More Oddities with the IPCC Numbers

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A number of people have said Hey, in your previous post, the missing forcing is going into the ocean, so it’s still “in the pipeline”. I had considered that, but it didn’t make sense. I’ve taken a closer look, and it still doesn’t make sense.

According to the IPCC calculations in that post, about 0.7 W/m2 was missing. Let us assume that it is going into the ocean. Here’s my numbers, please check them. The spreadsheet doing the calculations is here.

CONSTANTS

Specific Heat Seawater                  3.85 Joules/gram/C

Ocean Volume                         1.3E+18 m3

Ocean Area                           3.6E+14 m2

Global Surface                       5.1E+14 m2

Average Ocean Depth                     3700 m

Ocean Density                          1.025 tonnes/m3

Year To Seconds                      3.2E+07 seconds/yr

INPUTS

"Missing" Incoming Radiation             0.7 W m-2 over earth's surface

OUTPUTS

Equiv. Incoming Radiation To Ocean       1.0 W m-2

Annual Energy                        3.1E+07 Joules/yr

Warming Ability                      8.2E+06 grams C-1 / yr

1 m2 Column Weight                      3793 tonnes

Column Weight                        3.8E+09 grams

Warming since 1850                      0.11 C (from spreadsheet)

Current Warming Rate                    0.22 C/century

Time To Warm 1° at current rate          465 years/C

The reason that it didn’t make sense to me is that if that is the case, if the imbalance over the last 150 has warmed the ocean a tenth of a degree, and heat in the pipeline (assuming the 0.7 W/m2 imbalance continues) is going to give us a degree of warming in just under five hundred years … I just couldn’t believe that people were seriously thinking that was an issue.

So I suppose that’s possible, that the IPCC is right, and that half of the incoming energy is going into the ocean, warming it at the rate of one measly degree every half a millennium … But if that is so, does that mean that for practical purposes (neglecting the one degree by the year 2565, which is meaningless in human terms) we cut all of the IPCC warming forecasts (excuse me, scenarios) in half? Doesn’t that make the effective climate sensitivity in the real world, for our Grandchildren, by the year 2050, half of the number promulgated by the IPCC? Because the heat in the pipeline from the 0.7 W m-2 imbalance (0.22 C/century) will give us a whopping nine hundredths of a degree of ocean warming by 2050, unmeasurably small.

What am I missing here?

[UPDATE] Bob Tisdale graciously provided a link downthread to the oceanic heat content numbers. His graph shows the global heat content increasing by 7.8 MJoules per year per square meter.

If my numbers are correct (please check), this corresponds to a heat uptake (global average) of 0.17 W/m2. That would warm the ocean by a degree in 1900 years, so I think we can neglect that … and surely that’s enough time to do the mixing.

The missing heat is on the order of 0.7  W/m2. The evidence doesn’t show anywhere near that amount of heat going into the ocean. Including the ocean warming as explaining part of the missing heat, that still leaves on the order of a half a watt per square metre missing in the IPCC-based estimate … the ongoing mathematical mystery continues. All assistance solicited.

My own feeling is that the climate sensitivity is not fixed, but is a function of T, the temperature. It decreases with increasing T. This can be seen clearly in the tropics.

In the morning the ocean is cool, and the skies are clear. As a result, the surface warms rapidly. Climate sensitivity (degrees of temperature change for a given change in forcing) is high.

By about 10:30 or so, the ocean surface has warmed significantly. As a result of the rising temperature, cumulus clouds form. Despite increasing solar forcing, the surface does not warm as fast. Climate sensitivity is lower.

In the afternoon, thunderstorms form. These bring cool air and cool rain from aloft, and move warm air from the surface aloft. They cool the surface, bringing climate sensitivity near to zero.

Finally, thunderstorms have a unique ability. They can drive the surface temperature underneath them below the starting temperature. In this case, we have local areas of negative climate sensitivity – the forcing can be increasing while the surface is cooling.

As you can see, in the real-world context the idea that the temperature is some mythical constant “climate sensitivity” times the forcing change simply doesn’t hold water. Sensitivity goes down as temperature goes up in the tropics, the area where the majority of solar energy enters our climate system.

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123 thoughts on “More Oddities with the IPCC Numbers

  1. You’re obviously not caring about our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren.
    You heartless cad.

  2. If there really is a missing 0.7 W/m2, then your calculation possibly explains why the Earth has stable climate for long periods, with the oceans acting like a giant storage heater!
    COMMENT: I think you mean to say “heat sink” rather than storage heater, its certainly not warming much. – mike.

  3. Pleas stop publishing your methods and data so that ordinary people can follow the arguments. It gives real climate scientists a bad name and brings the field into disrepute.
    You are not a real climate scientist, so butt out of our private discussions. You know nothing, and we know where you live.

  4. There are very few people that incite jealousy in me. You are one, Willis.
    Keep the back of the envelope (LoL) numbers coming.
    You have lots of fans – sadly mostly ageing males but ,no doubt, many eligible females.
    ( I have to be careful not to offend but in different circumstances I’d be a ‘groupie’.)

  5. Most of the changes leading to an imbalance did not start until about 1900, and much of that fraction has operated only since about 1970, so thermal inertia is mainly responding to decadal rather than centennial imbalances. Given the estimated heat storage capacity of the ocean, combined with the negative forcing from aerosols, the IPCC estimates are consistent with observed temperature changes since 1910 in concert with standard estimates of climate sensitivity. For more data on ocean heat storage, see Levitus et al at Ocean Heat Content

  6. Hansen and IPCC assume that the rise in the ocean heat content is all due to ‘a planetary radiation imbalance’ accumulation. However, there is a far more important factor: ‘equator-poles’ ocean current system’s efficiency.
    More efficient system will transfer heat from the tropics to polar regions, thus retaining more of the initially absorbed solar energy = increase in ocean heat content (current GW, MWP).
    The less efficient ‘equator-poles’ ocean current system releases the excess of the absorbed solar energy in the equatorial regions = cooling (less warming) of mid- and high latitudes (LIA).
    You could think of the North Atlantic Precursor is a ‘regulator of the efficiency’ of the Atlantic Drift Current.

  7. Caveat – I’m no scientist (climate or otherwise), do not have a degree in any displine and can therefore be ignored.
    BUT – my school science (admittedly from over 40 years ago) was that energy moves from hotter areas to colder areas. If this is still true in our brave new world of climamakeitupology then any area of the world’s oceans that are warmer than the air temperature will not be absorbing and retaining heat, it would be releasing at least some of it to the air. Hence, should you be using the entire area of the ocean in your calcs. Even if the sun’s energy in your calcs is all going into heating the ocean, isn’t it then releasing at least some of that enregy to warm the air and thus becoming cooler?
    For example, whilst in the Australian Navy I was at Macquarie Island in 1985 and the water temperature was warmer than the air temp. Therefore, the water should have been releasing energy to the air.
    So, what proportion of the world’s oceans are storing more heat than they are releasing and how does that affect your calculations?

  8. “If there really is a missing 0.7 W/m2, then your calculation possibly explains why the Earth has stable climate for long periods, with the oceans acting like a giant storage heater!
    COMMENT: I think you mean to say “heat sink” rather than storage heater, its certainly not warming much. – mike.”
    Well I have always considered that the climate is just the output energy from the sun and the heat from inside the earth radiative energy input into a massive store in the form of the oceans, our climate being the interactive meeting layer between these things.
    There are plenty of variables in all of the above.

  9. I think what you were missing first is that climate sensitivity is an equilibrium sensitivity – the temperature that will be reached when everything has warmed up and in/out equilibrium is re-established.
    Now you’re going to the other extreme of saying that we’ll have to wait until everything has uniformly warmed. But it isn’t like that.
    Heating a body with a steady flux has a well-known theoretical solution – erfc’s, but looks like an exponential approach. Of course the ocean is much more complex. But what it says is that while you’re heating the top layers at first, most heat goes downward (easily at this stage) rather than needing to be reradiated as IR. The surface water warms quite rapidly.
    Later there is more IR loss, as radiative balance is approached. The rate of penetration of heat to the greater ocen depth reduces. The rate of warming tapers off, approaching equilibriun rather like a tapering exponential.
    So there are multiple time scales. You get most of the warming in a few decades, but the long time scale is even longer than your 465 years.

  10. To add to my earlier comment, one can’t average temperature changes over the entire ocean, because the upper 300-700 meters tend toward equilibrium on decadal scales and the entire ocean over centennial scales. We live on the surface, and so our observed temperatures (including the documented rises in SST) reflect what is happening in the upper layers. If we induced no further perturbations from now on, a 0.7 to 0.9 W/m^2 imbalance would ultimately even out as a very tiny temperature change over the next 500 years if no feedbacks were generated. With feedbacks, the change is larger, and with long term feedbacks, greater still. However, the SST and global temperature changes over coming decades would be substantial, and of course, if CO2 continues to rise, outstripping aerosol cooling, the rise will be greater.

  11. I’ve done similar calculations for myself, but don’t think they prove the IPCC is wrong. Here are a couple of factors to consider that you make have missed.
    1) The current forcing hasn’t been applied for all 160 years since 1850. A rough estimate is that the average forcing has been a little less than half of the current forcing.
    2) Temperature change lags forcing, but the amount depends on whether climate sensitivity is 2 or 4.5 (assuming it is anywhere within this range). There are estimates that, if the current forcing remained unchanged, temperature would rise another 0.5 degC. Therefore one could add 0.5 degC to the observed rise of 0.7 degC before doing calculations.
    3) When you calculate how much energy it takes to warm the whole ocean 1 degC and compare it to the “excess energy retained” by GHG forcing, you quickly realize that it takes roughly a millennium to warm the whole ocean. Unfortunately, the whole ocean doesn’t mix quickly, it also takes about a millennium for deepwater sinking near the poles to the bottom of the ocean to return to the surface. Ocean temperature differences caused summer and winter only penetrate about 100 meters below the surface during six month long seasons. So you aren’t dealing with a system at equilibrium. In this type of non-equilibrium situation, we have to rely on climate models to predict how rapidly heat is transfered from the surface to deeper regions of the ocean. (Lindzen has said that climate models use unreasonable parameters for diffusion of heat into the deeper ocean.) With the Argo buoys, we may finally have data accurate enough to tell if climate models are correct.

  12. Well the warmists certainly have a major problem because there is in fact nothing in the pipeline. The upper ocean, which is supposed to absorb 80% of any radiative balance, has failed to gain ANY heat energy over the last 8 years! In fact there is a slight decline in upper ocean heat content.
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
    Funny how this never gets discussed in the media! It absolutely kills the warmist Alarmist theories!

  13. Willis,
    I will say here and now that I have enjoyed, and profited from you frequent posts. You are missing nothing.
    I have this to say though; do you not think that the answer lies in the positive? Or could it be a negative persuasion?
    The answer, surely, is that we do not know enough of this science.

  14. With (according to WP) the energy capture from photosynthesis being more than 100 terawatts, is the “missing” energy instead being used by the biosphere in response to the increased CO2/warming? I would guess that it is in the right order of magnitude.

