in the Maybe they’ve found Trenberth’s missing heat thread, I’ve elevated this to full post status and provided the relevant graphics from the links Bill provided. From a National Science Foundation article on April 15th, 2010:

“The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later,” says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

Ocean heat content estimates show that energy in the form of heat is building up on Earth.Credit: NCAR/courtesy Science

===============================

Bill Illis writes:

Trenberth is looking for about 0.8 watts/m2 of the projected increase in energy held in the Earth system that is not going into heating the surface.

Either this energy is not being held in the Earth system (and is just escaping to space and hence climate theory is not correct) or it is hiding and the most likely place for that would be the deep oceans (or continental ice sheets warming up and melting that we have not observed).


This paper measured/extrapolated the potential heat content going into the nearly the entire global ocean below 2000 metres [It doesn’t appear they measured the Arctic bottom water but the north Atlantic does not appear to have warmed so it is likely no extra heat is going into the Arctic bottom water].

So, Table 1 in the paper shows 0.068 watts/m2 is going into the oceans below 2000 metres. Far less than the 0.8 watts/m2 Trenberth is looking for.

http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/Recent_AABW_Warming_v3.pdf

We also know there is no accumulation in the last 7 years in the 0-700 metre ocean – von Schuckmann 2009 found 0.77 Watts/m2 going into the 0-2000 metre ocean (although no one seems to believe these estimates since almost all of the warming they measured was in the 0-300 metre area which is contradicted by the Argo floats).

Trenberth Missing Heat – 0.8 Watts/m2

Going into 0-700 Metre ocean – 0.0 W/m2

Going into 0-2000 Metre ocean – ? (but could be as high as 0.77 W/m2 but this contradicts Argo)

Going into the 2000+ Metre Ocean – 0.068 W/m2

Going into the 2000+ Metre Ocean from the Arctic – ? (but looks to be very low)

===============================================

It is unlikely that the ARGO measurements are wrong, and thus it can’t be found in the oceans, so where is it? Balancing budgets is never easy; there’s always a missing penny somewhere. Most often, that missing penny is due to human error. – Anthony

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160 thoughts on “Examining Trenberth’s ‘The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later’ statement

  1. (or continental ice sheets warming up and melting that we have not observed)

    Such as dust particles being melted into ice, then being buried by snow? We don’t have enough instrumentation to detect a change from -60 to -59.9 deep in glaciated continents. More funding needed. I also need funding to investigate the amount of heat emitted by magic shows in Las Vegas.

  2. Cynical data-miners are wont to say of their own toils through stacks and stacks of non-quality-controlled data: ‘if you find anything interesting, you must have made a mistake’.

    What, I wonder, would be a phrase that might be used by a cynical climatologist. My best so far: ‘if the results are not alarming, try, try, and try again.’

  3. I wish Trenberth would read this article and provide us with the answer. Probably he won’t as he is probably still looking for the missing heat.

  4. The heat is certainly missing. Here in the UK, we have already experienced the first snows of winter, See the linked article from the Daily Mail.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315636/First-snowmen-2010-spotted-shivering-Scotland.html

    If we have another cold winter like last year (which seems increasingly likely), the public will become increasingly sceptical of the AGW scare and pronouncements of impending doom unless we stop emitting the deamon CO2.

    In all seriousness, the warmers should be pushed to evidence where the missing heat is. This is something tangible and measureable and if the missing heat cannot be located, their theory would appear very shaky indeed.

  5. It’s lurking in the deepest darkest depths of the AGW advocates’ collective soul. Either that or the heat faeries are at work. It has to be anything other than bias in the study for how can they AGW advocates be wrong, their own models show what is supposed to be happening. It’s not their fault if the climate isn’t cooperating.

  6. “Either this energy is not being held in the Earth system (and is just escaping to space and hence climate theory is not correct) or it is hiding and the most likely place for that would be the deep oceans (or continental ice sheets warming up and melting that we have not observed). ”

    Or.

    The extra heat just flat doesn’t exist. Which would indicate the models are (ta-da!) WRONG…

  7. Heat doesn’t go missing. It’s just on the move and it should show up somewhere unless, of course, it was never there in the first place. It’s all down to accurate measurement and this is where climatology stumbles. Inaccurate data will not build secure theories. As a crumbly, I hope the missing heat pops up this winter. I can seriously do without that snow and ice.

  8. (or continental ice sheets warming up and melting that we have not observed).

    Or they are warming and not melting becasue have a long way to go before they get to zero/32 degrees.

    Kinda like the Arctic ice melt when the temperature is -20, ice is diminishing and some people claim it is “warm air” causing the melt.

  9. As I understand it, original AGW theory held that there should be a “pipeline” of heating/warming in the atmosphere above the tropics. This was discovered to not exist.

    Would it be a fair assumption, then, to consider this exercise in studying the ocean depths as an attempt to find the heat pipeline not located in the tropical atmosphere?

    If so, we have an AGW theory that is, at best, incomplete. At worst, as as been pointed out, flat out wrong.

  10. MattN says:
    September 27, 2010 at 9:47 am
    Or.

    The extra heat just flat doesn’t exist. Which would indicate the models are (ta-da!) WRONG…

    Models can not be wrong in post-modern science. I don’t know what you are thinking, but anything that is contrary to what environmentalists think is good for the planet can not be true. My bet is the missing heat can be found in massage parlors frequented by Al Gore, but then again, just like the heat fairy, the heat could be anywhere.

    Just watch the bad science erupt over this where paper after paper postulates where missing heat is coming from…and none of it will be possible to contradict or prove…just another relic from going from the scientific method to the post-modern scientific method.

    And yes, the wheels of fortune are turning as the climate goes into its cold phase from whatever we want to guess that causes the 60 year cycle (solar, ocean, etc.) So GW will lose in the coming years…and the cause of this will once again go un-explored as all of these “scientists” start to jump on the global cooling bandwagon.

  11. I think Mann and Gore and Jones and Co. will find all of the missing heat and then some in the level of hell reserved for dirty rotten snake oil salesmen.

  12. It must be the yet-to-be-described unknown form of radiation that is only absorbed at greater than 2000 m. Let’s call it “2-KM radiation” and start talking it up as a wonderful discovery. It explains everything including death and taxes.

    Does Trenberth really think any (little) heat from that depth is going to surface all at once to harm us? Most of it will probably be down there for hundreds of years as it circulates and surface only at certain places (of upwelling).

    For that mater, how does he know when or how this heat, at that depth, arrived there? He has no clue. There is a good chance that the heat he has detected has been there quite a while and has nothing to do with current history. His cause and effect is wanting.

  13. This happens, if you calibrate your “state-of-art models” on temporary warming trend, part of a sin wave, and then it flips to other side.
    Based on what measuring hardware is the claim about 0-2000 m OHC rise, if we have ARGO?

  14. Hopefully someone is saving the raw ARGO and ship data, just in case the dog eats it again!

    Yet another fine article!

  15. Looking at the White Witch- La Nina this am-I have a question.
    Where does that cold water come from? in my layman’s thinking,
    with just enough scientific training to be dangerous, you’d think that
    Ninas would be warmer as well or at leas not as cold?…

  16. The crucial question not answered is “When will the heat return to cause warming ?”

    If it is missing for 800 years we will have had alternative energy for 700 years and we might even need the heat to stave off an ice age.

    .
    So far the warming has been far below the 6 ° C rate the alarmists want to use for a doubling of CO2. Since we have had 1/3 of a doubling of CO2 we should have had more than 2 ° C warming we haven’t had this. [.7 ° C is the accepted value and less than ½ of that is from CO2 in the best case.]
    .
    To get around this alarmists have speculated that the ”missing heat” is stored in the oceans ! The problem is that since 2005 both atmosphere and the ocean have been cooling.
    .
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
    .
    Some have SPECULATED that the missing heat may be in the deep parts of the ocean but since they haven’t measured to test this speculation they don’t know. This article claims to have found 20 % of it.
    The most important and ignored part of the missing heat controversy is when the heat will return. ?
    .
    Since we are only speculating where the heat has gone and have only speculation about how it got there how can we predict how long it will be until it returns ?
    .
    Answer: We can’t ! We have a theory of CAGW which DEPENDS upon the “missing heat ” returning in the next 100 years and we don’t know where the heat is and don’t know if or when it will return. Since we cannot find it we cannot measure it so we don’t know much of it exists.
    Despite all of this “the debate is over” and we should throw ten’s of trillions of dollars at the nearest politician to make it go away.

  17. “Writing in 2005, Hansen, Willis, Schmidt et al. suggested that GISS model projections had been verified by a solid decade of increasing ocean heat (1993 to 2003). This was regarded as further confirmation the IPCC’s AGW hypothesis. Their expectation was that the earth’s climate system would continue accumulating heat more or less monotonically. Now that heat accumulation has stopped (and perhaps even reversed), the tables have turned. The same criteria used to support their hypothesis, is now being used to falsify it.

    It is evident that the AGW hypothesis, as it now stands, is either false or fundamentally inadequate.”

    Here;
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/06/the-global-warming-hypothesis-and-ocean-heat/

    You just gotta love it!!!! The heat is not hidden at all. Its in space!

  18. von Schuckmann 2009 found 0.77 Watts/m2 going into the 0-2000 metre ocean (although no one seems to believe these estimates since almost all of the warming they measured was in the 0-300 metre area which is contradicted by the Argo floats).

    Hope I did that html right.

    Isn’t heat accumulation measurable in thermal expansion (e.g., global sea level)?

    It looks like sea levels in the past few years have continued the same slow steady rise they’ve been doing for a decades, so I don’t quite get how the total net energy of the oceans has been declining. Or does the first graph just say that the rate of increase in total net energy of the oceans has been slowing recently?

  19. Trenberth won a Nobel prize for the IPCC climate alarmism report, so there is no way he will be able to say the whole thing was wrong. It is a shame. I met him once. He is a very bright and decent guy.

  20. What does the change in global sea level tell us?

    That’s a different way to see if the accounts balance. One component from melted glaciers and icecaps, another component (steric) from the expansion of the ocean as it heats.

    Perhaps someone knowledgeable could comment on sea level rise as a way to do a check on the ocean heat content estimates.

  21. People, people if the energy isn’t seen as a temperature change somewhere it could be because it’s gone to latent energy instead of sensible heat. Is there measurements of air moisture and other gaseous liquids in the atmosphere? Where have all meteorologists gone?

  22. The deep oceans have been cold ever since some event (Maunder Minimum?) made them that way. Until that event or something similar happens again the deep oceans will continue to suck up heat and limit warming to about 0.4 C per century. Without the cold deep oceans, it would be much warmer today, perhaps as warm as it was in the Jurassic (25 C).

  23. AJB says:
    September 27, 2010 at 9:42 am

    1 watt = 1 joule per second

    Heat cannot go missing. It will go to the next coolest place until all the cool places are as equal as the “missing” heat can make them.

    Heat missing. What will they think of next? Oh ya IR backradiation in w/m sqrd without caring about what the frequency of the of the IR is.

  24. I am glad the Trenberth has finally engaged this issue publicly and taken up the Pielke’s challenge. After all, the use of OHC was advocated by Hansen and Schmidt in 2005 (Science, 3 Jun 2005, 1431-1435) but since there has been accumulated heat over last several years, they have been silent.

    Even if the heat is “missing” in deep waters, how could it transit to lower depths without being detected near the surface by ARGO? After all there is no direct solar heating at those depths.

    The fact is that we may never be able to account for slight fluctuations in the earth’s energy budget which means we have to allow large margins of error, esp. when measuring radiation gain and loss at the top of the atmosphere.

  25. Most likely scenario is the NULL hypothesis: The Missing Energy was never stored or escaped.
    Whether reflected into space before it got here or radiated away by a thinning upper atmosphere/2 strong El Nino’s, it hasn’t been found because it’s not on Earth.

  26. It is worse than we thought!
    Rich Americans have stolen the missing heat.
    Get a new UN comittee to calculate how much we owe.

  27. This is a great detective story. Mind if i drop a whoopsy. Missing heat reminds me of another missing enigma, missing mass.

    Time to retreat.

  28. One problem ( with the whole question of ‘global warming’, I mean climate change,
    I mean climate disruption ) is the accuracy just doesn’t exist to make any statement
    on what the energy balance is.

    At its simplest, the question is does input = output?

    That is,

    (1-albedo) * S / 4 = sigma * T^4 ????

    where albedo is earths reflectivity, S is Solar input, sigma is emissivity factor, and T is Temperature.

    This is really:

    (1-albedo) * S / 4 = (sigma * T^4) CO2 + (sigma * T^4) H20 + (sigma * T^4) clouds + (sigma * T^4) everything else

    The theory is that the total right hand side will diminish because sigma (and T) for
    CO2 will diminish, so

    (1-albedo) * S / 4 = OLR

    But when examines the total Outgoing Longwave Radiation
    one actually finds a positive trend.

    No doubt there is uncertainty with the measure, but the trend is positive.

    Further, some measurements of albedo put it at 0.29.

    I have texts which from scaling analysis put albedo at 0.30 and 0.31.

    The GISS AOGCM uses albedo of 0.33.

    Clearly, albedo is not known accurately, nor precisely enough to help with this
    equation.

