# What we don’t know about Earth’s energy flow

Roger Tattersall (aka Tallbloke) writes on his blog of a WUWT comment. Unfortunately WUWT gets so many comments a day that I can’t read them all (thank you moderators for the help). Since he elevated Dr. Robert Brown’s comment to a post it seems only fair that I do the same.

I saw this comment on WUWT and was so impressed by it that I’m making a separate post of it here. Dr Brown (who is a physicist at Duke University) quotes another commenter and then gives us all an erudite lesson. If Nikolov and Zeller feel they need to take any of the complaints on WUWT about the way  they handle heat distribution from day to night side Earth seriously, they probably need to study this post carefully. this is also highly relevant to the reasons why Hans Jelbring used a simplified model for his paper, please see the new PREFACE added to his post for further elucidation.

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I can’t speak for your program, but I will stand by mine for correctly computing the ‘mean effective radiative temperature’ of a massless gray body as a perfect radiator. Remember, there is no real temperature in such of an example for there is no mass. It takes mass to even define temperature. (but most climate scientist have no problem with it and therefore they are all wrong, sorry)

I’d like to chime in and support this statement, without necessarily endorsing the results of the computation (since I’d have to look at code and results directly to do that:-). Let’s just think about scaling for a moment. There are several equations involved here:

$P = (4\pi R^2)\epsilon\sigma T^4$

is the total power radiated from a sphere of radius R at uniform temperature T. \sigma is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant and can be ignored for the moment in a scaling discussion. \epsilon describes the emissivity of the body and is a constant of order unity (unity for a black body, less for a “grey” body, more generally still a function of wavelength and not a constant at all). Again, for scaling we will ignore \epsilon.

Now let’s assume that the temperature is not uniform. To make life simple, we will model a non-uniform temperature as a sphere with a uniform “hot side” at temperature T + dT and a “cold side” at uniform temperature T – dT. Half of the sphere will be hot, half cold. The spatial mean temperature, note well, is still T. Then:

P’ = (4 \pi R^2) epsilon sigma ( 0.5*(T + dT)^4 + 0.5(T – dT)^4)

is the power radiated away now. We only care how this scales, so we: a) Do a binomial expansion of P’ to second order (the first order terms in dT cancel); and b) form the ratio P’/P to get:

P’/P = 1 + 6 (dT/T)^2

This lets us make one observation and perform an estimate. The observation is that P’ is strictly larger than P — a non-uniform distribution of temperature on the sphere radiates energy away strictly faster than it is radiated away by a uniform sphere of the same radius with the same mean temperature. This is perfectly understandable — the fourth power of the hot side goes up much faster than the fourth power of the cold side goes down, never even mind that the cold side temperature is bounded from below at T_c = 0.

The estimate: dT/T \approx 0.03 for the Earth. This isn’t too important — it is an order of magnitude estimate, with T \approx 300K and dT \approx 10K. (0.03^2 = 0.0009 \approx 0.001 so that 6(0.03)^2 \approx 0.006. Of course, if you use latitude instead of day/night side stratification for dT, it is much larger. Really, one should use both and integrate the real temperature distribution (snapshot) — or work even harder — but we’re just trying to get a feel for how things vary here, not produce a credible quantitative computation.

For the Earth to be in equilibrium, S/4 must equal P’ — as much heat as is incident must be radiated away. I’m not concerned with the model, only with the magnitude of the scaling ratio — 1375 * 0.006 = 8.25 W/m^2, divided by four suggests that the fact that the temperature of the earth is not uniform increases the rate at which heat is lost (overall) by roughly 2 W/m^2. This is not a negligible amount in this game. It is even less negligible when one considers the difference not between mean daytime and mean nighttime temperatures but between equatorial and polar latitudes! There dT is more like 0.2, and the effect is far more pronounced!

The point is that as temperatures increase, the rate at which the Earth loses heat goes strictly up, all things being equal. Hot bodies lose heat (to radiation) much faster than cold bodies due to Stefan-Boltzmann’s T^4 straight up; then anything that increases the inhomogeneity of the temperature distribution around the (increased) mean tends to increase it further still. Note well that the former scales like:

P’/P = 1 + 4 dT/T + …

straight up! (This assumes T’ = T + dT, with dT << T the warming.) At the high end of the IPCC doom scale, a temperature increase of 5.6C is 5.6/280 \approx 0.02. That increases the rate of Stefan-Boltzmann radiative power loss by a factor of 0.08 or nearly 10%. I would argue that this is absurd — there is basically no way in hell doubling CO_2 (to a concentration that is still < 0.1%) is going to alter the radiative energy balance of the Earth by 10%.

The beauty of considering P’/P in all of these discussions is that it loses all of the annoying (and often unknown!) factors such as \epsilon. All that they require is that \epsilon itself not vary in first order, faster than the relevant term in the scaling relation. They also give one a number of “sanity checks”. The sanity checks suggest that one simply cannot assume that the Earth is a ball at some uniform temperature without making important errors, They also suggest that changes of more than 1-2C around some geological-time mean temperature are nearly absurdly unlikely, given the fundamental T^4 in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. Basically, given T = 288, every 1K increase in T corresponds to a 1.4% increase in total radiated power. If one wants a “smoking gun” to explain global temperature variation, it needs to be smoking at a level where net power is modulated at the same scale as the temperature in degrees Kelvin.

Are there candidates for this sort of a gun? Sure. Albedo, for one. 1% changes in (absolute) albedo can modulate temperature by roughly 1K. An even better one is modulation of temperature distribution. If we learn anything from the decadal oscillations, it is that altering the way temperature is distributed on the surface of the planet has a profound and sometimes immediate effect on the net heating or cooling. This is especially true at the top of the troposphere. Alteration of greenhouse gas concentrations — especially water — have the right order of magnitude. Oceanic trapping and release and redistribution of heat is important — Europe isn’t cold not just because of CO_2 but because the Gulf Stream transports equatorial heat to warm it up! Interrupt the “global conveyor belt” and watch Europe freeze (and then North Asia freeze, and then North America freeze, and then…).

But best of all is a complex, nonlinear mix of all of the above! Albedo, global circulation (convection), Oceanic transport of heat, atmospheric water content, all change the way temperature is distributed (and hence lost to radiation) and all contribute, I’m quite certain, in nontrivial ways to the average global temperature. When heat is concentrated in the tropics, T_h is higher (and T_c is lower) compared to T and the world cools faster. When heat is distributed (convected) to the poles, T_h is closer to T_c and the world cools overall more slowly, closer to a baseline blackbody. When daytime temperatures are much higher than nighttime tempratures, the world cools relatively quickly; when they are more the same it is closer to baseline black/grey body. When dayside albedo is high less power is absorbed in the first place, and net cooling occurs; when nightside albedo is high there is less night cooling, less temperature differential, and so on.

The point is that this is a complex problem, not a simple one. When anyone claims that it is simple, they are probably trying to sell you something. It isn’t a simple physics problem, and it is nearly certain that we don’t yet know how all of the physics is laid out. The really annoying thing about the entire climate debate is the presumption by everyone that the science is settled. It is not. It is not even close to being settled. We will still be learning important things about the climate a decade from now. Until all of the physics is known, and there are no more watt/m^2 scale surprises, we won’t be able to build an accurate model, and until we can build an accurate model on a geological time scale, we won’t be able to answer the one simple question that must be answered before we can even estimate AGW:

What is the temperature that it would be outside right now, if CO_2 were still at its pre-industrial level?

I don’t think we can begin to answer this question based on what we know right now. We can’t explain why the MWP happened (without CO_2 modulation). We can’t explain why the LIA happened (without CO_2 modulation). We can’t explain all of the other significant climate changes all the way back to the Holocene Optimum (much warmer than today) or the Younger Dryas (much colder than today) even in just the Holocene. We can’t explain why there are ice ages 90,000 years out of every 100,000, why it was much warmer 15 million years ago, why geological time hot and cold periods come along and last for millions to hundreds of millions of years. We don’t know when the Holocene will end, or why it will end when it ends, or how long it will take to go from warm to cold conditions. We are pretty sure the Sun has a lot to do with all of this but we don’t know how, or whether or not it involves more than just the Sun. We cannot predict solar state decades in advance, let alone centuries, and don’t do that well predicting it on a timescale of merely years in advance. We cannot predict when or how strong the decadal oscillations will occur. We don’t know when continental drift will alter e.g. oceanic or atmospheric circulation patterns “enough” for new modes to emerge (modes which could lead to abrupt and violent changes in climate all over the world).

Finally, we don’t know how to build a faithful global climate model, in part because we need answers to many of these questions before we can do so! Until we can, we’re just building nonlinear function fitters that do OK at interpolation, and are lousy at extrapolation.

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long pig
January 6, 2012 8:53 am

Excellent – a true reality check. A much-needed antidote to back-of-envelope AGW Arrhenius complacency. Yes it is a complex system and no it is not understood or in any way settled. Thank-you Dr Brown!

highflight56433
January 6, 2012 8:58 am

Amen to some common sense.

January 6, 2012 8:59 am

I agree with Roger 100%
I know of him from the early Beowulf days and we used his code for monitoring nodes.

P.F.
January 6, 2012 9:02 am

Is there any doubt that WUWT is the hands-down best science blog on the Internet? One simply does not see this kind of insight and reason on any of the AGW/climate change sites.

FijiDave
January 6, 2012 9:02 am

Excellent!

TerryS
January 6, 2012 9:02 am

In the text.
\pi = π
\approx = &approx;
\epsilon = ε
\sigma = σ

NavarreAggie
January 6, 2012 9:12 am

Wow. That was a very good piece. Thanks!

Bloke down the pub
January 6, 2012 9:17 am

Nice piece of work. I can’t pick fault with it, though of course that doesn’t say a lot.

David L. Hagen
January 6, 2012 9:23 am

Talking about complexity and issues that we do NOT know, the greatest uncertainty appears to be in the impact of clouds. There is an excellent lecture on clouds by:
Graeme L. Stephens, JPL Climate Change – A Very Cloudy Picture (or link via: A21G Charney Lecture, Moscone West Rooms 2022-2024, AGU FALL Meeting 2011
I found particularly interesting his observations that climate models strongly differ even on the sign of the feedback. e.g. See:
Cloud feedback versus total feedback

“Conclusion: Differences in cloud feedback are again the largest single source of uncertainty of all feedbacks (range from -0.5 W/m^2/K to + 0.7 W/m^2/K)” – Andrews et al. 2012 (at 18’20”-19’00”)

Stephens commented that cloud effects are so varied and complex and have so many variables (at least three major ones) that they will always remain the greatest uncertainty in modeling.
I also found it interesting how clouds very strongly change the climate response to water:

“The ‘thermal absorbent’ character of water is greatly enhanced when in condensed phase. On a molecule by molecule basis, water in either solid or liquid form in the atmosphere absorbs more than 1000 times more strongly – a relative small amount of liquid or solid water disproportionally influences the flow of radiant energy through the Earth system.” (24’55” – 26’12”)

Willis Eschenbach has been exploring the diurnal impact of clouds, from night to day, and their feedbacks etc.
From Greame Stephens comments, I would not at all be surprised if Willis’ findings on day/night cloud variations have a similar order of magnitude impact as the day/night calculations in the above post.

John West
January 6, 2012 9:25 am
January 6, 2012 9:26 am

Lot’s of letters and symbols. I guess it’s good from the comments. Guess i shoudln’t have skipped math afterall.
[Or grammmar and punctuation.☺ ~dbs]

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 9:28 am

This is an excellent post, and this quote in particular:
“Until all of the physics is known, and there are no more watt/m^2 scale surprises, we won’t be able to build an accurate model, and until we can build an accurate model on a geological time scale, we won’t be able to answer the one simple question that must be answered before we can even estimate AGW:
What is the temperature that it would be outside right now, if CO_2 were still at its pre-industrial level?”
_____
Is quite outstanding, and right on target, but misses the point of climate models. Of course, we’ll never be able to tell you exactly what the temperature would be outside “right now” from a model of the climate. Everyone in the business, from Trenberth on down will tell you that models will never be right, are never “right”, and will never tell every little detail, especially daily temperatures for you’re dealing with two vastly different scales. But this isn’t the point of models, nor the reason for constructing them or studying them. Models don’t have to be 100% accurate to be useful. The power of a model is if it is useful enough to tell us things that we couldn’t have known without them. Models are essentially maps– albeit dynamic maps. Maps won’t tell you every little detail of the actual territory, every little side street or crack in the side walk, but they can be useful enough, giving you enough of the major features of a territory to allow you to know something useful about that territory.
Could a climate model ever tell you exactly how much colder (or warmer) it might be outside right now if CO2, N20, CH4, and water vapor were at such and such a level? Never. Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.

January 6, 2012 9:38 am

The processes of evaporation/condensation and freezing/thawing are the factors that are controlling the rate of energy loss to space. Radiative energy transfer is essentialy “fast as light and line of sight”. The rates of these controlling processes are much slower. For example, In the arctic in winter,conductivity thru the sea ice is the rate controller. The “greenhouse effect” is insignificant by comparison. At the South Pole in winter, it is the rate of energy being delivered through the atmosphere and snow rate that are controlling. Of course, clouds are a barrier blocking the line of sight. Also, they transport energy.

Russell Seitz
January 6, 2012 9:42 am

And in conclusion, when physicists find they have gotten nowhere by writing down Boltzmanns equation while setting thermal mass to a non-physical value , they put down the chalk, and begin to think about breaking the problem down into its component parts , which may be iteratively arranged to produce a computational scheme capable of incorporating the mass elements of the system, and the optical depth integrals of the components of the atmosphere
This is known as a model.
Absent one , the algebra cannot save you from talking nonsense,* or generating something you wouldn’t dare scribble as a comment in a physics blog.
[snip. Try to have a little more class. ~dbs, mod.]
* paraphrase in memoriam John McCarthy

kalsel3294
January 6, 2012 9:50 am

An excellent post. The alarmists who confine themselves to the simple physics are lacking in the ability to comprehend the far more complex logistics. Places like SkS can’t see the forest for the trees, cherrypicking the logistics to support the very basic physics rather than using the physics to support the mind blowing logistics.
The pro AGW crowd may well make faithful postmen, able to deliver a single previously sorted letter from their local post office to the correct street address, but it takes the sceptics to appreciate the logistics involved that enables all deliveries to happen on a global scale under all conditions.

J. Snow
January 6, 2012 9:59 am

R. Gates says:
“Could a climate model ever tell you exactly how much colder (or warmer) it might be outside right now if CO2, N20, CH4, and water vapor were at such and such a level? Never. Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.”
OK… but… if the model is not calibrated with reality then what’s the point. If you create a model that relates GHG concentration to temperature and the correlation is always positive then the model will show that increasing CO2 concentration increases temperature, i.e. AGW. Models that don’t or can’t account for all the physical variables are worthless unless you are trying to force a specific answer.
The physical universe is the ultimate guru.

Tom G(ologist)
January 6, 2012 9:59 am

A.W. What do you mean we don’t know when the Holocene WILL end. It WILL end a couple hunderd years AGO (see http://suspectterrane.blogspot.com/)
And we thereby see that pure science types must continue to propose preposterous ideas to keep the gravy train rolling.

Frank K.
January 6, 2012 10:03 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
“Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely and that is precisely what they are meant to do.”
Yes, but will that predicted probability be correct? What if, instead of a predicted 50% chance of increased average temperatures over a given period of time given a certain initial condition, the real answer is 5%? Or 0.5%?
My personal opinion is that the climate models are not mature enough to provide any reliable predictions. While it’s of academic interest to do what-if scenarios with models, I would NOT base any important economic decisions on their output…
(Of course, we could also discuss how the climate models are constructed, the numerical methods, boundary/initial conditions, source terms and feedbacks, well-posedness etc. but no one ever wants to get into that, and it would distract from the current thread).

Elftone
January 6, 2012 10:06 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
Could a climate model ever tell you exactly how much colder (or warmer) it might be outside right now if CO2, N20, CH4, and water vapor were at such and such a level? Never. Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.

Quite so – but as we don’t seem to even know what all the significant variables are, how they interact or what impact each actually has, models approach the usefulness of the Drake Equation. They appear to be too-simplistic approximations of complex systems… more like thought-experiments, with a bunch of so-far baseless (sorry) assumptions made to fill in the blanks.

D Snyder
January 6, 2012 10:10 am

Is it fair to sum this up as: The average temperature is a useless parameter? or only mostly useless?

Disko Troop
January 6, 2012 10:13 am

R. Gates:
“and holding all other variables constant”.
Variables? Constant?
Exactly……..Garbage in.

Editor
January 6, 2012 10:20 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

This is an excellent post, and this quote in particular:

“Until all of the physics is known, and there are no more watt/m^2 scale surprises, we won’t be able to build an accurate model, and until we can build an accurate model on a geological time scale, we won’t be able to answer the one simple question that must be answered before we can even estimate AGW:
What is the temperature that it would be outside right now, if CO_2 were still at its pre-industrial level?”

_____
Is quite outstanding, and right on target, but misses the point of climate models. Of course, we’ll never be able to tell you exactly what the temperature would be outside “right now” from a model of the climate. Everyone in the business, from Trenberth on down will tell you that models will never be right, are never “right”, and will never tell every little detail, especially daily temperatures for you’re dealing with two vastly different scales. But this isn’t the point of models, nor the reason for constructing them or studying them. Models don’t have to be 100% accurate to be useful. The power of a model is if it is useful enough to tell us things that we couldn’t have known without them. …

Thanks, R. Couldn’t agree more, and someday climate models may actually reach the point you mention, where they can tell us things we wouldn’t have known without them.
Don’t hold your breath while waiting for the climate models to come up with their first useful result, however …
w.

stevenlibby
January 6, 2012 10:20 am

Whenever I hear “it’s basic physics” mentioned by the CAGW crowd I growl to myself, “which of the dozens if not hundreds of ‘basic physics’ processes affecting climate are you referring to and how sure are you about their interactions, scales, sign or even if we know we’ve found them all yet?” The devil is rarely in any one ‘basic physics’ process but in how all of them work together in this amazing planet we live on to keep us alive and thriving!
Great article.
BTW – WUWT has single-handed changed my mind on the benefits of blogs. I would consider it to be one of very few blogs that has actually achieved what blogs were intended to do and it’s a delight to observe. Thanks to all who make this possible!

Viv Evans
January 6, 2012 10:20 am

Reality checks about what we do and mostly do not know are always welcome.
Doing research in an ‘unsettled ‘ science subject is far more interesting to keen, young minds than having to follow a ‘settled’ science track where only tiny details are allowed to be looked at and where dissent is discouraged.

jim hogg
January 6, 2012 10:25 am

At last: honesty, high intelligence and appropriate knowledge that admits how little we know, and how much more we need to know if we’re to make sense of climate variation. Thank you Mr Watts for making space for this.

D. J. Hawkins
January 6, 2012 10:30 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
… Could a climate model ever tell you exactly how much colder (or warmer) it might be outside right now if CO2, N20, CH4, and water vapor were at such and such a level? Never. Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.

And that is precisely what they CAN NOT do. And why they also shouldn’t be used as the basis for policy dealing with the supposed effects of CAGW, most especially since the proposals involve significant disruption to national economies.
Look at it this way. If I hold a 5 pound weight 4 feet above my foot and let go, common experience, Newton’s laws of motion, and the laws of gravity all support the prediction that my foot will be very unhappy in +/- 0.5 seconds unless I move it out of the way. We’re not there yet with climate science. Until we are, we should husband our resources to deal with any putative “climate catastrophies” as they occur rather than waste them on measures that we have no idea if they will mitigate such alleged forthcoming catastrophies.

Gary Pearse
January 6, 2012 10:35 am

I believe Dr. Robert Brown’s outstanding and very readable commentary on how energy flows brings climate science literally out of its Dark Ages. Oh its nothing particularly new in the world (but quite new to mainstream climate science, it would appear). Everyone knows that a school boy can calculate marvelous things by memorizing formulae and without the necessity of understanding the least thing about the meaning of it all. Climate scientists, I fear, have demonstrated the ‘school boy’ mentality everytime we have been treated to a lecture on the LWIR radiative transfer of heat. Otherwise they wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking an average temperature can be used in their “Energy Budgets and Imbalances”. They would have realized that the bigger the variability of temp, the bigger the radiative heat loss purely using the Stefan-Boltzmann law simply because of the exponential power of 4.
Tallbloke, may I recommend you add to the post the very poetic follow-up comments made by Dr. Brown in the “Feedback about feedbacks and suchlike fooleries” December 30, 2011 By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley: describing the brewing of beer worts and convection in the mash and the atmosphere at:
Robert Brown says:
January 2, 2012 at 10:05 am
It, too, is a beautiful treatise on how things work in the atmosphere and the determination of energy to do work and dump that heat into the 3K temp regime of space. Dr. Brown I would love to sit in on your lectures at Duke, maybe spiced up with a fine bitter homebrew.

A Little Voice
January 6, 2012 10:36 am

Ahhh….the age old problem of linearizing everything (sometimes it is a poor approximation and gets you in trouble) and assuming those terms are “neglible” (ditto). I learned this as an undergraduate engineer and as a practicing engineer. But even if the models are “robust” you need data to initialize them (yet another problem).
The mark of a good scientist/engineer is knowing when NOT to apply linearization or simplifying assumptions.
I would like to point out the handful of comments Dr. Brown made that I think are particularly insightful other than the lecture on the Stefan-Boltzmann Law::
1) “a function of wavelength and not a constant at all” – gave me chills reading that
2) “one should use both and integrate the real temperature distribution (snapshot) — or work even harder.”
My thoughts exactly, I would be very interested in seeing what this result looks like. The latitude 6*dT/T^2 is almost two orders of magnitude larger!
3) “When heat is concentrated in the tropics, T_h is higher (and T_c is lower) compared to T and the world cools faster.”
This highlights the role Antarctica plays in the geologically recent ice ages. Having a continent at the South Pole results in two strong forcing events 1) high albedo over a large area and 2) impenetrable weather system that results in little mixing (high dT).
4) “We don’t know when continental drift will alter e.g. oceanic or atmospheric circulation patterns “enough” for new modes to emerge ”
When Antarctica drifts away from the South Pole, the effects on climate, ocean levels, etc. will be so dramatic that this worrying over AGW will seem pointless. However, we can rest comfortably more many years to come (depending on your perspective I guess). Because I think one takeaway from Dr. Brown’s comment is that the Earth’s weather is somewhat extreme right now as a result of Antarctica. Lots of very hot and very cold places with little mixing that is resulting in high rates of cooling. These high rates of cooling make the Earth’s climate more sensitive to changes in the Sun’s radiation and perhaps more sensitive to changes in the Earth’s atmosphere as well (I am just speculating here)? But I am certain when Antarctica moves off the South Pole the climate will be less extreme and more mild (that’s saying nothing about whether it is colder or warmer).
Dr. Brown asks the interesting question: What is the temperature that it would be outside right now, if CO_2 were still at its pre-industrial level?
Is it reasonable to assume it would be colder? How about the question regarding “extreme weather”? I suppose one could argue that by raising the temperature somewhat, say 1K, could result in increased extreme weather events because of the faster cooling that Dr. Brown outlines. But, to me this is a co-opting of a description of the Earth’s current weather that has nothing to do with human activity.

