Earth's Climate System Is Ridiculously Complex – With Draft Link Tutorial

By WUWT regular “Just The Facts”

I am often amused by claims that we understand Earth’s climate system, are able to accurately measure its behavior, eliminate all potential variables except CO2 as the primary driver of Earth’s temperature and make predictions of Earth’s temperature decades into the future, all with a high degree of confidence. I have been studying Earth’s climate system for several years and have found it to be a ridiculously complex, continually evolving and sometimes chaotic beast. Furthermore, our understanding of Earth’s climate system is currently rudimentary at best, our measurement capabilities are limited and our historical record is laughably brief. To help demonstrate the complexity of Earth’s climate system I have been compiling a list of all of the variables potentially involved in Earth’s climate system. This is a work in progress so additions, recommendations, corrections, questions etc. are most welcome. Once I develop this further and polish it up a bit I plan to convert it into a new WUWT Reference Page.

UPDATED: This list has undergone significant revisions and improvements based upon crowdsourcing the input of an array of very intelligent and knowledgeable contributors below. Additionally, this list was posted in comments in WUWT a few times previously, receiving input from a number of other very intelligent and knowledgeable contributors. This thread, along with links to the precursor threads below, will thus serve as the bibliography for the forthcoming WUWT Potential Climatic Variables reference page (unless someone can up with a better name for it…:)

1. Earth’s Rotational Energy;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotational_energy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_rotation

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/6h.html

results in day and night;

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_does_rotation_cause_day_and_night

causes the Coriolis Effect;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_effect

imparts Planetary Vorticity on the oceans;

http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter12/chapter12_01.htm

and manifests as Ocean Gyres;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_gyre

the Antarctic Circumpolar Current;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_Circumpolar_Current

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Conveyor_belt.svg

Arctic Ocean Circulation;

http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=12455&tid=441&cid=47170&ct=61&article=20727

http://www.john-daly.com/polar/flows.jpg

can result in the formation of Polynya;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynya

and causes the Equatorial Bulge:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equatorial_bulge

Earth’s Rotational Energy influences Atmospheric Circulation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_circulation

including the Jet Stream;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_stream

Westerlies;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westerlies

Tradewinds;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_wind

Geostrophic Wind;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostrophic_wind

Surface Currents;

http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/ocean_currents.html h

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_current

through Ekman Transport;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekman_transport

http://oceanmotion.org/html/background/ocean-in-motion.htm

Tropical Cyclones;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_cyclone

Tornadoes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado

and Polar Vortices;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_vortex

which “are caused when an area of low pressure sits at the rotation pole of a planet. This causes air to spiral down from higher in the atmosphere, like water going down a drain.”

http://www.universetoday.com/973/what-venus-and-saturn-have-in-common/

Here’s an animation of the Arctic Polar Vortex in Winter 2008 – 09:

When a Polar Vortex breaks down it causes a Sudden Stratospheric Warming:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_stratospheric_warming

Earth’s Rotational Energy influences Plate Tectonics;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics

“By analyzing the minute changes in travel times and wave shapes for each doublet, the researchers concluded that the Earth’s inner core is rotating faster than its surface by about 0.3-0.5 degrees per year.

That may not seem like much, but it’s very fast compared to the movement of the Earth’s crust, which generally slips around only a few centimeters per year compared to the mantle below, said Xiaodong Song, a geologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an author on the study.

http://www.livescience.com/9313-earth-core-rotates-faster-surface-study-confirms.html

The surface movement is called plate tectonics. It involves the shifting of about a dozen major plates and is what causes most earthquakes”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake

Volcanoes;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano

and Mountain Formation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_formation

which can influence the creation of Atmospheric Waves:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_wave

Lastly, Rotational Energy is the primary driver of Earth’s Dynamo;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamo_theory

which generates Earth’s Magnetic Field;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_magnetic_field

and is primarily responsible for the Earthy behaviors of the Magnetosphere;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetosphere

with certain secular variations in Earth’s magnetic field originating from ocean flow/circulation;

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090622-earths-core-dynamo.html

http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/11/6/063015/fulltext

though Leif Svalgaard notes that these are minor variations, as the magnetic field originating from ocean flow/circulation “is 1000 times smaller than the main field generated in the core.”

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/30/earths-climate-system-is-ridiculously-complex-with-draft-link-tutorial/#comment-707971

Also of note, “Over millions of years, [Earth’s] rotation is significantly slowed by gravitational interactions with the Moon: see tidal acceleration.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_acceleration

“The presence of the moon (which has about 1/81 the mass of the Earth), is slowing Earth’s rotation and lengthening the day by about 2 ms every one hundred years.”

“However some large scale events, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, have caused the rotation to speed up by around 3 microseconds.[21] Post-glacial rebound, ongoing since the last Ice age, is changing the distribution of the Earth’s mass thus affecting the Moment of Inertia of the Earth and, by the Conservation of Angular Momentum, the Earth’s rotation period.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_rotation

2. Orbital Energy, Orbital Period, Elliptical Orbits (Eccentricity), Tilt (Obliquity) and Wobble (Axial precession):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_orbital_energy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synodic

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/6h.html

creates Earth’s seasons;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season

which drives annual changes in Arctic Sea Ice;

and Antarctic Sea Ice;

the freezing and melting of which helps to drive the Thermohaline Circulation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation

and can result in the formation of Polynyas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynya

Earth’s orbit around the Sun, Earth’s tilt, Earth’s wobble and the Moon’s orbit around Earth, Earth’s Rotation, and the gravity of the Moon, Sun and Earth, act in concert to determine the constantly evolving Tidal Force on Earth:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_force

This Tidal Force is influenced by variations in Lunar Orbit;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit_of_the_Moon

as seen in the Lunar Phases;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_phase

Lunar Precession;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_precession

Lunar Node;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_node

Saros cycles;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saros_cycle

and Inex cycles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inex

The combined cycles of the Saros and Inex Cycles can be visualized here:

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsaros/image/SEpanoramaGvdB-big.JPG

Over longer time frames changes to Earth’s orbit, tilt and wobble called Milankovitch cycles;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

may be responsible for the periods of Glaciation (Ice Ages);

http://www.homepage.montana.edu/~geol445/hyperglac/time1/milankov.htm

that Earth has experienced for the last several million years of its climatic record:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age

Also of note, over very long time frames, “the Moon is spiraling away from Earth at an average rate of 3.8 cm per year”;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_distance_%28astronomy%29

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=124

3. Gravitation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation

The gravity of the Moon, Sun and Earth, Earth’s rotation, Earth’s orbit around the Sun, Earth’s tilt, Earth’s wobble and the Moon’s orbit around Earth act in concert to determine the constantly evolving Tidal Force on Earth:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_force

This tidal force results in that result in Earth’s Ocean Tide;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide

http://www.themcdonalds.net/richard/astro/papers/602-tides-web.pdf

Atmospheric Tide;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_tide

and Magma Tide:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/h7005r0273703250/

Earth’s Gravity;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convection#Gravitational_or_buoyant_convection

http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=205

in concert with Tidal Forces, influence Earth’s Ocean Circulation;

http://www.eoearth.org/article/Ocean_circulation

which influences Oceanic Oscillations including El Niño/La Niña;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o-Southern_Oscillation

the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Decadal_Oscillation

the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Multidecadal_Oscillation

the Indian_Ocean_Dipole (IOD)/Indian Ocean Oscillation (IOO) and;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ocean_Dipole

can result in the formation of Polynyas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynya

Gravity Waves;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_wave

which may be partially responsible for the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-biennial_oscillation

“on an air–sea interface are called surface gravity waves or Surface Waves”;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_wave

“while internal gravity waves are called Inertial Waves”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertial_waves

“Rosby Waves;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rossby_waves

Geostrophic Currents

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostrophic

and Geostrophic Wind

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostrophic_wind

are examples of inertial waves. Inertial waves are also likely to exist in the core of the Earth”

Earth’s gravity is the primary driver of Plate Tectonics;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics

“The Slab Pull;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slab_pull

force is a tectonic plate force due to subduction. Plate motion is partly driven by the weight of cold, dense plates sinking into the mantle at trenches. This force and the slab suction force account for most of the overall force acting on plate tectonics, and the Ridge Push;

http://en.wikipedia.org

force accounts for 5 to 10% of the overall force.”

Plate Tectonics drive “cycles of ocean basin growth and destruction, known as Wilson cycles;

http://csmres.jmu.edu/geollab/fichter/Wilson/Wilson.html

involving continental rifting;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rift

seafloor-spreading;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seafloor_spreading

subduction;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subduction

and collision.”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_collision

“Climate change on ultra-long time scales (tens of millions of years) are more than likely connected to plate tectonics.”

“Through the course of a Wilson cycle continents collide and split apart, mountains are uplifted and eroded, and ocean basins open and close. The re-distribution and changing size and elevation of continental land masses may have caused climate change on long time scales”;

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ice/chill.html

a process called the Supercontinent Cycle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercontinent_cycle

Earth’s gravity is responsible for Katabatic Wind:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katabatic_wind

4. Solar Energy;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

results is Solar Radiation/Sunlight;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_radiation

which varies based upon 11 and 22 year cycles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle

Total Solar Irradiance (TSI);

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/solar/solarirrad.html

appears to fluctuate “by approximately 0.1% or about 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) peak-to-trough during the 11-year sunspot cycle”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

Solar Energy also drives the Hydrological/Water Cycle;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrological_cycle

within the Hydrosphere;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrosphere

as Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) causes evaporation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporation

that drives cloud formation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud

results in precipitation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precipitation_%28meteorology%29

that results in the Water Distribution on Earth;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_distribution_on_Earth

creates surface runoff;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runoff_%28water%29

which result in rivers;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River

and drives erosion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erosion

Solar energy is also “The driving force behind atmospheric circulation is solar energy, which heats the atmosphere with different intensities at the equator, the middle latitudes, and the poles.”

http://www.scienceclarified.com/As-Bi/Atmospheric-Circulation.html

Atmospheric Circulation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_circulation

includes Hadley Cells;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadley_cell

Ferrel Cells;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_circulation#Ferrel_cell

Polar Cells;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_cells

and Polar Vortexes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_cells

all of which help to create Wind;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind

that influence Surface Currents;

http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/ocean_currents.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_current

through Ekman Transport;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekman_transport

http://oceanmotion.org/html/background/ocean-in-motion.htm

and also cause Langmuir circulations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langmuir_circulation

Solar energy is also a driver of the Brewer-Dobson Circulation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewer-Dobson_circulation

Atmospheric Waves;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_wave

including Atmospheric Tides

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_tide

as well as evaporation and condensation may help to drive changes in Atmospheric Pressure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_pressure

http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/24015/2010/acpd-10-24015-2010.pdf

Solar Ultraviolet (UV) radiation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet

appears to vary by approximately 10% during the solar cycle;

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/solarcycle-sorce.html

has been hypothesized to influence Earth’s climate;

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/05/courtillot-on-the-solar-uv-climate-connection/

however Leif Svalgaard argues that,

This is well-trodden ground. Nothing new to add, just the same old, tired arguments. Perhaps a note on EUV: as you can see here (slide 13)

http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2008ScienceMeeting/doc/Session1/S1_03_Kopp.pdf the energy in the EUV band [and other UV bands] is very tiny; many orders of magnitude less than what shines down on our heads each day. So a larger solar cycle variation of EUV does not make any significant difference in the energy budget.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/05/courtillot-on-the-solar-uv-climate-connection/#comment-636477

Additionally variations in Ultraviolet (UV) radiation may influence the break down of Methane;

(Source TBD)

Infrared Radiation;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared

Solar – Wind;

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1999/ast13dec99_1/

Solar – Coronal Holes;

http://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov/chole.html

Solar – Solar Energetic Particles (SEP);

http://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov/sep.html

Solar – Coronal Mass Ejection;

http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMF75BNJTF_index_0.html

http://www.ratedesi.com/video/v/8AuCE_NNEaM/Sun-Erupts-to-Life-Unleashes-a-Huge-CME-on-13-April-2010

Solar Magnetosphere Breach;

Solar Polar Field Reversal;

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast15feb_1/

Solar Sector Boundary;

http://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics/focus-areas/magnetosphere-ionosphere/

Grand Minimum;

Leif Svalgaard says: February 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm

If L&P are correct and sunspots become effectively] invisible [not gone] it might mean another Grand Minimum lasting perhaps 50 years. During this time the solar cycle is still operating, cosmic rays are still modulated, and the solar wind is still buffeting the Earth.”

“It will lead to a cooling of a couple of tenths of a degree.”

Solar Influences on Climate:

http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009RG000282.pdf

Statistical issues about solar–climate relations

http://www.leif.org/EOS/Yiou-565-2010.pdf

5. Geothermal Energy;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_energy

influences Earth’s climate especially when released by Volcanoes;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcano

“which are generally found where tectonic plates are diverging;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergent_boundary

or converging”;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convergent_boundary

however, “intraplate volcanism has also been postulated to be caused by mantle plumes”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantle_plume

“These so-called “hotspots”;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotspot_%28geology%29

for example Hawaii, are postulated to arise from upwelling diapirs;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diapir

from the core-mantle boundary, 3,000 km deep in the Earth.”

Volcanoes have been shown to influence Earth’s climate;

http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/climate_effects.html

http://www.longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm

including in the infamous Year Without a Summer;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

which was partially caused by the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1815_eruption_of_Mount_Tambora

and is called a Volcanic Winter:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_winter

“Volcanic Ash;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_ash

particles have a maximum residence time in the troposphere of a few weeks.

The finest Tephera;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tephra

remain in the stratosphere for only a few months, they have only minor climatic effects, and they can be spread around the world by high-altitude winds. This suspended material contributes to spectacular sunsets.

“The greatest volcanic impact upon the earth’s short term weather patterns is caused by sulfur dioxide gas;”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_dioxide

“In the cold lower atmosphere, it is converted to Sulfuric Acid;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfuric_acid

sulfuric acid by the sun’s rays reacting with stratospheric water vapor to form sulfuric acid aerosol layers. The aerosol remains in suspension long after solid ash particles have fallen to earth and forms a layer of sulfuric acid droplets between 15 to 25 kilometers up. Fine ash particles from an eruption column fall out too quickly to significantly cool the atmosphere over an extended period of time, no matter how large the eruption.

Sulfur aerosols last many years, and several historic eruptions show a good correlation of sulfur dioxide layers in the atmosphere with a decrease in average temperature decrease of subsequent years. The close correlation was first established after the 1963 eruption of Agung volcano in Indonesia when it was found that sulfur dioxide reached the stratosphere and stayed as a sulfuric acid aerosol.

Without replenishment, the sulfuric acid aerosol layer around the earth is gradually depleted, but it is renewed by each eruption rich in sulfur dioxide. This was confirmed by data collected after the eruptions of El Chichon, Mexico (1982) and Pinatubo, Philippines (1991), both of which were high-sulfur compound carriers like Agung, Indonesia.”

http://volcanology.geol.ucsb.edu/gas.htm

There is also some evidence that if “volcanic activity was high enough, then a water vapor anomaly would be introduced into the lower stratosphere before the anomaly due to the previous eruption had disappeared. The result would be threefold in the long term: stratospheric cooling, stratospheric humidification, and surface warming due to the positive radiative forcing associated with the water vapor.”

See: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016%3C3525%3AAGSOVE%3E2.0.CO%3B2#h1

Geothermic Energy can also warm the atmosphere through Hot Springs;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_springs

Or warm the ocean through Hydrothermal Vents:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_vent

Which can be a factor in Hydrothermal Circulations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrothermal_circulation

6. Outer Space/Cosmic/Galactic Influences;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_space

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxy

including Asteroids;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid

Meteorites;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteorite

and Comets;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet

can all significantly impact Earth’s climate upon impact.

It has been hypothesized that Galactic Cosmic Rays;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_cosmic_ray

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray

modulated by Solar Wind, may influence cloud formation on Earth:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/04/a-link-between-the-sun-cosmic-rays-aerosols-and-liquid-water-clouds-appears-to-exist-on-a-global-scale/

Galactic Magnetic Fields also result in the;

http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Galactic_magnetic_fields

Galactic Tide;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_tide

which may influence the hypothesized Oort cloud;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oort_Cloud

“Besides the galactic tide, the main trigger for sending comets into the inner Solar System is believed to be interaction between the Sun’s Oort cloud and the gravitational fields of near-by stars or giant molecular clouds.”

7. Magnetic Forces;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_magnetic_field

Earth Core Changes:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/42580

“appears to be generated in the Earth’s core by a dynamo process, associated with the circulation of liquid metal in the core, driven by internal heat sources”

impact the Magnetosphere;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetosphere

including movement of the Geomagnetic Poles:

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/GeomagneticPoles.shtml

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091224-north-pole-magnetic-russia-earth-core.html

8. Atmospheric Composition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth

Nitrogen (N2) represents approximately 780,840 ppmv or 78.084% of Earth’s Atmosphere;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen

Oxygen (O2) represents approximately 209,460 ppmv or 20.946%;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen

Argon (Ar) represents approximately 9,340 ppmv or 0.9340%;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argon

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) represents approximately 390 ppmv or 0.039%;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide

contributes to the Greenhouse Effect;

?

and

influences the rate of Plant Growth;

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/CO2plants.htm

Neon (Ne) represents approximately18.18 ppmv or 0.001818%;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neon

Helium (He) represents approximately 5.24 ppmv (0.000524%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium

Krypton (Kr) represents approximately 1.14 ppmv (0.000114%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krypton

Methane (CH4) represents approximately 1.79 ppmv (0.000179%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

contributes to the Greenhouse Effect;

?

Hydrogen (H2) represents approximately 0.55 ppmv (0.000055%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) represents approximately 0.3 ppmv (0.00003%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrous_oxide

contributes to the Greenhouse Effect;

?

Ozone (O3) represents approximately 0.0 to 0.07 ppmv (0 to 7×10−6%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) represents approximately 0.02 ppmv (2×10−6%) (0.000002%);

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_dioxide

Iodine (I2) represents approximately 0.01 ppmv (1×10−6%) (0.000001%) and;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine

Ammonia (NH3) represents a trace amount of Earth’s Atmosphere:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonia

Additional atmosphere components includes Water vapor (H2O) that represents approximately 0.40% over full atmosphere, typically 1%-4% at surface.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_vapor;

Aerosols;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosol

that “act as cloud condensation nuclei, they alter albedo (both directly and indirectly via clouds) and hence Earth’s radiation budget, and they serve as catalysts of or sites for atmospheric chemistry reactions.”

“Aerosols play a critical role in the formation of clouds;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouds

Clouds form as parcels of air cool and the water vapor in them condenses, forming small liquid droplets of water. However, under normal circumstances, these droplets form only where there is some “disturbance” in the otherwise “pure” air. In general, aerosol particles provide this “disturbance”. The particles around which cloud droplets coalesce are called cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) or sometimes “cloud seeds”. Amazingly, in the absence of CCN, air containing water vapor needs to be “supersaturated” to a humidity of about 400% before droplets spontaneously form! So, in almost all circumstances, aerosols play a vital role in the formation of clouds.”

http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/aerosol_cloud_nucleation_dimming.html

Particulates;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates

including Soot/Black Carbon;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_carbon

Sand;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand

Dust

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust

“Volcanic Ash;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_ash

particles have a maximum residence time in the troposphere of a few weeks.