    Further still, S, the Solar input could be:

    1361 W/m^2,
    1366 W/m^2, or
    1367 W/m^2.
    Or something else entirely.

    So, we don’t know wither of the input variable terms (albedo or insolation),
    much less how they may have varied in the past.

    And the only measure of outgoing longwave radiation actually shows an increase!

    How can we possibly discuss what the (im)balance might be?

  29. “It is unlikely that the ARGO measurements are wrong, and thus it can’t be found in the oceans, so where is it?”

    Ohh that is a very simple question to answer, it is far beyond Proxima Centauri allready, 4,2 lightyears away.
    It was reflected away by earths increasing cloud cover after 2000 and is traveling away from earth at the speed of light.
    If Trenberth hurry up he might catch up with some of the missing heat at Sirius A and we could go back to doing more usefull things on earth than hunting climate ghosts.

  30. We are just setting the stage for the eruption of oceanic volcanoes, so the scientists can point to this as AGW’s revenge

  31. If memory serves, Roger Pielkel Sr. had one or more posts on this very subject, several months ago. I think Trenberth and Pielkel exchanged email about it. I for one, hope, the heat is sequestered and reappears in time to moderate the next glacial. I hope to regain my youthful body too. Perhaps the heat is being stored, perhaps not. I strongly suspect Pielkel is correct and most has been sent back to space. That does not mean we should not look for it. It means we have two areas of empirical research that need much more attention. 1. accurate and reliable measurements to radiated energy. 2. way more quality and well distributed data about the oceans, heat included. If it isn’t there it can come back to us, if it is, perhaps, just perhaps, it will moderate future cooling.

  32. netdr said: “If it is missing for 800 years we will have had alternative energy for 700 years and we might even need the heat to stave off an ice age.”

    If it going to go missing for 800 years the ocean temps we are experiencing today are those from 800 years ago. Which would be about the end of the Medieval Warm Period. Which makes me wonder; Did the MWP end due to oceans sucking up more heat or did the MWP end for some other reason and oceans will now be releasing less heat?

  33. Perhaps the missing heat has either gone to hell and it’s breaking loose, or not, and it’s freezing over. Doesn’t sound good for those poor souls either way!! I wonder if their computer warming models can account for it better than ours?

  34. Hah, nice conclusion!

    But you know, Anthony, those pennies, according to the NOAA study featured on the previous thread, are “statistically significant”.

    I have a big bucket of pennies (that I am too lazy to roll so they just keep collecting at my house).

    Using NOAA’s line of reasoning, though, I doubt if I would be successful convincing ANY bank in which I wanted to invest my bucket of pennies, in opening a new account, arguing to them that they were “statistically significant.”

    They would laugh me out the front door.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  35. what I find amazing is the actual ‘net’ value, lets call it 0.8 w/m2.
    Taking the ‘given’ value of average TSI of 1365 w/m2 – with an alleged maximum variation of 0.1% (giving a net actual variation of about 1.36 w/m2) and then of course the supposed net warming effect of CO2 of around a couple of w/m2 for a doubling of CO2.
    what do all these figures have in common?
    well, for a start they are something akin to about 0.05 to 0.1% of the TSI energy input value and
    second, they are all within the same ‘order of magnitude’
    ….this would leave to me to surmise that the uncertainty in level of measurement/detection (especially when considered along with massive averaging for temperature data, etc!) is probably greater than the level of changes we are trying to ‘detect’.
    On this basis, I find it quite hard to understand how anyone can ‘prove’ a theory (i.e AGW) to any reasonable level of confidence with the lack of accurate observations to back the theory up.
    Obviously, the simple words to use here, are signal to noise ratios! but for those who find that too difficult – its something like balancing a current bank account but only being able to work with whole numbers (i.e. no decimal point on a calculator!) – in this case we have an input (salary) of 1365 (whole) dollars and all our direct debits are shown on our statement in whole dollars (but in the real world, they are in fact are taken in dollars and cents and are simply ’rounded up’ to the nearest dollar on our bank statement. Hence, we end up wondering why some months we are overdrawn or even in credit by a dollar or two from our monthly budget!
    Until the climate accounting system is accurate to the level of ‘cents’ – trying to say someone has pinched (or creamed off) a few cents is really rather futile.!
    probably a poor analogy, but it worked when explaining it to my teenage daughter!

  36. Charklie A said;

    “What does the change in global sea level tell us?”

    It tells us nothing, other than sea levels constantly change, the means of measuring them are by no means accurate, and that sea levels go up and down and currently lie some 30cm or so below the levels in the MWP.

    tonyb

  37. ” richard verney says:
    September 27, 2010 at 9:38 am

    The heat is certainly missing. Here in the UK, we have already experienced the first snows of winter, See the linked article from the Daily Mail.”

    Sorry Richard, that’s not snow, that is Climate Disruption.

  38. What, total solar irradiation (which is probably the most EASILY measured energy quantity, and the MOST ACCURATE… is up by almost 1 watt per m^2 (is that ONE SIDE or TWO? Average or only what comes in?) in the last 5 years?

    And our “friend” the Hansen (demi-)GOD claims that since WWII the net “influx” change is 0.9 watts per square meter (that’s total, no 1/2 illumination problem there) and that HE and his people “found it” in the oceans.

    File this ALL under, “Give me a BREAK!” Now if the Demi-GOD Hansen thinks 0.9 Watts is “catastrophic” and “significant”, wouldn’t the irradiation change be even MORE SO. Earth to Hansen, et. al. , suggest you get in your Ford ESCAPE and drive right over to your local Sol, and reset the control knob.

    This sort of “logic”, burns me up.

    Max

  39. I am guessing that ultimately, human activities will lead to higher earth albedo, which may explain the missing energy. More humidity leads to more cloud formation, which leads to higher earth albedo. Does anyone have albedo measurements for 2007-2010?

  40. It’s a travesty, a travesty, I say, that we can’t just reach up and pull all that missing heat back from space where it’s escaped.
    ==============

  41. Is Trenberth arrogant or naive?

    For him to think we actually have the energy fluxes measured well enough to be able to say that there is 0.8 Watts/m2 missing is just laughable.

    If “climate science” wants to attain any kind of stature at all they must begin by admitting just how ignorant they are about the climate system, rather than continuing the charade of knowing it all already.

  42. Kev-in-UK says:
    September 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Groping in the dark, playing Hide and Seek?, Is it out there any order at all?, what is it that order, if any?

  43. The average temperature of the global ocean is about 4C. I reckon’ that’s about what the global average temperature is for the past 100,000 years or so.

  44. More proof of natural glacier retreat over the past 5000 years.

    JUVFONNA, Norway, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Climate change is exposing reindeer hunting gear used by the Vikings’ ancestors faster than archaeologists can collect it from ice thawing in northern Europe’s highest mountains.

    Freed from an ancient freeze, wood rots in a few years. And rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather crumble to dust in days unless taken to a laboratory and stored in a freezer.

    “Over the past 150 years [i.e. started before industrialization with emergence from the Little Ice Age] we have had a worldwide trend of glacial retreat,” said Michael Zemp, director of the Swiss-based World Glacier Monitoring Service. While many factors were at play, he said “the main driver is global warming”. [and how do you know it is different this time vs. multiple other times thousands of years ago?]

    In Norway, “some ice fields are at their minimum for at least 3,000 years,” said Rune Strand Oedegaard, a glacier and permafrost expert from Norway’s Gjoevik University College.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/09/more-proof-of-natural-glacier-retreat.html

    Is there any hidden heat,
    If the glaciers retreated to the same extent as today 3000 years ago what has happened to that hidden heat.

  45. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

    Just like the hotspot and now the missing heat. When you are in a hole stop digging.
    http://www.c3headlines.com/predictionsforecasts/

  46. The missing heat is hiding at the ocean bottom with the oil plume. When we least expect it they’ll rise and strike. Stay away from the ocean. It’s not just great whites down there.

  47. What always seems to be missing from these discussions of “missing” heat is a recognition that the waters of the world’s oceans are in constant motion, not just at the surface, but at virtually every depth right down to the ocean floor. The observational data available to try to characterize that constant motion is, if anything, even more “abysmal” than the very weak data we have to characterize the oceans’ temperature, but what there is, suggests that those motions are quite variable. When solar insolation or any atmospheric inputs fall on the oceans they transfer potential energy in the form of heat, but the energy stored in the world’s oceans is far more than just that potential energy. There is also a vast quantity of kinetic energy involved in the constantly moving volumes of water. Some of that kinetic energy is supplied by the effects of planetary motion, gravitational tides, and other external forces, but a large and largely unknown contributor is the conversion of the potential energy of heat to the kinetic energy of movement. Many of the supposed heat fluxes actually involve the physical movement of vast masses of water. Changing the velocity or volume of the AABW or the MOC requires massive amounts of energy, but driving the highly variable flows of the multitude of all the other largely unquantified currents, gyres, and flows also consume energy, in amounts we really have no idea of.
    At present we have a vague understanding of oceanic heat content and mostly ill-informed SWAGs about the kinetic energy content of the oceans. Until we have advanced our observational capabilities and data bases far beyond our present state and developed something like an understanding of the extent and interaction of these variables, talking about “missing” heat seems incredibly ignorant.

  48. dear anthony ,

    would it be asking too much , how this gentleman is arriving at the outcome of his calculations and which assumptions were used to determine the quantative effects of solar radiation , the influence of cloud formation , the amount of watervapor in the atmosphere and its condensation , the amount of ultraviolet radiation into and the amount of infrared radiation out of the atmosphere ? The amount of heat trapped into the oceans is looking to me like a total joke , because the warmest water temperatures are found at the surface , simple thermodynamics in fluids , and a cooler surface temperature will inevitably lead to cooler deep water temperatures or may be caused by it . Who knows ? But this is irrelevant , the surface will always reflect what is under it as long as the fluid is not replaced by a solid . So it is nice to make up 10-colored statistics but it all has nothing to do with a proper description of reality and it is serving only one purpose , to impress and to frighten the innocuous , scared co- citizens and to create the environment to push a draconian agenda . Or am i badly mistaken here ?

  49. On total earth system energy.

    The total earth system is never in actual energy equilibrium, although it is constantly trying to achieve it through all the various processes of insolation, irradiation, adsorption, re-irradiation, evaporation, latent heat, convection, conduction, sublimation, adiabatic lapse rate, oceanic, AMO, PDO, etc, etc.

    So, at any given relatively small to medium time scales, the net energy into the total earth is almost always not equal to the next energy out of the total earth system. Oe very long timescales there is some increase in chance that Ein=Eout, but the duration of the Ein=Eout should be temporary and transitory.

    So virtually all the time the total earth system energy is either increasing or decreasing. And the rate of change of the increase or decrease is also constantly varying.

    It seems to me that the Ein is relatively easy to calculate compared to the Eout. This is because the Sun system accounts for virtually all of the Ein.

    The Eout looks to be more of a problem for measuring in our energy accounting exercise. More data from current satellites and more satellites and different satellites should be in the mix for getting the Eout nailed down.

    Next, the moving of energy (Eint) around within the total earth system is of much more highly complex nature than the flow of total earth system Ein and Eout.

    Dropping the AGW bias in the approach to the behavior of Eint will help to give more balanced funding and thus input to more objective knowledge than the biased current knowledge.

    John

  50. Dennis Nikols writes:
    “Perhaps the heat is being stored, perhaps not. I strongly suspect Pielkel is correct and most has been sent back to space.”

    Isn’t this the obvious point to begin investigation? Roy Spencer’s book, The Global Warming Blunder, argues that the key to “forcings” is the behavior of clouds. There is no set of hypotheses which provide anything approaching a useful understanding of clouds, as Spencer explains. What is most likely is that the excess heat is being reflected by clouds. What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds.

  51. I’m not sure how to phrase this question, not being a trained scientist, and I may have missed something in the posts which could explain it, but how much heat from the planet actually escapes into space? I always thought that if a body heated up, then it would radiate more heat, and where better to radiate it to than the cold of interplanetary space? I also realise that the atmosphere will keep a lot of the heat in, fortunately for all of us! I’m not being facetious, I’m just trying to advance my limited knowledge of this extremely complicated subject.

  52. They’re going the wrong way about trying to find this missing heat. They keep using thermometers – that will never work. Trenberth needs to find a proxy.

    When satellite measurments of tropospheric temperatures didn’t show any warming, they just used a proxy instead – wind shear, in that case. Maybe Trenberth can come up with drift sheer or something, that will prove the Argo nework is faulty, just like we’ve always known.

  53. “I feel haunted already…. ”
    “Do not.”
    “Do too.”

    “Do not!”
    “Do too!”

    “Not!!”
    “TOO!!!!”

    “STOP IT!, BOTH OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    (It’s hell, being all of me… };>)

  54. “It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

    They don’t understand what is happening? They can’t predict our future climate? When did that happen?

  55. Could this “lost” heating actually quantify changes in the average reflectivity of clouds?


    Expert judgments about transient climate response to alternative future trajectories of radiative forcing

    All experts ranked “cloud radiative feedbacks” as contributing most to their uncertainty about future global mean temperature change, irrespective of the specified level of radiative forcing.

    Five Reasons Why Water Vapor Feedback Might Not Be Positive Roy Spencer

    This cause-versus-effect issue has been almost totally ignored in feedback studies, and is analogous to the situation when estimating cloud feedbacks, the subject of our most recent paper.