  15. There’s no evidence it’s going into the oceans, Willis. The rise in the NODC Ocean Heat Content data appears to be caused by natural variables. OHC in the North Atlantic is the product of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), ENSO, and Sea Level Pressure:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/10/north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-0-700.html
    The big shift in the North Pacific OHC appears to have been caused by a change in Sea Level Pressure:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/12/north-pacific-ocean-heat-content-shift.html
    And the other ocean basins are dominated by ENSO:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/09/enso-dominates-nodc-ocean-heat-content.html

  16. To calculate the thermal mass of the ocean you apparently calculated assuming an average ocean depth of 3700 meters, but when looked at over a period of a few years, the effective depth of the ocean is somewhere in the range of 40 to 100 meters.

  17. Evidently someone has FORGOTTEN that WATER IS A THERMAL CONDUCTOR? !!!
    A little PHYSIC FOR THOSE IN NEED..
    Basic temperature of lower oceans, about 8 degrees C. (Below about 70 meters).
    Basic temperature above the thermocline: About 15 degrees C. Direction of heat flow BY CONDUCTION = Surface to interior.
    IF overall Atmosphere is at 15 degrees C (which it is) on the average there is a NEUTRAL flow into the oceans. Now, if there IS evidence of a 0.7 Watt/M^2 transfer into the oceans, axiomatically the ocean temp will go up. Then the REAL question becomes that of the RATE of conduction in the DOWNWARD direction versus UPWARD.
    Since the “conduction” (assuming NO air movement) into the GASSES would be AUTOMATICALLY at a lower rate than through the LIQUID phase, the “extra energy” would diffuse into the lower ocean.
    Making the concept that the large ocean would act as a “heat capacitor”, accounting for the ability to absorb many years of 0.7 watts/M^2 before the ocean would change its basic “internal energy” significantly.
    As noted: the Argo bouys will provide valuable information in this realm.

  18. Willis — The linked article is not directly related to you calculations, but is related in that it uses some rather basic calculations to do a ballpark sanity check on the sensitivity numbers.
    It uses surface temperatures rather than the Argo data that is now available, and which I believe would be a more reliable test of the AGW hypothesis.
    I’m surprised that I have not seen any discussion of this non-peer reviewed article.
    Testing the AGW Hypothesis by George White.
    http://www.palisad.com/co2/eb/eb.html

  19. You are missing the lower inputs of the Sporer, Wolf, Maunder and Dalton Grand Minima over the last 1,000 years, as well as the RWP, MWP and other warm periods.
    In order for the model to get a precise output, the input must be likewise precise and reasonably accurate.
    What the models cannot seem to predict is the delta of input being one sign or the other, nor are they able to forecast change in delta. Over ages, those inputs have changed both delta and sign… both ways… and form glacial/interglacials.
    Such things the models are oblivious to in both hindcast and forecast.

  20. Bob Tisdale says: October 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm
    ————–
    Bob
    Thanks for the links, lot of useful info there.
    From my point of view I found an interesting confirmation of my data.
    Reduction in delay of NA OHC from about 10 to less then 5 years as confirmation in the efficiency of the North Atlantic currents heat transfer, resulting in the Arctic warming during 1990s.

  21. Heat absorption by the oceans is a lot more complicated than the usual trite “the oceans have a massive heat capacity” line that warmists trot out. The land has a massive heat capacity too – all that rock goes a long way down.
    First, take a look at some data. Sea temperature can vary 10 C from summer to winter near the coast. It’s less out in the middle of the oceans, but don’t confuse temperature with anomaly.
    Sunlight shines through the top 100 m or so to warm a thick layer of water, but then rises by convection to the surface. The conduction and mixing with deeper layers is a much slower process. It’s also affected by such things as sea life like jellyfish who swim up and down from deeper waters to feed each day, stirring the layers up. But the effect most people pay the most attention to is the thermohaline circulation.
    The heat capacity of the oceans is time-dependant. On short time-scales, for changes within a year, it is comparatively small. As one considers longer and longer times, its heat capacity increases, but the time taken to effect the heat transfers extends, so the heat can enter the reservoir only very slowly, and hence the power (energy/time) absorbed is small.
    If one supposed (incorrectly) that water acted like rock and followed the 1D heat equation, then the penetration depth of a temperature change increases with the square root of time, so you get less and less heat capacity added each year as a change in surface temperature is sustained. Because of convection, stratification, and other effects, the relationship is probably something else entirely, and variable from place to place.
    Anyway, the temperature of the oceans is now being measured by Argo, and it doesn’t appear to be accumulating there. Trenberth has commented on the missing heat being a problem for the models, although he managed to spin it as being “worse than we thought”.

  22. Heat lost during condensation/freezing of water vapor at very high altitude beyond most of the CO2 maybe? What happens when water vapor goes directly from vapor to ice crystals at extremely high altitude? Where does that heat go? Or what happens when it goes from water to ice at the tops of extremely high thunderstorms and tropical storms?
    I believe it goes directly into space for the most part. It is at that point well beyond nearly all the CO2 in the atmosphere. You are above 85% of the atmosphere at 30,000 feet and those cloud tops can exceed that altitude. I believe there is a lot more radiation bypassing atmospheric CO2 and being radiated directly into space than they are calculating. Evaporation at the surface (and on the way up as it meets rain drops on the way down), transport to high altitude, and a phase change to water or ice transports a HUGE amount of heat every day to the upper reaches of the atmosphere completely bypassing most of the CO2.

  23. We can talk all we want about why we think any of this is right, wrong, or indifferent. The bottom line has never changed. The empirical data is not well explained by any of the theory. Therefore the theory can not be trusted and is unable to demonstrate a skill beyond a relatively short term, that is significantly better than chance.

  24. The only thing that has kept this “science” going for the last ten years has been the strangle hold that the IPCC and their backers, the environmental movement, have kept on publishing studies that show the world does operate the way they need to make their models “truthy”.
    Five years ago I thought McIntyre’s work would blow the lid off the scam. I was wrong, but it has taught me to be patient.
    Keep up the steady barrage Willis. Its kind of like cannons balls on the walls of fortress during a 15th century siege.

  25. I like and agree with your calculations. I believe that the delta is known in climatological terms as ‘A Travesty’ (sadly I wasn’t able to point that out first).
    If a major catastrophe were imminent, due to the rate of human CO2 production, it would be possible to write down the relevant equations and prove the point.
    Actually, currently the relevant equations (as Nick Stokes points out) are complex, the uncertainties large, the answer too close to zero to readily discern, and therefore a conclusion cannot be obtained with any certainty.
    But don’t despair. There are some facts in climatology. The Hockey Stick is based on cherry picking and bad statistics, FOI requests have been stymied illegally, people have had their careers threatened for attempting to speak the truth, and many climatological papers and text books are simply cut-and-pasted regurgitation. (To restate a few of those facts).

  26. Charlie A says:
    October 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm
    Testing the AGW Hypothesis by George White.
    http://www.palisad.com/co2/eb/eb.html

    A very interesting article… thank you… the following quote is interesting:
    QUOTE
    According to HITRAN based simulations, the atmosphere captures 3.6 W/m² of additional power when the CO2 is increased from 280ppm to 560ppm.
    Of this, the atmosphere radiates half of this up and half down.
    When the 1.8 W/m² of forcing power directed down is treated the same as 1.8 W/m² of additional solar forcing, the systems response is to increase the surface power by 2.88 W/m².
    From the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, the starting temperature of 288K corresponds to a surface energy of 390.1 W/m². If the surface power increases by 2.88 W/m², the corresponding temperature increase is only 0.55°C and not the 3°C predicted by the AGW hypothesis.
    UNQUOTE

  27. I’m sorry but you’re ocean volume number is completely wrong and off the charts so to speak.
    That so called volume is based on pretty much a level ocean floor, but the ocean floor is so far from level and flat and can be had. Even if this fact where taking into consideration the calculation of the volume doesn’t take into effect neither the slopes of continental plates nor blue whales and every other creatures that takes up volume in the ocean or mere coral islands.
    When you can correctly calculate the, at least, about correct volume of the oceans you ought to be able to use it to your own advantage I’m sure.

  28. Well, I have been saying that there is no way you can cram a century’s worth of IPCC forcing and feedback garbonzos into 0.7C warming. (Not to mention that the raw data will probably show less than half that — if we could even see it.) Not to mention all the non-CO2 related causes.

  29. @1DandyTroll: Dandy, I’m glad someone else pointed out the incaccuracies, from my own calculations, taking into account shoaling, and including nuclear submarines as well as wrecked ships (the Titanic has a significant effect) Willis’ calculation for ocean volume is out by a whopping 0.00000000000053%. I am off to realclimate to report this egregious error, where brighter minds will no doubt tell me that errors of this size are typical of the output from humans, which is why we should rely on computer models. They’re smart cookies over there and will no doubt produce a rebuttal paper in short order highlighting that the temperature rise by 2050 will be a staggering 0.0010000001C, not the trivial 0.001C reported by Willis. The MSM will have a field day with this.
    Gerry

  30. Phil’s Dad says:
    October 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm
    “Mr. Tisdale (October 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm) puts forward a convincing argument that it is not going into the oceans. ”
    It’s true that the Ocean Heat Content has risen very slowly (or declined slightly) over the last 6 or 7 years, but the 40 to 60 year record shows significant increase. Even though the data gathering was relatively sparse, the overall weight of evidence is pretty clear that OHC is higher than it was back in 1970. See http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/
    Not only would I like to find the “missing heat” from the last 7 years, I’d also like to find out what mechanism is changing the effective radiative forcing over the time period of a few years.
    It’s probably just a case of me not noticing it, but I have yet to see any reasonable hypothesis put forward to explain the apparent changes in net radiative forcing that took place in 1970 and around 2003. (These are points where the slope of the OHC line changes significantly. The slope of the OHC is net radiative forcing/effective thermal mass of the oceans. Indeed, some OHC graphs are labeled in units of w/m-2.)

  31. Slightly off-topic, but can anyone explain why the deep oceans are so cold? They appear to be sandwiched between a surface at approx 15C, and a mantle that’s even hotter.
    I’ve found numerous documents that state that the deeps are cold as there is no sunlight. But where do they lose heat to to get so cold?
    WUWT?

  32. nice calc Willis but there seems to be a problem with the original hypothesis.
    all physics phenomenon is going to work against heating the oceans from the top. while there may be some minor limited effect going on in specific regions, far from the tropical zone, the rest is going to work to oppose any transfer. Since that .7w/m^2 has to be over all the water and not just a small area with lower insolation, it is a massive problem. The difference in added atmospheric absorption of IR (and hence added atmospheric IR emitted downward) between the magical mystery equilibrium of the pre industrial days and now is that there is added IR now and that is going nowhere downward into the ocean. A build up of thermal energy at the surface – caused by IR means that either the outer skin of the ocean heats up (to boiling) or that energy must be going into a phase change – converting the water to vapor and putting more power into convection of the water vapor cycle.
    Of course, all that extra water vapor that supposedly only contributes to more ghg feedback (BS) is going to contribute to forming additional clouds – in that fun way that is so ‘well understood’ that no warmista can quite explain it well enough to conclude that clouds reduce temperature overall. All those extra clouds from the extra water vapor cycle result in a lowering of the visible light coming down to the surface which reduces that light energy that can penetrate any depth into the oceans to warm the lower layers. OOPs

  33. richard telford says:
    October 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm
    The oceans are not well mixed!
    =========
    Thus the currents.

