The Magnificent Climate Heat Engine

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve been reflecting over the last few days about how the climate system of the earth functions as a giant natural heat engine. A “heat engine”, whether natural or man-made, is a mechanism that converts heat into mechanical energy of some kind. In the case of the climate system, the heat of the sun is converted into the mechanical energy of the ocean and the atmosphere. The seawater and atmosphere are what are called the “working fluids” of the heat engine. The movement of the air and the seawater transports an almost unimaginably large amount of heat from the tropics to the poles. Now, none of the above are new ideas, or are original with me. I simply got to wondering about what the CERES data could show regarding the poleward transport of that energy by the climate heat engine. Figure 1 gives that result:

net amount of energy exported poleward or imported

Figure 1. Exports of energy from the tropics, in W/m2, averaged over the exporting area. The figures show the net of the energy entering and leaving the TOA above each 1°x1° gridcell. It is calculated from the CERES data as solar minus upwelling radiation (longwave + shortwave). Of course, if more energy is constantly entering a TOA gridcell than is leaving it, that energy must be being exported horizontally. The average amount exported from between the two light blue bands is 44 W/m2 (amount exported / exporting area).

We can see some interesting aspects of the climate heat engine in this graph.

First, like all heat engines, the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference. A heat engine needs both a hot end and a cold end. After the working fluid is heated at the hot end, and the engine has extracted work from incoming energy, the remaining heat must be rejected from the working fluid. To do this, the working fluid must be moved to some location where the temperature is lower than at the hot end of the engine. 

As a result, there is a constant flow of energy across the blue line. In part this is because at the poles, so little energy is coming from the sun. Over Antarctica and the Arctic ocean, the sun is only providing about a quarter of the radiated longwave energy, only about 40 W/m2, with the remainder being energy exported from the tropics. The energy is transported by the two working fluids, seawater and air. In total, the CERES data shows that there is a constant energy flux across those blue lines of about six petawatts (6e+15 watts) flowing northwards, and six petawatts flowing southwards for a total of twelve petawatts. And how much energy is twelve petawatts when it’s at home?

Well … at present all of humanity consumes about fifteen terawatts (15e+12) on a global average basis. This means that the amount of energy constantly flowing from the equator to the poles is about eight-hundred times the total energy utilized by humans … as I said, it’s an almost unimaginable amount of energy. Not only that, but that 12 petawatts is only 10% of the 120 petawatts of solar energy that is constantly being absorbed by the climate system.

Next, over the land, the area which is importing energy is much closer to the equator than over the sea. I assume this is because of the huge heat capacity of the ocean, and its consequent ability to transport the heat further polewards.

Next, overall the ocean is receiving more energy than it radiates, so it is exporting energy … and the land is radiating more than it receives, so it is getting energy from the ocean. In part, this is because of the difference in solar heating. Figure 2, which looks much like Figure 1, shows the net amount of solar radiation absorbed by the climate system. I do love investigating this stuff, there’s so much to learn. For example, I was unaware that the land, on average, receives about 40 W/m2 less energy from the sun than does the ocean, as is shown in Figure 2. 

(Daedalus, of course, would not let this opportunity pass without pointing out that this means we could easily control the planet’s temperature by the simple expedient of increasing the amount of land. For each square metre of land added, we get 40 W/m2 less absorbed energy over that square metre, which is about ten doublings of CO2. And the amount would be perhaps double that in tropical waters. So Daedalus calculates that if we make land by filling in shallow tropical oceans equal to say a mere 5% of the planet, it would avoid an amount of downwelling radiation equal to a doubling of CO2. The best part of Daedalus’s plan is his slogan, “We have to pave the planet to save the planet”  … but I digress).

net solar radiation downwelling minus reflectedFigure 2. Net solar energy entering the climate system, in watts per square metre (W/m2). Annual averages.

You can see the wide range in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth, from a low of 48 W/m2 at the poles to a high of 365 W/m2 in parts of the tropics.

