Spencer on the Lacis-NASA GISS CO2 paper

 

Hell and high waters? Gavin goes fishing for the big kahuna of the greenhouse effect /sarc

 

Does CO2 Drive the Earth’s Climate System? Comments on the Latest NASA GISS Paper

by Dr. Roy Spencer

There was a very clever paper published in Science this past week by Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, and Ruedy that uses the GISS climate model (ModelE) in an attempt to prove that carbon dioxide is the main driver of the climate system.

This paper admits that its goal is to counter the oft-quoted claim that water vapor is the main greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. (They provide a 1991 Lindzen reference as an example of that claim).

Through a series of computations and arguments, the authors claim that is actually the CO2, not water vapor, that sustains the warmth of our climate system.

I suspect this paper will result in as many opinions in the skeptic community as there are skeptics giving opinions. But unless one is very careful in reading this paper and knows exactly what the authors are talking about, it is easy to get distracted by superfluous details and miss the main point.

For instance, their table comparing the atmospheres of the Earth, Venus, and Mars does nothing to refute the importance of water vapor to the Earth’s average temperature. While they show that the atmosphere of Mars is very thin, they fail to point out the Martian atmosphere actually has more CO2 than our atmosphere does.

I do not have a problem with the authors’ calculations or their climate model experiment per se. There is not much new here, and their model run produces about what I would expect. It is an interesting exercise that has value by itself.

It is instead their line of reasoning I object to — what they claim their model results mean in terms of causation– in their obvious attempt to relegate the role of water vapor in the atmosphere to that of a passive component that merely responds to the warming effect of CO2…the real driver (they claim) of the climate system.

OUR ASSUMPTIONS DETERMINE OUR CONCLUSIONS

From what I can tell reading the paper, their claim is that, since our primary greenhouse gas water vapor (and clouds, which constitute a portion of the greenhouse effect) respond quickly to temperature change, vapor and clouds should only be considered “feedbacks” upon temperature change — not “forcings” that cause the average surface temperature of the atmosphere to be what it is in the first place.

Though not obvious, this claim is central to the tenet of the paper, and is an example of the cause-versus-effect issue I repeatedly refer to in the past when discussing some of the most fundamental errors made in the scientific ‘consensus’ on climate change.

It is a subtle attempt to remove water vapor from the discussion of “control” over the climate system — by definition. Only those of us who know enough of the details of forcing-feedback theory within the context of climate change theory will likely realize this, through.

Just because water vapor responds quickly to temperature change does not mean that there are no long-term water vapor changes (or cloud changes) — not due to temperature — that cause climate change. Asserting so is a non sequitur, and just leads to circular reasoning.

I am not claiming the authors are being deceptive. I think I understand why so many scientists go down this path of reasoning. They view the climate system as a self-contained, self-controlled complex of physically intertwined processes that would forever remain unchanged until some “external” influence (forcing) enters the picture and alters the rules by which the climate system operates.

Of course, increasing CO2 is the currently fashionable forcing in this climatological worldview.

But I cannot overemphasize the central important of this paradigm (or construct) of climate change theory to the eventual conclusions the climate researcher will inevitably make.

If one assumes from the outset that the climate system can only vary through changes imposed external to the normal operation of the climate system, one then removes natural, internal climate cycles from the list of potential causes of global warming. And natural changes in water vapor (or more likely, clouds) are one potential source of internally-driven change. There are influences on cloud and water vapor other than temperature which in turn help to determine the average temperature state of the climate system.

After assuming clouds and water vapor are no more than feedbacks upon temperature, the Lacis et al. paper then uses a climate model experiment to ‘prove’ their paradigm that CO2 drives climate — by forcing the model with a CO2 change, resulting in a large temperature response!

Well, DUH. If they had forced the model with a water vapor change, it would have done the same thing. Or a cloud change. But they had already assumed water vapor and clouds cannot be climate drivers.

Specifically, they ran a climate model experiment in which they instantaneously removed all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases except water vapor, and they got rapid cooling “plunging the climate into an icebound Earth state”. The result after 7 years of model integration time is shown in the next image.

Such a result is not unexpected for the GISS model. But while this is indeed an interesting theoretical exercise, we must be very careful about what we deduce from it about the central question we are ultimately interested in: “How much will the climate system warm from humanity adding carbon dioxide to it?” We can’t lose sight of why we are discussing all of this in the first place.

As I have already pointed out, the authors have predetermined what they would find. They assert water vapor (as well as cloud cover) is a passive follower of a climate system driven by CO2. They run a model experiment that then “proves” what they already assumed at the outset.

But we also need to recognize that their experiment is misleading in other ways, too.

First, the instantaneous removal of 100% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere except for water vapor causes about 8 times the radiative forcing (over 30 Watts per sq. meter) as does a 100% increase in CO2 (2XCO2, causing less than 4 Watts per sq. meter), something that will not occur until late this century — if ever.

This is the so-called ‘logarithmic effect’…adding more and more CO2 has a progressively weaker radiative forcing response.

Currently, we are about 40% of the way to that doubling. Thus, their experiment involves 20 times (!) the radiative forcing we are now experiencing (theoretically, at least) from over a century of carbon dioxide emissions.

So are we to assume that this dramatic theoretical example should influence our views of the causes and future path of global warming, when their no-CO2 experiment involves ~20 times the radiative forcing of what has occurred to date from adding more CO2 to the atmosphere?

Furthermore, the cloud feedbacks in their climate model are positive, which further amplifies the model’s temperature response to forcing. As readers here are aware, our research suggests that cloud feedbacks in the real climate system might be so strongly negative that they could more than negate any positive water vapor feedback.

In fact, this is where the authors have made a logical stumble. Everyone agrees that the net effect of clouds is to cool the climate system on average. But the climate models suggest that the cloud feedback response to the addition of CO2 to our current climate system will be just the opposite, with cloud changes acting to amplify the warming.

What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of “feedback”, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative “feedback” effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.

Oops.

(In retrospect, I suppose they could claim that cloud feedbacks switched from negative at the low temperatures of an icebound Earth, to being positive at the higher temperatures of the real climate system. But that might mess up Jim Hansen’s claim of strongly positive feedbacks during the Ice Ages).

CONCLUSION

Taken together, the series of computations and claims made by Lacis et al. might lead the casual reader to think, “Wow, carbon dioxide really does have a strong effect on the Earth’s climate system!” And, in my view, it does. But the paper really tells us nothing new about (1) how much warming we can expect from adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, or (2) how much of recent warming was caused by CO2.

The paper implies that it presents new understanding, but all it does is get more explicit about the conceptual hoops one must jump through in order to claim that CO2 is the main driver of the climate system. From that standpoint alone, I find the paper quite revealing.

Unfortunately, what I present here is just a blog posting. It would take another peer-reviewed paper that follows an alternative path, to effectively counter the Lacis paper, and show that it merely concludes what it assumes at the outset. I am only outlining here what I see as the main issues.

Of course, the chance of editors at Science allowing such a response paper to get published is virtually zero. The editors at Science choose which scientists will be asked to provide peer review, and they already know who they can count on to reject a skeptic’s paper.

Many of us have already been there, done that.

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127 thoughts on “Spencer on the Lacis-NASA GISS CO2 paper

  1. Thanks to Dr. Spencer for a very readable, informative, and irenic discussion.
    Lately it’s occurred to me that a genuine open-minded attitude toward climate-change issues may actually be more of a threat to the “consensus” position than a resolute resistance to that position.
    Lately I’m also regarding Steve McIntyre and Roy Spencer as a couple of real-life heroes.

  2. I think the cleverest part of the paper was the ‘balance’ diagram. This type of diagram has probably never appeared in a scientific journal before, though such diagrams are occasionally included in pieces intended to encourage school children to eat a small amount of protein with their refined sugar.
    Aside from that, the paper demonstrated that the model’s assumption is that CO2 is ‘the’ thermostat. But, one would have thought that this was fairly obvious, given that the model has been used to create enumerable CO2 based CAGW scare stories.
    If they had explained the “travesty” (team member Trenberth’s word) of the current lack of warming despite the ongoing CO2 rise (which the model fails to predict) now that would have been intriguing – but, sadly, they did not.

  3. Dr. Spencer–
    Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. I’ve been arguing this for ages. A simple troubleshooting technique is to check the operating conditions before a change was observed, then check what changed.
    In the case of chemistry (my subject), a reaction that has been run hundreds of times before stops working. So we check each reagent’s purity, and then purify each reagent to see if it starts up again. It’s a simple system since if one variable changes, we can assume the other variables are static.
    It’s the same differentials used in medicine. What factors are different that caused the problems? Then isolate the problems.
    Unfortunately, the same methods cannot be applied to climate change. CO2 has increased, but the temperature increase has not been consistent. In addition, there’s also a correlation between El Nino and global temperature. The sun’s influence on climate is not completely understood, as well as deep ocean currents and heat exchange between layers in the ocean.
    Effectively, it’s much like diagnosing a patient with the flu after the patient experienced a fever. However, the patient recently traveled across SE Asia and Africa. The patient also complained of lower back pain before the fever, and the back pain still persists. Not to mention the patient has tested positive for an STD and a genetic disorder. What is really causing the fever?
    Now, I’m not saying the Earth has been sleeping around and has bad genes. But incomplete troubleshooting usually doesn’t solve a problem. I’ve seen this time and time again. Over-simplification of climate science doesn’t prove anything, especially pulling out something as important as water vapor.

  4. Thanks for another fine exposition of the inherent fallacies of this line of reasoning. From occasional browsing at RealClimate, I have noted the many times that Gavin Schmidt of GISS has made the same statements that water in its various forms simply follows the effects of carbon dioxide and other GHG’s. The chaotic forces of our weather systems involving the many forms of water are simply ignored.

  5. They could have checked to see how their theory jibes with the real world of the last decade but that is how real science works and only spelling connects climate -science to real science these days. Pity

  6. Failure to quantify H2O forcings, as well as cloud reflections from incoming sunlight, means that the conclusions also lack CO2 quantitative forcings. No process of elimination = no solid basis of proof.
    Jack Eddy is grinning as zero weight to paper.

  7. Dr. Spencer
    At the risk of being blunt I comment as follows.
    The authors of this paper have conducted a thought experiment, the fact that they used a calculating machine to carry out the necessarily complex mathematical work is neither here nor there.
    A thought experiment is only of any use if its conclusions are capable of being verified or falsified by observation in the real world. Physicists do exactly that which is why we have the LHC. And we shall see what we shall see.
    Otherwise thought experiments may be interesting speculation but if they cannot be tested in any way they are utterly worthless. They may serve to amuse around the fire during dark winter nights as will a crossword or other logical game.
    But whilst wasting time on such useless what might or might not be arguments may be diverting it is also utterly meaningless: as is the paper you have so carefully and precisely analysed.
    That such balderdash can be written and is thought worthy of publication tells us much about the authors, the reviewers, the editors and their intellectual abilities and standards. It tells us nothing about the real world.
    Kindest Regards

  8. . . . a 100% increase in CO2 (2XCO2, causing less than 4 Watts per sq. meter), something that will not occur until late this century — if ever.
    If ever? I hope soon to see a post explaining whether or not that “goal” is attainable. How fast can human activities inject CO2 into the atmosphere? The faster we try (demand for coal and oil) the more costly they will become. Higher prices reduce demand and encourage alternatives. Can coal and oil be supplied fast enough and consumed fast enough?
    How long does CO2 stay in the atmosphere? Is it 5, 10, or 200 years? Unless this is known how can one proceed?
    Maybe someone has looked into this issue and I’ve missed it. Still, it is nice to see that Dr. Roy entertains the thought.
    Thanks for the insight into the cleverness of the paper. Appreciated.

  9. “Specifically, they ran a climate model experiment in which they instantaneously removed all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases except water vapor, and they got rapid cooling “plunging the climate into an icebound Earth state”. ”
    Do you think that their climate model might be wrong? If I got such an answer I would rebuild my model!
    The earths’ atmosphere is the direct result of the ocean of water that covers 3/5 of the planets surface. The earths’ climate is regulated by the energy management of the charactoristics of water and the circulation of water in the oceanic basins. DUH!
    These guys need to go back to grade school science and this time pay attention! pg

  10. Easiest way to understand that CO2 isn’t the main driving:
    The 30% increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last 150 or so years has resulted in very little change in temperature.
    In a little more detail, if CO2 is the main driver and increased 30%, then either (a) the absorption bands near CO2 are completely saturated and/or (b) there are some extreme negative feedbacks.
    Don’t warmists say that both of those claims are wrong?
    -Scott

  11. I don’t believe enough attention is paid to the absolute humidity. If there are an average of X tons of water vapor in the atmosphere and that increases to a global average of X+Y tons, then one would expect more “forcing” from an increase in CO2 but maybe that depends on where that increase in vapor occurs. An increase in absolute humidity at the poles in winter would have a much different impact that such an increase in the tropics.
    Bothering me is this notion that increasing CO2 can cause an change in radiation into space when there is already so much water vapor that the atmosphere is practically opaque already in many places. It is like being in a enclosed room and then drawing a curtain across the closed door. The door already blocks all the light, drawing that curtain across it doesn’t block any more if it. Granted the poles are pretty dry and that is where the impact should be most felt if CO2 is the culprit.
    By now we should be noticing measurably higher winter temperatures at the poles as heat is prevented from radiating into space over the winter by atmospheric CO2 that does not precipitate from the air. Are we noticing significantly higher winter temperatures at the South Pole station that track in increase with the atmospheric CO2 level? If there is anywhere on the planet that we should be able to directly measure the impact of CO2 it should be at the South Pole station. No land use changes there! Since there are quite a lot of data recorded at that station, it should be possible to trend the temperatures measured there against the CO2 levels. Though I would have to note that the 10,000 feet altitude of the station takes it above a lot of the atmosphere.
    Speaking of 10,000 feet altitude, that is another thing I have often wondered about. During a glaciation, when one considers that a place like Chicago or Belingham, WA was covered with 5000 feet or more of ice, I would expect the altitude of the surface of the ice to have an impact on the weather there. For example, the thicker the ice gets and higher in altitude the surface gets, the colder the average temperature of that surface. The higher it gets, the colder it gets and more difficult it becomes to melt it.
    Figuring 3.5 degrees for every thousand feet of altitude gained, the average annual temperature on the surface of a 5000 foot high ice plateau should be an annual temperature about 17.5 degrees colder than it would be at the surface level. The average annual temperature of Chicago is 49 degrees. This would take that down to 31.5 degrees. If there were 5000 feet of ice at Chicago today, it wouldn’t melt. The annual average temperature would be below freezing. You might get some surface melt in July when the average temperature would be 56 degrees or so but you would have only 5 out of 6 months with temperatures above freezing. Snow would accumulate in more months than it would melt. The monthly average temps are currently with 9 months above freezing and three months below.
    Considering that at the South Pole station, they must continuously dig things out and raise them, it would seem that the surface at the station is continuing to rise. As it continues to rise, it will get even colder. It currently seems to be rising at about 6 feet per decade which means 60 feet in 100 years or 600 feet in 1000 years. That seems to me to be a pretty impressive accumulation rate!
    Sorry to get off on a tangent but one thing leads to another.