Septic Matthew
January 6, 2012 10:36 am

R. Gates: Is quite outstanding, and right on target, but misses the point of climate models. Of course, we’ll never be able to tell you exactly what the temperature would be outside “right now” from a model of the climate.
There is more than one point to climate models. They do systematically assemble knowledge, and the comparison of model output to measured values provides tests of the accuracy of the knowledge, and its completeness. Model outputs are also used to inform policy decisions. That we can not know what the spatio-temporally averaged temperature would be today implies that we can not use the knowledge encompassed by the model to make inferences about future CO2 change or to make policy recommendations.
Models don’t have to be 100% accurate to be useful.
To be useful, the models have to have a record of being accurate enough to be useful. No such record exists. Since you mention Trenberth, there are two “travesties” concerning the “missing heat”: (1) first that it can not be explained and (2) major policy advocates in the field of climate science act as though the the lack of explanation does not matter for policy purposes. It clearly shows that a policy of reducing CO2 might be futile, which would be self-defeating.

January 6, 2012 10:41 am

“Alteration of greenhouse gas concentrations — especially water”
CO is not a greenhouse gas; it’s an energy converter that converts heat to IR in both directions. At night CO2 and water vapor are serious energy leaks, converting heat energy to IR. During the day, it’s a relative wash.
It is O2 and N2 that cannot cool themselves by emitting IR. That would make them greenhouse gases (heat-trapping) and CO2 and water vapor would be the same as drilling lots of small holes in the roof of a real glass greenhouse. The holes decrease the greenhouses effectiveness, serving to cool it.
“We can’t explain why the MWP happened (without CO_2 modulation). We can’t explain why the LIA happened (without CO_2 modulation).”
Sure we can, if we admit that the Sun is a big player here. It was not the LIttle Ice Age that caused the Maunder Minimum. There is very cogent evidence of a correlation between solar activity and climate. The recent elegant work showing the role of the comic vs solar wind in cloud formation can easily explain the Medieval Warm Period and Little ice Age. Let’s not pretend to know less than we know even though we do indeed no know everything yet.
By the way, sediment studies clearly show that the Gulf Stream actually ramps up during warm times and slows during cool. This contradicts nicely the warmest claims that warming would stop the Gulf Stream conveyor belt. Think about it: warmer water is less viscous and flows more easily; colder water would be more viscous and thus be sluggish. ‘Works for me.

Steve Keohane
January 6, 2012 10:45 am

R. Gates says:January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
[…]
Models are essentially maps– albeit dynamic maps. Maps won’t tell you every little detail of the actual territory, every little side street or crack in the side walk, but they can be useful enough, giving you enough of the major features of a territory to allow you to know something useful about that territory.
Could a climate model ever tell you exactly how much colder (or warmer) it might be outside right now if CO2, N20, CH4, and water vapor were at such and such a level? Never. Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.

An interesting unsubstantiated position, care to rectify with David L. Hagen says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:23 am
in regards to Stephen’s paper’s conclusion:
“Conclusion: Differences in cloud feedback are again
the largest single source of uncertainty of all feedbacks
– Andrews et al. 2012 (at 18’20”-19’00”)

For that reason and what all else we do not know, I have to agree with Willis @ 10:20am Don’t hold your breath while waiting for the climate models to come up with their first useful result, however …

Bill Illis
January 6, 2012 10:46 am

The day versus night argument (made by some) is based on a misjudgement of what the actual data says.
During the daytime, the peak in-radiation from the Sun is about 960.0000 joules/second, yet the surface temperature only increases by a miniscule 0.0007 joules/second. At night, now there is no 960 joules coming in per second (virtually none) and the temperature is only declining by 0.0007 joules/second.
That is for the surface. For the tropopause and in water, the changes are only +/- 0.00005 joules/second in daytime and at night. The OHC numbers from Schuckmann that we reviewed last week translate into an absorption rate by the oceans of just 0.00000002 joules/second.
As I’ve said, we need to incorporate time into the equations. A Watt/m2 is actually a Joule/second/m2.

Justin K
January 6, 2012 10:51 am

@stevenlibby says:
Whenever I hear “it’s basic physics” mentioned by the CAGW crowd I growl to myself, “which of the dozens if not hundreds of ‘basic physics’ processes affecting climate are you referring to and how sure are you about their interactions, scales, sign or even if we know we’ve found them all yet?” The devil is rarely in any one ‘basic physics’ process but in how all of them work together in this amazing planet we live on to keep us alive and thriving!
Great article.
BTW – WUWT has single-handed changed my mind on the benefits of blogs. I would consider it to be one of very few blogs that has actually achieved what blogs were intended to do and it’s a delight to observe. Thanks to all who make this possible!
——————————————
That is exactly the point I was making to R. Gates in another thread about the application of physics on small vs. large scale objects. We use different physics for each one as they work in conjunction with each other, but we still do not know all the pieces and it will be a long, long time, if ever, before we do. Someone arguing for simple physics hasn’t taken a physics class.
I second your last comment. It truly is an amazing blog. And I, for one, look forward to the contributions of those like R. Gates and “a physicist”, as infuriating as they may be to others, because they keep the debate going and present sides that I think only makes all of us better observers and thinkers.

January 6, 2012 10:56 am

First year University physics was a long time ago, but this is a wonderfully clear explanation. Thanks Dr Brown for writing, Roger for highlighting and Anthony for re-posting.

Kev-in-UK
January 6, 2012 10:57 am

I think R Gates is still expecting too much out of a ‘model’ – in the purest sense, a model is a good representation of the real ‘thing’ (whatever it may be) – the accuracy of the model is not only in its overall reflection of the ‘real thing’ but the behaviour of the ‘real thing’ – in climate models this is simply not even remotely possible due to the complexity of the system. The map analogy is quite good (especially if you consider ‘knowledge’ and scientific understanding as the ‘scale’) – but if you stop and think about what ‘scale’ of map(knowledge) we have regarding climate – we are probably around the small globe with continents scale! (i.e. picture a childs bedside globe light!) – in other words the detail simply isn’t known. Now, think about the same small scale globe with some cyclones or other imaginery climate or weather on it – and realise that if your measurement from the model is a millionth of an inch ‘out’ – this would translate to hundreds of miles in ‘real’ life! Now, think about how you would ‘predict’ the track of that ‘weather’ from your climate model ‘accurately’, even with the best supercomputers.
My point is that the ‘model’ can never be truly representative and the simpler a model is (say based on 10 or 20 ‘variables) the less useful it actually is if the ‘real thing’ is much more complex. I think the term ‘useful’ is a little dubious when considering a non linear semi chaotic system which is our climate system – and then if you try and use it to make predictions, you are simply more hopeful than scientific! I suppose the ultimate extraction of urine comes from the AGW so-called ‘predictions ‘based on such models and the policy decisions made thereon??

TedK
January 6, 2012 11:05 am

Bravo! Bravo! (Standing applause)
Encore! Encore! (holding my fossil fuel burning CO₂ emitting lighter on high)
In spite of the RG’s attempts at sidestep with his climate prediction isn’t weather prediction delusion; this article does an excellent job of laying out basic physics hurdles for science to address before anyone can state “We know what is happening to earth’s energy balances”.

Dave D
January 6, 2012 11:10 am

Wow, I read it twice then thrice and it’s possible even a limited, middle aged chemical engineer, not mathematically blessed, can follow along! This guy has a gift for communicating complex issues.

Paul Murphy
January 6, 2012 11:24 am

umm?
This article seems to offer a nice semi-numerate argument supporting the unstated but obvious conclusion that the concept of a global average temperature cannot be realized (i.e. have its value measured) with the information we have.
More interestingly it strikes at the heart of what is missing from the Nikolov and Zeller paper: speculation on causation – specifically on what drives the differences they see as driving weather. Essentially they say change in A is related to change in B, and here’s how; but don’t say what causes change in B (local pressures)

January 6, 2012 11:27 am

It seems that the only part of the science that’s settled is that the climate models are right in the opinion of the modellers. The more that the models are shown to deviate from reality, the less likely they are to be right, hence the modellers’ strong desire to keep any reality away from the media and their government paymasters (and themselves of course).
That’s another reason why WUWT and similar sites are so vital. They shine the light of reality into the murky depths of the modellers’ models and minds, and display what they find to public view.

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 11:31 am

Great to see this one getting the WUWT megaphone as well, and apologies to Anthony for snaffling it. It was just so relevant to the debate we were having at the time on the talkshop I just posted it after asking Dr Brown for permission. I’ll alert Anthony to comments of this quality I come across while doing moderation work for WUWT in the future.
Two specific criticisms arose on Tamino’s blog in regard to this post. I’d be interested to see what the response is from people here on WUWT:
Patrice
“I’ve read this “article” and there is many, many things wrong. The first and the very basic is that Brown is using same albedo (or emissivity) for both IR and visible spectrum and thus, he is getting base Earth temp wrong (288 K, correct result is 255 K). From there on, any calculation and conclusion is meaningless, since the very basic assumption is wrong.”
Kevin McKinney
“One example would be the bit where he claims a 10% change in the “the rate of Stefan-Boltzmann radiative power loss,” then miscalls that the “radiative balance,” then says that this can’t possibly (“no way in hell”) result from a doubling of CO2 concentration, especially since it’s a “concentration of less than .1%.”
He’s confusing different parts of the process, neglecting others altogether–to wit, all feedbacks except the primary S-B feedback–and making a really naive physical/logical error besides–the concentration of GHGs isn’t of primary importance; the partial pressure is.”

cui bono
January 6, 2012 11:41 am

Superb! Plaudits to Dr Brown, Tallbloke & Anthony. On several recent threads at Dr Currys blog some of us have argued that what Dr Brown calls the “complex, nonlinear mix” of climate factors makes the reductionist GHG argument look very dodgy. I wish I’d read Dr Browns comments at the time. One day the current climate ‘paradigm’ (ugh!) is going to look so damn silly.

HankHenry
January 6, 2012 11:42 am

Interesting post. I always wondered about the proposition that the hotter something is the faster it cools because it seems like an object doesn’t cool in straight line fashion but rather along some kind of exponential curve. If I am interpreting things correctly this means that more slowly rotating objects will be cooler on average because it will have time to achieve higher temps and higher temperatures mean greater cooling. On the other hand this doesn’t seem quite correct because one could conversely say that a more slowly rotating object can achieve cooler temperatures on the dark side and hence there should be slower cooling. My intuition based on the commonplace experience of blowing on hot soup wants to believe that a faster rotating body would be cooler.
BTW, on the subject of earth’s albedo, it has been observed to be variable by monitoring earth shine hitting the moon. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040527233052.htm

January 6, 2012 11:46 am

Josh Halpern ( Eli rabbett) is quite helpful here in untangling a misconception:
“The statement that “The point is that as temperatures increase, the rate at which the Earth loses heat goes strictly up, all things being equal.” is where the good Doctor Brown goes GIGO. It is correct that the rate at which the Earth’s SURFACE loses heat goes strictly up, but the surface is NOT where most of the thermal IR is emitted to space.
That is rather high up in the atmosphere, which can be seen by comparing the emission to space with the Planck distribution of thermal emission from the surface (here for example, but there are plenty of accurate measurements and models). The point at which the emission curve matches a blackbody curve tells you what the temperature of the effective altitude at which emission is occurring to space. Raising the greenhouse gas concentration raises the level at which the emission to space occurs to a colder level, and thus one where emission is slower. To make up for that the surface has to warm in order to push more energy through the open window directly into space”
I dont know why people dont get this. GHGs increase the opacity of the atmosphere to IR.
The earth system loses energy back to SPACE one and only one way: via radiation. There is no conduction back to space, and no convection back to space. When you add more GHGs you increase the effective radiating height of the earth system. Raising that height results in a system that radiates from a colder place. That means the radiation loss will be slower as Brown argues.
Its the SLOWING of the rate of radiation loss at the TOA that drives the surface temperature UP.
Its not that back radiation warms the surface. Its a direct consequence of what Brown notes.
GHGs create a system that radiates from a higher colder place. Hence, it loses heat at a slower rate. hence the surface must “warm” or cool more slowly.
Rather than disprove AWG, brown has provided you all with the basic physics to understand it.
Finally, pushing heat “past” the GHG blanket at the surface, doesnt really get the job done.
why? because its the C02 in the stratosphere ( which is dry) that really matters.

January 6, 2012 11:47 am

Maybe one day.
I will be a personal friend of Tallbloke
after several beers.
I can say:
On the other hand.
The physics is essentially correct. (Under discussion)
It is evident that the mass of a body changes the radiation emitted by this.
Two bodies the same surface temperature emit different wavelengths if their masses are different (but this is not the case).
A question? The Venusian atmosphere complete one rotation in 96 hours ?????

January 6, 2012 11:55 am

Love this article, which is a game-winning homer that I have saved to my hard drive.

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 11:55 am

Steven Mosher says:
January 6, 2012 at 11:46 am
Finally, pushing heat “past” the GHG blanket at the surface, doesnt really get the job done.
why? because its the C02 in the stratosphere ( which is dry) that really matters.

Good to see the warmateers in full retreat to points beyond the tropopause. 😉
Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!
Lol.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 12:04 pm

← Even with a busy tornado year, still no upward trend in tornadoesAmanda Carey: Green Movement Dead In The Water →
What we don’t know about Earth’s energy flow
Posted on January 6, 2012 by Anthony Watts
“Roger Tattersall (aka Tallbloke) writes on his blog of a WUWT comment. Unfortunately WUWT gets so many comments a day that I can’t read them all (thank you moderators for the help). Since he elevated Dr. Robert Brown’s comment to a post it seems only fair that I do the same.
“I saw this comment on WUWT and was so impressed by it that I’m making a separate post of it here. Dr Brown (who is a physicist at Duke University) quotes another commenter and then gives us all an erudite lesson. If Nikolov and Zeller feel they need to take any of the complaints on WUWT about the way they handle heat distribution from day to night side Earth seriously, they probably need to study this post carefully. this is also highly relevant to the reasons why Hans Jelbring used a simplified model for his paper, please see the new PREFACE added to his post for further elucidation.”
——————————————————————————
I would like everyone to conduct a little thought experiment that illustrates several key points in climate, weather, chaos, and the difference between large forces and small forces, and how sometimes we only need to know the big picture to have a useful model of a system, without knowing details.
Imagine that you have a piece of glass that is as close to horizontal as possible, virtually parallel to the ground, like a table top would be. On this glass, in the center, you place a large drop of water. Assuming this glass was reasonably horizontal, the drop of water would stay right where you put it, as the intermolecular forces between the water molecules and the glass (mainly Si02) would be greater than the the pull of gravity in any one direction from the drop of water. Now imagine that you had a "model" that told you that as you tip the glass off of horizontal toward one direction, the water drop would begin to run toward that direction with the speed of the movement to be proportional to the degree of tilt off of horizontal. The speed and path of that drop across the glass would also be influenced by very minor changes in intermolecular bonding between the water and glass, and the path across the glass would be chaotic, but still deterministic in that very specific forces are controlling that path, but they are not measureable by any method we currently have. But your model is actually not concerned with the "natural variations" in the path of the water drop across the sheet of glass, but rather the relatively simple predition of the direction and relative speed of the drop as you tip ths glass more and more off the horizontal. Ultimately, your model predicts the drop of water will fall off the edge of the glass to the ground.
This simple thought experiment shows that we don't need to know the details of a process to understand a great deal about it and to make useful predictions. All current global climate models tell us that the additonal greenhouse gases humans have added since 1750 tip the glass off of horizontal and are causing movement in global temperatures. They vary in how much the glass has been tipped (sensitivity) and of course the exact path the water drop will take (natural variation) but they all say the glass is tilted and the drop of water should be moving.

Kelvin Vaughan
January 6, 2012 12:16 pm

Can anyone help me? I have a problem with my heating radiators. They are not radiating. All the heat is being convected away from them towards the ceiling. The floor 6″ below the radiators is cold.
What can the problem be?

January 6, 2012 12:20 pm

stevenlibby said @ January 6, 2012 at 10:20 am
“Whenever I hear “it’s basic physics” mentioned by the CAGW crowd I growl to myself, “which of the dozens if not hundreds of ‘basic physics’ processes affecting climate are you referring to and how sure are you about their interactions, scales, sign or even if we know we’ve found them all yet?” The devil is rarely in any one ‘basic physics’ process but in how all of them work together in this amazing planet we live on to keep us alive and thriving!
Great article.
BTW – WUWT has single-handed changed my mind on the benefits of blogs. I would consider it to be one of very few blogs that has actually achieved what blogs were intended to do and it’s a delight to observe. Thanks to all who make this possible!”
Yes, a most informative article. Now I know why I was so uncomfortable with Oke’s Boundary Layer Climates. Not that Oke is “High School physics” as CAGWers claim.
Not sure what “blogs were intended to do”. Jerry Pournelle was arguably the first with his Daynotes on BIX, the Byte information exchange. “[It] preceded the Web by a lot, and I also had a daily journal on GE Genie. Both of those would have been considered blogs if there had been any such term. All that was long before the World Wide Web.” The early Daynotes Gang members (http://daynotes.com/index20041001.html) mainly were communicating how we solved computer problems and sharing that info with the world. Naturally, we also wrote about our other interests as well. And argued with each other and our readers.
Certainly Anthony Watts deserves a medal for what he has achieved and I deem it a great privilege to have met him; especially since he went out of his way to visit Tasmania, a place that is so often left off the map.

January 6, 2012 12:23 pm

R. Gates,
Since you ignore negative feedback, your ‘simple thought experiment’ is nonsense.

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 12:26 pm

Talking crap again Gates?
The biggest problem we have in this debate is that the climate modelers actually believe the guff you are coming out with.

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 12:32 pm

Fernando (in Brazil) says:
January 6, 2012 at 11:47 am
Maybe one day.
I will be a personal friend of Tallbloke
after several beers.
I can say:
On the other hand.
The physics is essentially correct. (Under discussion)

Hey Fernando, you made me laugh, so we’re already friends. N&Z will be making a new article soon, in response to feedback received. It will be published here and at the Talkshop.
Now, another beer, it’s friday night after all.
Cheers

stumpy
January 6, 2012 12:34 pm

Thanks for the post, great to see some else highlighting the shortcomings of simple black body calculations that are often used for the earths temperature. Including mass and its thermal characteristics into any calculation of global temperature is critical to account for cool morning conditions and warmer evening conditions. Accounting for this would allow climate models, for example, to correctly predict the coolest and warmest times of the day and ditto for monthly variation at the very least! It would also give us a better idea of what affect the greenhouse affect has and if our current theory even still fits – then predictions of warming etc… could be revisited. Before you build an upside down pyramid you should at least found it on a solid foundation – get the basics right first before you get into predictions and attribution!

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 12:35 pm

Smokey says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm
R. Gates,
Since you ignore negative feedback, your ‘simple thought experiment’ is nonsense.
_____
I also ignored positive feedback, as that is not the point of this analogy. As it stands, it quite nicely displays the general nature of models and chaos and how you don’t need to know the details down to the quantum level to have a useful model that still depends on both large scale forces and small scale forces. A model doesn’t have to be right, in term of knowing all the details, in order to be useful. To have a 100% accurate model of the universe, you’d have to have a model the size of the universe, yet we can very nicely model the general formation of galaxies, stars, solar systems etc. without knowing every little detail. A 100% “true” or accurate map of the United States would have to be the size of the United States to get every detail, yet my small pocket map is accurate and useful enough to allow me to get from LA to New York City quite nicely. The climate is much the same.

January 6, 2012 12:38 pm

tallbloke said @ January 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm
“Talking crap again Gates?
The biggest problem we have in this debate is that the climate modelers actually believe the guff you are coming out with.”
But do they believe that Gates is correct in his assertions regarding a GUT/TOE [delete whichever is inapplicable] contra Stephen Hawking? Hawking discovered humility. Somehow I don’t think Gates will make a similar discovery in my lifetime.

January 6, 2012 12:41 pm

tallbloke said @ January 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm
“Now, another beer, it’s friday night after all.
Cheers”
There you go; and I thought it was Saturday morning! Make mine a pint of sauvignon blanc 🙂

don penman
January 6, 2012 12:46 pm

I don’t think that we need models to understand the climate,climate models have been created for one reason only and that is to estimate how much warming we will get if we add a bit more co2 to the atmosphere.I don’t think we need to know everything that is going to happen in a hundred years time using climate models.Understanding is about more than just making predictions but climate science seems to be only concerned with making predictions while sharing a group think on agw ,realising how little we know should be seen as understanding.

January 6, 2012 12:49 pm

Gates vsays:
“I also ignored positive feedback…”
You clearly implied a positive feedback when you described what happens to your drop of water: “Ultimately… the drop of water will fall off the edge of the glass to the ground.” You describe that positive feedback – leading to a catastrophic result – as a “useful prediction”. But it is just a nonsense analogy. Climate models still cannot make useful predictions.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 12:50 pm

tallbloke says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm
The biggest problem we have in this debate is that the climate modelers actually believe the guff you are coming out with.
_____
Of course they believe it…their entire careers are based on the advancement of scientific knowledge, and every step forward that can be quantified and put into the models is put into the models. They actually want to know all they can about climate…what a revelation! A bigger problem might be that the average skeptic doesn’t seem to have any real grasp of what climate models are all about, and even that scientists are quite aware of their limitations or the fact that they are never “true” in terms of duplicating reality 100%. But those limitations don’t prohibit them from being useful and providing insights that couldn’t be gained any other way.
My map of NYC doesn’t need to tell me about how many pieces of chewing gum are stuck on the sidewalk at the SW corner of Broadway and 34th St., to be useful enough to get me around NYC.

