Radiative Forcing, Radiative Feedbacks and Radiative Imbalance – The 2013 WG1 IPCC Report Failed to Properly Report on this Issue

sun-earth-imbalanceGuest essay by Roger A. Pielke Sr.

Main Points

1. The difference in ocean heat content at two different time periods provides the global average radiative imbalance over that time [within the uncertainty of the ocean heat measurements]

2. This global average radiative imbalance is equal to the sum of the global average radiative forcings and the global average radiative feedbacks.

3. The global average radiative forcing change since 1750 is presented in the 2013 IPCC WG1 Figure SPM.5 as 2.29 [1.13 -3.33] Watts per meter squared.

4. The global average radiative imbalance is given in the 2013 IPCC report as 0.59 Watts per meter squared for 1971-2010 while for 1993-2010 it is 0.71 Watts per meter squared.

5. Thus, assuming that a large fraction of the global average radiative forcing change since 1750 is still occurring, the global average radiative feedbacks are significantly less than the global average forcings; i.e. a negative feedback.

6. Such a negative feedback is expected (since the surface temperature, and thus the loss of long wave radiation to space would increase).

7. However, the water vapor and cloud radiative feedback must also be part of the feedback. This water vapor feedback is a key claim in terms of amplifying warming due to the addition of CO2 and other human inputs of greenhouse gases. The IPCC claims that the net cloud radiative feedback is also positive.

8. The IPCC failed to report on the global average radiative feedbacks of water vapor and clouds in terms in Watts per meter squared, and how they fit into the magnitude of the diagnosed global average radiative imbalance.

9. The reason is likely that they would to avoid discussing that in recent years; at least, there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere. Indeed, this water vapor feedback, along with any other feedbacks must be ALL accommodated within the magnitude of the global average radiative imbalance that is diagnosed from the ocean heating data!

It certainly appears that, even using the 2013 IPCC WG1 assessment estimates, that the vapor amplification of global warming is not, as least yet, occurring.

I explain and elaborate on these issues below.

Introduction

As I wrote above, the 2013 WG1 IPCC assessment of the magnitude of the radiative forcings on the climate system persists in missing discussing a key fundamental issue, namely the estimated magnitudes of

· the global annual average radiative imbalance,

· the global annual average radiative forcing

· the global annual average radiative feedbacks

and how these quantities are related to each other.

Section 1 The Fundamental Budget Equation

The relationship between the annual global average radiative forcings, radiative feedbacks and radiative imbalance can be expressed by this budget equation

Radiative Imbalance = Radiative Forcing + Radiative Feedbacks

where the units are in Joules per time period [and can be expressed as Watts per area].

The fundamental difference with this approach and that presented in papers such as Stephens et al (2012) – see http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/05-figure-1-from-stephens-et-al-2013.png

is that instead of computing the radiative imbalance as a residual as a result of large positive and negative values in the radiative flux budget with its large uncertainty as shown by Stephens et al, this metric is a robust constraint on the analysis of the radiative fluxes.

As Bob Tisdale reports, the Stephens et al value of the global average radiative imbalance [which Stephens et al calls the “surface imbalance”] is 0.70 Watts per meter squared, but with the large uncertainty of 17 Watts per meter squared!

The Stephens et al paper is

Stephens et al, 2012: An update on Earth’s energy balance in light of the latest global observations. Nature Geoscience 5, 691–696 (2012) doi:10.1038/ngeo158 http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v5/n10/abs/ngeo1580.html [as an aside, that paper, unfortunately, makes the typical IPCC type mistake in stating that the

“Climate change is governed by changes to the global energy balance.”

Changes in the climate system on any time scale is much more than just any changes in the global energy budget as we discuss, for example, in

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/r-354.pdf

Section 2 The Radiative Imbalance

With respect to the Radiative Imbalance, as I proposed in my paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331- 335.

http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-247.pdf

the radiative imbalance can be estimated based on the changes in the ocean heat content. As written in

Levitus, S., et al. (2012), World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0-2000), 1955-2010, Geophys. Res. Lett.,doi:10.1029/2012GL051106

“The world ocean accounts for approximately 90% of the warming of the earth system that has occurred since 1955”

Jim Hansen had provided his value of the heating rate in a communication to me in 2005 http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/1116592hansen.pdf]

as

The Willis et al. measured heat storage of 0.62 W/m2 refers to the decadal mean for the upper 750 m of the ocean. Our simulated 1993-2003 heat storage rate was 0.6 W/m2 in the upper 750 m of the ocean. The decadal mean planetary energy imbalance, 0.75 W/m2 , includes heat storage in the deeper ocean and energy used to melt ice and warm the air and land. 0.85 W/m2 is the imbalance at the end of the decade.”

More recent information, with respect to the Radiative Imbalance is reported in

Levitus, S., et al. (2012), World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0-2000), 1955-2010, Geophys. Res. Lett.,doi:10.1029/2012GL051106

“The heat content of the world ocean for the 0-2000 m layer increased by 24.0×1022 J corresponding to a rate of 0.39 Wm-2 (per unit area of the world ocean)…. This warming rate corresponds to a rate of 0.27 Wm-2 per unit area of earth’s surface.”

The IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 [http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter03.pdf]

writes

“It is virtually certain that Earth has gained substantial energy from 1971–2010 — the estimated increase in energy inventory between 1971 and 2010 is 274 [196 to 351] ZJ (1 ZJ = 1021 J), with a rate of 213 TW from a linear fit to the annual values over that time period (Box 3.1, Figure 1). Ocean warming dominates the total energy change inventory, accounting for roughly 93% on average from 1971–2010. Melting ice (including Arctic sea ice, ice sheets, and glaciers) accounts for 3% of the total, and warming of the continents 3%. Warming of the atmosphere makes up the remaining 1%. The 1971–2010 estimated rate of oceanic energy gain is 199 TW from a linear fit to data over that time period, implying a mean heat flux of 0.55 W m–2 across the global ocean surface area. Earth’s net estimated energy increase from 1993–2010 is 163 [127 to 201] ZJ with a trend estimate of 275 TW. The ocean portion of the trend for 1993–2010 is 257 TW, equivalent to a mean heat flux into the ocean of 0.71 W m–2.”

