The Tao That Can Be Spoken …

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

As I mentioned in an earlier post,  I’ve started to look at the data from the TAO/TRITON buoy array in the Pacific Ocean. These are an array of moored buoys which collect hourly information on a variety of environmental variables. The results are quite interesting, because they relate directly to the subject of my previous post, “It’s Not About Feedback“.

Before I get to the buoys and what kind of diurnal cycle their temperatures undergo, let me first look at what a common extra-tropical temperature cycle looks like. I used Mathematica to get the hour-by-hour temperature records for the US Historical Climate Network (USHCN) station nearest to where I am at the moment, Santa Rosa, in the wine country north of San Francisco in California.

Figure 1. Location of the diurnal temperature records shown in Figure 2. Santa Rosa is in an interior valley at some distance from the true local maritime climate of say Bodega Bay. Thunderstorms are uncommon in that area, and summer days are often cumulus-free. The Golden Gate Bridge and a bit of San Francisco can be seen at the lower right.

So let’s look at what kind of temperatures it takes to make good wine …

Figure 2 shows how the temperature varies with the time of day around Santa Rosa.

Figure 2. Daily temperature swings in Santa Rosa, California.

This looks like you’d expect, or at least like I’d expected. The surface air temperature rises and falls with the sun. In addition, as the night progresses the cooling slows. It all seems very reasonable, and gives us a comparison for the surface air temperature information from the TAO/TRITON buoy array.  Let me start with the location of the array of buoys:

Figure 3. The TAO/TRITON buoy array (squares with blue centres) in the tropical Pacific Ocean, along with average ocean temperatures.

You can see that a number of these buoys are in the “hot pool”, the area in the western South Pacific just south of the Equator. It is shown in the darkest red. Not all buoys collect the same information, but a large number of them have hourly air temperature records.

What follows are some of the preliminary results from my look at that TAO/TRITON data.

I have explained elsewhere what I have called my “thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis”. I propose that a combination of cumulus clouds and thunderstorms maintain the tropical temperature within a fairly narrow range. This is done by means of sequential thresholds which, when each is passed, marks a change into a different type of circulation.

In the morning, the sky is clear and the air is generally calm. When a critical threshold is passed, cumulus start to form. Each cloud marks the centre of a rising column of air. The surrounding air is descending to replace the rising air.

Note that this is not a negative feedback in the sense usually discussed. It is not dependent on the exact feedback from clouds and water vapor and whether it is positive or negative. Instead, it is a change between atmospheric quiescence and a defined circulation pattern containing rising air, clouds, and descending air. The net result is increasing wind, increasing evaporation, reflection of incoming energy, and surface cooling.

Particularly in the warmer regions, the temperatures continue to rise despite the emergence of the cumulus circulation regime.As the air temperature continues to rise, another threshold is passed, and a new circulation pattern emerges. This pattern is set by the thunderstorms that drive the surface air deep into the upper troposphere. Again, this is not a negative feedback, but a new form of self-organized criticality.

In the context of my hypothesis I was interested to look at the hourly air temperature data from the buoys. My first procedure as always is to look at each and every record. This is a critical step which is often omitted. Figures 4–6 show the hour-by-hour average temperature variations of the 67 buoys that collect air temperature:

Figure 4. Air temperature records from the first 24 TAO/TRITON buoys, ordered from the Western Pacific to Eastern Pacific. Each record shows the hour-by-hour average temperature over the entire record for that buoy. Records are colored from red to blue, from the warmest to the coldest. The colors are sequential, showing relative rather than absolute temperature. This group is from the western Pacific.

Figure 5. Air temperature records from the second 24 TAO/TRITON buoys, from the central Pacific.

Figure 6. Air temperature records from the final 19 TAO/TRITON buoys, from the eastern Pacific.

Here the value of examining each and every record becomes apparent. Five of the records, from the central Pacific, are strangely jagged and obviously quite unlike the others. I don’t know why these buoys are so anomalous, particularly as despite being dissimilar to the others, they are quite similar to each other. In any case, I simply took the easy path and removed them from the dataset. Figure 7 shows another view of the various records, before removing the questionable observations.

Figure 7. Hour-by-hour averages of all of the TAO/TRITON recorded air temperatures. Note the “jagged” records, which I removed.