The finest Tephera;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tephra

remain in the stratosphere for only a few months, they have only minor climatic effects, and they can be spread around the world by high-altitude winds. This suspended material contributes to spectacular sunsets.

The major climate influence from volcanic eruptions is caused by gaseous sulfur compounds, chiefly Sulfur Dioxide;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_dioxide

which reacts with OH and water in the stratosphere to create sulfate aerosols with a residence time of about 2–3 years.”

“Emission rates of [Sulfur Dioxide] SO2 from an active volcano range from 10 million tonnes/day according to the style of volcanic activity and type and volume of magma involved. For example, the large explosive eruption of Mount Pinatubo on 15 June 1991 expelled 3-5 km3 of dacite magma and injected about 20 million metric tons of SO2 into the stratosphere. The sulfur aerosols resulted in a 0.5-0.6°C cooling of the Earth’s surface in the Northern Hemisphere.”

http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/index.php

“The 1815 eruption [of Mount Tambora] is rated 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the only such eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in about 180 AD. With an estimated ejecta volume of 160 cubic kilometers, Tambora’s 1815 outburst was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history.”

“The eruption created global climate anomalies that included the phenomenon known as “volcanic winter”;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_winter

1816 became known as the “Year Without a Summer”;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

because of the effect on North American and European weather. Agricultural crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Tambora

“In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent “dry fog” was observed in the northeastern US. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the “fog”. It has been characterized as a stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil.”

“The greatest volcanic impact upon the earth’s short term weather patterns is caused by sulfur dioxide gas;”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur_dioxide

“In the cold lower atmosphere, it is converted to Sulfuric Acid;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfuric_acid

sulfuric acid by the sun’s rays reacting with stratospheric water vapor to form sulfuric acid aerosol layers. The aerosol remains in suspension long after solid ash particles have fallen to earth and forms a layer of sulfuric acid droplets between 15 to 25 kilometers up. Fine ash particles from an eruption column fall out too quickly to significantly cool the atmosphere over an extended period of time, no matter how large the eruption.

Sulfur aerosols last many years, and several historic eruptions show a good correlation of sulfur dioxide layers in the atmosphere with a decrease in average temperature decrease of subsequent years. The close correlation was first established after the 1963 eruption of Agung volcano in Indonesia when it was found that sulfur dioxide reached the stratosphere and stayed as a sulfuric acid aerosol.

Without replenishment, the sulfuric acid aerosol layer around the earth is gradually depleted, but it is renewed by each eruption rich in sulfur dioxide. This was confirmed by data collected after the eruptions of El Chichon, Mexico (1982) and Pinatubo, Philippines (1991), both of which were high-sulfur compound carriers like Agung, Indonesia.”

http://volcanology.geol.ucsb.edu/gas.htm

There is also some evidence that if “volcanic activity was high enough, then a water vapor anomaly would be introduced into the lower stratosphere before the anomaly due to the previous eruption had disappeared. The result would be threefold in the long term: stratospheric cooling, stratospheric humidification, and surface warming due to the positive radiative forcing associated with the water vapor.”

See: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016%3C3525%3AAGSOVE%3E2.0.CO%3B2#h1

9. Albedo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo

“or reflection coefficient, is the diffuse reflectivity or reflecting power of a surface. It is defined as the ratio of reflected radiation from the surface to incident radiation upon it. Being a dimensionless fraction, it may also be expressed as a percentage, and is measured on a scale from zero for no reflecting power of a perfectly black surface, to 1 for perfect reflection of a white surface.”

Clouds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clouds

Aerosols

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosol

“act as cloud condensation nuclei, they alter albedo (both directly and indirectly via clouds) and hence Earth’s radiation budget, and they serve as catalysts of or sites for atmospheric chemistry reactions.”

“Aerosols play a critical role in the formation of clouds. Clouds form as parcels of air cool and the water vapor in them condenses, forming small liquid droplets of water. However, under normal circumstances, these droplets form only where there is some “disturbance” in the otherwise “pure” air. In general, aerosol particles provide this “disturbance”. The particles around which cloud droplets coalesce are called cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) or sometimes “cloud seeds”. Amazingly, in the absence of CCN, air containing water vapor needs to be “supersaturated” to a humidity of about 400% before droplets spontaneously form! So, in almost all circumstances, aerosols play a vital role in the formation of clouds.”

http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/aerosol_cloud_nucleation_dimming.html

Snow

Ice

Water

Particulates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates

Soot/Black Carbon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_carbon

Algae (Ocean Surface)

10. Biology

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology

“Phototrophs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoautotroph

are the organisms (usually plants) that carry out photosynthesis;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis

to acquire energy. They use the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into organic materials to be utilized in cellular functions such as biosynthesis and respiration.” “In plants, algae, and cyanobacteria, photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide and water, releasing oxygen as a waste product.”

Chemoautotrophs;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemotroph

are “organisms that obtain carbon through Chemosynthesis;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemosynthesis

are phylogenetically diverse, but groups that include conspicuous or biogeochemically-important taxa include the sulfur-oxidizing gamma and epsilon proteobacteria, the Aquificaeles, the Methanogenic archaea and the neutrophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria.”

Bacteria – TBD

Fungi – TBD

Protozoa – TBD

Chromista – TBD

Animal – Anthropogenic including:

Carbon Dioxide;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide

contributes to the Greenhouse Effect;

?

and

influences the rate of plant growth ;

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/CO2plants.htm

Methane

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

Nitrous Oxide

Ozone

Particulates, especially Black Carbon/Soot

Aerosols

Icebreakers/Arctic Shipping/Fishing/Cruise-Line Transits

Contrails

Nuclear Power Generation – Including Ships

Land Use Changes – Including De and Re-Forestation

Urban Heat Islands

Run Off From Asphalt/Urban Heat Islands

Fossil Fuel Energy Generation Waste Heat –

Renewables – Wind Farms, Solar Arrays, Dams and Ethanol

Sewage/Wastewater Treatment Discharge

etc.

Animal – Non-Anthropogenic including

Plankton

Beaver (Genus Castor)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver

etc.

11. Chemical

Fossil Fuels:

Coal

Oil shale

Petrochemicals

– Petroleum

– Mineral Oil

Asphalt

Tar Pits/Sands

Methane

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

etc.

“Photosynthesis;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis

is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight.”

“Chemosynthesis;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemosynthesis

is the biological conversion of one or more carbon molecules (usually carbon dioxide or methane) and nutrients into organic matter using the oxidation of inorganic molecules (e.g. hydrogen gas, hydrogen sulfide) or methane as a source of energy, rather than sunlight, as in photosynthesis.”

Reactions:

Combustion

– Forest Fires

– Fossil Fuels

– – Methane

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

etc.

Conversion of Methane, CO2, etc.

12. Physics – Other

Temperature

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature

Pressure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure

States of Matter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_matter

Heat Conduction

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_conduction

Convection

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convection

Thermal Radiation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_radiation

Thermodynamics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics

-Entropy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

General summaries of the potential variables involved in Earth’s climate system;

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7y.html

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/whatfactors.pdf

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EJ
June 30, 2011 3:14 pm

Great work. I agree, climate science is in it’s infancy.

Robert
June 30, 2011 3:16 pm

Oh come on! It’s CO2 and you know it!

Thomas S
June 30, 2011 3:17 pm

Holy….!! This post will go down in history as the post that killed the AGW debate once in for all.

Dermot O'Logical
June 30, 2011 3:25 pm

Did I miss where non-anthropogenic biological feedback is factored in? Those pesky bacteria.

Scott Covert
June 30, 2011 3:25 pm

Quantify those factors exactly and all interrelationships, type up a quick model and run it. With all the chaos in the system it probably wouldn’t be worth squat.
Can you have it done by next week?

June 30, 2011 3:27 pm

TL, DR.
Sorry.

adam lilley
June 30, 2011 3:33 pm

To be honest I think your over simplifying things a bit.

Bystander
June 30, 2011 3:40 pm

Thomas S says @ June 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm “Holy….!! This post will go down in history as the post that killed the AGW debate once in for all.’
That seems to be a silly thing to say.- there is a vast amount of science being done in each area and the basic physics and chemistry are know.
It is like saying because the human body is complex no one should pursue an understanding of disease.

Curiousgeorge
June 30, 2011 3:45 pm

You forgot a significant variable: Biological. Everything that isn’t human on land, air and sea.

G. Karst
June 30, 2011 3:52 pm

I think it is incorrect to call earth’s climate system ridiculous. It is our current understanding of it’s dynamics that is ridiculous… except I don’t hear much laughter regarding such. We are struggling, in a low resolution, stage of understanding, is all. Things will become clearer, as soon as proper scientific focus and methods are restored. Maybe soon. GK

Dave
June 30, 2011 3:52 pm

Just Great – a perfect reference guild to the climate!

Mark Reau
June 30, 2011 3:56 pm

Wow, just Wow. In ’95 I had collected lots of data about fishing in central Oh., 23 factors in all. Everything from the phase of the moon to surface temps to ph. to baro pressure, on and on. Unable to calculate a formula for catching fish I contacted a prof. of engineering friend who then referred me to a mathmatics prof., She was exstatic about so much data. Two weeks later I was told simply “It’s not humanly possible to calculate this many variables, not even deep blue can do this.” Shame, lots of money in bass fishing here. I believed her though. Looking at your list bogles my simple mind, climate models, I think not. But there is lots of money in this, as such I believe those here and elsewhere who claim this is about redistribution of wealth. Wuwt has turned this skeptic into a full blown denier and I thank you all for standing up for truth.

June 30, 2011 4:05 pm

The point is, you need to keep it short. Attention spans these days are vanishingly small – if that wasn’t the case we wouldn’t be in the fix we are today. Although I must say that even in the era I grew up in (60’s/70’s), your post would still have been TLDR.
The message that it is complicated doesn’t have to be communicated by demonstration; there are better ways to get that message across.
IMHO, YMMV, etc.

Wil
June 30, 2011 4:12 pm

Excellent article. I also spotted a phenomena I was completely unfamiliar with: Namely in the North Poles region Ice Map it appears when melting in that region first begin most every-time it’s in the region between Ellesmere Island (Canada) and just slightly North of Thule, Greenland. Perhaps someone could help me understand why that particular region first, what are the ocean currents in that Strait, Strait water temperature at various depths, or peculiar weather patterns that cause such an effect. That particular melts appear before surrounding ice even begins to melt – never would have noticed but for this exercise. That’s weird. I’ve always seen ice melt at the edges first then moved backward. That particular area is not a normal ice melt – it should not melt in the middle first.

June 30, 2011 4:12 pm

And I suppose next you’re going to tell us that’s just the easy part? The real gap in our knowledge is the unknowns that we don’t know we don’t know about!

June 30, 2011 4:13 pm

Many things are complex, like the human body, however, we understand the human body enough to PREDICT what will happen if, say, an organ is removed.
The climate is NOT like that at all. We can’t predict SQUAT one year, let alone 10, 20, 50 years…

1DandyTroll
June 30, 2011 4:15 pm

Really informative.
However, isn’t sulfur, sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid, more “important” parts of the atmosphere, alongside soot, than perhaps argon? Not to say argon might not have a major impact on earth’s atmosphere, no studies seem to exist, but pretty much everything sulfur has been studied as far as everyone seem to know.
If pointing out details . . . :p
Also, isn’t there really no study that has been done on how Earth behaves when the good old Sol quiets down and withdraws its influence into itself? I find that very weird considering what we already know about gravitational forces and all.

vigilantfish
June 30, 2011 4:18 pm

which my influence the hypothesized Oort cloud;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oort_Cloud

‘which may influence the hypothesized Oort cloud;

Siliggy
June 30, 2011 4:19 pm

Dermot O’Logical says:
“Did I miss where non-anthropogenic biological feedback is factored in? Those pesky bacteria.”
Yes and all that endothermic photosynthesis (CO2 causing global cooling).
Oh and what about the solar cycle spectoral variations in the rate the UV breaks down Methane (Siliggy camels arse effect)?

Thomas S
June 30, 2011 4:21 pm

Bystander says: June 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm
Thomas S says @ June 30, 2011 at 3:17 pm “Holy….!! This post will go down in history as the post that killed the AGW debate once in for all.’
That seems to be a silly thing to say.- there is a vast amount of science being done in each area and the basic physics and chemistry are know.
It is like saying because the human body is complex no one should pursue an understanding of disease.
—–
By no means am I suggesting we stop research, just saying that by seeing all these complexities in one place with links to research on each one of them. I am hoping that these AGW fanatics who will not accept any other explanation other than CO2 is the only driver should have there eyes opened by this post.
Yeah it was a bit tongue in cheek for me to say “end debate once in for all”. Its just most people pointing to CO2 as the reason for all these weather events, probably have not considered even a SINGLE driver listed in this post as a possible alternative.

gnomish
June 30, 2011 4:23 pm

heh. maybe people with vanishingly small attention spans are not the target market?
very cogent and acute, justthefactswuwt.
somebody already mentioned biology – the white cliffs of dover, carrera marble, oxygen, coal, forest fires (it’s live stuff that burns), methane, ocean surface albedo from algae –
makes one wonder… bravo for a winner.

Pat Frank
June 30, 2011 4:26 pm

Solar Ultraviolet (UV) radiation; appears to vary by approximately 10% during the solar cycle; and has been hypothesized to influence Earth’s climate; however Lief argues that, This is well-trodden ground. Nothing new to add, just the same old, tired arguments. Perhaps a note on EUV: as you can see here (pdf, slide 13) the energy in the EUV band [and other UV bands] is very tiny; many orders of magnitude less than what shines down on our heads each day. So a larger solar cycle variation of EUV does not make any significant difference in the energy budget. Leif Svalgaard says: April 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm
Unless, perhaps, the ultraviolet radiation is ionizing and produces a significant flux of electrons and cation radicals in the upper atmosphere. Cation radicals, as we all know from cloud chamber effects, can produce condensation nuclei and induce clouds. Slides 2 and 3 in the link show that both cation radicals and the freed electron can produce independent cascades of droplet nucleation. Nature is full of cascades produced by small initial perturbations.

kim
June 30, 2011 4:33 pm

When they left, the fishes said ‘Thanks for all the plankton’.
========

June 30, 2011 4:33 pm

I followed it with interest and I have no climate research training. I find the sheer number of variables exciting and truly astounding. Our system is amazing. However, is it me, or did it look like magnetic effects and atmospheric tide were duplicated in the list?
And, I’ve found it difficult to create a long list of variables without it being a long list of variables.

June 30, 2011 4:38 pm

justthefactswuwt says:
June 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm
Quote: Thank you for your help. Additional input on this section, especially links to sources indicating biological impacts on climate, are most welcome.
————————-
Would exploding whale parts feeding the aerobic bacteria in the ocean and sand do anything?

Steve C
June 30, 2011 4:39 pm

Dunno about just a page, you’re in serious danger of gathering enough data here for a whole new website – well done, one heck of a project. Good luck with it.
I’d like to add mention that many, if not most or all, of the oscillations mentioned in “Gravitation” are probably also synchronised by resonance effects of the whole terrestrial system (honourable mention here of the ‘Stadium wave’ which suggests how the energy may transfer between the different oscillations). I also suspect related resonsnce influences in both solar system and solar data – after all, the whole system has had plenty of time to fall into ‘sync’, and we know that weather is broadly cyclical.
Oh. And you may need, under “Anthropogenic”: “Political interference with any or all of the above”. It’ll be one heck of a parameter to calculate, but boy, if someone could work out a formula allowing that to be allowed for …

June 30, 2011 4:51 pm

While providing a useful and interesting compendium of links, I don’t see the point of this piece in terms of making an argument either way on AGW. There are a lot of phenomena. There is a substantial scientific community addressing those phenomena. What of it?
Either human effects are large enough to worry about, or they aren’t. Regardless of how well understood the system is, there will be a best-informed view of that question, and that question will be important.
You take the needle, bury it in the haystack, and then question whether there is a needle at all. If this defense works nobody will ever be able to make a case for anything.

June 30, 2011 4:56 pm

But could it all just boil down to the net size, intensity and positioning of the surface air pressure distribution?
Variations in that distribution acting via the location of the various climate zones and the weather within them seem to be well capable of stabilising everything thrown at the climate system over a period of more than 4 billion years so as to avoid the loss of our liquid oceans.

Rhoda Ramirez
June 30, 2011 4:57 pm

That’s going to be a very valuable page. It’s nice to see all of the known factors impacting climate in one place. Unfortuantely, I suspect that we are still in the “unknown unknowns” stage of climate investigations, but we are, at least the list of “known unknowns” is increasing.

kramer
June 30, 2011 5:01 pm

This post reminds me of this excerpt from a 1997 Science article:
Green forecasting still cloudy
Science; May 16, 1997
“In the climate system, there are 14 orders of magnitude of scale, from the planetary scale–which is 40 million meters–down to the scale of one of the little aerosol particles on which wetter vapor can change phase to a liquid [cloud-particle]–which is a fraction of a millionths of a millimeter.”
Of these 14 orders of magnitude, notes Schlesinger, researchers are able to include in their models only the two largest, the planetary scale and the scale of weather disturbances

Luke
June 30, 2011 5:04 pm

Great start! Presentation is key though as most true believers have hardly any attention span, especially with content that may give rise to cognitive dissonance.

Bystander
June 30, 2011 5:06 pm

justthefactswuwt says:June 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm
We are at the beginning of a very long road that will take many generations to travel…
————————————————-
But that doesn’t mean we don’t know anything.
I could prepare a similar – longer – list of topics on the functioning of the human body but you’d still go to the Dr if you were sick. This reads like a bit of a stunt, sorry to say.

June 30, 2011 5:08 pm

Admittedly climate is ridiculously complicated, but individual pieces are readily understood. The AGW crowd of course cannot make the predictions that they claim using the primitive, specifically and artificially limited models that they use.
But, the assumptions and specific claims that they make are usually based on little pieces of the climate system and these can be refuted quite nicely. And the claims they make about what is happening in the real world are usually wrong and can also be easily refuted.
Thus, even though we cannot prove their predictions are wrong, except by pointing to the real world and their past predictions, we can show that their assumptions are faulty and their reports of the real world are fraud. The public does not like to hear that we do not know for sure what is going to happen and tend to favor those who claim to know the future, even though they are wrong.
But, we can and should break the AGW assumptions. They claim all natural cycles and factors have been overwhelmed by CO2, making study of the past irrelevant, when, in fact, study of climate history and all of the ways we can determine and explain climatic changes in the past, recognizing in the process the natural factors at work, is the best way to make sentient predictions.
The current predictions of the next solar cycles and the Sun’s activities are good examples of using the past and our science to understand the potentials of the future. That’s our real strength.