Using the 93% dominance of the ocean in this heating, then from the 2013 IPCC report

· 1971-2010 the total earth surface heating rate is 0.59 Watts per meter squared

· 1993-2010 it is 0.71 Watts per meter squared.

Of course, there is the question as to whether the Levitus et al 2012 calculation below 700 meters before 2005 is even robust. The 2013 IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 report writes [highlight added] – http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5_WGI-12Doc2b_FinalDraft_Chapter03.pdf

“Below 700 m data coverage is too sparse to produce annual global ocean heat content estimates prior to about 2005, but from 2005–2010 and 0–1500 m the global ocean is warming (von Schuckmann and Le Traon, 2011). Five-year running mean estimates yield a 700–2000 m global ocean heat content trend from 1957 to 2009 (Figure 3.2b) that is about 30% of that for 0–2000 m over the length of the record (Levitus et al., 2012). Ocean heat uptake from 700–2000 m continues unabated since 2003 (Figure 3.2b); as a result, ocean heat content from 0–2000 m shows less slowing after 2003 than does 0–700 m heat content (Levitus et al., 2012). “

Remarkably, the IPCC report persists in making claims regarding deeper ocean heating before 2005. But that is a subject for another time.

Section 3 The Radiative Forcing

Using even the largest value [the 0.85 W/me value for the Radiative Imbalance from Jim Hansen], however, it is still significantly less than the total anthropogenic change in radiative forcing since 1750 reported by the IPCC.

In Figure SPM.5 in the 2013 IPCC WG, they report that the total anthropogenic change in radiative forcing since 1750 is

2.29 [1.13 -3.33] Watts per meter squared.

They write that

“The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750.”

and

“The total anthropogenic RF for 2011 relative to 1750 is 2.29 [1.13 to 3.33] W m−2 (see Figure SPM.5), and it has increased more rapidly since 1970 than during prior decades.”

Unfortunately, the IPCC did not provide an estimate of the CURRENT “total anthropogenic RF”.

Some of this forcing would have been accommodated with warming of the climate system since 1750. When I served on the NRC (2005) assessment [http://www.nap.edu/openbook/0309095069/html/], one of my colleagues on the Committee (V. Ramanthan), when I asked him this question, he said that perhaps 20% of the CO2 radiative forcing was already equilibrated to. In any case, the CURRENT forcing must be somewhat less, but not probably by more than 20% or so.

Regardless, unless the IPCC estimates of the Radiative Forcing are too positive, this means that the

Radiative Imbalance < Radiative Forcing.

4. Radiative Feedbacks

However, while the warming of the climate system is a negative radiative feedback, and thus we should expect this part to be a negative feedback [since a surface temperature results in an increase of the outgoing long wave radiation to space], added water vapor, if it is there, would be a positive radiative feedback.

In my book

Cotton, W.R. and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2007: Human impacts on weather and climate, Cambridge University Press, 330 pp

in Section 8.2.8 we reported on an analysis of the water vapor feedback by Norm Woods using column assessments for three selected vertical soundings. Norm showed that the positive significant radiative forcing from even modest (e.g. 5% increase is atmospheric water vapor) is significant. [See also http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2006/05/05/co2h2o/].

Norm Woods’s further analysis can be read on this posts

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2007/08/24/further-analysis-of-radiatve-forcing-by-norm-woods/

Among the conclusions for the representative soundings Norm used are

with the tropical sounding ….adding 5% more water vapor, results in a 3.88 Watts per meter squared increase in the downwelling longwave flux. In contrast, due to the much lower atmospheric concentrations of water vapor in the subarctic winter sounding, the change from a zero concentration to its current value results in an increase of 116.46 Watts per meter squared, while adding 5% to the current value results in a 0.70 Watts per meter squared increase.”

and

“The effect of even small increases in water vapor content of the atmosphere in the tropics has a much larger effect on the downwelling fluxes, than does a significant increase of the CO2 concentrations.”

However, there appears to be no long trend in atmospheric water vapor! This can be seen in the latest analysis we have;

Vonder Haar, T. H., J. L. Bytheway, and J. M. Forsythe (2012), Weather and climate analyses using improved global water vapor observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L15802, doi:10.1029/2012GL052094. [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL052094/abstract]

Although they write in the paper

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

just the difficulty in showing a positive trend suggests a very muted water vapor feedback at most.

The figure from their paper with respect to this analysis is shown below

clip_image001

The 2013 IPCC WG1 SPM report states with respect to the radiative feedbacks that

“The net feedback from the combined effect of changes in water vapour, and differences between atmospheric and surface warming is extremely likely positive and therefore amplifies changes in climate. The net radiative feedback due to all cloud types combined is likely positive. Uncertainty in the sign and magnitude of the cloud feedback is due primarily to continuing uncertainty in the impact of warming on low clouds.” [http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf]

They also write, in contrast to what is seen in the Vonderhaar et al 2012 paper,

“Anthropogenic influences have contributed to observed increases in atmospheric moisture content in the atmosphere (medium confidence)”

This report also write that

“The rate and magnitude of global climate change is determined by radiative forcing, climate feedbacks and the storage of energy by the climate system.”

Of course the report also fails to distinguish “global climate change” [which is much more than just the global average radiative forcings and feedbacks; a mistake also made in Stephens et al 2012].

The IPCC WG1 report discuss the reduced heating and Radiative Forcing in recent years as follows

“The observed reduction in surface warming trend over the period 1998–2012 as compared to the period 1951–2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle. However, there is low confidence in quantifying the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing the reduced warming trend. There is medium confidence that internal decadal variability causes to a substantial degree the difference between observations and the simulations; the latter are not expected to reproduce the timing of internal variability. There may also be a contribution from forcing inadequacies and, in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing (dominated by the effects of aerosols)…”

Nowhere in this discussion, except implicitly in the mention of internal variability, is the role of the radiative feedbacks including the role of water vapor and clouds presented.