January 6, 2012 12:51 pm

R. Gates said @ January 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm
“…you don’t need to know the details down to the quantum level to have a useful model that still depends on both large scale forces and small scale forces. A model doesn’t have to be right, in term of knowing all the details, in order to be useful. To have a 100% accurate model of the universe, you’d have to have a model the size of the universe, yet we can very nicely model the general formation of galaxies, stars, solar systems etc. without knowing every little detail. A 100% “true” or accurate map of the United States would have to be the size of the United States to get every detail, yet my small pocket map is accurate and useful enough to allow me to get from LA to New York City quite nicely. The climate is much the same.”
Now here’s a nice example of the simple world of Langton’s Ant:
“Description:
Langton’s ant is a cellular automaton which [sic] poses a problem that is currently baffling mathematicians. The ant lives by three simple rules:
– If it is on a yellow cell it makes a 90° turn to the left.
– If it is on a grey cell it makes a 90° turn to the right.
– As it moves to the next square, the one that it is on changes colour from yellow to grey, or the reverse.
The result is a quite complicated and apparently chaotic motion… but after about ten thousand moves the ant locks into a cycle of 104 moves which causes it to build a broad diagonal “highway”. What’s more, the ant seems to always build the highway (though nobody has been able to prove this yet) even if “obstacles” of yellow squares are scattered in its path, provided it finds enough grey squares on the periphery. Try it out yourself in the applet below.
http://www.annanardella.it/ant.html
Perhaps you could make a name for yourself by solving the Langton’s Ant problem. I believe that if we can get that problem out of the way, then we’ll be able to tackle the problem of climate modelling. But I’m not holding my breath.

Alcheson
January 6, 2012 12:52 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
This is an excellent post, and this quote in particular:
“Until all of the physics is known, and there are no more watt/m^2 scale surprises, we won’t be able to build an accurate model, and until we can build an accurate model on a geological time scale, we won’t be able to answer the one simple question that must be answered before we can even estimate AGW:”
Gates, I think you should have left it at that. Everything you say after that quote is trying to argue just the opposite. Until we know that man made CO2 releases will be catastrophic, no sense in spending catastrophic amounts of money and reducing our standard of living back to the 1800s. The so-called fixes for CAGW will lead to starvation, poverty and the death of millions, as well as the loss of liberties and freedom.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 12:58 pm

Smokey said:
“Climate models still cannot make useful predictions.”
____
Would it be useful for a shipping company to know that the arctic might be ice free in the summer months sometime in the relatively near future? Since the first trans-arctic shipments have already been made, and saved the shipping companies no small amount of money in doing so, it seems climate model “predictions” can be useful…and potentially profitable.

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 1:02 pm

Gates says:
“But those limitations don’t prohibit them from being useful”
Yes they do. they are the opposite of useful, they and their programmers are impeding progress not facilitating it.

Justin K
January 6, 2012 1:05 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm
A 100% “true” or accurate map of the United States would have to be the size of the United States to get every detail, yet my small pocket map is accurate and useful enough to allow me to get from LA to New York City quite nicely. The climate is much the same.
—————————
Your analogy is perfect in how models are supposed to act. But the devil is really in the details on this one, isn’t it? For instance, we are modeling the future are we not? So, while the drop of water reaches its destination based on forces we don’t necessarily understand fully, they are happening in real time and it makes sense because we can observe it to be the case and we can actually “predict” it through models that can be verified by our observations. When climate models fail to predict any event or non-event, in this case missing heat, as time goes by, we know that the details are incorrect. We know this because we have yet to observe what the models predict. And, while I could give you a map to get from LA to New York City, it would be preferable if I didn’t route you through Washington state, would it not? In this analogy, Washington state may be interpreted as CO2, if you wish.

January 6, 2012 1:11 pm

Gates, you’re playing word games. Name one GCM [computer climate model] that predicted a decade and a half [and counting] of no warming starting in ≈1997.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 1:22 pm

thepompousgit:
Thanks for the Langton’s Ant link and info.
Certainly the key to this “puzzle” mathematically is the shape of the basic grid cells (i.e. squares) and the nature of the basic rules for movement. The basic corner to corner symmetry of the square cell must be a key to the eventual diagonal path that emerges. It would be fun to try it with a different set of “rules”, change the basic grid shapes (i.e use hexagrams or triangles instead of squares), put it into 3D space, etc. and see what happens. The amazing complexity that can come from a few simple rules being repeated over and over is truly amazing.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 1:27 pm

Smokey says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm
Gates, you’re playing word games. Name one GCM [computer climate model] that predicted a decade and a half [and counting] of no warming starting in ≈1997.
____
Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible, just as map of LA won’t tell me where the daily roadwork is or what bridge is out because of a local flash flood. Climate models can tell me however, that there will be natural variability and even how long periods of natural variability might mask underlying forcing from greenhouse gases.

Latitude
January 6, 2012 1:34 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible, just as map of LA won’t tell me where the daily roadwork is or what bridge is out because of a local flash flood. Climate models can tell me however, that there will be natural variability and even how long periods of natural variability might mask underlying forcing from greenhouse gases.
============================
Ok, so they can’t predict it…..but they can tell when it will end……
So, when will this lack of warming end?

January 6, 2012 1:37 pm

Gates says:
“Climate models can tell me however, that there will be natural variability…”
Every scientific skeptic can tell you that, without needing either a Magic 8-Ball or a GCM. So far you’ve provided no justification for spending any more public monies on computer climate models. And of course there is zero testable, empirical evidence that natural variability is “masking” the putative effect of GHG’s. That’s just backing and filling, due to the undeniable fact that the planet is not doing what the alarmist crowd wants it to do.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 1:38 pm

Justin K says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm
“When climate models fail to predict any event or non-event, in this case missing heat, as time goes by, we know that the details are incorrect.”
____
You must be assuming that the Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 study is in great error (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022).
I think this assumption in wrong, and that what they found shows in fact that in general the global climate models have it correct and there has not been any slowdown in warming. Moreover, the FR2011 study gives us a specific, verifiable prediction going forward. Excellent science.
The biggest failures in climate models will be in dealing with chaotic events (the little wiggles in the path of the water drop), that could alter the speed at which the water drop moves. These would be the negative and positive feedbacks. Certainly they exist, and will involve everything from clouds to ice to biosphere.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 1:46 pm

Smokey says:
“And of course there is zero testable, empirical evidence that natural variability is “masking” the putative effect of GHG’s.”
____
You’ve not read Foster & Rahmstorf 2011, or you have read it, and don’t believe it. In general, our comments seem politically motivated rather than based on scientific grounds. From well documented increases in stratospheric aerosols, to a general slow down in solar activity, there have been many pieces of “testable, empirical” evidence as to why natural variability has masked (to some extent) anthropogenic greenhouse forcing over the past decade. Either you really just don’t care to read and understand these multiple lines of research, or you simply have become so jaded by your political views that you distrust every piece of science that would not support your skeptical views.

Latitude
January 6, 2012 1:48 pm

Gates: “and there has not been any slowdown in warming”
==============================================
So it would have been colder if not for global warming….
….how do we know that?

January 6, 2012 1:53 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Climate models do not predict natural variability….

ok! only supernatural variability.
sorry.

Agile Aspect
January 6, 2012 1:56 pm

“I can’t speak for your program, but I will stand by mine for correctly computing the ‘mean effective radiative temperature’ of a massless gray body as a perfect radiator.”
I couldn’t get past the above enclosed statement since it’s riddled with contradictions.
First, you need to explain how a massless body can radiate with a continuous frequency distribution according to Planck’s Law at absolute zero (no temperature.)
Second, a gray body is one where the surface emissivity is independent of the wavelength and less than one. A perfect radiator has an emissivity equal to 1.
If you want to fiddle with Stefan-Boltzmann Law, you need to fiddle with the frequency distribution in Planck’s Law prior to integration. The only free parameters for SB Law are area and time.

jorgekafkazar
January 6, 2012 1:57 pm

A very clear post, well constructed and organized, Mosh’s comments notwithstanding. If Mosh is right, then of what value or relevance are temperature measuring stations scattered across the globe?
higley7 says: [among a number of interesting things] “…It is O2 and N2 that cannot cool themselves by emitting IR….”
They can’t be heated by IR, either…can they?
“…By the way, sediment studies clearly show that the Gulf Stream actually ramps up during warm times and slows during cool. This contradicts nicely the warmest claims that warming would stop the Gulf Stream conveyor belt. Think about it: warmer water is less viscous and flows more easily; colder water would be more viscous and thus be sluggish. ‘Works for me.”
Works for me, too. Water viscosity changes even faster than water density with temperature. Oh, and a link to some of those sediment studies would be appreciated.
R Gates says: Glass plate [blah-blah-blah] water droplet [blah-blah-blah]
False analogy.

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 1:57 pm

“Arctic ice”
And so yet another potentially interesting thread is hijacked…

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 1:59 pm

Latitude says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm
R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible, just as map of LA won’t tell me where the daily roadwork is or what bridge is out because of a local flash flood. Climate models can tell me however, that there will be natural variability and even how long periods of natural variability might mask underlying forcing from greenhouse gases.
============================
Ok, so they can’t predict it…..but they can tell when it will end……
So, when will this lack of warming end?
_____
You are asking for predictions about the little wiggles in the path of the water drop down the glass pane. How long will the current lower than average solar activity last? When will the next El Nino begin? How about the AMO, when will end turn higher or lower? These are all the natural variations that can mask the warming. They are the wiggles in the path of the water drop down the glass pane. Personally, I expect to see a new modern global temperature record set before 2015, simply because I think that we could get an El Nino that coincides close enough with Solar Max 24 (even though it will not be much of a max) to give the extra boost to global temps on top of the underlying greenhouse forcing. But this is just my educated “hunch”, and certainly not based on any model, as such natural variability isn’t part of them. But of course, if I right, and such a new record is set, since it will occur during a solar max and El Nino, it will be seen as a “step up” in temperatures, and undoubtedly some skeptics will want to suggest it disproves anthropogenic warming,,,when in fact, it does quite the opposite, as “step ups” to new records can’t occur without an underlying long-term increase.

Justin K
January 6, 2012 2:00 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm
You must be assuming that the Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 study is in great error (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/4/044022).
I think this assumption in wrong, and that what they found shows in fact that in general the global climate models have it correct and there has not been any slowdown in warming.
—————————–
I am. FR2011 was published to explain the “missing heat” problem. There’s just one problem…well…several really, but a big one is, as Bob Tisdale says: “ENSO is not an exogenous factor”. I’m sure you’re also aware of the analysis that shows if you include the coefficients from NCDC Land Plus Ocean Surface Temperature, Hadley Centre HADCRUT Global Surface Temperature Anomalies, RSS MSU Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies, UAH MSU Lower Troposphere Temperature Anomalies, then there is not a continuous rise in global temperatures.

Latitude
January 6, 2012 2:02 pm

Gates: “there have been many pieces of “testable, empirical” evidence as to why natural variability has masked (to some extent) anthropogenic greenhouse forcing over the past decade”
============================================
In other words, we don’t know………….
Gates, everything from heat hiding in the bottom of the ocean, to Chinese pollution, India pollution, volcanoes, low pressure in the Arctic, wind blowing in the wrong direction, sun too hot, sun too cold, earthquakes, ocean circulation, magnetic fields, and gravity….
….pick one

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 2:03 pm

tallbloke says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm
“Arctic ice”
And so yet another potentially interesting thread is hijacked…
____
Relax Tallbloke, I mentioned sea ice once as an example related to the topic at hand. All of my posts in this tread have been quite on topic, or answers to questions related to the topic.

Kohl P
January 6, 2012 2:03 pm

RGates sets out a conclusion re a thought experiment:
“This simple thought experiment shows that we don’t need to know the details of a process to understand a great deal about it and to make useful predictions. All current global climate models tell us that the additonal greenhouse gases humans have added since 1750 tip the glass off of horizontal and are causing movement in global temperatures. They vary in how much the glass has been tipped (sensitivity) and of course the exact path the water drop will take (natural variation) but they all say the glass is tilted and the drop of water should be moving.”
Right on! BUT –
What if there is a ‘hole’ in the glass sufficient to hold the drop of water? Or a ridge which runs at an angle to the path of the drop or…. etc
So the drop of water will run down the surface if there’s nothing to stop it? But that’s the very question at issue ‘What is to stop it?”.
It is the variables we don’t know about which make all the difference – from stopping the motion completely to altering it’s rate.
But there’s more:
What if the table tilts the other way? Some counterbalancing process tends to level it again when it is tilted, or causes it to go the other way in a reaction to the original tilting?
Or, what if there is a wind blowing which is moving the drop of water and you are concluding that the surface is tilted because the drop is moving? In other words, what if the initial assumptions are wrong?
Your thought experiment is apposite. But if you consider all the possibilities, not just the ones you feel comfortable with, then other conclusions may be drawn.
It is the unkown variables and their effects which is at the heart of the problem. It is the attitude that ‘the science is settled’ i.e. we know all the variables and their effects, it is this attitude which prevents much of the science from progressing.
Kohl P

Richard M
January 6, 2012 2:09 pm

R. Gates, here’s a little thought experiment for you.
Let’s assume there exists a maximum greenhouse effect that no one yet understands. This cap would be similar to what Miskolczi claims by his constant optical depth conjecture. The GCMs do not have this limit on the greenhouse effect programmed into their models. Now, what useful information you would get out of a climate model?
The fact is there are any number of possible unknowns that might impact the climate models. Any one of them would make the models useless. Since current models have absolutely no ability to predict/project our recent climate why would any sane person expect that to change in the future?

January 6, 2012 2:14 pm

R. Gates said @ January 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm
“Thanks for the Langton’s Ant link and info.
Certainly the key to this “puzzle” mathematically is the shape of the basic grid cells (i.e. squares) and the nature of the basic rules for movement. The basic corner to corner symmetry of the square cell must be a key to the eventual diagonal path that emerges. It would be fun to try it with a different set of “rules”, change the basic grid shapes (i.e use hexagrams or triangles instead of squares), put it into 3D space, etc. and see what happens. The amazing complexity that can come from a few simple rules being repeated over and over is truly amazing.”
No need to change any rules. The lesson here is that even obeying a simple set of rules, the ant takes us into irreducible (so far) complexity of behaviour.
The “simple” rules quantum physics can predict the behaviour of hydrogen, but beyond that you are in “ant country”.
The “simple” rules of chemistry can predict the behaviour of only the simplest of biological chemistry. Beyond that, you are in “ant country”.
Climate depends on the “simple” rules of physics, chemistry and biology. It is well and truly into “ant country”. If a numerical model could be made predicting earth’s future climate, solving the Langton’s Ant problem would have occurred decades ago.

Septic Matthew
January 6, 2012 2:26 pm

Steven Mosher: GHGs create a system that radiates from a higher colder place. Hence, it loses heat at a slower rate. hence the surface must “warm” or cool more slowly.
The conclusion does not follow from the analysis that precedes it. Substantial energy amounts are transferred from the surface and lower troposphere to the upper troposphere by advection and convection. It is possible for this transfer to be speeded up, and hence for the surface to cool, even as energy is accumulating in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
When you add more GHGs you increase the effective radiating height of the earth system. Raising that height results in a system that radiates from a colder place.
The second sentence does not follow; if the effective radiating height of the atmosphere is increased as a result of more CO2 absorbing and radiating energy, it isn’t necessarily the case that the increased height is cooler. If you add GHGs at a particular high altitude, and the GHGs at that altitude absorb radiation, then the mean temp at that height should increase, not decrease. Isn’t that so?

January 6, 2012 2:34 pm

Tallbloke and the good Doctor present us with a broad brush picture of some of what is yet to be settled in the science. R. Gates takes a microscope to this landscape sketch and then tells us we are missing the point.
Then he gives us a “thought experiment” that tips a table (if the analogy to AGW is to hold true) by less than the depth of the scratches on the table surface. (By the way I got some pretty strong negative feedback from Phil’s Mum when I tried it)
Mr Gates, try this simple “thought experiment”. You’ve gathered together a bunch of data from around the world. You’ve run it through some code which gives results robustly supporting the AGW hypothesis. Settles it, if you like. Now you keep all that data and code to yourself. People will believe you, right?

Septic Matthew
January 6, 2012 2:35 pm

R Gates: This simple thought experiment shows that we don’t need to know the details of a process to understand a great deal about it and to make useful predictions.
1. You may know and understand “a great deal” and still be unable to make accurate and useful predictions, as with climate science.
2. There is no record of climate science making useful predictions, certainly nothing like the accuracy needed to predict the climatic consequences of CO2 accumulation to 2050.
You are beating a dead horse. The questions you need to address are: (1) is climate science complete and accurate enough to make accurate predictions and (2) is there any record of making usefully accurate predictions?

Jordan
January 6, 2012 2:36 pm

R.Gates “..Now imagine that you had a “model” that told you that as you tip the glass off of horizontal toward one direction, the water drop would begin to run toward that direction with the speed of the movement to be proportional to the degree of tilt off of horizontal….Ultimately, your model predicts the drop of water will fall off the edge of the glass to the ground.”
The thought experiment fails to conserve energy – it simply assumes the tilt and then elaborates on the consequences. You seem to have hit the nail on the head by swinging the hammer a little bit too much.

Robert of Ottawa
January 6, 2012 2:42 pm

For the Earth to be in equilibrium, S/4 must equal P’ — as much heat as is
For the Earth to be in equilibrium, S/4 must equal P’ — as much ENERGY as is

u.k.(us)
January 6, 2012 2:44 pm

@ R. Gates
=============
Time to stop digging, the trenches are deep enough.
You are losing this battle.

Septic Matthew
January 6, 2012 2:46 pm

R Gates: Would it be useful for a shipping company to know that the arctic might be ice free in the summer months sometime in the relatively near future?
Which climate model predicted that. It’s a simple extrapolation of summer ice cover over the last few decades, and the shippers waited until the ice loss was confirmed before scheduling. That’s so, isn’t it? It’s also totally independent of any consideration of how much of the ice loss was caused by CO2 accumulation.
I almost hate to be “ad hom”, but you don’t seem to be thinking about what you are writing.

January 6, 2012 2:55 pm

Excellent, clear post. If I had an applause button on my keyboard i’d press it now.

AndyG55
January 6, 2012 2:55 pm

@Paul Murphy
“A highly speculative possible answer ”
For a moment there I thought you were talking about CO2 😉
@ Steve mosher,
“Raising that height results in a system that radiates from a colder place. That means the radiation loss will be slower as Brown argues.’
Raising the height also increases the surface area of the radiating area, by a factor in relation to the sSQUARE of the change in height.

Doug in Seattle
January 6, 2012 3:02 pm

Regardless of how or whether the modelers understand their models, what is important today is that policy makers view them as black boxes capable of inputting CO2 values and outputting temperatures.
Changing this misunderstanding is not easy when the world’s top science bureaucracies (AGU, APS, NAS, IPCC, etc) insist on portraying the models as reliable tools for predicting future climate.

Robert Austin
January 6, 2012 3:07 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am
R. Gates;
Gerry North said:
“There are so many adjustables in the models and there is a limited amount of observational data, so we can always bring the models into agreement with the data.”
So, until verified by accurate forecasting of future climate, these GCM’s have no claims on validity, especially not where vast suns of money are at stake. These models were too dubious and primitive to be included in any “gold standard” IPCC report except in an appendix, noted as a curiosity and with strong precautionary language as to assigning any significance to their constructs.

Robert of Ottawa
January 6, 2012 3:10 pm

I agree Tallbloke, but the problem isn’t Gates the Troll. The problem is those feeding the Trolls. I still want to see a “climate model” built from the ground up, literally. Start with a sphere of rock, such as the moon. We could calibrate that model against the moon. Then add atmosphere (without AGW greenhouse) and then Earth’s oceans; then evaporation and clouds and rain.
This post suggests an approach to the first step.

David, UK
January 6, 2012 3:12 pm

R Gates said: This simple thought experiment shows that we don’t need to know the details of a process to understand a great deal about it and to make useful predictions. All current global climate models tell us that the additonal greenhouse gases humans have added since 1750 tip the glass off of horizontal and are causing movement in global temperatures. They vary in how much the glass has been tipped (sensitivity) and of course the exact path the water drop will take (natural variation) but they all say the glass is tilted and the drop of water should be moving.
That is somewhat delusional. Your thought experiment actually tells us that a model can mimic the real world to the extent that we can correctly factor in all the relevant variables. (This is probably not so hard for a drop of water trickling down the side of a glass.) In lieu of all the relevant variables a model can mimic the assumptions, biases, prejudices and ambitions of the programmer.

Merovign
January 6, 2012 3:19 pm

You know, if once, just *once* this “conversation” could take place without someone conflating GW, AGW, and CAGW, I would take it as a kindness.

LazyTeenager
January 6, 2012 3:26 pm

. Remember, there is no real temperature in such of an example for there is no mass. It takes mass to even define temperature. (but most climate scientist have no problem with it and therefore they are all wrong, sorry)
———–
This claim is utterly wrong.
The definition of temperature has no dependency on mass whatsoever. At the microscopic level to define temperature simply requires a collection of particles whose energy distribution obeys Boltzmann statistics.
Counter examples to this claim are obvious. The temperature of the microwave background radiation for example. In this case the particles are photons and have no mass.

