Another IPCC AR5 reviewer speaks out: no trend in global water vapor

New global water vapor findings contradict second draft of IPCC Assessment Report 5 (AR5)

Guest post by Forrest M. Mims III

I was an “expert reviewer” for the first and second order drafts of the 2013 Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 5 (AR5). The names and reviews of all the reviewers will be posted online when the final report is released. Meanwhile, reviewers are required to not publish the draft report. However, the entire second draft report was leaked on December 13, 2012, without IPCC permission and has subsequently received wide publicity.

My review mainly concerns the role of water vapor, a key component of global climate models. A special concern is that a new paper on a major global water vapor study (NVAP-M) needs to be cited in the final draft of AR5.

This study shows no up or down trend in global water vapor, a finding of major significance that differs with studies cited in AR5. Climate modelers assume that water vapor, the principle greenhouse gas, will increase with carbon dioxide, but the NVAP-M study shows this has not occurred. Carbon dioxide has continued to increase, but global water vapor has not. Today (December 14, 2012) I asked a prominent climate scientist if I should release my review early in view of the release of the entire second draft report.

He suggested that I do so, and links to the official IPCC spreadsheet version and a Word version of my review are now posted near the top of my homepage at www.forrestmims.org.

The official IPCC spreadsheet version of my review is here. A Word version is here.

A PDF version (prepared by Anthony from the Word version) is here: Mims_IPCC_AR5_SOD_Review

A relevant passage from the AR5 review by Mimms (added by Anthony):

The obvious concern to this reviewer, who has measured total column water vapor for 22.5 years, is the absence of any mention of the 2012 NVAP-M paper. This paper concludes,

“Therefore, at this time, we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data.”

Non-specialist readers must be made aware of this finding and that it is at odds with some earlier papers. Many cited papers in AR5 have yet to be published, but the first NVAP-M paper was published earlier this year (after the FOD reviews) and is definitely worthy of citation: Thomas H. Vonder Haar, Janice L. Bytheway and John M. Forsythe. Weather and climate analyses using improved global water vapor observations. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L15802, 6 PP., 2012. doi:10.1029/2012GL052094.

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Did you just talk about fight club?
Thank you for the extra reading, it’s been a busy couple of nights 🙂 And thank you for speaking out, helping to bring progress to the debate.

Well… Thanks for letting us know what you found.
Does this end the “water vapor amplification” mantra? One can only hope…

DRE

This from the guy who taught me to play with electronics.

Andrew

We have plenty of professional scientists and researchers on this blog. There are also a huge number of people like me, educated to BSc (Hons) degree level, who struggle with the basic alarmist argument that the earth is heated to a staggering degree by a trace atmospheric gas.
For me, I stick to the basics. There is no way known to thermodynamics that a cooler object (like the atmosphere) can cause net warming to a hotter object (like the surface of the earth), regardless of any lower-order energy exchanges which may be occurring (like CO2 resonance to terrestrial long wave radiation at about 15 microns).
My question is, are there any attorneys, lawyers, or barristers on this blog that can bring this ruinously expensive scam to a prosecution against an individual, or a group of people, a publicly or privately funded body, or a government minister or adviser in a leadership role?
I want them to stop frightening the kids and I want my ‘kin money back.

Most people believe the CO2 alone is the cause of projected warming. They do not understand that even the IPCC does not clearly claim that. They claim that CO2 causes the initial warming which triggers more evaporation, more water vapor (and methane from melting ice). They then say that water vapor could be a positive or negative feedback, but their models mostly use water vapor as a positive feedback. Satellites from Spencer could not find the “hot spot” in the atmosphere from increases in global temperatures. That is, if warming was caused by greenhouse gases, then the extra warming should be from more heat entering than leaving the troposphere. Spencer concluded, based on my understanding, that there was no evidence of an increased greenhouse effect. Essentially, as the earth warmed, it radiated a proportional amount of excess heat out. The warming must be coming from natural sources… i.e. it was not trapped within the atmosphere.