    Similar to our cloud feedback paper, evidence of causation in the opposite direction is the de-correlation between temperature and humidity in the real world versus in climate models (e.g. Sun et al., 2001).


  56. Somebody please clue me in on this.

    How the devil do the AGW cultists explain the way in which this missing heat is supposed to have gotten pumped into the ocean depths without first heating the ocean waters within the first 700 meters of the surface?

    Heat tends reliably to rise, right? So are there some kinds of enormous convection currents or something similar boring down through the topmost 700 meters of the oceans to carry that heat into the depths (from which is is magically not rising thereafter), “or are we just jerking off?”

    (Hat tip to Mel Brooks and the other writers of the Blazing Saddles screenplay, 1974.)

  57. My hunch is that Trenberth will come back to haunt us sooner and certainly more frequently than the heat he cannot find.

  58. We know accurately how much radiation we get from the Sun. I wonder how accurate are our measurements of nighttime radiation from Earth to space. We may think we have that number, but a small excursion from a blackbody curve would explain this. When I look at photos of Earth from space, It’s obviously neither a black body nor uniform.

  59. I’m quite confident that the missing heat is right there with the missing oil plumes from the gulf spill, if you find one you will most certainly find the other.

    My guess is we should check out the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ for the missing two, but then again has anyone checked out the ‘Grassy Knoll’ lately?

  60. I’m going to take a little bit of exception to calling Trenberth names or presuming what he does or doesn’t know. I believe that he’s been unfairly mischaracterized in the climategate statement “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    From what I’ve seen of what he’s written, he’s fairly open and clear. He even engaged with critics such as Pielke Sr. on his blog which led to a really interesting discussion (see Don B’s post above).

    Here’s his original 2009 article: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final2.pdf

    It’ll be interesting to see what he has to say about this paper.

  61. So how do you know with 95% confidence that something is so; when you have this rather big missing chunk that you don’t know anything about.

    That whopping missing energy since 2005 is much bigger than the base amount according to the graph taking the average (of the blue as 0.5 the missing energy circa 2010 is about 1.0 or twice the normal amount.

    I would say they don’t know beans to 95% confidence levels. It ain’t missing; Mother Gaia knows where every last scintilla of that energy is; and she is quite happy with it where it is; if it is anywhaer at all.

    But I will givew Dr Trenberth some credit for reducing the knowledge uncertain from a 3:1 standard Climatism fudge factor down to only a 2:1 range of ionexplicability. That’s a 50% +/- 50% improvement in precision of absence of knowledge.

    If they don’t understand that LWIR emissions are quickly egested fromt he oceans as evaporation; then they will continue to look in vain in the deep oceans trying to find it.

  62. Yes, the missing-heat will come back to haunt them, like the missing fusion products came back to haunt Pons and Fleischmann.

  63. I just can’t get over just how exactly the CO2 and sea level keep pace with each other; that slope identity is far too exact to be just chance; there must be some cause and effect relationship between sea level rise and CO2 since both of them have exactly the same rate of increase.

    It’s as if the ocean is outgassing CO2 therefore lowering the mass of the ocean and then the natural compressibility relaxes from losing all that CO2 weight, and the level springs back to a higher level.

    CO2 truly is marvelous stuff; just fancy its specifica gravity is exactly matched to the compressibility of sea water.

  64. “”” Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    Dennis Nikols writes:
    “Perhaps the heat is being stored, perhaps not. I strongly suspect Pielkel is correct and most has been sent back to space.”

    Isn’t this the obvious point to begin investigation? Roy Spencer’s book, The Global Warming Blunder, argues that the key to “forcings” is the behavior of clouds. There is no set of hypotheses which provide anything approaching a useful understanding of clouds, as Spencer explains. What is most likely is that the excess heat is being reflected by clouds. What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds. “””

    How many tiomes do I have to do this.

    There’s not much to understanding the behavior of clouds.

    #1 we do know from Wentz et al; Science July7-2007, that a one deg C rise in mean global earth Temperature results in a 7% increase in total global evaporation; total atmospheric water content, and total global precipitation. That’s from actual observed experimental climate observations; not computer models.

    Not stated in their paper; but conjectured by me; is that a 7% increase in total global precipitation is very likely to be accompanied by an increase (7% would be my WAG) in total gobal cloud cover (are/optical density/persistence time).

    I have argued also that clouds invariably; no matter where or of what type invariably reduce the amount of solar spectrum renewable energy radiation that reaches the surface of the planet (either ocean or land). More clouds ALWAYS reduces the number of solar spectrum photons that reach the surface. There is no physical mechanism whereby an INCREASE in total global clouds over any climatically meaningful time scale can result in more solar spectrum photons reaching the surface; and they have to reach the surface to be able to do anything for us or to us.

    What else goes on in regard to clouds involves the interraction of clouds; and the lower quality energy that results from thermal emissions from the heated earth surface or the heated atmosphere. Whatever that does is in addition to the loss of photons from reaching the surface.

    As Stephen Wilde has pointed out and others; the processes that lead to clouds transport simply astronomical amounts of heat energy int eh form of latent heat of evaporation which is carried by convection to the upper reaches of the atmosphere, where cloud formation results in the deposition of that heat energy in the upper atmosphere. Note that that “heat” must be lost to the water molecules before they form a liquid or solid phase that comprises clouds; so the water/ice/snow/sleet/hail/whatever does NOT return that latent heat to the surface with the H2O in condensed phases.

    But all that is icing on the cake in terms of what those subsequent heat manipulations do. The sorry fact is that the energy was already lost when the solar spectrum photons failed to reach the ground; and ALL clouds reduce the number of solar photons that reach the ground.

  65. Everything is broke….till the energy budget!. Remember that heat piggy bank which was going to form in the equator’s atmosphere?….well, it went broke after climate derivatives, not even a decent mini hockey stick still survives, all are in red (more exactly in deep cold blue).
    This happens because speculators began to get involved in climate issues.: They sold Global Warming while betting for an Ice Age.
    It’s too late now. Gotto buy more popcorn and wait next to my fire place.

  66. A large hole in the Arctic Ice has appeared over the last 2 days off the north-east coast of Greenland @ 81N, 12E.

    A great view can be had at expolreourpla.net.

    Perhaps Mr. Trenberth’s missing heat has congregated there. (:-

  67. Vince Causey’s observation needs to be relayed to all those politicians and others who gave the IPCC the benefit of the doubt:

    ‘“It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

    They don’t understand what is happening? They can’t predict our future climate? When did that happen?’

    They do not understand what is happening. They are unable to predict climate. They are deserving of deep further investigation.

  68. Tucci78 says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    “Heat tends reliably to rise, right? So are there some kinds of enormous convection currents or something similar boring down through the topmost 700 meters of the oceans to carry that heat into the depths (from which is is magically not rising thereafter), “or are we just jerking off?”

    Not necessarily.

    Solar shortwave penetrates to a couple of hundred metres. The more energetic the shortwave the deeper it gets and there is more such energetic shortwave when the sun is more active.

    So all one really needs is some internal oceanic movement at or near the limits of penetration just skimming off some of the slightly warmed water from the bottom of trhe warmed layer and removing it elsewhere.

    We are not considering much in terms of oceanic energy carrying capacity. Just enough to make a tiny temperature difference even when concentrated in the Antarctic Circumpolar region by the ocean circulations.

    However a tiny temperature difference for water makes a big difference to the tropospheric energy budget when it surfaces because of the water/air density differential.

    It might be a combination of the smallness of the phenomenon, the locations involved and the depths involved that ‘fooled’ the Argo sensors.

    Subject to more evidence my suggested scenario is as follows:

    i) A more active sun allows the jets and the associated clouds to move poleward.

    ii) More solar shortwave penetrates more deeply.

    iii) A tiny proportion is removed at the limits of penetration and over time becomes incorporated into the thermohaline circulation.

    iv) Many hundreds of years later it resurfaces by affecting the rate of energy release from oceans to air. How long is that thermohaline circulation ?

    v) When resurfacing it affects the oceanic absorption/emission rates for CO2

    Nice and neat, explains a lot.

  69. Lest we forget it was Kevin Trenberth who said this after Katrina:

    Global Warming Surpassed Natural Cycles In Fueling 2005 Hurricane Season, NCAR Scientists Conclude

    Global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005, while natural cycles were only a minor factor, according to a new analysis by Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The study will appear in the June 27 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, published by the
    American Geophysical Union.

    Next look to the middle column “Warmer Ocean Could Reduce Number Of Atlantic Hurricane Landfalls”

    These folks should just be honest and say they don’t know much about nature rather than construct platitudes and get them published in the peereviewlitchur. Really, how is it such drivel gets published without one shred direct of evidence to support it?

    It wasn’t long after that Trenberth did an interview with NPR wondering where the missing was…….

  70. Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    ……………………
    What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds.

    ———————————————————
    See these:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector2.php
    “So in addition to changing sea ice, we can kind of guess that something must be happening in the atmosphere over the Arctic, too.” Clouds are bright, too, and an increase in clouds could cancel out the impact of melting snow and ice on polar albedo.”

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector4.php
    “Although sea ice and snow cover had noticeably declined in the Arctic from 2000 to 2004, there had been no detectable change in the albedo measured at the top of the atmosphere: the proportion of light the Arctic reflected hadn’t changed. In other words, the ice albedo feedback that most climate models predict will ultimately amplify global warming apparently hadn’t yet kicked in.”

    “According to the MODIS observations, cloud fraction had increased at a rate of 0.65 percent per year between 2000 and 2004. If the trend continues, it will amount to a relative increase of about 6.5 percent per decade. At least during this short time period, says Kato, increased cloudiness in the Arctic appears to have offset the expected decline in albedo from melting sea ice and snow.”

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/pub/gorodetskaya/irina_ipccpaper.pdf
    “The predicted substantial decrease in Arctic summer sea ice concentrations during the twenty-first century may favor cloud formation, which should diminish or even cancel the ice-albedo feedback by shielding the surface.”

    “Water droplets are more effective in reflecting and absorbing solar radiation than nonspherical, typically larger ice crystals (Dong et al. 2001).”

  71. I wish the nice-looking pics were a bit more clearly annotated for duffers like me.

    However, duffer-hood also has advantages: I can dream about the Earth climate as a whole without too many distracting expert details…

    My personal take is as follows:

    The 800-year delay between temperature and CO2 is a genuine reflection of the time taken for the solar heat to penetrate the ocean heat reservoirs fully. This is because it happens at depth not by radiation but by the polar-equatorial convection which happens on a very slow scale, again due to inertia and the vast distance between heat sink (in the Arctic/Antarctic) and heat rise (around the equator), filled in the North Atlantic by the Northward-flowing Gulf Stream at the top and the southward deep-ocean return flow, with other similar pairs of currents in other oceans. Now the CO2 levels are entirely regulated by the total ocean temperature which fluctuates so slowly and with such a delay factor, that naturally both sea levels and CO2 levels are still rising……………….

  72. Clouds, oceans and dimethylsulfide:

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute – July 17, 2008
    “DMS is chemically reactive and can’t last long in the atmosphere. It quickly gets converted into a variety of sulfur compounds that serve as aerosols. They allow water vapor to condense around them. This is how clouds are made.

    Clouds, of course, have a major impact on the Earth’s climate. They deflect solar radiation back into space, preventing sunlight from heating the Earth’s surface and providing a cooling effect. Clouds are even more important over oceans, which are both more extensive and darker than land and so absorb a majority of the heat hitting the planet, Toole said. So the question becomes, can algae produce enough DMS to increase cloud cover and keep the planet’s temperature from rising?

    “DMS is undoubtedly part of the system of checks and balances that keeps the climate from taking wild swings,” said Ron Kiene, a professor of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama and one of the world’s leading DMS researchers. ”
    http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=45946

  73. AJB says:
    September 27, 2010 at 9:42 am
    Energy is measured in Joules. Can we please stop this nonsense accounting based on flux and temperature.

    Climatologists rarely use the correct units. They feel flux per square meter (square meter of what surface?) is useful – in the same way that they think air temperature is useful when they should be measuring heat content and humidity can increase the enthalpy of a volume of air by more than 50 times.

    Whenever reviewing a hypothesis – first check the assumptions then check the misuse of units.

  74. Elementary Dr. Trenberth
    Missing energy = dark energy, a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe!

  75. Kevin Trenberth: “The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later.”

    OR, contraire, “The heat may be there during coming frigid winters to bless us all.” Statements like Trenberth’s single-sided view just let you know how much of a scientist he is not.

  76. George E. Smith writes:
    Begin quotation:
    How many tiomes do I have to do this.
    There’s not much to understanding the behavior of clouds.

    Not stated in their paper; but conjectured by me; is that a 7% increase in total global precipitation is very likely to be accompanied by an increase (7% would be my WAG) in total gobal cloud cover (are/optical density/persistence time).
    End quotation:

    Until you have completed your work of conjecture, selected the correct one, and substantiated it.

  77. Perhaps the “heat” was entangled at the quantum level with bits of Mars meteorites and has now reappeared on the surface of Mars, causing the “extra” heating there? Just another WAG :)


  78. At 2:37 PM on 27 September, Stephen Wilde had written:

    Solar shortwave penetrates to a couple of hundred metres. The more energetic the shortwave the deeper it gets and there is more such energetic shortwave when the sun is more active.