Now, I bring up these two Figures to highlight the concept of the climate system as a huge natural heat engine. As with all heat engines, energy enters at the hot end, in this case the tropics. It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space.

Now, the way that we control the output of a heat engine is by using something called a “throttle”. A throttle controls the amount of energy entering a heat engine. A throttle is what is controlled by the gas pedal in a car. As the name suggests, a throttle restricts the energy entering the system. As a result, the throttle controls the operating parameters (temperature, work produced, etc.) of the heat engine.

So the question naturally arises … in the climate heat engine, what functions as the throttle? The answer, of course, is the clouds. They restrict the amount of energy entering the system. And where is the most advantageous place to throttle the heat engine shown in Figure 2? Well, you have to do it at the hot end where the energy enters the system. And you’d want to do it near the equator, where you can choke off the most energy.

In practice, a large amount of this throttling occurs at the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). As the name suggests, this is where the two separately circulating hemispheric air masses interact. On average this is north of the equator in the Pacific and Atlantic, and south of the equator in the Indian Ocean. The ITCZ is revealed most clearly by Figure 3, which shows how much sunlight the planet is reflecting.

total reflected solar radiationFigure 3. Total reflected solar radiation. Areas of low reflection are shown in red, because the low reflection leads to increased solar heating. The average ITCZ can be seen as the yellow/green areas just above the Equator in the Atlantic and Pacific, and just below the Equator in the Indian Ocean. 

In Figure 3, we can see how the ITCZ clouds are throttling the incoming solar energy. Were it not for the clouds, the tropical oceans in that area would reflect less than 80 W/m2 (as we see in the red areas outlined above and below the ITCZ) and the oceans would be much warmer. By throttling the incoming sunshine, areas near the Equator end up much cooler than they would be otherwise.

Now … all of the above has been done with averages. But the clouds don’t form based on average conditions. They form based only and solely on current conditions. And the nature of the tropical clouds is that generally, the clouds don’t form in the mornings, when the sea surface is cool from its nocturnal overturning.

Instead, the clouds form after the ocean has warmed up to some critical temperature. Once it passes that point, and generally over a period of less than an hour, a fully-developed cumulus cloud layer emerges. The emergence is threshold based. The important thing to note about this process is that the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water. The threshold is not based on CO2. It is not a function of instantaneous forcing.  The threshold is based on temperature and pressure and the physics of the immediate situation.

This means that the tropical clouds emerge earlier when the morning is warmer than usual. And when the morning is cooler, the cumulus emerge later or not at all. So if on average there is a bit more forcing, from solar cycles or changes in CO2 or excess water vapor in the air, the clouds form earlier, and the excess forcing is neatly counteracted.

Now, if my hypothesis is correct, then we should be able to find evidence for this dependence of the tropical clouds on the temperature. If the situation is in fact as I’ve stated above, where the tropical clouds act as a throttle because they increase when the temperatures go up, then evidence would be found in the correlation of surface temperature with albedo. Figure 4 shows that relationship.

correlation surface temperature and albedo annualFigure 4. Correlation of surface temperature and albedo, calculated on a 1°x1° gridcell basis. Blue and green areas are where albedo and temperature are negatively correlated. Red and orange show positive correlation, where increasing albedo is associated with increasing temperature.

Over the extratropical land, because of the association of ice and snow (high albedo) and low temperatures, the correlation between temperature and albedo is negative. However, remember that little of the suns energy is going there.

In the tropics where the majority of energy enters the system, on the other hand, warmer surface temperatures lead to more clouds, so the correlation is positive, and strongly positive in some areas.

Now, consider what happens when increasing clouds cause a reduction in temperature, and increasing temperatures cause an increase in clouds. At some point, the two lines will cross, and the temperature will oscillate around that set point. When the surface is cooler than that temperature, clouds will form later, and there will be less clouds, sun will pour in uninterrupted, and the surface will warm up.