  12. The FUTILITY of Man-made Climate Control by limiting CO2 emissions
    A Layman’s view: Just running the numbers: watch

    On average world temperature is ~+15 deg C. This is sustained by the atmospheric Greenhouse Effect ~33 deg C. Without the Greenhouse Effect the planet would be un-inhabitable at ~-18 deg C. The Biosphere and Mankind need the Greenhouse Effect.
    Just running the numbers by translating the agents causing the Greenhouse Effect into degrees centigrade:
    • Greenhouse Effect = ~33.00 deg C
    • Water Vapour accounts for about 95% of the Greenhouse Effect = ~ 31.35 deg C
    • Other Greenhouse Gases GHGs account for 5% = ~1.65 deg C
    • CO2 is 75% of the effect of all accounting for the enhanced effects of Methane, Nitrous Oxide and other GHGs = ~1.24 deg C
    • Most CO2 in the atmosphere is natural, more than ~93%
    • Man-made CO2 is less than 7% of total atmospheric CO2 = ~0.087 deg C
    • the UK contribution to CO2 is 2% equals = 1.74 thousandths deg C
    • the USA contribution to CO2 is ~20% equals = 17.6 thousandths deg C
    So closing all the carbon economies of the Whole World could only ever achieve a virtually undetectable less than -0.09 deg C. How can the Green movement and their supporting politicians think that their remedial actions and draconian taxes are able to limit warming to only + 2.00 deg C?
    So the probability is that any current global warming is not man-made and in any case such warming could be not be influenced by any remedial action taken by mankind however drastic.
    As this is so, the prospect should be greeted with Unmitigated Joy:
    • concern over CO2 as a man-made pollutant can be discounted.
    • it is not necessary to damage the world’s economy to no purpose.
    • if warming were happening, it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for all mankind.
    • any extra CO2 is already increasing the fertility and reducing water needs of all plant life and thus enhancing world food production.
    • a warmer climate, within natural variation, would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has been well proven in the past and would now especially benefit the third world.
    Nonetheless, this is not to say that the world should not be seeking more efficient ways of generating its energy, conserving its energy use and stopping damaging its environments. It remains absolutely clear that our planet is vastly damaged by many human activities such as:
    • environmental pollution.
    • over fishing.
    • forest clearance.
    • industrial farming.
    • farming for bio-fuels .
    • and other habitat destruction.
    And there is a real need to wean the world off the continued use of fossil fuels simply on the grounds of:
    • security of supply
    • increasing scarcity
    • rising costs
    • their use as the feedstock for industry rather than simply burning them.
    The French long-term energy strategy with its massive commitment to nuclear power is impressive, (85% of electricity generation). Even if one is concerned about CO2, Nuclear Energy pays off, French CO2 emissions / head are the lowest in the developed world.
    However in the light of the state of the current solar cycle, it seems that there is a real prospect of damaging cooling occurring in the near future for several decades. And as power stations face closure the lights may well go out in the winter 2016 if not before.
    All because CO2 based Catastrophic Man-made Global Warming has become a state sponsored religion.
    And now after “Splattergate” thanks to the 10:10 organisation everyone now knows exactly how they think.
    http://www.disinfo.com/2010/10/murdering-people-who-disagree-with-you/
    Splattergate is classic NOBLE CAUSE CORRUPTION. It is probably the most egregious piece of publicity ever produced in the Man-made Global Warming cause. This short film shows doubting schoolchildren being blown up and having their entrails spread over their classmates because they may have been less than enthusiastic about the CAUSE.
    So any misrepresentation is valid in the Cause and any opposition however cogent or well qualified is routinely denigrated, publically ridiculed and as we now see literally terminated.

  13. Do those clowns ever bother to look at the geological record? According to their reasoning the Carboniferous period ( Pennsylvanian and Mississipian for our American friends), a period where dragonfly wings reached spans of uo to 2 metres because of higher atmospheric density due to high carbon dioxide levels, should have been a period of runaway greenhouse warming. Maybe dragonfly wings were coated with fire retardant in those times?

  14. Dr. Spencer,
    Your post was valuable in showing the logical structure of the paper by Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, and Ruedy.
    Thank you for posting at WUWT.
    John

  15. As I understand it, the greenhouse warming theory was developed at a time when the structure of the atmosphere was assumed to be the same as it is at ground level all the way to outer space. That theory, even today, does not appear explain why our atmosphere should be composed of various distinct levels such as the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and so on.
    It seems obvious to me that the tropopause must be that region in the atmosphere where thermal energy convected upward by our active weather systems must escape to outer space. As I now understand it, radiation from H2O molecules at that level, either as monomolecular H2O vibration states, vibration states of H2O molecular-aggregates, or the 5.13 micron (my estimate) photons from H2O intermolecular hydrogen bond formation, are the primary mechanisms available for cooling the tropopause to a nominal temperature of minus sixty degrees C. so that life is possible on the surface.
    So far, I have only seen CO2 absorption plus H2O absorption at the surface used as an indicator for the greenhouse effect. It seems to me, however, that the ability, if any, of CO2 to interfere with H2O radiation to outer space from the level of the tropopause should be the primary problem posed by increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. I note that CO2 is relatively transparent at 5.13 microns.
    Of course, direct radiation from the surface also helps, but I doubt if any model is going to be realistic if it does not include the effect of H2O tropopause cooling.
    Ref:
    “How Greenhouse Gases Work”
    Robert Clemenzi, 2009
    http://mc-computing.com/qs/Global_Warming/EPA_Comments/TheGreenhouseEffect.doc

  16. I think the papers flaws are far more obvious than you give them. Firstly I don’t think anyone will take a paper based on a climate model seriously, because if the model isnt perfect in the first place, the rest is wasted ink, and NO-ONE thinks they are perfect!
    Man creates model, ignores all natural climate drivers, increases co2, adds in over the top feedbacks all driven by co2 to force fit model to temp record. As no natural drivers are there and only the co2 forcing changes, and as this triggers “Feedbacks” they will of course show that co2 is the big driver, that because in their models its the ONLY driver!
    Its obvious circular reasoning combined with blatant ignorance. There models assume the climate was a flat line pre-1850 and I seriously doubt that. My BS monitor went off the second I saw the abstract and I didn’t need to read any further, I had already figured out their circular reasoning with even reading on! Its just a travesty they can not see it themselves and tax payer money gets wasted on pointless work like this. However, its too tempting for scientists to knock out a quick headline grabbing paper than doing real experiments or carrying out years of careful observation – or even testing / calibrating their models correctly.

  17. As a geologist and a scientist, I am well aware now easily I can BS those who are not scientists. This paper is a classic example of the expression “BS baffles brains”.
    Many scientists have the opportunity to BS the general public, but the vast majority of those, like myself, choose not to, because of: i) obvious ethical considerations, and/or ii) fear of being publicly exposed by one’s peers for practicing deceit and/or bad science. The latter is the reason why we have professional scientific bodies. On the whole, this type of self-policing works well. It fails however, when the Establishment of that body has one belief (sometimes politically motivated as in the case of ‘climate change’) and refuses to consider or tolerate any dissent.
    Climate ‘science’ is different to real science in that the danger of being exposed by dissenting peers is very small, as the government funded Establishments have rigorously filtered out all those who dared challenge the dubious theories of the status quo.
    There are a few notable exceptions to the above, but not enough to make an impact on the general public or goofy politicians. So the world has to be saved from the foolishness, fraud and deceit of climate ‘scientists’ by the blogosphere – it is scary to think 20 years ago, they would have got away with it and the world might have embarked on a series of catastrophic economic programs, which would have had an almost indiscernible impact on atmospheric CO2 levels. We are still in danger of this happening today, but it is now becoming increasingly less likely as a result of the continued and steady increase of scepticism in the minds of the general public.

  18. Hmmm, a simple calculation. The sun delivers 340 watts/sqM at the top of the atmosphere. Of this about 100 watts/sqM is reflected back out to space mainly by clouds. Now if there were no green house gases at all (including water vapour) there would also be no clouds. At 340 watts/sqM of insolation according to Stefans law the average temperature would be 5C or about 9C colder than it is now.
    So if we say all green house effect is due to CO2 then the 30 watts/sqM contributed by CO2 at present yields 9C of warming. Thus the additional 4 watts/sqM caused by doubling CO2 should contribute a further 4 * 9/30 = 1.2C. Not exactly the 3C + that is claimed. Of course they do say water has some effect on temperature so either they are saying water vapour causes warming in which case the contribution from CO2 is even less than calculated or they have to say water vapour causes cooling in which case increasing it will further cool the Earth not warm it. As I said Hmmmm.
    More to the point, water vapour contributes warming through the green house effect and cooling through clouds reflecting energy back out to space. But cloud cooling is roughly linear with cloud mass whereas green house warming is logarithmic. This means at very low concentrations the green house warming dominates but as the concentration rises the incremental warming effect diminishes while the cloud cooling continues to rise strongly and will start to dominate. The combination of these two result in the establishment of a stable operating point for the climate maintained by negative water vapour+ cloud feedback.
    Remember the claim is that as temperatures rise more water evaporates which increases the green house contribution from water vapour. But unless all the oceans end up in the sky, more evaporation must also mean more precipitation and rain only comes from low clouds. So more precipitation means more low cloud mass and low clouds are known to cause cooling.

  19. Specifically, they ran a climate model experiment in which they instantaneously removed all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases except water vapor, and they got rapid cooling
    huh?
    This is perhaps the most idiotic thought experiment ever devised.
    What happens when you remove all green house gases except CO2?
    Well the atmosphere shrinks to be about a foot thick then the CO2 freezes solid and you have no atmosphere.
    Anyway my cartoon description is not actually true still when CO2 is a micro gas and all other gases removed from it presence the earth would be a very very very very cold world.
    This fact makes me wonder why Roy wrote this:
    But unless one is very careful in reading this paper and knows exactly what the authors are talking about, it is easy to get distracted by superfluous details and miss the main point.
    Careful? why…their thought experiment is pure stupidity.

  20. I really don’t understand the argument that water vapour reacting quickly to temperature change makes it a feedback, surely that is a relation of changing phase at tropospheric temperatures and there being a limitless supply of the liquid stuff. Any one know what happens when the sun is removed from the model 😉 (that varies a lot during the course of the day too.. though obviously not a feedback)

  21. Does the paper explain the dynamics of the model without any water vapour as that in itself seems to be an interesting thought experiment. Without water in the system we don’t really have any weather systems though I don’t think it is intuitively obvious how the atmosphere behaves, somewhat like Mars I’d guess.

  22. Speaking as a layman, I don’t understand the difference between climate ‘forcing’ and climate ‘feedback’ — it seems a matter of semantics.
    The Sun’s radiation is surely the only climate forcing agent.
    When you look at their professional histories, it’s apparent that the instigators of the CAGW frenzy and their disciples have stared out with the firm conviction that human CO2 emissions were a grave threat and have set about to prove it by fair means or foul.
    They are trapped on a faulty logic treadmill
    http://hollywoodinhidef.com/wp-content/uploads/EscherStairs.jpg.
    It seems to me that the problem with the AGW hypothesis is not one of faulty science so much as faulty reasoning.

  23. Dr Spencer-
    Thank you for your useful and informative post. I look forward to the fully peer-reviewed paper you suggest is needed to debunk this nonsense.
    Again, thank you for taking the time to prepare this post.

  24. This article is interesting but some points are too abstract:
    1. Reference is made to “internal” cycles without being specific about what those natural cycles are. Are we talking about some self-sustaining oscillation driven by some external energy source? I have never heard of this before in relation to the climate. What us the physical mechanism?
    2. I suspect that there can be a lot of semantic confusion when describing cause and effect in a complex system with multiple interactions including feedbacks. However I cannot see water vapor as a control knob for the climate; since if you add more to the atmosphere somehow, it will simply condense as liquid, thus returning to it’s equilibrium value and thus negating the original forced changed.

  25. Excellent post! When you say that you believe/think that CO2 plays an important part in our climate system, am I correct in assuming that you mean in respect to creating life, & the slight warming of around +3.3°C to the average global temperature.
    I suppose that the human brain, the most powerful weapon & tool on the planet, is subject to frailties of preconceived ideas. Rather like (& I have no wish to offend anybody but the facts stand for themselves) homeopathic medicine, in that every effort to demonstrate its validity has ended in disaster for those constructing the proving experiment, when they were found to have pre-judged the outcome subconciously!

  26. Thank you Dr Spencer for a wonderful posting… which has generated some very informative comments. What I particularly admire is your ability to coherently respond with reasoned arguments… especially as I find it difficult to respond meaningfully when I encounter the ravings from the asylum that simply leave me speechless because I find it very difficult to respond rationally to irrational behaviour.
    For me their propositions and approach is simply non-scientific… they try to measure the current global climate and model the future global climate based upon flawed current measurements and flawed computer models which simply reflect their ignorance and selection bias… to call this science is simply insane. But their insanity does not stop there. Their next step in logic is simply breathtaking… they predict a change in climate… well that is ok as that is what climate does… the really stunning bit is that this change is blamed upon mankind burning fossil fuels because they have eliminated all other possibilities from their models and thought processes.
    Now if you wished to prove that mankind was effecting the climate by burning fossil fuels then surely the place to start is by studying the impacts of burning fossil fuels. The science of combustion is fairly well understood… the burning of fossil fuels produces HEAT, WATER, CO2, SOOT and other chemicals such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and other compounds.
    So if we see global temperatures rise then we could assume that some of this heat has been resulted from burning fossil fuels… and some of this heat has been trapped by the greenhouse gases produced by combustion i.e. water and CO2… and then, perhaps, we can add on something extra for all that black soot in the air. Now my guess is that if we let these climate science clowns put all this thorough their computer models we would discover that we all roasted to death at the start of the industrial revolution.
    However, this speculation is really still nonsense… because with all computer programs we should perform a reality check to see if the answers are reasonable. This is where the real problems start because on a global scale the additions of mankind into the atmosphere as so trivial compared to the vast natural cycles (of heat, water and CO2) that they are really immeasurable… just as immeasurable as the concepts of global temperature, global CO2 level and global water vapour level.
    Bottom line: Where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise… but we would be crazy if we let the inmates takeover the asylum.

  27. “Specifically, they ran a climate model experiment in which they instantaneously removed all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases except water vapor, and they got rapid cooling “plunging the climate into an icebound Earth state”.”
    So a big dehumidifier would ameliorate global warming?

  28. This “experiment” only shows a computer model’s underlying assumptions sensitivities to gross inputs. That is all I can infer from the paper. From there I have to leap to a real world conclusion? Think not.
    Thank you Dr. Spencer.
    Best Regards,

  29. Malaga View says: ”’
    “Bottom line: Where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise… but we would be crazy if we let the inmates takeover the asylum.”
    Unfortunately, they already have taken it over, and they are trying to put us in it.
    BWD

  30. TimM says:
    October 22, 2010 at 1:55 am
    So a big dehumidifier would ameliorate global warming?

    Now that depends upon how much warmed dry air it pumps out 🙂
    Perhaps we should add it onto the shopping list, based upon the precautionary principle, along with that giant wave machine needed to offest all that tidal generated energy, that huge fan to offset all those wind farms… and don’t forget that huge electric drill we need to make lots of holes which can be filled with all that horrible CO2 that is greening our planet.

  31. The method the GISS paper uses is, I believe, in logic is called “fallacy”. It sounds like a subtle sub-part called innuendo. Hence the old expressions akin to “if you assume your hypothesis, the proof is easy”.

  32. If they were really serious about CO2 perhaps they should consider banning recycling unless it is proved to reduce CO2 emissions… surely putting paper and other organic waste into a landfill is sequestering CO2.
    For me the concept of recycling is seriously flawed… or, at best, not proven… as the consumer must use precious resources to sort, clean and store the waste which is then frequently driven to a collection point before it is collected for secondary sorting, cleaning and storage… before it is transported for a third time for sorting, cleaning and storage by the recycler… the recycling process then usually incorporates additional purifying processes to produce the recycled material which is then stored before it is transported for a fourth time to the manufacturer that actually uses the recycled material… perhaps that is why so much ends up in landfills anyway.
    I recently encountered one of the interesting downside to recycling on my last trip to Dublin where they have issued an new Brown Bin to every household for their organic waste… each house now has three bins which they have to manage and pay for… but I digress. Now having a compost heap at the bottom of your garden if one thing… having a festering brown bin full of organic waste by your front/back door is another thing altogether… the flies and smells are horrendous in summer… especially when the winds blows them through your open doors and windows… and it is all safe to remember that smells are particulate… so think about that the next time you smell your recycling bin and your sewers….

  33. The bizzarre paper by the RC enforcers will o down in history as the final straw that makes people see how laughable the CO2 obsession is.
    This paper is transparently contrived and an obvious abuse of the scientific process.
    Now not only is the LIA and MWP disappeared, but the physics of H2O are as well.
    Nothing can exist, in the mind of the CO2 obsessed, but CO2.

  34. BigWaveDave says:
    October 22, 2010 at 2:28 am
    Unfortunately, they already have taken it over, and they are trying to put us in it.

    I think you are right… but I hope you are wrong… Blogging and commenting are possibly futile gestures… but at least they help to keep me sane… well sort of… our best hope is that El Sol continues to slumber so that nature can contradict the warmists… but even that might not be enough based upon they way they spin and dissemble…

  35. Am I missing something here.
    Surely their “thought experiment” is a function of the value they apply to climate sensitivity.
    We had a post not so long ago from Frank Lansner showing 9 doublings of CO2. If we take those 9 doublings and convert them into halvings, and then apply a high number for climate sensitivity, and then backtrace through the halvings, we get a huge number when we strip out all greenhouse gasses. If on the other hand we use a more realistic number, like 1degree for all GHGs we get a much smaller number.
    I haven’t seen the full paper so I can’t comment with any authority, but ISTM that that is what is at play here.

  36. Axel Sjöqvist, the answer a to why a derivative paper that says nothing about reality like Lacis, et al gets published with fanfare in Nature is that Nature is no longer about science, and their article fit in perfectly.

  37. Thank you, Dr Spencer, for your gentle demolition job on this paper.
    This sentence shows in a nutshell why arguing with AGW proponents, even on a purely scientific basis, is so difficult:
    “They view the climate system as a self-contained, self-controlled complex of physically intertwined processes that would forever remain unchanged until some “external” influence (forcing) enters the picture and alters the rules by which the climate system operates.”
    Where scientific experiments, ‘thought’ or otherwise, are solely undertaken and/or employed to cement and defend a world view, implying that sceptics are heretics, then science itself is the loser.