    So all one really needs is some internal oceanic movement at or near the limits of penetration just skimming off some of the slightly warmed water from the bottom of trhe warmed layer and removing it elsewhere.

    We are not considering much in terms of oceanic energy carrying capacity. Just enough to make a tiny temperature difference even when concentrated in the Antarctic Circumpolar region by the ocean circulations.

    However a tiny temperature difference for water makes a big difference to the tropospheric energy budget when it surfaces because of the water/air density differential.

    Hm. Being a physician and not a physicist, I can’t refute this, but I strongly suspect I’m having my chain yanked. What we’re looking at with regard to “Solar shortwave” is a part of energy imparted to the earth by insolation. Unless the character of solar output has changed markedly in recent years – and shortwave radiation from this source should certainly have been appreciable with instruments available for most of the past century, right? – the earth’s deep ocean waters have been receiving this energy input for a helluva lot longer than the time marked in the Global Net Energy Budget graph and the other representations incorporated in the article above.

    In other words, if the impact of “Solar shortwave” could cause “a tiny temperature difference for water” to make “a big difference to the tropospheric energy budget when it surfaces,” why the hell would it be doing so only in the past half-decade?

    I’d like to see just how much of the sun’s radiant energy hitting the oceans is within the “Solar shortwave” frequencies capable of penetrating “to a couple of hundred metres.”

    Something definitely doesn’t pass the sniff test here.

  79. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

    Lesseee . . .

    The reprieve from warming will not continue. Meaning . . . well, lesseee . . . yup, this is a prediction about the future climate — it’s going to get warmer.

    And we know that because we understand how the climate works and can predict it.

    And we need to track the build up of energy so that we understand why there is missing heat so that we can predict what the future climate will be. But we already know it will get warmer, because we know how the climate works and have predicted that . . . and on and on . . .

    Anytime you see a top-level individual in a particular field spout this kind of circular reasoning, you can be sure that: (i) the important thing for that indivdual is the theory, not the facts, and further (ii) there is a serious problem with the theory.

  80. “”” Jimbo says:
    September 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm
    Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    ……………………
    What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds.

    ———————————————————
    See these:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector2.php
    “So in addition to changing sea ice, we can kind of guess that something must be happening in the atmosphere over the Arctic, too.” Clouds are bright, too, and an increase in clouds could cancel out the impact of melting snow and ice on polar albedo.” “””

    Why would ANY thinking climatologist ever contemplate trading the albedo due to more clouds to the albedo due to more polar ice.

    Clouds deal with incoming solar energy at the highest altitudes; where it has lost less of its energy to atmospheric absorptions; so the refelctance of clouds is turning back high quality solar energy and with less of a hazardous path back to space.

    Ice albedo (polar) on tehother hand deals with solar energy that has been severely compromised by passage through several tiems the normal atmospheric absorption path; and will have to endure a similar type of high absorptance path as it tries to exit to space. As a result; any time you can trade an acre of ice for an acre of cloud; you will gain in cooling of the planet due to albedo reflections.

    One look at the moon pictures of earth rise should convince anybody that clouds are the biggest contributors to earth reflectance; not polar ice.

  81. Over a century ago, physicists believed in “the aether”, which couldn’t be sensed or measured, because their theories demanded it. That didn’t help in real life. Nowadays, their descendants believe in “missing heat”, which can’t be sensed or measured, because their theories demand it. The belief in “missing heat” is probably just as accurate as the belief in “the aether”.

  82. The water at top of the oceans are full of life and the mid and lower depths are deserts.
    The deep oceans radiate IR up and down and are pretty transparent to IR, the upper oceans radiate IR up and down and are pretty opaque to IR.

    Obvious that heat is going downwards isn’t it.

  83. I like to see skeptics and alarmists engaged in debate, the winner is TRUTH !

    For too long the hockey team and other cliques have peer reviewed each others work. Even if they didn’t always know the name of the writer they cannot help but know if the conclusions of the paper advance the cause of AGW.

    If the conclusions are contrary to the cause of AGW the alarmist scientists will give it a thorough peer review. Skeptical scientists with the proper credentials need to be able to review warmist documents thoroughly. True science will be the winner.

    Double blind studies should be more utilized. For example data on tree ring temperature correlations should be given to unbiased statisticians without telling them what they are looking at. [Just nonrandom numbers.]

    The fact is that the present structure of science is entrepreneurial, with individual investigative teams vying for funding from organizations that all too often have a clear stake in the outcome of the research-or appear to, which may be just as bad. This is not healthy for science.

    Allowing people with a stake in the veracity of computer models cannot be involved in the collection and adjustment of the data those models will be tested against.

  84. R. de Haan says: “US Thermometer readings show cooling since 1895, before adjustments.”

    They do not. Steven has not taken into account the scaling and appears to have included areas with anomalies of -0.05 to +0.05 in the cooling portions of his maps.

  85. Duncan: You wrote, “Isn’t heat accumulation measurable in thermal expansion (e.g., global sea level)?”

    You need to account for the mass contribution from glacial run-off, etc., and changes in salinity, before you can claim a rise in sea level represents the warming of the oceans.

  86. George E. Smith says:
    Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    ……………………
    What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds.

    ———————————————————
    See these:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticReflector/arctic_reflector2.php

    Well, George, I followed the link to find a popular article about a scientist who studies clouds. No information there. I do not understand why you are referencing my comments. As far as I know, I haven’t contradicted a claim by you or commented on you. If you want to continue referencing my comments, would you please tell me why?

  87. Jimbo says:
    September 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    What are you trying to tell me? That clouds reflect sunlight? When referring to a science of clouds, I mean a science that tells us whether cloud cover is increasing and where the clouds are to be found and what kinds of clouds are to be found at what places. That sort of thing. Actual empirical hypotheses about the environment.

  88. Panic over.

    Found it.

    Its in a Black Heat Hole, sucks in all the surrounding heat so that none can escape. But on occasion it emits some.

  89. We wish to call attention to our paper Recent energy balance of Earth which is in press http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/papers/KD_InPress_final.pdf

    This answers most of the questions raised.
    In what follows bracketed words are added for clarity.
    Abstract: “A recently published estimate of Earth’s global warming trend [inward flux imbalance] is 0.63 ± 0.28 W/m2, as calculated from ocean heat content anomaly data spanning 1993–2008. This value is not representative of the recent (2003–2008) warming/cooling rate because of a “flattening” that occurred around 2001–2002. Using only 2003–2008 data from Argo floats, we find by four different algorithms that the recent trend ranges from –0.010 to –0.160 W/m2 with a typical error bar of ± 0.2 W/m2. These results fail to support the existence of a frequently-cited large positive computed radiative imbalance.”
    In regard to “missing energy” of Trenberth and Fasullo (TF) we state in our summary: “Trenberth and Fasullo (TF) [2] believe that missing energy has been accumulating at a considerable rate since 2005. According to their rough graph, as of 2010 the missing energy production rate is about 1.0 W/m2, which represents the difference between FTOA ~ 1.4 and FOHC ~ 0.4 W/m2. [FTOA = inward top-of-atmosphere net radiative flux, FOHC = rate of ocean heat content increase per unit Earth area.] It is clear that the TF missing-energy problem is made much more severe if FOHC is negative or even zero. In our opinion, the missing energy problem is probably caused by a serious overestimate by TF of FTOA, which, they state, is most accurately determined by modeling.
    In regard to the paper by Purkey and Johnson (PJ) we state: “We note that one recent deep-ocean analysis [16, Purkey/Johnson], based on a variety of time periods generally in the 1990s and 2000s, indicates that the deeper ocean contributes on the order of 0.09 W/m2. This is not sufficient to explain the discrepancy [of TF].”
    PJ’s claim of that the deep ocean captures 16% of the upper oceans’ absorbed heat is based on a ratio of fluxes covering time periods that appear to be non-commensurate and thus may be misleading. The Lyman et al value 0.63 W/m2 refers to 1993-2008 while the PJ value is based on combinations of results spanning different periods.
    The value 16% cannot be applied uncritically to the period 2003-2008 because data from corresponding time periods are clearly not used. It can be stated that PJ’s value 0.095 W/m2, if regarded as a simple additive correction to our computed implied FTOA, does not affect our conclusions about radiative imbalance and missing energy. [Our published comments on PJ are based on an early version of their paper in which the 16% figure was not mentioned.]

    R. S. Knox
    D. H. Douglass
    Department of Physics and Astronomy
    University of Rochester

  90. Sea level could be a better measure of ocean heat accumulation. But the heat accumulation measured in the new study below 2000 metres could account for 0.113 to 0.150 mm/year (as shown in Table 1 above) while the latest estimate of sea level rise is 3.1 mm/year (or as low as 1.5 mm/year from the European satellite Envisat).

    So, the measured heat accumulation in the deep ocean below 2000 metres only accounts for a very, very small fraction of the current sea level rise numbers (less than 5%).
    ———

    There has been some criticism of the von Schuckmann 0-2000 metre numbers (including a mathematical mistake noted which might reduce the heat accumulation number to 0.47 W/m2). My main criticism (which I’m not sure has been mentioned to date) is that almost all of their warming was in the 0-700 metre ocean (not the 700-2000 metre ocean) and this warming trend is not found in the Argo numbers (even though von Schuckmann used them).

    von Schuckmann warming by depth.

    A new study coming out in November continues the (slightly) declining 0-700 metre ocean heat content numbers (although there is a bump in the first part of 2008).

    http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/papers/KD_InPress_final.pdf

  91. Just noting I didn’t see the post by Bob_Knox at 7:09 before I finished and posted mine just above. (obviously it is more pertinent).

  92. First, a little history: Back when I took freshman physics (and chemistry and mechanics and…), we were required to study the theory 0f (see above list) and build our own simplistic (mostly math) models of the phenomena. THEN we had to do lab tests to test the models. THEN we had to explain why the measurements didn’t match the predictions of the models. THEN the professor/instructor would explain all the known unknowns for which most of the models didn’t account. (Remember we were freshmen; most of our models were intended to get us out of the lab as fast as possible with the minimum amount of real work [gee, that seems to match a lot of the support for global warming being mostly caused by anthropogenic CO2, so all the messy details can be ignored, doesn’t it?]) THEN (and here’s the point of this story) HE/SHE POINTED OUT THAT EVEN IN THE LABORATORY YOU HAD TO LOOK FOR THE UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS!! It took awhile before it finally became clear that there always are going to be differences between ANY model and reality. The key to effective engineering (or any other discipline, like…climatology) is to recognize when a model is close enough to reality to be useful. And when it is so far away from reality that you need either more measurements – you know, so you can improve the model to match reality – or you need a different model – those times when the model results just don’t come close enough to justify continuing maintenance and development of a model that diverges too far from the reality it’s supposed to predict. Generally, that comes from either a faulty theory or a faulty model of the theory, or a combination of both (one of the reasons dissertation defenses are so…animated) Trenbarth’s interpretations of his model seem to be almost triumphant in the pronouncement that there still are known unknowns, although he seems to be saying that he knows what all of them are. However, the absence of a recognition of the concept of unknown unknowns seems, to put it mildly, a little arrogant and short-sighted. Until he can demonstrate a correlation of his model with reality, it seems far more likely that the discrepancy lies in his model, his theory or both. To leap at the confusion that his model is sufficiently ‘real’ to draw conclusions that can be relied upon to demonstrate a fundamental gap in our understanding of instantaneous (or even short interval) global energy balances is just that: a leap.
    So the bottom line of this post seems to be what the whole global warming/climate change/disruption imbroglio demonstrates is that the perpetrators seem to have forgotten their freshman lab courses. Who’s telling them that their models won’t match until they at least get the known unknowns bounded – and at least look for what factors they’re missing completely?

  93. And the end quote from the conclusion of that new study (thank you Bill Illis for the link) is:

    ===============================

    “In our opinion, the missing energy problem is probably caused by a serious overestimate by Trenberth /Fasullo, of the net inward radiative flux at the top of the atmosphere., which, they state, is most accurately determined by modeling.”

    “In summary, we find that estimates of the recent (2003–2008) OHC rates of change are preponderantly negative. This does not support the existence of either a large positive radiative imbalance or a ‘missing energy’.”

    ===============================

    Cue the fat lady for an encore.

    -Chris

  94. An addendum I just found at the end of another article on WUWT* (More follow up on the solar-neutrinos-radioactive decay story – experimental falsification) that seems very apropos:
    Quote: “There are always more unknowns in your measurements than you can think of,” Lindstrom says. End quote.

    Pretty much says everything I said earlier. Except that HE seems to remember his freshman labs….

    *Amazing the things you can find there, isn’t it?

  95. All proper men know that women, especially when young, are cold. Cold hands. Cold feet. Always asking that the heat be turned up or ‘borrowing’ the jacket you thought to bring with you to add to theirs… Finding ingenious ways to press ice like feet into your back to ‘warm up’ a little… even disguising it as asian massage.

    So my thesis is that the heat is hiding in the added population growth. We’ve added a couple of billion women in the last few decades, all with cold extremities (and a few, I can assure you from personal exposure, cold hearts as well…) and I’m quite sure that if computed, it will be found that they will have soaked up all that ‘excess heat’ and then some.