  34. 1DandyTroll says:
    October 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I’m sorry but you’re ocean volume number is completely wrong and off the charts so to speak.
    That so called volume is based on pretty much a level ocean floor, but the ocean floor is so far from level and flat and can be had. Even if this fact where taking into consideration the calculation of the volume doesn’t take into effect neither the slopes of continental plates nor blue whales and every other creatures that takes up volume in the ocean or mere coral islands.
    When you can correctly calculate the, at least, about correct volume of the oceans you ought to be able to use it to your own advantage I’m sure.

    1DandyTroll, this being a scientific website, you won’t get any traction without numbers. If you think my number for the ocean volume of 1.3 E+18 cubic metres is wrong, you need to provide a better number and a citation.
    That’s the number I had, I didn’t check it. Let me see … here’s hypertextbook, which says 1.3 billion cubic kilometres, which is 1.3 E+18 cubic metres. Which is what I used.

  35. Also related to the general discussion of simple models to determine climate sensitivity is Roy Spencer’s post on the response to Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
    Revisiting the Mt Pinatubo Eruption as a Test of Climate Sensitivity.
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/06/revisiting-the-pinatubo-eruption-as-a-test-of-climate-sensitivity/
    He discussed the problem of trying to determine sensitivity by assuming that the climate changes from one equilibrium state to another. Instead he tried to model the changing state of the climate as the forcings (and feedbacks) from Mt. Pinatubo changed over a period of 2 or 3 years.
    For the best fit of observed forcings and global temperatures, the heat mass was equivalent to the world’s oceans having a mixed layer of 40 meters deep.
    The end result of his calculations is that the net feedback is slightly negative, resulting in an equivalent sensitivity of around 1 C for the radiative forcing of doubling CO2 levels.

  36. Re: Nick Stokes

    I think what you were missing first is that climate sensitivity is an equilibrium sensitivity – the temperature that will be reached when everything has warmed up and in/out equilibrium is re-established.

    I think what you’re missing is there’s never really been an equilibrium, hence glacial cycles and the smaller oscillations like MWP/LIA. Proxies show this. If we were tidally locked to the Sun, climate models would be so much simpler. We’re not, so there are too many variables to model accurately. Pub conversation was orbital peturbations due to mass imbalances from NH construction work, general consensus after several beers was it’s not significant unless the NH imports a lot of mass from the SH.

  37. Bob Tisdale, many thanks for your link to the oceanic heat content numbers. Your graph shows the global heat content increasing by 7.8 MJoules per year.
    If my numbers are correct (please check), this corresponds to a heat uptake (global average) of 0.17 W/m2. Since the missing heat is on the order of 0.7 W/m2, you can see that your estimate was right. The evidence doesn’t show anywhere near that amount of heat going into the ocean. Including the ocean warming, that leaves on the order of a half a watt per square metre missing in the IPCC-based estimate … the ongoing mathematical mystery continues. All assistance solicited.

  38. steveta_uk says:
    October 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    I think the simple answer is this: water is at it’s most dense at 4C therefore it’s a gravitational thing.
    I’m heading offshore to work on a deep water (1500m) oil exploration well on Monday. The temperature at that depth is already 4C.

  39. steveta_uk says:
    October 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    Slightly off-topic, but can anyone explain why the deep oceans are so cold? They appear to be sandwiched between a surface at approx 15C, and a mantle that’s even hotter.
    I’ve found numerous documents that state that the deeps are cold as there is no sunlight. But where do they lose heat to to get so cold?
    WUWT?
    ==================
    I second the motion, WUWT?

  40. My understanding is that the IPCC calculations and “missing” 0.7 W/m2 are predicated entirely on the net of incoming solar radiation and outgoing LWR. Trenbreth has suggested/alleged that the “missing” energy has been stored in deep oceans.
    Seems to me your calculations and the IPCC miss a non-solar energy input or ‘forcing’ that goes under the name of geothermal. The earth’s crust conducts thermal energy into ocean water and the atmosphere while hydro-thermal vents, mid-oceanic ridges and submarine volcanoes transfer additional heat energy into the oceans. This geothermal energy contribution may not be large, but it is great enough to measure/estimate and is most definitely non-negative. One might say the IPCC leaves more than just 0.7 W/m2 of energy unexplained.

  41. steveta_uk says:
    October 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    Slightly off-topic, but can anyone explain why the deep oceans are so cold?
    My understanding is that the most dense water is 4 C, so it sinks at the poles, after it has dumped its heat, then gets circulated worldwide by the deep ocean currents.
    The equatorial region works hard to warm the ocean, but the frigid polar regions are huge, and it only takes a minor reduction of incoming solar radiation to launch us back into another ice age.

  42. Finding the missing energy is predicated on the assumption that it is in fact missing. Given that we don’t actually have accurate numbers for either in going or out going in the long term record, in fact not in the short term record either, we don’t even know if we are searching for something that exists. Consider:
    1. In the original post Willis uses the IPCC estimate of a change in solar forcing of o.12 w/m2 over the last 250 years. That seems like an awful small number to me. Given that the raw output of the sun is in the range of 1365 w/m2, and for the sake of averages we divide that by 4 to get an “effective” forcing of 342 w/m2, a change of 0.12 w/m2 implies a change of only 0.03%. It has been a while since I looked at any papers on solar output, but my recollection is that 0.03% would easily be at the extreme low end of most papers. Now I would hate to be accusing the IPCC of cherry picking papers on solar forcing without good foundation, so perhaps Leif or someone more familiar with the matter can comment?
    2. Even if the raw output of the sun hasn’t changed much, this says nothing for the mix of frequencies that the sun emmits. Sun spots change the mix of frequencies that mess up ham radio operators, and I believe various studies have also shown large rises in certain UV ranges that are associated with sun spots. So the matter is more complex than just looking at the average output over all. Suppose the output were exactly the same over all, but that the lower frequencies bordering on the IR range dropped 1% and the higher frequency UV increased 1%. The change in the amount of energy going into the ocean would be massive because of the increased UV that can penetrate the ocean at far greater depths while the decrease in low frequencies would not change much in terms of energy balance. And vicey versey also.
    3. Do we really know how much energy the earth radiates to space? Even the current satellite measurements leave something to be desired. Take a quick look at the AMSU-A image for the day
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/AAT_Browse.php?chan=4&satnum=15&aord=a
    notice that the extreme north and extreme south latitudes are black? The satellite can’t see them, so there are no colors there, no data at all. How much of the planet does that represent? 5%? 2%? Can we extrapolate from the rest of the data? Sure. But we keep getting told that the poles will heat up more than the rest of the planet, perhaps by a factor of 8 to 1. So the parts of the planet with the most variability are the parts of the planet for which we have the least data. Suppose our measurements of outbound earth radiance are out by just 0.1%. That would be 0.34 w/m2, almost half of the missing energy being looked for.
    Not much use in looking for something that is missing when we aren’t even certain it is missing in the first place.

  43. Dave says:
    October 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    My understanding is that the IPCC calculations and “missing” 0.7 W/m2 are predicated entirely on the net of incoming solar radiation and outgoing LWR. Trenbreth has suggested/alleged that the “missing” energy has been stored in deep oceans.
    Seems to me your calculations and the IPCC miss a non-solar energy input or ‘forcing’ that goes under the name of geothermal. The earth’s crust conducts thermal energy into ocean water and the atmosphere while hydro-thermal vents, mid-oceanic ridges and submarine volcanoes transfer additional heat energy into the oceans. This geothermal energy contribution may not be large, but it is great enough to measure/estimate and is most definitely non-negative. One might say the IPCC leaves more than just 0.7 W/m2 of energy unexplained.

    Thanks, Dave. Unfortunately, that’s going the wrong way. We have extra energy now. We don’t know where it is going. Adding energy doesn’t help.
    However, I’ve run the numbers, and geothermal averaged out over the globe seems to be a few hundredths of a watt per square metre. Might be a bit more since sub-sea smokers and volcanoes and such along the suboceanic rifts seem more plentiful than early estimates. But it’s still not a lot because it happens in so few places on the planet …

  44. How do you take into the cooling effect of the wind? If the ocean heats up slightly, the extra heat could easily be taken away from the surface by the wind.
    Even if the surface water is cool, a strong wind such as northreaster can
    blow enormous amounts of water and its energy onto the land.
    How do you take into account the clouds Some of the forcing energy never makes it to the surface.

  45. davidmhoffer says:
    October 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Finding the missing energy is predicated on the assumption that it is in fact missing. Given that we don’t actually have accurate numbers for either in going or out going in the long term record, in fact not in the short term record either, we don’t even know if we are searching for something that exists. Consider:
    1. In the original post Willis uses the IPCC estimate of a change in solar forcing of o.12 w/m2 over the last 250 years. That seems like an awful small number to me.

    Thanks, David. I am exploring the consequences of the IPCC forcings. That is why I have used their numbers, including the 0.12 W/m2 change in solar forcing over the last 250 years. I am definitely not saying that any of the IPCC numbers are correct. I am exploring the use of their numbers. Their numbers say we should have seen twice the warming in the last 150 years. I’m trying to understand why that is.

  46. It looks like my post got lost in the ether or filter. I was pointing out that measurements of evaporation point to the opposite of what is expected by IPCC and others with raising temperature ie the evaporation has been going down over the last 30 or more years. see here http://www.rsbs.anu.edu.au/Profiles/Graham_Farquhar/documents/271RodericketalPanreviewIGeogCompass2009_000.pdf
    This points to
    a) lower air temperature than measured or even temperature reduction
    b) a reduction of insolence -maybe due to more cloud
    c) more complexity about evaporation than allowed in heat balances and models
    or
    d) all of the above.

  47. cementafriend says on October 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    It looks like my post got lost in the ether or filter. I was pointing out that measurements of evaporation point to the opposite of what is expected by IPCC and others with raising temperature ie the evaporation has been going down over the last 30 or more years. see here http://www.rsbs.anu.edu.au/Profiles/Graham_Farquhar/documents/271RodericketalPanreviewIGeogCompass2009_000.pdf
    This points to
    a) lower air temperature than measured or even temperature reduction
    b) a reduction of insolence -maybe due to more cloud

    Heh, that would be useful 🙂

  48. Willis Eschenbach;
    I am definitely not saying that any of the IPCC numbers are correct. I am exploring the use of their numbers. Their numbers say we should have seen twice the warming in the last 150 years. I’m trying to understand why that is.>>
    It has been a while since I read AR4…. uhm, ok, skimmed, but I recall being unable to reconcile some of their numbers. After a bit I realized that their reference frame wasn’t consistent. They calculated sensitivity against pre-industrial levels but extrapolated various scenarios against levels calculated against the 1980-2000 mean which made various graphs and charts difficult to compare.
    I did however come across one set of calculations that just made no sense until I figured out they were referencing global temperatures as measured at a specific altitude (14,000 feet?) rather than at surface. I’ve forgotten the specifics but do recall that the colder temps at that altitude resulted in a higher sensitivity calculation just based on Stefan-Boltzman. When I got that figured out I could turn that into an “at surface” sensitivity and make some sense of how they arrived at their projections. The hour being late and my vision blurring, I shall seek the respite of sleep, but assuming I am lucky enough to wake again in the morning, I’ll see if I kept any of those spreadsheets with all the numbers to figure it out.