  38. Peter Miller says on October 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm:
    “So the world has to be saved from the foolishness, fraud and deceit of climate ‘scientists’ by the blogosphere – it is scary to think 20 years ago, they would have got away with it … (snip)”
    Indeed!
    I confess that twenty years ago, with no blogosphere, I fell for the ‘New Ice Age’ scare, became thoroughly frightened, and spent weeks pondering what I could do for my family’s survival when the glaciers started appearing.
    All nicely driven by the MSM – not much change there!

  39. @crosspatch
    Loved your thinking about the effect of glaciation thickening affecting altitude and hence temperature.
    I’ve not seem this mentioned before but it makes absolute sense. If I was studying the science of Ice Ages, I’d been looking closely at the possible effects that your ideas could bring to the table.

  40. Why don’t the authors simply go out into the desert after dark, strip off all their clothes and then decide if it is lack of water vapor or lack of CO2 that freezes their ass off.
    [LOL ~jove, mod]

  41. I guess everyone recognizes this is just a GISS ModelE climate model output. It is based on calculations that James Hansen would have put into the model.
    So generally, one either accepts James Hansen view of the world or one would ask for additional empirical data to be measured to back up the theoritical calculations (ie what we used to call the scientific method).
    What does the empirical data tell us (with regard to this paper’s and the theory’s proposition that GHGs control 85% of the water vapour levels as well).
    – Total specific humidity water vapour levels are completely FLAT (according to the NCEP reanalysis since 1948) or, (according to Hadcruh – Willet et al 2008 – at the highest estimate), there is an increase at about the levels expected by the theory. There is also annual variation tied closely to the ENSO. GISS ModelE would be calculating about a 1/2oth increase in specific humidity (and more-or-less constant relative humidity) over the period covered by this data.
    http://img147.imageshack.us/img147/7908/specifichumidity.png
    http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/3537/relativehumidity.png
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcruh/CRUBLENDNEWjul08_ts_q_global7303.png
    – Global Precipitation Levels are essentially FLAT since 1979 and precipitation on land is FLAT since 1950. GISS ModelE would be predicting about a 1.5% increase over the time period covered by this data.
    http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/8974/trenberthprecipitation.png
    http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/2026/riverdischargeandprecip.png
    – And there has been a general decline in the level of cloudiness according to the ISCCP project – GISS ModelE would be predicting about a 1% increase in cloudiness over the period covered by this data.
    http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/zD2BASICS/B8glbp.anomdevs.jpg
    http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/climanal7.html
    So, on the whole, the theory and ModelE is not matching up to the empirical data.

  42. What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of “feedback”, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative “feedback” effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.

    Dr. Spencer, doesn’t clouds’ role in feedback depend on the time of day? In the daytime, cloud cover is a negative feedback, allowing less solar energy to reach the surface. But at night cloud cover is a positive feedback, blocking re-radiation from the surface back into space.
    It is the net cloud effect that counts, and it has been argued that could make clouds a ‘buffer agent’ in the atmospheric ‘solution.’

  43. correlation does not always equal causation … could just be a coincidence …
    but for one to ascribe causation you MUST have correlation …
    CO2 and temperatures do not have a good correlation over the last 100 years … (they actually have a negative correlation for a good chunk of it)
    until a clear verifiable explanantion of the global cooling from about 1940 to 1970 is explained I call BS on all of this witchcraft …
    since this observed cooling would have taken place when CO2 was rapidly increasing, in the AGW theory this cooling mechanism had to not just cancel out the CO2 warming but completely overwhelm it …

  44. More CO2 in the MArtian atmosphere than Earth’s. Hmm, I’ve never thought of it like that. Good factoid.

  45. Even at zero degrees F, the amount of water vapour in the air is much larger than the amount of CO2. The whole premise of their study (that all water vapour could be removed) is bogus.

  46. Excellent discussion, Dr. Roy Spencer, of a “climate model” that as usual follows the computer truism: Garbage In Garbage Out. Thank you for helping readers understand the tricky fine points of cause v effect.
    I have a question about the circulation of political magazines like Science and Nature since so many (of us) have cancelled our subscriptions. Main reason: lack of trust, or how can we know whether science or propaganda is being presented. Are there scientific journals with a large readership at present that have actual peer review and required submission of data and methods — whose circulation we can enhance? Or has the circulation of these remained small (no funding by George Soros and his global-billionaire ilk)?
    I have copies of articles you have published in Geophysical Research Letters (2007) and Journal of Climate (2008) plus a number from your site and some of your posts on WUWT. Enjoyed your discussion of the 2009 AGU presentation on the negative feedback of clouds. Two questions. 1. Where can those who want to read real science and scientific debates turn? 2. The corollary, as a counter to Science and Nature: (of) which science journals can we expand the subscription base?

  47. I am a simple experimental physicist with many years experience in computer modeling for elementary particle theories.
    I cannot see how it is possible, if one takes out CO2 completely from the atmosphere, H2O will act completely like and anti – greenhouse gas.
    When I look at the absorption spectra of H2O and the rest of the greenhouse gases, I see a great overlap of H2O, which is also much more abundant. Correct me if I am wrong, but specific humidity does not go below a part in a thousand, and how could it on a planet that is 75% water.
    That measly 390ppm will be taken up by the long term reservoir of the non dry atmosphere and do the job CO2 et al were doing, if the program is programmed correctly.
    Fluid mechanics does not know atoms and molecules at that level. If anthropogenic CO2 has a residence time of thousands of years according to the paper, then the baseline H2O has one of millions of years, it is there and will do its greenhouse job, imo. I suspect that in their feedback/forcing confusion( terminology that gives me hives as a physicist) they ignore that there is an underlying level of specific humidity, H2O vapor, that cannot be condensed/precipitated etc out of the atmosphere because of the basic physics of gases. That must be how they get their ice.

  48. If removing all the greenhouse gases from the atmosphere causes a snowball earth then we can conclude we shouldn’t remove them. Not that the temperature would matter any. When CO2 drops to half the present value it’s not enough for plants to survive and without them animals can’t survive and the earth becomes a paradise for prokaryotic extremophiles and little else.
    Recent research suggests that methane accounts for about half the GHG effect and since its residence time is very short compared to CO2 and it has little if any benefit to the vast majority of the biosphere we should, if we’re really concerned about GHG warming, be targeting anthropogenic methane (with a vengeance) instead of CO2. The risk vs. reward situation with methane is immensely more attractive and would yield results (one way or another) in a short enough span of time to give climate “science” some remote semblance of an experimental science rather than the current state of being a forensic science dominated by narrative accounts of possible futures rather than the testable predictions of experimental sciences.

  49. @ crosspatch says: October 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm :
    I studied paleoclimatology in the Holocene at University and, like you, came to the conclusion that the biggest feedback mechanism operating during glaciations was the thickness of the ice and its effect on surface altitude.
    I heard it mentioned once, in passing, during a lecture, with nary a word in any of the many books and papers I read on the subject…
    Can you say “can’t see the wood for the trees?”

  50. Come on Dr Roy; you are pulling our legs. Fess up now, you made this whole yarn up; didn’t you ?
    What scientist worth his salt, who had ever been in a high altitude arid desert at night and frozen his; well you know what he froze; would claim that it was CO2 that keeps the planet warm ?
    If my office wasn’t so small I’d be rolling on the floor laughing my A*** off .
    So take every last molecule of H2O out of the atmosphere ( I believe that Peter Humbug actually did this over at r-c , on his Playstation) and what do you get; with NO water vapor; and NO CLOUDS and all the CO2 you can fit on your plate ?
    Well you get the mother of all “forcings” with suddenly a very small planetary albedo; and you no longer get a Black Body Equilibrium Temperature that is sub zero (C) at the earth’s orbital location.
    Well you soon get all your water and clouds back in a hurry; even with not a single extra CO2 molecule added. I believe Peter Humbug said he got it all back in three months.
    Hey Roy; it is Halloween that is coming up; Not April Fool’s Day; ah what a good laugh to end the week !
    George

  51. “”” John S. says:
    October 22, 2010 at 6:22 am
    What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of “feedback”, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative “feedback” effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.
    Dr. Spencer, doesn’t clouds’ role in feedback depend on the time of day? In the daytime, cloud cover is a negative feedback, allowing less solar energy to reach the surface. But at night cloud cover is a positive feedback, blocking re-radiation from the surface back into space. “””
    Green house gases DONOT warm the surface; they DO warm the atmosphere; and they DO NOT block the exit to space of LWIR radiation; they DO delay that exit.
    During the daylight hours the sun is pouring in solar energy to the SURFACE. That rate of energy input times the average delay of LWIR exit caused by GHG intervention is the extra heat load that results in an upwards offest in the Black Body like equilibrium surface Temperature. That is the source of the Temperature rise.
    At night, it still cools down after sunset; because the sun is no longer pouring in solar energy, and the GHGs (and clouds) cannot stop the exodus of the LWIR radiation; merely delay it. And since the sun is not adding energy during the night; no energy offset occurs, and no Temperature offset either, due to that delay.
    The clouds at night are CAUSED by the surface warmth during the day; they are not the cause of the surface warmth at night. It never warms up after sunset unless a totally different warm air mass moves in from somewhere else; it always cools; and with no water vapor in the air, as in high arid deserts; it cools damn fast; no matter how much CO2 there is.
    I’m going to go to my grave still looking for a cloud that passed in front of the sun, and made the Temperature higher in the shadow zone.
    Clouds ALWAYS reduce the total amount of solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface (mainly the ocean) and gets stored in the earth (deep oceans). There are NO exceptions to this rule, anywhere on earth, at any time, for any reason. What else clouds do is open to debate; but they DO NOT increase the amount of solar energy that reaches the surface of the planet. The total amount of solar energy that the earth receives and retains, is what determines its Temperature.
    And I don’t care what happens on the Moon, or Venus, or Mars.

  52. John S. says:
    October 22, 2010 at 6:22 am
    “Dr. Spencer, doesn’t clouds’ role in feedback depend on the time of day?”
    To some extent, yes. Clouds drastically change albedo which is important only when the sun is high in the sky.
    What is missing and has been mentioned over and over again on WUWT is the heat transport from surface to altitude that occurs when clouds form. Liquid water requires a tremendous amount of energy to become a vapor. The bulk of the energy it carries, called latent heat of vaporization, doesn’t register on a thermometer. That’s why it’s called latent. The temperature of the liquid or gas is called its sensible heat.
    So when water evaporates on the ground it takes up a tremendous amount of sensible heat from the surface and carries it quickly high aloft through convection. As the adiabatic lapse rate does its magic the water vapor cools as it rises until it reaches the dewpoint and condenses into a cloud. When it condenses to a liquid it gives up all that latent heat it carried which becomes sensible heat in the surrounding atmosphere which causes even more convection so much that the tops of thunderstorms can penetrate the stratosphere.
    When all this energy is removed from the surface and released at altitude it acts to drill right through the densest greenhouse gases so that when the energy is released again as sensible heat the dense layer of greenhouse gases below it now serve to block that energy from returning to the surface and makes the path of least resistance a whole lot easier going upward into space. The process goes on day and night although it is dominated by cloud formation during the hottest part of the day and the water returning to the surface in the late afternoon or evening. Thus it tends to also raise the albedo at just the right time to moderate insolation reaching the surface.
    The water cycle is a wondrous dynamic thing that stabilizes the earth’s temperature in a regime suitable for the life that evolved in it and is poorly modeled mostly through arbitrarily defined constant values in global circulation models. There’s no evidence whatsoever that there is any positive warming feedback associated with the water cycle that would increase with temperature. The earth has NEVER experienced a runaway greenhouse even with CO2 levels in past 10-20 times greater than today. What the earth HAS experienced is ice ages. Water in its solid phase is hideously effective negative feedback that can and does produce catastrophic global cooling. There’s a tipping point alright but it isn’t a tipping point into a very warm earth it’s a tipping point into a frozen earth. If it cools enough so that ice formation exceeds ice melt for even a short period of time it’s a runaway effect as ice breeds even more ice. At that point CO2 may become the savior as plants don’t grow very well in ice so the major sink for atmospheric CO2 goes offline. In the meantime the ice doesn’t do a damn thing to stop volcanoes from belching it out so over a period of millions of year it might be the mysterious forcing that eventually melts the snowball earth. No one knows exactly what can rescue a frozen earth from the clutches of massive high albedo ice cover but it has been rescued from such a condition over and over through the geologic ages. We’re presently in an ice age in fact and teetering on the border between a comparitively warm interglacial period and two miles of ice covering everything north of Tennessee. Because of the negative feedback of snow and ice the transition from interglacial to glacial periods (the latter endures about ten times longer than the former) is a plunge that happens in a single human lifetime. Our civilization and most of the biosphere along with it will be well and truly screwed if we reach that tipping point. Any sane knowledgeable person greatly hopes that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission is enough to keep that tipping point at a safe remove. Personally I don’t think there’s anywhere near enough economically recoverable fossil fuels to do more than marginally extend the length of the current interglacial period. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be long enough to come up with some technological solution to how we are going to cope with the next ice age. In the meantime when it comes to fossil fuels, burn baby burn in the hope that it gives us enough time and economic growth to come up with a means of dealing with the end of the current interglacial period. The current interglacial has already lasted longer than average which is perhaps the sole reason that humans were able to build a global civilization – the extra two thousand years was just long enough so that modern humans who have survived a great many glacial epics didn’t get kicked back to a frozen stone age before they had a chance to radiate civilization across the planet and prosper enough so that technology had the means to bloom beyond fire, flints, spears, and cave drawing.

  53. A well reasoned response, Dr Spencer. However, the scientific method has evolved beyond the mere discussion of logic and methodology. A scientific paper stands and falls on the ‘plagiarism principle.’ If any hint of plagiarism is found, the paper is rejected as unsound, otherwise it can be accepted as true provided it agrees with consensus.

  54. Apologies for the long post but I wish to make 5 points.
    First, Dr Spencer when commenting upon the latest NAS/GISS paper observes:
    “They view the climate system as a self-contained, self-controlled complex of physically intertwined processes that would forever remain unchanged until some “external” influence (forcing) enters the picture and alters the rules by which the climate system operates”.
    If that is their view, it shows a complete failure to understand and appreciate chaos theory. In a chaotic system, one does not need outside/external drivers to effect a change within the self contained system itself. The climate is a chaotic system (I understand that this is accepted on both sides of the debate), that being the case, it is strange that quakified scientists should hold the view expressed.
    Second, the output of any model (assuming that it has been properly scribed/programmed) does no more than output the assumptions made by the programmer. It does nothing to prove whether those assumptions are valid. Given the assumptions made in the model, the result was a foregone conclusion and proves nothing.
    Third, edmh says:
    October 21, 2010 at 10:40 pm
    “The FUTILITY of Man-made Climate Control by limiting CO2 emissions
    A Layman’s view: Just running the numbers: watch