One big difference is visible immediately. The tropical oceanic records only have about a tenth of the day/night temperature swing, due to the huge thermal reservoir of the ocean and the fact that it is heated at depth. The land is warmed by the sun only at the surface, which (in addition to having no thermal mixing and lower thermal mass) leads to much greater variations in day/night temperature swings over the land.

In order to try to understand what’s going on, after removing the jagged records I converted each of the records to anomalies about their averages. Figure 8 shows the anomalies of the remaining records:

Figure 8. Temperature anomalies, all valid records. I have shown two days (repeating the average anomalies) to clarify what happens overnight. Heavy black line shows average temperatures, all records.

I kind of understand what’s going on in Figure 8. The onset of cumulus formation, shortly before noon, is quite visible. I was surprised to find that the onset of cumulus on average actually cools the air temperature. I had expected it to merely slow the warming.

The reasons for the “shoulder” where temperatures tend to level out between about 9PM and midnight is less easy to understand. I suspect that it is related to the onset of the nocturnal overturning of the upper mixed layers of the ocean, which (in my experience at least) doesn’t start until a few hours after dark. But that is conjecture about the shoulder, I welcome alternate physical explanations.

I was surprised to see that despite the large difference in local average temperature, the daily swings were quite similar in size.

I find it significant that the afternoon peaks of the cooler areas (blue) are higher than those of warmer areas. I interpret this as an indication that the afternoon peaks are knocked down by strong afternoon thunderstorm action in the warmer regions.

We can get more insight into the patterns by splitting them into the warm, medium, and cool records. First, Figure 9 shows the averages of the warmer buoys.

Figure 9. Hour by hour anomalies, warmer areas. Data is shown repeated over two days for clarity. Heavy red line is average of the warmer buoys.

There are a couple points of note. The onset of the cumulus just before noon is very visible, and does more than slow the warming. It actually cools the air temperature significantly. The “shoulder” in the curves after dark are also quite evident and strong.

Next, Figure 10 shows the midrange temperature buoys, along with the average of the warmer buoys (red line) for comparison:

Figure 10. Medium temperature TAO/TRITON buoy hourly averages. Heavy green line shows the average of the selected buoys. Red line shows the average of the warmer temperature buoys.

My interpretation is that when the temperature is not as hot, the thunderstorms are more successful in keeping down the peak afternoon warmth. The effect of the cumulus onset, however, is quite similar, as are the same evening “shoulders” in the curves.

Finally, Figure 11 shows the cooler buoys. Again I have included the average of the warmer buoy records for comparison:

Figure 11. Cooler temperature (eastern Pacific) TAO/TRITON buoy hour-by-hour records. Heavy blue line shows average of cooler buoys, heavy red line shows average of warmer buoys.

The average of these cooler buoys, along with some of the individual cooler records, is starting to resemble the Santa Rosa record shown in Figure 2, losing the shoulders on both sides of the afternoon temperature peak. I interpret this as the result of weak cumulus generation and infrequent thunderstorm formation in the cooler areas.

That’s what I’ve found so far. I have no big conclusions out of all of this, other than that overall it provides clear evidence of the homeostatic mechanisms which I described in my last post. As such , it provides support for my underlying claim, that the tropical temperature is regulated by the interplay of cumulus and thunderstorm clouds.

There’s more to look at in the records. There are unanswered questions in what I show above. Why is the time of cumulus onset about the same, from the coolest to the warmest regions? Heck, I don’t know, the investigation of climate homeostasis is not far advanced, mostly the question never even gets asked, much less investigated. So I’m mostly swimming alone in the dark here, and swimming upstream against scientific orthodoxy to boot. I have also not yet split out warmer days from cooler days, to see what difference that makes in the onset time of the morning cumulus regime. Always more to do, and never enough time.

Regards to all,

w.

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Ed_B

I watched a video of a Chicago professor explaining the greenhouse theory. I was totally shocked that all the equations are based on “static” analysis. Your dynamic approach to the earths heat balance is more realistic. I think you will end up ‘forcing’ a lot of college professors to go back to school.

