Normal Seasons of the Sun (GW Tiger)

Guest post by Ira Glickstein PhD.

We had joy, we had fun, we had Seasons of the Sun.

But the mountains we climbed were but whimsies of our minds.

That song (apologies to Terry Jacks) could well be the theme for the official climate Team as they hike to the airy peak of Mt. Hansen on the supposed 0.8ºC warming since 1880, only to look out at the bleak prospect, for them, of level ground, and the possibility of some cooling over the coming decades.

This is the third of my Tale of the Global Warming Tiger series where I allocate the supposed 0.8ºC warming since 1880 to: (1) Data Bias, (2) Natural Cycles, the subject of this posting, and (3) AGW, which will be the subject of a subsequent posting. Click Tiger’s Tale and Tail :^) to see my allocation and read the original story.

NATURAL PROCESSES AND CYCLES

This posting is about how natural processes and cycles have dominated the global warming experienced since 1880. The base chart for the above graphic is the NASA GISS Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index that indicates the official climate Team estimate of about 0.8ºC net warming, the majority of which they allocate to human activities. In contrast, according to my annotations, the actual net warming is closer to 0.5ºC (0.8ºC – 0.3ºC Data Bias), and most of that, 0.4ºC, is due to natural cycles and processes over which humans have no control or effect.

The violet curve in the graphic is my estimate of the effect of natural cycles from 1880 to the present. There are many natural processes that affect the surface temperature of the Earth, but nearly all of them gain their energy from the Sun which is why I call them Normal Seasons of the Sun. In the following three sections, they are divided into three groups, according to their time scales and effects.

GRADUAL PROCESSES AND CYCLES LESS IMPORTANT ON HUMAN TIME SCALES

Biological life is thought to have existed on Earth for about 3.5 billion years. Over that enormous time period, natural processes and cycles have affected the evolution of life. Absent those processes, we would not be here, or at least not in our current condition. However, some of these processes and cycles operate ponderously slowly, to the point they are barely noticed on the time scale of an individual human life or even on the time scale of ten lives. Therefore, they are of virtually no concern:

(a) Brightening Sun The Sun is about 4.5 billion years old, and about halfway through what is called the main sequence evolution for a star of its type. It has been getting brighter, but very slowly and nearly imperceptibly. In about 5 billion years, the Sun will become a Red Giant, and life as we know it on Earth will no longer be possible. However, the rate of brightening is so small that we may ignore it.

(b) Milankovitch Cycles. The Earth’s orbit around the Sun is affected by slow, cyclic variations in eccentricity (100,000 years), axial tilt (41,000 years), and precesssion (21,000 years). Changes in the Earth’s orbit do not affect the quantity of average yearly solar radiation, but the distribution between equatorial regions and polar regions is affected. This may be the cause of the approximately 100,000 year cycle of ice age glaciations. However, the contribution of these effects over a period as short as that from 1880 to the present is so small we may ignore it.

(c) Heat from Earth’s Core. About 0.01% of the energy responsible for heating the surface of the Earth is due to energy from the decay of radioactive materials in the Earth’s core. This source has a half life measured in billions of years. This is such a tiny fraction of the Earth’s heat budget that we may ignore it.

PROCESSES AND CYCLES OF IMPORTANCE ON HUMAN TIME SCALES

(d) Normal Seasons of the Sun. The nominal 11-year Solar Cycles, during which Sunspot counts vary from low numbers to a peak and then down again, may be as short as 9 years or as long as 14. Magnetic polarity changes for every pair of cycles, so there is an 18 to 28 year magnetic cycle. Often there are series of three or more cycles, spanning periods of 30 to 150 or more years where solar activity may be very low (below 50 spots per month) and series of similar lengths where activity may be very high (above 100 spots per month).

Low Sunspot series are historically associated with decades of unusually cold climate and vice-versa for high Sunspot series. Total Solar Irradiation (TSI) does not change much during a single Sunspot cycle, but, over a series of high (or low) cycles, it may change enough to result in an increase (or decrease) of 0.1ºC. This TSI effect of Solar Cycles accounts for about a quarter of the of 0.4ºC I have allocated for natural cycles.

(e) Henrick Svensmark’s Global Cosmic Ray (GCR) Theory. GCRs have a positive role in the formation of clouds. Low-lying daytime clouds tend to cool the surface of the Earth. Therefore, all else being equal, the more GCRs, the more clouds, and the cooler the surface of the Earth. Increased solar magnetic activity, which coincides with higher Sunspot numbers, may divert some portion of GCRs from reaching the Earth, thereby reducing cloud formation and thus lessening their cooling effects.

Via this mechanism, a series of high Sunspot cycles may indirectly cause surface temperatures to rise, and a series of low cycles may cause them to fall, which is consistent with the historical record. Svensmark’s theory, if correct, could account for some of the 0.4ºC I have allocated to natural cycles and processes.

(f) Multi-Decadal Ocean Oscillations. There are a number of ocean oscillations, with periods of from less than a decade to multiple decades, that affect sea surface temperatures and therefore have climate impacts worldwide. These include the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and others. The ENSO, for example, has a warm phase, called El Niño, Spanish for “the boy”, and a cool phase, called La Niña, “the girl”. The El Niño that started in 1998 caused global warming of 0.1ºC to 0.4ºC for a couple years.

While the net effect of any cycle on temperature anomalies is zero, they have significant effects during their high and low durations. Given the existence of several, somewhat independent ocean oscillations, their high and low times may tend to reinforce or cancel each other out, and that may explain multi-decadal episodes of positive and negative anomalies. There may be some correlation of these cycles with solar activity, which is, of course, the main source of their energy. Thus, ocean cycles could account for some of the 0.4ºC I have allocated to natural cycles and processes.