    On average world temperature is ~+15 deg C. This is sustained by the atmospheric Greenhouse Effect ~33 deg C. Without the Greenhouse Effect the planet would be un-inhabitable at ~-18 deg C. The Biosphere and Mankind need the Greenhouse Effect.”
    It is often claimed by AGW supporters that greenhouse gas component in the atmosphere is responsible for the apparent 33 deg C warming. But is this really so? I have a number of doubts about this assertion. First, I am sceptical that the assumed black body radiation said to emanate from the Earth is correct given that the 70% of the Earth is covered by deep oceans that store vast quantities of heat which they re-radiate and this fact alone renders the Earth a very different beast when compared to the Moon (or for that matter Mars or Venus). Second, some element of the assumed 33 deg C is accounted for not by the greenhouse effect of the so called greenhouse gases, but rather by the pressure and density of the atmosphere itself irrespective of the gaseous mix of the atmosphere. One significant reason that Venus is so warm, is due to the high pressure and density of its atmosphere. One significant reason that Mars is so cold, is due to the lack of pressure and density of its atmosphere. What if the pressure and density of the atmosphere (irrespective of its chemical composition, ie., whether or not it has any greenhouse gas component) accounts for a significant part of the 33 deg C component? For example, what if the pressure and density of the atmosphere (irrespective of its chemical composition) accounts for say 30 deg C of the apparent warming? This figure is used merely for the sake of argument, but this would mean that the greenhouses gases in the atmosphere account for only 3 deg C of the warmth (ie., 33 – 30 deg C). This has significant implications since (in the absence of our making the atmosphere denser by the sheer quantity/volume of manmade gas emissions) it means that changes in the greenhouse gases only acts on the 3 deg C element not on the entire 33 deg C element.
    One has to bear in mind the relationship between temperature and height. Leaving aside stratification of the atmosphere and inversion, as a general rule of thumb in the troposphere there is a drop in temperature of 6.5 deg K per km. In other words, if I move from the valley and climb a 500 m hill, I will experience a 3.25 deg C drop in temperature. This is not because less energy from the sun is reaching the ground where I stand (in fact very slightly more energy is reaching me since I am that much closer to the sun and more importantly, the sun light has passed less distance through the atmosphere itself which atmosphere is partly opaque to sun light – albeit the amount of additional energy is immeasurably small). It is not because there is less CO2 (or greenhouse gas) blanket to keep me warm (to trap/delay the heat being radiated). It is because the pressure of air within the column of air directly underneath which I stand is less and there are very slightly less air molecules around me so even though these molecules may have slightly more energy there are less collisions transferring that energy). Unless this is properly taken into account, the entire context in which the apparent 33 deg C apparent warming occurs is misunderstood and the case for the impact of greenhouse gases over-stated.
    Fourth, and this follows on from the third point. What precisely are we measuring when we seek to assess the average global temperature. Whilst this is in some way gridded to location, to what extent is it adjusted to take account of height at which the temperature is being measured. Obviously, for the purposes of calculating trend anomalies, the height is not relevant (unless there are station changes). However, it is relevant when saying that the global average temperature is ~ 15 deg C which we then use to extrapolate the ~ 33 deg C figure for the warming effect of the so called green house gases.
    I have always been at a loss to understand how you can accurately calculate the average global mean temperature still less to understand its relevance. Without an infinite number of weather stations (both on land and in the sea) any assessment is bound to be horribly inaccurate. And what is the point, since there is one thing certain about averages, namely that most places do not experience the average temperature and in any event climate change is regional not global. In fact, in some places it will inevitably be very localised. The effect of climate change on the UK, Ireland, various regions within the States, Canada, Europe, Africa, India etc will all be different. There will be winners and losers. Policy makers need, for the main part, only to know how change will affect their country.
    Fifth, it seems difficult to understand why a scientist (as opposed to a politician) would home in on CO2. There seems to be no significant and good correlation between CO2 levels and temperature change when viewed on either a geological scale or on a modern instrument scale. On the geological scale, there have been times when there have been modest levels of CO2 and yet it has been warm and where there have been high levels and yet it has been cold. Temperatures have fallen when CO2 levels have been rising and temperatures have increased whilst CO2 levels have fallen. As regards, the modern instrument period, temperatures rose significantly between 1850s and 1940 when there was little significant rise in CO2 levels. As soon as there were significant increases in manmade CO2 emissions, between 1940s and 1970s temperatures dropped! Of course, there is a short period when CO2 levels between 1970s and 2000 rose and so too did the temperature. However, between 2000 and 2010, temperatures have flat lined notwithstanding the rise in CO2 levels. Where is the correlation in all of this?
    As I see the theory, since it is based upon the premise that any increase in CO2 must result in an increase in temperature (the theory does not allow temperatures to remain static or fall when CO2 levels increase), those that promote the theory need to explain for each and every year where there has been an increase in CO2 but not a corresponding increase in temperature why that is so. They need to explain what factors/mechanism over-shadowed the theoretical increase in temperature that must follow from the increase in CO2 level. If those promoting the theory cannot identify or otherwise explain the factors/mechanisms at work and how these counteracted the theoretical calculated rise in temperature but are left with a vague assertion that unexplained natural variations some how swamped the increase, then they are unable to rule out the possibility that the very same unexplained natural variations (and not CO2) led to the observed rise in temperatures between 1970s to 2000. In fact, no one can say that those unexplained natural variations are not responsible for the entire temperature changes between the 1850s to date.
    Why is it so hard for us to admit the truth, namely (1) we lack the required accurate data from which to make meaningful extrapolations as to what is going on, (2) that we know little about the workings of the atmosphere and climate, and (3) we understand even less.
    Lets come back in 20 or 30 years time when we may know and understand more.

  55. “”” michael hammer says:
    October 22, 2010 at 12:13 am
    Hmmm, a simple calculation. The sun delivers 340 watts/sqM at the top of the atmosphere. Of this about 100 watts/sqM is reflected back out to space mainly by clouds. Now if there were no green house gases at all (including water vapour) there would also be no clouds. At 340 watts/sqM of insolation according to Stefans law the average temperature would be 5C or about 9C colder than it is now. “””
    Well your numbers are a bit off. The current value for the TSI is about 1366 W/m^2 ; not 340.
    And if you remove the clouds and the atmospheric water vapor, you get no cloud albedo reflection, and you get no water vapor absorption of perhaps 20% of the solar energy; so the atmosphere will likely cool; but the surface is going to get hotter as a result of that increase in solar energy at the surface.
    I don’t know why climatists insist on dividing the TSI by 4, as if the weather and climate responds to the average energy impinging on the surface.
    Try to get a desert surface Temperature of +60 to + 90 degrees C, with 340 W/m^2 impinging on it continuously, 24/7 .
    Good luck on that.
    Mother Gaia has a thermometer in each and every atom or molecule, so she can monitor the Temperature of every one of them at any moment; and she does not do averages. She does real time actual data, and she doesn’t use any computer programs to hide the decline.

  56. “”” richard verney says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:09 am
    Apologies for the long post but I wish to make 5 points. “””
    Richard; the tires on my bike in my garage contain air including GHGs at a pressure of 65 PSI; which is 4.4 times the pressure of the outside atmosphere in my garage; and I can assure you that my tires are at exactly the same temperature as the air in my garage; as is the higher density and pressure air inside them.

  57. Tom in Florida
    October 22, 2010 at 5:39 am
    Hey, have some respect for the desert inhabitants. Last thing we need is to see a bunch’o pasty-puffy-psudoescientsts running around buck nekkid, YIKES!

  58. “””” John F. Hultquist says:
    October 21, 2010 at 10:11 pm
    . . . a 100% increase in CO2 (2XCO2, causing less than 4 Watts per sq. meter), something that will not occur until late this century — if ever.
    If ever? I hope soon to see a post explaining whether or not that “goal” is attainable. How fast can human activities inject CO2 into the atmosphere? The faster we try (demand for coal and oil) the more costly they will become. Higher prices reduce demand and encourage alternatives. Can coal and oil be supplied fast enough and consumed fast enough?
    How long does CO2 stay in the atmosphere? Is it 5, 10, or 200 years? Unless this is known how can one proceed? “”””
    John,
    CO2 has been in the atmosphere for at least the last 600 million years; and who knows how long before that.
    So claims that it only stays in the atmosphere for 5, 10 or 200 years are just plain silly. For all practical purposes it is there permanently; and as it so happens; on planet earth H2O is also in the atmosphere permanently and always at greater levels than CO2 is.
    So what does that have to do with climate ?

  59. I have some really stupid questions. Water has a much higher specific heat then most of the other atmospheric gasses. Does the evaporation condensation cycle transport heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere? And does humidity have a significant effect on the total specific heat?

  60. richard verney says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:09 am
    In a chaotic system, one does not need outside/external drivers to effect a change within the self contained system itself. The climate is a chaotic system (I understand that this is accepted on both sides of the debate), …

    I’ve read statements on their sites saying that only weather is chaotic; climate is not.

  61. (SarcOn) I’m tellin’ ya’ there’s just no way to handle all this extra Carbon Die Oxide stuff except by gettin’ a few billion nice people on this here planet to start holdin’ their breath permanently. Nope! Jus’ ain’t no other way!(SarcOff)
    One and one is two! Always! Every time!
    One little stupid thing plus another little stupid thing makes two little stupid things. Etc., Etc., Etc.!
    We really do need to get our heads out of the simulated clouds and our feet back on solid ground before someone starts doing something really stupid and we’re talking about real money and a lot of heartache. Every time “science” and “technology” get out there too far ahead of the rest of us, or dreans up some bad, bad science fiction, a lot of people get hurt arguing about how, where, when, who, what, why, and which way we’re going to go. Simple minded people like Gore, Mann, Jones, and the lot, tend to like to keep things frightening and all glumped together so they’re able to get what they and their patrons want to achieve — a riot, or a war, or a revolution, all for the “good” of mankind and ‘their’ own bank accounts. Woo is me! What to do?

  62. Why is it that when I read papers like Schmidt’s that I keep getting visions of Greek scientists explaining the beauty and complexity of epicycles? The equations related to planetary motion as explained by epicycles was even rendered into one of the most sophisticated mechanical apparati of the ancient word (the Antikythera mechanism) was nothing more than a mechanical computer model. That model, though it explained the motions of the planet with a measure of precision, still got the underlying science completely wrong.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

  63. Stellar example of failing w.r.t. Simpson’s Paradox — will likely be a major textbook example in the future. [Good work Dr. Spencer.]
    Also, missing the “+c” in the integral of f'(x) — classic.
    Finally, Stephen Wilde, if you are around, what is this discovery you have recently been attributing to Joanna Haigh? I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to read (in detail) every comment, but based in part on the above article & discussion, I’m getting the sense that multi-temporal-scale lapse-rate-variations (and related temperature differentials, cloud dynamics, & flows) deserve a serious look. Even if Haigh is wrong, a look at her ideas might stimulate some better ones…

  64. Just because water vapor responds quickly to temperature change does not mean that there are no long-term water vapor changes (or cloud changes) — not due to temperature — that cause climate change.
    What might those ‘longer-term’ changes be?

  65. Dave Springer
    October 22, 2010 at 9:02 am
    Thanks for answering one of my questions before I posted it.

  66. I posted this elsewhere on models, but it works here also
    If you can not do clouds right, you have nothing
    …..as an albedo decrease of only 1%, bringing the Earth’s albedo from 30% to 29%, would cause an increase in the black-body radiative equilibrium temperature of about 1°C, which is the same amount a doubling of CO2 will give without the unproven feedbacks.
    And…”… the amplitude and even the sign of cloud feedbacks was noted in the TAR as highly uncertain
    from the IPCC
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch1s1-5-2.html
    “… the amplitude and even the sign of cloud feedbacks was noted in the TAR as highly uncertain, and this uncertainty was cited as one of the key factors explaining the spread in model simulations of future climate for a given emission scenario. This cannot be regarded as a surprise: that the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to changing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations must depend strongly on cloud feedbacks can be illustrated on the simplest theoretical grounds, using data that have been available for a long time. Satellite measurements have indeed provided meaningful estimates of Earth’s radiation budget since the early 1970s (Vonder Haar and Suomi, 1971). Clouds, which cover about 60% of the Earth’s surface, are responsible for up to two-thirds of the planetary albedo, which is about 30%. An albedo decrease of only 1%, bringing the Earth’s albedo from 30% to 29%, would cause an increase in the black-body radiative equilibrium temperature of about 1°C, a highly significant value, roughly equivalent to the direct radiative effect of a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Simultaneously, clouds make an important contribution to the planetary greenhouse effect. …”

  67. I am not sure that there is any call for a resoponse to be made on what George says, however, I will briefly reply.
    George E. Smith says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:22 am
    “”” richard verney says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:09 am
    Apologies for the long post but I wish to make 5 points. “””
    “Richard; the tires on my bike in my garage contain air including GHGs at a pressure of 65 PSI; which is 4.4 times the pressure of the outside atmosphere in my garage; and I can assure you that my tires are at exactly the same temperature as the air in my garage; as is the higher density and pressure air inside them”.
    George, do you know that? Have you got a thermocouple inside your tires measuring the temperature? You cannot measure the temperature of the air egressing from the tires when deflating them since this air is expanding and as you know expansion results in a reduction of temperature.
    You are describing something quite different, namely that with time, and in the absense of some further inputs, the temperature of an object assimulates the temperature of its surroundings. An equalibrium is eventually achieved.
    But if you are serious in your point, you might wish to consider the Gas Laws and put forward your proof disproving Boyle’s Law, Charles’s Law and the Ideal Gas Law. If you can do this, there is probably a Nobel Prize in it for you.

  68. This is probably the most appropriate thread to mention this data, that I have discovered in the Infra-Red Handbook; chapter 3 on Natural Light Sources; and more specifically, 3.6 Radiation of the Sky as Seen from Earth. and 3.6.1 Sky Spectral Radiance.
    And note that is Radiance and not Irradiance; so the units are microWatts per square cm, per steradian, per micron (of spectral wavelength.
    In the text, they mention that the Infra-red sky background consists of scattering of the sun’s radiation, and by emission from atmospheric constituents.
    So the solar scattering is a daylight phenomenon which they restrict to less than 3.0 microns; while the thermal emission is beyond 4.0 microns. They say the thermal radiation is represented by a 300 K black body radiation. They have a set of BB curves for Temperatures from 0 deg C to +40 deg C, and the spectral peak varies slightly around 10 microns; but the spectral radiance goes from about 600 at zero deg C, to about 1200 at 40 deg C, eyeballing the graphs, and in the above units. They add that this simple model is modified by a number of absorption bands, at 0.94, 1.1, 1.4, 1.9, and 2.7 microns for H2O in the solar spectrum plus CO2 at 2.7 microns.
    For the thermal region; they say that spectral regions with strong absorption and emission bands, willa proach the black body curves for the appropriate Temperature OF THE ATMOSPHERE, and they mention the CO2 band at 15 microns, H2O at 6.3 microns, and O3 at 9.6 microns.
    They plotted some rather strange looking curves; which are ACTUAL MEASUREMENTS taken at Elk Park Station in Colorado; which is a high altitude dry location, and for Cocoa Beach Florida, which is a more humid location.
    These curves are measured for several Altitude angles from the horizon, so zero degrees is a horizontal reading measured through several air masses of the densest highest CO2 and H2O part of the Atmosphere; while 90 degrees is straight at the Zenith, through air mass one.
    So here’s the weird result:- at zero degrees, the spectrum closely matches the BB spectrum peakign at about 10 microns and about 650 Radiance units (above), so it corresponds roughly to a 10 deg C Black Body spectrum in the Colorado case.
    Same thing and spectral shape for Florida but about 900 units radiance corresponding to about +20 deg C.
    So now what about other angles. Well in the zenith direction (90 deg AM-1), you get a very similar enveloped Spectrum; BUT with big holes in it. So the Black Body spectral limit is maintained; but now there are some spectral holes. In Colorado, which is dry, there’s a peak of about 450 units, at around 7 microns (H2O) and a small narrow peak about 150 at 9.5 microns (O3), then a dip to about 75 at 11 microns, and a CO2 peak about 575 at 15 microns, and a small unnamed peak about 200 at 18.5 microns. The sides of these dips are quite sloped so the peaks are sort of triangular.
    In Florida where it is much higher humidity, the water peak at 7 microns is about 750 and the long wave edge falls very steeply to about 175 at about 8.5 microns, then pops up to the Ozone peak about 200 at 9.5 microns, the same 11 micron trough at about 175, than a slo rise to about 650 at14 microns, and then follows the BB envelope all the way.
    For intermediate altitude angles you get intermediate results.
    Now remeber these are observed spectra, and they are measuring spectral radiance, and not spectral irradiance (W/m^2).
    So it’s a little puzzling; and I have to confess, I haven’t figured out yet exactly what I am looking at.
    But clearly, the Temperature determined Black Body spectrum, does provide an envelope limit to the atmospheric LWIR radiation. But why does the horizontal umpteen air masses view give a rather mundane BB spectrum, with almost no spectral structure; although a tiny O3 pip can be ssen over Colorado at Zero degrees. Not sure where Elk Park is; but presumably it is at some elevated altitude; so it would be lacking the lowere denser atmosphere, and closer to the Ozone layer; which would get accentuated by the lack of the lower dense air. The Florida horizontal shows not band structure at all, neither O3, nor H2O, even though there’s a lot of H2O in a typical Florida beach atmosphere; and not a hint of CO2.
    So I’m not quite sure what is happening; but it does suggest that those spectral regions which we know are capturing LWIR radiation such as 6.3, 9.6, and 15 for H2O, O3, and CO2 respectively ARE radiating at those same wavelengths and not so much from the N2, O2, Ar in the straight shot at the zenith; but horizontally it appears that the thermalization is complete; and the spectrum is simply Black Body Temperature dependent.
    And I suppose what surprises me, is that the spectral spontaneous re-emission due to lack of thermalization, must be kicking in at a low enough altitude in the atmosphere, for those emissions to be quite significant in the straight down atmospheric thermal radiation.
    So it generally is in agreement with my stick in the sand seat of the pants conjecture about what happens; with maybe the high altitude sources band spectral emissions being a bit spicier, than I would have guessed.
    Maybe if Phil is out there he can kick in on this; because he seems to have a good handle on that aspect. I wish one could cut and paste pictures in here then you could all see what I’m seeing.
    But nyet on the thesis that gases do NOT emit Black Body like thermal continuum LWIR electromagnetic radiation; but resonance band absorption spectra do show up as well in the overall ALL sky picture.
    Now the IR Handbook is for the military to see and track and target things to blow them up; which is why they look horizontally through lots of air masses; and they do not care about climate scientists; or what they want to know; which is why they don’t have a dumb graph like an all sky surface Spectral Irradiance graph, instead of this silly Spectral Radiance thing; but my mind is somewhat adept at integrating in my head; sicne I’ve been doing it for 50 years or so.
    And for you Academic Institutional types that have access to real libraries; you can check out the originals of these info bits in the following peer reviewed paper:-
    E.E.Bell, I.L.Eisner, and R.A.Oetjen, “The Spectral Distribution of the Infrared Radiation from the Sky and Terrain at Wavelengths between 1 and 20 Microns. II. Sky Measurements, ” Journal of The Optical Society of America, Vol 50 December 1960, pp 1313-1320. There’s another paper referenced by the same authors on the same subject, in Proc of the Symposium on Infrared Backgrounds ERI; U of Michigan; which is sort of the origin of The Infrared Handbook. This along with my two volumes of “The Constitution of Binary Alloys” are my most treasured possessions after my fly rods, and reels.
    I;m still a bit flabbergasted, that the stratospheric layer of long mean free path atmosphere; which allows spontaneous decay from excited states; shows up so prominently from the ground. Phil probably knows why.