Graeme W

Interesting 🙂
I looked up the location of the five bouys with the atypical patterns and three of them are located just south of Hawaii, though the other two don’t appear to have any obvious geographical points nearby. That has me suspecting it’ll probably be related to ocean currents. I don’t know where I can find an ocean current map to see if those locations are near current boundaries where they could be affected by multiple currents of different temperatures.

dlb

A very interesting post. How about the evening temperature shoulder is due to clouds acting as a thermal blanket? When they dissipate around midnight the air once more cools. Of course one has to assume clouds have a greater greenhouse effect than the water vapour they contain and I don’t know if this has been studied?

Ex-Wx Forecaster

Until research focus shifts away from CO2, the important questions about the how and why of climate and weather will never be answered.

I luv readin this stuff. ALL of it.

Charlie A

Over how long of period did you average to get the temp vs hour plots for the buoys? A full year?
Perhaps the air temp at all of the buoys have the same sort of wiggles, but only on a few do the wiggles stay at the same time throughout the year, while on the others the wiggles are also there but get averaged out/smoothed out since the timing of the wiggles vary during the year.
Very intriguing, thought-provoking article. Thanks.

Rick K

Willis, thanks for your posts. I always enjoy them.
Does your view of homeostatic mechanisms which regulate the tropical temperature by the interplay of cumulus and thunderstorm clouds have any bearing or provide any insight on longer term climate changes (ice ages and the like)?
Or, are those things a totally different animal altogether?

gnomish

shoulders possibly produced by phase change?
morning:
clouds form and block solar radiation from delivering energy to the surface = shoulder
sunset:
condensation from self nucleation releases latent heat = shoulder
just a thought

Mac the Knife

Willis,
Very interesting, both the data and your conjectures! Those 5 ‘jittery’ data sets are an odd bit, with the buoys being stationed from 155W to 180 and both N and S of the equator. Anomalies with their sensor package construction? Buoy proximity to atolls? Corrosive effects from application of sea gull dung?!!
Also odd, at least to me, is the temperature anomaly ranges for the ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ buoys temp data are very similar but the temp anomaly range for those buoys in the ‘medium’ data set have a somewhat smaller delta T range than either the ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ ones. Curious…. I would have thought they would show an increasing delta T trend line, from the more cumulus and thunderstorm regulated ‘hot’ buoys to the less homeostasis regulated ‘cool’ buoys!
From Figure 3, it appears there are more ‘hot’ buoys located in the range from 180 – 155E, but the last sentence from Figure 4 refers to these as being from the Western Pacific…??
I look forward to your subsequent posts on this topic – Thanks!!!

David McKeever

This reminds me of the kind of charts of chaotic heartbeats that you see in Gleick’s ‘Chaos: The Making of a New Science’.

Queen1

Willis, you amaze me. Thanks for doing the hard stuff so that idiots like I can just read!

Latitude

“The reasons for the “shoulder” where temperatures tend to level out between about 9PM and midnight is less easy to understand”
=======================================================================
On a cold day….yes, you know it gets cold in the tropics too……we call that dinner time.
It’s not unusual for it to feel warmer than it did all day too….
The hiccups are usually either a sticky needle or a short……………….

timetochooseagain

Interesting that the diurnal range of the medium mean temperature bouys is smaller than both the colder and warmer bouys.

timetochooseagain

BTW, are these annual mean diurnal cycles? How does the diurnal cycle vary within the year?

David Falkner

Before I read further and forget I was going to say this:
Might the PM ‘shoulder’ be from release of latent heat stored in clouds? Those two shoulders would then show you the anomaly where the clouds form and disperse. That’s a (slightly educated 😉 ) guess from me.

David Falkner

Oh, phooey. I see gnomish beat me to it.

trbixler

Could it be that the clouds are driven by the atmosphere temperature and pressure changes. This would make the cloud formation much less dependent on the sea surface temperature. I will admit that the amount of water vapor should be dependent on the sea surface temperatures but the change of the atmosphere temperature is much more dynamic because of its lower thermal mass. So maybe one would see a time shift in the cloud formation between various sea surface temperatures. Seems like a daunting instrumentation and logging problem.

Hoser

Charlie A says:
August 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Yes! What is the effect of solar angle? Seasonal variation might be interesting.
Could you compare a place like Ft. Bragg, CA? Or Hilo, HI? Since you probably don’t have buoys at all latitudes, it’s difficult to compare. Nevertheless, you still might find temps in other locations dominated by the ocean, at different latitudes.
By the way, I imagine these buoys must be tethered. If so, the tension must be amazing on the lines.
Nice post.