5. The IPCC Failure

The IPCC report has failed to report on the implications of the real world radiative imbalance being significantly smaller than the radiative forcing. This means not only that the net radiative feedbacks must be negative, but they failed to document the magnitude in Watts per meter squared of the contributions to positive feedbacks from surface warming, and from atmospheric water vapor and clouds.

These must be smaller than what the IPCC models are producing.

One clear conclusion from their failure is that the climate system has larger variations in the Radiative Imbalance, Forcing and Feedbacks than is predicted by the model and accepted in the 2013 IPCC assessment report. Judy Curry David Douglass, Roy Spencer, Bob Tisdale, Anastasios Tsonis, Marcia Wyatt and others have been pioneers in advocating this perspective, and the failure in the SPM of the 2013 IPCC WG1 report to discuss this issue is a major failing of the assessment.

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David L. Hagen

Well summarized Roger
Your review is supported by the global optical depth of CO2 & H2O as evaluated by Ferenc Miskolczi in his detailed quantitative Planck weighted radiative Line By Line analysis:
The Stable Stationary Value of Earth’s Global Average Atmospheric Planck-Weighted Greenhouse-gas Optical thickness See especially Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 which report the quantitative results, (independent of Miskolczi’s subsequent models.)

Jim Cripwell

Fair enough. But even if you solve what the imbalance is, there is still no way, using proper physics, to turn the imbalance into a change of surface temperature, or ocean heat content.

Jim – The change in ocean heat content is used to diagnose the radiative imbalance. This is very much physics. Roger Sr.

The changes in ocean heat content appear to be linked to changes in global albedo as per evidence from the Earthshine project:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/10/17/earths-albedo-tells-a-interesting-story/
Such albedo changes appear to be linked to solar variations via effects on the global air circulation. Zonal jets less clouds and meridional jets more clouds.
Given the absence of a water vapour response to forcing the hydrological cycle must be capable of applying a near complete negative feedback to potential temperature variations. The cycle simply speeds up or slows down as necessary.
So, the global; air circulation changes as necessary to ensure top of atmosphere radiative balance after variable lag times (mostly ocean induced). The efficiency of the water cycle means that the necessary circulation changes need not be as violent as would otherwise be necessary.
In the background the system can only hold as much energy in kinetic (heat) form as is permitted by gravity, atmospheric mass and top of atmosphere insolation.
Any temporary surplus or deficit simply goes to an increase or decrease in gravitational potential energy as the atmosphere expands or contracts.
If there is too much kinetic energy the expansion reduces density which allows energy to pass through faster than it comes in until the correct amount is restored for ToA radiative balance.
If there is too little kinetic energy then a contraction increases density which slows down the passage of energy through the system until the correct amount is restored for ToA radiative balance.
Evidence is:
the absence of any tropospheric hot spot,
the absence of significant water vapour trends and
the prompt increase in outgoing longwave radiation whenever there is a short term warming episode and decrease during cooler episodes.

Mike Maguire

Part of the IPCC report are much like the physics student who turns in the homework assignment with all the correct answers which are shown in the back of the book. They do not show work or how they solved the problem……….which proves they understand how to do the problem.
The IPCC has alot more answers than they do work to show how they got there.

glen martin

“adding 5% more water vapor, results in a 3.88 Watts per meter squared increase in the downwelling longwave flux”
Does this also have an effect on the upwelling longwave flux from the atmosphere to space?

Rud Istvan

Very clear top down examination of this issue from the AR5 SPM perspective. In the climate chapter of my book published last year, reached the same conclusions from a detailed bottom up examination of evidence AR4 used to reach its water vapor and cloud feedback conclusions. Evident selection bias in the studies that were available to it in 2007. And, examination of AR5 WG1 on these issues thus far shows more of the same. When the same general conclusions can be reached independently from different methods, it tends to make them more robust.
The bottoms up details suggest water vapor feedback may well be positive, but with an f (in Lindzens amplifier sensitivity “notation”) about half to 2/3 of what GCMs have (f= about 0.5, S ‘double’ Stepan-Boltzmann ‘grey earth’ at S=1.2). That is, specific humidity is observed to be rising in the upper troposphere where it matters most, but less than would maintain roighly constant UTrH (AR4 black box 8.1 and associated discussions).Translation, negative lapse rate feedback most likely due to something like a weak form of Lindzen’s tropical adaptive iris. Supposition is supported by model understatement of tropical rainfall, and the observationally missing troposphere hot spot that both CMIP3 and CMIP5 models produce. Cloud feedback is likely neutral to slightly negative, f about =0. Plug both ‘correct’ value ranges into the amplifier sensitivity equation S=1/(1-f) and S (ECS) is about 1.6 to 1.8.
Ties a nice bow around everything, since newer (2012-2013) observational ESC estimates are coming in at medians/ modes of about 1.5 to about 1.9.

Jim Cripwell

Roger A. Pielke Sr. says:
October 21, 2013 at 8:57 am
Jim – The change in ocean heat content is used to diagnose the radiative imbalance. This is very much physics. Roger Sr.
I probably did not express myself well. It is generally accepted that adding CO2 to the atmosphere could cause a radiative imbalance, so let us assume that this has happened. What is the physics that shows, quantitatively, how this change in radiative imbalance causes a change in surface temperature, or a change in ocean heat content?

Jim – The change in the ocean heat content does not provide any information on why there is warming or cooling. It just provides a measure of the radiative imbalance in Joules. Of course, added CO2 is a positive radiative forcing, but we cannot tell its fractional contribution just from the radiative imbalance.

Glen – If the downwelling long wave flux is larger, than, of course, the upwelling radiative flux will be less. Roger Sr.
[Rather, “… larger, then, of course” ? Mod]

Craig

John Cook is searching for his atomic bombs.