And when the surface is warmer than that temperature, clouds will form earlier, there will be more clouds, and higher albedo, and more reflection, and the surface will cool down.

Net result? A very effective thermostat. This thermostat works in conjunction with other longer-term thermostatic phenomena to maintain the amazing thermal stability of the planet. People agonize about a change of six-tenths of a degree last century … but consider the following:

•  The climate system is only running at about 70% throttle.

•  The average temperature of the system is ~ 286K.

•  The throttle of the climate system is controlled by nothing more solid than clouds, which are changing constantly.

•  The global average surface temperature is maintained at a level significantly warmer than what would be predicted for a planet without an atmosphere containing water vapor, CO2, and other greenhouse gases.

Despite all of that, over the previous century the total variation in temperature was ≈ ± 0.3K. This is a variation of less than a tenth of one percent.

For a system as large, complex, ephemeral, and possibly unstable as the climate, I see this as clear evidence for the existence of a thermostatic system of some sort controlling the temperature. Perhaps the system doesn’t work as I have posited above … but it is clear to me that there must be some kind of system keeping the temperature variations within a tenth of a percent over a century.

Regards to all,

w.

PS—The instability of a modeled climate system without some thermostatic mechanism is well illustrated by the thousands of runs of the ClimatePredictionNet climate model:

climateprediction_bad_data

Note how many of the runs end up in unrealistically high or low temperatures, due to the lack of any thermostatic control mechanisms.

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Mario Lento

Brilliant Willis! I am thinking about how the clouds will be affected by a waning sun of the next few dozen years – if the sun continues its decline. Fewer and wealer El Ninos, an more La Ninas, but will somewhat lower supercharging.

This makes sense as conditions exist today but I suppose the positions of the land mass has a huge impact on the set point around which the thermostat process operates. It appears that with a continent situated on the south pole that the set point is much lower (around 13C) than the geological record average over the last 600 million years or so of about 22C. http://climateclash.com/files/2010/10/EarthHistory1.jpg

All readers are required to understand that – for all of Hansen’s fear about the Arctic ice coverage over that little bit of area between 72 north and the pole (14 M km^2), that same 14 M km^2 of surface area is only the that little bitty band between latitude 1.5 north and 1.5 south.
The massive “red spot” above? Hundreds of times more important than the Arctic Ocean.

Ryan Scott Welch says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:02 am
This makes sense as conditions exist today but I suppose the positions of the land mass has a huge impact on the set point around which the thermostat process operates. It appears that with a continent situated on the south pole that the set point is much lower (around 13C) than the geological record average over the last 600 million years or so of about 22C.

True. But irrelevant. It doesn’t matter.
Since the Antarctic continent DID separate away from India-South America-Africa, and since the Panama Isthmus DID rejoin North and South America about 30 million years ago, we must live with what we got (were given.) It ain’t gonna change.
Much like the earlier CAGW-inspired fears and hype about the North Atlantic conveyor being disrupted by ice melt like it had when the central US-Canada 3000 foot high glaciers melted. But they aren’t at 3000 feet above Chicago and Alberta now, so THAT CAN’T HAPPEN NOW. 8<)

Peter Miller

Doubtless this very important and obvious (in hindsight) natural thermostat phenomenon is accurately included in all climate models. Sarc off/
This phenomenon has to be there or the Earth would have fried many times in the geological past, thus putting some credence into CAGW theory. However, as the Earth has never fried (at least not in the last 600 million years), then this is another reason why CAGW theory fails.
The Earth has been warmer and cooler than now – mostly warmer – but that is mostly a function of solar energy received, oscillations in orbit, occasional natural catastrophes and the positions of the continents.
Also, we should never forget the geological record shows us that carbon dioxide levels always lag behind changes in global temperature, not vice versa.

Ken Stewart

The red areas on Fig. 4 are pretty much the areas affected by summer monsoons- cloudy and wet summers, mild and sunny at other times. It makes sense to me Willis!