Gary Hladik

http://www.taoism.net/ttc/chapters/chap01.htm
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly free of desire
One observes its wonders
Constantly filled with desire
One observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders
————————————————————————
I assume tranlations differ, but the one above is very pretty.
Thanks, Willis.

GogogoStopSTOP

I think this is a great piece of work; great hypothesis & analysis. I love your innate sense that this is metastable process… that the climatic process is a cycle driven by the sun on a daily basis & by the sun on an annual basis.
A suggestion I would have is to not refer to a “cumulus & thunderstorm-like” nomenclature. But rather to think in terms of the energy induced into the atmosphere-ocean by the height of the resulting cloud structure & the vertical circulation energy that results. I would suspect that cumulus clouds result in less overall circulation. Thunderstorm circulations result in very high clouds, very strong circulation, lots of mass transport.
There might be a continuum of energy between small cumulus accumulation to large thunderstorm circulation. But, there may be some homeostasis that would result in a “quantum-like” relationship.
Love your thought pattern. Please, I humbly submit my thoughts for your consideration. My engineering background is far from anything like science!

Kevin Kilty

That the misbehaving buoys all exhibit the same pattern suggests…(drum roll) …manufacturing problem. Very common with small runs of items.

Figure 2 shows how the temperature varies with the time of day around Santa Rosa.
This looks like you’d expect, or at least like I’d expected.

Not me, at least not a typical New Hampshire day! Certainly not on a cloudy day. What I often see is a quick uptick at sunrise as the inversion warms up. Then a slower rise as convection gradually builds and the atmosphere approaches instability. At this point, air masses can go up and down as everything is neutrally buoyant, or at least the atmosphere tries to mix convected air to keep things buoyant. Now the temperature climb mostly plateaus and days breezes kick in as wind aloft gets deflected down to the ground. Now there’s a huge mass of air to heat for any further ground temperature increase, hence the plateau. Only when the sun approaches sunset does the mixing stop, wind drops, and then as trees and ground radiate away the day’s heat, near ground air temperature drops and air flows down the valleys to reestablish the inversion.
A couple things that are different – California coastal communities often have winds that blow through the night, at least I can remember one night on the Oregon where I could hear a gust coming closer and closer, and then blow all the warm air out of the sleeping bag. I eventually put my jacket over my head and did without a pillow, worked much better. You have those goofy trees that grow downwind because their buds got dessicated in the unprotected wind.
Also, New England is closer to the jet stream, we may simply have faster winds above us blowing in chilly air from Canada so mixing will bring down air that hasn’t had much of a chance to warm up before reaching us.
On a cloudy day, we can have a temperature excursion that’s only a few degrees.
Oh yeah, the post is on buoys. I’ll go read it….

Richard M

In many areas of the world the other end of the cycle is limited by the dew point. As the temp drops at night it slows down as the the dew point reached. Just like clouds prevent excess heating, this prevents excess cooling.
It all gets down to good old H2O.

Kevin Kilty

I went to the tao/triton site to read about the history and characteristics of the array. I was surprised to see that a large portion of the array was deployed before 1990, that the are actually three arrays (Atlantic/Indian oceans also), it provides SW and LW radiation at perhaps one-half of the sites, and, this is the most interesting part, it records temperature at ten levels down to 500m depth. The entire array was operational in time for the super el nino of 1998. Surely this is a repository of data for testing hypotheses about el nino and climate warming?

u.k.(us)

Would it be too much to ask, for Mr. Eschenbach (aka Willis), to explain the meaning of “tao” ,
I looked it up, but the definitions left me wanting.
Maybe in another post Willis 🙂

Nice willis.
The thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis is an interesting beginning. Not sure what if anything it has to do with the effects of adding more GHGs to the atmosphere. I suppose if the tropics stay well regulated, then the excess heat goes poleward. it would be nice if the heat from the tropics could be dumped from the tropics straight into space. Of course, we could see that. Any way. I like the charts.