    However…

    This heat WILL come flooding back to warm us into catastrophic global warming as soon as this young population ages sufficiently for Hot Flashes to commence.

    So we must all, quite assuredly, prepare for That Day; for when it arrives, the earth will be consumed by a degree of Global Warming unmatched in history as all the ‘stored heat’ is released… and air conditioners around the planet are found to be reset from 76 to 60 F…

    (For the humor impaired: It’s just a joke. Based a bit on true life experiences, but just humor. I’m fondly looking forward to my spouse cycling the HVAC through 20 F swings hour by hour, I’m supporting her in this by taking commands well from SWIMBO, and don’t see anything wrong with that at all… After all, I have been given back my parka now.
    ;-)

    Though I’m still trying to figure out why I have to eat dinner when she is hungry…

  96. Theo Goodwin wrote:

    “What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds.”

    Science has nearly complete understanding of clouds. Clouds form when air conditions reach certain well known thermodynamical characteristics with certain well known concentration of water vapor while having sufficient concentration of nucleation centers. These conditions occur as result of movement of air masses across buoyancy-driven atmosphere heated from below and rotating. What science does not know is when and where these particular conditions occur in the turbulent atmosphere. Therefore, what is most needed at this time in climate is an urgent solution to the problem of turbulence. Best physicist and mathematicians tried to solve this problem for 150+ years, and did not succeed. Now it is the time for brave climatologists to carry the torch.

    [just yanking your chains :-) :-)]

  97. Poor Kevin Trenberth. I feel sorry for him. By all accounts he is a smart and decent bloke who is doing his best to perform good science. Unfortunately for him, he appears to be a firm believer in AGW, and when the facts don’t support one’s belief it is the most inconvenient truth of all. In these circumstances, a significant degree of intellectual suppleness is required to make it possible to sleep at night. (Politicians are richly endowed with such moral flexibility, which is what makes them different from normal people.)

    In his Climategate email statement – “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t” – Kevin should have trawled his memory for a more apposite word.

    Travesty means, “to imitate or ridicule something in a grotesque or distorted manner”, which is how some might describe the pseudo-scientific method by which the mild-mannered, plant-nurturing, life-giving trace gas we call CO2 has been systematically vilified, to the point of being called “pollution” by environuts and their lickspittle PR/political front men.

    A far better word, Kevin, would have been an “embarrassment”, or a “quandary”, or “dilemma”.

    The good news is that, although he doesn’t like the fact that OHC expressed in joules is largely stable or falling, he seems to have accepted it and will continue his search for better data, or better interpretation, or the existence of a whole new heat sink that’s bigger than the oceans. All one can say is, “Good luck with that.”

    And to those of the doom establishment who are fully aware of this fundamentally inconvenient truth – the ultimate falsification of the notion of CO2-trapped heat in the pipeline waiting to strike back – but fail to acknowledge it in their continuous wailing about impending disaster, I say – “Remember: we’re watching you.”

  98. It sucks not being able to read the original paper. From a perusal of the NSF website article and previous papers on this topic that I’ve read, it appears that the “missing heat” is analagous to the phlogiston theory, that is if the theorists of that day had supercomputers to model phlogiston behavior.

    What is really annoying is that no-one seems to include measurement errors in their paper summaries anymore. The “missing heat” is on the order of 0.5 w/m**2 and, perusal of the satellite photographs of reflected sunlight and IR radiation from the earth indicates that we’re dealing with about 1000 W/m**2. 0.5 W/m**2 is 0.05% of the total — what is the accuracy of the satellite measurements? Also, how many satellites are there and what is the difference in measurements between satellites? If the satellite readings differ by more than 0.05%, then there is no missing heat, and that’s just looking at indirect means of estimating temperature.

    Ocean temperature as measured by the Argo floats (despite their well known limitations) give a far closer estimate of the amount of heat retained by the earth than satellite measurements as the oceans are a great calorimeter. If the theory doesn’t predict ocean temperatures, then the theory is wrong and it’s time to come up with a new one. The attachment of some people to the AGW theory is truly pathologic. What I’d be curious about is whether adherents of the “missing heat” theory would be able to solve 1st year physics problems dealing with the calculation of measurement errors where one takes a number of measurements, each with a given error and sticks them into an equation.

  99. I think that the atrophysics community would be very interested in Trenberth’s discovery. I believe he has found evidence of Dark Energy here on earth.

  100. Bill Illis says:
    September 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm
    Sea level could be a better measure of ocean heat accumulation. But the heat accumulation measured in the new study below 2000 metres could account for 0.113 to 0.150 mm/year (as shown in Table 1 above) while the latest estimate of sea level rise is 3.1 mm/year (or as low as 1.5 mm/year from the European satellite Envisat).

    So, the measured heat accumulation in the deep ocean below 2000 metres only accounts for a very, very small fraction of the current sea level rise numbers (less than 5%).

    I would recommend once again that people study this document

    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/J2_handbook_v1-3_no_rev.pdf

    It is the data products handbook for the Jason 2 satellite system, which is the latest and greatest of the number of satellites that have been the source of data used to calculate MSL as the basis of that oft displayed graph of rising sea level, The pertinent section for this discussion is 2.3.1 where they describe how they hope to achieve globally averaged RMS accuracy of 3.4 CENTIMETERS, which would seem to be a fantastically optimistic hope since in the following table they indicate that there ability to measure significant wave height is limited to accuracies of o.4 to o.9 METERS

    In other words we have another example of data quoted to phenomenal levels of precision, where the underlying accuracy is numerous orders of magnitude worse. If you lay a +/- 3.4 cm error band on that rising MSL graph it nicely covers the entire difference from the beginning to the end and as I said this is the latest and greatest sat. which is probably several orders of magnitude better than the sats that provided the earliest data. Even if their speculations about tenth of a millimeter changes in sea level were entirely correct, we have no hope of being able to measure those changes. Not now and in all probability not in any of our lifetimes.

  101. Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    “…What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds.”

    Unfortunately quantifying the underlying factors responsible for cloud production is not possibles. Cloud production is driven by deterministic chaos and we currently don’t have the required tools or data to be able to even get a good estimate of what is going on in our interlinked, turbulent atmosphere/ocean heat processing system.

    No surprise then that the algorithms sitting behind our temperature data gathering systems and the GCM’s used to predict our future climate are not even able to produce consistent ball-park results. It’s a travesty!

  102. The deep oceans are heating but not expanding??? CAGW teaches you new laws of physics every day. [/sarc]
    Looking at the graph above the turning point seems to be at 2005. Wasn’t that when the sun went on strike?

  103. The gas balance of the atmosphere and oceans is controlled by the vegetable, invertebrate and tiny vertebrate life-forms on this planet, which make up the vast majority of the biomass. They’ve been at it for a few billion years now, and have worked out a system of checks and balances which keep the Earth within a 12C range which tends to settle towards either the warm or cool end of the range for extended periods of time.

    This is despite quite big changes in solar output over that timeframe.

    Solar energy, water in it’s three states, oxygen level. These three are what we need to investigate and understand. Co2 is a sideshow distracting us from discovering how the climate actually works.

    I calculated from the steric component of sea level rise between 1993 and 2003 the oceans absorbed and extra 8×10^22J of energy. This is equivalent to ~4W/m^2. Co2 and TSI changes can’t have done that, so it has to be down to albedo changes, which amplify the solar signal.

    Heat is stored in and released from the oceans on much longer timescales than has been previously considered by the climate modelers. Logic proves it. Once that is accepted, my demonstration that solar can account for all of global warming might get listened to, at least by skeptics.

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/

  104. 1 + 1 = 2. ????
    If CO2 can reradiant energy back to earth then it can just as easily radiate it out into space before it enters our atmosphere. Natures balance. This would make the GHG effect of CO2 nearly, if not, neutral. Wouldn’t that be inconvenient.
    The missing heat is more like the stranded polar bear. Invented.
    regards

  105. The extent of my scientific knowledge is limited to the various processes and chemical reactions involved in transforming simple sugars into ethanol (better known as the wonderful world of malts, grains, hops, yeast, and H20… lol)!

    Is there a plausible hypothesis out there that suggest the missing heat……. cooled? If not I would say it can be found in Los Angeles. Its hotter than the hubs of h3ll there today!

  106. Tucci78 says:
    September 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    “Unless the character of solar output has changed markedly in recent years – and shortwave radiation from this source should certainly have been appreciable with instruments available for most of the past century, right? – the earth’s deep ocean waters have been receiving this energy input for a helluva lot longer than the time marked in the Global Net Energy Budget graph and the other representations incorporated in the article above. ”

    I’m glad you mentioned that, Tucci, because my comments did not deal with the timing issue.

    It ia apparent that in fits and starts the solar activity levels have been increasing since the Maunder Minimum. So I contend that similarly the cloud bands have been shifting poleward and solar shortwave into the oceans increasing ever since. That will have set up a corresponding increasing temperature profile along the horizontal line of the thermohaline circulation. Since that circulation takes about 1000 years
    the increasing trend will be about halfway along the length of that circulation with the other half still processing the decline from the MWP to the LIA (we therefore have slowly developing colder ocean cycles to look forward to for the next 500 years). During that time since the Maunder Minimum there would have been a long slow accretion to ocean heat content and such an accretion was indeed observed during the late 20th century when we first became capable of measuring such things in a primitive fashion.
    As many have pointed out the level of solar activity has been declining since the peak of cycle 23 and is currently at a historic low in terms of the last couple of centuries.
    Many have also pointed out the equatorward shift of the jets and declining ocean heat content the last few years.
    I have often pointed out that I first noticed the equatorward shift around 2000 so all the timing and all the trends fit perfectly.

    Up to the late 90s:

    Sun highly active, jets poleward, ocean heat content rising, albedo falling, troposphere warming, ocean cycles positive, stratosphere cooling, ozone declining.

    Since the late 90s:

    Sun much less active, jets shift equatorward, ocean heat content falling, albedo rising, troposphere no longer warming and possibly about to cool, ocean cycles becoming negative, stratosphere no longer cooling and maybe slight warming, ozone no longer falling and maybe recovering.

    So there we have 8 seperate phenomena all linked to climate that all simultaneously went into reverse in the late 90s just as the activity level of the sun changed.

    My New Climate Model contains the only existing hypothesis that accommodates all those observed changes.

    Coincidence ? I think not.

  107. No it will not because it has already escaped to space never to return. Law 2 implies that heat cannot ‘return to haunt’. Back to basics Dr Trenberth.

  108. George E. Smith says:
    September 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “There is no physical mechanism whereby an INCREASE in total global clouds over any climatically meaningful time scale can result in more solar spectrum photons reaching the surface; and they have to reach the surface to be able to do anything for us or to us.”

    I am just trying to reconcile these two statements, my math and physics are near nonexistent but I like to have a clear mental picture, hoping you can clear this up.

    “The argument from the AGW fraudsters is that O2 and N2 are “IR inactive”, or in other words that these two gases are transparent to infra-red. But it must be remembered that all substances with a temperature above 0 K emit IR at light speed. In order to maintain a certain temperature above 0 K a substance must acquire energy at the same rate as it loses it. Therefore there can be no substances which are transparent to IR. To claim anything to the contrary is an outrageous and deliberate fraud”.
    Taken from
    http://www.spinonthat.com/CO2_files/The_Diurnal_Bulge_and_the_Fallacies_of_the_Greenhouse_Effect.html

  109. I think looking for missing heat may well “come back to haunt” Trenberth. However, supposing (by measurement and computation – not models) there was missing heat, could it not be in ice? Put a block of ice in your freezer with the thermostat set on coldest and the ice temperature will equalise to the freezer temp, now set the freezer on a higher temperature and it will again equalise. There was no melting between those two conditions but there is now more heat in the freezer.

    Whether heat is in ice, oceans or even in the crust itself is a secondary question to that of accurate measurement and how to achieve that. Nevertheless, the elephant in the room remains: the mechanism of ACC, real or imagined?

  110. My Wild Assed Guess would be that all these ocean gyres are working like massive but slow moving heat engines transporting the heat down, like an upside down thunderstorm that Willis showed transports heat upwards out of the atmosphere.
    For extra WAGness, I’m going to say that they work on sixty to seventy year cycles, and are the cause of PDO/AMO shifts.

  111. George E. Smith says:
    September 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “There is no physical mechanism whereby an INCREASE in total global clouds over any climatically meaningful time scale can result in more solar spectrum photons reaching the surface; and they have to reach the surface to be able to do anything for us or to us.”

    I am just trying to reconcile these two statements, my math and physics are near nonexistent but I like to have a clear mental picture, hoping you can clear this up.

    compare;
    “The argument from the AGW fraudsters is that O2 and N2 are “IR inactive”, or in other words that these two gases are transparent to infra-red. But it must be remembered that all substances with a temperature above 0 K emit IR at light speed. In order to maintain a certain temperature above 0 K a substance must acquire energy at the same rate as it loses it. Therefore there can be no substances which are transparent to IR. To claim anything to the contrary is an outrageous and deliberate fraud”.
    Taken from
    http://www.spinonthat.com/CO2_files/The_Diurnal_Bulge_and_the_Fallacies_of_the_Greenhouse_Effect.html

  112. Julian Braggins says:
    September 28, 2010 at 4:32 am

    You quote “the fraudsters”:
    “Therefore there can be no substances which are transparent to IR. To claim anything to the contrary is an outrageous and deliberate fraud”.