January 6, 2012 3:41 pm

To Steven Mosher [Jan. 6/11:46 a.m.]: Since the issues raised in your comment have come up, I shall take the opportunity to learn something. I shall assume that you endorse all (or almost all) of Eli’s quoted remarks.
First, and this is just a question: Is my understanding of what you call the “effective radiating height” of the Earth system or what Lindzen calls the “Critical Emission Level” (CEL) correct? Namely, that level or height is the average altitude (from the surface to the TOA) at which at a given time t outgoing LW radiation just balances (if the Earth is in radiative equilibrium at t) incoming SW radiation (less reflected SW). It is not really a specific altitude, level, layer or height, but an average of many of these. Of course, the average can be higher or lower at different times.
Second, I do not fully understand two comments in your post, one from Eli and one directly from you. Eli says: “Raising the greenhouse gas concentration raises the level at which the emission to space occurs to a colder level, and thus one where emission is slower. To make up for that the surface has to warm in order to push more energy through the open window directly into space.” Your comment was: “It’s the slowing of the radiation loss at the TOA that drives the surface temperature UP. It’s not that back radiation warms the surface. . . . GHGs create a system that radiates from a higher colder place. Hence, it loses heat at a slower rate. Hence the surface must “warm” or cool more slowly.” Eli’s comment seems oddly teleological: “to make up for that the surface has to warm…”, or else what? The surface doesn’t decide to warm, so what makes it warm (or cool more slowly)? You say “GHGs create a system that radiates from a higher colder place.” OK. “Hence, it loses heat at a slower rate.” OK (but with one caveat/concern below). Finally, “hence the surface must “warm” or cool more slowly.” But why must the surface warm? You rule out “back radiation.” So how does this work? In the long before time on a blog far, far away, Leonard Weinstein tried to explain this to me, mainly in terms of changes in the lapse rate and the creation of a more energetic thermodynamic equilibrium from the surface throughout all levels of the atmosphere. If I recall correctly, it was the SW Solar that provided the necessary energy in the first place. Alas, his efforts were not altogether successful, and I’m sure this was my fault.
Third, my caveat/concern with higher/colder = slower heat loss. I do not deny that, but I nevertheless wonder whether the radiative model you endorse allows for the possibility that (a) convection, especially moist convection can provide a path around/through purely radiative transfer and (b) that the surface energy transport of this convection may have been significantly (to use G.W. Bush’s fine phrase) misunderestimated in radiative-convective models. There are a number of published papers which suggest that it has, especially in the tropics. Warm moist air rises, significantly for a time warms large portions of the upper atmosphere, then condenses releasing latent heat, which then has a much easier shot at radiating OLW ratiation to space. All this the result of the “mechanical” process of convection (at least up to the last radiative step), not of short, stepwise radiative transfers through the height of the atmosphere.
Fourth, and finally, why does Brown’s “power law” argument not work on net (taking diurnal and latitudinal changes into account) for all the OLW radiation, that is, all the levels from which it is emitted, at least to such an extent that there are important modifications needed to be made in the more standard Earth radiation budget schemes?

January 6, 2012 4:04 pm

Lazy,
I think you’d better rethink some of your assumptions regarding mass and temperature.

Keith
January 6, 2012 4:07 pm

So, R Gates, which model do you work on at the NCAR? How well has it predicted global and regional surface air and sea temperatures over the last 15 years? How about tropical upper tropospheric temps? Rainfall?

tallbloke
January 6, 2012 4:14 pm

Robert of Ottawa says:
January 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm (Edit)
For the Earth to be in equilibrium, S/4 must equal P’ — as much heat as is
For the Earth to be in equilibrium, S/4 must equal P’ — as much ENERGY as is

Yep, I spotted that one as well.

Richard M
January 6, 2012 4:34 pm

Septic Matthew says:
January 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm
[Steven Mosher: When you add more GHGs you increase the effective radiating height of the earth system. Raising that height results in a system that radiates from a colder place.]
The second sentence does not follow; if the effective radiating height of the atmosphere is increased as a result of more CO2 absorbing and radiating energy, it isn’t necessarily the case that the increased height is cooler. If you add GHGs at a particular high altitude, and the GHGs at that altitude absorb radiation, then the mean temp at that height should increase, not decrease. Isn’t that so?

Very interesting. You just may have solved the problem of mechanism for my maximum GHE conjecture on Ira’s UTC thread. This would be dependent on the density of the atmosphere and its mass. This is exactly what the UTC found to be the case for many planets.
If there exists a maximum height then the GHE has a limit. Further emissions of more GHGs would have no affect on temperatures.

Latitude
January 6, 2012 4:34 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm
blah blah blah……….
====================================================
Gates, it’s a simple question……
You said that “Climate models can tell me however, that there will be natural variability and even how long periods of natural variability might mask underlying forcing from greenhouse gases”
All I asked was when do the climate models tell you this period of not-warming will end?
.
,
,
,
=======================================================
R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Climate models can tell me however, that there will be natural variability and even how long periods of natural variability might mask underlying forcing from greenhouse gases.
============================

January 6, 2012 4:56 pm

LazyTeenager said @ January 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm
“. Remember, there is no real temperature in such of an example for there is no mass. It takes mass to even define temperature. (but most climate scientist have no problem with it and therefore they are all wrong, sorry)
———–
This claim is utterly wrong.
The definition of temperature has no dependency on mass whatsoever. At the microscopic level to define temperature simply requires a collection of particles whose energy distribution obeys Boltzmann statistics.
Counter examples to this claim are obvious. The temperature of the microwave background radiation for example. In this case the particles are photons and have no mass.”
Sorry LT, you are wrong. A photon has a rest mass of zero. But photons aren’t at rest; they fly hither and thither at the speed of light. If photons were massless, they would be unable to exert pressure.

Bill Illis
January 6, 2012 4:59 pm

How does radiation transfer change between a thick, high pressure atmosphere and a thin, low pressure atmosphere.
Photons generated in the centre of the Sun take an average 200,000 years to make it out to the surface. My calculations say the comparable number on Earth is something like 44 hours. The strict speed of light calculation says it should only take 0.0007 seconds in and out.
It seems to me there needs to some marriage between the two concepts of pure radiation transfer and pure atmospheric pressure.
N2 and O2 reflect the average temperature of whatever level of the atmosphere they are in. Yet they do not participate in the pure radiation transfer explanation.
Let’s take another tack to the question and say what would happen if we pulled out all the non-GHG gases out of the atmosphere (the majority 99% N2, O2 and Argon), Then what is the surface temperature?
Assume the 14 to 16 um IR photons are intercepted by 100,000 CO2 molecules, it still only takes 0.5 seconds for these photons to make it back out into space assuming one-quarter downradiation. The remaining blackbody radiation spectrum is in and out in 0.0007 seconds.
The surface temperature would be -18C in the daytime, approaching -110C within a few seconds of the Sun setting. In a matter of seconds, the IR energy at 14 to 16 um migrates its way through the CO2 molecules and has gone off to space. They only hang onto the energy represented these photons for 0.000005 seconds on each interception.
So, it would be similar to the moon’s temperatures.

KevinK
January 6, 2012 5:08 pm

Fred H. Haynie wrote;
“The processes of evaporation/condensation and freezing/thawing are the factors that are controlling the rate of energy loss to space. Radiative energy transfer is essentialy “fast as light and line of sight”. The rates of these controlling processes are much slower.”
EXACTLY…
Here is my alternative hypothesis of the effects of adding “GHG’s” to the atmosphere;
1) Additions of GHGs are displaced by reductions in non-GHGs. After all there are only 1 million ppmv of gases in the atmosphere (by definition).
2) Heat flows through non-GHGs at the speed of heat (aka thermal diffusivity).
3) Heat flows through GHGs at close to the speed of light. A slight delay is added as some portion (less than 50%) makes a short side trip back towards the surface.
4) The speed of light is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the speed of heat.
5) THUS; additions of GHGs to the atmosphere cause the gases in the atmosphere to warm up more quickly after an increase in energy arriving at a location in the system (i.e. sunrise or the dissipation of clouds). Alternatively, the gases in the atmosphere cool down more quickly after a decrease in energy arriving at a location in the system (i.e. sunset or the accumulation of clouds).
6) This effect is so small that we probably cannot afford to measure it.
7) The historical temperature databases (even after being water boarded into confessing to AGW) do not contain the necessary data (i.e. dT/dt) to confirm/refute this hypothesis.
The “missing” heat is currently travelling through Space as a spherical IR wavefront that is “X + d” light years away from the surface of the Earth. “X” represents the elapsed time since the energy arrived (i.e. 100 years for sunlight from 1911) and “d” represents the slight delay from a few (maybe 10-20 at most) side trips back towards the surface of the Earth. “d” is measured in light milliseconds (1 light millisecond =~ 917,000 feet).
In summary the “climate sensitivity” to GHG’s is EXACTLY 0.0000000 (not a small number approaching zero but exactly equal to ZERO).
So we can proceed as we have and once some forms of energy become more costly than newer forms of energy the newer forms will replace the older forms. Just like coal did back in England when they had a “PEAK WOOD” crisis, lookup the meaning of the term “windfall” to learn more about this historical fact.
In the Electrical Engineering Field (one of my professional pursuits) this is difference between a “DC” (direct current) system and a “AC” (alternating current) system. Clearly, the fact that Sun still rises and sets indicates we have an AC system here. Therefore we need to analyze it as such. The climate “models” (which assume such silliness as “equilibrium temperatures”) need to be scrapped.
Cheers, Kevin.

Wayne Delbeke
January 6, 2012 5:10 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm
Smokey said:
“Climate models still cannot make useful predictions.”
____
Would it be useful for a shipping company to know that the arctic might be ice free in the summer months sometime in the relatively near future? Since the first trans-arctic shipments have already been made, and saved the shipping companies no small amount of money in doing so, it seems climate model “predictions” can be useful…and potentially profitable.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
And how did that work out for the Vikings?

u.k.(us)
January 6, 2012 5:17 pm

LazyTeenager says:
January 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm
…….”In this case the particles are photons and have no mass.”
================
“Photon mass is expected to be zero by most physicists, but this is an assumption which must be checked experimentally. A nonzero mass would make trouble for special relativity, Maxwell’s equations, and for Coulomb’s inverse-square law for electrical attraction.”
Per:
http://www.aip.org/pnu/2003/split/625-2.html

January 6, 2012 5:29 pm

This is some good article here. Thanks TB and Anthony.
I damn near understood it.
{Snarky comments about lemming-like believers pre-snipped in the interest of keeping it classy}

Brian H
January 6, 2012 5:31 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.

Not a chance. Begs the question. Assumes GHG effectiveness, and distribution, and relevance Which is actually what the models are supposed to establish.
Or, are they? It seems much more that they are “projections” of what could happen in various sim-worlds if they were assumed to be efficacious in the first place.
From Cao Jinan’s analysis, to the observation above that a sphere’s (radiative) surface increases as the square of radius increase, the assumption of CO2-“forced” warming is challengeable on many significant bases, far removed from Arrhenius’ primitive “basic physics”.
As for the actual use of climate models to inform policy, putting BS through a blender does nothing to improve its odor. Quite the contrary, in fact.

January 6, 2012 5:42 pm

Just thinking about Dr. Browns comment, trying to visualize and digest the ideas he has put forward, the thought that the thermal potential of pre-industrial Co2 has some how magically changed just because it doubled in quantity does not mean that it has doubled in temperature.

wayne
January 6, 2012 5:51 pm

Instead of everyone trying to teach R. Gates anything which has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt impossible (many times over), could someone help myself and probably more than one here on the binomial expansion.
I brought the ½ out to give (2πR2)εσ as a dropped constant in the derivatives and that (4*3)/2! gives the 6 multiplier in the second derivative but how do the two internal terms get from ((T+dT)4 + (T−dT)4) to (dT/T)2, even the squared is understood. I am finding my remembrance in binomial expansions a bit rusty and the mere 2 pages out of some 900 pages in both of my calculus books is not helping much at all ;-). Can anyone expand that quickly for us? I might be the only one, but I would like to know how, I can write a program and differentiate it numerically but an explicit path would save me hours in other similar cases, that’s a neat method.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 5:54 pm

Bill Illis said:
Regarding the temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere:
“The surface temperature would be -18C in the daytime, approaching -110C within a few seconds of the Sun setting.
—–
Not quite. The daytime temperature near the equator would be more like 130C and the nighttime temperature would fall to -110C within several hours after sunset (assuming no ocean). Cooling of the moon’s suface during lunar eclpises confirms this general rate. The rocks and soil would continue to release stored LW for several hours after the sun went down.

wayne
January 6, 2012 5:54 pm

Evidently the ‘sup’ tag does not even work in Firefox. Bummer! Please mentally insert ‘^’ where appropriate in my comment above.

George E. Smith;
January 6, 2012 6:00 pm

Well I’m not quite sure what magic Dr Brown is revealing here. I don’t know how many times over the last ten years or so, I have pointed out both here at WUWT, and other climate discussion sites, such as Tech central Station (years ago), the importance of the effect of cyclic Temperatures, on raising (always) the effect of a cyclic Temperature over a steady Temperature.
If we write T as (T0 + t) or as T = T0 (1 +t/T0), then T^4 becomes:
T^4 =T0^4 [1 + 4t/T0 + 6(t/T0)^2 + 4(t/T0)^3 + (t/T0)^4 ]
If we now allow (t) to undergo any cyclic variation, such as a diurnal cycle, and we integrate T^4 over the full period of the cycle, then the integral over the cycle of the term 4t/T0 is zero, since T0 is the average Temperature, leaving us with T0^4{1 + 6(t/T0)^2]
Actually, if the Temperature cycle is repetitive, so we can represent the cycle as a fourier series of a fundamental and harmonic components, then ti willl be found that the inegral of the third power term is also zero, and in practical cases (t/T0)^4 is negligible compared to the second order term.
I actually presented a full analysis of this effect to a group of people who were on Marc Morano’s short list he e-mailed to, when he was on Senator Inhofe’s staff. Roy Spencer it turns out was also on that list and probably received my short essay, on “The Importance of Cycles.”. I also sent another essay on “Cocktail Party Physics”, that Roy actually commented on. It made the point, that CO2 molecules in the atmosphere are orphans, and are quite unaware that another like them even exists, since on average, they have about 13 shell layers of surrounding molecules about them before the next CO2 molecule shows up. Consequently they operate in the atmosphere as individuals, and not in ANY co-operative way, at all.
How many times at WUWT have I pointed out that planet earth is cooling fastest in the hottest dryest tropical deserts, in the blaze of the midday sun, and the cold polar regions are quite ineffective in cooling planet earth.
Now I have observed, just watching the evening news weather reports, that a daily Temperature cycle amplitude of 15 to 20 deg C is very common, so that t/T0 routinely is 5 to 7%, and when one looks at the range of the annual Temperature cycle, the value is much greater, and then taking the full range of the Temperature extremes from -90 deg C to around +60deg C, the effect of the always upward offset of the earth’s radiative cooling rate is a significant error in energy balance calculations.
As to Brown’s assertion that there isn’t Temperature without mass, that is quite misleading. There certainly isn’t Temperature without material, but the actual mass of the material shows up nowhere in the calculation of Temperature.
The peak desert gray body emission rate of hot dry desert surfaces, is over twice the 390 W/m^2 that Trenberth et al give in their earth energy budget cartoon, in fact it is over 800 W/m^2, as I posted somewhere here at WUWT within the last week.
If you read ALL of the posts in almost any thread at WUWT, you find it looks like people shopping at the mall. Everyone is going every which way, and it is clear that many posters, simply NEVER read what is already there before they post, and many issues are already answered and ignored, as the crowd simply mills around, oblivious of what others are doing.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 6:05 pm

Brian H says:
January 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm
R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

Could a model tell you the probability that it would be colder (or warmer) outside on a given day when comparing two different sets of greenhouse gas concentrations and holding all other variables constant? Absolutely…and that is precisely what they are meant to do.
Not a chance. Begs the question. Assumes GHG effectiveness, and distribution, and relevance Which is actually what the models are supposed to establish.
______
Models don’t “assume” greenhouse gas effectiveness nor distribution, nor does it “beg the question”. Perhaps 100 years or more ago this statement might have been at least partially true, at least for those working out the theory, but then we had no real global climate models back then, and so any assumptions back then were never put into models.

AndyG55
January 6, 2012 6:14 pm

RGates, (le trollus)
“Would it be useful for a shipping company to know that the arctic might be ice free in the summer months sometime in the relatively near future?”
Not if the crystal ball prediction is totally incorrect and they had spent MILLIONS preparing for a false prediction!! (oh look , that’s just what is happening.. and IT ISN’T USEFUL !!!!! )
Tarot cards seem to have about the same predictive value as so-called climate models. !!
(feeds the trolls and hope they are still awake at sunrise 😉

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 6:15 pm

Keith says:
January 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm
So, R Gates, which model do you work on at the NCAR? How well has it predicted global and regional surface air and sea temperatures over the last 15 years? How about tropical upper tropospheric temps? Rainfall?
_____
Climate models are not meant to prediict natural variabilty, but they can predict what the underlying warming rates will be when natural variability forcing is removed, so to answer your question– none have “predicted” these specifics as none are meant to. Your tourist map of NY City will not tell you about the crack in the sidewalk near Times Square (that you might very well trip on), as that is not its purpose, but it will tell you how to get from Central Park to the Empire State Building. If the weather forecast calls for a 60% chance of rain tomorrow, it might very well rain, but it won’t tell you exaclty when and where the first raindrop will strike your front window, as that is not the purpose of a general forecast.

peter_ga
January 6, 2012 6:19 pm

The thrust of this post appears to be against the concept of “lumping”, where a diverse system is reduced to averages, loosing accuracy, but gaining analyzability. In fact the climate system is so hopelessly complicated that this is the only method that has any possibility of providing insight.
Also to be considered is the troposphere, which has the wonderful property of mixing up the major part of the atmosphere so that the black-body equilibrium temperature exists somewhere round its upper third, allowing gross generalizations to be not too inaccurate.
In fact an argument against such approximations is really an argument for massive computerised models, which has not currently been shown to indicate anything other than that the approach does not work.
So I would urge both sides of the debate to continue presenting their arguments in a lumped approximate averaged fashion.

January 6, 2012 6:25 pm

Septic Matthew:
“Substantial energy amounts are transferred from the surface and lower troposphere to the upper troposphere by advection and convection. It is possible for this transfer to be speeded up, and hence for the surface to cool, even as energy is accumulating in the upper layers of the atmosphere.”
I believe this will prove to be a key issue in the calculation of current “sensitivity”. In particular, the advection of energy from surface to higher altitudes……primarily as latent heat I suspect. I believe this explains why all interglacials are bounded within a few degrees K of our current temperatures. You can move a LOT of energy as latent heat from low to high altitudes with a small change in temperature in this way.

LazyTeenager
January 6, 2012 6:31 pm

AndyG5 says
Not if the crystal ball prediction is totally incorrect and they had spent MILLIONS preparing for a false prediction!! (oh look , that’s just what is happening.. and IT ISN’T USEFUL !!!!! )
———
Exxon just paid 15% of the company based on less ice in the Arctic. That would amount to billions. BP wanted to do the same but lost out in the negotiations. Maybe they know something you guys don’t.

Kevin Kilty
January 6, 2012 6:48 pm

Smokey says:
January 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Lazy,
I think you’d better rethink some of your assumptions regarding mass and temperature.

FYI only: Lazy T is correct here. Temperature is a parameter that describes the distribution of speed in the Maxwell distribution, or energy in the Boltzmann distribution. This is how one can get negative absolute temperature in the inverted energy distribution of a laser.
Way back in the thread about the Unified Theory of Climate I got whacked around for saying that the actual distribution of temperature matters, and that the “mean” value ought to be the nth root of integrated temperature to the nth power with 4<n<5. Here I agreed with N&Z.
This exercise of calculating a mean "radiation" temperature, using the Stefan law on an airless planet that transfers heat perfectly and radiates uniformly is fun, but doesn't show anything useful as nearly as I can see. The actual temperature distribution does matter. Even more, the places on Earth where the LWIR radiation heads back out to space, be these high deserts, equatorial oceans, polar regions, or cloud tops, or a varying combination of these, matters too. There is a range of mean temperature that can obtain at equilibrium even with constant climatic driving, and this is makes me pretty unconcerned about small, "secular" changes in mean temperature.

LazyTeenager
January 6, 2012 6:48 pm

thepompousgit says
Sorry LT, you are wrong. A photon has a rest mass of zero. But photons aren’t at rest; they fly hither and thither at the speed of light. If photons were massless, they would be unable to exert pressure.
———
Your right of course, though we typically speak of photons as having momentum and energy rather than mass.

Frank K.
January 6, 2012 7:14 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm
Keith says:
January 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm
So, R Gates, which model do you work on at the NCAR? How well has it predicted global and regional surface air and sea temperatures over the last 15 years? How about tropical upper tropospheric temps? Rainfall?
_____
Climate models are not meant to prediict natural variabilty, but they can predict what the underlying warming rates will be when natural variability forcing is removed, so to answer your question– none have “predicted” these specifics as none are meant to.

R Gates. – You haven’t answered Keith’s question. Could you please tell us which modeling group you work for at NCAR? Thanks. If you don’t answer, then I will assume that in fact you have no experience with modeling at all.
In the case that you in fact do have some modeling experience, please tell me which differential equations you are solving, along with the initial and boundary conditions, time step size, spatial resolution, etc. Presumably it is the belief in accuracy of these numerical solutions that leads you to believe that climate models can predict “underlying warming rates” (whatever this really means…warming of what? 2 m above the earth’s surface, then entire atmosphere?). And please list all of the equations – including ocean, sea ice, vegetation models, aerosols – oh, and how they are coupled. And while you’re at it, please let us know where the model verification and validation studies are located so we can examine them as well. Thanks!

LazyTeenager
January 6, 2012 7:27 pm

Kelvin Vaugn says
All the heat is being convected away from them towards the ceiling. The floor 6″ below the radiators is cold.
What can the problem be?
——–
The radiators are not aimed at the floor. So tilt them over a bit. Ensure the carpet is a dark colour, ensure the radiators are a dark colour, raise the temperature of the radiators.

LazyTeenager
January 6, 2012 7:32 pm

– paint the ceiling a dark colour so the ceiling warmed by the air re-radiates the heat down as IR.

jjthoms
January 6, 2012 7:32 pm

tallbloke says: January 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm
“Arctic ice”
And so yet another potentially interesting thread is hijacked…
==============
So this is how to conduct a debate?
Gates is the only sceptic here amongst a sea of true believers (in anti-AGW)
Amazing!!
If anyone needs a holiday it is smokey who has said nothing but denigrating those of different views.
Amazing!

ferd berple
January 6, 2012 7:35 pm

Dr Brown makes a very good point.
The energy radiated by the earth’s surface does not vary as not ((avg(temp)) ^ 4) as climate science teaches. It radiates as the (avg(temp ^ 4)), which is significantly higher. Fore example:
(AVG(2,4)) ^ 4 = 3^4 = 81 (what climate science teaches)
AVG (2^4,4^4) = AVG(16 + 256) = 136 (what physics says)
136-81 = 55 = A travesty of missing heat.
By averaging temperatures, climate science underestimates the amount of energy radiated by the earth’s surface, of the order of a couple of watts/m2 minimum. This error is in excess of the amount of the TOTAL heating attributed to CO2.
Thus, this is a likely reason that the climate models have done such a poor job of forecasting climate. The missing heat is not missing at all. It is a result of sloppy physics by climate science, and sloppy pal review by their cronies..

Richard Sharpe
January 6, 2012 7:45 pm

LazyTeenager says on January 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm

AndyG5 says
Not if the crystal ball prediction is totally incorrect and they had spent MILLIONS preparing for a false prediction!! (oh look , that’s just what is happening.. and IT ISN’T USEFUL !!!!! )
———
Exxon just paid 15% of the company based on less ice in the Arctic. That would amount to billions. BP wanted to do the same but lost out in the negotiations. Maybe they know something you guys don’t.