  49. You say:
    Global Surface 5.1E+14 m2
    “Missing” Incoming Radiation 0.7 W m-2 over earth’s surface
    I have not checked your spreadsheet figures but does everybody realise that the radiation from the Sun appears on one side of the Earth only and not over the entire Earth’s surface.Therefore the area of the Earth receiving inward radiation from the Sun is one quarter of the total surface area of the Earth. However outward radiation should be calculated using the entire Earth’s surface.

  50. IPCC sensitivity figures are off the mark. Based on a 0.7 degree change in temp for 110ppm increase in CO2 since 1850 (40% of doubling) yields a climate sensitivity of 1.85 degree C. At the lower end of IPCC estimates. This not taking into account potential exaggerations in global temp. data due to UHI. Considering a 1850-present rise in T of 0.5 degrees yields a CS of just 1.25 degrees.
    Hard to loose something that isn’t there, unless of course it’s imagined.

  51. Perhaps slightly O/T to the thrust of Willis’ post in examining the IPCC’s calculation methods, but pertinent to the question of “where is the lost heat”, it is worth considering the Earthshine project:
    http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/
    As they observe:
    “Probably because of the lack of reliable data, traditionally the Earth’s albedo has been considered to be roughly constant, or studied theoretically as a feedback mechanism in response to a change in climate. Recently, however, several studies have shown large decadal variability in the Earth’s reflectance. Variations in terrestrial reflectance derive primarily from changes in cloud amount, thickness and location, all of which seem to have changed over decadal and longer scales.”
    The graphs show a variation in albedo of up to 2% over a 6 year period.
    2% of 1365 w/m2 = 27 w/m2.
    And they’re looking for a piddling 0.7 watts?
    Every one of their models that assumes a constant albedo for earth is clearly, simply, wrong.
    Travesty or not, Trenberth and his mates will never find the heat, because it just ain’t there; it has evidently buggered off.

  52. “COMMENT: I think you mean to say “heat sink” rather than storage heater, its certainly not warming much. – mike.”
    No I meant storage heater. Imagine what happens to 1sqm of of ocean water during a 24hr period. It heats up during the day and radiates some of the back into the atmosphere during the night, with a small amount, dT, being retained in deeper levels. Without this effect, air temperature at night would be lower than that measured. Now imagine what happens to that same 1sqm of water over a year, or any period where energy in is changing. The ocean behaves like a storage heater.

  53. I have read all the above comments and Willis’ original article.
    If there is a more theoretical science basing complex and obscure calculations on aspects of a natural occurence that are at best little known, and at worst not even dreamt of, I have yet to come across it.
    No wonder Climate science is termed ‘post normal’.
    tonyb

  54. Willis, checking your math i keep coming up with ~463 years if the excess was 1 Wm-2 and 661 years if 0.7 Wm-2 but I guess it’s always good to land on the conservative side! I went by it a slightly different direction, computing in SI first to get mass of the 1 m2 3700m column, then at specific heat to get joules to raise it 1 K irregardless of when. Then seperately, 0.7 W/m2 for a year of seconds gives the joules of excess energy in a year. Took first divided by second to get years, 661 years. Change the 0.7 to 1 and I get 463 years. You might have been a bit low. ☺

  55. The hubris of climate scientist is quite amazing. Just as computers were suppose to cut down on the need to print, but instead made thousands of charts as well as all writing much easier to produce and lead to much greater printer use, so computers and computer models take thousands of POORLY known actual numbers, and numerous equally POORLY understood physical processes, and arrive at certain answers of global disaster; coincedentaly demanding trillions of dollars NOW, even though with out China and India on board these trillions will have virtualy no effect.
    Climate science is “arm waving through computers at hummingbird speed.”

  56. What goes around …
    The next thing to conviently forget is that climate sensitivity is an equilibrium concept. It tells you the temperature that you get to eventually. In a transient situation (such as we have at present), there is a lag related to the slow warm up of the oceans, which implies that the temperature takes a number of decades to catch up with the forcings. This lag is associated with the planetary energy imbalance and the rise in ocean heat content. If you don’t take that into account it will always make the observed ’sensitivity’ smaller than it should be. Therefore if you take the observed warming (0.6°C) and divide by the estimated total forcings (~1.6 +/- 1W/m2) you get a number that is roughly half the one expected. You can even go one better – if you ignore the fact that there are negative forcings in the system as well (cheifly aerosols and land use changes), the forcing from all the warming effects is larger still (~2.6 W/m2), and so the implied sensitivity even smaller! Of course, you could take the imbalance (~0.33 +/- 0.23 W/m2 in a recent paper) into account and use the total net forcing, but that would give you something that includes 3°C for 2xCO2 in the error bars, and that wouldn’t be useful, would it?
    From a response to Milloy and Monckton doing the same thing in 2006…

  57. I’m beginning to wonder if we can rely on any of the numbers in the IPCC reports other than the page numbers. Or do they remain constant until the final chapter and then suddenly increase?

  58. Willis, you don’t have to look for that lost heat. It doesn’t have to be somewhere, nor does it have to be “lost”. It only needs to exist in the future. At this moment, the only thing that you would need is some kind of radiative imbalance.
    Put a boiling pot in the fire with some water. Low fire, no boiling, constant temperature. Now you raise the fire. The fire is strong enough to make the water boil, someone tells you. But three minutes pass and the water is hotter but is not boiling. You say, where is the missing heat? If the water is not boiling, where is it? Well, it is nowhere. It is ON ITS WAY to the water. It will exist in the future, by slow accumulation due to the existing radiative imbalance (more heat is comming than is leaving the water.
    The fact that we are now 0,7º hotter instead of 1,5ºC doesn’t mean that we cannot be 1,5ºC hotter later on, IF there still exists a radiative imbalance that keeps bringing on warming.
    I personally don’t think that this is the case and don’t believe in such a future warming, but the AGWers’ reasoning regarding this point doesn’t have the flaw that you pretend it has.

  59. Whether numerics are right or wrong it is not of much consequence. As an engineer I am used either to do approximations or accurate calculations. Two should not be mixed up. In this case it is clearly an approximation which can be used as a pointer and no more than that.
    In my view, considering the factors involved, precise calculations are next to impossible, also the surface temperatures are no good guide of the heat content in lower layers.
    But more importantly, it is the principle on which these calculations are based. It is assumed that the Earth’s hydrosphere is alternatively heating or cooling, which may be case, but it is not only factor or even major one.
    Major factor is ‘the absorbed heat redistribution between equator and poles’, and this process waxes and wanes on decadal scale, so any calculation of temporary heat loss or gain in my view is something not to be given much credence.

  60. I quite agree. I have always said that cloud has a great control on temperature and in both directions, depending on conditions. So cloud can be positive or negative and act as a thermostat.

  61. “the forcing change simply doesn’t hold water.”
    How true! The reason? :
    The water simply does’nt hold the forcing change!

  62. I see statements here of people defending the IPCC numbers and logic like:
    “Ocean waters take a long time to mix below 700 meters”. No links to data.
    What about tides? Every day in 12 hour intervals a giant column of water from the bottom up is being dragged through the oceans lifting the surface at least 40cms and up to 20 meters in shallows. Doesn’t this turbulence have a wake that will pull waters down and bring waters up, all the way from the bottom, in addition to that of hitting under ocean mountains? How could this be explained away in the millenia needed to mix the waters?

  63. There is no reason why the “missing” heat should not have been transformed into another form of energy. For example, a very slight speeding up of ocean currents could account for a huge amount of energy, given the very large volumes of water involved. We do not measure the currents sufficiently accurately to be sure this is not happening.

  64. Hi,
    The ocean has an effective thermal depth, due to the manner in which it warms, of around 950m, roughly 1km clculated from the mean vertical thermal diffusivity and the mean vertical velocity. The top warms most and first and the lower part barely if at all. In periods of rapid warming the effective depth would be somewhat less. Try multipling you temperature increase by about 3700m/1000m for a start.
    The 0.7W/m^2 you calculated would I think refer to the imbalance at the end of the 20th C or perhaps upto 2005 for AR4. So you should concentrate on the OHC gradient in say the previous decade or perhaps from 1990 to now. I thnk you should find slopes in the 0.6 – 0.7 W/m^2 range.
    Alex

  65. richard telford says:
    October 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm
    The oceans are not well mixed!
    That depends on your point of view. Ninety percent of the ocean has a pretty constant and consistent temperature very near three degrees centigrade. The ten percent of it that is warmer than that is the first few hundred meters below the surface.
    The sixty four thousand dollar question is what factors determine the rate at which the (usually) warm shallow surface layer mixes with the vast frigid depths. If the mix rate slows the atmosphere will warm and if the mix rate increases the atmosphere will cool. If the surface and deep waters were to approach equilibrium, which would be about four degrees centrigrade, the earth will be in a full blown ice age. Now -that- is just cause for concern.

  66. Regarding Nylo says:
    October 24, 2010 at 3:21 am
    What?, your missing heat is in the fire you turned up. It is a “travesty” we can not find it, but as we do not know the energy budget of the planet, it is not surprising.

  67. How does a small increase in infared radiation heat the ocean it cannot penetrate beyond a few millimeters?
    Even if it eventually can would not this ocean mixing occur far slower then UV, and therfore is not UV energy more effective WM2 on a planet two thirds covered in water?
    What obsevational studies have been done on this?
    Thanks for any response.

  68. PS to my earlier comment: as well as heat being transformed into mechanical energy, there is also the issue of phase changes: heat energy being used up in melting ice into water, or evaporating liquid water into vapor.