Bill Marsh

To me, the more disturbing part of this post is the following admission, “Many cited papers in AR5 have yet to be published”. Excuse me? How can any organization even hope to claim scientific validity if they rely on papers that have not been published (meaning they’ve completed the review process, such as it is in Climate Science)?
I’m sorry, that’s very much like using Fleisman/Pons ‘Cold Fusion’ ‘paper’ (which hadn’t been published and subsequently never was because the review process exposed it for the rubbish it turned out to be) to justify a massive national effort to crash build billions of dollars worth of ‘cold fusion power plants’. Wouldn’t we have ended up looking a little bit stupid if we did that?

Bill Marsh: I’m a non-scientist and I have to say that this aspect, not just of the IPCC, but the entire global temperature debacle, that bothers me the most is the sloppy to non-existant ‘supporting’ documentation. It’s been airy hand waving, “Trust me I’m a scientist” all along. Snake oil sales. The closest analogy I’ve seen in my own life was a tent revival.

To me, the more disturbing part of this post is the following admission, “Many cited papers in AR5 have yet to be published”. Excuse me? How can any organization even hope to claim scientific validity if they rely on papers that have not been published (meaning they’ve completed the review process, such as it is in Climate Science)?
#######
simple many papers have been submitted and ACCEPTED but not published yet. So the papers are sent around to reviwers if you want them. The authors have to write the most up to date summary. If the paper misses the final date, then they have to decide what to do for the final draft.
If a sceptic paper was submitted and accepted youd want them writing about it

Old ones of Chaco Canyon did not have as much data on water vapor as these guys but stil yet knew to move on to a place where the climate was better.
Tax and Spend is not the solution to any of this.

RockyRoad

steven mosher says:
December 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm


If a sceptic paper was submitted and accepted youd want them writing about it

No, Steve. We don’t want Warmist or Skeptic papers. We want papers based on the science–and that’s your problem. It isn’t a matter of the spin you apply, it’s a matter of rational logic.
What I understand you to say is if by chance a skeptic paper should happen to be submitted, that would by highly unusual, wouldn’t it?.
You’ve basically admitted that most if not all of the papers considered by the IPCC lean toward a Warmista interpretation.
That is not science.

Theo Goodwin

Steven Mosher writes:
“The authors have to write the most up to date summary. If the paper misses the final date, then they have to decide what to do for the final draft.”
Are you saying that the final version of the paper is available to all reviewers who want to see it and that it is available in a timely fashion that would permit the reviewer to take account of the paper in his own work? Your last sentence seems to say that they can do what they damn well please.

I hope we see more of these critiques from reviewers.
(typo: “the principle principal greenhouse gas,”)

clipe

steven mosher says:
December 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm
To me, the more disturbing part of this post is the following admission, “Many cited papers in AR5 have yet to be published”. Excuse me? How can any organization even hope to claim scientific validity if they rely on papers that have not been published (meaning they’ve completed the review process, such as it is in Climate Science)?
#######
simple many papers have been submitted and ACCEPTED but not published yet. So the papers are sent around to reviwers if you want them. The authors have to write the most up to date summary. If the paper misses the final date, then they have to decide what to do for the final draft.
If a sceptic paper was submitted and accepted youd want them writing about it

Perfect example of incohrerence.
reductio ad absurdum

I applaud your choice to bring forth more of the truth we all need to see.
I am hopeful others will follow the brave step taken in the last few days by the 2 of you folks.
I am certain there are many IPCC reviewers and participating scientists that feel that “uncomfortable feeling” that surrounds producing a report that does not always provide the scientific truth of the matters involved.
I would encourage each and every one of you to stand up as these brave people have.
The scientific process is very important in the end to every single one of us on this planet.

jeanparisot

Now the feedback is missing too?