RACookPE1978 says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:08 am
True. But irrelevant. It doesn’t matter.
I don’t see how it is irrelevant if it is true and affects the set-point in a substantial way. I’m not saying that Antarctica is moving to the equator soon and I am not shilling for a warmist agenda. I am just wondering why the set-point is so much lower now than it was for most of the geologic record over the last 600 million years, and providing a possible explanation.

Manfred

Hi Willis,
did you see that magnificent realtime world wind map ? You can turn the globe and zoom in with the mouse. See trade winds, storms or just the wind speeds at your home town.
http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-123.42,-0.80,302

TimTheToolMan

The important thing about this idea is that the current GCMs cant model it because they can’t model cloud formation. They fudge it. And it’s well documented, just not well known by warning enthusiasts and those that are aware of it pass it off as unimportant.

rob r

Nice, but how do you get a significant number of climate scientists to take note of this common sense approach to an issue that, when looked at another way, puts bread on the table and pays the mortgage?

Willis Eschenbach

rob r says:
December 22, 2013 at 1:17 am

Nice, but how do you get a significant number of climate scientists to take note of this common sense approach to an issue that, when looked at another way, puts bread on the table and pays the mortgage?

‘Bout all I can do is just keep putting it out there …
Thanks,
w.

Willis Eschenbach

Manfred says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:54 am

Hi Willis,
did you see that magnificent realtime world wind map ? You can turn the globe and zoom in with the mouse. See trade winds, storms or just the wind speeds at your home town
http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/1000hPa/orthographic=-123.42,-0.80,302

Nice, Manfred. I use something much the same, called “MeteoEarth”, on my cell phone.
w.

Manfred says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:54 am
……………..
Very useful resource. In the N.H. it is high altitude winds (jet-stream) that determines regional weather, the 250hPa altitude gives a good insight in one of the aspects of the ‘global heat engine’.
http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-1.12,92.20,422

phlogiston

Ryan Scott Welch
This is indeed an interesting question since the planet is clearly in cold mode and there should be geologic reasons for this involving Willis’ heat engine paradigm. Here are a few suggestions:
1. The Atlantic oceam and the meridionally aligned Americas funnel Atlantic equatorial ocean heat more efficiently, like the go-faster fins on a cadillac. Note the gulf stream and effective warm water transport all the way to the Arctic.
2. Blame the Auzzies – continents like Australia and India moving towards the equator will – based on Willis’ criterion of lower albedo over land than sea – will decrease solar heat input.
3. India pushing up the himalayas also exerts s global cooling effect.

Oldseadog

rob r:
The problem isn’t getting climate scientists to take note or even to publish their findings – there are lots of them out there, indeed lots of them here.
The problem is getting the MSM to cover what around half of them are saying.

Stephen Richards

Great Willis, now, you have described the <> would you like to think about how (many ways) this system might be perturbed such that it’s steady state changes.
We have said for years and years that there has to be a temperature control mechanism on this planet because our climate has remained so stable for so long remembering that ice ages are not due to huge swings in global temperature.

Stephen Richards

Nice, Manfred. I use something much the same, called “MeteoEarth”, on my cell phone.
w.
Not NICE W. absolutely stunning.

lgl

http://88.167.97.19/albums/files/TMTisFree/Documents/Climate/The_radiative_forcing_due_to_clouds_and_water_vapor_FCMTheRadiativeForcingDuetoCloudsandWaterVapor.pdf
An intriguing feature of Figures 5.5 and 5.6 is that in tropical regions where the
clouds significantly affected the longwave and shortwave fluxes (Figure 5.5), the
longwave and shortwave cloud-forcing terms nearly cancel each other (Figure 5.6).

Grey Lensman

I disagree with Willis here
Quote
It is converted into mechanical motion of seawater and air, which transports the excess heat to the poles where it is radiated to space.
Unquote
The motion already exists because of the Earths rotation and the huge forces that generates. But they both water and air, transport heat. The effect or implications for the theory proposed by Willis?