June 30, 2011 5:10 pm

How about worrying about all of the factors that will become ineffective and irrelevant before we ever detect them?

mkelly
June 30, 2011 5:10 pm

How about the physical and chemical attributes of the atmospheric components and how they effect air movement etc?

ldd
June 30, 2011 5:18 pm

This is great “justthefacts”, what a round up – Thanks you, I am but a layperson in this so it’s lots of very interesting reading. Anthony may have to make your post another tab on the reference page.
My only concern is with the wiki links – as they still reference AGW in these articles…like this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
Two caveats are necessary: that anthropogenic effects may modify or even overwhelm orbital effects and that the mechanism by which orbital forcing influences climate is not well understood.

And yes, I know to take ‘their AGW claim’ part with a grain of salt the size of Montreal – but it makes me doubt them and wonder if they were as cavalier about other details that didn’t suite their political views.

Jer0me
June 30, 2011 5:19 pm

To me, it looks though you could go down this road a while, there is a great deal to examine. It also seems as though the end result would probably be an understanding of what we don’t yet know. That is, of course, the proper place to start, as opposed to dragging out one suspect and hanging him in front of the entire town without a proper trial, then declaring that the case is solved!

rbateman
June 30, 2011 5:22 pm

So which one (or set) of those variables caused the Little Ice Age (end of MWP to 1900)?
The volcanoes are too short-lived. The TSI is too invariable. The UV lacks the energy %. The Milankovitch cycles are too short. In fact, we don’t have anything concrete as of yet.

June 30, 2011 5:24 pm

Re TL, DR… Nope, I read it all, found it just the right length. Excellent work, and thank you for posting this.
My two cents: the measured temperatures on land drop dramatically when a mass of still air, with low humidity, forms and remains in place for many hours. This is especially true when this occurs overnight. We see temperatures drop into the low 30s and high 20s (in degrees F) even during non-winter periods. This might be already included in the above list, I didn’t see it.
Also, impacts of jet aircraft exhaust at high altitudes, perhaps this is covered under Anthropogenic effects.
Also, the impact of removing heat from thermal and nuclear power plants, as a good portion of the rejected heat is used to evaporate water, either in a cooling tower, or an evaporative pond. Another great portion of that rejected heat is released to once-through cooling of a lake, or the ocean, or another body of water.
Land use changes is on the list, and I’d like to point out that Man has planted literally millions of forms of trees, shrubs, and grass-type plants just in Southern California alone. What was once a dry desert is now green from planting and watering. The CO2 uptake may be negligible and not subject to measurement, but surely it has some impact.

moptop
June 30, 2011 5:27 pm

I would have pointed out that the Milankovitch cycles never exactly repeat, as the moon is slowly moving away from the earth.

June 30, 2011 5:31 pm

I didn’t notice a category for the effects on earths climate from passing comets, meteor Impacts and rare asteroid impact events, Meteors and interplanetary dust particles and the gases from these particles add about [Add an estimate here] tons of mass to Earth and earths atmosphere each year, it could be as significant or not as man made co2 but it is another factor.

Gary D.
June 30, 2011 5:39 pm

Please pardon a probably really dumb question, but this is something that has been bugging me for a while. The ENSO Sea Surface Temperature graphic here .
http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/anomnight.current.gif
So then is it Vorticity that makes the SST leave the wake pattern that it does in the oceans? The speed of rotation at the poles versus the speed of rotation at the equator and the speed of rotation at deeper depths versus the speed of rotation at the surface, along with the ocean currents, that causes changes in various water temperatures.
The same phenomenom may also affect air masses as Stephen Wilde discusses.

F. Ross
June 30, 2011 5:42 pm

Well how about the role of submarines, surface boats and ships, and surfers on the mixing/interruption of oceanic currents? Didn’t think of that one didja? 🙂
On the serious side how about the possible affect(s) of large scale wind farms on the atmosphere. For your consideration:
http://www.savewesternny.org/environment.html
and
http://people.ucalgary.ca/~keith/WindAndClimateNote.html

DanDaly
June 30, 2011 5:55 pm

Outstanding post! I look forward to seeing the other half regarding biological influences on atmosphere and climate, including biological changes in the use of land, ocean and atmosphere. Taking into account accuracy of observation and recording would be useful as well.
I would also recommend a more balanced approach to the section regarding Solar EUV/UV observations, which truly are in their infancy. Although there have been several speculative theories, no one has had time to measure and analyze what happens when we change from (TSI = solar constant) to [(TSI – 0.1%) – (10% EUV/UV)]. Although I’ve heard it said that our atmosphere is “opaque” or “nearly” opaque to EUV/UV, I wonder whether there isn’t enough that gets through the atmosphere to excite oxygen and water enough that its absence would be perceptibly missed.
And, given that the prolonged lack of significant solar wind has seemingly caused the collapse of the outer atmosphere, I would think more observation should be devoted to whether that causes changes in other parts of the atmosphere coupled with the climate.
But those are just my personal interests.
Keep up the wonderful work!

Lew Skannen
June 30, 2011 5:56 pm

This is the article I have been waiting for!
A while ago I wanted to gather together all the parameters that would need to go into THE MODEL we would need to predict climate. I soon realised that I did not have anywhere near the knowledge and from this list I can see that I was not even close. (I came up with only about a dozen factors)
The list above is an excellent start and can only grow.
What might also be interesting would be to produce a matrix indicating how each factor affects any of the other factors.
When that is done then maybe Al Gore or the Hockey Team will be kind enough to show us how they have solved it all.
I mean they have solved it haven’t they?…

June 30, 2011 5:59 pm

I knew all of this insane and insurmountable complexity in 1984 (I was a geology major) when I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince my college roommate that humans could NOT control the world’s weather in in WAY, SHAPE OR FORM… His ignorance of the true complexity was resolute and I soon gave up. Twenty seven years later, his ignorance is now represented in every government n the world… Ugh.

June 30, 2011 6:00 pm

“I didn’t notice a category for the effects on earths climate from passing comets, meteor Impacts and rare asteroid impact events, Meteors and interplanetary dust particles and the gases from these particles add about [Add an estimate here] tons of mass to Earth and earths atmosphere each year, it could be as significant or not as man made co2 but it is another factor.”
Sorry!! that category is there, I found it the third time I looked. It’s 1:58 am here and I’m half asleep. 🙂
good job!!

Pamela Gray
June 30, 2011 6:15 pm

Derek Sorensen says:
June 30, 2011 at 3:27 pm
“TL, DR.
Sorry.”
Oh good heavens. I’m currently reading both “1776” by McCullough, and “Battle Cry of Freedom” by McPherson. And I can find time to read through such a great post. Cowboy up.

Editor
June 30, 2011 6:18 pm

Derek Sorensen says:
June 30, 2011 at 4:05 pm

The point is, you need to keep it short. Attention spans these days are vanishingly small – if that wasn’t the case we wouldn’t be in the fix we are today. Although I must say that even in the era I grew up in (60′s/70′s), your post would still have been TLDR.

This will be a reference page, don’t think of it as a regular post. I think a model of not too many reference pages, but each being substantial is good. That limits the amount of clicking on page to find the right one, and searches within a page have a decent chance of reaching the goal.
Justthefacts – I noticed a Lief (should be Leif) somewhere above that you’ll want to fix.

Cecil Coupe
June 30, 2011 6:35 pm

You could also use this as a primer or extended table of contents to the reference pages. You could include hyperlinks to the WUWT reference pages since it’s a long weekend…
Rather than insert another comment into the system, If Mike Tobis reads down this far: At WUWT, not every single post is about Global Warming, climate science or flinging poo over the fence(s). If you want to debate the physics and math head over to Judy’s or Lucia’s. If you want to debate the the warming/not-warming I’m sure another post on that topic will appear here in a day or less.
/rant Sorry, I’m just tired of commentators demanding what websites and posters should do to satisfy their view of what the site is.

commieBob
June 30, 2011 6:38 pm

Wil says:

That particular area is not a normal ice melt – it should not melt in the middle first.

There are places where the water never melts, they are called polynya.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polynya

commieBob
June 30, 2011 6:56 pm

Just The Facts says:

I have been studying Earth’s climate system for several years and have found it to be a ridiculously complex, continually evolving and sometimes chaotic beast.

The climate is the very definition of a chaotic system. I heard an interview with Lorenz (discoverer of chaos theory). He had run a climate model and there was a problem before the run could be completed. He needed the results and didn’t have enough time to run the model again. He decided to run the model with fewer significant digits. That would speed up the process with, he thought, a loss of accuracy. The results were, however, completely different. This led to: “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
Perhaps your list could have something on chaos theory added. http://www.schuelers.com/ChaosPsyche/part_1_3.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

June 30, 2011 7:04 pm

Already a great resource and looking forward to further ammedments.

Jimmy Haigh
June 30, 2011 7:04 pm

Doesn’t matter. If we ruin the Western economies we will limit the temperature rise to 2C.
/sarc

John R T
June 30, 2011 7:29 pm

Can you search for the word ´varies?´ Should be VARY. oops-.-. here it is
¨…appears to varies/VARY by approximately 10% during the solar cycle;
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/solarcycle-sorce.html¨
The following entry also has a grammar/typo error. May be the word ´grand.´
This contribution is priceless. Last year, I spent several weeks on Donna´s IPCC audit. What about crowd-sourcing?
AND, what about our friendly Castor X neighbors: for decades, they enjoyed the distinction of Greatest Changers of the Earth´s surface!

Theo Goodwin
June 30, 2011 7:32 pm

Bystander says:
June 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm
“That seems to be a silly thing to say.- there is a vast amount of science being done in each area and the basic physics and chemistry are know.It is like saying because the human body is complex no one should pursue an understanding of disease.”
Cool!!! So, now you are going to show us the physical hypotheses that enable explanation and prediction of forcings and that go beyond Arrhenius’ work to reveal that dangerous warming from CO2 is coming down the pike? Huh? Huh? Are you going to do it?

Theo Goodwin
June 30, 2011 7:34 pm

This is wonderful work. Thanks so much.

savethesharks
June 30, 2011 7:35 pm

I need about a week or two to study all of this, Justthefacts, but your logic is impeccable.
Thanks for this and I plan to print everything out and put it in a notebook to study.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

KevinK
June 30, 2011 8:01 pm

Nice summary, just one suggestion for additional info regarding the non-linear properties of the materials involved in the climate system;
http://profmaster.blogspot.com/2009/01/thermal-conductivity-of-air-vs.html (sorry I’m not able to post this as a link so you will need to copy and paste)
Where we find this (empirically derived) model for the thermal conductivity of air;
k = 1.5207 x 10^(-11) x T^3 – 4.8574 x 10^(-8) x T^2 + 1.0184 x 10^(-4) x T – 0.00039333
Where k is in W/m/K
and T is in K
The range of use is T = 100 to 1600 K
Does anybody think that non-linear thermal properties of the materials in the climatic system MIGHT make it just a TINY LITTLE BIT COMPLEX ? Oh, and they vary with pressure as well.
So there are probably a few hundred to a thousand inputs to any “computer model” of the climate, think if one or two are off by a tad the outcome might disagree with the empirical evidence ?
In aerospace engineering FEM (Finite Element Modeling) has been used to predict the strength of airframes (airplane bodies and wings) with great success. The number of inputs;
1 – the stress/strain response of the materials (mostly aluminum and carbon composites)
2 – the force applied
3 – the number of “mesh” points, this is the number of discrete points on the computer model where the calculations are performed (usually hundreds of thousands or millions)
A Factor of Safety (FOS = predicted strength/required strength) of 1.5 to 2.0 is used for things live people will ride in.
That means that the computer models we rely on for everyday engineering feats are ASSUMED TO BE WRONG BY 50 to 100%.
In the engineering field we have a saying; “If your hardware does not perform as your model predicted, you must improve your MODEL!!!”
And the climate models can tell us the temperature in 2100 within a few tenth’s of a degree, sure they can……
Cheers, Kevin

June 30, 2011 8:05 pm

The whole point is to counter AGW as sound bite: “It’s the CO2.” “No, it’s far more complicated, and we don’t know as yet the proper weighting of the many factors which produce climate — check this out.”

June 30, 2011 8:21 pm

Very useful list, clearly demonstrating the unbelievable arrogance and ignorance of IPCC.
Just two comments:
1) I didn’t notice mentioned a crucial “CO2 increase = vegetation growth” feedback mechanism (increase of CO2 absorption by the plants due to the increase of plants’ growth due to the increase of CO2 content in the atmosphere), which negates any alleged increase of temperature due to the increase of CO2. May be it was included in some already listed category, I don’t know.
2) Special references to Dr. Svalgaard’s opinions are unnecessary; they don’t deserve any special consideration or exposure.

Doug Proctor
June 30, 2011 8:22 pm

This is a good post in that it records a lot of influences which have, without doubt, complicated cross-influences that altogether bring about the final result. It is, however, more of an argument for a warmist, specialist or elitist superiority in understanding or opinion, similar to one some of our post-war parents might have said to us as teenagers: what do you know? they (the government, the scientists, adults) know more than you do.
It is a fallacy that very complicated systems require very long study and detailed investigation to understand their probable output. As a discussion in Science News magazine (June 4/2011, Simple Heresy pp 26 – 29), simple rules of thumb can often be better predictors of outcome than complex mathematical models – a lesson the AAAS might well apply to the IPCC and their climate models (but which they, in their thrall of the IPCC/Mann, don’t apply).
In a previous WWUT post someone (I apologize in not knowing who) pointed out that the IPCC climate models, is considered as a “black box” in which much data goes in one side and a result comes out the other, can be back-engineered or back-modelled into several very, very simple mathematical relationships that connect global temperatures to CO2 levels. Not that we agree with this, but the point is well made: in even very complex models or proceses, only a few factors may be critical. Some, if not most, of climatic systems on the Earth appear to be either buffered by other systems or cancel each other out to the largest extent. This is not an unusual situation at all: think of your car’s engine running. Out of all the possible things that can go wrong and stop you in the middle of zombie-country at midnight, if you attend to the air, spark and fuel, you’ve probably attended to what is the problem. A split manifold or short-circuited motherboard may be the problem, as meteorite impacts or Washington-State level volcanic eruptions may be the reason the world went cold/warm, but those three things probably are what you should pay attention to.
The Earth’s climate is fundamentally the result of energy coming to the planet, energy reflected away from the planet, energy reaching theatmosphere/surface, and the in-place systems of moving the energy around the planet. These are the biggies. To believe that the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is a fundamental component is to believe that the system is inherently unstable. Our geological history shows that the system, though with episodes of high warmth and high cooling, is not inherently unstable. Things change, and stay changed for a long time. The rapid movement from glacial to interglacial states and back again do not display unstable tipping points but stable shifts. It is not the minutest of parameters that change and induce a major shift; it if were there would be many, many shifts and the movement from one to another would show the back-and-forth nature of a controlling parameter not-yet stable in its new configuration.
So, to come back to the point of this post, that the climate of Earth has many factors of which we are truly ignorant in their details and there interconnections, there is complete truth in this point. Those – like Mann, Trenberth, Gore, Suzuki, who claim to Know how things work on the planet, and how things will turn out, are, in fact, in egomanical self-idolatrous delusion, or simply using their doctorates and jargon to bafflegab and awe the rest of us. But as to the necessity of knowing a great deal about each factor and its influence on the others before a reasonable conclusion can be made, I suggest that the post is somewhat off.
The science blogs such as WUWT depend on the acceptance of what has been in legal circles called the Reasonable Man Hypothesis. The RMH suggests that, with a reasonable amount of knowledge, analytical ability and life-world experience, a non-expert can get the sense of what is going on and make a sound judgement of what action should be pursued on that basis. The gentleman-scholar of the 19th century understood this particularly well, for our benefit, for that is what the Darwins of the age were about: looking, thinking and judging carefully with the brain and thinking ability that God, they would have said, gave them. It is what we all do when we look at the GISTemp graph and wonder why it has such time and location sensitive warming biasis in it, and why the sea-level data took a sudden spike at the onset of satellite (TOPEX) observation, and then leveled off relative to the pre-satellite (pre-2002) times. We don’t know how satellites work, exactly, but we can see things that look suspiciously like data manipulations we have seen previously, understand the concept of perfectly, and wish answers for outside of what wavelength was being used at what specific height about the sea.
Complexity does not devolve into simplicity, but simplicity evolves, it appears, from complexity in the real-world. Chaos theory is great in theory but butterflies flapping in China do not actually cause hurricanes off of east Africa. The world survives because stability, rather than instability, dominates in the universe (catastrophic events notwithstanding). We have evolved, and the planet – including the crust – has become what it is because systems tend towards continuity, not disconuity. Perhaps Einstein would say his comment that “God does not play dice” applies to the way the climate system functions as well as how quantum physics governs the cosmos, despite how it works on an individual basis.
Ignorance of detail can be a killer, if, for example, you don’t know how long the fuse is you just lit. Knowledge of detail can also be a killer if, for example, you are busy calculating the length of fuse and speed of fuse-burning without considering that the fuse is coiled and will go straight to the explosive once lit. The climate argument of the IPCC is that detail is king, and only they, the experts, have a handle on all those fine points. The climate argument of the skeptics, on the other hand, is that few components count, and that you can determine within reasonable limits the power of those components from basic principles IN CONJUNTION WITH the understanding that the climate, as the world and universe, tends towards stability, not instability.
Whatever the outcome of this CAGW debate (I’d say foolishness, but that shows my position), a huge number of people are becoming accustomed to thinking for themselves. And educating themselves to the extent that they need. We all know the adage about not needing to be a weatherman to know the way the wind is blowing. The climate debate is teaching an entire thinking world that they can, with some effort, determine the reasonableness of what is going on without having to own a closetful of white coats.
All of this thinking and discussing and disagreeing is a very good thing. The power structures do not now like it. It messes us the AlGore sainthood processes, if not their bank accounts. Complex affairs are amenable to review by the non-illuminati. The illuminati are right in that the subject is worthy of many volumes of research, but the rest of us are right in that the pudding is tested in its abstract rather than its body.

Siliggy
June 30, 2011 8:24 pm

“however Leif argues that,
This is well-trodden ground. Nothing new to add, just the same old, tired arguments. Perhaps a note on EUV: as you can see here (slide 13)
http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2008ScienceMeeting/doc/Session1/S1_03_Kopp.pdf the energy in the EUV band [and other UV bands] is very tiny; many orders of magnitude less than what shines down on our heads each day. So a larger solar cycle variation of EUV does not make any significant difference in the energy budget.
Leif Svalgaard says: April 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm”
Thanyou I am now trying to understand slide 13 compared to this:
http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/506268main_sorce4b.jpg
and this:
http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-methane-mystery.html
Also The heat from radioactive decay does not seem to be counted in any of the radiative balance charts. is it about 0.8 W/M^2?