Theo Goodwin

Anthony writes in his addendum to Mimms’ post above:
“Non-specialist readers must be made aware of this finding and that it is at odds with some earlier papers.”
Isn’t this point about water vapor absolutely basic? If increasing CO2 has no detectable effect on water vapor trends then can it have an effect on anything that drives climate? In other words, isn’t increasing water vapor the most direct and simple forcing that has been claimed for increasing CO2? If none is detectable at this late date, doesn’t that mean that the forcing game is over, done, and finished?

D Böehm

Theo Goodwin,
Yes, exactly. That is a point I’ve made quite a few times. CO2’s effect on water vapor is central to the AGW argument. Now it turns out that there is no measurable effect at all from rising CO2.
Willis Eschenbach says that CO2 is only a 3rd order forcing, which is swamped by 1st and 2nd order forcings. I agree with that. CO2 probably had a warming effect, but it took place at much lower concentrations. Adding more CO2 to the atmosphere now causes no measurable warming. The only effect it has currently is entirely beneficial: it results in greater agricultural productivity.
As usual, the warmists have got everything backward. CO2 is completely harmless; it is beneficial to the biosphere, and it causes no measurable global warming at current or projected concentrations. The planet itself is confirming that CO2=AGW is simply a failed conjecture.

pochas

If the adiabatic lapse rate is responsible for surface temperatures and also for temperatures at each and every altitude, then we would expect the moisture carrying capacity (absolute humidity at saturation) of the atmosphere to be completely specified by the adiabatic temperature profile, except for the areas of dry descending dessicated air in the high pressure regions. If these areas occupy a constant fraction of the whole then the net absolute humidity will remain at a constant fraction of saturation. These are good reasons to believe that Forest Mims’ observations confirm fundamental truths about the physics of the atmosphere.
Does this mean there is no such thing as the “Greenhouse Effect?” No, it is real and potentially has a small effect on the temperature driving force at the surface which is required to set convection in motion. Convection is the primary means for redistributing heat within the lower atmosphere. It establishes and maintains the adiabatic temperature profile (lapse rate), and simple thermodynamics requires it to have a cooling effect. Of course, radiation remains the only way for heat to finally exit the atmosphere.

daveburton

E.M.Smith asked on December 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm: “Does this end the “water vapor amplification” mantra?”
Water vapor amplification is an indirect mechanism, which requires warmth. So if there’s no warming (as is the case for the last 15 or so years), because other factors overwhelm the influence of increased CO2, there’s nothing to amplify.
But even if not, MODTRAN calculates the water vapor amplification effect at only about 65% of the warming due directly to CO2 alone. A lot of Climate Movement activists seem to think that the water vapor “positive feedback” is some huge multiple, but it’s not:
http://www.burtonsys.com/climate/MODTRAN_etc.html
Moreover, that calculation does not take into account negative feedbacks from increased evaporation: increased water-cycle cooling, and perhaps increased cloudiness, so that 65% is really an upper bound. The real-world amplification of CO2’s warming by H2O is almost certainly less than that.

Mike Smith

I am enjoying watching the IPCC self-destruct. Their models are completely useless.
And the gravy train is just about to hit the buffers.

Oh!-What-A-Smelly-Fish!-Is-It-Dead?-It-Must-Be!-Evidence-Is-Abundant

I am watching … with interest.

TonyM

I think we should address these issues more soberly.
The leaked CH7 suggests something totally different to what skeptics have hitherto interpreted. This is according to the lead author:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-14/ipcc-draft-climate-report-leaked/4429036
Professor Steve Sherwood, the director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW, was the lead author of the chapter in question.
He says the idea that the chapter he authored confirms a greater role for solar and other cosmic rays in global warming is “ridiculous”.
SO I suggest we go slowly, slowly.

Mario Lento

“TonyM says: December 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm
“I think we should address these issues more soberly…”
Great catch. This has to be the best quote on that report “Climate communication fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland John Cooke says, if anything, warming is worse than predicted in the last IPCC report.”
Aren’t they wearing out that mantra… it’s as if they were predicting an ice age and it didn’t happen.