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FEEDBACKS OF IMPORTANCE ON HUMAN TIME SCALES

(g) ATMOSPHERIC GASES (net positive feedback). Long-wave radiation from the Earth extends from about 4 to 25 microns, with maximum energy around 10 microns. See the absorption spectrum for “greenhouse” gases. Note that the absorption spectra for water vapor (H2O) in the range of interest extends from about 5 to 8 microns and from around 12 to 25 microns. Note also that the absorption spectra for other atmospheric gases, such as methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (NO2), and oxygen/ozone (O2/O3), partially overlap H2O such that the atmosphere absorbs (and re-emits) nearly 100% of 4 to 25 micron radiation, except for two nearly transparent windows in the 8 to 9 and 10 to 12 micron regions.

Nearly all the carbon gases in the atmosphere are from natural sources, mostly respiration and digestive gasses of living animals and the decay of dead plants and animals. (The small proportion of carbon gases due to human activity, mainly burning of previously sequestered coal, oil, and natural gas, will be discussed in a future topic here on WUWT. For the purposes of this posting, only natural carbon gases are considered.)

When an atmospheric gas absorbs longwave radiation in its spectrum, that radiative energy is re-emitted in a broader spectrum and in all directions, about half towards the Earth and the other half out towards space.

When atmospheric CO2 absorbs 4 to 5 micron radiation from the Earth, or CH4 absorbs 7 to 8 micron radiation, and that energy is re-emitted, some will fall into the nearly transparent windows and head out to space nearly unimpeded. About half of the remaining energy will be re-emitted back towards the Earth’s surface and will add to warming.

The same is true for H2O, NO2, O2, and O3. Thus, increases in any of these gases will tend to increase warming of the Earth, all else being equal. That means, should the surface of the Earth experience a temperature increase, due to natural solar effects or any other cause, and if that increases emission of carbon gases from equatorial and summer temperate oceans, and reduces absorption of carbon gases by the polar and the winter temperate oceans, that will consititute a positive feedback. The inverse is also true. Should surface temperatures decrease, and if this reduces the amount of CO2, CH4, or H2O gases in the atmosphere, that will reduce the “greenhouse” effect, and tend to further cool the surface. Thus carbon gases and water vapor represent a positive feedback to surface warming.

(h) CLOUDS (net negative feedback). Short-wave radiation from the Sun extends from about 0.2 microns (ultraviolet light) to 2 microns (near infrared light), with maximum energy around 0.5 microns (green light in the visible spectrum). Moderate warming of the surface has a net effect of increasing the extent of cloud cover. Daytime clouds reflect much of the short-wave radiation back out to space, which is a powerful negative feedback. However, both day- and nightime clouds also absorb long-wave radiation from the Earth and re-emit about half of it back down, further warming the surface, a positive feedback. There is disagreement over whether the net effect of clouds is warming or cooling. Most of the official climate Team models assume the net effect is positive, others, including me, assume it nets out as negative.

(i) SURFACE ICE (net positive feedback). Ice, having a high albedo (reflective quality of white or light-colored surfaces), reflects much of the short-wave radiation from the Sun back out to space, which has a cooling effect. Warming of the Earth’s surface may thin and ultimately melt the ice and expose the underlying sea water or land. Water and land are less reflective. Thus, warming that causes melting has a net positive feedback.

(j) THUNDERSTORMS, HURRICANES, ETC. (net negative feedback). These tend to mix the atmosphere and, since the surface is generally warmer than the lower air masses, storms and other disturbances of the atmosphere tend to be a cooling influence. Thunderstorms, in particular, tend to lift warmer air from the surface to higher elevations where the heat energy may more readily radiate out to space.

Thus, if warming of the surface causes more water vapor in the atmosphere, and if this causes more thunderstorms and hurricanes, or makes them more intense, they have a negative feedback effect.

(k) PRECIPITATION (net negative feedback). Water vapor in the atmosphere cools by radiation of its heat energy in all directions, including out to space. The vapor condenses, forming liquid (rain) and solid (snow) water precipitates. Since the radiating tends to take place high in the atmosphere, where the heat energy may more readily radiate out to space, this precipitation constitutes a net cooling effect. Rain and snow tend to be cooler than the surface, and that is also a net cooling effect. Thus, if warming of the surface causes more water vapor in the atmosphere, and if this causes more precipitation, that is a negative feedback effect.

(l) VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS. These spew hot gases, liquids, and solids from the bowels of the Earth onto the surface and into the atmosphere. In the short-term, this tends to heat the surface. However, the aerosols from the volcano, basically sulphur and other mineral compounds, are driven high into the air and tend to remain for years, which tends to reflect Sunlight back into space, which, in the longer-term, tends to cool the surface. The net effect is cooling. For example, the eruption at Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 cooled global temperatures 0.1ºC to 0.3ºC for a few years thereafter.

CONCLUSIONS AND REQUESTS

I believe I have hit on and briefly described all the major natural processes and cycles that affect average global temperatures. However, if readers have additional information or corrections to what I said about any of them, or if there are some I missed, I would appreciate detailed comments to improve my summary.

It seems to me that my estimate of 0.4ºC for Normal Seasons of the Sun is fully justified, but I am open to hearing the opinions of WUWT readers who may think I have over- (or under-) estimated this component of the supposed 0.8ºC rise in global temperatures since 1880.

In my first and second postings in this Tale of the Global Warming Tiger series, I asked for comments on my allocations: to: (1) Data Bias 0.3ºC, (2) Natural Cycles 0.4ºC, and (3) AGW 0.1ºC.

Quite a few readers were kind enough to comment, either expressing general agreement or offering their own estimates.