Could you point us to a link that provides some support for that claim?
Isn’t just possible that they have been sniffing the CAGW glue themselves? Indeed, isn’t it also possible that they understand natural cycles and that the Arctic has seen very low ice levels in the past?

January 6, 2012 7:48 pm

OK, so it’s another biscuit for the troll, but here goes nothing…
LazyTeenager says: (January 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm ) “Exxon just paid 15% of the company based on less ice in the Arctic.”
You are reaching here young man.
The Exxon deal was based on the Russian government’s pledge to reform oil taxation and improve investment conditions for foreign oil companies.
Exxon plans to use ice-proof platforms that cost at least \$15bn each and are able to withstand being struck by a 1 million ton iceberg.
I’m not seeing this as “based on less ice in the Arctic”.

John Crane
January 6, 2012 7:56 pm

R.Gates
“Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible…”
So a sudden 15C drop like the Younger Dryas is of no concern to you and your models yet, 1C a century warming is catastrophic enough to saddle poor Hansen’s grandchildren with intermittent power, a Medieval economy and enough debt to make the entire world dream about the standard of living that might have been.
What good is a model that cannot see what naturally happens?

Geoff Sherrington
January 6, 2012 8:05 pm

On WUWT, there have been several didactic posts like this one that combine to enhance knowledge by raising aspects pf physics and maths that might otherwise be glossed over. The more of them I read, the more complexity I see.
The human body is kept at a relatively constant temperature. There are many processes and cycles and feedbacks that achieve this. Some are repetitive, like heartbeat and respiration rate, but they can sometimes rise and fall in unison and sometimes not, they can change relative frequencies, one can change without the other – complexity. The dynamics of the various processes – there are more, such as perspiration, the content of some foods with toxins, some ailments like the common cold and medications like warfarin that change blood viscosity, clothing, body hair change, nearness to skin, thickness of body part ….. All of these, in some way, affect the body temperature. That is not even a comprehensive list.
When medical scientists can model the comprehensive causes of variation of human body temperature with high predictive ability, then I’ll start to take notice of climate modelling. Some might feel that the medical solution is more important than the climate one. I certainly do. Therefore, I resent funding being misdirected onto passing fads.

jjthoms
January 6, 2012 8:11 pm

ferd berple says: January 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm
The energy radiated by the earth’s surface does not vary as not ((avg(temp)) ^ 4) as climate science teaches. It radiates as the (avg(temp ^ 4)), which is significantly higher. Fore example:
(AVG(2,4)) ^ 4 = 3^4 = 81 (what climate science teaches)
AVG (2^4,4^4) = AVG(16 + 256) = 136 (what physics says)
136-81 = 55 = A travesty of missing heat.
===========
Lets use some real figures -15C night 15C day (much greater than reality)
(I will not bother with your calcs as they are obviously wrong!!)
Convert to K (where zero is a real zero!
night=258
day=288
average 258+288=273
273^4=5554571841
average 258^4+288^4 = 5655236616
An error of 1.8% – i.e. an error bot not gross

January 6, 2012 8:16 pm

CO2 plus CO2 = CO2
1C + 1C = 1C

David
January 6, 2012 8:32 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm
tallbloke says:
January 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm
The biggest problem we have in this debate is that the climate modelers actually believe the guff you are coming out with.
_____
Of course they believe it…their entire careers are based on the advancement of scientific knowledge,
————————————————-
LOL, Of course they believe it…their entire careers are based on procuring their next grant based on the post normal next predicted but never occuring disaster.. Their, fixed.
As far as useful predictions it is quit funny you choose one for industry that BENEFITED them, and not one of the endlessly predicted, always failed to materiale disaster senarios. However model predictions have zero to do with it. Decisions are observation based, not computer mode based, DUH. Now please tell me what disaster predicted by models has manifested.

January 6, 2012 8:41 pm

Geoff Sherrington said @ January 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm
“On WUWT, there have been several didactic posts like this one that combine to enhance knowledge by raising aspects pf physics and maths that might otherwise be glossed over. The more of them I read, the more complexity I see.
The human body is kept at a relatively constant temperature. There are many processes and cycles and feedbacks that achieve this. Some are repetitive, like heartbeat and respiration rate, but they can sometimes rise and fall in unison and sometimes not, they can change relative frequencies, one can change without the other – complexity. The dynamics of the various processes – there are more, such as perspiration, the content of some foods with toxins, some ailments like the common cold and medications like warfarin that change blood viscosity, clothing, body hair change, nearness to skin, thickness of body part ….. All of these, in some way, affect the body temperature. That is not even a comprehensive list.
When medical scientists can model the comprehensive causes of variation of human body temperature with high predictive ability, then I’ll start to take notice of climate modelling. Some might feel that the medical solution is more important than the climate one. I certainly do. Therefore, I resent funding being misdirected onto passing fads.”
That was rather well put Sherro 🙂

January 6, 2012 9:17 pm

I am curious to know if the sunlight reflecting off of the moon and striking earth has been taken into consideration. I have seen moon lit nights that have been bright enough that I could read by the light of the moon. This has got to add up over the earths surface to a quantity of energy that I have never seen mentioned even once in my now multi-year climate science research.
By the way, I skip right over R Gates comments. I just don’t trust this person. (I skip “physisist” as well, for a different reason).

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 9:41 pm

Frank K–
I didn’t know that having direct experience in working with climate models was a requirement to make a comment about them. If that’s the case, then about 99.9% of the comments about climate models need to be removed from WUWT. But I don’t think it is the case, but rather, I think you like to pick on “warmists” like me.

wayne
January 6, 2012 9:42 pm

Agile Aspect says:
January 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm
“I can’t speak for your program, but I will stand by mine for correctly computing the ‘mean effective radiative
temperature’ of a massless gray body as a perfect radiator.”
I couldn’t get past the above enclosed statement since it’s riddled with contradictions.
First, you need to explain how a massless body can radiate with a continuous frequency distribution according to Planck’s Law at absolute zero (no temperature.)
Second, a gray body is one where the surface emissivity is independent of the wavelength and less than one. A perfect radiator has an emissivity equal to 1.
If you want to fiddle with Stefan-Boltzmann Law, you need to fiddle with the frequency distribution in Planck’s Law prior to integration. The only free parameters for SB Law are area and time.
>>>>
The entire quote was:
“I can’t speak for your program, but I will stand by mine for correctly computing the ‘mean effective radiative temperature’ of a massless gray body as a perfect radiator. Remember, there is no real temperature in such of an example for there is no mass. It takes mass to even define temperature. (but most climate scientist have no problem with it and therefore they are all wrong, sorry)”
You call yourself agile but I see no agility.
A perfect radiator does not need an emissivity equal to 1.0, it must only radiate instantly all it accepts, the remaining is reflected. Zero transmission in this case, we are speaking of a hypothetic Earth in this particular context.
The statement you quoted is not from Dr Brown, that is my statement that Dr Brown was quoting, and, being a physicist, he had already read all of my multiple comments and had interpreted them correctly it seems, and in context. There never was a claim of “radiating at zero K”, of course the back side of such a body without mass to store energy is at zero K and is in fact zero radiation. I was careful to term it as the ‘mean effective radiative temperature’ as climate science term it, no sense of mass involved, but they calculate it, and use it, anyway. The emissivity was not 1.0 but was included in the calculations of 0.955 that this statement was referring to.
More on, a gray body does not need “per frequency” analysis for it follows the Planck curve perfectly by definition thought not of full intensity per the emissivity.
No one is “fiddling” with Stefan-Boltzmann Law further than current climate science fiddles with it, well… that is not correct, it is usually used as a black body, not a gray body, and black bodies never occur in the this real universe. All applications of S-B in context were in fact applied correctly.
And above all, you even took that single sentence out of context. Shame!
Seems you are not too agile today Agile Aspect, you need to go way back and read what most here have already read and get a concept of this discussion, this time in context. See:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/29/unified-theory-of-climate/

Bill H
January 6, 2012 9:55 pm

P.F. says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:02 am
Is there any doubt that WUWT is the hands-down best science blog on the Internet? One simply does not see this kind of insight and reason on any of the AGW/climate change sites.
——————————————————————————————-
the reason you see civil discourse and open science is Anthony allows the discussion to progress and simply learns from the points of view shared.. what science was meant to be… the other sites are driven by agenda…
a proud Climate Realist…

Paul Vaughan
January 6, 2012 9:57 pm

Refreshing to see a physicist assertively publicly challenging bad assumptions made either naively or deceptively (ugly, unacceptable, & trust-busting either way) by delinquent mainstream colleagues:
“The sanity checks suggest that one simply cannot assume that the Earth is a ball at some uniform temperature without making important errors” / “Are there candidates for this sort of a gun? Sure. Albedo, for one. […] An even better one is modulation of temperature distribution.”
And this is exactly what EOP (Earth Orientation Parameters) tell us empirically, so perhaps there’s something to this variant of physical abstraction, which is at sharp odds with the usual mainstream narratives which definitely don’t match the data.
I offer Dr. Brown 2 cautionary notes:
1. Don’t ignore land-ocean spatiotemporal contrasts.
2. Be aware that the major ocean gyres are wind-driven and that the thermal wind is driven by temperature contrasts.
Please see the climatology animations listed here:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/25/solar-terrestrial-power-update/#comment-843523
(I’ll add a 3rd cautionary note in the future. A majority of the community first needs to grasp cautionary note#2.)
Regards.

R. Gates
January 6, 2012 10:01 pm

John Crane says:
January 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm
R.Gates
“Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible…”
So a sudden 15C drop like the Younger Dryas is of no concern to you and your models yet, 1C a century warming is catastrophic enough to saddle poor Hansen’s grandchildren with intermittent power, a Medieval economy and enough debt to make the entire world dream about the standard of living that might have been.
What good is a model that cannot see what naturally happens?
______
Seems you are talking about many issues, and trying to blend the all together in to a happy whole that may actually not have any inherent relationships.
The Younger Dryas event is of exteme interest to climate research, as it was one strong indication of how quickly the climate can change, yet, as a “black swan’ event, involving the rapid tipping of the climate from one state to another, it is hardly “predictable” by any model. We can howeer, study the paleoclimate record for clues as to what precipitated such a “black swan” event. We know, for example, that the Younger Dryas oooling happened very rapidly…in a few years or less, far too rapidly for the slow but steady Milankovitch cycle to have directly caused it. A breaking of a large ice dam releasing a flood of fresh water that altered the ocean conveyor. Certainly possible. But whatever the cause, not predictable by climate models– no more than the eruption of Mt. Toba 70,000 years ago that nearly wiped out the human race.
As far as “saddling” Hansen’s grandchildren with a return to the dark ages, or reducing the standard of living for the world etc.– none of this will happen based on policies. Your fear is unfounded, though understandable as fear mongering is a great pasttime on all sides of the political spectrum. It’s a great way to get votes in times of change and uncertainty.
Finally, as far as models that cannot see what “naturally” happens– no model can predict “black swan” events, as they are inherently unpredictable, yet quite natural. You can’t predict when an earthquake will strike, or a meteor, or the breaking of a large ice dam, of a large CME, or when an La Nina will coincide with a quiet sun, etc. etc. etc. Yet these events happen naturally all the time on earth and across the cosmos and can radically alter the course of things. And even though models can’t tell us exactly when these events will happen, they can tell us what the potential effect might be.

wayne
January 6, 2012 10:02 pm

George E. Smith; says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm
“Well I’m not quite sure what magic Dr Brown is revealing here. I don’t know how many times over the last ten years or so, I have pointed out both here at WUWT, and other climate discussion sites, such as Tech central Station (years ago), the importance of the effect of cyclic Temperatures, on raising (always) the effect of a cyclic Temperature over a steady Temperature.
If we write T as (T0 + t) or as T = T0 (1 +t/T0), then T^4 becomes:
T^4 =T0^4 [1 + 4t/T0 + 6(t/T0)^2 + 4(t/T0)^3 + (t/T0)^4 ]
If we now allow (t) to undergo any cyclic variation, such as a diurnal cycle, and we integrate T^4 over the full period of the cycle, then the integral over the cycle of the term 4t/T0 is zero, since T0 is the average Temperature, leaving us with T0^4{1 + 6(t/T0)^2]
Actually, if the Temperature cycle is repetitive, so we can represent the cycle as a fourier series of a fundamental and harmonic components, then ti willl be found that the inegral of the third power term is also zero, and in practical cases (t/T0)^4 is negligible compared to the second order term.”
>>
First George, thanks for clarifying that for me. I seem to seen where the crossover in the math occurs.
But you also said:
“Actually, if the Temperature cycle is repetitive, so we can represent the cycle as a fourier series of a fundamental and harmonic components, then ti willl be found that the inegral of the third power term is also zero, and in practical cases (t/T0)^4 is negligible compared to the second order term.”
Doesn’t the integral of third power term in the Fourier series mean it has no periodicy at all in time since it is zero and therefore is always present at all times. I didn’t understand your point there. To me that is exactly what Dr Brown is saying, this maximization of radiation as temperatures are separated to an ever increasing degree and does not depend on time (invariant in time), even if the body is revolving. As he, no magic, I see no cycles in this factor either.

Mike Wryley
January 6, 2012 10:09 pm

Anyone want to lay odds (or design a model) on whether and when RG will have an epiphany during 2012 regarding the irrelevance of current and predicted co2 levels to the probability of mankind’s continued existence ???? To avoid issues with interstate gambling, a pool could be created using carbon credits.

Richard G
January 6, 2012 10:48 pm

WUWT needs to re-post another entry by Robert Brown from Tallbloke’s Talkshop : Beer Boiling and bypassing the Greenhouse.
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/robert-brown-beer-boiling-and-bypassing-the-greenhouse/#more-4109
Steve Mosher and RG need to read it. Enthalpy and convection dominate the system, lifting the heat to the top of the troposphere where it is above 80% of the atmosphere and almost all of the CO2. There is no physical barrier to this convection created by CO2. The tropopause is where the radiative cooling kicks in, unimpeded by CO2. Assuming that CO2 is still 0.038%, 20% of that is a very small number. My understanding is that the stratosphere on up is mostly N, O, and H.
OK school me up.

G. Karst
January 6, 2012 11:32 pm

Actually, R. Gates illustrates the danger with modeling. If the table is standing on a sloped floor/ground, then actual results may be the exact opposite of model predictions. The drop would run to the opposite edge. In this instance the consequences have no impact.
However, with reality, resources diverted to wrong action can be disastrous. Putting all research and mitigation towards warming, when severe cooling results, can cost lives and economies. As I have said before, humans are poor at discerning all reference planes, when assigning + or – values. We often get things ass-backwards. Gates would have us take actions when we don’t know the slope of the ground yet. Depraved indifference… I would say. GK

Camburn
January 6, 2012 11:51 pm

Just because you disagree with R. Gates would never be a reason to ban his posts on WUWT. From all appearances, Anthony does not ban posters who post different ideas than his. We will leave that for other sites to do.
R.Gates@10:01:
You are reading much more certainty into models than exists at present. You have admited that models do well in a static atmosphere. We do not live with a static atmosphere.
You understand that the models do not do well with the Younger Dyas. They do not do well with the warming of the early 20th century either. Nor, in fact, do they do well with past climatic type events.
The resolution of the current models is not even close to good enough to represent time scales of decadal, nor century time scales. They seem able to present an existing trend, but cannot delineate a change in that trend.
Prof Brown: Thank you for a very thought provoking article.

Camburn
January 6, 2012 11:53 pm

Also R. Gates:
The drop of water is never going to get to the edge of the glass as the film function of the water droplet will evaporate before it can make it.

Camburn
January 6, 2012 11:55 pm

The Arctic has been ice free for approx 4,000 years of the Holocene period.
The Arctic has had substantially less ice than present during 7,000 years of the Holocene period.
It would only make sense that companies know this, and will develop the Arctic, as the preponderance of evidence shows that haveing large quantities of ice is not the norm, but abnormal.

AndyG55
January 7, 2012 1:15 am

G
Also, even IF (roflmao) CO2 heats the atmosphere, this would increase convective activity.
Hot air rises,…… R.Gates must be on cloud 9 🙂

AndyG55
January 7, 2012 1:23 am

R.Gates
“Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible…”
So if variability of the climate is totally (or even close to totally) natural, then the climate models are TOTALLY USELESS..
THANK YOU R’GATES… YOU FINALLY UNDERSTAND !!!! YIPEEEEEEEE !!!

John Brookes
January 7, 2012 1:37 am

The post says:
Its all too complicated. We can’t possibly understand it.
R Gates says:
We can model the essential details well enough for it to be useful.
R Gates is right.

Kelvin Vaughan
January 7, 2012 2:04 am

LazyTeenager says:
January 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm
The radiators are not aimed at the floor. So tilt them over a bit. Ensure the carpet is a dark colour, ensure the radiators are a dark colour, raise the temperature of the radiators.
I’ve done that now and they are still not radiating, or if they are the radiation is minute compared to the convection. Do you think it I double the CO2 in my rooms they will start radiating. I can’t increase their temperature as the boiler is working flat out?

tallbloke
January 7, 2012 2:17 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm
Climate models are not meant to prediict natural variabilty, but they can predict what the underlying warming rates will be when natural variability forcing is removed

No they can’t, because the programmers have little clue as to how much natural variability contributed to the late C20th warming during. So the fudging of aerosol and volcanic variables for example will render any model output useless. The other main problem as Nikolov and Zeller and Jelbring point out, is that the programmers fondly imagine that all of the greenhouse effect is down to greenhouse gases and their radiative effect. This is incorrect, it’s mostly due to the compression of the lower atmosphere by gravity. Ira Glickstein has made a fundamental error in assuming the gradient caused will dissipate to surroundings. All the surroundings at a given altitude are subject to the same gravitational compression and heating, so there is nowhere for the effect to dissipate to.
LazyTeenager says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm
thepompousgit says
Sorry LT, you are wrong. A photon has a rest mass of zero. But photons aren’t at rest; they fly hither and thither at the speed of light. If photons were massless, they would be unable to exert pressure.
———
Your right of course, though we typically speak of photons as having momentum and energy rather than mass.

Momentum is a product of mass and velocity. Or it was when I learned classical mechanics. If photons are exempt from classical mechanics I’d like an explicit explanation please.

John Marshall
January 7, 2012 3:30 am

Good post.
The earth is not a sphere with a uniform surface or even a surface of the same material. Every day one hemisphere has completely different heat qualities to the other due to its rotation and the fact that one half, approximately, is water the other land. To state that heat loss/gain at any time can be modeled is a claim too far. To also make assumptions about pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 content to be lower than today’s is also wrong. They may have been higher, according to measurements in the 1890’s they certainly were.
I will stick with Nikolov and Zeller at the moment.

Bill Illis
January 7, 2012 3:55 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm
Bill Illis said:
Regarding the temperature of the Earth without an atmosphere:
“The surface temperature would be -18C in the daytime, approaching -110C within a few seconds of the Sun setting.
—–
Not quite. The daytime temperature near the equator would be more like 130C and the nighttime temperature would fall to -110C within several hours after sunset (assuming no ocean). Cooling of the moon’s suface during lunar eclpises confirms this general rate. The rocks and soil would continue to release stored LW for several hours after the sun went down.
———————
The moon is in sunshine for 327 hours. This allows a tiny, tiny fraction of the solar radiation to accumulate over time in the rocks. Over 327 hours (1 million seconds), the accumulation can add up to a large number. The Earth is in sunshine for only 12.0 hours so its rocks/surface would not warm up so much in the day. So, maybe -10C or something rather than -18C.
Venus, by contrast, rotates very slowly (and backwards), so is in sunshine for 243 days at a time. Now think of how a small, tiny accumulation rate in energy (0.0007 joules/second on Earth) can translate into temperature increases. If the Earth rotated like Venus, the temperatures on the day-side would increase to 1000C (yes thats right) !!!!! Now throw in Venus’ thick atmosphere and strong winds spreading the energy around to the darkside and we can explain Venus temperatures to the T.

Bill Illis
January 7, 2012 4:54 am

Regarding my comments above at January 7, 2012 at 3:55 am, about Venus and being in the Sun, I redid my calculations and the numbers would be more like 470C. By contrast, Venus’ surface temperatures are 460C.

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 5:41 am

Camburn says:
January 6, 2012 at 11:53 pm
Also R. Gates:
The drop of water is never going to get to the edge of the glass as the film function of the water droplet will evaporate before it can make it.
——-
Of course you are making assumptions here about the size of the glass plate, how big the water drop was, relative humidity, etc.
The essential point was that there can be natural and unpredictable variability within an overall trend to allow a model to not be 100% right, but still be useful in looking at the overall trend.

Tim Folkerts
January 7, 2012 6:52 am

Tallbloke says: “If photons are exempt from classical mechanics I’d like an explicit explanation please.”
You need to leave the 1800’s behind and read up on relativity. Pretty much by definition, relativity was the end of “classical physics” and showed that classical physics was incorrect in many fundamental ways, including how momentum was defined.

Babsy
January 7, 2012 6:56 am

R. Gates says:
January 7, 2012 at 5:41 am
When I was a kid I used to assemble model cars, airplanes, etc. I once made a dimensionally correct model of an uncle’s house. Know what? I coludn’t drive, fly, or live in any of them.

tallbloke
January 7, 2012 7:11 am

Tim Folkerts says:
January 7, 2012 at 6:52 am
Tallbloke says: “If photons are exempt from classical mechanics I’d like an explicit explanation please.”
You need to leave the 1800′s behind and read up on relativity. Pretty much by definition, relativity was the end of “classical physics” and showed that classical physics was incorrect in many fundamental ways, including how momentum was defined.

How does Einstein define the momenta of photons Tim?
The waving of hands around general statements doen’t cut it with me I’m afraid. In engineering, you have to have definitions. Please don’t think I’m trying to put you on the spot. You can always just say:
“I don’t know”

ferd berple
January 7, 2012 7:19 am

jjthoms says:
January 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm
An error of 1.8% – i.e. an error bot not gross
An error of 1.8% in surface radiation exceeds the total amount of radiation attributed to CO2.
It explains why the climate models have done such a poor job of prediction outside of a very narrow span of time from 1975-1995, when natural variability happened to coincide with the magnitude of the error.