William McClenney

If it wasn’t such an explicit commentary on the state of humanity it would be humorous

mpainter

The fact that CO2 increases while H2O vapor remains the same refutes utterly and finally the AGW hypothesis. For those unacquainted with how their theory works, you need to understand that the AGW theory depends not so much on CO2 as on H2O vapor. CO2 operates as a sort of kickstart, increasing atmospheric water vapor and it is the increased water vapor which does the real warming, according to the AGW theory. The converse disproves the theory: if CO2 increases, but H2O vapor does not, the theory fails. The immutable laws of radiation physics has been misapplied by those who built a house of cards and called it AGW. Their propaganda and alarms notwithstanding, we have seen nearly sixteen years of increasing CO2 without warming. So much for climate models.

Mario Lento

@Theo Goodwin: You wrote: “Isn’t this point about water vapor absolutely basic? If increasing CO2 has no detectable effect on water vapor trends then can it have an effect on anything that drives climate? In other words, isn’t increasing water vapor the most direct and simple forcing that has been claimed for increasing CO2? If none is detectable at this late date, doesn’t that mean that the forcing game is over, done, and finished?”
I think it is important to tell the whole truth. I am not sure one can conclude that increasing CO2 has no detectable affect on water vapor. But, the IPCC should be forthright in saying that their models are based on the hypothesis that water vapor levels are amplified by CO2 and that the increase in water vapor is a net positive feedback for the warming caused by CO2 –and that try as they might, they could not find a detectable correlation between CO2 and Water Vaport… unfortunately. But we have been able to adjust our models to reproduce the past, so they are good models.

davidmhoffer

Cross post from the original thread, an open letter to Bill McKibben:
Bill McKibben,
Given that AR5 completely reverses the position of the IPCC on drought, hurricanes and floods, are you prepared to retract your article from earlier this year titled “The New Normal”? Are you prepared to admit that your alarmism was not founded on science after all? Will you, as the ethical journalist you claim to be, not only admit your folly, but publicly call out the IPCC and their minions for misleading you until now with claims that were increasingly ludicrous in face of the facts?
Will you apologize Bill? Will you say you are sorry Bill for ridiculing those of us who pointed out that a warming world should have less severe weather, not more? That the laws of physics could not produce any other result?
Faced with facts which falsify his argument, a fool argues anyway.
A man steps up, admits his error, and learns from his mistakes.
A coward slinks away in silence.
The IPCC has ceased playing the fool in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (on these matters at least).
What Bill, will you do now?

DirkH

steven mosher says:
December 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm
“simple many papers have been submitted and ACCEPTED but not published yet. So the papers are sent around to reviwers if you want them. The authors have to write the most up to date summary. If the paper misses the final date, then they have to decide what to do for the final draft.”
Most of these papers are of course made to measure for the conclusions the IPCC wants to promote. And as they are all made to promote the same IPCC report, they can even refer each other in a cyclical way. The Jesus paper comes to mind. It’s a great way to invent claims out of whole cloth and further the advance of CO2AGW pseudoscience to world domination.
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

Mario Lento

Regarding feedbacks. I recall Roy Spencer’s finding showing that the ranges of radiative flux’s have been mostly somewhat negative to slightly positive. That is, the warmer the earth gets, the more heat radiates out of the troposphere. Water Vapor is known to play many roles, and the latent heat of vaporization or condensation exchanges energy in many different places on our planet… often times it rises high in the sky and releases it’s energy there… where it escapes our planet.

Mario Lento

Sorry, I must correct what I wrote. This makes little sense “been mostly somewhat negative to slightly positive.” It should have been “somewhat moderately negative to slightly positive.”

mpainter

daveburton says: Moreover, that calculation does not take into account negative feedbacks from increased evaporation: increased water-cycle cooling, and perhaps increased cloudiness, so that 65% is really an upper bound. The real-world amplification of CO2′s warming by H2O is almost certainly less than that.
So, we see that it is all theoretical physics, not well understood and somewhat misapplied, with very little foundation in real-world observations. What thin soup the faithful have for sustenance.
Propaganda works wonders. The nazis showed us how it’s done.