  69. Dave Springer :
    October 22, 2010 at 9:02 am ,
    I agree the imminent plunge to the next ice age is the only true prophecy . Resources should be concentrated to finding means of stopping it, rather than chasing the chimera of CO2 dubious anthropogenic contribution to heating.
    The technological means exist, and the cleanest solution would be to orient mirrors in space and increase insolation judiciously. This means that the GCMs instead of chasing CO2 fantoms should be used to study insolation effects and cloud motions so that an intelligent decision can be made of where to focus extra energies from the sun.

  70. “What might those ‘longer-term’ changes be?”
    Wind patterns for one. Ocean temperatures for another. And both of those taken together can cause long term changes in the number of and the location of clouds. For example, the movement of the ITCZ , as happens from time to time, can greatly change where clouds are. Move something several hundred miles North or South changes the sun angle on them and changes the amount of cooling they provide.
    An ocean current change can greatly change surface temperatures someplace which can greatly change cloud patterns which can greatly change warming or cooling. A wind pattern change can greatly change surface temperatures on the ocean someplace which can greatly change cloud formation which can greatly change warming or cooling.
    Cloud formation isn’t modulated primarily by CO2.
    La Nina and El Nino for example are created by changes in the trade winds. Those conditions greatly change equatorial Pacific cloud formation.

  71. Roger
    Regarding your observation: Roger Knights says:
    October 22, 2010 at 10:05 am
    richard verney says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:09 am
    In a chaotic system, one does not need outside/external drivers to effect a change within the self contained system itself. The climate is a chaotic system (I understand that this is accepted on both sides of the debate), …
    I’ve read statements on their sites saying that only weather is chaotic; climate is not”.
    What a surprise, well not really because these guys (by which I am referring to the wider proponents AGW theory) keep contradicting themselves and will say anything that promotes their cause, eg., AGW will mean that there is less snow, later to be replaced by more snow is the result of AGW etc.
    In the IPCC Third Assessment Report, it is stated that:
    “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
    Clearly the view held at the time was that the system was a non linear chaotic system, and the manner in which the climate works has not changed since the publication of the Third Assessment Report. It was at that time a non linear chaotic system and it still is today a non linear chaotic system.
    I fully endorse their noted conclusion, namely that ” therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

  72. The paper is behind a paywall so I can’t check for myself, but I would like to know if they tried running their model by instantaneously removing all of the atmospheric gases except for CO2?
    Then the Earth would have the same atmosphere as Mars, except thinner. I suspect that the temperature would be very cold, so I guess CO2 isn’t the most important greenhouse gas after all.

  73. “In retrospect, I suppose they could claim that cloud feedbacks switched from negative at the low temperatures of an icebound Earth, to being positive at the higher temperatures of the real climate system. But that might mess up Jim Hansen’s claim of strongly positive feedbacks during the Ice Ages.”
    I think it is more likely that water vapor feedback is positive on an icebound arid Earth and negative in the current conditions. Much of this explained by increased cumulus and cumulonimbus development given the current conditions.

  74. George E. Smith-There are a number of locations in Colorado called Elk Park. They should have been more specific as to which one. If you follow this link, Google suggests a number of places. The location marked on the map near Hotchkiss is at about 10,000 feet or so, and is NOT a town-it is on the south side of Grand Mesa, far from anywhere. I know because I have fished the nearby Overland Reservoir.
    P.S. I always enjoy your comments, though usually have to struggle to understand. My sincere thanks for your continuing contributions.
    Dan

  75. “”” richard verney says:
    October 22, 2010 at 11:42 am
    I am not sure that there is any call for a resoponse to be made on what George says, however, I will briefly reply.
    George E. Smith says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:22 am
    “”” richard verney says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:09 am
    Apologies for the long post but I wish to make 5 points. “””
    …………………………….
    You are describing something quite different, namely that with time, and in the absense of some further inputs, the temperature of an object assimulates the temperature of its surroundings. An equalibrium is eventually achieved.
    But if you are serious in your point, you might wish to consider the Gas Laws and put forward your proof disproving Boyle’s Law, Charles’s Law and the Ideal Gas Law. If you can do this, there is probably a Nobel Prize in it for you. “””
    Well I don’t think I would bother to write something to get a Nobel Prize. I figure that Al Gore and Barack Obama between them have done about as little as anybody could, to thoroughly discredit the Nobel Prizes; and the committees who award them. For a start; does it not grasp you that the Nobel Committee this year saw fit to bestow prizes on three Economists; about the only “science” that is about on a par with Climatism and Ancient Astrology.
    As to disproving Boyle’s Law, and Charles’ Law and the Ideal Gas Law; all three of them relate to a closed system; which the earth’s atmosphere is not. So what is the Volume of the Atmosphere.
    So the density and pressure of the atmosphere varies with altitude; an elementary function of gravity; which also diminishes with altitude.
    So all layers of the atmosphere whatever their density or pressure are radiating soem thermal radiation spectrum according to the local Temperature. As a result, they are radiating energy to space which must therefore tend to lower the Temperature with that energy loss. Well due to the Temperature gradient that results from that, there is a continuous conduction and convection of both heat and atmospheric gas to higher altitudes, where it can cool down, and perhaps return to a lower altitude after it cools..
    The primary cause of the Temperature gradient, is the input heating at the earth surface, and the space cooling at the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Well eventually of course when the density gets low enough and the number of molecules small enough the temperature starts to rise again for various reasons; non of which have much to do with those gas laws you cited.
    The fact that a gas will heat as it is being compresed and cool as it is being uncompressed, is just a temporary transient effect, and the temperature change does not persist; which is why the tires in my garage on my bike are at the garage temperature despite the high internal pressure; and when I say “exactly” the same temperature I am of course meaning “Relative to the prevailing +/- tolerances that are common to climate science.” Which means substantially better than a 3:1 fudge factor.
    And in the Atmosphere T is not constant (with altitude) so Boyle’s law does not apply, and the Volume is not constant so Charles’ law does not apply; and the ideal gas law would hardly apply with both T and V not constant. And let’s not forget the Gay-Lusac Law either since we have a variable Volume; but then does that apply with both P and T varying.
    So maybe you can make a differential form of all of those that might apply to the open ended atmosphere; heck even the mass of the atmosphere in moles is not constant.

  76. Why does Science publish such garbage? The basic equations show that CO2 is a strong factor at low concentrations, but a weak one at current concentrations. Did they think that removing all CO2 and other “greenhouse gasses” (but not water) from the atmosphere would have no cooling effect? Surprise! Duh.

  77. That’s the whole point; water vapor is a condensing gas with the ability to efficiently move massive quantities of heat from one part of the Earth to another, using change of state, something which puny CO2 cannot do within climate parameters.
    There are about 1.5E7 substances known to man. One – AND ONLY ONE – substance always exists in the solid, liquid and gaseous state, somewhere within our climate system. That substance is water.
    Even the EPA and IPCC admit wv is the most important ghg. When is Schmidt et al going to get on board?
    If CO2 is so controlling, how come the GRIP2 ice core data shows that CO2 increases come about 800 years AFTER the temperature increases? Hmmm?

  78. Isn’t it obvious that water vapour is very important to the earth’s average temperature as proven by night temperatures in desert regions. The air over deserts is very dry (ie., lacks water vapour). At night, temperatures quickly fall so that high daytime temperatures are balanced by relatively cold night time temperatures thereby producing a lower average temperature over the course of a 24 hour period. This is so notwithstanding that the air over deserts has broadly similar CO2 concentrations to that over non dessert land. Thus the concentration of CO2 cannot act as a sufficient blanket to stop heat ratiating away at night.
    On the other hand, if the air over the desert was not dry but instead had high concentrations of water vapour, night time temperature would be far higher thereby leading to a higher 24 hour average temperature.
    This suggests that water vapour and not CO2 is the dominant factor behind maintaining high temperatures.

  79. Well I have the complete paper to take home for the weekend.
    Darned if I can find the Oct 15 issue though; I must have 120 copies of SCIENCE somewhere on my desk, along with all the other stuff.
    I started a quick glance through reading, and already reached the can’t stop laughing phase. These jokers claim that if the Temperature cooled a bit for a year, that the amount of water vapor would drop to 10% of current value resulting in a negative forcing of 30 w/m^2 causing much of the remainign water vapor to precipitate; which would increase the snow ice albedo and further reduce the solar radiatoion levels. .
    Hey dummies; most of that condensed water vapor would simply fall in the ocean, and Ooops!! lookie here; no clouds. And they think the albedo would increase with no clouds.
    Hey Peter Humbug ran his playstation over at c-r ^-1 and took ALL of the H2O out of the atmospehre, and it all came back in three months; so how are these jokers going to lower it for a year.
    You take most of the H2O out of the atmosphere, and you get a huge increase in the ground level solar insolation which will rapidly heat the ocean surface, and cause massive evaporation.
    Evaporation is caused by the Temperature of the WATER (ocean); not the Temperature of the Atmosphere; that only determines how much can stay in the atmosphere, and as soon as you get ANy water vapor int he atmosphere you get immediate and massive heating of the atmospehre by direct soalr radiation capture.
    I can’t believe these guys wrote this; let alone that sCIENCE published it; and who on earth did the peer review.
    Well I have to give it a good read over the weekend.
    In any case; it is all their climate computer model that is running; not Mother Gaia’s planet that is doing this experiment.

  80. John S. says:
    October 22, 2010 at 6:22 am
    Because you speak of the role of clouds in “feedback,” I presume you’re not the same John S. who has argued (correctly, I think) here and at CA that this term, misappropriated from system analysis, leads many analyses of climate dynamics into confusion between input power sources and output responses. Indeed, from a rigorous physical standpoint, the only true forcing acting on the planetry climate systrem is solar iirradiance. The rest is hand-waving mumbo jumbo.

  81. #
    John S. says:
    October 22, 2010 at 6:22 am
    “It is the net cloud effect that counts, and it has been argued that could make clouds a ‘buffer agent’ in the atmospheric ‘solution.’
    Low clouds are result of solar heating during the day. They tend to go away at night, over land at least. On average they would be a cooling effect.
    Robert of Ottawa says:
    October 22, 2010 at 6:58 am
    “More CO2 in the Martian atmosphere than Earth’s. Hmm, I’ve never thought of it like that. Good factoid.”
    You need to be a little careful. Mars is a lot smaller than Earth and the atmosphere is thinner but over every square meter of Martian surface there is about 25 to 30 times the mass of CO2 as over every square meter of Earth.

  82. @stumpy
    October 21, 2010 at 11:54 pm
    “Its obvious circular reasoning combined with blatant ignorance.”
    ————
    a jones says:
    October 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm
    “That such balderdash can be written and is thought worthy of publication tells us much about the authors, the reviewers, the editors and their intellectual abilities and standards. It tells us nothing about the real world.”
    =======================
    Right. And the fact that Science publishes these exercises in circle drawing is very telling of the sorry state we have come to.
    It reminds me vaguely of a paper published at Nature a couple of years ago, announcing that a model predicted that fewer female lizards will be born as a result of global warming. William Briggs had a witty review of that paper, worth reading in full. Here is an excerpt:
    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=150
    For those of you who are not as computer savvy as I, let me summarize. Researchers programmed a computer to show that when the temperature rises, fewer female lizards are born. They then told the computer that temperatures were in fact rising. The computer then said “fewer female lizards are born.”
    The researchers pored over this result and came to the conclusion that “warmer temperatures caused by global warming imply fewer female lizards will be born.” They wrote this in a paper which was duly summarized at Nature. Science in action!

  83. In regard to the results of our Science paper, I made the comment in Roy Spencer’s blog to the effect that I was in basic agreement with [Roy’s] assessment that “there is not much new here … that the model produces about what is expected”.
    I should have elaborated a bit more on this point.
    For those who understand the basic physics of the terrestrial greenhouse effect, and the distinction between a radiative forcing and a feedback effect, then the conclusions reached in our Science paper would not come as a surprise. Back in 1984, we understood full well how the terrestrial greenhouse works and that water vapor and clouds were feedback effects that magnified the CO2 forcing when we described those results in the Hansen et al (1984) paper on climate sensitivity. But it did not occur to us at the time to draw the now obvious conclusion that atmospheric CO2 is the principal control knob that governs the equilibrium temperature of Earth.
    The point that was new in the Science paper was to clearly identify and demonstrate the climatological behavior of the non-condensing GHGs (the source of temperature independent radiative forcing) and the fast reacting feedback components (water vapor and clouds that require a sustained background temperature to remain in the atmosphere). Upon zeroing out the sustaining support for the feedback components, the obvious thing to happen was for water vapor to condense and precipitate from the atmosphere, thus resulting in the collapse of the greenhouse effect, demonstrating very clearly that it is the non-condensing GHGs (at current climate temperatures) that sustain the terrestrial greenhouse effect, with CO2 contributing 80% of the non-condensing GHG forcing.
    It is this point that may come as a complete surprise to those who may be in the habit of wanting to believe Richard Lindzen’s erroneous contention that “water vapor and clouds are 98% of the greenhouse, with CO2 contributing less than 2%”.
    It is sensible to look at the ongoing climate change in terms of the basic physics that is driving global warming. Superimposed on the CO2 fueled global warming is a significant amount of natural variability of the climate system, which are fluctuations about the global equilibrium temperature that occur even in the absence of any external radiative forcing.
    Trying to make sense of the observed climate change by means of statistical analyses only is not the best way study climate change, and can easily lead to confusion in attributing what exactly may be happening in the climate system. There is absolutely no reason to be ignoring the physics that we know for sure is there.

  84. A Lacis says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm
    Upon zeroing out the sustaining support for the feedback components, the obvious thing to happen was for water vapor to condense and precipitate from the atmosphere, thus resulting in the collapse of the greenhouse effect,
    I am sure what you have proven is the wrong programming in your GCM, which is what skeptics have been skeptical about since the year 1 of them.
    It is not possible for all the water vapor to condense and precipitate. at a given temperature. There is a basic level that remains throughout as seen for example at the poles (where most of the heating is observed in truth). That basic level is more than what CO2 in ppm is now.
    There seems to be a problem with condensation and GCM’s and it seems you have stumbled on its expression.
    Modeling the Basics, A mathematical summary of condensation in climate models.

  85. A Lacis;
    There is absolutely no reason to be ignoring the physics that we know for sure is there.>>
    Sir,
    The physics to which you refer is not in fact physics. Your paper and your explanation above are clearly a computer model that simulates the results of your assumptions regarding the physics. Your attempt to construe one as the other is shameful. Further, even were your explanation actually rooted in the physics you claim to be sure of, there is no more excuse for ignoring the physics than there is in representing them in such a misleading fashion. The paper was clearly designed to give the impression to those not familiar with the math and physics that increased CO2 concentrations would have as dramatic an effect as decreased ones. As you know full well, the logarithmic nature of CO2 is as well defined and accepted in physics as are the balance of the effects to which you refer. The absence of any reference in your article or in the explanation above suggests that ignoring the physics of which we are certain is a sin that you should accuse yourself of before implying it of others.
    I doubt that my name will be recorded in any history book of any significance. Thank goodness, for it saves me from explaining some embarassing moments from my life to my grandchildren. You on the other hand, had best start preparing a plausible explanation. Give it considerable thought because your credibility in regard to speaking plainly in regard to the facts will have already been shattered.

  86. anna v, the paper in the article you link to is actually bogus. They seem to think condensation causes the pressure to drop, when actually the condensation is caused by the pressure dropping, as is well know for ascending air saturating, not descending air. Difficult to get cause and effect in the right order, but there it is.
    On the Science paper here, it is very illustrative of how basic physics, which is all the model is solving after all, can be used to quantify ideas more thoroughly. The basic cooling effects as you remove CO2 make sense and hold together if you just think it through. They have a helpful time series of the development of cooling in the paper. Increase of cloud cover is part of it, so of course water is left, and they show it.