DesertYote

I must be noted that Santa Rosa is micro-climate city! I just moved from the area. BTW, Santa Rosa is also the home of one of the rooftop weather stations.

intrepid_wanders

Ric Werme says:
August 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm
Thanks Ric for the explanation. I was slightly surprised that Willis did not see the same behavior with this and his exceptional explanation of how the night-time measurements of less energetic CO2 fall back to sea-level at night. The only missing mechanism (for me at least) was the night-time inversion. I wonder if non-valley (mountains or deserts) temperatures would have the shoulder profiles like the ocean measurements.

jorgekafkazar

David Falkner says: ‘Oh, phooey. I see gnomish beat me to it.’
The role of solar radiation must be included. Note that incoming sunlight goes thru a somewhat complicated rise and fall as the zenith angle changes. At high zenith angles (6 am, 6 pm), sunlight has to pass thru more atmosphere. At some point, the zenith angle becomes low enough that the ocean albedo will go to zero. This reverses after solar noon. The presence of clouds complicates this.

David Falkner

Hoser says:
August 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm
Yes! What is the effect of solar angle? Seasonal variation might be interesting.
Not being an astrophysicist, I would guess that the effect of solar angle would be directly incorporated into insolation, as observed.
steven mosher says:
August 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm
I suppose if the tropics stay well regulated, then the excess heat goes poleward.
Which excess heat are you referring to? Could you kindly point out the graph in which you have observed the excess heat?
The thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis is an interesting beginning. Not sure what if anything it has to do with the effects of adding more GHGs to the atmosphere.
Still, the summer data from DMI also seems to be strangely regular. In fact, most summer data seems to be strangely regular. Almost as though sensitivity decreases as temperature increases. Now how would something like that happen without some kind of ‘thermostat’ mechanism?

As someone else pointed out, there are arrays of bouys in other ocean basins. What do their diurnal cycles look like?

Tim Clark

Willis,
The 3 degree temperature increase expected by the IPCC in response to [CO2] increases is predominantly ascribed to increased water vapor and it’s corresponding GHG effect, as you well know. However, figure 11 confirms a lower- high end temp anomaly and a lower- low end temp anomaly (i.e. “cooler” at both ends) for the warmer ocean water. If warmer ocean waters have greater evaporation than cooler ocean waters, the data from these bouys is not consistent with the dogma from the IPCC bible regarding water vapor “feedback”. What’s your take on this.
Gates, you can add your irrelevant excuses if need be.

Willis Eschenbach

steven mosher says:
August 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Nice willis.
The thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis is an interesting beginning. Not sure what if anything it has to do with the effects of adding more GHGs to the atmosphere. I suppose if the tropics stay well regulated, then the excess heat goes poleward.

Thanks, Steven. Huge, incomprehensibly large amounts of energy are constantly moving from the tropics to the poles. Total average downwelling radiation in the tropics is high. The atmosphere is moist and warm so there’s lots of downwelling longwave (DLR), the sun is hot and square to the surface so there’s lots of solar energy. In the tropics the sun is around 300 w/m2 on a 24/7 basis, and DLR is around 400 w/m2, call it 700 watts/m2 all up.
The change projected from a doubling of CO2 is 3.7 w/m2 … in an arena where the average downwelling radiation of all types is on the order of 700 w/m2, that’s only half a percent change.

it would be nice if the heat from the tropics could be dumped from the tropics straight into space. Of course, we could see that. Any way. I like the charts.

I doubt our ability to detect a half-percent change in this huge and varied a system, whether directly or by its effects. I don’t think our measurement systems are good to that degree of accuracy.
What I don’t doubt is the ability of the clouds and the thunderstorms to deal with that 3.7 w/m2. You ask an important question—what happens to the excess energy? The common claim is that the excess energy must perforce be translated into a temperature rise. Sounds convincing, but it’s wrong.
The simple answer is, the system automatically cuts down the incoming solar by something like that same amount, and the balance is restored.
The mechanism to do this is that the cumulus clouds and the thunderstorms form earlier in the day. This reflects back additional sunlight, and sends it out to space, and the balance is maintained. (It’s a bit more complicated, extra sun makes the thunderstorm wheels spin faster so some of the excess energy goes to the poles and is radiated out, but local albedo control is one of the major features of the system I describe. Think of the clouds as a temperature controlled mirror, reflecting more and more sunlight as the surface warms and the clouds increase.)
Thanks for your comments,
w.