The jig is up……

mpainter

daveburton says: Moreover, that calculation does not take into account negative feedbacks from increased evaporation: increased water-cycle cooling, and perhaps increased cloudiness, so that 65% is really an upper bound. The real-world amplification of CO2′s warming by H2O is almost certainly less than that.
The real-world amplification is zip because zip x zip = zip
So we are offered theory incompletely understood, misunderstood, and grossly misapplied and given that, we are to do WHAT? Tax carbon? Build windfarms and exterminate ducks, geese, & wildlife and spend trillions on mitigation, etc.? It is mass psychosis and the global warmers rant and rave because we do not follow them over the edge into the sea.

TonyM

@ Mario Lento
December 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm
Cmon Mario, you have to be a bit simple to believe anything that John Cooke says. For a start his profession is being a cartoonist. His collaboration with the delusional Lewandowsky says it all.
As for your support for climate models being just great in looking at the past I make two points:
1) they can’t model the past – period. We say full stop in Oz.
2) had the geo-centric modellers applied the same level of BS tweakage to their models then they too were great models and Copernicus’ heliocentric hypothesis would never have made it. Galileo would have flunked in a CAGW world. So would Einstein and Feynman – unlike the other Mann.
My caution to fellow skeptics is to avoid the same level of BS that pervades the warmist views.

TomRude

Perusing the list of authors that includes Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors and very critically the list of Review Editors, one notices that despite the apparent diversity of names coming from various countries, there is always in each chapter what I would call a “key person” that can make a final decision for the said chapter. When Trenberth is Review Editor for chapter 14 but not an author, who would imagine that anything in this chapter will not be fought tooth and nail if it does not fit his views?
That is in part why the IPCC does not wish to get these drafts out: they do not want the strings to be seen behind their lovely diversity of authors.

Is this NVAP-M study of water vapor available anywhere yet?

Mario Lento

TonyM: I should have put in Did you read that I wrote, with regard to “warming is worse than predicted in the last IPCC report.”? I followed by writing “Aren’t they wearing out that mantra… it’s as if they were predicting an ice age and it didn’t happen.”
You are reading me all wrong. I am a sceptic sir. Do a search for Mario Lento on this page or on Google and you will find that I have spent a great deal of time debunking the warmist’s.
I see a cooling as cycle 24’s peak will be half of cycle 23’s max… can’t wait for cycle 25 when I nearing retirement.

I requested the paper “Weather and climate analyses using improved global water vapor observations” and the data showing the water vapour profile by altitude layers from the authors. I wrote,

I am interest to see the water vapour trends 300 – 500 mbar, versus the lower level trends.

On 7/24/2012, I received an email from Janice Bytheway. She explained that she could not provide the paper to me. She also wrote,

As for your interest in the trends at the upper versus lower levels of the atmosphere, we unfortunately don’t have the staff or funding to provide subsets of the data at this time. This feature should be provided in about 6 months after the NASA Langley ASDC has taken stewardship of the data.

This is a strange response because the total water column amount is a sum of the layers, so the data should be readily available.
This is important because line-by-line radiative code shows that a change of water vapour content in an atmospheric layer from the 300 mb to the 400 mb level has 30 times the effect on out-going longwave radiation (OLR) as the same change near the surface. A water vapour increase near the surface would have very little effect on OLR, so very little temperature forcing. Only changes in the upper atmosphere matters.
Forrest Mims III writes,