  87. Jim D says:
    October 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm
    the paper in the article you link to is actually bogus. They seem to think condensation causes the pressure to drop, when actually the condensation is caused by the pressure dropping, as is well know for ascending air saturating, not descending air. Difficult to get cause and effect in the right order, but there it is.
    Are you saying that condensation does not happen when the temperature drops at constant pressure?
    Increase of cloud cover is part of it, so of course water is left, and they show it.
    Then there is something seriously wrong with the programing:
    CO2 has maybe 10% of the spectrum coverage of H2O, and is 5% or so in ppms. I am saying that water overlaps in the function of radiation absorption and emission the rest of the greenhouse gases.
    There is no way that solutions of macroscopic thermodynamic equations can separate CO2 from H2O in their functions as absorbers and radiators.
    Lets put it another way. According to the logic of programming you defend, if 5% of water vapor is removed the downslope to an ice age should start precipitously, because solutions of macroscopic thermodynamic equations do not know CO2 from H2O. As we know much larger diminutions of H2O do not herald the ice age where they happen.
    That is physics.
    So their prejudices must be in by hand in the program, and then, surprise surprise, they find them.

  88. A Lacis says:
    October 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm……… There is absolutely no reason to be ignoring the physics that we know for sure is there……
    Really? What a strange statement, ponderous and utterly meaningless.
    As in reply…. davidmhoffer says:
    October 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm……… The physics to which you refer is not in fact physics. Your paper and your explanation above are clearly a computer model that simulates the results of your assumptions regarding the physics. Your attempt to construe one as the other is shameful……….
    Quite so.
    As anna v observes
    anna v says:
    October 22, 2010 at 10:05 pm…… It is not possible for all the water vapor to condense and precipitate. at a given temperature.
    Only too true.
    Whereas Jim D says:
    October 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm…anna v, the paper in the article you link to is actually bogus. They seem to think condensation causes the pressure to drop, when actually the condensation is caused by the pressure dropping, as is well know for ascending air saturating, not descending air. Difficult to get cause and effect in the right order, but there it is…..
    Bogus eh? strong stuff which sounds impressive: still it is certainly clear that some people are very confused about cause and effect.
    Again as anna v observes in reply:
    anna v says:
    October 23, 2010 at 12:00 am…. Are you saying that condensation does not happen when the temperature drops at constant pressure?
    Indeed. That’s the style Anna: roll ’em up horse, foot and guns.
    Time we cut through this trashy pseudo scientific charlatansim with with some hard physics.
    Cause and effect indeed! next they will be telling us that mechanism is cause not vice versa. Oh wait they are. Must be something to do with all these clever calculating engines you know. Useful for those who can’t think I suppose, they imagine the engine does it for them. And what it says is true.
    Consult Mr. Briggs about that: he would put it much more concisely than I.
    Interesting times.
    Kindest Regards

  89. The so called Greenhouse effect is provided primarily by our oceans. The gases in the atmosphere provide but a trivial portion of that effect. The CO2 in the air even less and the human contribution less still:
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=1487&linkbox=true&position=3
    “The Hot Water Bottle Effect”
    Then the other main omission from all this is the potential for variability in energy flows from oceans to air (ocean induced) and from air to space (solar induced) that is vastly greater than from any variations in any atmospheric portion of the greenhouse effect.
    And, then there is the new data from Joanna Haigh which confirms my suspicion that the temperature of the stratosphere which then controls the air pressure distribution patterns in the troposphere is in reality controlled by the temperature of the mesosphere above rather than by the level of incoming UV acting on stratospheric ozone.
    In turn the temperature of the mesosphere is controlled by the number of incoming solar protons which variably deplete ozone in the mesosphere to reverse the temperature trend of the mesosphere (and the stratosphere below) as against that of the thermosphere.
    So an active sun with a stronger solar wind destroys more ozone in the mesosphere which then cools. The temperature of the stratosphere then declines with the tropopause rising and the air circulation systems being drawn poleward.
    Ozone holes the occur at the poles because the solar protons being charged particles are pulled in at the poles where maximum destruction of mesospheric ozone then occurs and varies closely with the strength of the solar wind.
    Climate change can therefore have a link with both the solar wind and the interaction between the magnetic fields of sun and Earth as many have previously commented.
    The poleward movement of the global cloud bands decreases albedo by reducing total cloud quantities and reducing cloud reflectance as the clouds move to regions of less powerful sunlight.
    More energy then enters the system from more solar shortwave entering the oceans. The oceans then ration and regulate the rate of release of that energy back to the air.
    Full discussion here:
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6482
    “New Climate Model – First Review”.
    Until the models are updated appropriately the real world observations will never follow projections.

  90. anna v says:
    October 23, 2010 at 12:00 am…. Are you saying that condensation does not happen when the temperature drops at constant pressure?
    This is not a reversible adiabatic process. They are talking about a reversible process, but fail to see it in the lagrangian frame of reference. I think they will get their Eureka moment when they see how contrails form over airplane wings. Do the contrails cause the pressure to drop or vice versa?
    Then they talk about an initially isothermal atmosphere that cools till condensation occurs. This is not how convection works, but their paper is about convective processes. They need to go down the hall and talk to some cloud physicists.

  91. anna v, on the point about H2O and CO2, you don’t seem to realize GCM physics clearly can distinguish the absorption lines of H2O and CO2 and integrate this effect into their solutions. Lacis was at the forefront of research in these details of radiative transfer in the atmosphere, so of course this in included.

  92. Jim D says:
    October 23, 2010 at 8:15 am
    on the point about H2O and CO2, you don’t seem to realize GCM physics clearly can distinguish the absorption lines of H2O and CO2 and integrate this effect into their solutions.
    I realize very well that these people should go back and do a solid thermodynamics graduate course so they can realize that there is no “GCM physics”, just physics that must not be misused. Misuse of physics becomes evident when simple thermodynamic concepts are violated, as the fact that in thermodynamics there is no way to separate which radiation comes from what molecule.

  93. George E. Smith (October 22, 2010 at 9:16 am ) referring to Michael Hammer (Oct 22, 2010 at 12.13 am) accuses him of being wrong about total solar irradiance because he used a value of 340W/ m^2 at the top of the atmosphere rather than George’s figure of 1366 W/ m^2. He says that there is no justification for dividing the higher number by 4 and cannot understand why people do it (“I don’t know why climatists insist on dividing the TSI by 4, as if the weather and climate responds to the average energy impinging on the surface. Try to get a desert surface temperature of +60 to + 90 degrees C, with 340 W/m^2 impinging on it continuously, 24/7”).
    Oh really?
    Whilst he is technically correct that the TSI (as measured empirically by satellite instrumentation) is 1366W/ m^2 and not 340W/ m^2, the reason why Michael used ¼ of the TSI figure is because he was averaging the energy flow (i) over the whole of the globe rather than just the illuminated hemisphere facing the Sun (so divide by 2); and (ii) over the whole of the hemispherical surface, which (by school geometry) is twice the earth’s cross-sectional area presented to the Sun (so divide by 2 again). It’s true that Michael should not have claimed that the 340W/ m^2 number is the TSI but nevertheless he has the right number to get the right conclusion because, when employed along with Stefan’s Law to calculate the average temperature of a ‘black body’ Earth without any atmosphere, the result is indeed around 5 or 6 degC.
    Of course with a TSI of 1366W/ m^2, the Solar Insulation at or near the equator at 12noon on a cloudless day would indeed be close to 1366W/m^2 because (a) that particular square meter is normal to the Sun’s rays; and (b) it is midday not midnight. So there’s no conflict there either.
    Actually there’s a simpler way of calculating that the average temperature of ‘black body’ Earth is 6degC without even using the TSI. You just divide the Sun’s diameter (1,392,000,000m) by four times the Earth-to-Sun distance (149,598,000,000m). Take the square root of the result and multiply it by the Sun’s surface temperature (5800K). Try it!

  94. David Hoffer (10:43pm) and anna v. (12:00am) have adequately exposed the aphysical nonsense that Lacis et al. espouse as “known physics.” I only add the observation that their appeal to a hand-waving distinction between radiative forcing and “feedback” reveals a total ignorance of how feedback control systems operate. Such systems sense the output (without putting any load on it) and via an independently powered feedback loop return a facsimile of the output for algebraic addition to the input. The system itself is physically immutable.
    Nothing in the planetary climate system acts that way to affect the input solar irradiance or the responses that it produces. What we have instead is an adaptive sytem, which, through phase changes of water, alters its physical response characteristics to the immutable forcing provided by solar irradiance. That results in different temperatures being observed as a state variable, depending on how much of the atmospheric H2O is in the condensed state of water droplets or ice crystals found in clouds.
    CO2 has no demonstrable effect upon such phase changes. Furthermore, changes in its concentration invariably LAG temperature changes on all frequency scales that show any significant coherence between the two time-series. One has to be blind to the basic requirements of causal system behavior to claim that, in the geophysical setting, CO2 acts a “control knob.” It may have varied concommitantly with temperature changes in the past, but it never forced those changes. Man-made changes in present-day concentrations have produces no detectible changes in temperature that are coherent with the recent CO2 record. Such are the basic physical facts as OBSERVED empirically, instead of being IMPUTED by programming models.

  95. Jim D says:
    October 23, 2010 at 8:10 am
    First of all contrails are not produced by the flow of air over an aeroplane’s wing as you seem to suppose. Contrails are the result of condensation of the water in the engine exhaust whether that engine is piston or jet.
    In humid air the formation of vortices at the tips of the wings and/or flaps can produce a visible trail due to the the condensation of water at the tip of the cone of the vortex where both temperature and pressure are very low: but the intensity of the forces involved to do this exceed anything found in the natural atmospheric system by a magnitude or more.
    Likewise the shock waves around any body, usually some kind of aircraft, moving close to transonic speeds can sometimes form a condensation cloud about itself which remains bound to it.
    Whilst convenient for calculation and fairly precise for permanent gasses neither the Lagrangian nor the Euler flow fields can be used directly for gasses which contain a significant amount of condensible vapour such as humid air because they cannot handle the abrupt discontinuity in volume and temperature that result from sudden condensation. Nor in the case of humid air can they take into account the resultant precipitation of the condensate.
    The only way to use them in such circumstances is compensating for this by making and applying approximations which may or may not be appropriate since they cannot be validated by direct observation.
    So you see the article anna v linked to here:
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/456345/
    may take an elementary approach but it is none the worse for that and far from being unsound is definitely not bogus as you so cavalierly suggest.
    Kindest Regards

  96. a jones, thanks for clearing up the contrails definition issue. I guess I was referring to what you see over the wings in near-saturated conditions which is decidedly due to pressure reduction, and probably is not often referred to as a contrail, though I am not sure of the proper name for it.
    Condensation in convection occurs as air ascends and its pressure and temperature reduce eventually enough to reach saturation. In a reversible process, therefore, pressure reduction is necessary but not sufficient for condensation. More importantly you can’t get air to condense reversibly (adiabatically) unless you reduce the pressure first. It doesn’t happen spontaneously. So in this sense it is obvious that condensation is accompanied by a pressure reduction following the air parcel (lagrangian frame of reference). The paper therefore is not saying anything that is not trivially true when it says condensation goes with a pressure drop, since it is like saying it goes with rising air. The later argument about condensing out water in a moist saturated column seems disconnected with the first, because its pressure reduction is hydrostatic due to loss of condensate, another well known phenomenon. The idea of anything new here is not proven, making the claim of a new theory in the paper’s title bogus.

  97. Stephen Wilde says:
    October 23, 2010 at 3:08 am
    __________Reply;
    You are still leaving out the importance of the Lunar tides in the atmosphere, the declinational component moves the surges of tropical air masses off of the ITCZ with every equatorial crossing and brings them into the mid-latitudes to create the Rossby waves and the jet streams that form their boundaries.
    Until you address the production of the multiple patterns of the ocean basin oscillations that are created by the lunar tides, and the interactions with the planetary heliocentric conjunctions, that send pulses of energy into the cyclonic patterns of global circulation, you will never be able to predict anything out farther than 5 to 7 days.

  98. Thank you Richard but I don’t try to predict anything at this stage.
    My purpose is to ascertain how the system works in practice so that we can discern the current long term direction of temperature trend in the troposphere and ascertain changes in the direction of such trends as soon as possible after they occur.
    Once the direction of trend has been determined then that can assist in shorter term predictions or projections.
    Those longer term trends seem to be much longer than any lunar induced trends in the atmosphere or oceans might be and I don’t need to identify those shorter term effects for my current purposes.
    Once I have achieved general recognition of the model changes that are needed to identify the direction and scale of underlying trends then I might focus on shorter term aspects of the system but in the meantime people such as yourself are coming up with interesting ideas and if you can fit them into my over arching scenario then all well and good.

  99. anna v says:
    October 23, 2010 at 11:54 am
    Jim D says:
    October 23, 2010 at 8:15 am
    “on the point about H2O and CO2, you don’t seem to realize GCM physics clearly can distinguish the absorption lines of H2O and CO2 and integrate this effect into their solutions.”
    I realize very well that these people should go back and do a solid thermodynamics graduate course so they can realize that there is no “GCM physics”, just physics that must not be misused. Misuse of physics becomes evident when simple thermodynamic concepts are violated, as the fact that in thermodynamics there is no way to separate which radiation comes from what molecule.

    It’s called spectroscopy, it’s used to determine how much CO2 there is in an automobile exhaust for example!
    See here for an example of parts of the CO2 and H2O IR spectra:
    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/H2OCO2.gif

  100. Phil. says:
    October 24, 2010 at 8:02 am
    It’s called spectroscopy, it’s used to determine how much CO2 there is in an automobile exhaust for example!
    And in what chapter of thermodynamics does spectroscopy reside?
    And thank you, I have already linked to the spectra of CO2 and H2O above.
    From the beginning I have been saying that the confusion in climate science is in mixing up physics systems . Thermodynamics is one full self contained system and is the one appropriate to describe macroscopic behavior of bulk matter.
    Quantum mechanics is usually the province of dimensions hbar . There are exceptions, lasers, superconductivity, superfluidity, semiconductors,.. where macroscopic effects, some bulk, are ruled by quantum mechanical rules. The underlying unifier is “coherence”. When macroscopic states retain coherence than macroscopic quantum effects can appear.
    The atmosphere/land/oceans system is not a system where coherence can manifest, and thus it is ruled by ordinary thermodynamics. It makes no difference that individual molecules have a spectrum.
    Once the photon leaves the molecule it falls in the province of radiation thermodynamics, it does not have the tag of its parent . CO2 and H2O radiations are interchangable thermodynamically.

  101. Have “David Hoffer (10:43pm) and anna v. (12:00am) have adequately exposed the aphysical nonsense that Lacis et al. espouse as “known physics.”” ? No. Of course not.
    But they have demonstrated that they do not understand the basic physics of radiative transfer. Most basic to doing accurate radiative transfer is spectroscopy. As noted by Phil (Oct 24 8:02 am) “it’s used to determine how much CO2 there is in an automobile exhaust for example!”
    All absorbing gases in the atmosphere have a unique spectrum comprised of literally thousands of absorption lines (which serve as identifying fingerprints for each gas). We utilize what is called line-by-line calculations to insure that the radiative effects of each absorption line for each absorbing gas in the atmosphere are properly included and accounted for. Furthermore, radiative transfer deals only with whatever gases are in the atmosphere at the moment of the radiative transfer calculation, and not on how the gases got into the atmosphere, or whether they might condense and precipitate – that involves a different type of physics that is also handled by the GCM.
    As the first step in radiative transfer modeling of the atmosphere, it is necessary to define the optical depth at each wavelength of the spectrum, going layer by layer throughout the atmosphere. (The optical depth is the product of the amount of the absorbing gas times the monochromatic absorption coefficient at the wavelength in question.) Monochromatic optical depths are linearly additive, say H2O plus CO2, plus anything else that may be absorbing at that wavelength. The corresponding transmission and absorption at that wavelength is given by the so-called Beer’s Law absorption (which is exponential extinction, or exp[- optical depth] on your hand calculator). Thermal emission involves a further step of making use of Kirchhofff’s Law which basically states that monochromatic thermal emission is equal to the Planck function evaluated at the layer temperature times the monochromatic absorptivity of that layer.
    Doing the radiative transfer calculation for the current composition of the atmosphere tells us that the surface temperature of the Earth is about 60 F warmer than it would be if there were no absorbing gases in the atmosphere (the terrestrial greenhouse effect). We can perform the same (spectroscopic) radiative transfer calculations for different combinations of atmospheric greenhouse gases to establish that water vapor accounts for about 50% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%, CO2 contributing 20%, and other minor GHGs the remaining 5%.
    As we demonstrated in the Science paper, water vapor (about 90% of the current atmospheric amount) rapidly precipitated from the atmosphere when the non-condesing GHGs were zeroed out, because water vapor works like a feedback effect, showing clearly that it is the non-condensing GHGs that sustain the terrestrial greenhouse effect. Since CO2 accounts for 80% of the non-condensing GHG radiative forcing that sustains the terrestrial greenhouse effect, this makes atmospheric CO2 the principal control knob that governs the temperature of Earth.
    Obviously, there is no obligation for you to take our word for accuracy of these conclusions. However, you are more than welcome to make full use of the basic facts and physics and perform your own verification of what is happening with global climate. If you go and do these calculations correctly, I feel more than confident that you will also reach the same basic conclusions.