Willis Eschenbach

u.k.(us) says:
August 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Would it be too much to ask, for Mr. Eschenbach (aka Willis), to explain the meaning of “tao” ,
I looked it up, but the definitions left me wanting.
Maybe in another post Willis 🙂

The passage quoted by Gary Hladik is hard to improve on.
w.

coldlynx

I am surprised that the daily effect of solar angle is not visible.
The air are heated with the same degrees/hour in the morning from 6 to 12 despite a very different solar angle to the ground.

Rob R

An adaptive iris rather like Richard Lindzen has hypothesised but acting on a day to day basis?

Duster

For ocean current data and GIS mapping try looking here:
http://www.oscar.noaa.gov/datadisplay/

Richard111

Fascinating reading. I was not aware sea surface temps had such a small diurnal change. A comment above mentioned sea currents. I believe the area with the highest temps is also the area of most sea current and I think least depth of water. I assume these effects will impact TOA?

Richard111

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm
“Total average downwelling radiation in the tropics is high. The atmosphere is moist and warm so there’s lots of downwelling longwave (DLR), the sun is hot and square to the surface so there’s lots of solar energy. In the tropics the sun is around 300 w/m2 on a 24/7 basis, and DLR is around 400 w/m2, call it 700 watts/m2 all up.”
Does water vapour not have an effect absorbing near infrared before it gets to the surface? (I haven’t a clue how this is done so it might be included in your calcs.)

Peter Plail

Not being familiar with weather in the tropics, can I ask what effect wind would have on the processes that Willis has described. Does it simply change vertical columns of rising air to angled columns, effectively pushing the cumulus downwind. Also would there come a point at which wind velocity is sufficient to entirely disrupt the process.
I understand that as land areas heat more swiftly than sea, we get winds blowing from land to sea during the day, reversing at night. If wind is at all disruptive then I would expect this to affect the buoys closer to land more than their mid-ocean brothers.

Martin Lewitt

@David Falkner,
“Which excess heat are you referring to? Could you kindly point out the graph in which you have observed the excess heat?”
There is the excess of the day part of the diurnal cycle over the night time part, the excess heat of the tropics over the poles, excess heat of the land over the oceans (and vice versa, seasonally and daily) and the excess heat of the surface over the top of the troposphere and the excess heat of the ocean surface over the depths. Temperature differences drive the various circulations, although some of the drive is buoyancy, of warm fluids over cold, fresher water over saline, air with higher absolute humidity over that with lower humidy, etc.
As a first approximation, the climate is a heat engine, transporting solar heat to space either directly through radiation or to the top of the atmosphere and poleward where it then gets radiated directly or at the top of the atmosphere there.

stephen richards

Willis
A sequence of satelite images showing the rise and fall of the thunder clouds would add a je ne sais quoi.

stephen richards

Peter Plail says:
August 15, 2011 at 12:14 am
Other direction Phil. The land warms, air rises sucks air in from the cooler sea.

Don K

Hoser says:
August 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm
By the way, I imagine these buoys must be tethered. If so, the tension must be amazing on the lines.
====================
Yes, they do seem to be tethered to anchors made from a couple of tons of old RR wheels. the cable is made from 3/4 in nylon in the lower part and 3/8 inch wire rope in the upper part. Doesn’t seem strong enough to survive a really big storm, but apparently it is.
see: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/proj_over/mooring.shtml

Willis Eschenbach

Richard111 says:
August 15, 2011 at 12:04 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
August 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

“Total average downwelling radiation in the tropics is high. The atmosphere is moist and warm so there’s lots of downwelling longwave (DLR), the sun is hot and square to the surface so there’s lots of solar energy. In the tropics the sun is around 300 w/m2 on a 24/7 basis, and DLR is around 400 w/m2, call it 700 watts/m2 all up.”

Does water vapour not have an effect absorbing near infrared before it gets to the surface? (I haven’t a clue how this is done so it might be included in your calcs.)

In clear air (no clouds) most downwelling longwave radiation, over the ocean or not, originates in the lowest few hundred metres of the atmosphere. Reference not to hand (Geigers venerated “The Climate Near The Ground”), but from memory about 75% originates from under a hundred metres.
w.