  69. I suspect the missing 0.7 W/m^2 is the result of incorrect science. The main mistake is the cloud optical physics. Present median AGW, 1.6 W/m^2, is assumed to be offset by 1.2 W/m^2 ‘aerosol cooling’, 0.5 direct and 0.7 indirect via clouds. The former is probably nearer 0.3: the latter is imaginary because the equation used to predict it, from Hansen and Lacis in 1974, is in my view as wrong as can be.
    This is because it assumes diffuse internal scattering when there’s a second, pseudo-geometrical process at the upper boundary contributing the major proportion of albedo for very dark clouds. It’s strongly affected by pollution. An upper bound estimate is that changing droplet size from 15 to 5 microns reduces it by a factor of 10. So, a non-absorbing cloud with an initial albedo of 0.7 would allow 60% more energy through, a very potent form of AGW operating in parallel with any CO2 effect.
    Because there’s a reversal of the sign as clouds get thinner, I’m not certain how much AGW has come from polluted clouds, but because it’s self-limiting [thick cloud albedo asymptotes to 0.5] it may account for the apparent cessation of global warming in 2003 as determined by ocean heat content. The quid pro quo is that fast ocean heating from 1985 may have been because of Asian industrialisation leading in 1999 to the observation of the ‘Asian Brown Cloud’. Soon after that, low level tropical cloud albedo may have reached its minimum level – no more cloud AGW.
    So, I hope you realise by now that because of this fundamental mistake, which goes back to the physicists who devised the ‘two stream’ approximation to cloud aerosol optics, the present estimate of heating due to CO2-AGW is probably wildly exaggerated. I get to the other three major errors in the models at a later date!
    PS I also strongly suspect that some in climate science know full well the basic problems. This may be why NASA puts out fake optical physics, e.g.: http://terra.nasa.gov/FactSheets/Aerosols/
    ‘Figure 2b. The high aerosol concentrations in these clouds provide the nucleation points necessary for the formation of many small liquid water droplets. Up to 90% of visible radiation (light) is reflected back to space by such clouds without reaching Earth’s surface.’
    No professional physicist would put out such non-science yet the ‘reflection’ idea is widely believed in climate science. I’m less than impressed with the basic quality of people but that could be because of poor scientific training in the past 20 years or so.

  70. cementafriend says:
    October 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm
    “It looks like my post got lost in the ether or filter. I was pointing out that measurements of evaporation point to the opposite of what is expected by IPCC and others with raising temperature ie the evaporation has been going down over the last 30 or more years.”
    That is what one would expect according to Miskolczi’s theory.

  71. Here is a chart showing how long it will take the oceans to catch up to the surface warming – 1500 years and it is still not 100% the way there yet – this is Hansen’s chart based on the slow temperature mixing which seems to be occurring so far.
    http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/1200/image002.png
    I guess this backs up Willis’ calculations since Hansen is still assuming 3.0C (to 6.0C) of warming in this chart so it will should take 3 X 500 years (at the current rate of 0.2C per century).
    So, – either the predicted 3.0C of warming will in fact, take 1500 years (after CO2 reaches the first doubling around 2060); or,
    – Hansen is trying to push that the actual equilibrium response is up to 6.0C after 1500 years per CO2 doubling; or,
    – the extra heat is not, in fact, “missing”, it is just the energy the theory expects to be there but it is not. Therefore, the warming will be much less than expected and it will take much, much longer than the current theory is pushing on us.
    But the conclusion must be that the heat is not missing, the theory’s correctness is missing.
    I don’t know how scientists can ignore the basic math problems in this theory. I guess they must still be relying on a gut instinct “feeling” that the theory is correct and would then rather just ignore the problems or try to change the measurements so it works. Noble cause corruption.

  72. What you are missing is the effect of aerosols. The models depress temps from 1945 thru 1978 or so due to high aerosol levels in the atmosphere. The story goes that the clean air act fixed all this and temps began to soar in the late seventies.

  73. What you are missing is the temperature depressing effect of aerosols in the atmosphere that worked its magic from 1945 to 1978 until the clean air act fixed all that and let temps resume its upward trend.

  74. Darren Parker says:
    October 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm
    Does the earth’s heat producing core have any effect on the climate?
    Yes. When the the mantle breaks the surface it pumps gases and particulates in many forms and at at various altitudes and can have a profound effect on the climate.

  75. B Buckner says October 24, 2010 at 7:24 am

    What you are missing is the temperature depressing effect of aerosols in the atmosphere that worked its magic from 1945 to 1978 until the clean air act fixed all that and let temps resume its upward trend.

    Makes no sense I’m afraid. What proportion of the earths surface did clean air acts relate to? Urban areas of the US and isolated parts of Europe at best. Just the usual contrived warmist excuse, where’s the empirical correlation let alone proof of causality?

  76. For several reasons, the atmosphere can’t heat the ocean to any great degree in comparison to the Sun.
    Firstly, the ocean surface is on average warmer than the atmosphere.
    Secondly, donwelling longwave IR doesn’t penetrate the ocean surface far enough to get mixed down effectivley. Because of this, the IR is concentrated in the first few molecules depth of water and simply causes prompt evaporation.
    Solar energy on the other hand penetrates tens of meters into the ocean and warms it very effectively.
    There is a level of insolation at which the ocean neither gains nor loses energy. Coincidentally (or not) this is the same as the average level of solar activity over the last 350 years. For much of the C20th, the Sun was putting out more than the average level of energy for most of the time, and this additional energy increased the ocean heat content, raising the surface temperature and therefore the atmospheric temperature.
    There’s your global warming.
    My own calcs using similar figures to Willis’ plus the satellite altimetry measurements show that the ocean was getting almost 4W/m^2 more than average in the 1993-2003 decade. This is far more than co2 could ever achieve, even if downwelling IR could penetrate and heat the ocean. It must have been due to extra insolation at the surface of the ocean. Since the sun only varies a watt or so, the amplification factor is almost certainly albedo variation due to solar activity levels – the Svensmark effect.
    Empirical evidence from the ISCCP cloud project shows cloud levels fell from 1980-1998.
    There’s your global warming.

  77. Willis Eschenbach;
    It was a long time ago when I went through AR4 and I’ve trashed most of my spreadsheets, but I found some notes to myself. Too bad I didn’t record where in AR4 the numbers came from so I could refer back. Bad scientist. Oh wait, I’m not a scientist. Ok, Bad skeptic. Here’s my recollection:
    o The IPCC estimates doubling of CO2 to increase forcing by 3.7 w/m2 (no feedback)
    o The IPCC calculates sensitivity against the EFFECTIVE black body temperature of the earth
    o The IPCC estimates the effective black body temperature of the earth to be about 253K
    o Hadcrut reports temperature anomalies against the SURFACE temperature of the earth
    o Hadcrut estimates the average earth surface temperature to be 288K.
    So to simplify matters, let’s eliminate feedbacks and just focus for the moment on the math in regard to CO2. IPCC estimates doubling co2 will increase forcing by 3.7 watts/m2, and increase temperature about 1 degree. STARTING FROM WHERE? Let’s turn to Stefan-Boltzman.
    If we assume a surface temperature of 288K, then a temperature increase of 1 degree would require a change in energy input to achieve equilibrium of:
    (5.67 x 10^-8 x 289^4) – (5.67 x 10^-8 x 288^4) = 5.45 w/m2
    Does not compute. Can’t warm something up if it is radiating more that you are putting into it. So let’s run the numbers again using the effective black body temperature of the earth at 253K
    (5.67 x 10^-8 x 254^4) – (5.67 x 10^-8 x 253^4) = 3.69 w/m2
    AHA!!!!!
    Thar be yer problem mate. CO2 be logarithmic and earth radiance be exponential, so we have to know sensitivity in terms of starting point. If we accept the IPCC estimate of sensitivity being doubling CO2 = 3.7w/m2 = +1 degree AT AN EFFECTIVE BLACK BODY TEMPERATURE OF 253k, we should be able to arrive at a rough approximation of the expected change in temperature at earth surface expressed as an anomaly against an earth surface average temperature of 288K.
    To make it a simple back of envelope, let’s assume that small changes of 1 degree are roughly linear in relation to the starting point. That gives us an easy ratio. We should expect sensitivity at earth surface to be 3.7/5.5 of sensitivity at effective black body. So sensitivity as measured by Hadcrut would be:
    3.7/5.5 = 0.67 degrees per doubling of CO2.
    Using the same logic in regard to magnitude of positive feedbacks as estimated by IPCC as adding an additional 1.0 to 3.5 degrees AT EARTH EFFECTIVE BLACK BODY OF 253 we would arrive at sensitivity as expressed by Hadcrut of 0.67 to 2.35 for feedbacks. Sum total would then be CO2 doubling with feedbacks included resulting in sensitivity at earth surface being a range of 1.34 to 3.01 degrees as measured by Hadcrut, and roughly equivelant to the 2.0 to 4.5 degrees reffered to by IPCC as calculated against earth effective black body.
    I suspect that if you run your numbers again in that context you’ll get a result that puts Hadcrut’s numbers more reasonably into the range. Better still would be to compare theory against actual measurement of effective black body of earth, but I have no idea how one would arrive at that from the historical record. I note however, the temperature at 14,000 feet as measured by AMSU-A averages about 253K which might make it a good proxy.
    I actually found the 3.7/5.5 ration in one IPCC reference or another after I had calculated it myself, so it isn’t like this is some sort of secret. But screaming about a range of 2.0 to 4.5 is just that much more scary than screaming about a range of 1.34 to 3.01.

  78. david says:
    October 24, 2010 at 5:06 am
    How does a small increase in infared radiation heat the ocean it cannot penetrate beyond a few millimeters?
    Trenberth seems to be using the classic laws thermal dynamics. He is taking the gas and liquid as a two solid bodies. Water and our atmosphere are not amorphous they have two states and both states are dependent on pressure and temperature.
    I believe he has underestimated SW->LW conversion at depth in the oceans and has by doing so attributed too much kinetic transfer from the atmosphere to the oceans.

  79. (SarcOn) Is anyone else beginning to come to the conclusion that the IPCC is all a GIANT MADOFF “Slight-Of-Hand” Trick? A Gigantic Ponzi Distraction? Think about it, while the ever vigilant sheep dogs (US) have been trying to save the flock (the World) from the big, bad wolves (Them), other members of the pack (Their Buddies) have been ‘sheering’ (and doing other terrible, unspeakable things) to the poor flock while we have been distracted with this “Global Warming/Climeology” stuff. Huuuuuuuuummmmmmm… where’s BatMan, Robin ,IronMan, and the rest of the Super Heros when you need them? Think, maybe, “The Great Recession” we’re now in up to our gills is the result of what their friends have been doing while we’ve been preoccupied? I smell a rat…(SarcOff)

  80. ShaneCMuir says:
    October 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm
    I would not call this a ‘return to science’ for the Scientific American.
    Look at the lead story… “Hidden Worlds Of Dark Matter”
    Absolute baloney!! ( http://thunderbolts.info/ )
    Give with one hand.. take with the other..

    Very interesting, very mind-expanding, verywrong.
    Embarrassingly wrong, Shane.
    Just because the climate change scientists act more like mini-Stalinists trying to depress scientific debate and nationalize major aspects of the economies of the world for their left-wing political views … doesn’t mean that every single crackpot theory, especially one reeking of creationalism, promoted by pseudoscientists is on an equal footing with questioning to what degree climate warming feedback sensitivity may have been overstated.
    Is plasma an important phenomena? Yes. Might comets’ tails, for example, be more of an electrical effect than dissolving ice? Sure. Is the Sun an anode? Is that whole nuclear physics model of the Sun just nonsense?
    I guess anything’s possible except that the direct measured experimental evidence supports the standard physics model.
    You’re wasting your time on nuttiness. It’s your privilege, but if anyone checks out that website — and it certainly is interesting — I advise they do so with a heavily skeptical eye. There are a lots of propagandist distortions in it.
    The video I watched about it was interesting, sure. But I was uncomfortable with the loosey-goosey presentation of several elements in it, particularly the idea I should take seriously several myths and goddesses around the world as if this is proof of this completely radical physics idea. Looking at the underlying science shows repeated instances where it is just plain off.