It would be as well to differentiate between albedo changes caused by solar variation and albedo changes as a response to water vapour or CO2.
The former results in a change in the proportion of ToA insolation that gets into the oceans. That can change system temperature because it mimics the effect of changed ToA insolation and so does change surface temperature.
The latter do not change surface temperature because any downward energy from water vapour or CO2 simply causes the molecules to rise higher up the lapse rate to a colder location rather than warming the surface. Over water surfaces, increased evaporation would be an accelerating factor.
The increase in average heights then reduces average atmospheric density and allows more energy out to space faster to negate their thermal effects.
I see a lot of unnecessary confusion from not distinguishing between the two separate processes.

AlecM

Isn’t it amazing. Yet again we have confusion between the increase in the atmospheric radiation field and ‘forcing’, imagining that is a real radiative energy flux. It ain’t. Instead it’s a potential energy flux to a sink at 0 deg K.
In reality the increase of ghg RF reduces the IR emitted from the Earth’s surface, mostly to Space (set by the vector sum of the up and down RFs). In the absence of any other factor, the surface temperature would rise at 1.2 K/ doubling CO2 (no positive feedback can exist) so convection and evapo-transpiration would increase.
However, there is another factor, extreme negative feedback, and it reduces CO2 climate sensitivity to <0.1K.
So what has been the real AGW? It's been the reduction of cloud albedo by Asian aerosols, now saturated. There is no significant CO2-AGW as proved experimentally, 16 years of no atmospheric warming, a bit less of no 0-700 m ocean warming.

bw

Nice summary. Note that the ocean surface has a specific heat capacity about 3200 times the atmosphere. Only a few meters of ocean has more heat energy than the entire atmosphere.
1. The ocean has stratified layers and mass flows. Exchanges can’t be exactly quantified, but the time required for ocean overturning is on the order of thounsands of years. Since the ocean surface controls the atmosphere, not the reverse, it seems the atmosphere is responding to ocean changes over thousand year plus time lags. The tail can’t wag the dog.
Ice core records confirm that air temps lag CO2 changes over those time scales.
2. Antarctica has good temperature stations since 1950s. Recorded temps show no warming.
Antarctica can not be immune to radiative forcing, so the CO2 over Antarctica is not causing Antarctic to become warmer.
3. Water vapor versus temp has a very non-linear curve. Resuling cloud formation is therefore very non-linear. Even small children can feel the temperature drop when a cloud passes over. Clouds reflect solar input, so overwhelmingly block energy input to the surface. Clouds have a massive negative feedback on surface temps.

“If the downwelling long wave flux is larger, than, of course, the upwelling radiative flux will be less. Roger Sr.”
The lower net upward flux appears to cause atmospheric expansion which reduces density and allows more upward energy to compensate.

Leonard Weinstein

Dr. Pielke Sr.
The point many seem to totally miss is that heat transfer is driven by temperature difference, not energy content. If the average excess net energy flux absorbed by the oceans is 0.7 W/m2 since 1940 (the date frequently accepted as when human greenhouse production started to become important), it would have only raised the 0 to 2,000 m ocean temperature an average of 0.14 C (with the upper surface more than this, and the part below 700 m less than this). If this net flux continued to 2100, the additional increase in average temperature would be only 0.23 C more, with the lower part a smaller amount. This means the added long term effect of return of the deep ocean heat to the surface and increased heat transfer would not be to return the huge amount of energy put into and stored by the ocean, but rather could only have a maximum temperature increase effect of 0.37 C from the deep stored energy, and in fact would be less than that. Since the deeper ocean takes an average of many hundreds to thousands of years to cycle to the surface, the actual long term effect would be even far less than this. Only near surface heating (0 to 700 m or so) significantly matters, and this interchange of energy with the surface is much more rapid. In other words, deep ocean energy storage is not a significant factor in global warming, either on the short or long time scale. The fact that the energy is being accumulated even though it would not affect global temperature means that measuring sea level is not a metric for global warming effects.

AlecM said:
“Instead it’s a potential energy flux to a sink at 0 deg K”
A good way to express it though the temperature of space is about 3K if I recall correctly.
Anyway, GHGs increase the potential energy flux by expanding the heights within the atmosphere which converts kinetic energy to potential energy thereby negating surface warming.
The energy is there within the system but as potential energy which does not register as heat so the surface temperature does not need to change.
Everyone has been working on the assumption that to achieve a
change in atmospheric volume it is first necessary to arrange an increase in
surface temperature.
That would be correct on the basis of the Ideal Gas Law.
However, for non -Ideal Gases the Gas Laws allow an adjustment to the
universal gas constant to take account of the compositional variations of
non -Ideal Gases and, in particular, compositional characteristics other than mass which affect the energy flux. Such as absorption and radiative capability.
For non-Ideal Gases:
PV = mRspecificT
Adjusting the gas constant (Rspecific) to suit the individual characteristics of a mixture of non-Ideal Gases on one side of the equation gives direct access to a change in volume on the other side without requiring a change in surface temperature.
That is essential for the retention of an atmosphere because if the
universal constant for an Ideal Gas were applicable regardless of gas composition and characteristics then for a non -Ideal Gas the surface temperature would be permanently too high or too low for top of atmosphere radiative balance and the atmosphere would be lost.
The value of Rspecific sets the atmospheric volume necessary for ToA radiative balance.
The volume of a pure CO2 atmosphere would be different to the volume of a pure Nitrogen atmosphere at the same temperature and mass due to a difference in the values of their respective Rspecifics.
That appears to account for Roger’s observations, unlike AGW theory.
The net radiative flux is a consequence of mechanical processes below the boundary with space, not a cause of anything in itself.
Once an atmosphere has acquired enough kinetic energy to hold the atmosphere off the surface AND match incoming radiation then any excess or deficit of kinetic energy only affects work done and that work adjusts the height of the atmosphere up or down to ensure long term radiative balance.

Thanks, Roger, for the great blog post and the acknowledgement within it.