Camburn
January 7, 2012 7:28 am

Concerning models in the IPCC reports, I think this says it all:
http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2012/01/don-miss-this-devastating-criticism-of.html

Ron R
January 7, 2012 7:42 am

R Gates Jan 6, 2012 9:28 AM
“Models don’t have to be 100% accurate to be useful. ”
What % accurate are the computer models that you use?

ferd berple
January 7, 2012 7:55 am

tallbloke says:
January 7, 2012 at 7:11 am
How does Einstein define the momenta of photons Tim?
Einstein’s insight was that the energy of light was not a product of its intensity, rather its wavelength. Something that is completely overlooked by climate science in its discussion of W/m2, which ignores wavelength when computing climatic effects.
For example the climatic effects of Solar UV variability on Ozone production have been completely overlooked, in favor of securing patent advantage. As a result of the CFC disinformation campaign even to this day large numbers of people believe the Ozone hole is a result of human activity such as hairspray and air-conditioners.
Yet polar vortexes (holes) are routinely observed on planets and moons that have no humans. It is the cold air descending though the vortex that scrubs the poles of ozone and transfers if to the lower latitudes, greatly affecting the earth’s climate. The effect is most pronounced at the south pole in winter, where temperature extremes are the greatest.
Regulation and DuPont
In 1978 the United States banned the use of CFCs such as Freon in aerosol cans, the beginning of a long series of regulatory actions against their use. The critical DuPont manufacturing patent for Freon (“Process for Fluorinating Halohydrocarbons”, U.S. Patent #3258500) was set to expire in 1979.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorofluorocarbon

jjthom
January 7, 2012 8:01 am

ferd berple says: January 7, 2012 at 7:19 am
An error of 1.8% in surface radiation exceeds the total amount of radiation attributed to CO2
========
Good grief. I was just pointing out that your sums were wrong (they give 100% error at +-15C.
I think 30K diff night to day is extreme – so the actual error is much less!!!!!!

Tim Folkerts
January 7, 2012 8:04 am

Tallbloke asks “How does Einstein define the momenta of photons Tim?”
E^2 = p^2 c^2 + m^2 c^4
so for a particle with no mass, p = E/c = hf/c.
(For particles with mass at rest, this equation instead becomes the famous “E=mc^2”)
Beyond that, I’m afraid people must google “relativistic momentum” and/or dig a lot deeper to start to understand relativity.

Latitude
January 7, 2012 8:08 am

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm
Climate models are not meant to prediict natural variabilty, but they can predict what the underlying warming rates will be when natural variability forcing is removed, so to answer your question– none have “predicted” these specifics as none are meant to.
==============================================================
Gates, if computer games can not predict natural variability, then they have no knowledge of it….
..if that’s the case, then computer games can not differentiate what is natural variability and CO2 .
We have spent this much time and money on computer games that can do what any child can do…and that’s just extend a trend line
….if this trend continues

Tim Folkerts
January 7, 2012 8:10 am

As a physicist myself, I love the approach of looking at the basic principles and considering the major factors. And I agree with most of what was said by Dr Brown.
I have one subtle but important reservation about the analysis that is summed up in the innocuous statement “Basically, given T = 288, …. “
The analysis has been all about radiation balance. The one most fundamental equation in the post is the first he presents:

P = (4\pi R^2)\epsilon\sigma T^4

With earth’s current albedo, it is easy to show that a uniform temperature of ~ 255 K would be required to radiate sufficient power to maintain radiative balance. This defines the “effective Temperature”, T_e at the “surface”. The earth receives and average of about 1370 W/m^2 / 4 = 342 W/m^2 from the sun and reflects about 30%, leaving about 240 W/m^2 when averaged over the whole world. This leads to an effective temperature, T_e = 255 K.
How can earth’s surface temperature change from this 255 K value?
1) Redistribution of energy.
As pointed out by Dr Brown, a more realistic earth with temperature variations would be a few degrees cooler. The “effective temperature” would still be T_e = 255 K because the overall radiation balance has not changed , but the “average temperature”, T_avg, would be lower. Changes in atmospheric or ocean circulation could change T_avg a few degrees, so I agree with Dr Brown here.
2) Albedo. A different method that was mentioned would be to change the earth’s albedo. This would be fundamentally different from changing the circulation, since it would change the effective temperature above or below T_e = 255 by changing the amount of energy absorbed by the planet. This also could easily change T_e by a few degrees and hence change T_avg by a few degrees, so for a second time I agree with Dr Brown .
3) GHGs. A third method is to add greenhouse gases (GHGs) = gas molecules that can emit IR radiation. This is fundamentally different from either of the previous two methods. In fact, the author has already admitted the power of GHGs to change the temperature by large amounts through that innocuous statement “Basically, given T = 288, …. “.
GHGs do not change the albedo, and hence do not change the effective temperature from 255 K. What they DO change is the “surface” of the earth, at least as it related to radiation. For every square meter on the earth, some of the outgoing radiation (as seen from space) is coming from CO2, and this radiation comes from high up in the cold atmosphere (see for example http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/10/visualizing-the-greenhouse-effect-emission-spectra/ for some typical data). To compensate, every square meter on the earth must have some parts that are well above 255 K. In other words, the ground level must be well above 255 K.
———————————————————
Dr Brown said “I would argue that this is absurd — there is basically no way in hell doubling CO_2 (to a concentration that is still < 0.1%) is going to alter the radiative energy balance of the Earth by 10%. “
I would go even further and say there is basically no way in hell doubling CO_2 would change the radiative energy balance (of the earth as a whole) by even 1% (because is does not change the albedo)! But what it can do is change where that energy comes from, forcing some of the radiation to come from very cold places (~ 220 K upper atmosphere) and consequently some of it to come from warm places (~ 288 K surface) to compensate.

ferd berple
January 7, 2012 8:13 am

R. Gates says:
January 7, 2012 at 5:41 am
The essential point was that there can be natural and unpredictable variability within an overall trend to allow a model to not be 100% right, but still be useful in looking at the overall trend.
You are rationalizing. What the models show is that there is HUGE natural variability. Each run of the models generates a different result which points to this variability. In fact, it screams natural variability. Why? Because the earth itself is a full-sized model. And if you ran the identical earth two times, each time it would have a different climate.
However, Climate Science ignores this. What they do is average the models to create an ensemble which eliminates the natural variability. They then present this average as a prediction of what will actually happen.
It is garbage science of the worst kind. What the models actually show is that there is a very wide range of climate possibilities, regardless of human activity. As they try and increase the resolution of the models, this variability increases.
What the models show is that climate change is the natural order of the world. That the “predictability” of climate models is a result of averaging inside the models to allow for computational problems in handling large amounts of data (the average temperature of the earth problem).
What the models show is that as you increase computer horsepower to increase model resolution, the models show increasing natural variability not less. The models are screaming natural variability. Climate Science is screaming “humans are the cause”. So, the models are averaged to eliminate the natural variability in the models.

major9985
January 7, 2012 8:30 am

If you want to claim that CO2 did not play a part in all these temperature changes, then you need to read these scientific papers and email them your reasons why they are wrong.
“GEOCARB III: A REVISED MODEL OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 OVER PHANEROZOIC TIME” ROBERT A. BERNER (http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~ajs/2001/Feb/qn020100182.pdf).
“CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate” — D. Royer et al, GSA Today, March 2004 (http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/GSA_Today.pdf)
“CO2 forced climate thresholds during the phanerozoic”, Dana L. Royer 2005 (http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf)
“Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature”, Andrew A. Lacis, Gavin A. Schmidt, David Rind and Reto A. Ruedy, 2010 (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract)

ferd berple
January 7, 2012 8:43 am

jjthom says:
January 7, 2012 at 8:01 am
I think 30K diff night to day is extreme – so the actual error is much less!!!!!!
The difference between the equator and the poles exceeds 30K almost continually, which makes the error much greater. Add to this, seasonal variations which exceed 30K in many locations outside the tropics.
The fact remains. Climate Science has made a fundamental error in averaging temperatures to compute an energy budget. A correct calculation requires that radiation be computed before temperatures are averaged. The magnitude of this error exceeds that warming calculated for CO2.

January 7, 2012 9:10 am

Well, heck, I certainly never expected this response to what was just supposed to point out that any models that assume that Stefan-Boltzmann based reasoning with a presumed constant/average temperature would make a systematic error biased towards less cooling than really occurs, all other things being equal.
a) this wasn’t intended to be a model. Sure, if you take this and dress it up and turn it into a really big computer program (one that is indeed suitable for running on a good old beowulf:-) you could do a calculation with it. You could then make a lot of assumptions — assumptions about the insolation, the albedo, the exact feedback produced by water, the upwelling, the effect of the ocean and it’s thermal cycle with it’s many time scales, and the precise layout and shape of the continents. If your model didn’t have all of that in it, and correct, then it is pretty unlikely that a hydrodynamic computation — presuming one could do one at all, even with a beowulf — would (for example) spontaneously discover the ENSO, PDO, NAO, AO, etc. with all of the correct periods and with all of the correct feedbacks and couplings to (still unmodeled) solar state.
Is this a problem? In a chaotic system it is. Visit this site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory
and take a peak at the two figures on Lorentz Attractors and the bifurcation diagram just below it. Then visit the shorter article here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organized_criticality
I would assert that it is perfectly obvious that the Earth’s climate system — not its weather, its climate — is a very large SOC system, one with many, many attractors, some of them nearly always critical on at some scale. The many attractors means that it is at least multistable, quite capable of flipping from one predominant mode of oscillation to another. The “self-organized critical” bit means that there are negative feedbacks galore (and some positive ones) and the time evolution of the system can actually push the attractors themselves around.
Multistability is clearly supported by the climate record. It isn’t a picture of simple central limit theorem oscillation, simple negative feedback oscillation around a single fixed mean. It is a picture of flipping to a locally quasistable mean temperature, hanging there for decades to centuries, flipping (fairly rapidly) over to another quasistable mean temperature, staying for a while, flipping again. Even periods of relatively long warming or cooling tend to work by quick jumps followed by stabilization and fluctuation, followed by a quick jump. Bob Tisdale has been hammering this point in his graphs, and of course he is dead right.
The jumps in his graphs are usually well correlated with chaotic events events associated with the named oscillations (which are all, incidentally, named attractors in a generalized phase space), which is why there is an oscillation in the first place). All of this emphasis on “detecting the warming signal” by removing the effects of the oscillations is like removing the cause of the warming signal in order to detect it.
The emphasis on global mean temperature also hides another problem — the global mean isn’t really what matters. What matters is the distribution of global heat. The earth itself can be cooling while the arctic is warming. The tropics could get hotter and the poles could get colder if the earth itself overall was warming. It’s a complex system, self-organizing itself to lose heat by stabilizing a set of coupled oscillations that themselves can move around and appear and disappear, with profound local and global effects on the climate.
b) When I asked the rhetorical question, could we tell what the temperature is supposed to be outside right now I did not mean in the sense of 48.3F at my house. Don’t be silly. What I meant was could you e.g. predict the thirteen month smoothed global mean temperature? Well, no, the GCMs can’t do that with any skill. Can you predict the 11 year smoothed mean temperature? No, GCMs can’t do that with any skill either, certainly not on millennial time scales. Can they explain the LIA, the MWP, or all of the other named periods of heating and cooling on geological time scales? No. Can they predict El Nino — location, strength, period? No. Can they predict solar state and accurately incorporate solar state as an influence in their time evolution. No again. Can they — did they — predict that the stratosphere would have dried out significantly over the last decade so that the greenhouse feedback from the stratosphere would be significantly reduced? I believe that the answer is no again — at least the NASA article that presents the results presents them as a surprise. Do they account for the fact that the 20th century was a Grand Solar Maximum, the most intense century of solar activity since 9000 BCE? I don’t believe that they do, since they assert that solar state is nearly irrelevant to global climate all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
So let me ask the question in a way that is perhaps easier to understand. Do the GCMs have any skill whatsoever in predicting the quantitative time evolution of any of the major structures (climate oscillations) in the non-linear system that self-organizes to lose heat at differential rates under differential forcing, so that they can actually predict — hindcast or forecast, ideally both — the last 2000 years of suitably coarse grain averaged global temperatures?
I don’t think that they can. I don’t think they can at all. Historically, alteration — or even just alternation — of the major climate cycles has had a profound effect on global temperatures, suggesting that there are heat gain and loss mechanisms capable of producing delta-Ts consistent with current observations with periods that range from decades to centuries. We don’t have observational data of any quality, even by proxy, sufficiently reliable to even know what they all are, or may be. If the Gulf Stream ticks a few degrees South every 400 years or so for a period of 100 years, it could drop the Arctic into the freeze box any decade now.
My objection, you see, is to call all of this “settled science”. If and when people are honest with their error bars and uncertainties, “catastrophe” goes from the certainty presented in the public debate to a long shot that isn’t being borne out by the observational data, which stubbornly sticks to levels that, extrapolated, do not lead to any sort of catastrophe. The catastrophe arises from one thing, and one thing alone: A presumed (unproven! unmeasured!), strong, positive climate feedback.
In a self-organized critical chaotic system, such things are always to be feared. As I said, small changes can alter the patterns, the attractors themselves, merging or splitting poincare cycles, causing the system to move from oscillation around one to predominant oscillation around a different one. “Catastrophe” in the sense of mathematical catastrophe theory is always a possibility, and in the climate record happens (remember, these aren’t “human” catastrophes, they are sudden switches between chaotic regimes) catastrophes are the order of business — they happen all the time. They are clearly visible in Tisdale’s data and analysis — things like SST don’t go smoothly up or smoothly down like a differential linearized model would predict, they jump up a little (often pushed by El Nino) and then stabilize or even slowly drop, jump down a little and stabilize. Many, many attractors, and big oscillations carelessly swatting global circulation and oceanic circulation around between them.
Nevertheless, there is more than enough evidence already to reject the extreme values of climate sensitivity that would lead to catastrophic warming in the linearized/smoothed models. The climate scientists themselves recognize this, and say it bluntly in Climategate2. The fact that the global temperature hasn’t cooperated by going up over the last decade plus is a disaster, not for weakly forced anthropogenic global warming (that nearly everybody acknowledges is occurring, I certainly do) but for catastrophic AGW. Sure, something really unexpected could happen, oceanic methane could go bloop, Yellowstone could become active — but the all things equal solutions no longer support catastrophe of the human sort. Seriously, dudes, like stop worrying!
To this one has to add — if one considers the non-linear, self-organized critical chaotic time evolution with all of the correct (self-consistent) contributions from all of the important timescales out to perhaps 1000 years (complete oceanic turnover) and the unknown but compelling evidence that Mr. Sun may not just be a wild card, it may be in the driver’s seat altogether, it is almost as likely that our next climate catastrophe will be catastrophic cooling as it is catastrophic warming. The trend of the Holocene for many thousands of years — very nearly since that last Grand Maximum — has been generally downward, and somewhere out there in climate phase space the set of attractors collectively known as “the next Ice Age” are self-organizing and strengthening. So far, there is a sufficient barrier between warm-state attractors and cold-state attractors — the major climate bifurcation clearly visible in the record — but that barrier is lowering, in response to variable and parameters we are in nearly complete ignorance of.
So from my point of view, what is lacking in the global political discussion of CAGW is simple honesty. This is a hard problem. Calling it “settled science” to advance a political agenda does a disservice to humanity. The actual papers that study climate science often (but not always) do present the uncertainties of their results honestly, but those uncertainties never seem to make it into the AR reports of the IPCC, perhaps because the scientists are currently being told what to put in them before they even get together to go over the science.
Nature, like Honey Badger, just doesn’t care (google up “Honey Badger doesn’t care” and watch the youtube video:-). Neither does the progress of science and technology. Nothing we do with “Carbon Futures” now will have anything like the impact on CO_2 required to prevent catastrophe if egregiously positive feedback is correct. Nothing we do with Carbon Futures now will alter the fact that over the next three decades, economic scarcity will all by itself drive 1/2 to 2/3 of the world’s energy production into non-carbon based sources, or into recycled carbon based sources, which will have the kind of impact required to perhaps avoid catastrophe.
If climate feedback is neutral to negative — as it appears to be given the actual evidence so far — then there is no need to panic. If it is weakly positive, there is no need to panic or take much action beyond supporting the continued development of carbon alternatives — we have plenty of time before catastrophe becomes likely, and plenty of time to take urgent action if it is ever required. Only in the egregious case do we need to be worried, and as I said, the entire climate record stands as evidence that we do not have egregiously positive feedback in the climate system. Even where there are sudden jumps, they are not to be understood from the linearized view of positive feedbackc, but rather from the point of view of appearing and disappearing turbulent rolls, variations in the self-organized chaotic major circulatory oscillations that ultimately and empirically heat and cool the Earth in relatively rapid bursts every few decades, in response to a changing sun and solar system more than any other single thing.
rgb

John Crane
January 7, 2012 9:12 am

Congratulations Antnee!
R.Gates
“Climate models do not predict natural variability, as that is not their intent, nor is it even possible…”
The main reason I chose The Younger Dryas was to put the current alarmism into some perspective. TYD represents roughly 150 times the temperature change per decade that we were experiencing before 1997.
There were events that led to TYD, as was there events and conditions that led to the LIA, MWP and every other natural change. If it were possible to know and understand ALL of the inputs then they would not be Black Swans. While those skills are long way from realization, you ignore natural change at your own peril, as 98% of all the species that ever existed on this planet will attest.
I do agree with you that climate models do not predict natural variability and it was never their intent. The emails make that very clear. Looking back to the mid 90’s and the loss of AGW signal hence, I would say the models don’t even predict Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Climate Disrupting Species Annihilating Ocean Level Rising and Acidification (or whatever the nom du jour is).

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 9:32 am

Fred berple says:
“Why? Because the earth itself is a full-sized model. And if you ran the identical earth two times, time it would have a different climate.”
________
I want to make sure I fully understand what you are implying by this, because if you are saying what I think you are, it highlights a fundamental error that many people make when they think about climate, natural variability, chaotic systems, etc.
I you are suggesting that if we took two identical real Earth’s (identical in every smallest detail), and “let them run”, or exist in some kind of parallel universe’s, that they would end up with different climates because of “natural variability”, then you are absolutely dead wrong. Climate, and the universe is not a random walk, but, does in fact evolve in a most deterministic, yet chaotic way. “Natural variability” does not mean random, but the rather the behavior of complex chaotic system. The gross error that many uneducated make related to chaos is in thinking that is means “random”, when of course, quite the opposite is true. Chaos is a deterministic process. There was an inevitability to the comings and goings of glacial and interglacial cycles based on precise laws of physics. Because we may not understand in every detail those processes, we are understanding enough to see how Milankovitch cycles have been a key initiator.
The fact that chaotic systems are deterministic, leads of course to even greater philosophical questions far beyond climate. Questions which lead to perhaps religious or even spiritual discussions. Other questions are related to free will versus determinism, and ultimately, many may find solace in believing that at least our consciousness may be rooted in quantum events– perhaps even the so-called random fluctuations in the quantum foam of space-time itself where virutal particals come in and out of existence at the small units of time imaginable.

January 7, 2012 9:48 am

Robert Brown says:
January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am
Robert superb post.

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 9:50 am

Robert Brown said:
“All of this emphasis on “detecting the warming signal” by removing the effects of the oscillations is like removing the cause of the warming signal in order to detect it.”
______
This is not what Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 did. They wanted to see what signal was left over when natural fluctuations were removed. Everyone knows that ENSO, volcanoes, solar cycles cause natural fluctuations in temperature, and cerrtainly over a period of time, they will average out to no long-term warming signal. Now, it is true that there could be some other longer-term natural cycle signal that they found, as opposed to the anthropogenic warming signal, and I remain open to this possibility, though currently think it very unlikely as it would have to be something fairly big that has been missed by thousands of researchers looking at the climate.

Ulric Lyons
January 7, 2012 9:50 am

“We cannot predict solar state decades in advance, let alone centuries, and don’t do that well predicting it on a timescale of merely years in advance.”
If I can hindcast at least 90% of monthly anomalies on 350yrs of CET from heliocentric astronomical calculations, then doing so for the next century is fairly straightforward.

Camburn
January 7, 2012 10:00 am

R. Gates @ 9:50:
Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 showed that they do not understand the “chaotic” nature of climate.
They were trying to prove something that everyone who examines the data already knows. WE are, have been, and continue to be in a warming trend since the LIA.
They have ignored the long term implications of the Solar Maximum, to just name one item.
This is an exciteing time to study climate. The results of observations are showing that the current understanding of how the climate functions are not correct. Now that we are finding the errors, much attention must be deployed in understanding why these errors exist, their causes and the effects.

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 10:04 am

And by the way Robert Brown, i did think your long post was very interesting, and as I am not a believer in “catastrophic” global warming in the sense that Earth could become like Venus, I agree with your points, but also having currently on the climate sensitvity to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels of around 3C (not taking into account increases in CH4 and N2O as well), I will be curious to see if and how our abililty to feed billions of people may be affected by these higher temperatures. There may be challenges ahead, or perhaps we will have unwittingly forstalled the net glacial period and ushered in a new golden age using fusion power to bioengineer the Earth into a new Garden of Eden. Either way, the future will be interesting…

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 10:13 am

Camburn says:
January 7, 2012 at 10:00 am
R. Gates @ 9:50:
Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 showed that they do not understand the “chaotic” nature of climate.
They were trying to prove something that everyone who examines the data already knows. WE are, have been, and continue to be in a warming trend since the LIA.
They have ignored the long term implications of the Solar Maximum, to just name one item.
______
Then, perhaps in some skeptics minds, it was just a curious “coincidence” of history that the end of the LIA happen to coincide with the beginning of the industrial revolution, such that the 40% increase in CO2 since 1750 has had no (or very very little effect), and all the warming right up to today has been due to solar and ocean (delay solar) effects?
What then, explains the divergence in solar activity and temperatures since about 1980?

Camburn
January 7, 2012 10:57 am

R. Gates:
It takes a boiling ot awhile to cool down.
One does realize that when even Dr. Masters begins to understand the limitations of climate models that reality is setting in. I applaude him for realizeing this.
http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2010
This post dated Jan 6, 2012 is very upfront.
As I have stated in previous posts Mr. Gates, our current understanding is bearing fruit, in that it is showing what we don’t understand and needs to be robustly studied.
As a producer of food, I take a keen interest in climate science and its validity. The better it gets, the more benificial for all of mankind it will be.
If my posts at SkS are still there, I have already answered the question you posed.