  102. “”””” David Socrates says:
    October 23, 2010 at 11:57 am
    George E. Smith (October 22, 2010 at 9:16 am ) referring to Michael Hammer (Oct 22, 2010 at 12.13 am) accuses him of being wrong about total solar irradiance because he used a value of 340W/ m^2 at the top of the atmosphere rather than George’s figure of 1366 W/ m^2. He says that there is no justification for dividing the higher number by 4 and cannot understand why people do it (“I don’t know why climatists insist on dividing the TSI by 4, as if the weather and climate responds to the average energy impinging on the surface. Try to get a desert surface temperature of +60 to + 90 degrees C, with 340 W/m^2 impinging on it continuously, 24/7”).
    Oh really? “””””
    Well yes Really.
    Trenberth gives the thermal emission from the earth surface as 390 W/m^2 which is the calculated Black Body Radiation corresponding to a mean Temperature of 288K or +15 deg C
    Soo clearly Michael’s 340 W/m^2 solar input is not enough to raise the surface Temperature even to +15 deg C and it certainly isn’tanywhere near enough to heat a tropical desert surface to +60 deg C or a hot pavement to + 90 deg C, even with total absorption. But something in the area of 1000 W/m^2 left over from the TSI value of 1366, after atmospheric losses to O2, O3, and H2O, and tiny bit to CO at 2.7 microns certainly is enough to reach those surface Temperatures.
    I’ve only been doing Black Body Radiation Calculations as part of my job for about 50 years but I have already stumbled to that “trick” of deducing a Temperature from solar radii, and earth orbit radii; and I also do a lot of Optical Image and Illumination calculations on a regular basis, so I know how to get from a diffuse roughly Lambertian emitting surface to a n absorbing/scattering/ reflecting/emitting surface like a cloud, and how to apply the inverse 4th power with distance fall off (round trip) as wll as the cosin^8 (obliquity angle) to figure out how much returns to the starting point.
    But when Mother Gaia starts adjusting earth’s weather and clmate according to statistical averages, instead of real time actual values; then we will have a planet devoid of any Temperature gradients, and energy/atmosphere/ocean currents so no weather or climate variations either.
    Atmospheric water which is a permanent component in all three phases in the atmosphere (and the only one that is) ALWAYS reduces the amount of incoming solar spectrum energy that reaches the earth surface (land or ocean) no matter where and how that water is disperesed in the atmosphere. There are NO exceptions; more water vapor, or more clouds is ALWAYS less solar insolation at the surface; no matter what.
    And if what Gavin et al say about CO2 and all other non condensing GHGs providing 25% of heating and H2O vapor and clouds providing 75% via feedback; then you have an oscillator, not a warming amplifier, since the loop gain is clearly greater than one; and in thermal systems you always have thermal time constant delays, that virtually always provide enough phase shift to guarantee oscillation; and with Gavin’s loop gain of four it is bound tbe a limit to limit oscillation; and so far that has never been observed; well in the last 600 million years.
    Gavin compleltely misses the point that without H2O in the atmosphere there would be no cloud albedo effect or water vapor attenuation of incoming solar, and the ground level solar insolation would be much nearer to 1366 than to 1000, so you would have a massive additional heating of the oceans which woul soon put plenty of H2O in the atmosphere.
    His experiment is a complete fiction; CO2 levels have never been lower that the present levels by much more than one doubling; so the temperature could never have been lower than about 12 deg C if the IPCCs 3 deg per doubling was correct; and in fact it hasn’t ever been lower than 12 deg C globally nor more than 22 deg C despite at least five doublings fromt he lowest CO2 levels. Without clouds, the earth albedo would be much lower and the equlibrium BB Temperature of earth would be much closer to 288 K than to 255 K; so their frozen iceball “experimental result” is a total myth.

  103. anna v says: “Once the photon leaves the molecule it falls in the province of radiation thermodynamics, it does not have the tag of its parent . CO2 and H2O radiations are interchangable thermodynamically.”
    In the radiation physics of models, they account for the fact the photons of different wavelength bands have different ranges in different absorbing gases. You are referring to broadband models that have not been used for a few decades now, but even those considered ‘overlap’ effects of CO2 and H2O by separating the calculations.

  104. George E. Smith says:
    October 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm
    “And if what Gavin et al say about CO2 and all other non condensing GHGs providing 25% of heating and H2O vapor and clouds providing 75% via feedback; then you have an oscillator, not a warming amplifier, since the loop gain is clearly greater than one; and in thermal systems you always have thermal time constant delays, that virtually always provide enough phase shift to guarantee oscillation; and with Gavin’s loop gain of four it is bound tbe a limit to limit oscillation; and so far that has never been observed; well in the last 600 million years.”
    Very good. I never took the “water vapor feedback” argument seriously enough to think it through to this consequence. But that really kills it for good.

  105. Jim D says:
    October 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm
    Yes you can sometimes see the effect you describe in very humid air close to saturation. It is not due to the mean pressure reduction over the wing however. Much as we might be unhappy about it the streamline flow over the upper surface of a wing is far from perfect so small scale turbulence starts to enter it at some point behind the leading edge: which increases the drag. Again this micro-turbulence creates regions of extreme temperature and pressure drop causing air to condense: and the effect is amplified if the air contains tiny particulates of low mass and very small aerodynamic profile, classically smokes, which can become entrained in these miniscule vortices and serve to provide a centre for nucleation of the water vapour.
    Now we may have been at cross purposes because I assumed you were referring to the article written by Jeff Id here: http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/456345/ but now realise you may have meant the actual paper referred to in it here: http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/24015/2010/acpd-10-24015-2010.pdf.
    So although I almost never bother reading climate science papers, they generally regurgitate trivia, and let good scientists like Pielke senior direct me toward more interesting ones, but usually the abstract is all that is needed, I thought I had better read this one before commenting further, and did, and indeed looked up the previous papers as well.
    Apparently this paper is causing some excitement in the climate world not least because it points out failings in the GCM models. I really cannot get excited about this, GCM models and their underlying assumptions are so full of flaws what does one more matter? However much money is spent on them they are neither use nor ornament.
    Moreover almost any scientific paper is built upon previous knowledge and to call it bogus on the grounds that much of it is already known is strong stuff: by that standard 99% of papers would be such.
    No the author’s claim of a new model is reasonable and they do acknowledge previous work and attempts to do this: of course at a time sixty years ago when nobody was very interested.
    What in effect has become a world where numerical computation backed by enormous computing power is used to supposedly solve navier stokes equations they are trying to produce a solution using classical thermodynamics. It is very interesting that the lead author’s previous papers tried to consider these things in terms of the Carnot cycle. Well, on the right track I would say.
    But they still have a long way to go: just as numerical models omit all but selected data as being too difficult to deal with they have not fully incorporated all of the necessary thermodynamics. I saw no dlelta G, the Gibbs free energy, in the papers. Perhaps they will get round to it.
    So actually I think it is moderately original and interesting: but as aforesaid they have a long way to go yet.
    Kindest Regards.

  106. a jones, OK, I ended up putting a longer comment on that paper on Climate, Etc., but Air Vent had a good discussion too. Basically my view has not changed much, but the pressure-drop issue is interesting, though I think 3 different interpretations of that seem to be bandied about in the discussions. I mentioned 2 here, and a 3rd one in Climate, Etc., but I can’t claim to know which one the authors were talking about.

  107. Jim D says:
    October 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm
    anna v says: “Once the photon leaves the molecule it falls in the province of radiation thermodynamics, it does not have the tag of its parent . CO2 and H2O radiations are interchangable thermodynamically.”
    In the radiation physics of models, they account for the fact the photons of different wavelength bands have different ranges in different absorbing gases. You are referring to broadband models that have not been used for a few decades now, but even those considered ‘overlap’ effects of CO2 and H2O by separating the calculations.

    I am not referring to any atmospheric radiation physics models.
    I am referring to the basics of axiomatic theories to make the statement.
    The assumption that because CO2 is stable while H2O has phase transitions CO2 radiation is more important than H2O radiation would only make sense if H2O could completely disappear from the atmosphere. As long as it remains there to the level of creating clouds, i.e. much larger quantities than the puny CO2 covers now, the model is basically violating thermodynamics.
    Actually, in my opinion, they have shot themselves in the foot: they have proven their model is wrong and that in a peer reviewed publication !!!.

  108. A Lacis says:
    October 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    But they have demonstrated that they do not understand the basic physics of radiative transfer. Most basic to doing accurate radiative transfer is spectroscopy. As noted by Phil (Oct 24 8:02 am) “it’s used to determine how much CO2 there is in an automobile exhaust for example!”
    You mean a computer model of radiative transfer, no? No, I have not delved into them.
    BUT in order to see if energy conservation is violated one does not have to enter every spectral line, because energy is defined in various systems. Spectroscopy and spectral lines belong to quantum mechanics and at a stretch quantum statistical mechanics. In each system there is energy conservation appearing in different forms. Thermodynamics, which is a meta-level over quantum statistical mechanics, has a different formulation of energy, still energy conservation laws are strictly defined.
    If you want to use spectroscopy for the atmosphere you should do it with the formulation of quantum statistical mechanics, ensembles and all. From what I know all calculations are done with classical thermodynamic equations. In classical thermodynamics the molecular parent of radiation is irrelevant, the energy spectrum is. By introducing a non thermodynamic gauge/logic you are violating the basic assumptions on which rest the solutions of the equations that give this bizzare result.
    The presence or absence of a molecule could make a difference in the spectrum, if only CO2 were left most of the atmosphere would be transparent. BUT you still have water vapor when you remove the rest, if you have clouds, and water vapor covers the hole of CO2 and your assumptions fall on their face. The rational result if your model were correct would be to show that the temperatures with CO2 are higher than without CO2.
    Actually, that would be the first test I would be making if I were building a model. And btw I have been working with computer model simulations for over forty years, from when the models were primitive, in particle physics.
    As I said above, you have proven your model is wrong.

  109. I note that the concentration of H2O in the atmosphere may be over 4,000 ppm near the surface and is less than 10 ppm at the base of the stratosphere. This allows H2O to have the lowest IR radiation escape altitude of any major greenhouse gas. I suspect the authors of this article, by concentrating on CO2 may have been too quick to dismiss the role H2O has on warming and cooling the lower atmosphere. I think we need to know if the -60 degree tropopause temperature level is free to respond to surface temperature changes like a leaf in the wind or if it is more or less anchored to its position in the atmosphere.
    I note that most H2O IR emission lines do not appear to coincide with CO2 absorption spectra. At the top of the troposphere, these are the emissions that must finally export convected thermal energy to outer space.

  110. “”””” A Lacis says:
    October 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    Have “David Hoffer (10:43pm) and anna v. (12:00am) have adequately exposed the aphysical nonsense that Lacis et al. espouse as “known physics.”” ? No. Of course not.
    But they have demonstrated that they do not understand the basic physics of radiative transfer. Most basic to doing accurate radiative transfer is spectroscopy. As noted by Phil (Oct 24 8:02 am) “it’s used to determine how much CO2 there is in an automobile exhaust for example!” “””””
    I didn’t bother to cut and paste your entire post; just enough to identify the post. People can go and read the original.
    I didn’t see anything in your post; or for that matter in your SCIENCE paper; where you elaborated on the fact that H2O in any and ALL of its three phases as a permanent component of the atmospehre, in ALL of those three phases; ALWAYS reduces the amount of incoming solar spectrum ground level insolation.
    Since it is primarily solar spectrum energy directly from the sun; that proceeds deeply into the ocean where it stores for a considerable time; whereas; as is well known, downwelling LWIR thermal radiation from the (GHH and solar )warmed atmospehre is all absorbed in about the top 50 microns (five times the 1/e absorption depth) of the ocean (mostly) surface; where it is most likely to cause prompt evaporation of more H2O, than it is to proceed by conduction into the ocean depths; then one would conclude that anthing that ALWAYS reduces the ground level solar insolation must result in overall cooling; since it is THAT solar radiation; that is just about the ONLY significant external energy input to this planet.
    And more clouds and water vapor of any kind; anywhere in the atmosphere always (no exceptions) reduces ground level solar energy.
    Also I didn’t notice in your SCIENCE paper; that a massive reduction of H2O in the atmosphere would eventually lead to a reduction of cloud cover; and the earth albedo would collapse; so the equilibrium black body temperature of the earth would increase above the usual 255 K given for the present assumed value of albedo; most of which results from cloud cover; not from snow or ice cover. The reduction from a TSI of 1366 W/m^2 to about 1000 W/m^2 ( at the surface) by the atmosphere (clear sky) is largely due to H2O and of course O2, O3, and to a minor extent CO2 in the 2.7 micron band. Absent that loss, and the earth equilibrium Temperature is not far different from 288 K, which is what it is claimed to be at present.
    There’s a reason for snow and ice in the polar regions; there’s not much ground level solar irradiation of those surfaces so even if they have high reflectance; and the open water would because of the increase in Fresnel reflectance beyond the Brewster angle; there’s not much energy to reflect.
    Your SCIENCE paper completley ignores the atmospehric effcts on the direct energy input fromt he sun; and you would have the mother of all warming “forcings”; if atmospheric water plummeted; and let more sunlight in.

  111. I should add to the above that Frank Wentz (RSS) et al in SCIENCE for July-7 2007; “How Much More Rain will Global Warming Bring?” cite satellite observations to show that a one deg C rise in mean global surface temeprature results in a 7% increase in each of; Total global water evaporation, total Atmospheric water content; and total global precipitation; which must balance evaporation.
    This was in sharp conflict with the GCMs which they assert that while agreeing on the atmospheric water content increase, only predicted a 1% to 3% increase in evap/precip. That’s as much as a factor of 7 discrepancy between actual observations (reality) and computer model predictions.
    They did not state; but I have conjectured that a 7% increase in total global precipitation would likely be accompanied by about a 7% increase in total precipitable cloud; since it is fashionable to have clouds with your precipitation. That increase could be in the form of increased cloud area, increased cloud optical density, or increased cloud persistence time; or some combination of those.
    In which case one would expect that a one degree C increase in mean global Temperature would result in a sizeable reduction in ground level solar spectrum insolation; both from the 7% increase in H2O vapor with its significant solar spectrum absorption; and the decrease in ground sunlight due toe increased cloud top reflection, and increased cloud absorption of incoming solar energy.
    That to me is a simply huge negative feedback cooling effect; regardless of what the water does with the secondary issue of surface or atmospheric LWIR thermal radiation.
    So how come you continue to run your models with the assumption that H2O vapor and clouds area positive feedback warming effect.
    Wentz et al’s data also supports my contention that a cooling results in significant cloud reduction (I conjecture of the order of 7% per deg C of cooling); whcih of course then allows an increased ground level solar insolation which would stop the cooling in its tracks.
    I suggest that it is the water in all its three phases that controls earth’s Temperature and not CO2; which can’t even hold up the temperature at night in a high altitude arid desert (sans H2O).

  112. As a concluding comment on this topic, it appears to me that perhaps the greatest obstacle in conducting a meaningful discussion on the role of atmospheric CO2 as the principal cause of the ongoing global warming, is the apparent lack the lack of basic understanding of radiative transfer, and of the operating mechanics of the terrestrial greenhouse effect.
    Unfortunately, there is no “Radiative Transfer for Dummies” book on the market that would provide a quick study of the essential principles. There are a number of technical books that are available by Goody, Mishchenko, Liou, Stephens, among others. There is also a fairly readable “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation” by Grant Petty. But all of these books require a significant investment of time and effort to achieve some degree of fluency in radiative transfer aspects, particularly those with application to solar and thermal radiative transfer in climate modeling applications.
    It may be a coincidence, but I know of no one who has a good understanding of atmospheric radiative transfer who is also a skeptic about global warming.