Willis Eschenbach

Don K says:
August 15, 2011 at 1:31 am

Hoser says:
August 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm
By the way, I imagine these buoys must be tethered. If so, the tension must be amazing on the lines.
====================
Yes, they do seem to be tethered to anchors made from a couple of tons of old RR wheels. the cable is made from 3/4 in nylon in the lower part and 3/8 inch wire rope in the upper part. Doesn’t seem strong enough to survive a really big storm, but apparently it is.
see: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/proj_over/mooring.shtml

As a long-time commercial fisherman, sailboat deliveryman, and single-handed sailor, my gospel text in these matters is the inestimably valuable “Oceanography and Seamanship” by William Van Dorn. Among other things he gives the formulas for deep-water anchoring of the type you mention. As you observe, the rope seems light. But the key is the stretch in the rope. Heavy rope yanks at the end of the pull, while thinner rope goes boing and comes back without breaking.
And that’s just one small part of the book, the other chapters are as fact-filled and practical. If you’re serious about the ocean as I am, you should get a copy.
w.

Dr A Burns

Well done Willis.

Ralph

>>The reasons for the “shoulder” where temperatures tend to level out
>>between about 9PM and midnight is less easy to understand.
For that, you need a glider pilot. The shoulder in the temperature profile is caused by an overbuild of cumulus early in the morning.
Early in the day, the atmosphere is relatively moist, due to the lower temperatures. So as the day warms up, cu starts forming at low altitudes, blocking out the sun. This prevents full insolation for a while, and the heating effect will be greatly reduced. Heating does slowly continue, but the atmosphere is getting drier now, and so the cloudbase will rise and the lower level cu will slowly dissipate (cloud tops limited by an inversion). Thus the skies will clear and the ground can warm much more than before, with full insolation. Sometimes a critical temperature is achieved, when the clouds may reform later in the day at higher level.
On the following SkewT graph, the green line is actual atmospheric dewpoint, and the red line is the actual atmospheric temperature (measured with a radiosond).
http://213.232.93.59/ss/gliding/Soundings/tut-snds-01.gif
Let’s look at the daily events for this graph.
Early morning
Temp 15oc. Good temp dewpoint split – no cloud, full insolation.
Mid morning
Temp 18oc cloud forming between 900 and 800mb (3,000 – 6,000ft) Thats 3,000 ft of cloud – so inslolation is lost.
Midday
Temp 28oc cloud forming between 740 and 720mb (7,700 – 8,400). Thats only 700 ft of cloud – so inslolation is much greater.
Early afternoon
Temp 36oc cloud forming between 690 and 330mb (10,000 – 28,000). Thats 18,000 ft of cloud – inslolation lost again.
This will cause the observed insolation and temperature ‘shoulder’ .
Also please note that thermal (convection) formation is greatly assisted by a non-uniform temperature profile at the surface. So a region with hot an cold areas (tarmac and forest) will produce much better thermals (and thus heat dissipation) than a uniform region. This is perhaps another reason why the sea does not dissipate its heat energy as efficiently as the land.
.

Rosco

The earth a dynamic system ? – not according to every piece of “science” explaining greenhouse gases I have read. Everybody knows the earth is subject to equal radiation over the disk exposed to the sun of one quarter of the solar “constant”. This is then further reduced by an albedo of ~0.3. If you don’t observe the earth in this manner you can’t calculate the actual temperature every climate scientist knows the earth will be without GHGs – minus 18 C of course. If you do a dynamic analysis you achieve unrealistically high temperatures approaching +60 C instead. The fact NASA reports the moon can reach 123 C doesn’t support a dynamic analysis on earth – the moon has no GHGs and is therefore irrelevant – just like every observed fact or piece of data that doesn’t fit the GHG theory.
I can’t believe anyone can keep a straight face and repeat GHG crap.
The scientific institutions are falling into disrepute. I read on Wikipedia that a blackbody radiator the same distance from the sun would have a temperature of ~ 5 C. What a load of rubbish – the moon hits 123 C according to NASA.
Belief in GHGs controlling everything seems to force the stupidity gene in adherents into overdrive and cause verbal diahhrea – just like the rant I wrote above.
I can’t believe any scientist would accept the constant irradiation model as in any way reflecting reality and then go on from there to try to justify the ridiculous proposition.

Brian H

Ralph;
So a region with hot an[d] cold areas (tarmac and forest) will produce much better thermals (and thus heat dissipation) than a uniform region. This is perhaps another reason why the sea does not dissipate its heat energy as efficiently as the land.

Suggests an interesting role for islands in convection, “overturn”, and T-storm generation.