Kevin Kilty
January 7, 2012 11:29 am

R. Gates says:
January 7, 2012 at 10:13 am
Camburn says:
January 7, 2012 at 10:00 am
R. Gates @ 9:50:
Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 showed that they do not understand the “chaotic” nature of climate.
They were trying to prove something that everyone who examines the data already knows. WE are, have been, and continue to be in a warming trend since the LIA.
They have ignored the long term implications of the Solar Maximum, to just name one item.
______
Then, perhaps in some skeptics minds, it was just a curious “coincidence” of history that the end of the LIA happen to coincide with the beginning of the industrial revolution, such that the 40% increase in CO2 since 1750 has had no (or very very little effect), and all the warming right up to today has been due to solar and ocean (delay solar) effects?
What then, explains the divergence in solar activity and temperatures since about 1980?

Gates and Camburn, I would be interested in knowing the date at which the LIA ended. Seriously. Is it not possible that it ended at very different times in different places? Gates points to 1750, which I suppose is a good date for Europe, but a colleague of mine thinks it ended in about 1840 in western North America, based on temperature versus depth in boreholes (I don’t put much faith in accurate history reconstructed from boreholes but that is another story). Maybe the earth emerged from LIA in fits and spurts the world over. If this is true, then there really isn’t a “coincidence” to speak about, is there? On the other hand, could just 50 years of operating a small number of steam engines lead to an increase in Earth temperature resolvable from 250 years away in the future?
Maybe there is no coincidence at all, maybe it is a coincidence, maybe there is cause and effect, but there are several factors at work and CO2 is just one, maybe CO2 is the dominant one. How can we know for sure?

Camburn
January 7, 2012 11:29 am

R. Gates:
Also, as Dr. Masters indicates, there is correlation between the sun and jet streams. This is not understood as of yet, but most deff there.
The loss of Glory 1 was a real blow to climate science, astro science. Hopefully, the lauch of Glory 2 will occur soon. It should be a top priority.

Greg M.
January 7, 2012 11:36 am

Wow. Brainy stuff.
What my less-than-rocket-science experience has taught me, is that this world, with its infinite external and internal influences and reactions to such, will be something that mankind will likely never fully grasp. We don’t know what we don’t know. The physics and mathematical models are great exercise, but my estimation is that any predictability will be simply guessing at what we think we know…and living with the results of those things that we don’t.
Thank God we are built to adapt. 😉
To believe that mankind can predictably change our unpredictable climate, reeks to me of hubris.

Camburn
January 7, 2012 11:43 am

Kevin Kilty@ 11:29
There is no “date” per se that the LIA ended. Consensus is the mid to late 1700’s. As with all climate variables, the increase in temperature is not like a light switch. Areas of the globe can continue to be cool.
North America has not warmed at the same pace as the rest of the world, even during our Current Warm Period. It warmed faster in the early 20th century than the rest of world, so now it is about even with current world wide warming.
CO2 has to be a factor, but as far as being a dominant factor, that is very much in question at this time.

Kevin Kilty
January 7, 2012 11:45 am

major9985 says:
January 7, 2012 at 8:30 am
If you want to claim that CO2 did not play a part in all these temperature changes, then you need to read these scientific papers and email them your reasons why they are wrong.
“GEOCARB III: A REVISED MODEL OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 OVER PHANEROZOIC TIME” ROBERT A. BERNER (http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~ajs/2001/Feb/qn020100182.pdf).
“CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate” — D. Royer et al, GSA Today, March 2004 (http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/GSA_Today.pdf)
“CO2 forced climate thresholds during the phanerozoic”, Dana L. Royer 2005 (http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf)
“Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature”, Andrew A. Lacis, Gavin A. Schmidt, David Rind and Reto A. Ruedy, 2010 (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract)

The last paper in this series that you quote is just an abstract, and often this sort of work is wrong and never gets published.
The timing of ice-ages seems well predicted by changes in the orbital parameters, and orientation of the Earth’s axis. Surely this must have been true in the Phanerozoic to the degree it has been in the Pleistocene, to the extent there is the same variation involved.
I am simply amazed at the extent to which CO2 has become the cause of everything related to climate. One could say, well this is learning in science; or one might wonder if there isn’t a “bandwagon” effect here. Either way, one ought to be able to point to causes preceding effects, and I’m not so sure that there is any way to do this with regard to CO2 levels and climatic shifts. This is a particularly acute problem when there are known positive feedbacks that impact the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere with changing temperature.

Kevin Kilty
January 7, 2012 11:49 am

I retract what I said about citation number 4 in the previous post. I misread it as a meeting abstract, it is the abstract of a paper, but the rest of my post still stands.

Agile Aspect
January 7, 2012 12:06 pm

wayne says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm
Remember, there is no real temperature in such of an example for there is no mass. It takes mass to even define temperature. (but most climate scientist have no problem with it and therefore they are all wrong, sorry)”
;———————————————————————————————————–
You need go to the library and check out a book on modern physics and review Bose-Einstein statistics and Planck’s radiation law. And look up the definition of emissivity while you’re there.
Briefly reading the rest of the post, letting P denote the flux (which has units of Watts/m^2 not to be confused with power)
P=kT^4
where k is a constant (which will drop out latter.) Then
dP= 4k T^3 dT
and
dP/P = 4k dT/T
or
dT/T = 1/4 dP/P
That is, assuming the changes are linear and can be approximated by a differential, then the relative error in the temperature is 1/4 the relative error in flux measurement.
This result should be familiar to people who have passed an undergraduate physics lab.
And the result is INDEPENDENT of the climate model. It only depends upon the functional form of P so you can make up any fairy tale you like to go along with it.
Note, AGW relies on demonizing carbon dioxide and endowing carbon dioxide with magical properties – AGW doesn’t claim the Sun is causing global warming.

Kevin Kilty
January 7, 2012 12:13 pm

Camburn says:
January 7, 2012 at 11:43 am
Kevin Kilty@ 11:29
There is no “date” per se that the LIA ended. Consensus is the mid to late 1700′s. As with all climate variables, the increase in temperature is not like a light switch. Areas of the globe can continue to be cool.
North America has not warmed at the same pace as the rest of the world, even during our Current Warm Period. It warmed faster in the early 20th century than the rest of world, so now it is about even with current world wide warming.
CO2 has to be a factor, but as far as being a dominant factor, that is very much in question at this time.

Thank you for your response to my questions. I agree entirely.

Septic Matthew
January 7, 2012 12:28 pm

Robert Brown says:
January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am
I think that you have highlighted an important problem.

Richard G
January 7, 2012 12:35 pm

Brown says:
January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am >>>>
Another grand slam home run. You have restored my understanding that Duke is still teaching critical thinking.
The earth does not have a single climate regime, it has multiple climate regimes that all oscillate and hunt for equilibrium while colliding with each other.

Agile Aspect
January 7, 2012 12:41 pm

Gary Mount says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm
I am curious to know if the sunlight reflecting off of the moon and striking earth has been taken into consideration.
;———————————————————————————————————————–
The moon has the luminosity of coal so it’s unlikely.

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 12:50 pm

Kevin Kilty:
Your question regarding the end of the LIA is a very good one, but one must then define what they mean by “end”. Is it a return to some average Holcene temperature, or the point at which temperature bottom and started a slow climb back up? If you argue that the point in time that whatever changes in solar forcing, ocean dynamics, volanic activty etc. occured that precipitated the decline in temps from the MWP was the “beginning” of the LIA, (maybe around 1250 AD?), then once those temperatures bottomed and begin to recover, could be considered as the “end” of the LIA. Temperatures were definitely in a recovery mode around 1790, before volcanic activity and the Dalton solar minimum cause a several decades of cooling (aptly noted by Charles Dickens in his books, as he was born during this time). Aftern the Dalton minimum ended, temperatures generally have been proceeding upward, but then of course, by this time period (mid-19th Century) the Industrial revolution was really ramping up, and CO2 levels were beginning to ramp up as well.
It wasn’t until about 1900 that temperatures returned to sort of the Holocene “average” of the past several thousand years, and so you could mark this as the “end” of the LIA if you wanted to take the extreme view. It is my general belief that:
1) Solar and ocean changes (which are just delayed or modulated solar in my mind) both caused the LIA and began the recovery.
2) Solar and ocean changes continued to lead the general “natural variations” in climate until about the mid-20th century when the rapid rise in anthopogenic CO2 became more and more of an influence, and by 1980 or so, it began to dominate the long-term warming.
3) I generally believe that without the additional CO2, we’d probably be looking at at least another Dalton Minimum cooling period with the quiet sun we have right now, but that the additional CO2 is probably inhibiting this cooling to some extent. Also however, we can’t discount the cooling role that anthropogenic aerosols play in countering anthropogenic CO2.

R. Gates
January 7, 2012 1:00 pm

Camburn says:
January 7, 2012 at 11:29 am
R. Gates:
Also, as Dr. Masters indicates, there is correlation between the sun and jet streams. This is not understood as of yet, but most deff there.
_____
I think progress in this area is moving along faster than most realize. The relationship between EUV radiation, ozone, and stratospheric jet streams has progressed to the point that is is quantifiable enough to be put in to global climate models. See:
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n11/full/ngeo1282.html
for example.

Frank K.
January 7, 2012 1:09 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm
Frank K–
“I didn’t know that having direct experience in working with climate models was a requirement to make a comment about them. If that’s the case, then about 99.9% of the comments about climate models need to be removed from WUWT. But I don’t think it is the case, but rather, I think you like to pick on “warmists” like me.”
No, I didn’t mean to pick on you, R. Gates. But you seemed pretty sure of yourself in commenting on the usefulness of climate models. I was just wondering if you had experience with the mathematics, numerical methods, and software design of climate models.
My point is that these models are extremely complex, and most importantly NON-LINEAR. It is therefore extremely important to know: (1) what equations you are attempting to solve, (2) the numerical methods being employed to obtain an approximate solution, and (3) the degree to which you can ascertain the accuracy and stability of your solutions. I have Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, focusing on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for my dissertation, and currently have over 20 years of experience in industrial CFD applications. Even models that I work with that have 10 – 100 million cells are an order of magnitude less complex (physically) than a typical climate model, where large doses of empiricism are required to obtain any kind of solution. My education, intuition, and experience suggests to me that climate models have a long way to go before they can be truly useful. Should we keep funding their development? Sure! But please don’t tell me that the solution of a given climate model is evidence of global warming (or anything else). And, more importantly, please don’t attempt to destroy our economy based on these numerical solutions – if you want society to give up carbon-based energy, then YOU be the first to stop using any petroleum, coal, natural gas energy. Unfortunately, when issue this challenge, the trolls around here slink away, knowing full well they’ll be driving their cars with gasoline and heating their homes with electricity provided by fossil fuels…
PS: Let me know when NCAR goes off the grid…

Camburn
January 7, 2012 1:24 pm

Thank you for the link R. Gates. It is appreciated.

u.k.(us)
January 7, 2012 1:27 pm

Bill Illis says:
January 7, 2012 at 3:55 am
“Now throw in Venus’ thick atmosphere and strong winds spreading the energy around to the darkside and we can explain Venus temperatures to the T.”
=================
I just read……somewhere…… that Venus has no wind.
Was it just more mis-information, or what ?
I always read your comments carefully, but after a bit of research it seems the winds on Venus are rather weak. (at the surface).

Tim Folkerts
January 7, 2012 2:01 pm

u.k.(us)
If you believe Wikipedia ….
“The atmosphere [of Venus] is in a state of vigorous circulation and super-rotation. The whole atmosphere circles the planet in just four Earth days, much faster than the planet’s sidereal day of 243 days. The winds supporting super-rotation blow as fast as 100 m/s (~220 mph or 360 km/h). Winds move at up to 60 times the speed of the planet’s rotation, while Earth’s fastest winds are only 10% to 20% rotation speed. On the other hand, the wind speed becomes increasingly slower as the elevation from the surface decreases, with the breeze barely reaching the speed of 10 km/h on the surface.”

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 3:47 pm

R. Gates says:
January 7, 2012 at 9:32 am
Fred berple says:
“Why? Because the earth itself is a full-sized model. And if you ran the identical earth two times, time it would have a different climate.”
________
I want to make sure I fully understand what you are implying by this, because if you are saying what I think you are, it highlights a fundamental error that many people make when they think about climate, natural variability, chaotic systems, etc.
————————-
I’m with Fred on this to some extent but I would be more precise.
If you had 2 separate earths with nearly identical starting conditions the evolution of the climate over time would be different. But not too different.
The chaotic behavior of the system means that at any time the climates of the 2 earths will not be identical. But physical constraints such as energy will ensure they are not utterly different.
The GCMs should show the same kind of behavior, thus making comparisons difficult and conclusions regarding their reliability fraught with logical fallacies and misconceptions.

January 7, 2012 3:57 pm

This is not what Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 did. They wanted to see what signal was left over when natural fluctuations were removed. Everyone knows that ENSO, volcanoes, solar cycles cause natural fluctuations in temperature, and cerrtainly over a period of time, they will average out to no long-term warming signal.
We’ll have to discuss fitting multivariate nonlinear functions sometime. Especially in systems with substantial covarance, multiple cycles interacting (not just ENSO) and chaotic noise. Especially on a thirty or forty year baseline. Seriously, are you trying to suggest that those results mean anything at all? I spent several years working through fits of different parametric nonlinear forms to data, over and over again, and learned quite well that one can not just sometimes but often, usually, frequently, get whole families of equally good fits with sets of parameters that have wildly different physical interpretations, because if there is covariance, there is more than one way to skin a cat, or get the same signal from very different underlying assumptions.
Also, how in the world could everyone know that ENSO, volcanoes, solar cycles, average out to no long-term warming (or cooling) signal when historically then have done nothing else? That’s precisely what is wrong with the current CAGW theory. A glance at the correct (not MBH, the correct) global (coarse grain) average temperature over the Holocene shows that it has never been constant — it is always going up, going down, and the natural variability of precisely the oscillations, volcanoes, and solar variation matches or exceeds today’s temperature excursion, many times in the past. Sadly, you’re probably correct. Something that “everybody knows” who believes in the religion of CAGW isn’t actually true, and reasoning from false premises of course can lead one to all sorts of false conclusions.
rgb

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 4:08 pm

Kelvin Vaughan says:
January 7, 2012 at 2:04 am
LazyTeenager says:
January 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm
The radiators are not aimed at the floor. So tilt them over a bit. Ensure the carpet is a dark colour, ensure the radiators are a dark colour, raise the temperature of the radiators.
I’ve done that now and they are still not radiating, or if they are the radiation is minute compared to the convection. Do you think it I double the CO2 in my rooms they will start radiating. I can’t increase their temperature as the boiler is working flat out?
————
Sounds like you are using those steam/hot water radiators. They probably don’t radiate much IR and do most of their work by convection.
Suggest unbolting radiator and replumbing it so it lies on floor. Conduction will then heat floor. Even better bolt radiator to chair.
Doubling CO2 will have opposite effect to that desired, though effect too small to be distinguishable in small room. Increasing CO2 will cause rate of radiation to environment to fall, making it cooler, while radiator will get hotter.
Advise against trying to increase CO2 level to high levels as suffocation will result causing death.

Richard G
January 7, 2012 4:11 pm

R. Gates says:
January 7, 2012 at 10:04 am
I will be curious to see if and how our abililty to feed billions of people may be affected by these higher temperatures. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Let me make the following prediction about how our abililty to feed billions of people may be affected by increased CO2 regardless of temperature: It will be enhanced. Lets run some numbers using my back of the envelope super computer model for plant photosynthesis to explore why. Plants synthesize sugar from CO2. I chose glucose, C6 H12 O6.
Starting with atomic weight:
H=1
C=12
O=16
Molecular weight of
glucose=180
CO2=44
Therefore 1Kg of C will produce 3.6Kg of CO2 and 2.5Kg of glucose.
Atmospheric volume by content for CO2 :
@ 300ppm= 6,222 M^3 of air contain 1 Kg of C or 2.5Kg glucose equivalent
@ 400ppm= 4,666 M^3 of air contain 1 Kg of C ”
@ 500ppm= 3,733 M^3 of air contain 1 Kg of C ”
Plants passively scavenge the air for CO2 by opening their stoma and waiting for CO2 to blunder in.
While they wait they lose water from their stoma by evapo-transpiration. The more CO2 is blundering around the more efficiently they can scavenge, the more time they can close their stoma, and the less water they lose. My plants call that a Win Win.
As temperatures go up (expressed in the records as higher T min) the effect will be a lengthened frost free growing season in those areas subject to frost. Win Win.
In areas subject to drought plants will have an increased water use efficiency tolerance to drought. Win Win.
Crop yields have trended up as CO2 has trended up. Coincidence? Proven by experiment.
So cheer up. The Biosphere is a marvelous thing. As to more CO2?… MORE SUGAR!

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 4:43 pm

Tallbloke says
Momentum is a product of mass and velocity. Or it was when I learned classical mechanics. If photons are exempt from classical mechanics I’d like an explicit explanation please.
—————
Tallbloke, Your definition of momentum is not fundamental. Momentum is the measure of how much impact a collision produces or in other words how much the collision changes the motion of another particle. It just happens that momentum can be calculated for material particles from the mass velocity product.
For photons momentum has a different relationship namely moment = Planck constant / wavelength. You can figure out from this what happens to a material particle when a photon collides with it.
You could if you like derive a “mass” from this by applying momentum = mass x velocity but it’s kinda wrong. Relativity and all that.
———-
Expanding on my original objection that temperature is due to mass.
I’ ll reiterate: it’s not.
Temperature is fundamentally related to energy.
Fundamentallty ,at the microscopic level , it is the average KINETIC energy of particles in a randomly moving collection of particles. Mass only comes into this in so far as it relates to energy.
Just to illustrate further, if you have a mixture of gases with two different molecules, say radon and helium, then there is a single well-defined temperature. Mass does not come into it at all. But energy does.
For a physicist to endorse a claim that temperature is related to mass says something. It should make you skeptical.

Bill Illis
January 7, 2012 4:52 pm

u.k.(us) says:
January 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Bill Illis says:
January 7, 2012 at 3:55 am
“Now throw in Venus’ thick atmosphere and strong winds spreading the energy around to the darkside and we can explain Venus temperatures to the T.”
=================
I just read……somewhere…… that Venus has no wind.
Was it just more mis-information, or what ?
I always read your comments carefully, but after a bit of research it seems the winds on Venus are rather weak. (at the surface).
——————————
Some atmospheric layers on Venus have winds of 700 km/hr.
The surface winds are lower because the pressure is so high. At 10 km/hour, 90 bar pressure, that is still a massive movement of mass. AND it is faster than the rotation rate in fact so indeed the energy is being moved to the dark side.

Gary Pearse
January 7, 2012 5:33 pm

R. Gates water drop on the table. You are right about the model getting the direction of the water flow right and that eventually the water will fall off the edge. The trouble is, like the climate models, they assume the tilting of the table, i.e. they observe that the Globe has warmed and so they assume that it must be CO2 – the reason? Because what else could it be! Lets see what else it could be. We observed the water drop flowing westerly across the table, impeded somewhat by all the inter-molecular sticky forces. This would happen if there were an easterly wind. This would happen if there were an extremely powerful magnetic gradient pulling paramagnetic water in a westerly direction. This would happen if CO2 managed to tip the table insignificantly (insufficient to overcome the bonding with the table) in a westerly direction and the wind blew from the east.

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 6:05 pm

pompousgit says.
January 6, 2012 at 2:14
No need to change any rules. The lesson here is that even obeying a simple set of rules, the ant takes us into irreducible (so far) complexity of
————
But you just explained to us that the behavior eventually becomes simple.
————
The “simple” rules quantum physics can predict the behaviour of hydrogen, but beyond that you are in “ant country”.
————-
No. I would say your knowledge of this is 50 years out of date.
————-
The “simple” rules of chemistry can predict the behaviour of only the simplest of biological chemistry. Beyond that, you are in “ant country”.
————-
No. I would say you knowledge of this is 25 years out of date.
————-
Climate depends on the “simple” rules of physics, chemistry and biology. It is well and truly into “ant country”.
————-
False analogy.

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 6:10 pm

AndyG55 says
Raising the height also increases the surface area of the radiating area, by a factor in relation to the sSQUARE of the change in height.
————-
No. It’s by a factor of twice the change in height. Differential calculus you know.

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 6:25 pm

I’m not seeing this as “based on less ice in the Arctic”.
———
I’ll’ defer to you that one.

Bill Illis
January 7, 2012 6:29 pm

major9985 says:
January 7, 2012 at 8:30 am
If you want to claim that CO2 did not play a part in all these temperature changes, then you need to read these scientific papers and email them your reasons why they are wrong.
“GEOCARB III: A REVISED MODEL OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 OVER PHANEROZOIC TIME” ROBERT A. BERNER (http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~ajs/2001/Feb/qn020100182.pdf).
“CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate” — D. Royer et al, GSA Today, March 2004 (http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/GSA_Today.pdf)
“CO2 forced climate thresholds during the phanerozoic”, Dana L. Royer 2005 (http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf)
Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature”, Andrew A. Lacis, Gavin A. Schmidt, David Rind and Reto A. Ruedy, 2010 (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract)
—————————
“GeoCarb III” has CO2 at 4700 ppm 440 Mya, a time when temperatures were about -5C from today.
“CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate” is spectacular in that the actual numbers they used are almost exactly 1.5C per doubling over the entire timeframe yet they say it is almost certainly more than 3.0C per doubling.
“CO2 forced climate thresholds during the phanerozoic” relies on the Paleosol estimates of CO2 which were recently shown to be useless since the seasonal variation in the values are huge.
“Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature”, assumes that CO2 controls 90% of the water vapour when it could easily be the other way around.

LazyTeenager
January 7, 2012 6:50 pm

Tallbloke says
. Ira Glickstein has made a fundamental error in assuming the gradient caused will dissipate to surroundings. All the surroundings at a given altitude are subject to the same gravitational compression and heating, so there is nowhere for the effect to dissipate to.
———–
Tallbloke,I am pretty sure Ira got it right. And Kevin Kilty says similar stuff and Kevin knows what he is talking about better than most here.
The temperature profile in the atmosphere is due to convection and not due to the static pressure per se. There is a lot of confusion around the ideal gas law and adiabatic heating due to changes in gas volume. Compressed at high pressure and compression as a process are being mixed up.
Conservation of energy plays its part in the atmospheric temperature profile. When air rises it gains gravitational energy, which it obtains by taking heat energy out of the gas. When air falls it looses gravitational energy and the loss is converted into thermal energy of the gas. It’s this circulation which sets the temperature profile.
Since rise and fall of air are associated with volume changes the energy changes involved can be inferred from the work done and this brings in the pressure. But the pressure fundamentally is derived from gravity as well.
So all roads lead to gravity and the energy changes associated with it.
In short do not misapply pV = nRT.