    No wonder my TV remote quit working.

  113. Stephen Wilde wrote, “My New Climate Model contains the only existing hypothesis that accommodates all those observed changes.”

    Your New Climate Model is so vague it will accomodate ANY observed change. You need to document your model with data and equations.

  114. ClimateWatcher says:
    September 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    This is really:

    (1-albedo) * S / 4 = (sigma * T^4) CO2 + (sigma * T^4) H20 + (sigma * T^4) clouds + (sigma * T^4) everything else

    This reminds me of the equation for the probability of extra-terrestrial life – in Michael Crichton’s essay about aliens and global warming posted recently on WUWT (flippant title but serious message) – a set of completely unknown variables, magnifying each-other’s uncertainties.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/09/aliens-cause-global-warming-a-caltech-lecture-by-michael-crichton/

  115. Bob Tisdale said:

    “Your New Climate Model is so vague it will accomodate ANY observed change. You need to document your model with data and equations.”

    A vague model is better than no model.

    But seriously, there are lots of real world events that could occur to derail all or any part of my hypothesis. But that isn’t happening is it ? I gave you a number of examples of such in an earlier thread.

    Data and equations can follow when they are available and I’m sure lots of scientists will be scrambling to do it if the basic hypothesis continues to hold.

  116. There is a potential way to explain the missing heat. AGW may have been caused by a process not involving CO2 and which switched off in 2003. By now you must think I’m mad! Bear with me…….

    How did I conclude this? On NASA websites there’s a false explanation of high cloud albedo [ http://terra.nasa.gov/FactSheets/Aerosols/ ], ‘higher [up to 90%] reflection from the greater surface area of smaller droplets in polluted clouds’. You don’t get reflection and Mie scattering [by a thick slab cloud] can’t give >0.5 albedo.

    So where does the missing 0.4 come from? You can get very high albedo for clouds like cumulonimbus but these tend to have very dark interiors when raining. High albedo/low internal scattering suggests a second optical process, shielding the cloud interior. I’ve worked out the likely theory, an artefact of Mie scattering.

    Consider a non-absorbing slab cloud, 0.7 albedo. 30% diffuse exits the base, the same from the top, 40%, is geometrical, probably a central cone. If pollution causes albedo to drop to 0.6, the energy from the base increases by a third, substantial AGW.

    So, what evidence is there? Here’s ocean heat capacity: http://i45.tinypic.com/2u73syr.jpg ; notice fast heating in the late 1990s and cessation in 2003 when global warming stopped. These data do not follow the Keeling curve for CO2. Consider this though: http://www.physorg.com/news105192948.html

    ’”The conventional thinking is that brown clouds have masked as much as 50 percent of global warming by greenhouse gases through so-called global dimming,” said Ramanathan. “While this is true globally, this study reveals that over southern and eastern Asia, the soot particles in the brown clouds are in fact amplifying the atmospheric warming trend caused by greenhouse gases by as much as 50 percent.”’

    I’m suggesting the real AGW mechanism has been via modification of the optical properties of clouds, particularly over the tropical oceans as industrial globalisation surged and by 2003 it saturated. If true, this reduces the impact of CO2.

    There’s one question left. Why does NASA put out false optical physics? ‘Cloud albedo effect’ cooling in Figure 2.4 of AR4 is 44% of present median AGW. Without it, the predictions of temperature rise are far too high. Yet the effect can’t be proved: looks to me as if the claim is propaganda to bolster up the IPCC’s unjustified claims of high future AGW from CO2: it could be very low indeed.

  117. Stephen Wilde replied, “But seriously, there are lots of real world events that could occur to derail all or any part of my hypothesis. But that isn’t happening is it ?”

    Individual real world events can’t contradict your model. You have clarified this in earlier threads when I point out how data contradicts your speculations. At those times, you state your model works only on a multidecadal basis.

  118. Mike Haseler says:
    September 28, 2010 at 9:23 am
    Stephen Wilde says: “A vague model is better than no model.”

    I think the phrase is “vacant” … or perhaps you mean anorexic?

    Now we’re talking about Vogue models…

    Stephen – for the solar and atmospheric part of your model you have Lief Svaalgard to contend with, and for the oceanic – Bob Tisdale. Get it past those two and the rest is plain sailing.

  119. “””””” Quotation Cut and pasted verbatim from above:-

    Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm
    George E. Smith writes:
    Begin quotation:
    How many tiomes do I have to do this.
    There’s not much to understanding the behavior of clouds.

    Not stated in their paper; but conjectured by me; is that a 7% increase in total global precipitation is very likely to be accompanied by an increase (7% would be my WAG) in total gobal cloud cover (are/optical density/persistence time).
    End quotation:

    Until you have completed your work of conjecture, selected the correct one, and substantiated it. “”””””

    The above cut and pasted verbatime from above. My comments follow.

    Theo This is posted entirely to explain it to you.

    I asked the question; how many times do I have to do this; namely, point out the quite recent and very important paper in SCIENCE by Frank Wentz (RSS Santa Rosa CA.) et al reporting on actual satellite measurements; real physical experimental observations of important water cycle physical phenomena.

    To that paper I addded my own CONJECTURE, that one could reasonably infer that an increase in clouds would accompany an increase in precipitation. THAT’S IT. The work on that conjecture was completed with the sfirst stating of it here at WUWT. I DO NOT have to do another thing.

    Fermat noted a CONJECTURE in his note book; that the equation (of the form) x^n +y^n =a^n has NO integer solutions of x and y for ANY n greater than 2. As far as I know he never ever said another word about it to anyone; certainlky never offered any proof.

    That is what CONJECTURE is; and I’m not offering ANY proof of mine.

    I will however offer a corollary CONJECTURE :-

    Any of the fifth grader kids on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? ” would take one look at my first conjecture; and say that of course it was quite obvious; and not in need of ANY proof.

    Secondly; you tell me I should work on my conjecture and select the correct one; which is pretty easy; since there is only one conjecture to consider; and then substantiate it.

    And as I just now stated for those not familiar with the word “conjecture”, a conjecture is a statement offered without proof; which is available for anyone who for reasons known best to them, want to either prove or attempt to prove; or to falsify or attempt to falsify. Or it is available for all to ignore.

    And as I said there was only one conjecture; so the choice of which is tivial.

    Now you might have somehow inferred that I was suggesting a choice of three different explanations; namely:-
    are(a), or perhaps optical density, or maybe persistence time; (of the cloud).

    No I wasn’t suggesting a choice; I would venture that those same fifth graders; would immediately grasp the concept that clouds could be increased in coverage area; or perhaps in Optical light blocking density; or increased time for which the cloud persists; or most likely some combination of all three of those variables since there is no physical reason to believe that one or two of those variables would have to remain a constant; but the overall result would be equivalent to a 7% increase in the precipitation capabilities of that cloud cover.

    That was my conjecture Theo; and I posted it here again for the upmpteenth time because earlier YOU had posted this; which several others have referred to:-

    “cut and pasted from above” “”””” Theo Goodwin says:
    September 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm
    Dennis Nikols writes:
    “Perhaps the heat is being stored, perhaps not. I strongly suspect Pielkel is correct and most has been sent back to space.”

    Isn’t this the obvious point to begin investigation? Roy Spencer’s book, The Global Warming Blunder, argues that the key to “forcings” is the behavior of clouds. There is no set of hypotheses which provide anything approaching a useful understanding of clouds, as Spencer explains. What is most likely is that the excess heat is being reflected by clouds. What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds. “””””

    “””” What is most needed at this time in climate science is a scientific understanding of the behavior of clouds. “””””

    Repeated for clarity.

    And I simply replied to the effect that there already was sufficient scientific understanding of clouds.

    Clouds ALWAYS reduce the amount of solar spectrum incident sunlight which reaches the surface of the earth.

    No other understanding of clouds is necessary to understand that the earth must inexorably cool down if the amount of sunlight that is allowed to reach the surface is reduced over climatically significant time scales.

    If you know of a Physical process, which can cause an increased total global cloud coverage to allow even more sunlight; as in solar sepctrum incoming radiated energy, reach the surface of the earth; or if you know of a physical process whereby reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface, will cause the surface to get even hotter than it is; then I am sure that I and many other readers are all eager to hear your explanation.

  120. “”””” Julian Braggins says:
    September 28, 2010 at 3:37 am
    George E. Smith says:
    September 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “There is no physical mechanism whereby an INCREASE in total global clouds over any climatically meaningful time scale can result in more solar spectrum photons reaching the surface; and they have to reach the surface to be able to do anything for us or to us.”

    I am just trying to reconcile these two statements, my math and physics are near nonexistent but I like to have a clear mental picture, hoping you can clear this up.

    “The argument from the AGW fraudsters is that O2 and N2 are “IR inactive”, or in other words that these two gases are transparent to infra-red. But it must be remembered that all substances with a temperature above 0 K emit IR at light speed. In order to maintain a certain temperature above 0 K a substance must acquire energy at the same rate as it loses it. Therefore there can be no substances which are transparent to IR. To claim anything to the contrary is an outrageous and deliberate fraud”.
    Taken from
    http://www.spinonthat.com/CO2_files/The_Diurnal_Bulge_and_the_Fallacies_of_the_Greenhouse_Effect.html “””””

    Julian; when I see a post such as yours (cited here); I do consider it to be a serious request for explanation or elucidation if you will; and not just an idle troll.

    So here goes.

    So read that sentence of mine that you quoted; and which is referenced here carefully.

    It references “solar spectrum photons”. OK you say your math and physics are near non-existent. Not to worry; matters not a jot. Those words are a fancy way of saying SUNLIGHT. You know what sunlight is; experience it nearly every day. Scientifically it consists of photons having various energies that empower our whole planet. Those photons range from the Ultraviolet corresponding to light waves with about 1/4 of a micron wavelength; through the visible light range encompassing about 0.4 microns to 0.8 microns wavelengths, and then on through the near infrared from about 1 to 4 microns wavelengths that our skin detects as “heat”. Now the suns range actually goes beyond that range specially in the longer wavelengths almost to as long as we can perceive with instruments. But 98% of the suns energy is emitted int eh range of 0.25 microns to 4.0 microns, and only 1% beyond each end. That is what sunlight is, and the peak (brightest) occurs at about 0.5 microns in the green region.

    Now I am laboring this point for a specific reason. When that sunlight bounces off your chrome hubcaps, or your bird bath water surface; or the oceans, clouds, snowfields (it reflects) it REMAINS SUNLIGHT. now some surfaces such as green plants absorb some parts of the sunlight and reflect others which is why they look green since they don’t absorb the green; but what they reflect is what came in originally as sunlight. It’s like you picking through the tomatoes in the store, and accepting some and rejecting others for blemishes or whatever. What you reject is still a tomato.

    What reflects off clouds, the oceans, trees, rocks snow and ice; you name it; is still SUNLIGHT. Some parts may have been extracted which will change the color; but nothing has been added.

    ALL of the incoming sunlight, solar energy that reflects off some surface and heads of back out into space, we gather together under one heading which we call “Albedo”, which is a fancy name for the average reflectance of the planet. It is about 35% of all incoming sunlight that is reflected off something; mostly clouds which are bright white from above.

    When you see the word Albedo used it refers ONLY to original sunlight input from the sun that is reflected back out into space. NOTHING else is added.

    Now cloud tops reflect about 80% of the sun’s rays that strike them; and they reflect it in a highly diffuse scattered form. The clouds which are water or ice also absorb some parts of the sunlight (solar spectrum photons), so they don’t reach the ground; and more clouds reflect and block more sunlight; how easy is that ? And I mentioned the climatic time scale to clarify that we are talking about a climate change; increase in cloudiness; not last night’s weather; so I mean a cloud increase that will persist for years or decades (all over the globe).

    Now in order to get more clouds; you have to have more water vapor in the atmosphere; which comes from increased evaporation from the ocean due to surface warming.

    Now water vapor also absorbs some sunlight just like clouds do, and it starts absorbing about 0.76 microns which is a very deep red. Probably old farts like me can’t see that red any more but we used to see it, and the water vapor can absorb quite a bit of the suns rays from about that red out to about the 4 microns region and there is only 1% left beyond that.

    So if that sunlight too can absorb incoming solar spectrum photons (sunlight), that is also solar energy which does not reach the ground. And it is sunlight that reaches the ground or more likely the ocean that is the real solar energy that maintains the Temperature of this planet. Block more sunlight from the surface with more clouds, and it must get colder on the ground. As I have said many times; Nobody ever observed it to warm up in the shadow zone, when a cloud passes in front of the sun; it ALWAYS cools down.

    So note; so far we have only talked about sunlight energy; nothing else. That is all that my postulate relates to.

    So now to your second piece which you asked about.

    They are talking about an entirely different subject; namely the Infra Red; which is loosely thought of as being those electromagnetic radiation waves (or photons) having wavelengths between about 1.0 and 100 microns; which is much longer (and lower energy) than the visible sunlight, although we noted above that the sunlight does contain some useful energy in that 1 to 4 micron range. Actually the sun keeps on emitting energy at wavelengths or frequencies all the way out to radio waves or you could also detect them on your stereo system if you had a good enough one and a good antenna (very big one).