This study shows no up or down trend in global water vapor

This refers to the total water column. A small reduction in the upper atmosphere can offset a warming effect of a large increase near the surface. A no-trend in global total column water vapour during the late 20th century warming period implies a declining upper atmosphere water vapour trend.
Janice Bythway presented the following chart at the GEWEX/ESA Due GlobVapour workshop March 8, 2011:
http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/NVAP_500-300_WV.jpg
The chart shows a large reduction in water vapour at the 300 mbar to 500 mbar pressure level, from 1995 to 1999, especially in the tropics. This reduction would result in a significant negative water vapour feedback in response to CO2 emissions. Here is a graph of water vapour humidity at 40 mbar in the tropics versus CO2 from NOAA radiosonde data. Note the R2 = 0.71.
http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/SH400TropicsVsCO2.jpg
The Solomon et al 2010 paper shows that

Stratospheric water vapor concentrations decreased by about 10% after the year 2000.

The sensitivity to water vapour changes is greatest near the tropopause, where changes are

at a vertical scale too fine to be captured in many global climate models.

This further confirms that CO2, to a large extent, replaces water vapour as a greenhouse gas in the upper atmosphere.

The only hotspots in the atmosphere are the ones carrying WIFI signals.
AGW’s head has been lopped off.
The corpse of chicken little is still blundering around.

oxyartes

“Water vapor amplification is an indirect mechanism, which requires warmth. So if there’s no warming (as is the case for the last 15 or so years), because other factors overwhelm the influence of increased CO2, there’s nothing to amplify.”
Fully agree. I don’t see here any disproof of feedback mechanism.

wayne Job

Just a thought, the reason these people are releasing this report is the because of the shabby treatment of real scientists by the IPCC in the past. Thus they are coming out and throwing a big spanner in the works, this will make the politicisation of the final draft fraught with dangers.
The threat of more releases of climategate emails showing past shenanicans would be a concern, thus this report may actually contain some real science, political spin will be overpowered by fact and reason.

son of mulder

“Andrew says:
December 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm
There is no way known to thermodynamics that a cooler object (like the atmosphere) can cause net warming to a hotter object (like the surface of the earth), regardless of any lower-order energy exchanges which may be occurring (like CO2 resonance to terrestrial long wave radiation at about 15 microns).”
Andrew the object doing the warming is the sun. The CO2 theory is that extra CO2 prevents the escape of some heat so there is net warming. Perfectly consistent with Thermodynamics.
But the empirical evidence that there is no water vapour trend up or down is extremely significant as it would mean that the small warming effect of extra CO2 is not amplified by consequent extra watervapour.

Berényi Péter

steven mosher says:
December 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm
“many papers have been submitted and ACCEPTED but not published yet. So the papers are sent around to reviewers if you want them. The authors have to write the most up to date summary.”
Come on, it’s not about fashion, it is about science, is it? In a branch of science which is supposed to be
settled. Why the rush, why should they be up-to-date then? Instead of going for provably true propositions?
There is nothing magic about peer review. It is a first filter, supposed to remove glaringly obvious flaws only. And it often fails to do even that, otherwise no paper would be retracted later.
In climate science peer review is an especially weak indication of quality, as there was a tremendous political pressure on it for an extended period with very serious attempts to redefine it or to have maverick editors of scientific journals simply fired.
Remember the hockey stick embarrassment? It was shot down, taken into shreds, falsified thoroughly, but only later, not in formal peer review.

Dr. J Haig expert on: Solar irradiance variability and its influence on climate) from Imperial College (I was student there some time ago), London, UK, was quoted in ‘New Scientist’ regarding solar contribution. Instead of commenting in the ‘NS’ column I sent email:
Dr. Haigh
After reading quotes attributed to you in ‘New Scientist’, I take liberty to suggest that the solar contribution to the climate variability may not be fully accounted for.
Link to the article with more detail …………
I also attach Excel file with the relevant calculations.
Please do not hesitate to ask for any additional clarification if required.
Details were also forwarded to your colleague Dr. Leif Svalgaard from Stanford University, who has shown great interest and devoted considerable time and effort in order to disprove validity of the findings.
With best regards
M. Vukcevic

The complete citation from the Geophysical Research Letters article is:

“The results of Figures 1 and 4 have not been subjected to detailed global or regional trend analyses, which will be a topic for a forthcoming paper. Such analyses must account for the changes in satellite sampling discussed in the auxiliary material. Therefore, at this time, we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data.”