  113. “It may be a coincidence, but I know of no one who has a good understanding of atmospheric radiative transfer who is also a skeptic about global warming.”
    It may be a coincidence but I know of no one who has a good understanding of atmospheric non radiative transfer (of energy) who is also a believer about (anthropogenic) global warming.
    How about those believers getting a grip on the true scale and speed of variability of non radiative transfers before they start pretending that they know what they are talking about ?
    This appears to me to be what is really going on:
    “Why Have The Jet Streams Moved Back Toward The Equator ?
    When global warming alarmism was largely unopposed the observed poleward
    shift of the jet streams until around 2000 was described as a permanent
    consequence of our CO2 emissions.
    Although I spotted the reversal of that trend as long ago as 2000 it is only
    now that those more recent changes have started to be acknowledged by the
    mainstream. Meanwhile the global warming proponents have been silent on the
    issue.
    There is new data from solar expert Joanna Haigh which confirms my suspicion
    that the temperature of the stratosphere (which then controls the air
    pressure distribution patterns in the troposphere below) is in reality
    controlled by the temperature of the mesosphere above it rather than by the
    level of incoming UV acting on stratospheric ozone.
    In turn the temperature of the mesosphere is controlled by the number of
    incoming solar protons which variably deplete ozone in the mesosphere to
    reverse the temperature trend of the mesosphere (and the stratosphere below)
    as against that of the thermosphere and the troposphere.
    So an active sun with a stronger solar wind destroys more ozone in the
    mesosphere which then cools. The temperature of the stratosphere then
    declines with the tropopause rising and the air circulation systems being
    drawn poleward. The opposite process occurs when the sun is quiet.
    It is only possible to see a poleward shift in the jets if the stratosphere
    cools and the tropopause rises and for an equatorward drift the stratosphere
    must warm and the tropopause fall. Observations therefore require that the
    sign of the solar effect on the stratosphere must be reversed as per Haigh’s
    data. When the sun was more active the stratosphere cooled and the jets
    moved poleward but that cannot happen if the correct sign for the
    stratospheric response is warming because that would drive the jets back
    equatorward instead.
    Furthermore human CO2 cannot be the cause because during the Mediaeval Warm
    Period the jets were more poleward when the sun was more active. It has to
    be the natural order of things.
    Ozone holes then develop at the poles because the solar protons being
    charged particles are pulled in at the poles where maximum destruction of
    mesospheric ozone then occurs and the size of the holes varies closely with
    the strength of the solar wind.
    Climate change is therefore also linked link with both the solar wind and
    the interaction between the magnetic fields of sun and Earth as many have
    previously suggested.
    The poleward movement of the global cloud bands decreases albedo by reducing
    total cloud quantities and reducing cloud reflectance as the clouds move to
    regions of less powerful sunlight.
    More energy then enters the system from more solar shortwave entering the
    oceans. The oceans then ration and regulate the rate of release of that
    energy back to the air.
    So an active sun still gives a warming Earth system and a quiet sun gives a
    cooling Earth system but not in the way usually proposed. It is an indirect
    process greatly amplified by the albedo changes.
    This is a matter that still needs to be understood and applied correctly by
    both sceptics and warming proponents alike.”
    I know of no model that gives due weight to the effect of solar proton variability on the ozone content of the mesosphere and so the temperature consequences in both mesosphere and stratosphere.

  114. So far, I have not been able to find a single chart that shows the spectrum of infra-red energy radiated from the atmosphere at the tropopause and escapes to outer space. All the charts that I have found seem to show radiation from the surface that has been attenuated by the various greenhouse-gas absorption-bands and they usually stop at wavelengths shorter than 6 microns. All the heat that is being convected upward must escape to outer space or else we have a situation like a blocked chimney.
    When I do not see standard and openly available measurements of the thermal spectrum of convection-column radiation escaping the Earth’s atmosphere, I am not confident that the state of knowledge on this subject is sufficiently mature to make valid assessments of the role of CO2. There must be some reason other than the convection-driven adiabatic lapse rate for tropopause temperatures being as cold as minus sixty degrees C.

  115. I don’t know why my modest contribution of October 23, 2010 at 11:57 am should have brought forth such an onslaught from George Smith (October 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm) .
    All I was doing was explaining why when talking about global averages one has to divide the incoming solar flux by 4. I also though I had dealt with his (valid) point that the average value so determined wouldn’t be enough to heat up a desert floor (he says “Try to get a desert surface temperature of +60 to + 90 degrees C, with 340 W/m^2 impinging on it continuously, 24/7”). Yes, as I said before, of course 340W/m^2, even shining continuously for 24 hours, wouldn’t do it because that’s not high enough– duh! But near the equator at midday for a few hours the flux would be more like the incoming solar flux of 1366 W/m^2, multiplied by 0.7 to take into account the Earth’s reflectivity (albedo), i.e. 956 W/m^2. Using Stefan’s Law, F = σT4, where F is the radiative flux in W/m^2, σ is the Stafan-Boltzmann constant, and T is the absolute temperature in degrees Kelvin, and substituting F = 956 W/ m^2 and σ = 5.670400 x 10-8 W m^-2 K^-4 gives a surface temperature of 360K or 87degC. Hot enough for you, George?
    The rest of his rant was just showing off. If he knows so much more than the rest of us, what a pity he doesn’t take a more positive approach and help us to advance our puny knowledge. Otherwise we will collectively fall into the warmist trap of writing self-congratulatory stuff that does not move the argument along in any useful direction. Since we are all on the same side, that would be madness.

  116. A Lacis says:
    October 24, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    A Lacis says:
    October 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm
    Predictably, your reasoning in above-cited posts ignores the fundamental principle of causal system phase relationship that I raised in my 12:54pm post on 10/23 and diverts attention to the radiative transfer calculations done by computer models, as if that was all that mattered in determining the thermodynamics of the climate system.
    Laboratory spectroscopy of various gases (which can produce appreciably
    different absorption/transmission spectra, depending on whether cylinders
    or slabs are subjected to radiation) is far from definitive of the
    atmospheric heat transfer, where H20 vapor bands overlap that of the trace
    GHGs. Beer’s law of additive optical depths does not apply intact in such
    cases. And when convection and phase changes take place, radiative
    transfer alone becomes wholly inadequate in characterizing the total flux
    of thermal energy through the system. It is that flux, rather than the
    radiative spectral distribution that (along with the specific heat of the
    substance and its in situ density) determines the temperatures obtained.
    What is physically nonsensical is the premise that, absent any CO2, H20
    would completely precipitate out of the atmosphere and the “greenhouse
    effect” would collapse. Forced convection due to differential heating of
    the surface is not at all dependent on an absorbent atmosphere creating a superadiabatic lapse rate and inducing overturning convection. And we know
    that, even at ice-age terrestrial temperatures, moist convection still
    takes place, most certainly in the tropics, where all plant species would
    become extinct very quickly without precipitation. As careful energy
    transfer experiments from different climate zones around the globe have
    shown consistently, it is that chaotic transfer of sensible and latent heat
    to the bulk constituents, rather than absorption by trace GHGs, that
    dominates in warming the base of the troposphere. And that is precisely
    where backradiation–the essence of the capacitive “greenhouse
    effect”–is discharged.
    It seems that you and your colleagues are unacqainted with the workings of thermodynamic systems in the geophysical setting and show no interest in abundant
    experimental measurements that conflict with your modeling premises. I’m
    sure that once you expand your comprehension, you’ll come to the conclusion
    that the trace GHGs control nothing. They make only a minor contribution to
    the dispersal of thermal energy to the bulk constituents of the atmosphere
    and back to the surface–in ever-decreasing quasi-logarithmic proportion to their
    concentrations. The handwaving idea of an amplifying “feedback” is merely a modeling
    fiat–an aphysical phantom.
    Any further discussion of an essentially thermodynamic problem that fails to acknowledge all the basic components of enthalpy is pointless.

  117. “”””” David Socrates says:
    October 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm
    I don’t know why my modest contribution of October 23, 2010 at 11:57 am should have brought forth such an onslaught from George Smith (October 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm) .
    All I was doing was explaining why when talking about global averages one has to divide the incoming solar flux by 4. I also though I had dealt with his (valid) point that the average value so determined wouldn’t be enough to heat up a desert floor (he says “Try to get a desert surface temperature of +60 to + 90 degrees C, with 340 W/m^2 impinging on it continuously, 24/7”). Yes, as I said before, of course 340W/m^2, even shining continuously for 24 hours, wouldn’t do it because that’s not high enough– duh! But near the equator at midday for a few hours the flux would be more like the incoming solar flux of 1366 W/m^2, multiplied by 0.7 to take into account the Earth’s reflectivity (albedo), i.e. 956 W/m^2. Using Stefan’s Law, F = σT4, where F is the radiative flux in W/m^2, σ is the Stafan-Boltzmann constant, and T is the absolute temperature in degrees Kelvin, and substituting F = 956 W/ m^2 and σ = 5.670400 x 10-8 W m^-2 K^-4 gives a surface temperature of 360K or 87degC. Hot enough for you, George?
    The rest of his rant was just showing off. If he knows so much more than the rest of us, what a pity he doesn’t take a more positive approach and help us to advance our puny knowledge. Otherwise we will collectively fall into the warmist trap of writing self-congratulatory stuff that does not move the argument along in any useful direction. Since we are all on the same side, that would be madness. “””””
    Well David you are free to take it or leave it any way you want. I’m sorry that I missed your earlier post:-
    “”Yes, as I said before, of course 340W/m^2, even shining continuously for 24 hours, wouldn’t do it because that’s not high enough– duh! “”
    Perhaps you can say where that was so, I could go and read your entire post so that I don’t miss anything .
    Apparently you don’t find any problem with a model that clearly cannot replicate known conditions on earth. Since Black Body Radiation is so highly non-linear (T^4 for Total Radiant Emittance; or even T^5 for Peak Spectral Emittance); ANY model based on static averaged global spatial and time varying data, is bound to lead to incorrect conclusions; and in this case to give a completely wrong value for earth’s energy balanced “equilibrium” Temperature; where the “” “” simply indicates that the earth is never in equilibrium; if for no other reason than it rotates under the sun’s energy beam.
    Because of that high non-linearity; the hot arid desert regions of the earth at the peak of their daytime high Temperatures; are the main cooling spots for the planet; since that is the conditions under which the earth is radiating energy to space at its highest rates; and because of the Wien Displacement law; is also radiating at a wavelength range that is less affected by CO2 than is the case for average global conditions; making the cooling effect even more efficient.
    In contrast the Earth’s polar regions; and particularly the central Antarctic highlands are so cold, that sometimes they are only radiating at 1/6th of the global average rate; and moreover are doing so with a spectrum that peaks right on the CO2 15 micron absorption band; which enhances the CO2GHG effect for those regions. Maybe that is part of the reason why they say the earth is warming more in the polar regions; the cooling efficiency there is so much worse than in the tropicl deserts; that the poles can’t lose heat fast enough.
    And of course you already know all that; but then; the reason I post such stuff; is not for people who already know it; but for perhaps even one person out there who may not. I’m sorry I can’t take a more positive approach ; and as it turns out, I have no information; one way or another, about the level of knowledge of anybody; either reading here or posting here; and I come here to learn what I can myself.
    Unfortunately I don’t seem to find much being offered by those who come here; who clearly have better knowledge and credentials than I have. The AGW proponents seem to offer little but ad hominem dismissal of anyone who isn’t locked arm in arm with their view.
    I don’t have any skin in this game; I care not a whit about whatever political angles some want to put on this subject (although I do have opinions on that). I’m only interested in one thing; and that is that the science get’s corrected. Author Lacis dismisses the “skeptics” as simply incompetent to understand his writings and explanations. I don’t understand them either; they simply don’t make any sense to me; but I’m not a skeptic; I’m quite convinced that the concensus science is quite wrong.
    No; I don’t deny there has been recent warming (at least up to 15 years ago); No I don’t deny that muman activities are altering the environment; no I don’t deny that CO2 is a “greenhouse gas” as that term is understood in climatism; and no I don’t deny that the so-called greenhouse effect as it applies to the atmosphere is real; and does result in warming of the atmosphere. I don’t deny any of that. I don’t deny that the Arctic ice has been lessening; at least in recent years; or that it has had some history of waxing and waning. I don’t deny any of that.
    But I also believe that it isn’t a problem we should worry about; and it certainly isn’t anything we can do anything about (has nothing whatsoever to do with environmental pollution; which we can do something about).
    But as to the so-called “climate science”; I have no confidence in either the purported global observations of Temperature data; and would cite a John Christy et al paper from Jan 2001 to justify that; and I have no confidence in the computer modelling; as to its treatment of H2O including clouds; and would cite a SCIENCE paper by Wentz et al for July-7-2007 to justify that.
    Also, I have a full time paying job with a private enterprise profitable business; so I don’t have time to do independent research in this or any other field; and it is only that my computer chatters away doing simulations and optimisations for me; that even allows me to visit here from time to time ;while it is thinking.
    But my suggestion David, is to just bypass my posts, and go on to those more in tune with your interests; I know I can’t possibly read all the traffic here; so whole threads can go by without a glance from me; I only read those I think I can learn from or contribute to. If that helps even one person to some understanding; then it is worth it; but I’m not here to argue with those who know much more about it than I ever can.
    As an aside; Kelvins are not degrees; those apply to Celsius or Fahrenheit scales of temperature.

  118. “”””” Spector says:
    October 26, 2010 at 10:36 am
    So far, I have not been able to find a single chart that shows the spectrum of infra-red energy radiated from the atmosphere at the tropopause and escapes to outer space. “””””
    Well I’m glad to see, that I’m not alone in that boat. I DO have in the “Infrared Handbbook” some plots of the earth as seen from outer space for several latitudes, and several seasons, and several terrains, and several viewing angles; but so far as I know those graphs are ALL the result of computations; and not the result of looking down from some altitude with a high resolution wide spectral range spectroradiometer. What they do purport to show (from outer space), is a roughly black body like thermal spectrum; that is consistent with a spectral peak in the 10 micron range; that does move slightly with seasonal (Temperatures) and also in irradiance or emittance; out of which a significan chunk is extracted in a CO2 15 micron band, and another narrower and sharper one around 9.6-10 microns for O3.
    Lacis has described spectra containing thousands of lines; which they calculate individually from their supercomputer models (he says); yet I can find NO graphs showing what those spectra are. Available graphs on atmospheric absorptions or transmissions as one finds in wiki and the like; instead show just a few broad bands; and nowhere ever do they describe exactly what the calculated or measured (if measured) atmosphere consists of; and under what conditions it is calculated or observed.
    Phil has provided links to computer calculations for various gas species absorption spectra; but I can find NO data on just exactly what sample of gas those are calculated for.
    Is it rocket science to take an actual sample of some average real world Atmosphere collected from some average place; and do a laboratory measurement of the complete transmission spectrum of that sample over the range of say 0.1 microns in the UV (or even 0.2) out to say 100 micorns in the long wave infrared; or even to the microwave region where satellite sensors apaprently gather data.
    We can build whole county sized atom smasher machines that are many miles in diameter; and we can put tanks of hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemicals down in deep mines; to capture a few neutrinos, that can be counted on one hand in a year; but somehow nobody seems to think it is worthwhile to actually measure energy absorptions in a real sample of the atmopshere.
    We can get phony cooked up experiments on TV showing that high Temperature heat lamps can warm up a sample containing a whole lot of CO2; yet you can’t get anybody to repeat such an experiment; using actual air samples with correctly adjusted CO2 levels (say 280 ppm and 560 ppm) and then irradiate them with a REAL LWIR thermal radiation source; which could be as simple as a bucket of ordinary tap water; or as real as a sample from the middle of the Pacific Ocean; that is allowed to stabilize at a room Temperature of say 20 deg C, or 68 deg F (292 K); which would be close enough to the real (purported) average global mean Temperature. Such an experiment would demonstrate quite openly how much warming results from LWIR heating of the atmosphere.
    While a measuremnt from the tropopause might be illuminating spector; an actual outer space measurment is actually more real; since that is exactly what is exiting to outer space; and it would be sourced from every level of the atmopshere from the surface on out.; which is after all; what is really happening.

  119. Re. George E. Smith says: October 27, 2010 at 9:44 am
    “David Socrates says… October 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm”
    Well George, since I agree wholeheartedly with most of the other points you have made, I think we should draw a line under the issue of whether or not Stefan’s law gives an accurate enough mathematical estimate of the warming effect at midday on the ground in the Sahara desert, putting it into what the mathematicians call the undecidable category. Otherwise I think we are in danger of stealing time from our joint quest to expose the warmist arguments for what they obviously are – just hot air.
    Instead, why don’t you and I spearhead a real effort, aided I hope by Dr Spencer, to get right to the bottom of the science. Just as I find it strange that the warmists can’t explain themselves in un-convoluted language (thus perpetuating the debate) so I am equally concerned that no skeptics have come forward (with the honorable exception of Dr Spencer) with any really simple alternative thesis. I am sure this lack of transparency about the detailed science on BOTH sides of the debate explains why it has gone on and on for so long.
    For example, I find it fascinating that nobody has come forward to defend the warmist position with a clear and DETAILED explanation of the radiative transfer theory on which all the models they use are based. You would think they would be bursting to lift the lid on all that detail to reveal the beautiful truth. Even if the warmist modelers themselves (who are probably too buried in their jargon to speak to mere mortals) are unable to articulate the logic of their case in clear language, surely some sympathetic fellow travelers who had a more didactic touch would long since have obliged. The silence all these years has been eloquent.
    On the other hand, I appreciate and share your problem of not having enough time to get to the bottom of the science. Most of us are in exactly the same boat. In the absence of hearing any intellectually convincing and definitive scientific argument on either side, I simply take a step back to an obvious overarching question: Is the world showing any signs of dangerous warming? Since it is not (0.6degC in a hundred years is well within natural variability) I simply prefer to accept the null hypothesis. If you agree with this approach, then perhaps we should all relax, sit back, and enjoy watching Trenberth and friends sweat over the next few years as they contemplate the continuing “travesty” of the “missing heat”.

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