    But the IR that this article is referring to is the long wave infrared radiation that is emitted from the earth’s surface as a result of its temperature of about 15 deg C or 288 Kelvins (average). Such radiation is also emitted from the atmosphere itself because of its temperature.

    You should Google or Wiki “Black Body Radiation” to learn something about it. Simply stated, BB radiation is a theoretical type of radiation that is emitted from a body which is capable of totally absorbing any and all electromagnetic radiation energy that falls on it. It is theoretically important because we can calculate with very high confidence exactly how much radiation at any wavelength it will emit, and it depends only on the Temperature of the body and nothing else. And it is practically important because the sun radiates solar energy in a very much black body like fashion corresponding to an emission temperature of roughly 6,000 Kelvins.
    One property of BB radiation is that the product of the Temperature, and the peak wavelength of the spectrum (brightest “light”) is a constant; and for the sun at 6,000K, the peak wavelength is about 0.5 microns, so the Product of the two is 3,000 Micron Kelvins (roughly) which we call the Wien Constant, since it embodies Wien’s Displacement Law; which is the law that says BB radiation has that temperature times peak Wavelength constant.

    So the earth’s surface at say 300 K; which is about 27 deg C which is about 80 deg F must have from Wien’s law a 10 micron peak emission wavelength since it is 1/20th the temperature of the sun so it must be 20 times the sun’s 0.5 micron peak. Actually for the 288 K it is about 10.1 micron peak; and we can expect to find about 98% of the total emitted energy from the earth surface lying between 1/2 and 8 times that peak wavelength which is 5.0 to 80 microns range. Now CO2 molecules absorb in the 15 micron region, actually in a band from about 13.5 to 16.5 microns; so it is on the downward slope of the tail of the thermal radiation emitted from the surface. It also absorbs in the 4 micron region; which is at the tail end of the sun’s spectrum but a bit too far beyond the short end of the earth surface emissions. The short wavelength drop off is much more sudden than the long wavelength tail. So these are the emissions which come from the earth and also from the atmosphere since at least at the lower altitudes is in a somewhat similar Temperature range as the surface (roughly).

    The ordinary gases of the atmosphere, may indeed be “transparent” to the IR but CO2 (and H2O) is not and the energy that is captured by these so-called Green House Gases, is ultimately transferred to those ordinary gases in molecular collisions. So even if the N2 and O2 themselves are transparent; the CO2 is not, and because it is a trace gas it is almost certain to soon encounter an N2 or O2 molecule and eventually lose that captured energy to those molecules; and that is how the air gets heated (one of the ways).

    But the important thing to keep in mind is that this long wave infra red LWIR is 20 times the wavelength of the sunlight spectrum (solar photons), so the constituents of the atmosphere and everything else react quite differently to that radiation.

    But remember that the cloud effect that I related above applies ONLY to the original incoming sunlight. How clouds react to the LWIR is a totally different (and important) issue.

    I’m NOT an expert on LWIR absorption and emission from the atmospheric gases and clouds; I know a little about it; enough to get myself in a jam from time to time; but there are others here who know a whole lot more than I do.

    So I’m here to learn too.

    Hopefully, some of that above is of use to you.[typos fixed . . G you are typing way fast]

  121. The average annual energy lost (OLR) by the Earth in W/m^2 between 1975-1999 was 211.2 W/m^2. As the 2000’s were warming the basic laws of physics would require that the amount of energy lost through radiative heat transfer would increase. The average annual amount since 2004 is 213.9 W/m^2. This means that the missing energy is not lost, it escaped the Earth.

    That is from the raw data.

  122. phlogiston said:

    “Stephen – for the solar and atmospheric part of your model you have Lief Svaalgard to contend with, and for the oceanic – Bob Tisdale. Get it past those two and the rest is plain sailing.”

    Too true, but are they right ?

    There’s been a lot of material coming to the fore from the real world and other commentators to suggest they might not be.

    I think I only need to be persistent and patient and then observations of the real world will either stuff me or them :)

  123. Bob Tisdale said:

    “Individual real world events can’t contradict your model. You have clarified this in earlier threads when I point out how data contradicts your speculations. At those times, you state your model works only on a multidecadal basis.”

    It works best on a multicentennial basis. Given the paucity of the right data I agree that that presents a falsification problem.

    However there are short term events that could help such as:

    The jets shifting back poleward for a couple of years without either a more active sun or a positive set of ocean cycles.

    The stratosphere resuming it’s cooling trend despite a quiet sun.

    Albedo starting to fall again whilst the jets remain equatorward.

    Tropospheric warming resuming without globally net positive ocean cycles (not just the PDO)

    The polar oscillations turning positive for a year or two whilst the sun remains inactive.

    Plenty of tests there. With a bit more thought there are other events that could cause me problems. Let me know when you see something along those lines instead of just indulging in sniping from the rear.. Short term spikes in one parameter or another won’t do, nor will short term exceptions caused by a brief major change in solar or oceanic forcings.

    My hypothesis seeks to separate underlying trends from noise and that is no easy task as we all know.

  124. Stephen Wilde says:
    September 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    It works best on a multicentennial basis. Given the paucity of the right data I agree that that presents a falsification problem.

    However there are short term events that could help such as:

    The jets shifting back poleward for a couple of years without either a more active sun or a positive set of ocean cycles.

    The stratosphere resuming it’s cooling trend despite a quiet sun.

    Albedo starting to fall again whilst the jets remain equatorward.

    Tropospheric warming resuming without globally net positive ocean cycles (not just the PDO)

    The polar oscillations turning positive for a year or two whilst the sun remains inactive.

    =====================================

    Hi Stephen,

    Would you be so kind as to provide some good links/studies to these short term events you posted above?

    Thanks, and cheers.

    -Chris

  125. One of the remarkable things about the oceans is the fact that ‘ice-water’ lurks just below the surface, even in the tropics. The source of this cold deep water must be the arctic regions as there is no other reason why deep tropical water should be so cold.

    This suggests to me that those cold areas where atmospheric cooling causes chilled water to sink all the way to the bottom must also be the places where maximum thermal energy transfer between the atmosphere and the ocean occurs. It might be interesting to see a map of these maximum thermal transfer areas and determine how that has changed over time.

    I once recall reading a statement that in the period before North and South America were joined; there was evidence that deep ocean temperatures around Antarctica were around 20 deg C all the way to the bottom. Perhaps this opening between the Americas allowed one big super ‘El Nino’ current to flow east from India all the way to Africa.

  126. “savethesharks says:
    September 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm ”

    Chris, perhaps I should have been clearer.

    Those ‘short term events’ were just meant as imagined examples of events that would cause my hypothesis some difficulty.

    My real point is that so far as I know none of them have ever happened, so no links are available.

    However the opposites appear to occur consistently hence the creation of my hypothesis. Details to that effect are common knowledge.

  127. Stephen Wilde says:
    September 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    One part of your New Climate Model does have direct experimental confirmation – the thermosphere contracts and expands in response to changes in solar activity:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/15/earths-thermosphere-collapses-film-at-11/

    (less solar activity – thermosphere expands, more activity – it contracts).

    So that box can be ticked for a start.

    If I understand correctly the heat loss from the atmosphere in relation to solar activity in your model is opposite to what tallbloke argues – you propose reduced loss from a contracted atmosphere (low solar activity) while tallbloke argues for increased loss with an inactive sun. Some data to clear this up – or even modelling – would be useful.

    I’ve often wondered how much data there is for the latitudinal position of the ITCZ cloud bands – how far back do we have data for this?

    Does cloud cover affect primary plankton production? If so then it is possible that sedimentation rates on the ocean floor, of foraminiferans or silicious diatoms etc, – if they can be resolved on a yearly or at least decadal resolution (thats a big if) – could give us information on the average location of the cloud bands. If that could be combined with an isotopic temperature measure, it would be a nice experiment to assess the hypothesis “cloud bands poleward – less albedo – warmer weather, and vice versa”. Of course to get funding for such a study you would have to pretend that you think that CO2 or ozone or the percentage of ethnic minority women in higher education or something like that was the driver of sedimentation rates – keep quiet about the NCM till the data is in.

  128. George E. Smith says:
    September 28, 2010 at 11:31 am , a long and comprehensive explanation to my query, for which I thank you very much, and feel honoured by the time you must have spent on it.
    I found the following paper today that may interest you, on the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere that concludes that further CO2 will not heat it and may cool it.

    http://mc-computing.com/qs/Global_Warming/EPA_Comments/TheGreenhouseEffect.doc

    Thank you again, Julian

  129. Phlogiston asked:

    “If I understand correctly the heat loss from the atmosphere in relation to solar activity in your model is opposite to what tallbloke argues – you propose reduced loss from a contracted atmosphere (low solar activity) while tallbloke argues for increased loss with an inactive sun. Some data to clear this up – or even modelling – would be useful.”

    The key point is that a cooler stratosphere is required in order to let the jets move poleward because the strength of the inversion at the tropopause has to decline for that to happen. The polar oscillation can only go more positive and allow the jet stream shift if energy is going upward faster so that the polar high pressure cells can weaken. Many now accept that the jets have moved equatorward recently and I have linked to a paper which points out that the stratosphere is now warming slightly. Two sides of the same coin.

    The stratosphere did cool during the period of high solar activity and the jets did move poleward so either less energy came up from below or energy went out into space faster. The favoured view is that energy came up from berlow more slowly because of more CO2 and/or because CFCs destroyed more ozone so that the extra solar activity failed to warm the stratosphere as expected.

    Energy cannot have come up from below less quickly because (a) no tropospheric hot spot developed and crucially (b) more poleward jets implies a faster hydrological cycle with faster upward energy flow.

    That leaves us with the only remaining possibility as a faster energy loss upward from the stratosphere when the sun is more active.

    Leif is wholly against any variation in the direction of temperature trends in the layers of the atmosphere as a result of solar bahaviour but I now read that the mesosphere cooled too when the sun was more active. Thus there was a warming troposphere, a cooling stratosphere and mesosphere and a warming thermosphere so at last I can say more confidently that Leif appears to be wrong.

    I’m pretty sure that changes in solar activity levels cause variations in the energy flow through the different layers of the atmosphere creating the opposite stratospheric temperature response to that generally accepted.

    “I’ve often wondered how much data there is for the latitudinal position of the ITCZ cloud bands – how far back do we have data for this? ”

    Mostly anecdotal back to the LIA and MWP. I found a few bits and pieces by googling the issue.

    The planckton suggestion is interesting but I wouldn’t know where to start.

  130. “”” Julian Braggins says:
    September 29, 2010 at 1:27 am
    George E. Smith says:
    September 28, 2010 at 11:31 am , a long and comprehensive explanation to my query, for which I thank you very much, and feel honoured by the time you must have spent on it.
    I found the following paper today that may interest you, on the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere that concludes that further CO2 will not heat it and may cool it.

    http://mc-computing.com/qs/Global_Warming/EPA_Comments/TheGreenhouseEffect.doc

    Thank you again, Julian “””

    Well if it was any help to you then it was worth writing.

    As for your most recent discovery cited above; I would suggest doing some checking of the author’s sources.

    Back in the early 1900s when Physicists were discussing and developing the theory of thermal radiation and the Planck radiation and Stefan-Boltzmann laws; I don’t recall anybody excluding gases whether diatomic or not; from emission of thermal radiation when they happen to be at aTemperature above zero Kelvins.

    The sun after all seems to have no problem at all emitting thermal radiation; that is a continuum spectrum that is characterized pretty much completely by its Temperature.

    It would be an absolutely trivial laboratory experiment to make an artificial atmosphere sample containing nothing but N2, O2, and Ar, in fact one could probably make sure it was all 14N, and 16O so it had isotopic purity as well; although I wouldn’t expect it to make much difference to the result. I would arrange the gas in a closed circuit tube through which the gas could be made to flow by an internal “fan”‘ and the tube could be surrounded by a substantial cooling water jacket to keep it at low temperature; while at some remote location in the tube; the gas could be headed by conduction from some metallic conduit in the end of the tube.

    So the air would be heated by conduction up to quite high temperatures; limited by the melting point of the (probably quartz) tube; but the glass itself would be kept cool by the water jacket; and one could look through an inspection port in the side of the cooling jacket; and observe any radiation coming from the gas.

    I’ll bet that if you do this; that you will be able to observe a normal continuum thermal radiation spectrum coming from that gas mixture; or you could use any single component say nitrogen alone or e3ven argon; and you will get exactly the same spectrum at a given Temperature.

    The supposed mechanism for the emission of a thermal spectrum is simply the acceleration of electrons associated with the thermal mechanical motion of the molecules as they collide with each other. It’s a prediction of classical Physics I believe; and in fact was one of the stumbling blocks of the early forms of the Bohr atom explanation for spectral lines. He originally proposed that the frequencies of the spectral lines of atoms, were simply the frequencies of the orbital roations of the elctrons around the nucleus. In those days the atom was simply a small planetary ssytem.