Some commenters claim that the actual Data Bias is larger than my estimate of 0.3ºC. Some think Data Bias may be responsible for the entire amount of the supposed 0.8ºC rise in global temperatures since 1880, meaning that net warming over that period is ZERO. I accept that Data Bias may be 50% more (or less) than my estimate, which would put it between 0.15ºC and 0.45ºC, but I doubt it could be as large as 0.8ºC.

Others commenters claim that AGW is ZERO. In other words, they believe that rising CO2 and land use changes due to human activities have no effect on temperatures or climate. They believe the lack of effect is due to the negative feedback from cloud albedo and other natural negative feedback processes. I agree clouds have a net negative feedback (most official models assume a net positive feedback) but I do not believe this cancels out all the effects of CO2 on the Earth’s surface absorption of Solar radiation nor of albedo changes due to land use. I accept that AGW may be 50% less (or more) than my estimate, which would put it between 0.05ºC and 0.2ºC, but I doubt it could be as large as 0.8ºC.

What do you think? I have been keeping a spreadsheet record of WUWT reader’s opinions, which I appreciate and value greatly, along with their screen names, and I plan to report the results later in this series.

This is what you may look forward to:

Some People Claim There’s a Human to Blame – Yes, human actions, mainly burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, are responsible for some small amount of Global Warming.

Is the Global Warming Tiger a Pussy Cat? – If, as many of us expect, natural processes lead to stabilization of global temperatures over the coming decades, and perhaps a bit of cooling, we will realize the whole Global Warming uproar was like the boy who saw a pussy cat and cried tiger.

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wayne

Dr. Glickstein — now wait just a minute …. you say
“When atmospheric CO2 absorbs 4 to 5 micron radiation from the Earth, or CH4 absorbs 7 to 8 micron radiation, and that energy is re-emitted, some will fall into the nearly transparent windows and head out to space nearly unimpeded. About half of the remaining energy will be re-emitted back towards the Earth’s surface and will add to warming.
That is not possible. That radiation you are speaking of just cooled the surface by the same amount when it radiated into the atmosphere and was absorbed. You must mean “the cooling of the surface was cancelled” by the same amount. Now that would be a true statement.
This is AGW proponents douuble speak, they forget or hide the fact the same radiation they are saying warms the surface just got through cooling the surface when it left. You can’t have it one sided, true physics will not left that occur.

John Marshall

Nice graph but we do not know what all the natural cycles are so this will be wrong possibly by a large margin. Remember both the Medieval and Roman warm periods were warmer than today and they were driven by natural cycles. This makes the guessed gap between natural and AGW warming on the graph just that- a total guess.
The latest research is showing a greater input from solar physics that was ever thought possible and according to Peter Taylor’s book Chill these were enough to cause what was considered to be the CO2 warming. This warming, based on a false premiss, assumes that CO2 levels have been level at 285ppmv. A simple internet search proves that this figure is total rubbish. The actual action of atmospheric CO2 levels varied by a considerable amount from this guessed figure of 285. Over 450ppmv was apparently the norm back in the 19th cent, as measured across Europe at the time. See:- Beck 2007 ‘180 Years of Atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods. 25 pages of interesting research and an easy read.

Often there are series of three or more cycles, spanning periods of 30 to 150 or more years where solar activity may be very low Grand minima.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MagAn.gif

ImranCan

Very nice summary of a number of other processes that have been willfully ignored by the AGW machine. And I would agree with the authors view that many of these may likely have been influential on the temperature record. However, the quantification is a strawman – which serves to make a good discussion – but without observational evidence and without falsifiable theory, the strawman is no better that the AGW story. As much as I also think it is ‘more likely’ and forms a much more well rounded story, care needs to be taken with presenting numbers like this.

Please replace above link with:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MagAn.htm
[Perhaps you might like to do that]

cedarhill

What, imho, seems most relevant is the compounded uncertainty. Very little of the information leading to even the range of temperatures attributed to a specific cause is “iffy” along with what one might call compounded gradients. Suppose, for example, you measure a discrete area and 100% resolve accuracy of temperature impact for that one area. You have a specific gradient, high and low, for a specific time. There’s little, if any, serious analysis of how one contributing factor’s gradient interacts with another other than a series of assumptions and all based upon further assumptions based upon even further assumptions. Of the lot, only Svensmark’s theory is specific enough to be provable, in the human time scale, and, even then, it’s impact will be debated until all these gradients are resolved. In short, unlikely in my personal human time scale.

Grumpy Old Man

Dear Ira. Excellent summation which could double as an executive summary. As long as you have no objection, I’ll be sending this to my MP for his consideration.

stephen richards

Ira
Interesting in terms of the numbers but there are far too many assumptions and not enough proofs.
Als, correct me if I’m wrong, but you say ‘max energy at 0.5µ (green light) but is that true? E = h . mu in joules where mu is wavelength.

Pingo

“(i) SURFACE ICE (net positive feedback). Ice, having a high albedo (reflective quality of white or light-colored surfaces), reflects much of the short-wave radiation from the Sun back out to space, which has a cooling effect. Warming of the Earth’s surface may thin and ultimately melt the ice and expose the underlying sea water or land. Water and land are less reflective. Thus, warming that causes melting has a net positive feedback”
Open water loses more heat than ice-covered water. It’s not as simple as albedo, especially since a lot of the places where ice exists are at latitudes that don’t receive sunlight when ice is at its highest extent.

Carl Chapman

I don’t think negative feedback could cancel out a forcing entirely. That would require infinite negative feedback. For example, if a forcing changed a variable by 1 unit, then negative feedback of -1/9 would reduce the change by 0.1 of a unit to 0.9 of a unit, since -1/9 * 0.9 = 0.1 Negative feedback of 1 would reduce the change by 0.5 to 0.5, since -1 * 0.5 = 0.5 Negative feedback of -999,999 would reduce the feedback by 0.999999 to 0.000001, since -999,999 * 0.000001 = 0.999999.
Another way to think of it is that the feedback needs some of the original change to be left for the feedback to work on.
My guess is that negative feedback of -2 reduces the change in temperature to 1/3 of what it would be without feedback. So if doubling CO2 would raise the temperature by 1.2 Celsius, then that’s 0.4 degrees after negative feedback.