A restatement of Willis’s original Thermostat Hypothesis and correct as far as it goes but it is only part of the story.
It appears that variations in solar activity alter global cloudiness by affecting the zonality / meridionality of the jet stream tracks threading between the permanent climate zones which in turn affects the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans in the first place.
The Thermostat responds to that forcing element just as Willis says but the initial changes are caused by the sun.
Furthermore the entire global air circulation is affected and not just cloud activity in the Tropics because the solar effect is at its maximum at the poles.
Historical data shows that the entire global air circulation shifts latitudinally in response to any forcing elements that seek to destabilise the system.
Even the ITCZ itself shifts its latitudinal position to and fro over time as the thermostat operates to maintain system stability.
And in the end the limiting factor for the amount of solar energy that the oceans can retain is set by average global atmospheric pressure at the surface which sets the energy transfer values and the thermal set points for the various phase changes of water.

Dan Harrison

Ryan Scott Welch says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:02 am
This makes sense as conditions exist today but I suppose the positions of the land mass has a huge impact on the set point around which the thermostat process operates. It appears that with a continent situated on the south pole that the set point is much lower (around 13C) than the geological record average over the last 600 million years or so of about 22C.
There may be some bigger implications.
1. Ocean currents like the Gulf Stream are effected by the positions of the continents.
2. Can the start of the roughly 100,000 year ice age cycle be correlated with the separation of the continents that created the Atlantic Ocean?
3. Did the creation of the Atlantic Ocean result in the creation of the Gulf Stream?
4. Will the presence or absence of this and other large ocean currents affect the set point?
5. We are currently at the high end of the 100,000 year cycle. What causes the rapid drop in temperature that initiates the colder part of the cycle?
6. Could that be turning off of the Gulf Stream? And could that result from a reduction in the available glacial and sea ice melt water in the Arctic which may act as a pump for the Gulf Stream? (The Gulf Stream reportedly turned off for a few months a short few years ago.)

Tenuc

Great post Willis.
I wonder if ocean currents for part of the longer-term Earth throttle through the varying speed, turbulence and direction of ocean currents?

phlogiston

In about a billion years time the sun will srart its slow expansion toward red giant. Those living at that time will find out what is the maximum solar heat input that the heat engine will be able to handle before it overloads; before it is no longer able to keep a lid on SSTs at 30C. One thing is certain – that excess cheat capacity is much larger than any marginal heat increase from CO2.

that the land, on average, receives about 40 W/m2 less energy from the sun than does the ocean

Looks like it might be a significant positive feedback during a continental glaciation, with hundreds of feet of falling sea level.

phlogiston

Correction – heat capacity, not “cheat”
CO2 related Freudian slip or mobile phone fat-finger.

phlogiston

the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature.
“Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!

Thanks, Willis. Enjoy your holidays.

johnmarshall

Totally ignoring that real heat mover, convection.
And Daedalus talks crap. Sorry to dampen your GHG fueled season.

Bloke down the pub

”Next, overall the ocean is receiving more energy than it radiates, so it is exporting energy … and the land is radiating more than it receives, so it is getting energy from the ocean.”
So as we have seen sea-level rise during the C20th , that in itself would explain any rise in global temperatures over the same period.

A wonderful read, Willis. Sort of a Christmas present. Thanks, and have a Merry Christmas!
PS Besides the obvious clouds, I’ll bet the “throttle” has other, more-subtle “governors,” such as shifting currents and varying sea ice.

Willis said:
“the critical threshold at which the clouds form is based on temperature and the physics of air, wind and water. The threshold is not based on CO2. It is not a function of instantaneous forcing. The threshold is based on temperature and pressure and the physics of the immediate situation.”
Which I agree with.
So why, previously, the derogatory comments directed at so called ‘pressure heads’ who previously pointed out the same thing ?
Pressure at the surface, the decline in pressure with height and uneven heating at the surface resulting in density differentials is what drives the entire thermostatic mechanism.
Which brings us back to the mechanical process of adiabatic cooling with uplift and adiabatic warming with descent being the real cause of ‘surplus’ warmth at the surface and not the radiative characteristics of the constituent gases.