  81. Fred, thanks for the link to the Levitus paper. Don’t you think it is a little odd that the greatest atmospheric warming 1980-1990 took place while the ocean was giving up heat? Are we supposed to believe that CO2 warmed the air, the warm air pumped heat into the ocean, and the ocean cooled less than it would have otherwise? It’s always amusing to see the linear trend argument applied in cases like this. Does the system look linear to you? The paper also did not explain how the heat moves into the lower ocean, my understanding is that the turnover rate is insufficient to explain the lack of warming in the atmosphere with the alleged sensitivity of water vapor feedback added in.

  82. where’s BatMan, Robin ,IronMan, and the rest of the Super Heros when you need them?
    Registered as democrats in Ohio. (And Texas. And Nevada. And Illinois.)

  83. Nylo says:
    October 24, 2010 at 3:21 am (Edit)
    Willis, you don’t have to look for that lost heat. It doesn’t have to be somewhere, nor does it have to be “lost”. It only needs to exist in the future. At this moment, the only thing that you would need is some kind of radiative imbalance.”
    yes, Nylo Thank you. After Willis post I did some calculations about the top speed of my Truck. Looking at the laws of physics I determined that the top speed of my truck would be approximately 120 Mph. I then studied the engine further and I found that the more gas I put in the carburator the more horse power I produced. I then studied the mechanism of the pedal and found that there was a direct correlation between putting the pedal down and increasing the flow of gas. So I have sensitivity number for the pedal position and I can measure it quite accurately.
    My formula is very simple. the relationship is nearly linear. The pedal forcing causes the speed to increase. I decided i better test this. Much to my surprise when I slammed the pedal down and then looked up to to record the speed I had only achieved 60mph. My friends suggested that perhaps I should wait longer than 6 seconds to record the speed, but I explained that since I had a sensitivity for the forcing that was all I needed.
    I therefore conclude that There is some missing velocity. where is it? further I think my simple experiment has uncovered a fatal flaw in basic physics.
    My sceptic friend noted that there was a small wind at my back at the time, he thinks that the wind causes my truck to go forward, NOT the gas pedal. So much for the theory of more horsepower equals higher speed. one guy spun his tires on ice one day, and thinks traction drives the speed, not the pedal forcing. One guy claimed he can show many examples of people putting the pedal down and going in REVERSE, negative velocity!. From these incidents it clear to me that physics must be rewritten.
    The other day, a few years back, on WUWT we used to talk about the ocean being a giant capacitor. That was silly talk. Some guys even tried to talk about things called ‘time constants’ I think time constants can be ignored. dont you.
    /sarc off

  84. A simple question for those arguing for a long equilibrium period due to ocean lag. Since the earth started warming a considerable time ago how much of the recent warming is just the earth working towards the imbalance from long ago? Don’t forget, the longer the time period for equilibrium to be achieved the less the warming which can be blamed on more current forcings. For those that argue for a high long term climate sensitivity I would ask the same question. The earth wasn’t created in 1979. If you wish to argue for large long term feedbacks of warming than by all means do so but don’t forget to go back and apply these principles to previous forcings.

  85. steveta_uk says:
    October 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    Slightly off-topic, but can anyone explain why the deep oceans are so cold? They appear to be sandwiched between a surface at approx 15C, and a mantle that’s even hotter.
    _______Reply;
    Every winter at both poles as the sea water freezes to expand the polar sea ice area, extent, and volume, the salt in the solution is separated out and concentrated raising the density of the salt to the point that it does not freeze @ around 0C, but sinks to the bottom. Each winter freeze cycle processes a surge of colder, denser sea water, that reaches its peak density around 3C to 4C, flows away from the poles till it covers the bottom of the total ocean floors around the world.
    At sources of bottom heat the thermal gradient causes the slightly warmer water to rise and be replaced by more 3-4C dense sea water. Because this process is ongoing from both poles, there is no shortage of cold water inputs. What the Argo buoy system would show is the amount of surface warming that is getting ahead or behind the rate of sea water to freshwater ice conversion rates.
    The Thermocline http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/jetstream/ocean/layers_ocean.htm
    should reflect any long term changes in global warming or cooling, if heat is actually being stored in the oceans long term, the level of the warmest water will be seen to get deeper. So far that is not happening to a measurable amount, Judith Curry had an Antarctic sea ice paper looking for .00? temperature changes posted on here a while back.
    However the temperatures at the bottom of the sea will still be the same as long as there is polar sea ice being generated, to any great extent.

  86. jaymam says:
    October 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    You say:

    Global Surface 5.1E+14 m2
    “Missing” Incoming Radiation 0.7 W m-2 over earth’s surface

    I have not checked your spreadsheet figures but does everybody realise that the radiation from the Sun appears on one side of the Earth only and not over the entire Earth’s surface.Therefore the area of the Earth receiving inward radiation from the Sun is one quarter of the total surface area of the Earth. However outward radiation should be calculated using the entire Earth’s surface.

    jaymam, in climate science all forcings are referenced per square metre of total earth’s surface. You are right that intercepted sun is 1/4 of the earth’s surface. This is adjusted for by dividing the instantaneous top-of-atmosphere (TOA) insolation of (from memory) 1368 W/m2 by 4, to give an average TOA solar forcing of 342 W/m2.

  87. MalagaView says:
    October 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm
    Charlie A says:
    there are severe flaws with the quote. for one, power from stefan’s law is for a surface – so it radiates in one hemisphere. If you don’t really have a surface or assume a thin sheet, one must double that value to radiate in both hemispheres.
    what has happened with the additional 3.6w/m^2 is that this amount is no longer escaping from the atmosphere (in clear skies). Since around 239w/m^2 is absorbed as incoming solar, for balance the average outgoing IR at the surface is 390w/m^2 which indicates about 150 w/m^2 is blocked in the atmosphere which means about 62% actually escapes. This of course ignores the cloudy fraction and emissions from higher up in the atmosphere. It does suggest that a 3.6w/m^2 shortfall would need to have about 5.8w/m^2 which corresponds to around 1.06 deg C rise. Of course, this includes only radiative heat transfer in a region of the atmosphere which doesn’t transfer much by radiation anyway.

  88. Nylo,
    The heat cannot be ‘nowhere.’ That is impossible. The heat from your stove is conducted into the water immediately and will start to excite the molecules, immediately.
    There is no argument that the missing heat in the oceans is ‘nowhere,’ or will appear in the future. If there is a radiative imbalance (that is not the same as a forcing), then that energy must be entering the system at that rate and it’s presence must be felt by way of temperature increases.

  89. If one wants to view the daily Solar Radiation coming in versus the Radiation actually at the Surface throughout the day, it is a little surprising.
    The actual radiation at the surface is very stable compared to the solar radiation coming in (or not coming in at night). Once the Sun sets each night, about 4.5 watts/m2 per hour escapes and then once the Sun comes up, the surface radiation level rises by about the same 4.5 watts/m2 per hour (it is not quite 12 hours each way so there is a little difference in the two rates).
    http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/7350/dailysolarandsurfacerad.png
    If the Sun did not come up tomorrow, it would take about 86 hours for the Earth to cool down to the cosmic background radiation level (give or take a lag from the Oceans which would freeze from the top down).

  90. Don’t forget, the longer the time period for equilibrium to be achieved the less the warming which can be blamed on more current forcings. For those that argue for a high long term climate sensitivity I would ask the same question. The earth wasn’t created in 1979. If you wish to argue for large long term feedbacks of warming than by all means do so but don’t forget to go back and apply these principles to previous forcings.
    ###########
    thats one of the points of running GCMs to do paleo work! The issue there is the quality and granularity of forcing data.
    There are two factors at play here.
    1. The gain ( or sensitivity)
    2. The time constant or lag.
    You all know the difference between steering a jet ski and steering an oil tanker.
    You apply a forcing to one and it reacts instantly.
    you apply a forcing to the other and it reacts slowly.
    You cannot characterize a system by simply looking at the sensitivity without looking at the time constant. well, you can, but it usually leads to crashes.
    So what Willis has shown is this. If you consider the sensitivity or gain of the climate system ( its reaction to Doubling C02) to be instantaneous, then clearly
    A. the sensitivity is too high OR
    B. the measured temps are too High OR
    C. the time constant is longer than “instantly”
    Which is not showing very much at all.
    There are three ways to constrain the problem. Most everyone starts with a given
    B. the measured temps are just about correct. 9 you can vary this if you like as well)
    Then, you can run models to figure out (ESTIMATE) the sensitivities and time constants ( like the IPCC does, and like guys who build aircraft flight controls do )
    or you can look at observations IFF you have a long enough series ( Schwartz tries this, as does Lucia with her two box approach) Or you can look at some the instaneous responses ( I think spenser did this recently)
    So, willis has established what we already knew. The climate doesnt respond instaneously to GHG forcing. Same way my oil tanker doesnt turn on a dime. But that sucker will turn, and once the control input is “put in”, there is no “taking it out”
    And since we dont have good data on what the response time is to a increase in C02 ( like a controlled experiment) the only thing we can do is “model”.

  91. Willis,
    As with all things IPCC finding the trail of references and a straight forward answer is not… uhm… straight forward. But here are a couple of sections the illustrate the math in my previous comment:
    Section 2.8.1 of WG1 states clearly that their radiative forcing calculations are taken at the tropopause, and are different from the observed forcing at surface:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-8.html#2-8-1
    If you refer to figure 2.23 of WG1, you will find the graphs showing various forcings at the tropopause versus at surface. The total of all LLGHG’s is shown at just over 2 w/m2 which is about right for a 40% of doubling increase on a logarithmic function using 3.7 for doubling, but the surface forcing is only about 0.5 w/m2.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-2-23.html
    Interestingly, they show the combined forcing at surface of LLGHG+Ozone+Aerosols+LandUse as NEGATIVE 1.4 w/m2. Not certain why they grouped them like that but the logical conclusion would be to expect COOLING at the surface over the last few decades, not warming. How they reconcile that with the surface temperature records they spout is beyond me.
    But there you have it. Their sensitivity is calculated at the tropopause, and per their own documentation, doesn’t relate to the surface temps.

  92. “So, willis has established what we already knew. The climate doesnt respond instaneously to GHG forcing.”
    So how much of the warming of the 1990s would you blame on older forcings so we can establish how much more missing heat we have to find in order to make the models correct?

  93. “thats one of the points of running GCMs to do paleo work! ”
    Yes, and so how do they incorporate the irrigation caused by melting glaciers when we are still arguing if irrigation causes cooling, warming, or both depending on the circumstances?