Joe Lalonde

Ira,
Good presentation!
The Global Warming hype is all natural from Ice Age to Ice Age slow warming.
Climate science missed watching the precipitation and evaporation patterns as they are not temperature numbers.
So now the ocean currents have shifted the ocean heat and changed the weather on climate science.

Hi Ira!
I think you covered most of it, but you did forget a few.
1) There is also cooling caused by the gases in the atmosphere due to the re-radiation of sunshine 0-5 um coming from the sun e.g. see here:
http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/644/1/551/64090.web.pdf?request-id=76e1a830-4451-4c80-aa58-4728c1d646ec
they measured this radiation as it bounced back to earth from the moon. So this radiation was : sun-earth – moon /. Clearly, as it must have left earth it must have caused cooling. For the CO2, follow the green line in fig. 6, bottom. Note that it already starts at 1.2 um, then one peak at 1.4 um, then various peaks at 1.6 um and 3 big peaks at 2 um. You will find it back in fig 6 top.
2) There is also cooling caused by CO2 due to its participation in photo synthesis.
I noted that in the early mornings here, if you enter a forest, it is cool from the bottom up. You can feel that the trees and foliage drains energy from its surroundings. This is obviously also the reason why there is no forests growing at higher- altitudes and latitudes. So note that all the green you see, even that in the sea, extracts this energy from earth and without the CO2, this would not happen.
By not acknowledging this oversight of these two cooling factors, you would be making the same mistake as Svante Arrhenius and a whole herd of people who kept following his theories.
As for me, I think I have proven that the net effect of the cooling and warming of the carbon dioxide is probably close to zero, or possibly,
if I look at my own results in this report:
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/assessment-of-global-warming-and-global-warming-caused-by-greenhouse-forcings-in-pretoria-south-africa
it could even be that the net effect of more CO2 is (very, very) slight cooling.
Please remember you all that carbon dioxide is good for life. Pity global warming has stalled because that is not bad for more greenery and better crops either.

Sorry Ira,
may be you should also read what I wrote here,
http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok
because it seems you are a bit confused about what causes radiative cooling and what causes radiative warming.

Michael

They talk about climate change as if it’s a bad thing.
Thank God for climate change.
Otherwise it would be really boring, decade in and decade out.

Bruce Cobb

Excellent analysis, Ira. I think an AGW effect of 0.1C is probably too generous, but in any case it’s small enough to be of not much consequence, and that consequence would be primarily a positive one anyway. The issue of land use change is a bit of a red herring, because while there certainly are environmental effects to consider, whatever warming it causes would be primarily local, and its contribution to overall warming miniscule.

Ira: You wrote, “The El Niño that started in 1998 caused global warming of 0.1ºC to 0.4ºC for a couple years.”
The 1997/98 El Nino actually started in 1997 and it shifted global temperatures up for more than a couple of years.
A few more notes.
The North Atlantic SST-based dataset that best describes the impact of the natural variations in the North Atlantic on global temperatures is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The North Atlantic Oscillation is a sea level pressure-based natural mode of variablility. Since Sea Level Pressure and Sea Surface Temperature are closely coupled, there are North Atlantic Oscillation datasets that are based on SST anomaly data at two different locations; in other words those datasets use SST data as proxies for sea level pressure.
The PDO, as calculated and presented by JISAO, in and of itself, cannot be used directly as a proxy for the impact of the North Pacific (north of 20N) SST anomalies on global temperatures. In fact, the PDO data and the North Pacific SST anomalies are inversely related on decadal timescales:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/09/inverse-relationship-between-pdo-and.html

For those new to natural sea surface temperature variations, the following series of posts are introductions to the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO):
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/08/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-1.html
And the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO):
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/08/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-2.html
And the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO):
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/09/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-3.html

Michael

I see climate change as genus.
It pushes the human race forward.
I guess I just see things different.
Think Different

Leonard Weinstein

Ira,
First I want to respond to the distribution of causes. I think data bias is about 0.1 C. I think natural cause is about 0.4 C. Thus human cause is about 0.3 C, of which farming, deforestation, and building (cities and roads) are about 0.1 C, and burning of fossil fuels and cement manufacturing (CO2 production) are about 0.2 C.
I like most of your write up, but have a few disagreements.
1) Biological and other causes are short term contributors that make the CO2 level go up and down fairly rapidly, but the average natural CO2 level is caused by volcanoes emitting and rock weathering and long term biological trapping. Ocean absorption or out gassing of CO2 becomes a major cause if the average temperature shifts.
2) Back radiation does not cause heating of the Earth. Back radiation is a consequence of the fact that greenhouse gases caused the Earth to be warmer than otherwise. The mechanism is that the absorption of much of the long wave radiation, and eventual transport of that energy by radiation is combined with the transport of energy from the ground by evaporation and convection. The energy eventually is transported to an altitude high enough to radiate to space. The altitude of radiation to space (it is actually spread out) is the average location where outgoing radiation to space matches the Earths absorbed solar radiation, and thus determines the effective temperature of the air at that average location. The convective mixing of the atmosphere cause an adiabatic lapse rate to form and be maintained, with a wet lapse rate when the water vapor condenses, and a dry lapse rate otherwise. The lapse rate, combined with the effective altitude of radiation to space, determine the lower atmosphere and ground temperature. For a couple of more complete descriptions, see:
http://climateclash.com/2010/11/25/g1-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect-and-its-effect-on-agw/
and also:
http://climateclash.com/2010/11/28/g2-greenhouse-gas-effect/