David McKeever

Figure 3: ‘Black lines outline areas reflecting less than eighty W/M^2’ Perhaps fifty? Fascinating post as usual.

My 4.50am post has gone into moderation.
Is there a problem?
[Yeah. You forgot to call and wakeup the mods to approve it ahead of time. Mod]

TimTheToolMan

Grey Lensman writes “The motion already exists because of the Earths rotation and the huge forces that generates.”
http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/facts/currents.html
“Surface currents are generated largely by wind. Their patterns are determined by wind direction, Coriolis forces from the Earth’s rotation, and the position of landforms that interact with the currents. Surface wind-driven currents generate upwelling currents in conjunction with landforms, creating deepwater currents.”

Bill Illis

Interesting again.
What could change the heat engine to something else?
Move the continents to different positions. As in all of them locked together over the equator as in Pangea at 265 Mya (+9.0C). All of them locked together over the South Pole as in Pannotia at 635 Mya (-20C). Put shallow ocean over 35% of the land mass as in the Cretaceous at 95 Mya (+9.0C).

A more apt term for clouds is : regulator. It is not jut the throttling that is important. It is the control of throttling.

hunter

Willis,
Nice summary. How does this compare with what previous climate scientists have said? In particular, Dr. Spencer?

Grey Lensman

Tim, so you are saying that gravity and friction effect the wind but not the Sea!
Interesting concept

Richard M

Very nice. The next question is how does this change over time. It would be interesting to see a time lapse of yearly changes. It might provide some insight for a deeper understanding.

TimTheToolMan

Grey Lensman writes “you are saying that gravity and friction effect the wind but not the Sea!”
I wasn’t saying anything, that was a quote. But the quote says the motion is generated by the winds and the direction is influenced by the coriolis forces not that the “motion already exists because of the Earths rotation and the huge forces that generates.”

Quondam

Willis,
You might wish to imagine a somewhat different heat engine, one operating between 210K and 280K and performing work at a 240W rate. The essence of the Carnot Equation is that it describes the rate at which thermodynamic free energy is being consumed. Whether this energy takes the form of ‘useful’ work or thermal dissipation or some combination thereof is irrelevant to the engine’s internals. Direct differentiation of this equation tells us that the sensitivity of this 240W to the input temperature is going to be 6.00W/K if linear, or 2.57W/K in the non-linear limit equivalent to unrestricted positive feedback.
In electric circuits, one is quite familiar with W=IV, valid for any steady state circuit, including gas discharge lamps with turbulent internal fluxes. The Carnot Equation is the equivalent expression for thermal circuits.
pdq