  94. OK so I may be showing my ignorance here but if we turned off the Sun right now (stay with me) how long would it take for the atmosphere (not the ocean – the atmosphere) to cool significantly. 24 hours – a few days – longer? 150 years?!
    It seems to me that the planet’s (heat) energy is constantly being topped up on very short (daily) timescales. Take that away and it gets cold (I suppose) very quickly. I’m not suggesting the Sun will be switched off any time soon; I just use it as an illustration that the atmosphere probably doesn’t store heat very well for long periods.
    So those who propose some time lag is hiding the heat still need to explain where it is hiding. It is no good saying its coming along later. Coming from where? You can’t store heat without it getting hot somewhere – or doing work like moving currents around a lot more as Mr Hayworth suggests (October 24, 2010 at 4:34 am) but evidence seems to indicate that isn’t happening either http://www.earthweek.com/2010/ew100402/ew100402a.html.
    So it’s not in the sea, it’s not in the air. In short it is nowhere on earth (unless someone can show otherwise). If it’s coming, where from? Where is it now?
    Please don’t get caught up in the boiling pot argument; that the 0.7C warming of the atmosphere will eventually warm the oceans by 0.7C which adds up to 1.4C. It doesn’t. It adds up to 0.7C more uniformly distributed. Yes it might eventually warm the oceans a bit and trap more energy overall – if the atmosphere doesn’t cool first – but the IPCC’s headline surface heat going forward would still be half what they said it would be.
    In other words if half the energy was being absorbed by the oceans (it’s not apparently) then half the next lot of energy would be too. If you are using that as an excuse for the difference between your theory and empirical evidence than your expected surface temperature deltas should also be halved unless you expect the sea to suddenly change its behaviour.
    So to return to my first point; the time lags in the atmosphere are measured in far shorter time scales than one and a half centuries. Mr Mosher, the sea might be a truck but the atmosphere’s a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport and 6 seconds is plenty for 120mph!

  95. Bill Illis answered my first question as I was typing. The atmosphere would lose all its energy in 86 hours. So no “time lag” in atmospheric temperatures can be longer than that. The planet’s core temperature yes. Oceans – a bit. But the atmosphere no. Atmospheric temperatures are a reflection of the composition of the atmosphere in this 86 hour window. That’s all the time lag you get.

  96. This “hidden heat forcing in the ocean” is fascinating. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite of the lava lamps we amused ourselves with back in the precamb…er, the ’60’s. The hot water sinks, hits bottom, reverses course — and SHAZAMM, global broiling takes place when it again reaches surface. Darn it, why couldn’t I have been more observant! I’d be famous and flying off to Tahiti to reveal the “Upside Down Theory of Heat Transference” to a host of sycoph…er, true believ…er, climatologists. I coulda’ been a contendah!

  97. Steven Mosher says:
    October 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    … You all know the difference between steering a jet ski and steering an oil tanker.
    You apply a forcing to one and it reacts instantly.
    you apply a forcing to the other and it reacts slowly.
    You cannot characterize a system by simply looking at the sensitivity without looking at the time constant. well, you can, but it usually leads to crashes.
    So what Willis has shown is this. If you consider the sensitivity or gain of the climate system ( its reaction to Doubling C02) to be instantaneous, then clearly
    A. the sensitivity is too high OR
    B. the measured temps are too High OR
    C. the time constant is longer than “instantly”

    I have said nothing, absolutely nothing, about an instantaneous doubling of CO2 as you claim above. As a result, your claims address an imaginary situation. They respond to something I didn’t do.
    I have posted my spreadsheet, which clearly shows my year-by-year calculations. Your response strongly suggests that you have not looked at it. I applied the IPCC factors starting at zero and increasing over the 150 year period, at a rate approximating the log(CO2) increase. So they started at zero, increased slowly, then increased faster in recent years to the final IPCC values. This approximated the reality.
    Here’s the issue as I see it. The IPCC numbers don’t balance. Some of the incoming energy goes into raising the temperature. Some of it goes into the ocean. And some, we don’t know where it goes.
    This is not a long-term problem, despite the fact that it is occurring in a lagged system like the climate. It is an instantaneous problem. The IPCC says the forcing increased by a certain amount. We know some of that went into warming the global surface air temperature. And some of it went into warming the ocean. But where did the rest of it go? It can’t be created or destroyed. It didn’t go into the ocean. It didn’t raise the temperature. Where did it go?
    The issue that I am pointing at is the missing heat. I asked you in my last post where you thought is was going. I ask again, because I don’t know the answer.

  98. Phil’s Dad says:
    October 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm
    —————–
    You could also look at it as How long does the energy represented by a photon from the Sun spend in the Earth System before it is lost to space?
    About 30.2 hours.
    30% of the photons are reflected back to space almost immediately – in an average time of 0.00003 seconds.
    70% spend an average 43 hours in the Earth System – some are captured by Ozone and then sent back to space in a millisecond or so and some might end up captured by the Ocean or Land surface and spend up to 1500 years in the Earth System, but the average of this 70% is just 43 hours.
    This 70% of photons will spend time in 31 billion individual molecules on average before being sent off to space – in other words, every type of atmospheric molecule is constantly recycling the energies represented by a photon from the Sun – capturing and then releasing that energy in an average 0.000005 seconds which approximates a constant outward flow from the surface – it is not “back-radiation” – it is a constant outward flow which is provable by the lapse rate itself – and not just CO2 and GHGs are part of this, all the molecules are.
    This all happens at the quantum level, at the speed of light and at the average relaxation time for a molecule. No climate model is going to be able simulate that accurately.

  99. davidmhoffer says:
    October 24, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Willis,
    As with all things IPCC finding the trail of references and a straight forward answer is not… uhm… straight forward. But here are a couple of sections the illustrate the math in my previous comment:
    Section 2.8.1 of WG1 states clearly that their radiative forcing calculations are taken at the tropopause, and are different from the observed forcing at surface:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-8.html#2-8-1

    But there you have it. Their sensitivity is calculated at the tropopause, and per their own documentation, doesn’t relate to the surface temps.

    David, thanks for your thoughts. You are correct that those are TOA (top of atmosphere) forcings. My understanding is that the “climate sensitivity” linearly relates TOA forcing changes to surface temperature changes … if that’s not the case, please point me to a reference that explains what “climate sensitivity” means.

  100. Willis Eschenbach;
    My understanding is that the “climate sensitivity” linearly relates TOA forcing changes to surface temperature changes … if that’s not the case, please point me to a reference that explains what “climate sensitivity” means.>>
    Sorry Willis, I can’t. You have to follow all the references to references to references starting with this quote from AR4 WG1 2.8.1 where RF is short for Radiative Forcing:
    ” It should be noted that a perturbation to the surface energy budget involves sensible and latent heat fluxes besides solar and longwave irradiance; therefore, it can quantitatively be very different from the RF, which is calculated at the tropopause, and thus is not representative of the energy balance perturbation to the surface-troposphere (climate) system. While the surface forcing adds to the overall description of the total perturbation brought about by an agent, the RF and surface forcing should not be directly compared…”
    Their words. NOT representative of the energy balance. Should NOT be directly compared. As I said, it was a while back that I went through it. Looked for some of the papers they refer to, mostly behind pay walls. Some I found copies of but they make reference to other papers, mostly behind pay walls. Lots of dead ends but finaly figured out that they were calculating CO2 doubling = 3.7w/m2 = 1 degree at the effective black body temperature of earth, but were being very vague in terms of how that should translate into surface temps, leaving one with the IMPRESSION that it is linear, but no where actually saying so that I have found. In fact, I recall distinctly reading an article either in AR4 or referenced by AR4 saying that temperature changes could be treated as linear in terms of changes in surface radiance. Duh, say WHAT? Which part of T to the power of 4 is linear? The cite was I think, Ramaswamy so I started digging. Turns out to be a reasonable approximation FOR SMALL CHANGES IN TEMP LIKE 1 DEGREE. The implication in the article at the beginning of the chain was that this is true across the board but it isn’t, and it is only implied, it didn’t actually say that.
    But do the math. As you said before, you believe that sensitivity varies with T. The surface temp CAN’T be linear with radiative forcing calculated against effective black body that is 35 degrees colder than surface based on a constant times… T raised to the power of 4. Any warming as a consequence must raise the temps of cold things faster than the temps of warm things and if you pump enough warming into the system the temp differential between them gets smaller and smaller even though they are both going up.
    If I find the time I will try and reproduce the whole chain, but it was a long time ago, lots of dead ends, and many hours of frustration. But linear its not.

  101. CO2 in the climate system is not like gravity in the planetary motion. Simple equations needs to be replaced with complex computer models that simulate not just earth’s radiation budget but also energy sources and sinks with their time lags.
    Energy can be stored in phase transitions like melting ice or in (bio)chemical reactions. Measuring all of them is a huge challenge. We can’t even accurately measure the CO2 created by man.

  102. Vincey, you are correct, but it doesn’t contradict anything that I said. Yes, if there is an energy imbalance it must be felt by increasing temperatures. And that is exactly what we are seeing. As long as we see increasing temperatures, we cannot discard that the current CO2 levels can take us to a +1,5K annomaly. Of course the big problem is that the GHE is not the only process affecting the temperatures, and because of that we cannot know if the effect of the CO2 has stopped or continues, because a stop in the temperature increase can be caused by other random factors playing in the opposite direction. Their guess is that, if only CO2 was at play, we would continue to see warming, and if we don’t see it for a few years it is because of noise in the signal. Well, I don’t believe it, but it doesn’t mean that it cannot be true. To discard that possibility we need a much longer period of cooling or at least no warming.
    A climate sensitivity of +3K for a doubling of CO2 means that, when you double the CO2 concentration, the climate will stabilise at a +3K annomaly. It doesn’t say anything about how long it takes it to reach that temperature and stabilise (big effort made at the thought of a stable temperature… but hey, that’s what they say). It can be a much more gradual process that only “stabilises” a century after you have doubled the CO2 concentration. In the mean time, the energy is not anywhere. It is comming.

  103. “To discard that possibility we need a much longer period of cooling or at least no warming.”
    STATE OF THE CLIMATE IN 2008 Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
    Vol. 90, No. 8, August 2009
    “The trend in the ENSO-related component for 1999–2008 is +0.08±0.07°C decade–1, fully accounting for the overall observed trend. The trend after removing
    ENSO (the “ENSO-adjusted” trend) is 0.00°±0.05°C decade–1, implying much greater disagreement with anticipated global temperature rise.”
    “Near-zero and even negative trends are common
    for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”
    Not all that long a period of time is required to invalidate the models.

  104. From: Tom Wigley
    To: Kevin Trenberth
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 16:09:35 -0600
    Cc: Michael Mann , Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones”, Benjamin Santer , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer
    Kevin,
    I didn’t mean to offend you. But what you said was “we can’t account
    for the lack of warming at the moment”. Now you say “we are no where
    close to knowing where energy is going”. In my eyes these are two
    different things — the second relates to our level of understanding,
    and I agree that this is still lacking.