Pascvaks

At absolute zero (0*K) nothing moves. Temperature does not reflect the total energy in a system as complex as our little issolated piece of the Universe (at least not the simple way ‘temperature’ is currently measured). Is it getting warmer or cooler? Nobody knows, we haven’t really measured the actual temperature once, much less twice to compare.

latitude

Ira, I think when the dust finally settles, man will have been responsible for much less than 0.01C.
“Climate change” is the main driver of evolution. It’s a natural process and the planet is programmed to do every bit of it “naturally”. If it wasn’t for “climate change” we would not be here.

higley7

I do not see where evaporation of water, which is temperature neutral as far as heating the atmosphere, the convection of warm humid air to altitude, the release of the heat of condensation, and the loss of this high altitude heat to space is included in this discussion. This also leads to the clouds that are discussed.
Convection has been estimated to account for 92% of energy transfer to altitude, while most people like to only talk about radiation fluxes. The water cycle is ignored nearly totally b the IPCC and handles the missing heat that Trenberth agonizes over in his e-mail.
Shouldn’t it be included?

Michael

Wow Ira it doesn’t seem you have a lot of support from the skeptic crowd. Most think you should massage your figures to give greenhouse gases a zero effect.
A couple of points from the AGW side.
Isn’t the total solar irradience at a minimum stage at the moment? Would that not mean that we should be cooling? http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/01/19/improved-measurements-of-sun-to-advance-understanding-of-climate-change
You say nearly all the carbon in the atmosphere is from natural sources, and I do not disagree, but then isn’t all the natural CO2 emitted balanced by the Earths take up of the CO2 and that burning from fossil fuels pushes it into the area of imbalance causing slight warming, which causes evaporation of water vapor etc, which causes warming that causes etc. you can see where I am going with this.
Wayne Says: “That is not possible. That radiation you are speaking of just cooled the surface by the same amount when it radiated into the atmosphere and was absorbed. You must mean “the cooling of the surface was cancelled” by the same amount. Now that would be a true statement.”
This is a typical skeptic mistake and misunderstanding. Is it not true that Earth is not a closed system, the sun is adding heat all the time, if the heat coming in heats the surface and is radiated into the atmosphere but then half of it is bounced back then you have increased the heat in the system by the amount bounced back. Your understanding of ‘True Physics” is seriously flawed.
Other than that I do not see where the 0.4 of natural heating comes from? Most seems fairly balanced and if anything we should be cooling, so then why are we still heating up?

John Peter

“Carl Chapman says:
January 23, 2011 at 4:55 am
I don’t think negative feedback could cancel out a forcing entirely. That would require infinite negative feedback. For example, if a forcing changed a variable by 1 unit, then negative feedback of -1/9 would reduce the change by 0.1 of a unit to 0.9 of a unit, since -1/9 * 0.9 = 0.1 Negative feedback of 1 would reduce the change by 0.5 to 0.5, since -1 * 0.5 = 0.5 Negative feedback of -999,999 would reduce the feedback by 0.999999 to 0.000001, since -999,999 * 0.000001 = 0.999999.
Another way to think of it is that the feedback needs some of the original change to be left for the feedback to work on.
My guess is that negative feedback of -2 reduces the change in temperature to 1/3 of what it would be without feedback. So if doubling CO2 would raise the temperature by 1.2 Celsius, then that’s 0.4 degrees after negative feedback.”
Reference the last paragraph; my recollection is that a lot of socalled “sceptics” including Dr Spencer and Prof. Lintzen are of the opinion that the net forcing of man made CO2 is probably in the region of 20-25% of the warming recorded since 1880 so that is not a mile away from the above estimate of 33%. Such individuals also seem to agree that gross temperature forcing of a doubling of CO2 is 1C which is also close to Chapman’s 1.2C.

actuator

I know that “weather is not climate”, however as a golfer residing in the Atlanta area, I want the warming back. December ’09 ran 3 – 4 degrees F below “normal” and December ’10 around 7 below. January 10 ran several degrees below “normal” and preliminary data for Jan. ’11 and the forecasts for the remainder indicate it will follow the same trend. This has cut into my golf by at least 50 percent and I find this very disconcerting. It really is too bad we couldn’t put enough CO2 into the atomosphere to change this trend even if we wanted to.

Michael

Here’s to the crazy ones at WUWT.
The misfits, the rebels, the trouble makers, the round pegs in a square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them , glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
see: I can spell genius.

kim

Goodbye, my friends; I closed my eyes, but still could feel the sun.
==============

thingadonta

There are several other solar cycles which impact on scale of human lifetimes.
There are 1500 year solar cycle ‘Bond’ Events in interglaicials which correlate with Dansgaard-Oeschger events in glacials. These may account for much of the warming since 1750. They have been traced in ice cores going back 800,000 years.
The 1500 year cycle is a superpooisiton of several smaller cycles, their effect is greatest when the several cycles converge, and their effect also seems to be greater within glacials, although this is probably a function of both proxy data and greater measureability during glacial periods, not actual T change.
It is likely the Medieval Warm period, and Little Ice age, as well as warming since 1750 are correlated with these solar cycles. They are virtually completely ignoied within AGW literature for obvious reasons.