“9. The reason is likely that they would to avoid discussing that in recent years; at least, there has been no significant addition of water vapor into the atmosphere.”
Since all GCM’s require an increase in water vapor in the atmosphere to provide their positive feedbacks, this is the most important sentence ever written on this site!!!
CO2 is not able to increase atmospheric temperature significantly by itself, so all the models posit that increasing CO2 will put more water vapor into the atmosphere, which by some mysterious means will increase temperatures MORE, something about how high up the increased cloudiness is.
This is falsified!
Well done Mr. Pielke.

Question. Does change in ocean heat content reflect ONLY radiative imbalance between incoming radiative energy and outgoing radiative energy? It seems to this lay person that one cannot comfortably dismiss as deminimus probable fluctuations in geothermal (submarine volcanic eruptions, “black smokers”, etc.) and kinetic energy (submarine earthquakes) input into world oceans.

Leonard Weinstein said:
“The point many seem to totally miss is that heat transfer is driven by temperature difference, not energy content”.
Only between objects of a different temperature held within uniform and thermally static surroundings.
Heat transfer in and out a planetary atmosphere is driven by the rate of incoming energy at ToA plus the energy required to maintain an atmosphere off the surface.
That is density related and density is a function of mass and gravity. If one has to keep a stable ToA energy exchange then one is limited to Volume as an adjusting factor because mass is constant, surface pressure is constant and T cannot exceed that required to balance energy in.
Changes in volume affect density so we come full circle to volume changes regulating heat transfer.

Jim Cripwell

Roger A. Pielke Sr. Many thanks..

AlecM

Sorry, but it appears that you consider Hansen’s claim (1981_Hansen_etal.pdf) that the ghe = lapse rate warming as valid, with the Rspecific as the cause. It isn’t. You prove it very simply.
Imagine removing all the ghgs from the atmosphere. Our children are told that the -18 deg C composite emitter in radiative equilibrium with Space would then coincide with the Earth’s surface hence the ghe = 15 deg C -(-18 deg C) = 33 K.
However, the -18 deg C zone is an artificial construct, the operational emissivity weighted sum of -1.5 deg CO2 IR from where the water vapour falls significantly, the -50 deg C ‘CO2 OLR bite’ and the +15 deg C atmospheric window emission mostly from the Earth’s surface.**
In reality, the 43% increase of SW energy from no clouds or ice would give a new radiative equilibrium at an average of 4 – 5 deg C, a real ghe of ~ 11K. The ratio 33 K/11 K = 3 is the imaginary positive feedback.
**Understanding the OLR requires good irreversible thermodynamics’ knowledge. It came from Essex in 1985 and from the Brookhaven Lab. in 2010. The -50 deg C CO2 part of OLR has the highest radiative entropy production rate so is minimised. The rest of the atmosphere adapts to that end, including all flora and fauna. Since the last glacial maximum, the ghe has risen from 2 K to the present 11 K as a result of the decrease of total atmospheric entropy and increase of enthalpy. It occurred by biofeedback reducing cloud albedo and melting ice; there was no significant CO2 effect because it’s a working fluid in the system and self-compensates!
For the sake of completeness, the minimum OLR radiation entropy production rate coupled with a decrease in atmospheric entropy is consistent with the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which requires an increase of total entropy external to the system! This stuff is fascinating yet completely ignored by the IPCC.

policycritic

policycritic- please cut and paste below. It work s for me.
http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/1116592hansen.pdf
In any case, I have reproduced below.

Contrary to the claim of Pielke and Christy, our simulated ocean heat storage (Hansen etal., 2005) agrees closely with the observational analysis of Willis et al. (2004). All matters raised by Pielke and Christy were considered in our analysis and none of them alters our conclusions.
The Willis et al. measured heat storage of 0.62 W/m2 refers to the decadal mean for the upper 750 m of the ocean. Our simulated 1993-2003 heat storage rate was 0.6 W/m2 in the upper 750 m of the ocean. The decadal mean planetary energy imbalance, 0.75 W/m2, includes heat storage in the deeper ocean and energy used to melt ice and warm the air and land. 0.85 W/m2 is the imbalance at the end of the decade.
Certainly the energy imbalance is less in earlier years, even negative, especially in years following large volcanic eruptions. Our analysis focused on the past decade because: (1) this is the period when it was predicted that, in the absence of a large volcanic eruption, the increasing greenhouse effect would cause the planetary energy imbalance and ocean heat storage to rise above the level of natural variability (Hansen et al., 1997), and (2) improved ocean temperature measurements and precise satellite altimetry yield an uncertainty in the ocean heat storage, ~15% of the observed value, smaller than that of earlier times when unsampled regions of the oceancreated larger uncertainty. We take the (anthropogenic) indirect aerosol forcing as –1 W/m2, with an uncertainty of a factor of two, based on empirical and modeling evidence (Hansen et al., 2005). The value –0.77W/m2 for the interval 1880-2003 follows from the non-linearity of the phenomenon. We note that a larger (smaller) value, combined with smaller (larger) climate sensitivity, could also yield global temperature change consistent with observations, but the agreement that we find with observed ocean heat storage favors a climate sensitivity not too different than that of our model (2.7°C for doubled CO2).
This inference can be sharpened if ocean heat storage and aerosol changes are both measured accurately in coming years.There is no fundamental disconnect between our conclusions regarding the location of heat storage anomalies and the observational analysis of Willis et al. Large heat storage anomalies penetrate only the upper 200 m of ocean in the tropics in our model, but much deeper at middle to high latitudes, consistent with observations. We note the absence of ENSO variability in our coarse resolution ocean model and Willis et al. note that a 10-year change in the tropics is badly aliased by ENSO variability. Given also the large unforced variability of the distribution of ocean heat storage among our 5 model runs, there is no expectation that simulated geographical patterns of heat storage should match in detail those of observations. Yet the large heat storage at mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, the geographical feature emphasized by Willis et al., is indeed captured in our simulations (Fig. S2 of our paper). By using observed changes of greenhouse gases and empirically determined indirect aerosol effects, among other forcings, we have included all known substantial forcings. Precise analysis of the planetary energy imbalance provides a remarkable tool for “seeing the forest for the trees” with regard to global climate change. As the record lengthens, the energy imbalance will provide an invaluable metric defining the task that humanity faces if it wishes to stabilize global climate.
References (additional to those of Pielke and Christy)
J. Hansen et al., J. Geophys. Res. 102, 25679 (1997).
J. Hansen et al., J. Geophys. Res. in press (2005).