    Tom.
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Kevin Trenberth wrote:
    > Hi Tom
    > How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where
    > close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to
    > make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy
    > budget.
    The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the
    > climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless
    > as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a
    > travesty!
    > Kevin
    >

  105. Bill Illis says:
    October 24, 2010 at 7:33 pm
    You could also look at it as How long does the energy represented by a photon from the Sun spend in the Earth System before it is lost to space? About 30.2 hours.

    Thanks for the new numbers Mr Illis. I think we are broadly on the same page with this one. As I see it this represents the outer bounds of the energy equilibrium time lag for changes in the atmospheric composition. As an extreme illustration if we double the time that energy (represented by photons) is delayed, by giving it twice as many molecules to play with, we would double the time that energy sticks around to perhaps 2.5 days to a week. At the same time temperatures would rise by what; 30C?
    Whether it is 30hrs or 43hrs or 86hrs; energy doesn’t stick around in the atmosphere for long. Oceans, rocks and stuff yes. Atmosphere no. (I’ll just reiterate briefly that very little of the “missing energy” seems to be in the oceans after all this time.)
    So if there is any “hidden energy” it must be Mr Nylo’s (October 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm) theological energy. “In the mean time, the energy is not anywhere. It is comming.” Mr Nylo I didn’t see a /sarc anywhere in your piece so I guess you mean it. Unless you thinks that energy that “is not anywhere” but is somehow destined for us later is so daft no one could miss the joke. (Quantum physicists weigh-in by all means)
    “Yes, if there is an energy imbalance it must be felt by increasing temperatures. And that is exactly what we are seeing.” But that imbalance can not last longer than the time it takes for all the energy in the (open) system to be exchanged.

  106. “missing heat”
    The IPCC says the forcing increased by a certain amount. We know some of that went into warming the global surface air temperature. And some of it went into warming the ocean. But where did the rest of it go? It can’t be created or destroyed. It didn’t go into the ocean. It didn’t raise the temperature. Where did it go?
    I will suggest that you look into the two box model that Lucia, nick stokes and Arthur smith put together. That will help you understand the time constant problem better and why you cannot calculate the response as you did. You’ll need more than the back of an envelope for this one.
    The series of posts is quite long and involved and the basic issues everyone needs to understand are there. happy reading.
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/two-box-model-algebra-for-ver-1-test/
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/two-box-model-now-assuming-surface-temperature-are-mixed-values/
    but to answer the question. once you do the calculations correctly then you will be left with some choices:
    1. a lower sensitivity (within lukewarmer bounds)
    2. more going into the ocean that you think.

  107. Mr Mosher (October 25, 2010 at 9:06 am) I agree with your conclusions 100%.
    assuming the IPCC have everything else right…
    “Once you do the calculations correctly then you will be left with some choices:
    1. a lower sensitivity (within lukewarmer bounds)
    2. more going into the ocean that you think.”

    In either case it is true to say that the surface temperatures will be lower than IPCC scenarios. In 1. this is self evident and in 2. unless the sea suddenly changes its behaviour it will continue to absorb (nearly half) the heat.
    That leaves us with a most likely business as usual case of 1.5C of surface warming by 2100 for which (to close the circle) I think our Grandchildren would forgive us.

  108. International JournRecent energy balance of Earthdal of Geosciences, 2010, vol. 1, no. 3 (November)R. S. Knox and D. H. Douglas
    “In summary, we find that estimates of the recent
    (2003–2008) OHC rates of change are preponderantly
    negative. This does not support the existence of either a
    large positive radiative imbalance or a “missing energy.””
    This paper makes perfect sense to me. Perhaps you can explain where it is in error.

  109. @Rabe, ShaneCMuir:
    The “comparative mythologist” and “physicist” behind Thunderbolts.info also claim Earth was — until a few thousand years ago, but within human cultural memory — in orbit around a brown dwarf star, which through an electrical process (scarring Mars, our moon, and elsewhere), violently ejected the gas giant planets, itself becoming Saturn.
    Somehow Earth came to rest — a few thousand years ago — into a habitable orbit around the Sun, and not only did life survive, but humanity did too.
    Come on!
    Get real.
    I spent several hours reading their ideas about plasma being important for the formation and structure of galaxies and even electricity, not nuclear fusion, powering the Sun.
    I’m not even saying these ideas are completely implausible. Certainly there is that little pesky problem of “what the heck is dark matter, which we can’t find, and we assume exists, because otherwise the galaxies would fling its star systems away in a single rotation?”
    That’s a big problem with the standard cosmological model. There are others.
    So maybe these Thunderbolts guys would do well to drop the “Earth revolved around proto-Saturn, itself a brown dwarf star, a few thousand years ago, and humanity survived the break-up of that star” bit if they want to be taken remotely seriously. As it is now, they come across as fancifical loonies and mystical e-book hucksters.
    ShaneCMuir, don’t be deluded.

  110. *******
    steveta_uk says:
    October 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    Slightly off-topic, but can anyone explain why the deep oceans are so cold? They appear to be sandwiched between a surface at approx 15C, and a mantle that’s even hotter.
    I’ve found numerous documents that state that the deeps are cold as there is no sunlight. But where do they lose heat to to get so cold?

    ********
    The cold bottom-water at around 4-6C, which makes up the vast majority of the ocean volume, is a relic of previous cold periods and/or present glacier/sea-ice melting sinking below the top surface. Being sandwiched between the ocean bottom (crust that has a very high insulation value & hence little heat transfer from the hot interior) and warm surface water (which is stratified & isolated due to density differences) preserves its “coldness” for long times — perhaps thousands of yrs.
    So for most parts of the world (other than the below-freezing ones), the cold bottom-water is actually a heat-sink, not a heat source. This makes the vast majority of the ocean volume a poor reservoir of “heat” — in fact, it’s a source of cold for affected areas — look at the east Pacific.
    Of course, those areas that normally are governed by these cold currents would see a temp rise if the bottom water warmed, but the amount of heat necessary to raise such a vast amount of bottom-water even just a degree would be huge. During warm periods of the earth (like 60 mya) the bottom-water is not nearly as cold — it was as much as 60F (15C) instead of today’s 4C. This is because during those periods there was negligible sea-ice/glacier melting.

  111. Dear Anthony, Willis, and all,
    today I am facing a puzzle and I am not sure where to turn to . . I hope this thread didn’t go cold.. My only resources for this are two wiki-pages, so perhaps the answer is as easy as someone was describing the Revelle-factor incorrectly, but if I take whats written there at face value, here is what I see:
    If you assume, that the ocean were about 1°C colder during the little ice age 200 years ago than now and use Henry’s law to calculate the difference you get according to wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry's_law
    that the constant k_H(T) = k_0 e^-[ 2400 (1/(273.15+T) -1/298) ]
    and T is something like 16°C and 17°C for the ocean surface
    This leads to a difference in this number of about 2.8% and
    in the wiki carbon-cycle you can read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle
    “The factor for the ocean is about ten: that is, for a 10% increase in atmospheric CO2, oceanic storage (in equilibrium) increases by about 1%, with the exact factor dependent on local conditions. ”
    In other words:
    If the near surface ocean warmed by 1°C since then, the raise of the CO2-concentration in the atmosphere is a natural consequence (almost completly with very little room for an anthropogenic contribution).
    In order to explain this a bit more, I see there two sources and a sink:
    The sea, the burning of fossil fuel and the sea again. The sea can easily take up any anthropogenic contribution if the temperature is right!
    Could you comment on this math?
    Thank you,
    LoN, puzzled

  112. Laws of Nature says:
    October 29, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Dear Anthony, Willis, and all,
    today I am facing a puzzle and I am not sure where to turn to . . I hope this thread didn’t go cold.. My only resources for this are two wiki-pages, so perhaps the answer is as easy as someone was describing the Revelle-factor incorrectly, but if I take whats written there at face value, here is what I see:
    If you assume, that the ocean were about 1°C colder during the little ice age 200 years ago than now and use Henry’s law to calculate the difference you get according to wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry‘s_law
    that the constant k_H(T) = k_0 e^-[ 2400 (1/(273.15+T) -1/298) ]
    and T is something like 16°C and 17°C for the ocean surface
    This leads to a difference in this number of about 2.8% and
    in the wiki carbon-cycle you can read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle
    “The factor for the ocean is about ten: that is, for a 10% increase in atmospheric CO2, oceanic storage (in equilibrium) increases by about 1%, with the exact factor dependent on local conditions. ”
    In other words:
    If the near surface ocean warmed by 1°C since then, the raise of the CO2-concentration in the atmosphere is a natural consequence (almost completly with very little room for an anthropogenic contribution).
    In order to explain this a bit more, I see there two sources and a sink:
    The sea, the burning of fossil fuel and the sea again. The sea can easily take up any anthropogenic contribution if the temperature is right!
    Could you comment on this math?
    Thank you,
    LoN, puzzled

    Laws, I look at it a different way. Rather than deal with theory I go more for observations. In the Vostok record, a temperature swing of about 10° leads to a CO2 swing of about 75 ppmv.
    Setting aside the question of logarithmic response, we get a 1° temperature change leading to a CO2 swing of 7.5 ppmv. Lots of error in that, lots of plus and minus, but that’s the general idea.
    This makes it improbable that the current rise in CO2 is due to a change in ocean temperatures.

  113. Dear Willis,
    thank you for you answer!!!
    (this thread is not dead yet :))
    You wrote:
    “Laws, I look at it a different way. Rather than deal with theory I go more for observations. In the Vostok record, a temperature swing of about 10° leads to a CO2 swing of about 75 ppmv.
    Setting aside the question of logarithmic response, we get a 1° temperature change leading to a CO2 swing of 7.5 ppmv. Lots of error in that, lots of plus and minus, but that’s the general idea.”
    Well, I have to say that the first time I read it I all of a sudden got even more puzzled:
    We are talking about temperature dependence and you cite some data from ice and ice-water . .
    Well, I now know, that the Revelle-Faktor and the Law of Henry are both temperature dependent and somewhat counteracting.
    If you assume that the surface sea water warms from 16 to 17 degrees C, then Henry tells you, that about 2.8% of the gas in the water goes into the atmosphere, however, the Revelle-factor gets smaller and the atmospheric CO2 content only rises by 23% instead of the expected 28% (all number need further checking .. it is quite hard to get reliable sources herre)
    Now along comes you and tells me something about CO2 in ice cores . . why me is puzzled . .
    – if the water and air would be in CO2-equilibrium when it freezes, it should have a constant ratio, since only the temperature determines the CO2 amounts
    – if it is not in equilibrium the cold water near the poles should have more CO2, than the average sea water (due to the temperature)
    – and when you cool it further down, it should tend to extract the CO2 from the air bubbles over time (I assume, that Henry’s temperature dependence doesn’t care much if the liquid freezes) . . could it be that the low CO2 content in ice simply is due to Henry?
    That brings me to the answer:
    Just because a “10° leads to a CO2 swing of about 75 ppmv” in ice does not have to say anything about what happens in the oceans at a temperature change from 16 to 17° . . !?

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