Alan McIntire

That was a very good summary.
a. The sun’s slow warming is an indicator of strong negative feedback by water vapor and clouds- see
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442%282001%29014%3C2976%3APBOTES%3E2.0.CO%3B2
g. As for atmospheric gases, volcanoes pour enough CO2 into the atmosphere to
double our CO2 levels every 10,000 years, yet CO2 remains relatively stable. thanks to negative feedbacks.
http://www.phys.lsu.edu/faculty/cjohnson/climate.html
“The climates of the terrestrial planets are different because of dramatic differences in their atmospheric composition. But why do Venus, Earth, and Mars have such different atmospheres? In particular, why are there such huge differences in the amount of CO2 in their atmospheres? To answer that, we must look at something called the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle acts as a huge, planetary thermostat: when working properly, it cools a planet when it gets too warm, and heats it up when it gets too cold.
On Earth, atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by precipitation- –by rain—and forms a very weak solution of carbonic acid, a very mild form of acid rain. This acid rain falls on surface rocks, many of which contain calcium, and the carbonic acid dissolves a tiny bit of the calcium. Eventually the water, containing both carbonic acid and calcium ions, washes down to the ocean. In our oceans tiny plants and animals, plankton, incorporate the calcium and carbonic acid into shells of calcium carbonate. When the animals die, their calcium carbonate exoskeletons drift to the ocean floor. When enough of these carbonate deposits build up, they form carbonate rocks, such as limestone, which are composed of the skeletons of trillions of dead plankton. In short, the action of water removes CO2 from the atmosphere and puts it into the crust of the Earth. The Earth has roughly the same amount of CO2 as does Venus, but it is nearly all locked up in the crust as carbonate sediments.
(The fact that plankton play a role in precipitation carbonates out of water is used to bolster the so-called Gaia hypothesis, the idea that life is an integral part of Earth’s climate. Other scientists dispute the necessity of life to the carbon cycle, for even without plankton calcium carbonate at sufficiently high concentration would precipitate out of ocean water.)
While most of the Earth’s CO2 is locked in her crust, it doesn’t stay there forever. The action of plate tectonics, the motion of the Earth’s surface, can subduct carbonate sediments; that is, as chunks of the Earth’s crust gets pushed together, some of the rocks gets pushed deeper into the interior, where it is subjected to heat and pressure. Such heat and pressure initially changes limestone to marble. But under even greater heat and pressure, the CO2 is released from the rock, and makes it way back to the surface where it is emitted into the atmosphere through volcanic action. Hence volcanoes are a source of CO2.
This is the complete carbon cycle: rainwater removes CO2 from the atmosphere and puts it in the crust, and volcanic action releases CO2 from the crust and puts it back in the atmosphere.
What happens on Venus? Venus has no water! Early in its history Venus may have had water, but it is too close to the Sun to retain it. When water molecules rise high in an atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation split the water molecules into its component gases, oxygen and hydrogen, and the lighter hydrogen molecules escape into space. While Earth’s lower atmosphere is about one percent water vapor (although it seems much higher in the humid Louisiana summers), the upper atmosphere, where ultraviolet radiation can penetrate, is very dry: a cold trap, a combination of pressure and temperature, prevents water vapor from rising high in the earth’s atmosphere. Venus has a cold trap, too, but because Venus is closer to the Sun its cold trap is much higher in the atmosphere and any Venusian water molecules rise high enough to be broken apart by ultraviolet radiation.
Therefore the carbon cycle is incomplete on Venus: without water, CO2 cannot be removed from the atmosphere. Venus does have volcanoes, however. Radar mappings of Venus by interplanetary probes indicate volcano-like mountains, and there is other evidence for volcanoes as well. The atmosphere of Venus is full of sulfur dioxide and sulfur particulates. Sulfur and sulfur dioxide is highly reactive and cannot remain long in an atmosphere; therefore something (volcanoes) must be regularly replenishing the sulfur. This theory is bolstered by data from interplanetary probes, which have detected large fluctuations in the sulfur content of the Venusian atmosphere, as well as radio signals reminiscent of lightning–and lightning is often found in volcanic plumes.
And Mars? The carbon cycle is also broken on Mars, but opposite to Venus. Mars has no active volcanoes to replenish the CO2 in its atmosphere. We know Mars once had running water—we can still see billion-year-old river beds where water once ran—and the water may still be there, locked up in the ice caps and in permafrost beneath the surface. And it seems likely that Mars has CO2 still locked up in its crust, deposited there billions of years ago by the action of water. If you could release that CO2 you could warm up Mars again. Indeed this is a major premise of science fiction stories about terraforming Mars; an excellent example is Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy.
A fully active carbon cycle acts as a thermostat, regulating a planet’s climate. In your thermostat at home, two strips of dissimilar metals bends one way or the other depending on the temperature. If it gets cold in your house, the metal strip bends one way and switches on the heater; if it gets warm, it bends in the opposite direction and switches on the air conditioning. The carbon cycle has similar negative feedback. Suppose the Earth gets too warm. Then more water will evaporate from the oceans, and the additional precipitation will remove CO2 from the atmosphere, moderating the Greenhouse effect and cooling the planet. If the planet cools too much, less water will evaporate and there will be less precipitation to remove CO2; the CO2 will build up, warming the planet.
This carbon cycle thermostat helps to explain a mystery about Earth’s long term climate. Computer models of our Sun show that it has gotten progressively brighter over its five- billion lifetime, by about twenty-five percent. Since a mere two percent change in the Sun’s luminosity would (all other things being equal) plunge the Earth into a deep ice age, one might expect the surface to have only recently defrosted. But two hundred million years ago the Earth was in fact warmer than it is today. So all things were not equal. (For one thing, continental drift affects climate; the formation of deep oceans tends to cool the planet, whereas shallow oceans warm it.) The carbon cycle explains how the Earth’s climate can compensate for changes in the Sun’s luminosity. It seems likely that the Earth’s atmosphere had somewhat more CO2 half a billion years ago than today; as the Sun slowly grew brighter, the carbon cycle deposited more CO2 in the crust, keeping the temperature ‘just right.’ ”
i. As for surface ice, there would have been a very strong albedo feedback at the end of the last ice age, leaving little room for much of an effect by CO2. In comparison to the last ice age, not much of the earth’s surface exposed to the sun is covered by ice, so any additional feedbacks from melting ice must be very small in comparison to the effect 10,000 years ago.
I suspect that additional clouds in the arctic atmosphere balance any additional melting of arctic ice leaving the current albedo relatively stable. If it wasn’t stable, the Greenland icecap would have melted millenia ago.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15830942/ns/world_news-world_environment/

… Team as they hike to the airy peak of Mt. Hansen on the supposed 0.8ºC warming since 1880, only to look out at the bleak prospect, for them, of level ground, and the possibility of some cooling over the coming decades.