Mike
June 30, 2011 9:07 pm

I have always wondered why scientists had to go to grad school! Now we know! Now it is clear why people with little training are so easily confused.

wermet
June 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Hello Just the Facts,
Your statement in the first paragraph, “I have been studying Earth’s climate system for several years and have found it to be a ridiculously complex, continually evolving and sometimes chaotic beast,” is incorrect. The closing phrase should read, “and always chaotic beast.”
The form of the partial differential equations that need to be solved in order to understand the aerodynamics of the atmosphere ALWAYS result in chaotic behavior. Small deviations in initial conditions, choice of grid construction and time steps will result in markedly different model predictions.
This is just the beginning of the climatological mathematical problems. We have to consider atmospheric H2O distributions, phase changes and associated thermodynamic implications. There is particulate distribution tracking and its implications in providing nucleation sources for H2O condensation. There are also chemical processes at work in the atmosphere, such as methane (CH4) conversion to CO2 in the presence of O2 and sunlight. [I could continue to go on for pages, but will stop here.]
As an aerospace engineer with years of computational fluid dynamics modeling experience, I have to laugh every time I hear about another weather or climate model. Aerodynamics modeling to this day still has problems predicting measures as basic as aircraft drag. How can they believe that the movement of the atmosphere can be predicted/solved with any confidence?
Thanks for the article,
wermet
[Note for full disclosure: while I am still a practicing aerospace engineer, I have not been personally involved in computational aerodynamic modeling for about a decade. However, I am still track of the capabilities of the state of the arts in this field.]

Lance
June 30, 2011 9:15 pm

oh come on! the science is settled…
absolutely fascinating just how complete this is…

June 30, 2011 9:21 pm

I am often amused by claims that we understand Earth’s climate system, are able to accurately measure its behavior, eliminate all potential variables except CO2 as the primary driver of Earth’s temperature and make predictions of Earth’s temperature decades into the future, all with a high degree of confidence.

no one makes these claims. Anyone who works in the field understands that observation systems both historical and current need improvement. If you would attend, say AGU conferences, you would see that the people working in the area are constantly asking for more measurement programs. And No one suggests that C02 is the primary driver, Mike Hulme, of CRU fame recently gave a talk about C02 contributing less than 50% of the human induced forcing, AR4 even has charts showing all the know factors. And nobody suggests the predictions ( actually projections) have a high degree of accuracy.
Strawman.

KevinK
June 30, 2011 10:01 pm

To Wermet,
Exactly correct, these folks don’t even have a clue about how much they do not know….
I would much rather calculate how many angel’s would fit on the tip of a pin than attempt to predict the temperature in one hundred years………
I have been humbled many times when what I built did not perform as my model said it should, and I was just working with electronic circuits and optics, stuff that we supposedly totally understand.
In my field the proof (aka “in the pudding”) is what the real hardware does, not what the computer says “SHOULD” happen. Funny that planes even manage to fly when I’m sure there is a computer model someplace that shows it is NOT POSSIBLE.
Cheers, Kevin

June 30, 2011 10:03 pm

Just a fyi, I frequently go to the Smithsonian Large Holocene Eruptions page and then follow up by looking at the Find Eruptions By Date page and it is always telling. Then I try to look up what the corresponding solar cycle was doing at the time. Your imagination has to kinda take it from there because the eruption altitudes are missing. Like nowadays we are almost to 1930’s levels of eruptions and the weather is as wild as described in the early 1930’s. But the weather was wild entering the LIA as well. We could see something resembling first one then the other depending on the altitudes. Nabro continues to blow.
Watching the continuing Nabro eruption from space | Eruptions | Big Think
http://bigthink.com/ideas/39052

June 30, 2011 10:21 pm

You could, as well, consider the computational complexity of the computer algorithm that accurately models climate change using all known and unknown inputs.
We already know that local weather prediction algorithms frequently fail 24 hours out into the future. They can fail 30 minutes out. Billions have been spent on the algorithms since the first one failed miserably. The climate modelers claim to have algorithms that accurately predict the entire global climate 1, 5, 50, and 100 years into the future.
The complexity of the algorithm that supports all of the known inputs above very likely exceeds all the computing power of all computers for all time combined, and would probably take millions of years just to move from one climate model moment to the next.
In computer science, complexity is measured using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_O_notation.
The algorithm (at the bottom of the page) used by weather.gov is an amazing O(1):
http://www.weather.gov/om/educ/activit/coffee.htm

Grumpy Old Man UK
June 30, 2011 10:39 pm

Lorenz was right. Meanwhile I’m like a dog in a forest -too many knowledge trees to chose from.
Even spending 4 hrs a day on this post, it’ll take me a year to chase it all down. Thanks, justthefacts, for this labour of love, which will go down as the Thinking Person’s Guide to Climatology.

June 30, 2011 11:34 pm

In the 19th century, Victorian age scientists were as convinced as modern mainstream climate scientists that they knew all there was to know. That all they had to do was tweak a few details and all would be revealed.
In the century since that time there have been more scientific discoveries made that in all off human history to that point combined. What we have come to understand is the the unknown unknowns, the things that we do not even realize we do not know, that there is an infinity of these discoveries before us. That the more we learn, the more questions there are.
Instead, climate science has bogged down on the idea that all we need to do is stop CO2 and all problems will be solved, that earth will be transformed into a paradise. This is a result of false logic. Most of the current problems stem from poverty and CO2 does nothing to fix this. It is a make believe solution to problems 100 years in the future, as an excuse for not dealing with today’s problems today.
Fix the todays problems today and the future will take care of itself.

Larry in Texas
June 30, 2011 11:39 pm

steven mosher says:
June 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm
C’mon, Mosh. We know it isn’t the working scientist like yourself who makes these claims. It is the know-nothing bureaucrats at IPCC, at the NGOs, and the environmentalist wackos who don’t understand what’s going on who make these claims. Why else would they be saying “the science is settled?”
No strawman.

sandyinderby
July 1, 2011 12:00 am

Earth’s Climate System Is Ridiculously Complex – With Draft Link Tutorial
Derek Sorensen says:
June 30, 2011 at 4:05 pm
The point is, you need to keep it short. Attention spans these days are vanishingly small – if that wasn’t the case we wouldn’t be in the fix we are today. Although I must say that even in the era I grew up in (60?s/70?s), your post would still have been TLDR.
QED

July 1, 2011 12:06 am

Which of the many factors you mention causes the big changes in climate between summer and winter in the higher latitudes?

July 1, 2011 12:07 am

Oops, correction, Nabro is now taking a break.
African Volcanic Eruption Ceases – Irish Weather Online
http://www.irishweatheronline.com/news/earthquakesvolcanos/african-volcanic-eruption-ceases/22224.html
But the one in Chile is still producing ash clouds.
http://www.volcano.si.edu/reports/usgs/index.cfm?wvarweek=20110622#puyehue
Crops look a little better with the usda report. I’ve seen late plantings like this do alright.
Corn Plunges Most Since November, Wheat Falls as U.S. Reports Acreage Gain -Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-30/wheat-plunges-to-11-month-low-corn-drops-after-u-s-reports-acreage-gains.html

July 1, 2011 12:09 am

steven mosher says:
“If you would attend, say AGU conferences, you would see that the people working in the area are constantly asking for more measurement programs. And No one suggests that C02 is the primary driver…”
Oy way.
If you want to be taken seriously, Steven, you need to think before posting things that make people laugh at you.

Siliggy
July 1, 2011 12:48 am

“appears to be generated in the Earth’s core by a dynamo process, associated with the circulation of liquid metal in the core, driven by internal heat sources”
or could be generated by the movement of sea water:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090622-earths-core-dynamo.html

Brent Hargreaves
July 1, 2011 12:57 am

Justthefacts, this is wonderful work, thank you.
If you don’t mind I will send a hard copy to the UK government Chief Scientific Advisor. It’ll reduce him to tears.

Espen
July 1, 2011 1:26 am

My recent pet theory is that the whole idea of cooling from volcanoes may be wrong – their net effect may even be warming! What got me interested, is that the stratosphere showed a very clear stepwise cooling as an aftereffect of the stratospheric warming the El Chichon and Pinatubo eruptions: http://www.ssmi.com/data/msu/graphics/tls/plots/sc_Rss_compare_TS_channel_tls_v03_3.png
I was wondering if this was due to destruction of ozone as the atmosphere “cleaned itself” after the eruptions, but yesterday I found a paper that may offer an explanation: One longer-time effect of the volcano eruptions was increased stratospheric water vapor.
” If the frequency of volcanic activity was high enough, then a water vapor anomaly would be introduced into the lower stratosphere before the anomaly due to the previous eruption had disappeared. The result would be threefold in the long term: stratospheric cooling, stratospheric humidification, and surface warming due to the positive radiative forcing associated with the water vapor.”
See: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016%3C3525%3AAGSOVE%3E2.0.CO%3B2#h1
So could part of the warming in the 80s and 90s actually be caused by – and only briefly counteracted by! – the El Chichon and Pinatubo eruptions? I think so (but in the meantime AGW proponents are using volcano cooling for what it’s worth and even ignore the step change and talk about a downward “trend” in stratosphere temperatures as a “proof of AGW theory).
Just wanted to throw in yet another effect that may add to the complexity 😉

July 1, 2011 1:39 am

Thanks Justthefacts.
This will be a good addition to the WUWT reference pages.
Regards, Ágúst

Keith
July 1, 2011 1:49 am

With regard to the earth´s rotation causing plate tectonics, there are additional issues such as lithospheric convection and heat loss. Heat loss is achieved by so-called hot-spot volcanoes. Hawaii is an example on earth, whereas Mons Olympus is an example on Venus. On earth, in addition, the planet loses heat via plate tectonics, via lines of volcanoes at mid ocean ridges and at subduction zones (upwelling and downwelling limbs of convection respectively).

Siliggy
July 1, 2011 1:51 am

“endothermic photosynthesis (CO2 causing global cooling).”
Plus Chemosynthesis is also an endothermic.

Keith
July 1, 2011 1:51 am

Sorry Mons Olympus is on Mars

Patrick Davis
July 1, 2011 2:09 am

“steven mosher says:
June 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm
And No one suggests that C02 is the primary driver….”
And this “no one” would be the likes of the IPCC and Govn’ts in the western world such as Germany, The UK, Australia and New Zealand? We constantly bombarded with acrticles in the media and Govn’t announcements which claim…”the science is settled. The climate is changing through human activities primarility through busining fossil fuels which emit catastrophic amounts of CO2, the main GHG.” Not sure where you are reading official announcements that state CO2 isn’t driving climate change however, the official line appears to be at odds with this part of your post.

Patrick Davis
July 1, 2011 2:11 am

Great read. What I find rediculous is the belief CO2 can drive climate change, as the system has evolved over ~4.5billion years and has managed, all on its lonesome, to recover from internal and external changes.

July 1, 2011 2:19 am

Plate Tectonics was said to be powered by Descending Slab Pull. I have never understood how doubling the drag on something would cause it to pull anything. Eureka!! If the core rotates faster than the lithosphere/mantle then this would explain plate tectonics. It would also explain why there is more movement to the west than east. Thank You.
Your list, long and comprehensive though it is may pick up a few more inputs as we learn more. It also shows how stupid the idea that it is all CO2, or even CO2 at all.

Roger Longstaff
July 1, 2011 2:50 am

“If you don’t mind I will send a hard copy to the UK government Chief Scientific Advisor. It’ll reduce him to tears.”
Yes, tears of launghter. I read yesterday that HMG was raking in £40 billion per year in “green taxes”, and he is in charge of the “settled science” that underpins it. The Ministry of Truth will never admit that they are wrong.
Sorry for the rant – this is an excellent post and a good point of reference – please keep it up and develop it.

July 1, 2011 3:40 am

justthefactswuwt says:
June 30, 2011 at 5:09 pm
I think you are underestimating the intelligence and diligence of WUWT’s readership.

Ack. Look, sorry; yesterday wasn’t a good day. I hope you’ll accept my apology for what I see now was a fairly snippy first comment.
And I neglected to say how impressed I am at the amount of time and effort it muyst have taken to collate, check and categorise the many references above, and I thank you for doing so. It will no doubt prove a useful resource in the future.

Khwarizmi
July 1, 2011 4:03 am

Excellent post and reference page, justthefacts. Kudos.
Additional input on this section, especially links to sources indicating biological impacts on climate, are most welcome.
If the carbon cycle is important, then:
=======
Inconceivable Bugs Eat Methane on the Ocean Floor, Science, July 2001
Most of the methane that rises toward the surface of the ocean floor vanishes before it even reaches the water. On page 484 of this issue, a team of researchers provides the clinching evidence for where all that methane goes: It is devoured by vast hordes of mud-dwelling microbes that belong to a previously unknown species of archaea.
These methane-eating microbes–once thought to be impossible–now look to be profoundly important to the planet’s carbon cycle.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/293/5529/418.summary
========
And phytoplankton account for 50 percent of photosynthesis and oxygen::
http://www.frequenseamarinephytoplankton.com/What-is-Phytoplankton.html
North Atlantic phytoplankton bloom, ocean, clouds, and transcontinental contrails – a pretty picture:
http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/ve/1193/S1999158143752.png

Dixon
July 1, 2011 5:34 am

“Just the Facts” I like your mission! I missed explicit mention of the link between lithosphere and atmosphere through limestone deposition. We know subduction drives volcanism, but what drives subduction rates?
Steven Mosher: I generally agree with your comments – but I’m with Wermet here. Earth’s climate is clearly driven by fluid dynamics, in the atmosphere – the oceans and within the mantle. Not only that, there is layer on layer of complexity within that dynamic system: the chemistry, the physical processes. If fluid dynamics was so great in a model, no one would need full-size wind-tunnels to make racing cars or aircraft. How is there any point worrying about the detail (radiative impacts of CO2) if you can’t get the basic transport right (and there are a lot of transport processes you need to get right if you are forecasting 50 years into the future!).
As others’ have taken issue with you already: the line that has made it through to the general populace who know little of the science is EXACTLY that CO2 is the only villain (and there’s no point debating otherwise). Now if those noble folk at AGU DON’T think that too, they are beholden to the public to make a bit more of a fuss.
I don’t doubt for one moment that most of those at AGU are sincere in their desire to understand Earth’s physical processes better. Earth is a fantastic system, and well worth studying. My objection is that study should take it’s place at the funding pot with all the other fields of science; not scamper onto the next hot topic leaving a trail of half-finished experiments and semi-finished theories and very little conclusion in it’s wake. The more complex the problem, surely the more systematic we should be in trying to solve it? I could be wrong, but I don’t see the systematic, transparent review and assimilation in climate science that you get in mature sciences like chemistry, geology, mathematics and physics or even medicine. That’s why I think Just the Facts aims are noble.
So why would it be that so many of those involved in real climate science are unwilling to publicise the uncertainty and the complexity and (largely) silently endorse the CAGW line? The obvious answer is: because it suits them, because they are dependent on the funding, and that funding is dependent on the problem being real and significant and urgent. It’s not necessarily corruption – though it is certainly fertile grounds for that, it is simple common sense. Unfortunately that ‘common-sense’ is leading to the very real debate around the policy response to a spectre of CAGW when it’s obvious to anyone without a vested interest that government market subsidisation to cut small amounts of anthropogenic CO2 is pointless. I very strongly resent paying a tax for that.

July 1, 2011 6:06 am

None of those claims are overprecise. The TIME quote uses “trend in a funny way, but you are passing the facts through the belly of journalists. What do you expect? While the calls to action may be debatable, the supporting facts should not be controversial. The likelihood that anthropogenic forcing is somehow disconnected from recent climate change is small enough at this this point as to be negligible.
This is not an overprecise claim. It may once have been overconfident, but the evidence keeps piling up. Exactly how absurd a scenario do you need before neglecting it as irrational? “The community could not refute that somehow the radiative properties of emissions that pass through industrial processes selectively have no radiative effect thanks to the diligent work of leprechauns, but nevertheless the lower atmosphere warmed, the stratosphere cooled, the subtropics expanded, the hydrological cycle accelerated and most of the ice retreated coincidentally.”
None of the quotations you provided are anything to the effect “that we understand Earth’s climate system, are able to accurately measure its behavior, eliminate all potential variables except CO2 as the primary driver of Earth’s temperature and make predictions of Earth’s temperature decades into the future, all with a high degree of confidence.”
This is as far as I’d be willing to go in that direction: although, on a century time scale, I think it is arguable that we do indeed understand the climate system well enough to make global scale anomaly predictions within a factor of two, and some qualitative regional scale predictions with confidence. Perhaps *you* don’t understand it that well. Maybe if you didn’t try to swallow it all in one gulp it would go down easier.

JS
July 1, 2011 6:31 am

Excellent post, what a great list. As a practicing Engineer who does work with a closed system, water piping networks, I’ve always been fascinated by those in the climate field who can claim such accuracies with something that is obviously so chaotic. The accuracy for which the climate alarmist crowd purport is beyond hubris, IMHO.

Pamela Gray
July 1, 2011 6:36 am

Roger Sowell says: June 30, 2011 at 5:24 pm
“My two cents: the measured temperatures on land drop dramatically when a mass of still air, with low humidity, forms and remains in place for many hours. This is especially true when this occurs overnight. We see temperatures drop into the low 30s and high 20s (in degrees F) even during non-winter periods. This might be already included in the above list, I didn’t see it.”
Roger is referring to strong radiative cooling events, of the kind that typically occurs in dry desert conditions at night. But it can also occur in temperate climates. Records are kept regarding the high to low temperature range within a 24 hour period. Some of those records indicate a cooling of 70 degrees within a 24 hour period. These radiative events occur under certain conditions (pressure systems combined with low water vapor/relative humidity, no clouds, etc) and minimally last for around 12 hours, but can also extend themselves into many days. It can be a geographical local, or regional event. It is assumed the heat rises to the upper reaches of the atmosphere, and eventually into space.
NE Oregon (a mix of desert, high plains, and temperature forest zones) experiences these events several times a year, and can happen in any season.

July 1, 2011 6:37 am

A. Feht: “Very useful list, clearly demonstrating the unbelievable arrogance and ignorance of IPCC.”
I must have missed a step. Could you explain how this list reflects on IPCC?

Pamela Gray
July 1, 2011 6:44 am

A temperature inversion is different. This is when two pressure systems collide and a warm air blanket that does not rise keeps cold air at ground level. The warmer air is still there, but you have to travel up in elevation to experience it. It takes quite a lot of energy to sweep an inversion away as it can be quite stable. Strong radiative events are like taking the blanket away, which allows warm air to quickly escape into the upper atmosphere and eventually to space, leaving a cold air column behind it. These events are unstable compared to inversions.

July 1, 2011 7:02 am

To the list in section 9. Albedo, I would add plants.
Over the course of a year, plants change, which in turn affects the albedo in the region containing the plants. Additionally, any changes to climate are going to affect what plants grow in a region, which will in turn affect the average albedo of that region.

July 1, 2011 7:07 am

UV creates ozone, which is a GHG.

July 1, 2011 7:12 am

Michael Tobis says:
June 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm
The alarmists are making the claim that CO2 is big enough to worry about based on the claim that there are no other known mechanism that could have caused the warming of the last 100 years, therefore CO2 caused it.
This post is just further evidence that this belief is not justified. It also puts a bullet between the eyes (oh no, did I just make a death threat?) of the claim that we can believe the output of the models because they account for everything.