    Well it was a good idea; but unfortunately if those electrons were whizzing around the Nucleus in those planetary orbits, at Optical frequencies of hundreds of THz, they would according to classical Physics be in a State of Constant acceleration; since velocity is a Vector quantity; and a change in direction (going aorund in a circle) is an acceleration; so classical physics predicted a continuous radiation of energy. Well that continuous radiation of an accelerated electric charge is quite real, and is the whole reason for the two mile long Stanford Linear accelerator.
    So Bohr eventually changed his thinking and proposed that the electrons wouldn’t radiate so long as they stayed in their assigned orbits (all of which were supposed to be different. And he suggested that they would only radiate (spectral lines) if they changed from one orbit to another; and the radiated energy would correspond to the difference in energies of the two orbits 9starting and final.

    So the whole theory of Atomic spectra and the Bohr atom evolved from that idea; but it didn’t erase the experimental observation that an accelerated electric charge does emit radiation.

    Now Anna knows a hell of a lot more about this than I do; and I haven’t dealt with it in 50 years or so; but so far as I know any gas that is heated above zero Kelvins stillemits thermal continuum radiation just like any liquid or solid material does. It certainly does on the sun.

    Teh problem is that at ordinary atmospheric Temperatures; that radiation has a spectrum that peaks in the 10 micron range; and no human senses respond in any way to radiation at those wavelenghts; so we do not sense that as “heat” or anything else.

    So hold up a brick out of the yard near your face and feel the “thermal radiation coming off it. You may want to cool it down to room temperature before you do it.

    Well that brick is still emitting something in the 400 Watts/m^2 of LWIR thermal radaition; and that is what is captured by GHGs; and also is about what the atmosphere emits.

    So I would take that paper you gave here with a grain of salt.

    I know all the gas filled incandescent lamps certainly emit a lot of thermal radiation as well as visible light from the gas itself. The tungsten filament is just far too small an area to be a very effective light source. Well it’s a great source of light but the luminance is far too high to be comfortable to human eyes; so you need to increase the radiating volume, and lowere the Luminance of the source to comfortable levels. When you do that with scattering diffusion; you lose a lot of light to back scattering.

    LEDs have a similar problem; the surface Luminance (Lumens per square meter per steradian) is just too damn high for comfort; in fact you have to comply with some laser safety radiation standards for the newest generations of high efficiency LEDs.

    Gases; including N2 and O2 and even Ar radiate continuum thermal energy spectra just fine.

  131. George E. Smith says: (September 29, 2010 at 10:58 am)
    “Gases; including N2 and O2 and even Ar radiate continuum thermal energy spectra just fine.”

    I believe this is an example of a statement that cannot be said to be false, only almost false. That is because these gases are not *perfectly* transparent. Just as these gases, in a non-ionized state, actually do absorb a small amount of radiation, (mediated by molecular collision events, I believe) it is my understanding that they also emit radiation in the same miniscule proportion.

    I think it is also possible to say that a statement like “N2 and O2 cannot lose heat by radiation to outer space” is not true, it is only almost true or ‘practically’ true.

    I believe the general rule is that only black-bodies can emit true black-body radiation.

  132. RE: Julian Braggins: (September 29, 2010 at 1:27 am)

    I found the article you referenced “How Greenhouse Gases Work” by Robert Clemenzi, (2009) rather interesting especially as he claims that the basic “greenhouse theory” was developed in the 1890’s before there was any knowledge of the structure of the upper atmosphere. It had been my previous impression that CO2 played a large role in expelling heat from the tropopause, but Clemenzi claims that CO2 is still saturated at that level and tropopause cooling is primarily mediated by H2O. I assume this is because water tends to condense out of the cold, thin air above the tropopause.

    He also claims that that CO2 is responsible for the mesopause, at an altitude of about 90 km where this gas finally becomes thin enough to radiate to outer space. This is the first time I have seen this claim advanced. I believe he is saying that H2O is the primary coolant in the lower atmosphere and also the dominant heat-trapping agent near the surface and in the rarified air of the upper stratosphere and the mesosphere above, CO2 acts primarily a coolant.

  133. RE: pochas: (September 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm)
    “The sun is a ball of hydrogen. Why does it emit blackbody radiation?”

    I believe, in the case of the sun, we are talking about *ionized* hydrogen. That means the gas is so hot that molecular bonds cannot hold and electrons are being dislodged. Ionized gases are not transparent. You cannot see through the sun. I think it does qualify as a black body in that case. You can see through the Earth’s atmosphere, however.

    In the case of a flame, I believe it is only the ionized area of active oxidation that glows and as soon as this stops, there is a rapid transition to transparency. Otherwise I believe the flame would look more like an expanding lollypop instead of a pencil point.

  134. Well of course there are no black bodies, therefore there is no black body radiation; it is a purely theoretical construct. But we can make completely artificial physical objetcs which when heated emit an amount of EM radiation, that is Spectrally distributed almost exactly as prescribed both in amount and spectral distribution as the Planck and Stefan Boltzmann laws call for for the ideal black body. Further more; these artificial “near black bodies” emit a radiation that depends almost entirely on only the Temperature; and is independent of the materials of the object except to the degree that it is the limitations of the properties of those materials that lead to the non-ideal BB nature of the radiation. In that sense it is “Thermal Radiation”, in that the properties of the radiation are largely dependent on nothing but the Temperature; so it is not characterized by any “line spectra” or the like that are quite dependent on the atomic or molecular structure of the materials.

    To the extent that the total emittance of such practical bodies is less than sigma.T^4 as specified for Black Bodies, we refer to them as grey bodies; and assign a “Total Emissivity” to them that is less than unity, representing the extent to which they fall short of being black.
    Also some examples depending on construction materials or surfaces; may be spectrally biassed, in that some parts of the expected Planck Formula spectrum are missing. We refer to these as either blue or pink bodies in the event that the missing radiation is at one or other end of the spectrum, although more complex case that have “holes” in the middle do occur.

    In any case, we can make very good approximations to ideal black bodies for use in the laboratory. In the case of the deep oceans where between 2 and 3% of the total solar energy that falls on the surface is reflected according to the Fresnel reflectance formulae; the remaining 97 to 97% propagates into the deep ocean where it ultimately is absorbed. So as a consequence, the deep oceans actually approximate a Blck body with a total Emissivity of about 97-98%. Since the surface Temperature is in the 270-310 Kelvins, the expected thermal emissions would be centered at about 10 microns, and range from about 5.0 to 80 microns for most of the emitted energy. over most of that range water has very high absorptance, and so the ocean acts quite well as a near black body .

    According to Classical Physics, a moving electric charge (Coulombs) comprises an electric Current (Amperes) , and as such it will produce a magnetic field. The acceleration of such a charge is therefore a changing electric current, and a changing magnetic field; and standard Maxwell’s Equations predict that such an accelerated Charge must therefore generate a radiated electromagnetic field. The field equations will generate a “near field” EM field, but at greater distances Depending on the frequency of the changes in the current, there will be a far field which radiates electromagnetic field energy.

    That such radiated fileds exist has been know since the time of Marconi and others; and the Physics of efficient EM radiation antenna design over all frquency ranges is well understood; and is central to all modern free filed communications.

    At high enough rates of acceleration of electric charges; such as when atmospheric molecules or atoms collide with each other in the course of their “heat” vibrations, the rates of accel;eration are such that the frquencies of the resulting radiated EM fields which are quite calculable from Maxwell’s Equations are best represented as particles rather than waves, and that puts that energy radiated in the form of InfraRed spectrum photon emission.

    Youc an talk about the radiation either as LWIR photons; of as Maxwellian Electromagnetif waves; which consist of mutually perpendicular varying Electric and Magnetic fields which are also perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the waves.

    The measure of the magnetic component of those fileds will involve the fundamental constant of permeability of free space mu nought, and likewise the measure of the elctric field will involve another fundamental physical constant epsilon nought the permittivity of free space.

    Mu nought has the EXACT value 4 pi x10^-7 Volt sec per Amp meter; and epsilon nought has the exact value 8.85418781762 x 10^-12 Ampsec per Volt meter.
    Their product has units of sec^2/m^2 ; which is the inverse of velocity squared, and the value happens to be 1 c^2 exactly which also has an exact value 2.99792458 x 10^8 m/s which happens to be the velocity of those Maxwellian radiated Electromagnetic waves; which you seem to be quite happy to dismiss as non existent.

    Little did I know when I studied Radio and Ionospheric Physics as one of my Majors that I would have to use it to justify a self evident property of energy and climate/weather Physics.

    But feel free to dismiss atmospheric emission of a continuum spectrum of long wave EM radiation if it makes you uncomfortable.

    Just because you can’t detect it any way even thoguh the total emittance of such radiation is in the range of 400 W/m^2, is no cause to dismiss it.

    One problem with this emission in the case of the atmosphere, is that the effective source impedance is related to the heat capacity of the atmospheric gases which is quite low. So in the course of emitting such radiation the local Temperature of the atmosphere must be lowered. and the only reason that such emission keeps up, is that the energy is constantly replenished either from solar spectrum input energy or LWIR energy input which is captured mostly by the GHGs in the atmosphere.

    Liquid sources like the ocean or solids like the rocks and Urban Heat Islands have orders of magnitude greater thermal capacities, so they can radiate energy for longer times without resupply. They still “run down” as is evidenced by the cooling of the surface when the sun goes down.

    Evidently it doesn’t strike you as strange that ice is a perfectly good emitter of continuum thermal spectrum radiation at something a bit less than 390 W/m^2 (work the rate out for yourself),a nd even when it melts to become liquid water still at zero deg C is continues to emit at exactly the same rate as the ice; well perhaps the spectral emissivity might be difefrent for water and ice; but then magically when the water turns to vapor at zero deg C, the thermal emission suddenly becomes zero.

    Doesn’t sound very plausible to me. Both molecules are moving rapidly so they have accelerated electric charges; and both will produce radiated EM fields that depend on that acceleration and rate of change of acceleration. You can choose to deal with it in the Maxwellian field domain or the optical photon domain as you wish. But simply ignoring it won’t make it go away.

    It is instructive to note that Trenberth’s standard exposition of the global energy budget; has a surface emission of 390 W/m^2 which corresponds to just that as predicted for a Black Body at 288 K or +15 deg C. Evidently Trenberth is not convinced that Black Body Radiation is a useless concept in climatology.

  135. As to the emission in a flame a spectral analysis of the light will show that it consists of a thermal continuum and a line spectrum imposed on that background; and the prominet colors that show up are typically the much narrower spectral line emissions; whcih are more intense than the thermal background.

    After all, if the gas is ionized then there has to be excited states, as well as a cloud of electrons to revert back to the ground or other lower energy states resulting in a spectral line emission that is characteristic of the gas; not the Temeprature.

  136. I believe what Dr. Robert Clemenzi says on this subject in “How Greenhouse Gases Work” is :

    “Nitrogen (N2), Oxygen (O2), and Argon (Ar) have no way to lose heat. (Conversely, they are also transparent to shortwave IR radiation from the Sun and longwave IR radiation from the Earth.) From a completely practical point of view, they are able to lose a small amount of heat, but, at the current rate of heat from the Sun it is not enough to keep their temperature below the boiling point of water.”

    He seems to be saying that the minimal ability to lose heat is balanced by a similar ability to gain heat from the sun and that greenhouse gases provide the primary mechanism for cooling the upper atmosphere. I assume this is because the strong radiation-absorption bands of these greenhouse gases are so far removed from the peak solar energy radiation wavelengths. Dr. Roy Spencer made a similar statement in his WUWT article “Earth sans greenhouse effect – what would it be like?” (January 2 2010.)

    I believe the ideal black body assumes a continuum of possible energy states each able to absorb or emit photons having that energy. This precludes transparency unless these states have an extremely low probability of absorbing or emitting any photons. I believe that the photon emission and absorption probabilities are related by a microscale time reversal invariance requirement.

    The light emitted by a flame may very well be dominated by the line spectra of the combusting materials. I believe there should be a ‘red-hot’ region in the gases rising above the flame, but I cannot ever recall seeing a reddish glow from this area.

  137. Spector says: (October 3, 2010 at 7:04 am)
    “I believe what Dr. Robert Clemenzi says on this subject in “How Greenhouse Gases Work” is….”

    Correction: I see that my reference to Robert Clemenzi as “Dr. Robert Clemenzi” (above) is unsupported by his document or any other source I can find.

  138. Spector says:
    September 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    “Ionized gases are not transparent. You cannot see through the sun. ”

    I was looking (“trolling”) for an answer that involved some quantum mechanics. Perhaps one might say that the solar plasma is hot enough that a collision between an electron and a proton has so many energy levels available to it that the emitted photons form a near-continuum and the putative molecule remains so excited that the particles do not “stick.”

    It is not an exact continuum, though, as evidenced by the different graphics on the SDO website.

    George E. Smith says:
    October 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    “…magically when the water turns to vapor at zero deg C, the thermal emission suddenly becomes zero.”
    I was pleased with this whole discussion. It is gratifying to encounter a comment that is so well-written that the reader actually learns something. One suggestion, however. Water vapor emissions are responsible for the temperature minimum at the tropopause. Also they are the most important greenhouse gas and downward emissions at the surface are largely responsible for the greenhouse effect. So I don’t think you can say that water vapor emissions become zero. Otherwise, an excellent comment.

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