So, does this mean I can make the Team the butte of future jokes?

thingadonta

Moreover, to add to my comment above, the 1500 year solar cycles have shown a time lag of about 20 years on average over the last 10,000 years between max solar activity and earth T, but up to about 50 years after longer cycles, due to normal time heat time lag properties, and the warming from ~1750-1950 from the sun would be expected to have a time lag of about 50 years with ocean heat absorption and transfer, meaning peak T shoud from warmign from the Little Ice Age in the 1700s should be around the early 2000s, which is what we observe.
This should mean the earths atmosphere is approaching equilibrium (heat out = heat in) after 50 years of solar stability/decline. Several papers have attempted to address eg the equilibrium of the earths atmosphere (heat out versus heat in ) and what I have found is that they have invariably ‘inserted’ some kind of mysterious constant ‘n’ to account for the lack of inequilibrium expected from AGW theory, and to dismiss the idea that the earths atmosphere is now approaching equilibrium. Hansen is amongst the mix-and displays the usual lack of understanding of natural earth dynamics.

netdr2

We started measuring temperature during the end of the Little Ice age when the sun was dormant. When the sun resumed it’s normal state it warmed slowly at a rate of 1/2 ° C per century. This warming continues today. DID ANYONE THINK IT WOULDN’T WARM ?
On top of this there is a 60 year sine wave which frightens the alarmists but does nothing . It is caused by ocean currents, most notably the PDO.
When this cycle was at it’s bottom we read stories of global cooling [1978] when it was at it’s peak we signed the Kyoto treaty. Just a coincidence ? I doubt it.
The sine wave is caused by the PDO being positive and negative for [approximately] 30 year cycles. When it is positive the earth warms when it is negative it cools.
http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/img/pdo_latest.jpeg
As of 1998 we were just rounding the top of the sine wave so temperature went flat as you would expect. Since around 2005 the temperature has gone down as you would expect. Except for an El Nino blip in 2010.
The good news is that 2011, 2012, 2013 out to 2030 will all be colder on average than 2010.
At some point the alarmists will become aware that their doom and gloom prediction of 3 ° C warming by 2010 is unreachable.
The alarmists will hate it because it will expose their fibs. Even if the long term 1/2 ° C warming is caused by CO2 [which I doubt] it will be benign and we will convert to alternative fuels naturally because we will run out of the other.

Sam Glasser

The quantitative uncertainties identified by several responders exemplify the true nature of the “Scientific Method” – as compared with the proponents of AGW who proclaim uncertainties as “facts”.

Vince Causey

Michael,
“burning from fossil fuels pushes it into the area of imbalance causing slight warming, which causes evaporation of water vapor etc, which causes warming that causes etc. you can see where I am going with this.”
I can see where you are going – into a glass flask. This sort of naive simplification of physical systems is what’s gotten climate science into the position it’s now in – having to constantly reinvent itself to try and stay credible.
It is not what is in the climate models that is the problem – it is what is left out, the same kind of stuff that leads to absurd glass flask models. Warming doesn’t just lead to increased water vapor, it causes convections cells – rising columns of air carrying sensible heat aloft, evaporation, precipitation, cloud albedo and winds. That is why your glass flask Earth will never work.

latitude

Sam Glasser says:
January 23, 2011 at 7:36 am
– as compared with the proponents of AGW who proclaim uncertainties as “facts”.
==================================================
When scientists have to resort to lying and fudging data, and get caught at it,
and continue to do it….
…there’s no science involved at all.
They’ve had over 1/2 century to prove their ‘pet guess’.
The fact that they haven’t, the fact that they are still arguing it……
Truth is, no one knows enough about what causes, or doesn’t cause, any of this.

Ira, if you are not aware of this paper:
https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/aatsonis/www/2007GL030288.pdf
Random variation of different cycles also plays a role leading to shifts in the direction of the over all trend.

TimC

Thanks for the interesting and informative summary. You asked what we think, so here goes for me:
1. The answer can only be a guesstimate – if we knew for sure, further debate would be unnecessary!
2. Data bias: on the basis that this is applied as the first correction to the 2010 anomaly chart (that there is a continuous correction curve, starting from zero in 1880, which, if applied to the Nasa Giss 1800-2010 anomaly figures would reverse the effect of all post-1880 urbanisation, thermometer biases and post hoc raw data adjustments), my estimate would be *at least* 0.3C in 2010 (being 0.2C for data adjustments applied only by Nasa Giss broadly accounting for the excess over the Hadcrut figures, plus at least 0.1C for urbanisation effects and thermometer biases not fully accounted for);
3. Natural cycles: taking these at their original 1880 values (so after the “correction curve” as above is applied) and inclusive of all feedback effects (other than any in the pipeline not yet apparent from the 2010 temperature anomaly figures), I would agree that approximately 0.4C is “natural cycles” (causes over which humans can have nil or negligible effect);
3. My guesstimate of true AWG since 1880 is therefore *not greater* than 0.1C, inclusive of all feedback effects (other than any in the pipeline), including the effect of the AGW coming on top of what is already a natural cycle maximum, being itself a type of positive feedback due to the oceans de-gassing.
Look forward to the results summary!