Espen
July 1, 2011 7:17 am

Michael Tobis says:
“[…]the stratosphere cooled, the subtropics expanded, the hydrological cycle accelerated and most of the ice retreated coincidentally.”
The lower stratosphere cooled in two steps after El Chichon and Pinatubo (see my post above), which makes it hard to use that cooling as an argument for the CAGW message.
Regarding the hydrological cycle: Do you know if there are any publicly available plotted time series of tropospheric water vapor? I can’t find any.

July 1, 2011 7:29 am

I’ve tried to explain the complexity of climate by referencing what I call the 5 spheres
biosphere
hydrosphere
atmosphere
lithosphere
cryosphere
This alone defines 10 interfaces between the 5 spheres. And that doesn’t include interactions within each sphere. Everyone of these areas of interaction is known poorly at best, yet a solid understanding of all of them is vital in order to make predictions regarding the climate.

Pamela Gray
July 1, 2011 7:40 am

Follow the link to the abstract and click on the pdf link. The authors demonstrate that strong radiative cooling events are measureable factors in the energy balance and should be considered in models.
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0469%281981%29038%3C2730%3ARCEWAA%3E2.0.CO%3B2

July 1, 2011 8:00 am

Khwarizmi says:
July 1, 2011 at 4:03 am
Inconceivable Bugs Eat Methane on the Ocean Floor, Science, July 2001
How far life extends downwards towards the core of the earth remains unknown to science. Likely much further than most scientists assume, because each time life is found deeper within the earth it is reported as a surprise. As though life would not evolve to take advantage of any energy source, and thereby modify the climate of the planet.
It is quite possible that life exists as deep within the planet as does water, which is also unknown. Recent evidence suggests that subduction carries water much deeper into the mantle than previously thought. That there may be more water buried within the earth than all the oceans combined.
http://www.physorg.com/news169906990.html
This would mean that the current model of sea level rise is incomplete, or even wrong. That the ocean basins are not “containers” for the oceans. Simply low lying spots where the water within the earth is exposed.
As happens everywhere else on earth,when the water table is higher than the land, a body of water forms. The oceans may simply reflect the global height of the global water table. The ocean basins themselves do not “contain” the water, they are simply low spots in the crust below the global water table, where the water within the crust is exposed.
What is interesting is the production of methane deep within the earth. While mainstream science believes methane is a fossil fuel, and thereby limited in supply, there is a considerable body of evidence that methane is much more abundant than provided for by this theory.

R
July 1, 2011 8:04 am

This will not influence the greenites any more than proving the earth is more than a few thousand years old and man is a slightly evolved monkey shut up the religious.

Richard M
July 1, 2011 8:07 am

izen says:
July 1, 2011 at 12:06 am
Which of the many factors you mention causes the big changes in climate between summer and winter in the higher latitudes?

So, you believe “it’s the Sun”? Or are you stating CO2 changes over 6 months accounts for the changes? Oh wait, you are trying to equate “weather” with “climate”. Isn’t that interesting.
What this post demonstrates is the term “climate scientist” is truly an oxymoron.

Jeff Larson
July 1, 2011 8:10 am

Has anyone estimated the volume of CO2 intake of the biosphere? If the “turnover” of CO2 is high, then it would cast doubt on AGW caused CO2 increase.

July 1, 2011 8:32 am

Espen has eyeballed a complex graph (a more detailed reference would help; there’s no information as to what time series that is or whether it constitutes published data) and applied an informal interpretation to it. My strong expectation is you can’t get anything remotely resembling statistical significance for your interpretation. An alternative view is that there is some slight overshoot in recovery from a volcanic event for some reason, and that is all superimposed on a trend. It would be very hard on a record of that duration to make the distinction: you only have two events after all. Indeed, you’d have to make some very rigorous physical (non-statistical) characterizations of the signal to have any hope of getting anything beyond the trend out.
Regarding the other question, it is important to understand that atmospheric column moisture and the hydrological cycle are different things. Both are expected to increase, but there is no elementary guarantee that they are tightly correlated with each other. For moisture I come up with Trenberth, K. E., J. Fasullo, and L. Smith (2005), Trends and variability in column-integrated atmospheric water vapor, Clim. Dyn., 24, 741–758. For precipitation/evaporation there is Zhou et al, Recent trends of the tropical hydrological cycle inferred from Global Precipitation Climatology Project and International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project data, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 116, D09101, 16 PP., 2011 doi:10.1029/2010JD015197.
As proof that scientists are not PR professionals, I also offer you Kevin Trenberth’s visually hideous PDF on these subjects. http://www.agci.org/dB/PPTs/04S2_KTrenberth_0713.pdf It otherwise looks very solid. One might wish to have the audio for some parts. Please note especially the slide called “a conundrum” (the 15th I think). This is a succinct statement of mainstream science about anticipated precipitation changes, and it stands alone without the audio well enough.

July 1, 2011 8:43 am

Pamela, thank you for that excellent explanation of strong radiative cooling events. That is precisely what I had in mind but knew not the correct name.

mrdarcy_pemberley
July 1, 2011 8:53 am

“…[O]ur understanding of Earth’s climate system is currently rudimentary at best, our measurement capabilities are limited and our historical record is laughably brief.”
Oh my goodness – a climate denier just made a patently offensive statement. Whatever do I do?!? Wait, wait, I know! I’ll consult my nifty “Skeptical Scientist” iPhone, Android or Nokia app for a witty yet damning rebuttal – http://www.skepticalscience.com/software.shtml .
I’ll use the terms “climate, natural, cycle, and complex.” Well, for good measure let me throw in “Watts.” And the result is:
CHALLENGE THE DENIER WITH: “Then you admit confirming not denying you ever said that?” – “Bloom County”
Phew! Now, that’s a rebuttal with logic a denier cannot refute! With the sanctity of AGW affirmed anew, I’m off to check my carbon footprint – http://www.takepart.com/actions/act-now-calculate-your-carbon-footprint/33587 .
Just for giggles… the rebuttal best poised to answer the odious statement above:
“No known natural forcing fits the fingerprints of observed warming except anthropogenic greenhouse gases,” – Argument 59.
Well, I’m sold! So, put the above in your pipe and smoke it, deniers! Personally, I weep for the generation raised on such social networking drivel.

Brent Hargreaves
July 1, 2011 9:14 am

Jeff Larson: turnover of CO2. Yes, I have had a go. By studying the gradients of annual downticks in CO2 in the Mauna Loa record (due the Northern Hemisphere growing season) I have derived a rate of exponential decay and consequent half-life. It comes out at 122 +/-2 months. (Peak rate of decline is between July and August.) Lock the Earth in August configuration and Bob’s yer uncle… CO2 will go down. (Note to geoengineering freaks: this is irony. Don’t go there.)
What triggered this effort was an outrageous statement on the UK Royal Society’s website (now withdrawn) that manmade CO2 stays in the atmosphere for over a thousand years. That “great sucking sound” every northern summer belies it.
To calculate that rate of takeup in tonnes per day is pretty straightforward, and it can be compared to the estimated rate of manmade contributions. If the manmade figure is comparatively tiny, it can still be argued (not by me) that the cumulative effect of MMCO2 is key, disrupting a (ficticious) natural balance. There’s evidence of a 900-year time lag between temperature and CO2 (CO2 variations being an effect, not a driver of natural temperature changes). The most convincing proxy for global temperature I know of is the 3500 year record of the Aletsch Glacier. It shows a warming from c1120AD to c1240. If today’s rise in CO2 is a delayed degassing, then in a few decades the Mauna Loa graph will peak and then decline. Now THAT would deprive the greenshirts of their favourite guilt trip… if Maunder II hasn’t already trashed their cherished global warming myth!

July 1, 2011 9:31 am

@- Espen says:
July 1, 2011 at 7:17 am
“Regarding the hydrological cycle: Do you know if there are any publicly available plotted time series of tropospheric water vapor? I can’t find any.”
You can find the data available listed and discussed in detail here –
http://scienceofdoom.com/2011/06/05/water-vapor-trends-part-two/
Also in the preceding and succeeding parts…
@- Richard M says:
July 1, 2011 at 8:07 am
“So, you believe “it’s the Sun”? Or are you stating CO2 changes over 6 months accounts for the changes? Oh wait, you are trying to equate “weather” with “climate”. Isn’t that interesting.”
Okay fair point, if you restrict ‘climate’ to changes in the the average of temperature, rainfall, humidity, snowcover, ice extent, glacier mass balance etc over a >30 yr period then seasonal changes are certainly NOT climate.
I am not sure many people attribute the difference between summer and winter as just ‘weather’ though…
The point I was trying to make, perhaps too obscurely, was that this list of factors, although extensive, does not include some very important factors because it seems to be unconnected with any sense of the relative magnitude, timescale and importance of the factors.
The distribution of sunlight over the surface is not only responsible for the seasons, but is also the trigger factor for the last ~3million years for the end of glacial periods as spring snow cover gets more readily melted in the N hemisphere when the Milankovitch cycle alters that distribution of sunlight.
Just as the seasons change when the distribution of sunlight alters.
A list like this is scientifically useless unless it is grounded in actual climate changes and what DOES cause them.
Other posters have compared this to the complexity of human biology and the problems in medicine.
If a patient presents with a number of signs and symptoms consulting a VERY long list of all the things that might affect the health of the individual is pointless. And human biology is FAR more complex than the climate.
What is done is to look at what has been found to cause those symptoms before and use them as a fingerprint to prepare a much shorter list with various levels of probability of the known causes of similar cases. Past research into the epidemiology of a disease. and what IS known about the biology of illness has discovered what causes a particular set of symptoms.
The methodology of research into complex and often chaotic systems – of which human health is one of the most difficult – is to approach it from the end of the effects and then look for the causes.
Not to make a long and exhaustive list of possible causes with no distinction as to magnitude or timescale and then claim that in the
face of such complexity any conclusions are impossible.
If the patient presents with raised a raised temperature and further investigation reveals an abnormally raised level of CO2 with predicted changes in the surface emissions and downwelling long wave radiation over less than a century you have a ‘fingerprint’ of a condition that eliminates most of the long all-inclusive list of possible causes.

Ged
July 1, 2011 9:59 am

For people trying to equate the human body’s complexity to climate, stop it. You don’t know anything that you’re talking about.
Unlike climate, we’ve learned a great deal about the human body through centuries of direct experimentation. Something we cannot do with the earth system.
The human body is also not nearly as complex. We also know the human body intimately through many layers of detail (through direct experimentation) from the humeral scale down to the molecular scale. And yet, even so, we are constantly discovering errors and problems. Why do medicines all have long lists of side effects? Why are some people allergic to penicillin and not others? Or some foods? Or some creams? Or sunlight? Or to themselves? Why have theories, we know what’s acting during the disease states, but we have no idea how they begin, what triggers them, or how to cure them. And here we are talking about a system which we can manipulate every known variable, through DNA and chemicals and surgery, directly however we wish, and have been for centuries!
No, climate is vastly more complex than this, and yet one would claim we could understand that well enough to base governmental and world policies on that’ll tax, radically change, and effect the lives of billions for generations to come? All while we still know so little about the human body that we can never make a medicine with no side effects? Can’t stop aging? Can’t cure cancer? Can’t stop the generation of super bugs? Can’t prevent death?
Right. You people amuse me in your self imposed naiveties.
The reason this topic is so heated, isn’t because of the science, it’s because of the politics that threaten to destroy our economies and our futures based on nothing we even begin to understand. Just computer models, all already failing as time moves on and temperatures don’t rise nearly as fast as they predicted.

July 1, 2011 10:21 am

Michael Tobis says:
July 1, 2011 at 6:37 am
I must have missed a step. Could you explain how this list reflects on IPCC?
In a very simple and obvious way, Michael. IPCC does NOT take into account most of the influence factors and feedback mechanisms listed above.

Siliggy
July 1, 2011 10:43 am

“Mark Wilson says:
July 1, 2011 at 7:07 am
UV creates ozone, which is a GHG”
The feedback from that due to the solar cycle change in spectoral content modulating the atmospheric content would have the opposite sign to a modulation of Methane in the greenhouse effect. They would be antiphase with each other. Heat produced directly (not via the greenhouse feedback) would be in phase.
Does anyone know if the UV spectoral change is in time with the 11 year cycle or is it the 22,33,wolf/gleissberg etc?
Do the Ozone holes give the clue or are they electricaly related to the cycles more than UV related? .

July 1, 2011 11:01 am

proving the earth is more than a few thousand years old and man is a slightly evolved monkey shut up the religious.

Why do you believe that this should or could shut up the religious?

DirkH
July 1, 2011 11:21 am

Has any one ever seen Bystander and Moderate Republican in the same room at the same time?
😉

Siliggy
July 1, 2011 11:38 am

“Jeff Larson says:
July 1, 2011 at 8:10 am
Has anyone estimated the volume of CO2 intake of the biosphere? If the “turnover” of CO2 is high, then it would cast doubt on AGW caused CO2 increase.”
Hope you get a better answer but I got curious about the change in the CO2 growth rate some years compared to others and had an amateurish play with correlations in various data sets to see what might influence this.
Khwarizmi above linked to something with “phytoplankton account for 50 percent of photosynthesis” i found something else that said 90 percent of all photosynthesis was in the oceans. So compared various SST data sets with CO2 growth rate changes. I got the strongest correlation between Both the annual change in CO2 and the non annual change in CO2 between this: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/indices/oni.ascii.txt
and this: ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt
Table of three month SST compared to 7 month season corr CO2 change over the entire data sets.
seemed to show a correlation of SST to atmospheric CO2 with a 2 month delay( r0.5). That is temp first is followed by CO2 change.
Note the season corr CO2 value has not risen since Jan 2011.

July 1, 2011 12:15 pm

Feht: “IPCC does NOT take into account most of the influence factors and feedback mechanisms listed above.”
You can provide examples, then? “Most” would require a lot of work. Let’s start with a more manageable three. Identify how they operate on policy time scales and in what context IPCC ought to have included them but didn’t.
I congratulate you for apparently knowing the IPCC reports so thoroughly that you can come to the conclusion that “most” of these items are omitted so immediately. So if your claim is not completely fabricated, you should have little problem coming up with details in a few cases.

phlogiston
July 1, 2011 12:29 pm

“Ridiculous?” No – it is totally normal for climate (the “earth system”) to be characterised by profoundly complex nonlinear-nonequilibrium dynamics.
It would be ridiculous for it to be anything else.
But a great and valuable post none-the-less.

J. Felton
July 1, 2011 1:07 pm

Congratulations on a brilliant and through list, and a second congrats to all the posters here with more feedback and references.
Much appreciated, and I can tell you this page is already bookmarked for further late-night reading, ( along with the murder mysteries currently on my nightstand as well ).
This list would make a great reference page. Well done!

July 1, 2011 1:23 pm

Ged says:
July 1, 2011 at 9:59 am
“The human body is also not nearly as complex. We also know the human body intimately … Why have theories, we know what’s acting during the disease states, but we have no idea how they begin, what triggers them, or how to cure them.”
So no point in accessing any treatment in the event of injury or disease ?
sarc/off
But you seem to suggest that if human biology is less complex than the climate, and known in much greater detail BUT we still have no idea about important aspects of it then the climate would be even less knowable?
This would be an appeal to permanent ignorance of the subject unless you have a suggestion for a means of dispelling it with research. Can you suggest a better approach than to look at the effects and track back to causes?
Perhaps this is the point of an exhaustive list of causal factors at all levels of the total climate system. If you observe an effect, then you can look through a list of possible causes and determine which could, and could not, be contributing to the observations.

July 1, 2011 1:33 pm

Michael Tobis,
I wasn’t born yesterday, and don’t have time for childish games.
You accused me of making an unsubstantiated statement (though the same statement was made and thoroughly substantiated on this site on numerous occasions). The burden of proof is on you.

July 1, 2011 2:24 pm

“You accused me of making an unsubstantiated statement … The burden of proof is on you.”
I find that position peculiar, to say the least.

Espen
July 1, 2011 2:47 pm

Michael Tobis says:
July 1, 2011 at 8:32 am
Espen has eyeballed a complex graph (a more detailed reference would help; there’s no information as to what time series that is or whether it constitutes published data) and applied an informal interpretation to it.

I’m surprised you need an explanation for that, the URL should tell you right away that I linked directly to Remote Sensing Systems.
An alternative view is that there is some slight overshoot in recovery from a volcanic event for some reason, and that is all superimposed on a trend. It would be very hard on a record of that duration to make the distinction: you only have two events after all.
There was also Agung in 1963, but the stratospheric temperature records start just a couple of years before that, so I guess it’s hard to tell if there was a step cooling after the warming from Agung.
You write as if the step cooling is something I just “eyeballed”, but of course it’s not, it has been observed by climate scientists and discussed in several papers, e.g. Thompson and Solomon (2008): “Understanding Recent Stratospheric Climate Change”.

July 1, 2011 3:35 pm

While I continue to object to the “stair-step” characterization, I acknowledge that others have used it. I thank Espen for raising an interesting issue. I withdraw and apologize for my offhand dismissal of it.
I am reading the recent review article of Seidel et al: Stratospheric Temperature Trends: Our Evolving Understanding (Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate ChangeEarly View, Article first published online: 17 JUN 2011)
They say: “In contrast to the relatively unchanging expectations of surface and tropospheric warming primarily induced by greenhouse gas increases, stratospheric temperature change
expectations have arisen from experiments with a wider variety of model types, showing more complex trend patterns associated with a greater diversity of forcing agents.” That said, at first glance their figure 5 seems to indicate that long-lived greenhouse gas forcing dominates the observed trends.