George E. Smith;
January 7, 2012 8:30 pm

“”””” wayne says:
January 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm
George E. Smith; says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:00 p “””””
Sorry about so many typos in my post Wayne, but I think you got most of it. By the way, I’m not in disagreement with Prof Brown; merely wanted to point out that the cyclic analysis has been pointed out by many people many times, and that it always results in the cooling rate being higher than that derived from simply averaging the Temperature.
As to the cubic term, that will convert to a term at the fundamental frequency and an overtone at three times the frequency, both of which integrate to zero over a complete cycle.
cos(3a) =3cos(a)-4cos^3(a)

George E. Smith;
January 7, 2012 8:44 pm

Maybe the sign is reversed on that: Cos(3a) = 4cos^3(a) -3cos(a)

kwik
January 8, 2012 2:34 am

Frank K. says:
January 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm
“PS: Let me know when NCAR goes off the grid…”
Thats a good one! Gave me a laugh!
Let us add NOAA, NASA, The White House, Pentagon, yes, ALL the big Government organisations should let us now when they are running permanently on Wind Mills and solar cells.
Of course they can do logging, but only from their own non-subsidised forest, using horses.
Maximum power-output from each horse is…. 1 hp.

An Inquirer
January 8, 2012 7:03 am

Mr. Gates, your statements about modeling are built on several faulty assumptions and presumptions about modeling, but this post will be about just one: you can have useful information about the effect of one variable (call it an independent variable) on the modeled variable (call it the dependent variable) by holding all other variable constant. The presumption that all other variables can be held constant is a heroic and faulty assumption. Consider a Keynesian economic model where Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is directly related to Consumption (C), Investment (I), Government Expenditures (G)and Net Exports (X). The model tells us that by increasing G, and holding all other variable constant, you can increase GDP. But what if the increased borrowing necessitated by increasing G causes interest rates to rise, and that rise in interest rates causes Investment to fall. Thus you have not increased GDP, you have merely shifted the components of GDP. And it can get much worse, what if a huge G stimulus produces such a fear of deficits and future deficits that demand in Investment sector (and maybe in the Consumption sector) stalls, and interest rates actually fall. What if Keynesian economics is the cause of the Liquidity Trap instead of being the solution to it? Since Investment is the route to increased productivity, growth, and wage increases, your increased G could actually have a negative impact on GDP. What if increased G, the impact on the deficit, and the resulting increased in regulations dampen the activity of entrepreneurs who must each year create millions of jobs to offset job losses due to changes in consumer preferences and technological advances? Your increased G could actually lead to job losses.
Of course, there could be problems in a Supply Side model of the economy. What if your tax decrease to stimulate investment and entrepreneurship leads to resentment so that protests cause diversion of resources and destruction of wealth? Or perhaps the propect of tax decreases stimulates individuals and groups to pursue rent-seeking activities which Supply Siders perceive to undermine the health of the economy.
In climate models, what if increased CO2 influences other atmospheric conditions? What if increased CO2 affects plant growth, and that plant growth has more of an impact on land climate than the absorption properties of CO2? What if the increased CO2 causes an increase in algae in the ocean which decreases the opacity of the ocean which causes more of an impact on climate than the absorption properties of CO2?
And the examples could continue on and on. A presumptuous model can cause more harm than good.

January 8, 2012 7:45 am

I have Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, focusing on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for my dissertation, and currently have over 20 years of experience in industrial CFD applications. Even models that I work with that have 10 – 100 million cells are an order of magnitude less complex (physically) than a typical climate model, where large doses of empiricism are required to obtain any kind of solution. My education, intuition, and experience suggests to me that climate models have a long way to go before they can be truly useful. Should we keep funding their development? Sure! But please don’t tell me that the solution of a given climate model is evidence of global warming (or anything else). And, more importantly, please don’t attempt to destroy our economy based on these numerical solutions
Beautifully said, sir, and I agree. The Navier-Stokes equation all by itself is a marvel of complexity so great that several of its formal mathematical properties have yet to be proven, and that’s before you add in the additional complexity of the land and radiation and a whole different coupled NS equation describing the ocean, all with time scales ranging from hours to order of tens of centuries (plus whatever unknown timescales modulate the Sun and possibly even Galactic state) and in the very milieu where it was discovered that the solutions are sensitive all the way down to the smallest length scales (butterfly effect). This is a hard problem, not settled science. Remove just those two words from the public debate — honestly acknowledge the uncertainties, honestly acknowledge the fact that the upper reaches of possible climate sensitivity are already solidly contradicted by the data, and:
a) The “Catastrophe” disappears. We have modest AGW of perhaps 1C over the next century, if we don’t slip into cooling, following the return of the sun not even to a Grand Minimum but simply back to normal after the 11,000 year Grand Maximum of the 20th century. It will take another 20 years — at least one more solar cycle and the rest of this one — for the Earth’s climate system to regress back towards its “normal” behavior from when the Sun is doing Grand Max or Grand Min stuff — timescale clearly visible in the climate record, at least two full solar cycles and a long tail because this still doesn’t equilibrate the longer period oscillations.
b) The political motivation for the IPCC and all the silly, expensive measures designed to urgently “control” CO_2 as if it were a pollutant goes away. There’s no need to panic. In fact, there’s little need to “do” anything at all, beyond simple things like continue to fund aggressive development of solar and fusion technologies (which we should do in any event as part of planning for a steady state world civilization that cannot rely on finite fuel resources) and continue to develop fuel efficient energy sources (cars and so on) where we can, simply because buying gas for my 45 miles per gallon Prius beats the hell out of buying gas for my 13 mile per gallon Excursion (yes, I have both:-).
Peak Oil is very controversial, and may or may not ever occur, but one thing that damn sure has occurred and is occurring is deliberate global manipulation of supply to ensure the highest possible prices for gasoline and the consequent highest possible profits for the entire gasoline production chain. The progress of our economy is tightly tied to the cost of energy. When the supply is manipulated (and easily manipulable!) by forces and multinational agents over whom we have little control, our entire lifestyle is vulnerable. Getting off of oil (and sure, ensuring an adequate domestic supply) is a matter of national security as well as sheer common sense. The recession several years ago was triggered in part by spiralling oil prices that rose faster than personal incomes could accommodate them (as well as my several other proximate factors that were probably more important). You can almost watch the market today (and over the last 20+ years) move in counterpoint to oil prices as Iran plays games with the the Straits of Hormuz, as Libya and Egypt have revolutions, as Kuwait and/or Iraq go offline due to wars, as OPEC manipulates the supply.
So here’s my solution to the CAGW problem. Do nothing. It is a non-problem. It is not unlike using the (true) assertion that CRT-based TV screens cause cancer and cataracts would have been twenty years ago, to push the political agenda of taxing CRT production and utilization. Piffle — first of all the effect is small, second it is partly ameliorated by lead in the screens (itself undesirable sure, it’s an imperfect world) but — do nothing and wait a bit, and behold — no CRT based TV screens are left in the known universe because they have been supplanted by a newer, better technology. Taxing CRTs in the meantime would have served no useful purpose save crippling our entire economy.
The government did not sit by idle, by the way. I know for a fact that the government funded a huge amount of the research that led to flatscreen technologies. My primary colleague in the physics department for 25 years was also an ARO research directory and he personally funded some of it, including some of the very first work done in that direction. Our government can make a difference with sensible investment, but not if we are creating an entire absurd international shadow economy around carbon.
Here’s a suggestion for the UN. Forget the carbon tax and carbon trading. Make your point up front. To reduce the global instability of the world (and hence reduce the chances of war, the UN mission) three things must happen:
a) The gap between the third world and the first world must continue to narrow. People trapped in a hopeless cycle of poverty and oppression are willing to fight to improve their lot (reasonably, actually). People who are comfortably well off and who have hope for the future are not.
b) The education gap worldwide must be narrowed. The Internet is working miracles in this regard, but it absolutely needs help. Educated people can remake the economies of their own countries, and engagement in a global society reduces the kind of isolationist gap that leads to nationalism and warmongering. It’s hard to hate a culture when you watch its TV shows, listen to its music, blog and chat with its people. The information bazaar is perhaps the greatest force for peace the world has ever seen.
c) Tyrants must be actively opposed. Sorry world, but kings and dictators are so 20th century. A free, democratic country is very unlikely to go to war against another free, democratic country. In fact, thinking back on it I can’t recall a major case of it happening in the last 100 years, perhaps longer. Free countries are natural allies, and are natural trading partners. Even sort of free countries like China are relatively unlikely to go to war. Democratic societies need to be willing to set limits — as they did during the Arab Spring uprisings — and take multilateral action to support the gradual attrition of the handful of remaining nonfree governments.
Re a), it absolutely helps to extend a helping hand and help build up the economies of third world countries, give them a leg up to the first world. I grew up in India because my father worked for Ford Foundation. The Ford and Rockefeller foundation, US AID, and a few other organizations played a key role in the Green Revolution in India that took a country in which millions of people starved to death in droughts in the early 20th century and made it into a food exporting country, which it remains today. In the meantime, India has lifted itself up where only the weight of its population is keeping it from being a full member of the first world.
If the UN wants tax money from me, I’m not completely unwilling. But I want to see that money laid out honestly — targeted on a), b), and c) above. This is the really absurd thing about IPCC and the kind of money that is being kicked around. It is tens to hundreds of billions of dollars! A tenth of that, spent wisely, would make a huge difference in the real lives of real people. It would prevent starvation, break the cycle of poverty, uplift people with education to where they can build not only democratic government but local prosperity in a balanced economy. Spending it limiting CO_2 production instead is an absolute travesty. It is shameful. It is despicable.
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I too am in the nonlinear modeling game, albeit in a very different regime, and stand in awe of attempts to model

January 8, 2012 7:53 am

Oops, sorry, left a tag at the end then from the cut and paste, and a spurious “my” in the text above. A modest suggestion to Anthony and the moderators. You might one day take a peek at the interface of Goodreads or even Slashdot. They both have the “preview post” functionality that would let people fix things before they post. If it is there in this interface, I don’t see it.
[Reply] Unfortunately there is no preview on wordpress. I’ll fix the typos when i have a moment. TB – mod

January 8, 2012 8:18 am

If you had 2 separate earths with nearly identical starting conditions the evolution of the climate over time would be different. But not too different.
This is precisely where you are mistaken. You obviously do not understand bistability and hysteresis at all, and if you understand chaotic systems with poincare attractors, you understand them very poorly, sir.
I, on the other hand, have published papers studying bistable systems in detail. Open systems can very, very easily have two or more completely distinct modes both of which are locally stable and both of which are in energy balance. Your remark is an example of how the entire warmist crowd linearizes the hell out of everything.
And at the same time, they don’t! All of the FUD concerning “tipping points” is exactly what? Concern that we can “suddenly” flip over to a much warmer state.
The Earth is — as I’ve pointed out — not just bistable, it is multistable. In fact, it is so multistable that the climate itself probably is rather chaotic. Yes, there are physical bounds beyond which the Earth cannot be driven and remain in energy balance, but again sir, look at the thermal record of the Earth!. Those bounds have at least two distinct major attractors — cold phase ice age and warm phase interglacial. They are separated by some 5-10C, and are clearly hysteretic — cold phase is locally stable against brief warmings because of the vast mass of high-albedo glaciation, and warm phase is locally stable against brief coolings because it takes time to build up glacial mass. There is a fractal scheme of multistable variation around locally stable conditions visible within the cold phase and warm phase attractors, where the average global temperature jumps up or down by order of 2C around an ill-defined “mean”. The current warm excursion — clearly correlated with an 11,000 year Grand Solar Maximum not unlike the one that began the Holocene — is well within the range of normal multistable variation in the warm phase, and even a cursory glance at e.g. Tisdale’s SST data and analysis reveals the strong coupling between oscillation peaks and shifts to new attractor combinations.
What you are saying is true only if you don’t advance the timeseries very far! In fact, only if you don’t advance it far enough for the first Lyupanov exponent to split off the behavior significantly. Which is, incidentally, precisely why the GCMs have no skill — they do all right for next year, or two years from now, because the weather today is probably going to be like the weather yesterday, the climate next year is probably going to be like the climate this year; one can linearly extrapolate current trends on even a nonlinear function for a while. But then all of those nasty causal effects that your model left out or didn’t initialize correctly, all of those ignored butterfly wingbeats start to add up.
Interestingly, GCMs often try to get around this problem by running ensembles to get an idea of the accessible downstream phase space, and then average over the ensemble to make their predictions (with some sort of “error bar” estimate). To the extent that these fail of five year, ten year, twenty year predictions, it means that they are very probably leaving out important physics. And none of them, ensemble or otherwise, could be initialized with data in the 1800s and predict the evolution of climate through today with the slightest bit of skill, or take the data today and run the models backwards to hindcast the temperature in the LIA.
Why not simply acknowledge this, instead of defending the indefensible? GCMs are not “worthless” — they are wonderful things to work on, and perhaps one day they will start to have long range predictive value, but one has only to look at e.g. Hansen’s papers and the alarmist predictions over the years to see that the actual climate has long since deviated from those predictions. I’m still waiting for warmist papers to be published that honestly acknowledge that the 5C outer bounds of climate sensitivity are at this point absurdly contradicted by the actual data, and that perhaps 2C is an upper bound — not terribly likely, but perhaps 10% likely — at this point, with 1C or less the most likely.
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January 8, 2012 8:28 am

For a physicist to endorse a claim that temperature is related to mass says something. It should make you skeptical.
You mean, for a physicist to assert something like:
U = 1/2 m _avg = 1/2 kT
for the internal energy of particles in a gas, which is (incidentally) the defining relation for temperature via the equipartition theorem? For somebody to assert that temperature is not related to mass should make you very skeptical. Molar heat capacity, anyone?
Not that I completely disagree with your point, by the way — it all depends on context, and IIRC the context you are referring to is one where I had doubts as well. But let’s not overreach with our arguments, shall we?
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January 8, 2012 8:33 am

BTW, in the previous section I was referring to a “1D” gas and something happened to the “v”, and “^2” — I’ll try again for a 3d gas and see if I can figure out what ate the characters:
U = 3/2 m v-squared-average = 3/2 kT
where k is Boltzmann’s constant, T is the temperature in degrees absolute, and U is the internal average kinetic energy of a monatomic gas at thermal equilibrium. Note well the prominent role of “m”.
Incidentally, this is (in part) why low-E windows are filled with Argon gas instead of air, or worse, Helium. Not only does mass matter in temperature, mass matters — a great deal — in macroscopic heat transport. You can look the physics up on the web at your convenience.
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January 8, 2012 8:37 am

Damn, I wish I had an editor that worked on old posts. “average kinetic energy PER MOLECULE”… multiply by N to get the total for the gas, massage in straightforward ways to get PV = NkT, our old friend the ideal gas law. We can continue intro level thermo (which I teach) at your convenience. Of course this problem is not intro level thermo. As I keep saying and will say again, it is a hard problem, not settled science. Even CAGW could be true, it is just far, far from proven or the most reasonable extrapolation of the data so far.
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January 8, 2012 9:04 am

The temperature profile in the atmosphere is due to convection and not due to the static pressure per se. There is a lot of confusion around the ideal gas law and adiabatic heating due to changes in gas volume. Compressed at high pressure and compression as a process are being mixed up.
Conservation of energy plays its part in the atmospheric temperature profile. When air rises it gains gravitational energy, which it obtains by taking heat energy out of the gas. When air falls it looses gravitational energy and the loss is converted into thermal energy of the gas. It’s this circulation which sets the temperature profile.
Since rise and fall of air are associated with volume changes the energy changes involved can be inferred from the work done and this brings in the pressure. But the pressure fundamentally is derived from gravity as well.
So all roads lead to gravity and the energy changes associated with it.
In short do not misapply pV = nRT.

This I partly agree with. Yes to temperature profile and convection — you could easily have a gas with a uniform temperature and a pressure gradient. No to conservation of energy and heat. The first law balances heat, internal energy, and work, and one has to account for work done not just by gravity but by/on the surrounding air, and it is not a closed system so it isn’t really adiabatic while all of this is going on. Rising air in sunlight is continuously heated as it is rising, for example. Finally, you are misrepresenting the force that pushes up the warmer air — it is just Archimedes Principle — buoyance force. Just as a fishing bobber doesn’t change temperature as it rises to the surface of the water, there is no necessary relationship between gravity, uplifting air masses, and work being done by gravity altering the temperature of the air mass.
All summing up to — it is more complicated than all of this, which is why God invented Navier-Stokes for describing the thermal physics of fluids. Everybody seems to want to oversimplify this problem, so it is probably worth putting an actual link to the wikipedia page into this thread:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navier%E2%80%93Stokes_equations
Read it and weep. This is not quite the proper framework for evaluating the time evolution of the atmosphere. That is, it is the starting point — the atmosphere is much more complicated. And y’know? We can’t even solve the NS equation. Check out the Hopf fibration at the bottom, BTW, that’s a very simple example of the kind of complexity that can arise in 3d systems under the simple, symmetric forms of the NS equation.
Let me say it one final time:
This is a Hard Problem_tm, not settled science. Anybody that tells you otherwise is selling something. And that goes both ways — skeptics need to be aware that CAGW could be right! IMO it probably is not — and the data suggests no need to panic and as I’ve pointed out above, there is almost certainly time for the “CO_2 problem” to resolve itself if we do nothing, driven by pure economics and advances in physics (and in the meantime, there are better ways to spend our money than trying to “sequester” CO_2 or transfer “Carbon Taxes” to China).
Either way, as I noted above I agree that it isn’t just PV = NkT that is responsible for the thermal profile or equilibrium temperature of planets, although it is also quite true that a system with more atmospheric mass will have a higher heat capacity in that mass and will respond very differently to forcings compared to an atmosphere (like Mars) with less mass. And ditto the presence of an ocean with an enormous heat capacity will make a big difference as well. So it wouldn’t be completely crazy to find that there are certain ways where temperature does corrrelate with the mass density of the atmosphere.
Look at the problem of e.g. understanding Jupiter’s atmosphere, which radiates more energy than it receives. Look at the other gas giants, look at Venus. Do you think that we understand all of this yet?
Did I mention that this was a hard problem?
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Richard G
January 8, 2012 12:16 pm

Robert Brown says:
January 8, 2012 at 8:18 am
If you had 2 separate earths with nearly identical starting conditions the evolution of the climate over time would be different. But not too different.>>>
This is precisely where you are mistaken. You obviously do not understand bistability and hysteresis at all, and if you understand chaotic systems with poincare attractors, you understand them very poorly, sir. >>>>
Is it fair to say that the two systems would oscillate within the same parameters but the probability of them being synchronized is nil?
Thanks for bringing your expertise to the forum. Extremely edifying and enjoyable.

douieh
January 8, 2012 12:23 pm

Dr. Robert Brown
PS. yes, you get the point across quite well that this is not a simple problem 🙂

Keith
January 8, 2012 4:56 pm

R. Gates says:
January 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm
Keith says:
January 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm
So, R Gates, which model do you work on at the NCAR? How well has it predicted global and regional surface air and sea temperatures over the last 15 years? How about tropical upper tropospheric temps? Rainfall?
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Climate models are not meant to prediict natural variabilty, but they can predict what the underlying warming rates will be when natural variability forcing is removed, so to answer your question– none have “predicted” these specifics as none are meant to.

Y’see, here in a nutshell is the problem I (and I suspect some others) have with climate models as they stand and the reliance placed upon them. It’s a massive exercise in false confidence and precision.
We don’t know what factors affect our climate. Some modellers have hypothesised that they know the main ones and that, by stripping out the ‘natural’ effects and doing a bit of curve-fitting, think they can get good results. Frankly, they’re kidding themselves and everyone else. As you say later, there’s not really such a thing as natural variability if that is meant to mean true randomness. What we should mean by it is the physical, chemical and biological processes at play that are independent of humanity’s suspected influences. These should have a preHow can we “predict what the underlying warming rates will be when natural variability forcing is removed” when we can’t really say with any confidence that we know the value, sign, or existence of every natural variability forcing? How can the resultant projections be said to reflect anything approaching reality?
Additionally, we don’t know the effects of inter-dependency between all known, suspected and unknown variables and their interrelated feedbacks. Modellers can’t just remove natural variability forcing as though it’s that easily compartmentalised, never mind that easily identifiable. Do we know every way in which the sun affects our climate? Cloudiness (at high/low altitudes, at high/low latitudes), photosynthesis —> evapotranspiration —> atmospheric water vapour levels, ozone formation and destruction, oceanic heat storage and release, jet circulation, differential air pressure at various altitudes, etc, etc? Do we know how CO2 affects everything else? Do we know how everything else affects CO2? And that;s just the start. Do we understand all short, medium and long-term cycles enough to write off the short-term ones as noise and to quantify and strip out the effects of medium and long-term cycles? Do we know that we’ve got the main factors covered, or do we just think that an approximate fit, given a favourable interpretation, over a very short period of time, with frankly unknowable confidence limits and error bars (despite best endeavours) is good enough to pronounce as settled science?
It’ll be great when we’re finally in a position to know, understand and predict our global and regional climate. We’re still a long way off. We may get there in the decades and centuries to come, or we may never get there. If we do, we may still have precious little influence over it. It seems that an unseemly political imperative is driving modellers to prescribe false confidence to their work at far too early a stage in the process.

January 8, 2012 5:18 pm

It is a total waste of time for both sides.
Those who say they know other things are just the flip side.
No one knows nor will they/we/others know for a long long time if ever.
Time to be productive on the real problems of man kind.
Much misdirection of time and energy going on with this.

eyesonu
January 8, 2012 6:44 pm

Excellent article.
I have now read and reread this article several times and the discussion from the previous article that I believe was a comment within. Not sure as a lot of info has been absorbed. Mental fusion?
Thank you WUWT for bringing the most intelligent discussions to light.
I will now read the comments above which may cause mental confusion..

Theo Goodwin
January 8, 2012 9:27 pm

Wonderful article, Dr. Brown. You make a good skeptic.

Theo Goodwin
January 8, 2012 9:30 pm

Keith says:
January 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Well said.

Theo Goodwin
January 8, 2012 9:45 pm

R. Gates says:
January 7, 2012 at 10:13 am
“Then, perhaps in some skeptics minds, it was just a curious “coincidence” of history that the end of the LIA happen to coincide with the beginning of