[Reformatted. -w.]

My patience with Ocean Warming Heat content arguments is at an end. Levitus is <a href=http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/24/reactions-to-the-pause-grasping-at-strawmen-in-hidey-holes/#comment-1370380grasping at straws, using inconsistent year ranges, and drawing conclusions from under-sampled data little better than guesses, using gigantic heat numbers of the order of 3*10 ^22 Joules (30 ZetaJoules) that amount to miniscule 0.01 deg C that is questionably in the level of precision.
From quote from Chapter 3, just above “Section 3”
A: Below 700 m data coverage is too sparse to produce annual global ocean heat content estimates prior to about 2005
I fully agree. See: July 24, 2013, OHC and History of Measurement Systems But it is a fact that they ignore the rest of the paragraph.
B: but from 2005–2010 and 0–1500 m the global ocean is warming (von Schuckmann and Le Traon, 2011).
Yes, but warming how much? In KJ? In deg C? Lack of specificity is a big red flag!
See Chart from 2005 to 2013 We are talking about a mean warming of less than 0.002 deg C per year with an uncertainty at least 0.003 deg C per year. 0.02 deg C over the entire 2005-2013 time frame is more than enough to hide all the heat. Can that be measured with the needed accuracy?
C: Five-year running mean estimates yield a 700–2000 m global ocean heat content trend from 1957 to 2009 (Figure 3.2b) that is about 30% of that for 0–2000 m over the length of the record (Levitus et al., 2012).
The entire [C] is junk, invalidated by observation [A]. 30% of an unknown, too sparsely sampled dataset for any reliable estimate, is also an unknown number.
D: Ocean heat uptake from 700–2000 m continues unabated since 2003 (Figure 3.2b);
Logically invalidated by [A]. Sloppy if not deliberately deceptive Why go back to 2003 if estimated cannot be trusted prior to 2005? Watch the pea under the thimble. If you measure from 2005, you cannot prove the slope in temperatures is positive.
E: as a result, ocean heat content from 0–2000 m shows less slowing after 2003 than does 0–700 m heat content (Levitus et al., 2012). “
Certainly not within uncertainty of measurement. A comparison of the second derivative of Temperature over 7 years? When we can’t even be sure the 1st derivative (warming rate) is positive?

Joe Bastardi

Drops in mid/upper level tropospheric Specific humidity have been observed since 2007 PDO flip and are especially prominent in the tropics. This is opposite the IPCC idea and also may be playing a key role in the collapse of the ACE in recent years.

If Vonderhaar et al 2012 results are correct, then water vapor cannot be a “simple” feedback to CO2 forcing. Even more interesting – cloud cover behaves in a similar fashion.
H2O compared to CO2

AlecM says:
October 21, 2013 at 11:08 am
Not sure if you were addressing me or Roger but here goes anyway 🙂
I do not agree with Hansen that Rspecific causes the greenhouse effect. I consider that it prevents the greenhouse gases from adding to the mass and gravity induced greenhouse effect by causing an increase in volume.
As far as I recall AGW theory ignores expansion and proposes instead an increase in the effective radiating height to a colder location whilst leaving volume unchanged. That colder location is supposed to allow less energy out to space and allow a rise in temperature beneath it.
I have often asked (and not been answered) whether the truth is that the whole atmosphere expands so that the effective radiating height keeps the same temperature as before but being higher up becomes more effective at radiating out.
I don’t see how he could do as he did because it would unbalance the Gas Law equation whereby
PV = mRspecificT
if he only changes Rspecific and nothing else.
Allowing volume to rise in tandem with a rise in the energy used to lift the atmosphere against the force of gravity (Rspecific) does keep the equation balanced and avoids the need for a rise in T.
Did Hansen fail to realise that wherever Rspecific is different to R (the universal constant) then one must also change V to keep the equation in balance ?

bones

The analysis of Levitus et al and others is a little misleading. Within the limitations of their data, one can say what the rate of heating must have been on average to have produced the cumulative increase of stored heat, but it is a mistake to think of that as an imbalance at the surface. The upper few tens of meters of oceans will respond to heating on a time scale of a year or two. To have a continuing buildup of heat content and surface temperatures requires a continuously increasing radiative heating of the surface. That was not occurring between about 1950 and 1965, but ocean surface temperature and ocean heat content 0-700 m increased after that. In Fig. 1 of
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/10/the-sun-does-it-now-go-figure-out-how/ I showed that both could be produced by net ocean surface radiative heating increasing at about 0.31 watt/m^2/decade. That is a little closer to what might be produced by CO2 (3.7 watt/m^2 / 14decades = 0.26 watt/m^2/decade), but if CO2 had been responsible, neither trend would have stopped in the last decade. Further, I the variations of surface temperatures shown over solar cycles shows a much larger solar effect than the IPCC takes into account.
0.31 watt/m^2/decade, continued for 40 years after 1965 would produce about 1.24 watt/m^2 excess heating rate, for an average of 0.62 watt/m^2, which is in reasonable agreement with the IPCC’s 0.59 watt/m^2 for 1970-2010. But at no time was there ever this amount of imbalance at the ocean surface, nor is there any reason to suppose that CO2 was the cause.

AlecM.
Perhaps I should mention that the increase in volume converts any ‘excess’ kinetic energy to potential energy and that is why T can remain unaffected.