Bernd Felsche

Ira,
I nominate Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides (Clouds) as the Team’s theme song.

Rows and flows of angel hair,
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feather canyons everywhere,
I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the Sun,
They rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow,
It’s cloud illusions I recall,
I really don’t know clouds, at all.

Or maybe not. 😉

Vince Causey

Alan McIntire,
an interesting summary of the carbon cycle, although it ignores the biological cycle completely. If I understand your thesis, the biosphere cannot add any extra co2 to the atmosphere, it can only recycle what’s already there.
However, you then make a leap of faith in arguing that the co2 acts as the planetary thermostat. Yet this is only possible if the climate has an even greater sensitivity to co2 than postulated by the ipcc. And there have been periods when co2 and temperature have moved in opposite directions, such as the late Ordovician, when co2 levels rose to 5000 ppm whilst the planet entered a glaciation. Or one could ask, considering the large fall in co2 levels since the paleocene, why todays temperatures are not a lot colder than they actually are? As regards warming of mars by releasing co2, mar’s atmosphere is already 98% co2 and is still very cold.
The question as to why co2 levels on earth have gradually declined over the tertiary could be because of a diminishing occurrence of volcanic activity. Maybe the Earth is not as geologically active as it was in the Mesozoic and earlier, leading to an imbalance between sequestration and release.

Other than that I do not see where the 0.4 of natural heating comes from? Most seems fairly balanced and if anything we should be cooling, so then why are we still heating up?
Except in spite of increasing CO2, we have not been “heating up” since 2002. Add to this that summers have NOT been increasing in temps since 1900, globally. What has been happening during this warming phase is winters have been getting less cold. There is no evidence of any more “heat waves” now, the 1920’s still hold those records.

Very good discussion both in the article and the comments.
I wonder however how much heat is added to the oceans through deep ocean vents (which are hundreds of degrees F). Deep ocean vents were discovered only relatively recently. We certainly don’t know how many there are, where they may be, and whether their output varies or is constant.
What contribution the deep sea vents in the Caribbean may have to circulation in the Atlantic is unknown to me, however obviously the heat will flow to the cooler polar regions.
Similar comments can be made regarding undersea volcanoes. As such, I’m not certain it is so easy to dismiss the heat from the core as negligible.

Paul Vaughan

Focusing strategically on just one section of the article:
1) “[…] somewhat independent ocean oscillations […]”
I would suggest calling them neither “independent” nor “ocean”.
2) Notably, I see no mention of Semi-Annual Oscillation, Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, North Pacific Index, Southern Annular Mode, & Earth Orientation Parameters.
3) Lumping all natural oscillations into a category labeled “multidecadal” is misleading.
I will leave comment on other sections to others.

A more general comment, not specific to this article:
Natural variations are absolutely fascinating, but climate discussions that degenerate into politics are almost without exception an ugly waste of time. I sincerely thank all those who are able to succinctly share stimulating comments on natural climate variations. I encourage everyone else to step back from the edge & sober up.

Bruce Cobb

Ric Werme says:
January 23, 2011 at 7:24 am
Ric Werme says:
So, does this mean I can make the Team the butte of future jokes?
There’s no time like the prescient.

(j) THUNDERSTORMS, HURRICANES, ETC. (net negative feedback). These tend to mix the atmosphere and, since the surface is generally warmer than the lower air masses, storms and other disturbances of the atmosphere tend to be a cooling influence. Thunderstorms, in particular, tend to lift warmer air from the surface to higher elevations where the heat energy may more readily radiate out to space.

Can you provide some refs on this aspect (any real-time satellite imagery we have access to (e.g. LWIR @ 10 um or WV imagery) seems to indicate the bulk of IR energy is from the surface, not the airmass above it; pls note that WV imagery temps zero to sub-zero C temps and WV has limits as to heights (not as well mixed as CO2 in the atmosphere for instance))?
I assert this is a very low-order effect compared to surface radiation (a bulk of it thru the atmospheric near and about the 10 um window and a ‘peak’ in the Wein curve for most of the warmer parts of earth) ‘out to space’ …
Ref http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/wien.html
.

Kevin Kilty

Many people here comment on your physics of this situation, but I think your best contribution is to the “economic sociology”, for lack of a better term, of “climate change.” The devout, the insiders, have pushed the estimated mean temperature trend as high as possible, including all sorts of biases, to prove their point (gain grants maybe), but they may have pushed it too high, and soon will suffer a return to a more truthful level. It’s a lot like the growth, and then bursting, of a speculative investment bubble–no matter how great one’s belief in a continued rise of prices, fundamentals eventually force prices down to a reasonable level again.

Theo Goodwin

Michael says:
January 23, 2011 at 6:34 am
“You say nearly all the carbon in the atmosphere is from natural sources, and I do not disagree, but then isn’t all the natural CO2 emitted balanced by the Earths take up of the CO2 and that burning from fossil fuels pushes it into the area of imbalance causing slight warming, which causes evaporation of water vapor etc, which causes warming that causes etc. you can see where I am going with this.”
This appears to be a definition. Can you restate it as one or more physical hypotheses? Otherwise, I can only conclude that your statement embodies the pro-AGW meme that Earth has a natural balance and that man’s activity is the only source of imbalance. If you make such universal assumptions, you will never get to the level of empirical investigation, aka science.

Gordon Ford

A worthwhile discussion which leads to two questions.
1. What is the earth’s optimum surface temperature, and
2. What is the optimum atmospheric carbon dioxide level?
When these questions are answered we can then have a rational discussion on Anthropogenic Climate Modification.

Theo Goodwin

Bernd Felsche says:
January 23, 2011 at 8:10 am
I second the nomination.