July 1, 2011 4:04 pm

Well done, JustTheFacts.
There are quite a few overlaps between your list and mine:
(taken from a post trying to demonstrate the constructive and destructive interferences patterns on each other: http://cultofthecarboncow.com/?p=2001)
What are some of the climate variables a simple man from Kansas is aware of:
* Slight changes in the distance of the Earth from the Sun as the Sun’s gravity well drags the Earth about the cosmos
* Slight changes in Earth’s position within the plane of the ecliptic as the Sun’s gravity well drags the Earth about the cosmos
* Slight changes in the Solar System’s location within the galactic plane as the galaxy’s gravity well drags the Solar System about the cosmos
* Slight changes in the Sun’s intensity
* Slight changes in the relationship between the tilt of the Earth/Moon system’s gravitational axis and the Sun’s equator where the Sun’s magnetic disturbance and thus solar flares are greatest
* Slight changes in cloud cover caused by infrequent cosmic ray activity
* Slight changes in cloud cover caused by precipitation changes
* Slight changes in cloud cover due to changes in the jet stream and other wind patterns
* Slight changes in wind patterns due to slight changes in the height of mountain ranges due to plate tectonics
* Slight changes in wind patterns due to slight changes in the depths of valleys as running rivers erode the Earth
* Slight changes in precipitation on land due to changing wind patterns alternating whether rain is deposit on land or sea
* Slight changes in atmospheric gas concentrations
* The occasional eruption of volcanoes on land
* The occasional eruption of volcanoes under the sea
* The continuous belching forth of our planet’s innards upon itself along the ocean ridges
* Slight changes in the width of the ocean’s ridges, reducing or increasing the resistance to the release of gasses
* Slight changes to the amount of continental plates as they subduct or grow, or perhaps slightly expand the volume of the planet
* Slight changes in magmatic patterns within the mantle
* Slight changes in the drift of the core
* Slight changes in land use patterns (the changes in the amount of land dedicated to farming, forestry, cities, etc.)
* Slight changes in the amount of methane welling up from the ocean’s floors
* Slight changes to the reflectivity of the Earth (albedo) as plants grow and cast shadows and then die, and as buildings are built or destroyed, and as natural occurrences darken or lighten waters
* Slight changes in albedo due to changing ice patterns
* Slight changes in the Earth’s magnetic field that allow or disallow a varying amount of cosmic rays and solar radiation into the atmosphere
* Slight changes to the Sun’s magnetic field
* The occasional earthquake
* The occasional meteor strike
* The continuous depositing on the Earth of the Solar System’s dust that becomes trapped in the gravity well of the Earth
* Slight changes to the ratio between the volume of plant matter (respirators of oxygen) to animal matter (respirators of carbon dioxide)
* Slight changes to the production of energy by mankind
Each of the above, and I am sure there are many more, would have their own curve representing their contribution to Earth’s climate. None of the curves are likely the simple sine waves this post has presented, and to make the point again: each of the above would have to be evaluated against each of the other to properly account for the constructive and destructive influence each would have on the climate.
Further, and more to the point of this post: each of the above have different times between the repetition of their patterns, for those that are not one-offs. The varying durations (periods) of the curves, the varying shapes of the curves, the varying intensity (amplitudes) of the curves, and the varying amount of interference due to the current presence or non-presence of each of the above plus all the actual climatic influences makes for a natural yet chaotic climate system.

Carla
July 1, 2011 5:00 pm

Far out and solid Just the Facts. (good job) Keep pushing, keep pushing on..
Lest we forget..
Interstellar clouds..
Cloud Tripping Through the Milky Way
..Linsky says we’ll enter the G cloud in less than 5,000 years — perhaps even tomorrow.
Once that happens, there’s a chance the G cloud will affect the Sun’s solar wind and Earth’s climate.
For instance, a dense enough cloud could push in on the solar wind and pollute the interplanetary medium, decreasing the Sun’s intensity and cooling the Earth. A very dense cloud could even produce an ice age on the Earth. Luckily, the G cloud isn’t dense enough to cause an ice age. It would only cool the earth a little relative to the environment we’re in now. Still, Linsky says, it’s only a matter of time until we encounter a cloud that is dense enough to radically alter our climate.
Until then, however, there is a lot to learn about the clouds currently flowing through the heavens around us.
http://jila.colorado.edu/content/cloud-tripping-through-milky-way
Accretion of,
Helium
Hydrogen
Carbon
Oxygen
Dust
etc..etc..
Good to see also you had mention of Interstellar Magnetic Fields, like the one they think is denting the heliosphere bubble in the nose.
sshh don’t tell Dr. S.. eeee

Carla
July 1, 2011 5:57 pm

Did I miss this,
ionospheric waves and precipitation?

Carla
July 1, 2011 6:00 pm

One more thing, originally signed on to this site as earthunderfire, Neve posted using that name that I recall. How do I get rid of it?

July 1, 2011 6:11 pm

Well, sure, there are lots of influences. The point is that a few of them are very very very very large compared to the others, those are all anthropogenic, and the CO2 eventually dominates because it has such a long residence time that it is essentially cumulative and (without a huge expensive and energy-intensive intervention that more than obviates its advantages in the first place) essentially irreversible.
There are many influences on my health, and the biological system is far from being perfectly characterized, but getting swatted on the skull daily by a growing child wielding a baseball bat is still a very bad idea that gets worse with each passing day.

July 1, 2011 6:56 pm

Michael Tobis says:
“CO2 eventually dominates because it has such a long residence time…”
False assumption, therefore the incorrect conclusion is not surprising.
The UN/IPCC’s unsupportable guesstimate of CO2 residence time is contradicted by numerous peer reviewed studies. Further, the effect of adding more CO2 diminishes rapidly, thus debunking the Malthusian arm-waving over a minor trace gas which, even if it doubled, is still a minor trace gas.

July 1, 2011 7:25 pm

Smokey’s clever graphs are incorrect and seem to have fake attributions.
If CO2 perturbation decay time were short, CO2 concentrations would go down during a recession.

July 1, 2011 7:43 pm

Tobis:
They are not my graphs, and they are graphs based on numerous peer reviewed studies, as anyone looking at them would see. And:
“If CO2 perturbation decay time were short, CO2 concentrations would go down during a recession.”
If Tobis took the time to notice, he would see that the rise in [harmless, beneficial] CO2 has been stagnant since the beginning of the year.
I don’t make these comments to educate Michael Tobis, whose mind is closed as tight as Harold Camping’s, and who cannot be educated with facts. I note these facts only to avoid allowing others to be swayed by bogus alarmist propaganda. Malthusian Luddites like Tobis have been arm-waving for centuries, and they have been wrong for centuries. They are just as mistaken today.

July 1, 2011 7:58 pm

“Please let me know if you have any suggested improvements”
A couple of major factors such as solar and oceanic variability would pretty much swamp everything else with all the lesser factors simply offsetting each other on average over time.
Would it be possible to rank the various items and processes on the list in order of significance or perhaps group them in batches of compareable magnitudes?
In practice I think the climate system is more simple than such a list suggests because of the primacy of a small number of major factors.

Jim D
July 1, 2011 8:00 pm

No section on the greenhouse effect, and infra-red active gases which helps explain why the surface temperature is as warm as it is? This seems to be major omissions when discussing climate.

July 1, 2011 8:14 pm

Michael Tobis finds a presumption of innocence to be a “peculiar” notion.
No wonder he trusts the conclusions of an irresponsible and corrupt UN organization.

Venter
July 1, 2011 8:41 pm

Just the facts,
People like Michael Tobis do not want to see facts. They only throw unsubstantiated accusations and inane party line cliche’s. And rationality is the last thing in the world you can expect from them. Look at all his posts in this thread. Entirely devoid of any rationale or facts.
It’s good that you put up these counter arguments with facts which will show every time to every one as to how shallow and devoid of facts arguments of such people are.

July 1, 2011 9:02 pm

Nobody contests that the sun is the source of energy in the system!
The question is variability on the time scale of the anthropogenic CO2 perturbation, which could drive climate *change*. As far as I know, nothing in the published literature indicates anything larger than 0.3 W/m^2 peak-to-peak solar variability on decadal-to-century time scales. Compare 4 w/m^2 imbalance for an instantaneous CO2 doubling or equivalent, and you have the generally accepted conclusion that human inputs already overcome the solar variability.

Jack O'Fall
July 1, 2011 11:58 pm

To continue the human body analogy:
While we know a lot about the human body, we still don’t know a great deal. With our current understanding of genetics, brain functions, physiology, psychology, education, and group dynamics, can we predict what college your infant will go to with any level of certainty? Or for that matter, what you will want to eat for breakfast next Tuesday?
You may counter that we don’t know if you will want bacon and eggs or cereal, but we know that if you eat a lot you will get fat. However, we don’t really understand why you get fat and I don’t when we eat the same amount and do the same activity. We may recognize it happens, but not understand the dynamics of why. And on it goes.
REALLY complex systems are even harder to predict than they are to understand. Inability to grasp how all the small scale influences affect the larger scale is problematic, regardless of the time scale, but a show stopper in any long-term time scale.

Chuckles
July 2, 2011 12:47 am

Just The Facts,
Thank you for a useful and interesting post. Implicit in the discussion of ‘AGW’, ‘Climate Change’ et seq, and in the various actions proposed, is the belief that human actions can exacerbate or mitigate climate and it’s various effects on a global scale. And by extension, weather.
Many people, myself included, find this assumption that we are able to control or influence global climate, dubious at best.

July 2, 2011 1:42 am

@- Smokey says:
July 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm
“If Tobis took the time to notice, he would see that the rise in [harmless, beneficial] CO2 has been stagnant since the beginning of the year. ”
No, it hasn’t –
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html
Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
Week of June 19, 2011: 393.46 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 391.53 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 373.12 ppm
And as you can see from the graph it is following the usual seasonal pattern of a spring peak.
CO2 varies by around 5ppm a year from the seasonal biological cycle.
Superimposed on this regular annual cycle has been a net gain of about 1.8ppm per year.
Are you suggesting this year will be any different?

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
July 2, 2011 1:42 am

Wow. Tobis has deigned to post on WUWT, many times on this thread, in a manner resembling an arguing of the facts.
What’s happening? Is traffic so low on his blog that he’s trawling for some visits with all the links to his site? Or is he trying to improve a Wikio-type link-based rating by liberally spreading them on this much more well read blog? According to this web site stat page, WUWT has the highest Alexa ranking of any site linking to his blog, a very high 17,562 (lower is better) compared to his 811,560. And his traffic has been dropping like a stone…
Will he finally go away after leaving enough link-droppings?

July 2, 2011 2:03 am

@- justthefactswuwt says:
July 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm
“Do you agree that Oceanic Oscillations can have a significant influence on Earth’s Temperature?”
On the immediate temperature, but not on the climate.
There is little historical evidence that the pattern of Oscillations drives unidirectional climate change.
It is considered more likely they respond to, not initiate significant trends that extend beyond the average cycle length.

July 2, 2011 2:52 am

@-justthefactswuwt says:
July 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm
Michael Tobis says: July 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm
As far as I know, nothing in the published literature indicates anything larger than 0.3 W/m^2 peak-to-peak solar variability on decadal-to-century time scales.
Wiki states that it varies “by approximately 0.1% or about 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) peak-to-trough during the 11-year sunspot cycle”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation
Do you just make this stuff up? You don’t seem to do the most basic fact checking. Search engines are your friend.
—————-
There may be a simple explanation why you are BOTH right.
The top of atmosphere variation is ~1.2 W/m2 or 0.1%.
The average surface change – because the Earth is a sphere and rotates is about a quarter of the top-of-atmosphere value, – around 0.3W/m2 or 0.1% of the surface average total.
Search engines can be our friend, but thinking about WHY two people come up with different results can also help.

Peter_dtm
July 2, 2011 3:15 am

Michael Tobis says:
June 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm
……
You take the needle, bury it in the haystack, and then question whether there is a needle at all. If this defense works nobody will ever be able to make a case for anything.
/end quote
exactly the point. The needle makes NO observable difference to the haystack – which is why it is so hard to find. Nice analogy, demonstrating the probable impact of anthropological CO2 / other impacts on the global climate – although it is possible that it may underestimate the impact – maybe 10 needles (an order of magnitude) would be better

Pamela Gray
July 2, 2011 6:50 am

Izen, you are very mistaken about oceanic oscillations not being capable of driving unilateral “climate change”, which I wish you would use the more accurate “weather pattern variation” term. Google “Elk population and Oceanic Oscillations”, or any other marine/flora/fauna species. My ancestors down to the current crop have been farmers since before the Amercian Revolution. We know both short and long term weather pattern variation. Intimately.
Weather pattern variation change can be natural or anthropogenic, or both. But climate is defined by seasons and extremes. If seasons or extremes begin to show a consistent pattern of change to the point that a new zone designation is in order, then I will be more willing to accept climate change as a more accurate descriptor.

Pamela Gray
July 2, 2011 7:00 am

http://mgg.coas.oregonstate.edu/~andreas/pdf/S/schmittner07agu_intro.pdf
Let’s do the really long one first. The meridional overturning circulation. A super El Nino event warms a vast area of the Pacific as it sits idly in the lazy trade wind, soaking up the Sun, and leaving the cold waters underneath to sullenly sit there. Now set this warmed ocean into the overturning circulation. How many days, months, years, decades, or centuries does it take for this heated pool to make it round the circulation?

Dave Springer
July 2, 2011 7:32 am

Actually compared to molecular biology the climate system looks ridiculously simple. It’s relatively easy to figure out energy flows in the climate system as it all boils down to thermodynamic laws of physics (entropy flows). There are just a number of subtle influences that are poorly understood (like GCR flux), a smaller number of major influences that are poorly understood (such as clouds), and an unknown number of things that might effect outcomes that we are unaware of. The resulting interplay of knowns, partially knowns, and unknowns on a global scale yields an intractible problem to solve. The best predictions remain in the realm of climatology i.e. past patterns used as predictors of future patterns.
Molecular biology is like climate science on steroids (pun intended) because in that realm it isn’t all just simple entropy flow but rather a hideously complex information system driving chemistry which keeps normal entropy flow in check long enough for the system to reproduce itself. Evidently it’s quite successful at defeating entropy if one accepts the notion that every living cell today has an unbroken lineage dating back to cells that were alive a few billion years ago. Perhaps the largest problem confronting molecular biology is why any of us are alive to think about it. Genetic entropy eventually kills all individuals if something else doesn’t kill them first. It eventually kills all species as well. Most cell lines eventually die off after an average of about 10 million years. The mystery is in how some rare cell lines manage to periodically reset the damage done by genetic entropy and thus persist for billions of years. Every cell in your body is one of those rare lineages that managed to reset the timer on the genetic entropy bomb. Every living cell on the planet is one of those rare few.

July 2, 2011 7:37 am

justthefactswuwt
PDO and ENSO indices are the ‘highly correlated’ ones.
Above quoted Dr Mantua also states:
At the time of this writing, causes for (and predictability limits of) the PDO are not known. What is known is that the nature of the mechanisms giving rise to the PDO will determine whether or not it is possible to make decade-long PDO climate predictions.
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_cs.htm
In my investigations I found a natural process (not climate dependent) operating in the general area of the North Pacific, with a reasonable correlation to the PDO
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PDO.htm
with power and ability to affect ocean currents and atmospheric pressure. In its nature it is an exact equivalent of the process driving NAO (N.Atlantic Oscillation)
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NAO-.htm

Jim D
July 2, 2011 8:47 am

I am surprised justthefactswuwt doesn’t know how to convert TSI to global-average solar input. First you take a quarter of 1350 which is about 340 W/m2 which is the average value at the top of the atmosphere (see Kiehl and Trenberth energy diagram). Then you multiply by 0.7 which takes into account albedo to get the amount absorbed by the earth system, which leaves 240 W/m2. So the 0.1% variation of that is about 0.24 W/m2 as Tobis and izen say. This is the number to compare with 4 W/m2 forcing from doubling CO2.

July 2, 2011 9:36 am

Sorry about the misteak re CO2. Got my charts mixed up.☹ Izen and I have had our disagreements, but he can’t be wrong all the time. ☺

July 2, 2011 9:51 am

@-justthefactswuwt says:
July 2, 2011 at 7:11 am
“What is unidirectional climate change? Do you think that some portion of the increase in temperature between 1975 and 2005 might have been related to the PDO Warm Regime?”
Unidirectional climate change is driven by an energy imbalance. If the surface is consistently receiving less radiation than it is loosing to space then it cools until there is a close but dynamic balance between energy in and out.
The PDO phase may have been correlated with an increase in temperature between 1975 and 2005. But the 1LoT means it is restricted to energy storage, it can only affect the timing of any re-balancing of the energy budget.
Are you certain about the direction of causal relationship between a reified concept like the PDO and observational data?
“How did you arrive at an “average surface change” of “around 0.3W/m2 or 0.1% of the surface average total”? ”
Geometry.
The ‘top of atmosphere’ values are 1366 W/m2. with a 0.1% varience -~ 1.3W/m2
But the Earth surface is not a square metre, its a revolving sphere.
surface area of a disc = PIr2
Surface area of a sphere = 4PIr2
You are right that there is much in the literature that refers to the top of atmosphere figure, but it is most often qualified with the need to put it in context of the ACTUAL surface over which it falls.

Doug Proctor
July 2, 2011 1:43 pm

It is fashionable to say the Earth’s climate system is “chaotic”, meaning that chaos theory applies. This is fashionable but untrue: chaos theory says that small perturbations in a complex system MAY have unforseen consequences. It does not say that there WILL be unforseen consequences.
As I detailed in a previous comment, geological history shows continuity with episodic shifts. Geologically this is called “punctuated equilibrium”. In a system that is truly ruled by chaos, the outcome, i.e. weather and climate, bounce around. Stability is only attained after a period of back-and-forths, until the controlling factor becomes well established. The Earth shows long periods in which the climate is cold or hot, CO2 rising after the warmth starts and going down after the cold starts. Regulatory systems are progressive, incremental and stable.
Schroninger’s cat may be confused about what might happen, and electrons may spin around the nucleus in a probabalistic way, but a herd of cats will surely swallow the inattentive bird and the baseball will land in the stands if hit in the right way. At a large scale the climate – like the cloud with its fractal topology – tends to observe the Laws of Momentum.
There are thresholds or tipping points in systems, obviously. Keystone species, once gone, like the buffalo or the Native Americans, show up as having has a huge impact on the biological systems around them. But biological systems feed by their nature on each other, and are therefore a bad analogy (though loved by the bio-philic, non-hard science warmist). The components of the atmosphere interact but don’t feed on each other. If, for example, CO2 were a keystone atmospheric element, a sudden kick into the atmosphere of huge amounts of it during the explosions Krakatoa or Tambora would have a long, solid and sustained effect on the planet. They do not have that impact. There is a sudden effect (cooling, actually) and then the previous style and detail of stability returns.
The world is indeed complex, as described. But most of them are like the passengers running around inside a train heading across the country. Regardless of the eating, drinking and fooling around in nefarious ways, the train is going to end up where it was originally headed for.

July 2, 2011 5:03 pm

@- Doug Proctor says:
July 2, 2011 at 1:43 pm
“If, for example, CO2 were a keystone atmospheric element, a sudden kick into the atmosphere of huge amounts of it during the explosions Krakatoa or Tambora would have a long, solid and sustained effect on the planet. They do not have that impact. There is a sudden effect (cooling, actually) and then the previous style and detail of stability returns.”
The explosions Krakatoa or Tambora would have a long, solid and sustained effect on the planet IF they released significant amounts of CO2. The transient cooling effect is from the sulfur content of the erupted material. It alters albedo but has a short residence time.
Around 30 Gigatons of CO2 were released by buring fossil fuel in 2010.
The eruption of Tambora ejected an estimated 2 Gigatons of material in total. Krakatoa and Tambora were much smaller additions to the atmospheric CO2 than human activity.
You need something more like a Yellowstone super-volcano to erupt to exceed the annual contribution from anthropogenic sources.

July 2, 2011 5:46 pm

“Michael Tobis finds a presumption of innocence to be a “peculiar” notion. No wonder he trusts the conclusions of an irresponsible and corrupt UN organization.”
The more I think about that one the more peculiar it gets. To make it explicit for those who don’t see the irony, why not presume IPCC innocent, along with the Royal Academy, the NAS, the AAAS, the AGU, the EGU, etc. etc.?