Roger A. Pielke Sr. wrote,
{note : all bold emphasis by me – JW}
The IPCC report has failed to report on the implications of the real world radiative imbalance being significantly smaller than the radiative forcing. This means not only that the net radiative feedbacks must be negative, but they failed to document the magnitude in Watts per meter squared of the contributions to positive feedbacks from surface warming, and from atmospheric water vapor and clouds.
These must be smaller than what the IPCC models are producing.
One clear conclusion from their failure is that the climate system has larger variations in the Radiative Imbalance, Forcing and Feedbacks than is predicted by the model and accepted in the 2013 IPCC assessment report. Judy Curry David Douglass, Roy Spencer, Bob Tisdale, Anastasios Tsonis, Marcia Wyatt and others have been pioneers in advocating this perspective, and the failure in the SPM of the 2013 IPCC WG1 report to discuss this issue is a major failing of the assessment.

– – – – – – – –
Roger A. Pielke Sr.,
Thank you for the clear guidance through the AR5 report’s radiance budget maze.
You describe the IPCC report’s radiation budget issues as failures, when they equally can be viewed also as intentional avoidance of anything in the radiation budget that is significantly contrary to the thesis of significant AGW from burning fossil fuel.
I think both descriptions of what the IPCC report has done can serve in communication to the public.
John

lurker, passing through laughing

Dr. Pielke,
Thank you for yet another accessible, reasonable and thoughtful essay.
This is probably a well addressed question, so please feel free to chuckle:
If Pressure stays the same as temperature increases, does this not mean, according to the ideal gas law that the volume must increase? If this is so, how much volume has the atmosphere to increase to accomodate the added warming, or is there a trend in atmospheric pressure that has been addressed elsewhere?

lurker, passing through laughing – Excellent question; thanks!
Unless there was removal of air from the atmosphere, the global average surface pressure must be invariant over time (ignoring the exceedingly small affect of added gases). Thus, as you correctly noted the atmosphere will increase its volume by expanding aloft. This concept of “thickness” is actually a basic concept in meteorology. Roger Sr,.

John in Oz

A layman’s observation:
If the (seemingly knowledgeable) people commenting here can be so at variance with each other, how can the IPCC be 95% confident in their conclusions regarding AGW?

It is extremely likely [95 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.

And a nit-pick – when was Anthony raised to such illustrious levels that ‘watts per meter squared’ became ‘Watts per meter squared’ (although this is deserved, in my opinion)?

Mike Maguire

As an operational meteorologist of 32 years, my education and understanding of this field continues to grow thanks to work/discussions like this.
Much appreciated Roger and to Anthony for attracting serious scientists with comprehensive understanding and willingness to share it here.

lurker, passing through laughing

Dr. Pielke,
Thank you for your clear answer.
It does raise a question:
If the atmosphere/climate system is not behaving as predicted regarding temperature, could one of the factors be expansion of the atmosphere? This certainly seems as reasonable a candidate for a ‘fast’ response to additional energy as ocean expansion. In other words, if oceans expand ‘dangerously’ due to the energy imbalances being discussed, why would not the atmosphere also expand? If the ideal gas law is a relevant guide, then atmospheric expansion would act to ‘offset’ additional heating/energization, as well as increase the radiating surface area of the atmosphere…..or would it?

David L. Hagen

Nir Shaviv finds 6X-8X solar amplification by using The oceans as a calorimeter
Sciencebits.com 2009-04-12 21:48

. . .the oceans can be used as a “calorimeter” to measure the solar radiative forcing.
Nevertheless, the beautiful thing is that within the errors in the data sets (and estimate for the systematics), all three sets give consistently the same answer, that a large heat flux periodically enters and leaves the oceans with the solar cycle, and this heat flux is about 6 to 8 times larger than can be expected from changes in the solar irradiance only. This implies that an amplification mechanism necessarily exists. Interestingly, the size is consistent with what would be expected from the observed low altitude cloud cover variations.

Nir J. Shaviv (2008); Using the oceans as a calorimeter to quantify the solar radiative forcing, J. Geophys. Res., 113, A11101, doi:10.1029/2007JA012989. Local Copy.

Jquip

Michael Moon: “This is falsified!”
Canonical response: The models that work in this manner are not falsified. They are statistical metrics that are, by definition, only loose approximations of things. So they can neither be true or false.
— This is, strictly, true by the way. There are any numerous variants in this topic, but it’s a presentation of the Pinnochio problem: “It may or may not be the case that this one thing did or did not occur in a way that could or could not be measured.” There are two attendant issues. To falisfy a claim, a claim must be made. When dabbling with real world things, that requires that a claim be made about the real world. The both of which are stating that a testable claim must be in existence.
The problem here is that the metaphysical postulate is put forth as: “Human exhalation will cause the climate to be warmer than if humans held their breath.” And this is retained as a metaphysical postulate by testing the different: “If clouds or not clouds or ocean heat traps or not ocean heat traps or sun variance or not sun variance or sea volume changes or not sea volume changes, then the climate will be warmer than if humans held their breath.”
Of course, humans will always exhale, so that’s tautological in its own right. And as ‘warmer’ is a relative metric, then we cannot test double-blind or in alternate possible worlds we don’t have. It’s simply not laboratory testable. As a logical construct, it is impossible for it to be wrong for those reasons only. That the condition is tautological and entails everything anyways is meaningless.
The idea here is Sophist Whack-a-mole. To tie up and exhaust the insufficiently gullible by having them attack every meaningless construct that pops up. But the central claim metaphysical claim is not touched, and can not be. Not only is everything a vacuous tautology from top to bottom, the tautology tested is never the tautology stated. So if you like Falsificationism, there’s nothing to falsify as there’s nothing tested. And if you like Positivism you can take your pick. Either there’s no affirmation or support, as nothing is testable. Or there’s nothing that isn’t affirmation and support; which is how these things are sold, piece meal, to the public.
Granted, Logic is threshholded and Sophists will trot out and state: “But we use differential equations, man. But only the rational numbers, we’re not, like, ::Dorito chewing noises:: dumb. We don’t do irrational numbers or anything else.” Which hardly matters at all as you can trivially put threshholds on R^2 conditions, statistical hypothesis testing, where a mark lies on a rule, etc.
So when you say ‘falsified’ you’re stuck whacking, and appropriately whacking, the particular parameterizations of a particular polynomial equation, with an absurdly large degree, that are used in the one specific model. Every other model, with a different polynomial, is different.
Not on you generally here. This simply seems to be a vastly overlooked problem that’s more easily stated as: Don’t go after last of a long chain of sophistries; go after the first thing the Sophist introduced.
It’s not wrong to go after the models and end points directly. But it’s a lot easier to ask the Runecasters and Numerologists to produce, by themselves, a claim that would undeniably show the accuracy of their fortune telling. For if they can, then they also permit falsification. And if they cannot, then they’re writing a horoscope column; having failed to produce anything valid as a scientific theory under either Falsificationism or Positivism.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Many thanks for an excellent summary introduction to this topic. I did find a few minor typos/omissions:

9. The reason is likely that they would to avoid discussing that in recent years;

I think you wanted to say “… they would want to avoid …” or perhaps “… they would prefer to avoid …”.
The unit specifier “watts per square meter” appeared sometimes as a phrase, sometimes as “W/m2”, sometimes as “W/m-2” and I believe just once as “W/me”. I assume these last two are typos. I don’t know if it is common usage in the literature, but I also found the phrase “watts per meter squared” less comfortable than “watts per square meter”.

Chris R.

To John in OZ:

And a nit-pick – when was Anthony raised to such illustrious levels that ‘watts per meter squared’ became ‘Watts per meter squared’ (although this is deserved, in my opinion)?

Snorted coffee out my nose when reading that. Just as in the case of other units
named after famous scientists (e.g., Joule, Henry, Fermi, Oersted, and many others),
the use of capitalization is inconsistent between different posters. Anthony is blessed
with a last name that is not only closely related to James Watt, but allows the pun
in the name of this blog to work as well!

Genghis

Stephen Wilde, “The increase in average heights then reduces average atmospheric density and allows more energy out to space faster to negate their thermal effects. ”
Actually, the increase in average height (volume) is from the kinetic energy doing work (expanding the atmosphere) and hence causes lower temperatures. Just look at the temperature (and height) of a hurricane. The expanded gas radiates less IR than the condensed gas because it is colder. Also moist air contains more energy than an equivalent volume and temperature of dry air.

Bill Illis

The direct human-made forcing is 2.3 W/m2 in IPCC AR5. On top of that, we should have seen feedbacks of another 1.7 W/m2 according to the theory for a total of 4.0 W/m2.
But only 0.56 W/m2 is showing up.
I’ve been showing it in this manner lately.
http://s17.postimg.org/4ts1blb4v/2013_Missing_Energy.png
In this case “Missing” is a combination of:
– the increased radiative transfer to space as it has warmed up as pointed out by Roger Pielke Sr. (but none of the satellites have found this trend, if anything it is mostly flat);
– less feedbacks occurring than was predicted (but the actual water vapor data and maybe some cloud data shows there should actually be between 25% to 50% of these feedbacks showing up); and then,
– a huge amount of it must truly be “Missing” since the previous two explanations do not account for the 3.44 W/m2 which is not there. If anything, the previous two explanations still leave about 2.8 W/m2 “Missing”.
The theory is wrong or it is missing something very important.

Jim G

Genghis says:
October 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm
Stephen Wilde, “The increase in average heights then reduces average atmospheric density and allows more energy out to space faster to negate their thermal effects. ”
“Actually, the increase in average height (volume) is from the kinetic energy doing work (expanding the atmosphere) and hence causes lower temperatures. Just look at the temperature (and height) of a hurricane. The expanded gas radiates less IR than the condensed gas because it is colder. Also moist air contains more energy than an equivalent volume and temperature of dry air.”
Sounds to me like you are both saying the same thing in a different way. The gas expansion would be exothermic as it cools and the heat energy has to go somewhere.

Genghis

Jim G, “Sounds to me like you are both saying the same thing in a different way. The gas expansion would be exothermic as it cools and the heat energy has to go somewhere.”
No, the gas expansion is endothermic. The top of a hurricane (or cloud or thunderstorm) is very cold. The energy (heat) goes into expanding the atmosphere, not radiating away. At the bottom of the highest point of a hurricane is the lowest pressure. This is basic meteorology 101 : )

Genghis

I think I said that badly. The temperature goes down, but the total energy stays the same in the air parcel as it expands. The only time heat gets released is when the water vapor condenses, which further contributes to the expansion of the air parcel.
The lapse rate of moist saturated air is 5˚C/km and the lapse rate of air with no water vapor ( just GHG’s) is 9.8˚C/km. Hence with lapse rates above 5˚C/km water vapor is a negative feedback.

eyesonu

@ Roger A. Pielke Sr.
Thank you for a very informative post. It has lead to much interesting discussion. I have read through the post and comments twice to grasp all that is offered.
—————-
@ Stephen Wilde
I am following you discussion with regards to the expansion of the atmosphere with great interest. Can you offer a site/forum/discussion where you lay it all out so that it can easily be fully understood by one like myself with a good basic understanding of physics and gas laws. Perhaps even a guest post where it can be vetted here on WUWT. I feel I have the concept fairly well but the discussion in the comments usually hammers things home.
—–
Anyway, thanks to all.

wayne

@ lurker, passing through laughing:
The immediate effect of an expanded atmosphere you will find buried in lost science from the 1500’s or 1600’s known well by sailors and the effect of an increase in radiation lost to space has to do with height. Google “dip of the horizon” for many sites that will give the still valid equations to calculate this purely geometric factor. When they speak of star-light incoming, just turn it around and think of IR outgoing, the same effect applies both ways.
Sadly, you will never hear of this negative effect in climate “science” ever mentioned. Too simple.

wayne

@ lurker, passing through laughing:
Oh, get out a ancient trig book, haversines and exsecants involved if I remember correct off the top of my head.