In other words, the cannot say anything about the trend, because they have not even tried to compute it and estimate its uncertainty. Especially estimating the error in the trend will be very difficult as the dataset uses different satellites for different periods of the dataset. This satellite dataset is not made to study trends, its strength is being able to study spatial patterns in humidity. To cite from the paper:

“Changes to input datasets and selected algorithms were made with each phase of processing, incorporating improved data and processing methodologies, but resulting in several time-dependent artifacts that degraded the dataset’s decadal uniformity. These changes, in combination with the dataset’s relatively short period of record, make the heritage NVAP dataset unsuitable for long-term trend analysis [Trenberth et al., 2005].”

“NVAP-M Climate is designed for studies on seasonal to interannual timescales on various spatial scales.”

Another import piece of information missing from this post is that this satellite dataset is only 22 years long. This is too short to get statistically significant trends. Also the temperature trend is probably not significant for such a short period. Furthermore specific humidity follows temperature and not CO2 concentrations.
I wish all scientific articles were open to the public. That would make this type of misinformation more difficult.

TomRude

Ken Gregory, exactly!
Especially when “nearly 50% the total water in the air is between sea level and about 1.5 km above sea level. Less than 6 % of the water is above 5 km, and less than 1% is in the stratosphere, nominally above 12 km”

Referring spefically to Ken Gregory’s comments above, if I understand him correctly, is that the whole process of OLR is altitude dependent. The measurements we see of atmospheric CO2 concentrations are presumably at low altitude, and as we are all aware, those concentrations have been rising. No one disputes this, not even the most degenerate of deniers. But, and again forgive my ignorance as a mechanical engineer dabbling in something outside my area, but aren’t CO2 molecules heavier than those of water vapor, H2O? My question is this: Are CO2 concentrations dependent upon altitude, and wouldn’t those concentrations be much less affected at higher altitudes, and wouldn’t this therefore affect the amount of OLR?

phlogiston

The CAGW bride is in her white dress at the IPCC alter
but the groom, water vapour amplification – has gone fishing.

P. Solar

This paper concludes,
“Therefore, at this time, we can neither prove nor disprove a robust trend in the global water vapor data.”
Non-specialist readers must be made aware of this finding and that it is at odds with some earlier papers.
=============
If the paper can’t “disprove a robust trend” how is it “at odds” with others which presumably do show a definite trend?
Perhaps it needs to be read in full. If it is demonstrating that , using the same evidence it is impossible to show a trend and that previous studies are flawed , that is significant.
Negative results can be just as important as positive results, But this is not, on that one sentence, a negative result , it is a total lack of any result. It is difficult to see how a NON result can be at odds with anything.
If I say I don’t know whether there is a god , that is not “at odds” with someone who believes in GOD.

Bill Illis

The first thing I did with the AR5 leak was to look up the water vapour data and studies they were using.
I understood right away what this report was going to be about – data selection and the refusal to use any data which contradicts the global warming mime.
I downloaded the water vapour forecasts that are being used in the IPCC AR5 awhile ago. AR5 has water vapour up by 6.0% already and it is forecast to be 24% higher by the year 2100.
If we look at the actual observational data, however, it is FLAT. The ENSO is really the biggest factor in its variability. Water vapour was only 0.4 kg/m2, 0.4 mms/m2 higher than normal (25 mms/m2) in November 2012 and it is now on the way down to Zero again given its response to the ENSO.
Water Vapour, the ENSO and the IPCC AR5 forecast from 1948 to November 2012.
http://s16.postimage.org/qe1cvc3id/ENSO_WV_IPCC_AR5_Nov2012.png

Otter

TonyM~ I agree. Let’s go slowly… and utterly shred the claims by the person who has the final decision on what chapter 7 says about solar influences.