Myrrh
July 2, 2011 5:54 pm

Someone mentioned that the ‘greenhouse effect’ should be covered.
“Solar” in the energy budget as the means of converting to heat the land and oceans of Earth refer to Visible and the two shortwaves either side, UV and Nr Ir. None of these is thermal, they are Light, not Heat. Heat is the thermal infrared we feel from the Sun, which is what warms us and the land and the oceans. We cannot feel Light as heat, because it’s not hot…
“Light”, “Solar”, “irradiance” cannot physically heat organic matter to create the AGWScience energy budget scenario. For example, light, the visible spectrum, is transmitted through water, it is not absorbed, it has no effect in water, it cannot heat it, water is transparent to visible light. The energy budget you all seem to be working to is a creation of AGWScience, not real world traditional science. Therefore, all your ‘calculations’ if you are using these figures are absolute nonsense. The AGWScience energy budget EXCLUDES thermal infrared.
Light energies should be properly described. That these are reflected, scattered, by the oxygen and nitrogen molecules of our atmosphere, which gives us our blue sky, transmitted through water, i.e. pass through, used in photosynthesis etc., are not thermal.
The Water Cycle – the link to the wiki page mentions, but a garbled sentence, that without the water cycle the Earth would be 67°C. This is the main greenhouse gas of the real greenhouse – our gaseous atmosphere of oxygen and nitrogen. This is cooling the Earth, AGWScience has reversed that in its promotion of its meme that greenhouse gases ‘warm the earth’. Water vapour is lighter than air, it always therefore rises, water has a very high capacity to store heat, in the water cycle heat is taken up and away from the surface.
Carbon dioxide – the Carbon Cycle needs to be included properly. It is heavier than air, therefore will always sink displacing air unless some work done to move it upwards, such as wind (which is a volume of air on the move). When water and carbon dioxide meet, they merge, always. Carbon dioxide and water in the atmosphere meeting become carbonic acid. Rain is carbonic acid. Every time it rains the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is removed.
Carbon dioxide cannot accumulate in the atmosphere firstly because it is heavier than air so will always displace air and come to the ground unless something is moving it up, and all rain is carbonic acid, the natural wash cycle of the atmosphere which takes out dust and brings both water and carbon dixodide back to the ground where it is food for plant life and therefore for us; we are carbon life forms, 20% carbon, the rest mainly water. Plants take in carbon dioxide from the underside of their leaves , through stromata, except for such as water lilies which have their stromata on the top of the leaf. Carbon dioxide ‘accumulating’ in the atmosphere out of reach of ground level is physical nonsense, promoted by AGWScience against real traditional science.
http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1229/
“Acid rain, or acid precipitation, refers to any precipitation that is more acidic (i.e., has a lower pH value) than that of normal rainwater. Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere makes all rain slightly acidic because carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbonic acid., commonly known as carbonated water.”
All rain.

Myrrh
July 2, 2011 6:14 pm

Re measuring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – total rainfall could be used to this end.

July 2, 2011 6:34 pm

Michael Tobis says:
“…why not presume IPCC innocent, along with the Royal Academy, the NAS, the AAAS, the AGU, the EGU, etc. etc.?”
For one of two reasons: they’re either opaque like the UN/IPCC, or they do not allow their rank-and-file membership to challenge their official positions. There is a bunker mentality shared by all of them. There can be no presumption of innocence when these organizations have so much to hide. The correct presumption is that they have been hijacked by groups with a CAGW agenda.
Since there is zero evidence of CAGW, they appear to be corrupted by activists, who fear and detest scientific transparency. Particularly the IPCC, which is completely beyond redemption because they dance to the tune played by Greenpeace, the WWF, etc. Only the most hopelessly naive would give them any credence this late in the game.

Myrrh
July 2, 2011 6:38 pm

Ah, water on the brain, thinking of rain. The always in water and carbon dioxide merging is temp related, so at temp where rain forms, etc.

July 2, 2011 7:09 pm

Well, for those not intent on being altogether silly, let me point out that Nobel chemist Mario Molina quoted on Shell scientist David Hone’s blog, thinks the whole business is pretty much cut and dry.
see http://blogs.shell.com/climatechange/2011/07/molina/
There’s also the briefest possible summary of the physics at that link. Those who don’t follow that are encouraged to keep digging at it until they do. Then maybe they can sensibly look for the more realistic approximation using calculus and multiple wavelengths, and then look into what it implies for our present circumstances.
But if you want to look into something else, maybe inertia-gravity waves or plate tectonics, first, have fun, but it won’t actually bear on the controversy very directly. Why not start where it starts and work from there?

Galane
July 2, 2011 7:21 pm

http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/solar/solarirrad.html <- One rather large problem there. The site is missing a number, the cross sectional area of Earth in square meters.
Can't have that, it would make things too easy for ordinary people with calculators to multiply the solar "constant" (which ain't) by the number of square meters in Earth's cross section, thereby coming up with the extremely large number of Watts with which to swat anyone who pooh-pooh's the solar variation's influence on the climate by saying "It only varies by 1.3 watts per square meter so that's nothing!". 1.3 watts of "nothing" times how many billion?

July 3, 2011 12:22 am

@- Galane says:
July 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/solar/solarirrad.html <- One rather large problem there. The site is missing a number, the cross sectional area of Earth in square meters.
Can't have that, it would make things too easy for ordinary people with calculators to multiply the solar "constant" (which ain't) by the number of square meters in Earth's cross section, thereby coming up with the extremely large number of Watts with which to swat anyone who pooh-pooh's the solar variation's influence on the climate by saying "It only varies by 1.3 watts per square meter so that's nothing!". 1.3 watts of "nothing" times how many billion?
——————-
Ordinary people might know, or with present day education internet search, that the radius of the Earth is ~6,370km and the area of a circle is PIr2.
So the cross sectional area of Earth in square meters. is about –
127.5 thousand Billion square meters which at 1.3W/m2 gives ~
a little under 167 Thousand Billion Watts.
Of course the increased downwelling energy from the rising CO2 is also around 1.3W/m2
But that operates over the total surface area of the sphere of the Earth, or Four times the cross sectional area.
663 Thousand Billion Watts.
( I have a nagging suspicion that I may have dropped/gained a factor of ten somewhere I'd be happy to see someone check these figures!)

Myrrh
July 3, 2011 2:49 am

Michael Tobis – CFCs became a problem when the patent ran out. It can be difficult to grasp just how much misinformation is produced about our physical world by AGWScience, and for every statement made about any part of it a lot of aspects have to be looked at to realise, and to explain, just how corrupt, and deliberately so, the whole exercise is.
Carbon Dioxide ‘well-mixed’ and ‘accumulating in the atmosphere’ a case in point. I’ve given two real physical pieces of information which debunks this, (CO2 is heavier than the fluid gaseous atmosphere and so does not readily rise into the air, but will always spontaneously gravitate down to earth because it displaces the lighter nitrogen and oxygen molecules, whether one CO2 molecule or a whole bunch of them say from an erupting or venting volcano, and, that all rain is carbonic acid, that is, at cooler temperatures, carbon dioxide spontaneously combines with water so is being continually removed from the atmosphere in the Water Cycle). Another reason it is not well-mixed is that it is subject to the limitations of the movement of volumes of air, wind. Wind does not move from one hemisphere to the other, although there is some mixing at the equator the circulation patterns of wind, volumes of air moving, are limited to the hemisphere the volume is in. Basically, wind happens when volumes of air get hot, hot air rises because it is less dense than cold air and as it rises colder volumes of air above it move down below replacing the hotter air rising. Wind is not an invisible paddle stirring the atmosphere. The atmosphere is not in constant motion of ‘turbulence’ as AGWScience claims. Glacing outside, there is a little light breeze barely moving the tops of the tall trees around me, much of the time it is calm outdoors.
The other side to this is the reasons given by AGWScience by calling molecules of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide ideal gas. No real gas obeys ideal gas law, because, real gases have actual real volume, actual real weight relative to each other, actually interact with each other, etc. as above in forming carbonic acid, rain. Real molecules do not bounce off each other so thoroughly mixing as AGWScience claims. Carbon dioxide is a real molecule of gas which has real volume, it is not an imaginary ideal gas in an imaginary test tube. Neither do carbon dioxide molecules get dispersed by Brownian motion to mix throroughly in air as AGWScience also claims. Examples given such as ink mixing with water, or scent mixing through the air in a room, are examples of mixing by convection, not Brownian motion.
So you see, for every claim about the properties and processes in our physical world by AGWScience the debunking is not a simple task. It doesn’t matter to AGWScience that its claims are impossible in the real world, its only interest is to confuse and dumbdown the population into believing ‘whatever it says’ is ‘true’. Even when its own reasons contradict each other it is not bothered, as long as the memes get into mass consciousness it doesn’t care that the claims don’t make sense. But they don’t want this to be discussed by the masses being actively duped, so much of their ‘defence’ is geared to preventing discussion.
Re Mario Molina – bearing the above in mind, there are two very good posts on this page which will give you a clearer understanding of ozone and cfcs in the real world, and which hopefully will guide you back from the other side of the looking glass where one can believe any number of impossible things before breakfast and where AGWScience has set up shop. You can make your own judgement as to whether Molina is ignorant of real physics and real properties of molecules or is a deliberate peddler of misinformation for the entity AGWScience fiction.
See kmgur 03-15-02, 04:41 PM and Edufer 03-19002, 07:33 PM on http://www.sciforums.com/CFC-s-And-HCFC-s-t-6108.html

July 3, 2011 4:16 am

@- justthefactswuwt says:
July 3, 2011 at 2:04 am
“I wouldn’t say that I’m “certain”, but I am fairly confident the PDO influences Earth’s temperature in a similar manner as El Niño/La Niña does.”
The PDO and El Niño/La Niña variations are defined as certain patterns of physical observation, mostly of sea surface temperature, air pressure and ocean current directions.
It is circular to have the pattern of temperature/pressure/current direction values defined as the cause of … the pattern of temp/pressure/vector values.
The PDO is a value derived from measurement, it isn’t an active causal agent in its own right.
“What? Why? What role does Earth’s rotation, spherical shape and “Earth surface is not a square metre” play in the amount of solar radiation reaches the surface?”
I suspect other posts have clarified it better by now but I’ll try once more…
The 0.1% change in solar energy is measured in two contexts which give different values, but are the SAME solar variation.
For a square meter in space perpendicular to the Sun the solar variation is ~1.3W/m2 the 0.1% of 1366W/m2
But as you have pointed out a percentage of that is reflected and plays no further part in the energy balance.
But the inclination of the surface to the Sun also matters. For instance during a polar summer the sun never sets and the pole gets the full 1366W/m2 24hr a day.
But that 1366W is shining on FAR more than a square meter because the inclination of the Sun is so low.
Because the Earth is a rotating sphere each 1366W/m2 from the Sun is effectively spread over 4m2 of the Earths surface. Therefore the lower figure is 0.1% of the total solar energy per square meter of the Earths SURFACE.
Not a square meter perpendicular to the Sun above the atmosphere.

Spen
July 3, 2011 6:49 am

Bystander should appreciate that you might feel sick and see your doctor, but the state of medical science is still in many ways primeval. If you are ‘lucky’ you might have something the doc. understands but still might not be able to do anything about, like the common cold.. If you are unlucky it could well be an area that is poorly or not understood at all viz. some forms of cancer, MS, mental problems etc etc etc.
I’d say a bit like climate science.

July 3, 2011 11:43 am

This site might be useful if someone competent were to flag consensus-challenging items on a scale of a) genuine challenge to mainstream science – b) nitpicking or cherry-picking – c) misinformed – d) confused – e) crackpot.
I haven’t seen any examples in the first category but I’m not a regular reader. I suppose they are not impossible in principle. I see plenty of examples in the other categories. Usually nobody bothers to challenge them, since the name of the game is to challenge mainstream science. But the consequence is that most of the challenges are worthless. You need some mechanism to challenge the lousy ones and promote the good ones if you expect the scientific community to bother to engage in some manner other than didactic.
That said I support izen’s didactic effort to explain the factor of 4 in the astronomical vs earth science measures of the solar constant.. I have seen places you’d really expect to know better get confused about this. The solar constant referred to a square meter of space at the earth’s orbit is exactly one quarter of the solar constant referred to a square meter at the top of the atmosphere. This is because the cross section of a sphere has exactly a quarter of the area of the surface of the same sphere.
Greenhouse forcing only makes sense in the latter context, so to compare them you have to use the smaller value of solar constant. When somebody has put some effort into explaining it, you should do comparable work trying to understand it. Ignoring it or dismissing it contemptuously doesn’t bode well for actually making progress on understanding what is going on.

July 3, 2011 11:53 am

@- Myrrh says:
July 3, 2011 at 2:49 am
“Carbon Dioxide ‘well-mixed’ and ‘accumulating in the atmosphere’ a case in point. I’ve given two real physical pieces of information which debunks this, (CO2 is heavier than the fluid gaseous atmosphere and so does not readily rise into the air, but will always spontaneously gravitate down to earth because it displaces the lighter nitrogen and oxygen molecules, ”
The story that Galileo dropped a small and large cannonball from the Pisa belfry is probably fiction. But he did use a neat logical argument that all objects of different weights fall at the same speed.
CO2 doesn’t fall any faster than N2.
The molecules of gas are moving at around 500m/s or about a THOUSAND miles an hour. There is no way with those velocities you will get gases stratifying out by weight within the first few miles of the atmosphere. If they did… O2 heaver than N2, we would be walking in a few inches of CO2 and with our heads in pure oxygen!
A parallel would be to half fill a large box with a mix of tennis balls and baseballs, Shake vigorously to maintain an average velocity of the balls of ~1000 miles an hour.
Do you think that there will be more baseballs than tennis balls in the bottom half of the box?
Do you think that eventually they will separate if they are kept moving at those velocities?
The extent and timescale at which CO2 mixes into the global atmosphere was closely studied, not by ‘AGWscience’ but by the military tracking the excess C14 isotopes produced from above-ground nuclear tests. They had an interest in how radioactive fallout might spread. The nuclear test C14 went global within 4 years and is still being rained out

July 3, 2011 12:06 pm

Pat Frank says:
June 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm
Unless, perhaps, the ultraviolet radiation is ionizing and produces a significant flux of electrons and cation radicals in the upper atmosphere. Cation radicals, as we all know from cloud chamber effects, can produce condensation nuclei and induce clouds. Slides 2 and 3 in the link show that both cation radicals and the freed electron can produce independent cascades of droplet nucleation. Nature is full of cascades produced by small initial perturbations.

The usual loose verbiage: “upper atmosphere” meaning what? UV is absorbed in the stratosphere where there is very little water vapor
======
Siliggy says:
June 30, 2011 at 8:24 pm
Also The heat from radioactive decay does not seem to be counted in any of the radiative balance charts. is it about 0.8 W/M^2?
The radioactive decay does not change on time scales of interest, so is not relevant to the climate change debate. Apart from the fact that you overstate the amount; it is only 0.08 W/m2 [ten times less].
======
Alexander Feht says:
June 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm
Very useful list, clearly demonstrating the unbelievable arrogance and ignorance of IPCC.
And of many posters at WUWT.
2) Special references to Dr. Svalgaard’s opinions are unnecessary; they don’t deserve any special consideration or exposure.
And what do you bring to the table? But, you are right, my opinion is just my opinion, like anyone else’s. Ignore it if you like, but don’t tell others what to do.
======
justthefactswuwt says:
July 3, 2011 at 1:03 am
Based on these estimates, on average about 51% of the 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) would reach the surface, thus on average .663 Watts per square meter (W/m2) of the energy would reach the surface.
I thought we had a consensus here, why is Trenberth’s estimate so much lower than the PhysicalGeography.net estimate?

Of the 342 W/m2 available, 168 W/m2 = 49% is absorbed by the surface. You are off by some factor of 1000 or 1000/4, so it is not clear what you mean.
======
izen says:
July 3, 2011 at 4:16 am
But that 1366W is shining on FAR more than a square meter because the inclination of the Sun is so low.
Because the Earth is a rotating sphere each 1366W/m2 from the Sun is effectively spread over 4m2 of the Earths surface. Therefore the lower figure is 0.1% of the total solar energy per square meter of the Earths SURFACE.

Why is this even being discussed?

Siliggy
July 3, 2011 12:50 pm

“Surface area of a sphere = 4PIr2”
That is all good except the distance from pole to pole is shorter than the diameter at the equator.
So to divide TSI by four is wrong.
“But the inclination of the surface to the Sun also matters. For instance during a polar summer the sun never sets and the pole gets the full 1366W/m2 24hr a day.
But that 1366W is shining on FAR more than a square meter because the inclination of the Sun is so low.”
To complicate this even further Albedo would be increased by the angle of incidence change. Stand up close to the end of a window and look at the reflection from an angle.
Now this gets interesting with the TSI spectoral change because the critical point and refractive index shift with wavelength. So the solarcycle spectoral shift would change the effective albedo more at the poles than at the equator. Note this is not an effect due to the Change in TSI but due soley to the spectoral shift. If the TSI were to not change at all but there was only a spectoral shift there would still be a change in effective albedo due to the change in the amount of reflection at angle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_equations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractive_index

Siliggy
July 3, 2011 3:28 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
“Apart from the fact that you overstate the amount; it is only 0.08 W/m2 [ten times less].”
Yes 0.08 sorry!
“The radioactive decay does not change on time scales of interest,…”
Are we sure about that?
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/august/sun-082310.html

July 3, 2011 3:49 pm

justthefactswuwt says:
July 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm
Given that the 11 year cycle variation of about 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) at the outer surface of Earth’s atmosphere isn’t sufficient to have a large influence on Earth’s temperature, it seem pointless to try to estimate and use the smaller and less precise number at surface level. What do you think?
We don’t even know the albedo well enough for this to matter. To first order, what reaches the surface will scale with what comes from the sun. Just do the calculation in percent and the problem goes away: dTSI/TSI =0.1% and dT/T = 0.1/4%. The 4 is from S-B law, not spherical Earth. So with dT/T = 0.025% of 288K we get dT = 0.072 K

Editor
July 3, 2011 4:48 pm

Michael Tobis says:
July 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm
> If CO2 perturbation decay time were short, CO2 concentrations would go down during a recession.
China is now the largest CO2 emitter by country. They didn’t have a recession, I don’t know if their growth rate slowed down.
One thing that was interesting at ICCC #6 is the disagreement about CO2 dwell time in the atmosphere. Alan Carlin didn’t talk about it, but I read his recent paper on the way down. His review of the literature left him convinced the dwell time is short. Some people at the ICCC said the dwell time is long.
Either way, I’m not too concerned. The key thing, CO2 feedback (plus H2O) appears greatly overstated. I talked to one scientist who expects to have a paper out soon adding to that theme.

Myrrh
July 3, 2011 8:57 pm

izen says:
July 3, 2011 at 11:53 am
The story that Galileo dropped a small and large cannonball from the Pisa belfry is probably fiction. But he did use a neat logical argument that all objects of different weights fall at the same speed. CO2 doesn’t fall any faster than N2.
The molecules of gas are moving at around 500m/s or about a THOUSAND miles an hour. There is no way with those velocities you will get gases stratifying out by weight within the first few miles of the atmosphere. If they did.. O2 heavier than N2, we would be walking in a few inches of CO2 and with our heads in pure oxygen!

Sigh. You’re imagining our real atmosphere to be an ‘ideal gas atmosphere’ – as if it’s empty space with molecules zipping around at great speeds through it, bouncing off each other and so ‘mixing thoroughly’, etc. . “Real” and ideal” are technical terms in physics when referring to gases. The ideal gas is an imaginary construct, no real gas is like an ideal gas nor does any real gas obey ideal gas law. You need to look up the difference, but you need to be vigilant, AGWScience takes bits of descriptions from physics and mixes and mismatches, takes out of context. You are giving an AGWScience description of our atmosphere because it says that nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide are ideal gases, but they’re not, they are real. Real gases have volume, etc. Our atmosphere is not empty space with tiny hard dots with no volume travelling at these vast speeds through it bouncing off other molecules also travelling through empty space at these vast speeds..
How does sound travel in your world?
You’ll need to get to grips with volume and the rest. Now, I don’t know if the first of these links is written by someone who knows the difference and is being disingenuous or just repeating an AGWScience meme, much as you’ve given an AGWScience standard meme response about speed and stratification into layers, it doesn’t matter here, the important thing is to note where it has been done.

http://www.answers.com/topic/gas-laws “Five Postulates Regarding the Behavior of Gases …. Second, there is vitually no force attracting gas molecules to one another.”

That is a fib. It’s taken direct from ideal gas description, and doesn’t relate at all to real gases which have attractive force.
This is where, how, AGWScience has taken its description of gas molecules and pretends that this is a description of real gas molecules in our real world. That heading should include the word “Ideal”. As here:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/idegas.html
An ideal gas is defined as one in which all collisions between atoms or molecules are perfectly elastic and in which there are no intermolecular atractive forces. One can visualize it as a collection of perfectly hard spheres which collide but which otherwise do not interact with each other. In such a gas, all the internal energy is in the form of kinetic energy and any change in internal energy is accompanied by a change in temperature.

[The last sentence is where AGWScience refers back to in its emphasis on radiation as the means of heat transfer and avoids mention of convection which requires an understanding of real volume and why AGW supporters think that the only effect of electromagnetic waves is to create heat, so have great difficulty understanding that the “Solar” energies such as Visible can’t actually heat water, but think that because blue light penetrates further in the ocean it is heating the ocean.]
Anyway, although it appears the first piece is making a distinction between ideal and real gases, it isn’t, it is saying that this is a description of Gases, but this is a description of Ideal Gas. Which is purely imaginary and comes from the beginning of first exploration into such things. The article gives the appearance of being about real gases, but these AGW memes are slipped in so the difference is not obvious, but hidden, he is mixing and taking out of context.. Especially because he gives the history of the named originators he gives the appearance of covering the subject, but, he has missed one out.

http://www.tutorvista.com/content/chemistry/chemistry-iii/matter-states/ideal-and-real-gases.php
Ideal and Real Gases
An ideal gas is one, which obeys the general gas equation of PV=nRT and other gas laws at all temperatures and pressures. A real gas, does not obey the general gas equation and other gas laws at all conditions of temperature and pressure.
Causes for deviations
In order to know the causes for deviations from ideality, Van der Waal pointed out the faulty assumption that were made in formulating the kinetic molecular model of gases. etc.

Now, you have to bear in mind as I said earlier, that AGWScience does not have any internal consistency in its ‘science’, it cherry picks and is perfectly happy to use conflicting ideas as it is to use ideal gas properties for real gases by taking descriptions out of context as here in the first link and from which you get your picture of our atmosphere as empty space with all these molecules speeding through it at great speeds. Not all energy creates heat in interactions, the ideal gas laws are wrongly applied to the real world..
Our atmosphere is a real gaseous volume of Air, gases and liquids are fluids so what we have pressing down on us at around a ton per sq ft is a heavy fluid, not empty space. It is volumes of this fluid moving around which is the way heat is transferred through convection in our real atmosphere and which in turn gives us ‘wind’; when a volume of this fluid is heated and becoming less dense rises into colder volumes above it, the heavier denser volumes displace the lighter volumes, what we feel as wind. Wind is volumes of the gas Air on the move. These do not cross over from one hemisphere to the other, although there is some mixing at the equator, but follow basic circulation patterns within their own hemispheres.
One description I read to get the ‘feel’ of this our real atmosphere. Imagine standing at the bottom of a swimming pool with 10′ of water above you, now go out into the middle of a field – the atmosphere of the fluid gas Air above us is like that. A ton of it on our shoulders. “Half of the Earth’s atmosphere is squashed down into the first 3 miles above, 90% is squashed into the first 10 miles. Above 10 miles the air is so thin that the pressure is less than the best vacuums on the surface of the earth.” Sorry, missing source for that. It is not empty space.
That there is ’empty’ space between molecules means that gases can be compressed, the high and low pressures we feel in our atmosphere. If it were really empty space with volumeless molecules zipping through it we would have no sound. We have sound because the weight of that volume under gravity stops molecules from zipping through it. They may well be moving at great speeds, but they’re going nowhere fast.
Sound is passed through the fluid Air as waves are passed through the ocean, the Air doesn’t move as wind, but the energy from the sound causes the molecules of the volume Air to vibrate and knock into the molecules around it causing them to vibrate and that vibration is passed along through the air. When they stop vibrating they’re still where they started.
Now, within all that. Molecules of nitrogen and oxygen are practically the same weight, together the combination gas Air. Making up practically 100% of our atmosphere, dry weight, apart from water vapour the rest are trace gases. Water vapour is a gas, it is lighter than the gas air, it always rises in air, evaporation. So too, heavier gases sink in air. Carbon dioxide is one and a half times heavier than air, it sinks, displacing air.
Whether one molecule or a bunch of them together, heavier than air gases will sink and lighter than air gases will rise.
In mines methane is a hazard, it used to be tested for in a new mine by sending someone in covered in wet towels and carrying a lit candle on a long pole – because lighter than air methane pools at the ceilings. Careful if you’re invited to a pss-up in a brewery, that you don’t fall asleep on the floor next to open vats of beer brewing… Large amounts of carbon dioxide will displace the lighter oxygen and suffocate you. A hazard around active volcanoes venting, because it will gather in a layer in hollows, until dispersed by something acting on it to move it such as wind. It cannot diffuse into air of its own volition as if it were an ideal gas.

July 3, 2011 9:44 pm

Myrrh says:
July 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm
Sigh. You’re imagining our real atmosphere to be an ‘ideal gas atmosphere’ – as if it’s empty space with molecules zipping around at great speeds through it, bouncing off each other and so ‘mixing thoroughly’,
double sigh. The air is to a very high approximation an ideal gas. Even near the center of the sun where the density is ten times that of lead, the material is very nearly an ideal gas. Your ideas about this are as wrong as they can be. Amazing that there are people out there who can be so wrong while pretending to know anything at all.

Doug Proctor
July 3, 2011 10:45 pm

zen says:
July 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm
You are right on this: Tambora, at 2 Pg doesn’t equate to current rates of about 31 Pg/yr. My argument is weak here.
The climate does not appear to be unstable, however that lack of evidence is not evidence of a lack of instability, I grant you. Tornadoes are probably a good example of chaos theory in action: a buildup with little happening, a sudden burst of terrific change and activity and a very sudden end. A hurricane seems less of an example, as the process is incremental and progressive, and once started drifts away rather than stops abruptly. Weather systems and the climate are even longer term. progressive and incremental things.
CO2 as CAGW is positioned as a keystone gas with sudden, large and unexpected temperature effects. Temperature events are certainly sudden and unexpected, but going up and down don’t seem to be well correlated with CO2 changes. I understand the if A then B, if B not necessarily A problem with CO2 and temperature changes. But so far the temperature changes are slow, incremental and progressive, and less than the worrisome levels by the IPCC. If CO2 is not a keystone gas with a Mandelbrot chaotic nature, then the CAGW worry is untenable.
The evidence so far is not observational, but modelling. If we could agree to that, then what would be left is the argument about how much the Precautionary Principle should be applied. But since the science is “settled” and the outcome “certain” we cannot do that. Yet that is the crux: does CO2 additions to the atmosphere at 2 ppmv/yr from 392 to 560 or more trigger some detrimental and radical temperature change? So far the evidence says “no”. When does this threshold event occur? The IPCC model says there is a multiplier effect, but so far we are not seeing anything out of the historical mode if a 60-year cyclicity is allowed.
I see that by 2015 the difference between the IPCC warmist theories and the skeptics will be large enough and the trends going in the opposite directions long enough to determine if one is broken or at least sufficiently weakened for the CAGW threat to go away or – perish the thought – be about to bite our butts.

July 3, 2011 11:01 pm

@-Leif Svalgaard says:
July 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm
“..(izen).Because the Earth is a rotating sphere each 1366W/m2 from the Sun is effectively spread over 4m2 of the Earths surface. Therefore the lower figure is 0.1% of the total solar energy per square meter of the Earths SURFACE.”
“Why is this even being discussed?”
———————
Because a poster (Michael Tobias) using the lower figure of solar energy per square meter of the Earth surface was accused of getting the figure wrong and failing to use ‘giggle’ or search engines to get the ‘right’ figure.
It was a classic example of Dunning-Kruger, ignorance resulting in the accusation that someone with more accurate knowledge is wrong because they do not match the pre-conceptions already held.
@- justthefactswuwt says:
July 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm
“The causes of ocean circulation and oceanic oscillations are reasonably well known, if you look at the bottom of the WUWT Ocean Oscillation Page;
http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/oceanic-oscillation/
you’ll see that a summary of the key variables involved in Ocean Circulation. ”
No, that page provides a lot of DESCRIPTION of the various ocean currents and patterns of behavior, but very little in the way of explanation of CAUSES.

July 4, 2011 3:16 am

@- Doug Proctor says:
July 3, 2011 at 10:45 pm
“The evidence so far is not observational, but modelling. If we could agree to that, then what would be left is the argument about how much the Precautionary Principle should be applied. But since the science is “settled” and the outcome “certain” we cannot do that. Yet that is the crux: does CO2 additions to the atmosphere at 2 ppmv/yr from 392 to 560 or more trigger some detrimental and radical temperature change?”
The evidence so far is observational. The measured rise in anthropogenic CO2. The measured absoprtion spectrum of CO2. The measured increase and spectal change in downwelling longwave radiation. The measured drop and spectral change in outgoing LW radiation.
And the measured rise in land and sea surface temperatures, the rise in sea level, the fall in glacier mass balance, the loss of polar sea ice, the increase in atmospheric water vapour, the decrease in snow cover and the various biological changes in growing times and extent for plants and animals.
Whether the incremental temperature change in response to the incremental rise in CO2 is detrimental or ‘radical’ in its effects on human society and specifically agricultural production systems is uncertain. And has more to do with uncertainty about the flexibility and robustness of societal responses than the magnitude of the climate change already experienced and most likely in the pipeline…

Myrrh
July 4, 2011 5:00 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
July 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm
double sigh. The air is to a very high approximation an ideal gas. Even near the center of the sun where the density is ten times that of lead, the material is very nearly an ideal gas. Your ideas about this are as wrong as they can be. Amazing that there are people out there who can be so wrong while pretending to know anything at all.
🙂 Shrug, looking in a mirror Leif? Typical irrelevance or misdirection coupled with ad homs in replies from you when you don’t know what you’re talking about but like to pretend you do or deliberate distraction in an attempt to confuse to continue promoting AGWScience fiction memes. Don’t much care, I gave up expecting a straight answer from you a while back. Recall the last one? Let me known when you’re willing to actually interact with what’s being said.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no internal consistency from AGWScience fiction inc. Because here they describe the molecules of our atmosphere as ideal gases, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, but exclude water vapour – why? Because they say water vapour is localised and doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for any length of time.. ??!
So, because AGWScience deliberately joins out of context or disproved concepts to its promotion of its ideology/science fiction, the unwary get the impression that molecules of carbon dioxide are zipping through empty space bouncing off the other molecules and so thoroughly mixing that it can’t become unmixed, and so is proportionally the same all through the atmosphere and that it can accumulate and stay up for hundreds and even thousands of years because ideal gases don’t have weight and volume relative to each other and therefore do not separate out. Believers of this science fiction package have no sense of how the real carbon dioxide moves in the atmosphere, the Carbon Life Cycle is a closed book to them. As is the Water Cycle, because explaining that would have to bring in that water vapour is lighter than Air and carries heat away from the Earth. Where they mention the Earth would be 67°C without the water cycle, it is garbled so the connection to real properties and processes can’t be made.
The whole real world is a closed book to those enmeshed in AGWScience. They argue from out of context laws and physical impossibilities because that is what they have been taught. Those producing the memes know very well what is possible and not from traditional science, blue visible Light cannot heat water..
Those real applied scientists working in various fields know that molecules are real, have real properties relative to each other, interact with each other in different ways, that attraction and volume is not negligible; see the etc. on the tutorvista link.
Gases do not move at vast speeds through real air, they vibrate where they are – how sound travels: http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/01/sound-waves.html

July 4, 2011 6:23 am

Myrrh says:
July 4, 2011 at 5:00 am
Let me known when you’re willing to actually interact with what’s being said.
Hard to interact with nonsense.
here they describe the molecules of our atmosphere as ideal gases, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, but exclude water vapour – why? Because they say water vapour is localised and doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for any length of time.. ??!
Right, it rains at times, even snows here and there.
Gases do not move at vast speeds through real air, they vibrate where they are – how sound travels
Sound waves have nothing to do with the thermal motions of the molecules. Here you can learn more about gases: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_theory

July 4, 2011 6:40 am

@-Myrrh says:
July 4, 2011 at 5:00 am
“Those real applied scientists working in various fields know that molecules are real, have real properties relative to each other, interact with each other in different ways, that attraction and volume is not negligible;”
If it is not negliable you will be able to give at least an estimate of how much the real atmosphere does deviate from the ideal gas law at the usual range of temperature, pressure and volume found in the real world.
Here’s a clue –
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/waal.html
Note that the number of moles of gas involved is ma factor, the greater the amount of gas the closer to the ideal gas equations things become. For the total atmosphere the real applied scientists working on jet engine design for instance know that the deviation from the ideal gas laws is negligable and can be ignored.
It really only becomes a factor at very high temperatures and pressures, although as Leif has indicated, for light atoms like hydrogen and helium it isn’t much of a factor at the temperatures and pressures in the solar interior.
Before you can credibaly claim that a whole branch of science has egregiously ignored the difference between the ideal gas laws and the behavior of the atmosphere which might require the application of Van der Waals equation, or the Redlich–Kwong equation of state, or Soave modification of Redlich-Kwong or Peng–Robinson equation of state or even the Elliott, Suresh, Donohue equation of state; you need to show that they NEED to allow for these modifications – and don’t.
Do you have any evidence that the ‘real atmosphere’ needs these modifications to the ideal gas laws to describe climate interactions? Or that the ‘AGWscience’ does NOT use them where appropiate?
“Gases do not move at vast speeds through real air, they vibrate where they are – how sound travels: http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/01/sound-waves.html
Sound travels as a density variation and not as individual air molecules travelling from source to ear.
But the molecules of air ARE moving at vast speeds of around 1000 miles an hour, and bouncing around and off each other continually. Perhaps this will help you grasp this subject better –
http://www.uccs.edu/~tchriste/courses/PHYS549/549lectures/gasses.html
You might like to calculate the mean free path, the distance traveled between collisions for an air molecule at room temperature and pressure.

Editor
July 4, 2011 7:57 am

Myrrh says:
July 4, 2011 at 5:00 am
> Gases do not move at vast speeds through real air, they vibrate where they are
Vibrate in this context means moving back and forth, well not necessarily in line, more of bouncing around. In wind free conditions there’s no net movement, in a wind, air molecules are trending in the direction of the wind.
Ultimately sound is carried by air molecules, the pressure waves are carried by air molecules bouncing off each other. In near ideal gases (like air), the mean free path where they aren’t significantly interacting is long relative the distance where electrons are repelling each other during each bounce.
Sound travels about 1000 feet per second, some 300 m/s. This implies the average speed of air molecules away from the sound source is 300 m/s. The actual speed has to be significantly higher since molecules are really flying around in all directions. I don’t know what that speed is, but I wouldn’t call it a vast speed.
You note that air molecules vibrate – please describe how you envision the momentum of air molecules changes as they vibrate – that may help us understand how you see gases behave.

David Falkner
July 4, 2011 10:06 am

So, I was perusing the weather picture of the day link, and saw this one of the Black Forest in Germany:
http://weatherpictureoftheday.com/2011/05/27/black-forest-storms/
I was admiring the thunderheads, when I read the caption: “When the weather conditions are right the Black Forest in southern Germany can turn into a thunderstorm factory.” That got me thinking about all the trees that used to be in the United States that were cut down. All those forests producing clouds. So I decided to see if I could find a map showing the severity of these land use changes, and I found this one. I couldn’t get the website to work, and I’m a little pressed for time at the moment, but you’ll get the picture.
http://www2.estrellamountain.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/deforest.jpg
How much of the warming curve did IPCC attribute to lack of cloud cover from deforestation (or: the positive feedback on land use changes)? None, they consider land use changes as a regional effect, and do not consider the associated reduction in cloud cover from deforestation.

July 4, 2011 11:52 am

@- justthefactswuwt says:
July 4, 2011 at 9:58 am
“For the record, the poster (Michael Tobis) stated that, “As far as I know, nothing in the published literature indicates anything larger than 0.3 W/m^2 peak-to-peak solar variability on decadal-to-century time scales.”
I said that this statement was wrong, and provided links to several data sources and published literature all using the much more common “approximately 0.1% or about 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) peak-to-trough during the 11-year sunspot cycle” measured at the ”outer surface of Earth’s atmosphere”:”
Okay, one last time.
It depends on which -‘The Published Literature’- you are referring to.
If you confine yourself to the astronomy, solar physics research then it is very unlikely you will see the 0.3W/m2 peak-to-peak figure because they are not concerned with the terrestrial impact of the Sun, only in detecting, measuring, describing and ultimately explaining the variations.
If you confine yourself to the literature published on the climate you are unlikely to see the 1.3W/m2 because this is not comparable with the units used for all the other factors in the energy budget that are given in W/m2 over the EARTH SURFACE. The figure used in the published (Climate/Earth sciences) literature is almost invariably the 0.3W/m2 because this allows easy comparison with all the other energy fluxes.
When M Tobias used the 0.3W/m2 as a climate researcher he was being consistent, and correct, because that is the value of 0.1% solar variation on the Earth which is comparable with the other energy fluxes. If you are familiar with the climate science literature then this value is familiar and how it is derived from the top-of-atmosphere value is well known.
So accusing him of being in error about the magnitude of solar variation and suggesting he use google to correct his ‘mistake’….
justthefactswuwt says:
“I lea