Bill from Nevada

This has never been anything but a sensor covered sphere heated through illumination using light – with a frigid nitrogen/oxygen bath cooling the earth, day and night,- yes, even when the light’s out in the refrigerator, frigid atmospheric air washing things removes heat better than vacuum –
Water acts as phase change refrigerant, evaporating, accelerating cooling far past what radiation ever could have, upon rising the water drags in more nitrogen/oxygen, the cooling,
never,
ever,
stops.
The water rises and when pressure gradients create molecular resizing, light previously resonant and entangled, flies off the water cooing it: creating contraction to ice.
The ice falls and is melted several times usually as heat rafts upward in enormous drafts.
The ice eventually changes phase AGAIN to water or, conversely simply falls out as ice, to evaporate, and produce the refrigeration effect again wherever the sun tracks: there is a band of refrigerating clouds, lofting up lifting water to both block more light in
which of course is called in the real world cooling
as the phase change refrigeration cycle goes on endlessly.
The atmosphere never warms the earth, a rock heated through illumination in vacuum,
can’t have ten thousand foot deep oceans of phase change refrigerant dropped onto it,
along with a freezing nitrogen/oxygen bath constantly washing heat off,
due to the spin of the earth –
does somebody actually know what it says, to claim one thinks a thermally conductive cold bath makes things hotter
than heating them in vacuum?
It means I believe in the warming atmosphere, Greenhouse Gas claim. A sphere illuminated by a light has frigid reflective fluid denying heat and light to the surface, and sensors on it,
and when the sun’s on the other side, the cooling takes place even faster.
People awaken knowing the lowest temperature of the day will be right at and after dawn.
Warm atmosphere pseudo science is why when you ask a Green House Gas believer which way a thermometer will go if you “heat through illumination, spinning, a sphere, in vacuum. You then suspend and spin that sphere into an icy fluid bath with built in phase-change refrigeration,
refrigerant water, also serving to cool through albedo and sheer physical diffraction from earth of infrared coming in.
There aren’t two subsequent, coherent syllables in the whole yarn of voodoo and pseudo science.
There’s claim the water and co2 which are responsible not just for the refrigeration but the physical reflecting away of some 20% total energy that would be coming to earth surface sensors.
Reflective media suspended between an illumination source and target sensors aren’t called ‘heaters’.
They’re called ‘coolants’ Your reflective media suspended between your rock and fire, reflecting away a fifth of all your energy in, is called coolant.
These thermally conductive reflective and refrigerant coolants,
cool the earth at all times.
Now if you don’t think so here’s a simple test for you to ask of yourself: If you, personally, took an earth sized rock, and heated it in vacuum using the sun, until stable temp T,
and you then immersed that rock in frigid nitrogen and oxygen and you built in a phase change refrigeration system using coolant that not just changed phase but physically reflected much energy from your target sphere,
would you, a non green house gas believer, guess sensors were going to show it getting warmer, when you washed the rock with the frigid refrigerated bath?
Or would you fully expect to see temperatures jump up, 90F/30C?
Well, a regular person would say “look, there’s conduction and convection that removes heat past what radiation alone could do without this atmosphere. The whole reason you use vacuum to insulate things is to keep heat from leaving or getting in. Vacuum restricts heat transfer greatly.
Why are all these people so insistent they know of a frigid fluid bath,
that they claim makes every heat sensor on earth, register an average of 30C higher
than when 20% more energy arrived on those sensors,
and when what energy did arrive, wasn’t washed off with a thermally conductive bath.
It’s all voodoo from word one when people tell you to admit you didn’t see them reverse the algebraic polarity of heating vs cooling
by adding a thermally conductive,
refrigerated,
reflective,
fluid bath.
Then claim it was a heater.
The rock got hotter being washed in reflective refrigerants and other thermal conduction compounds like cold nitrogen/oxygen bath.
Any time
any one
tells you he thinks the atmosphere heats the earth,
you sit down and sort out the immediate problems he has with the simplest realities.
You can check by simply sitting there and constructing the earth model step by step: You vacuum heat a rock then put frigid refrigerated, reflective fluid washing it,
do you think you’re going to win money betting that adding a cold conductive fluid, refrigerated bath,
is going to make every heat sensor on that globe,
show it got hotter
than when the sole way heat was removed without atmosphere, in vacuum, was to radiate?
When it was also remember, receiving 20% more energy total to it’s surface?
Where else do you think someone would stare you down claiming he saw a hot rock dropped into frigid gas bath get 90F/30C hotter, than when you were heating it in reduced atmosphere?
Ask yourself.
You don’t need someone to hold your hand through it, track the entire set of steps down not using analogy, simply describing the actual things and mechanisms involved.
Is it any wonder people who believe in this find it necessary to simply censor anyone reminding the crowd at large, what the protagonists of this are preaching as reality based analysis?

Eugene WR Gallun

CONTINENTAL DRIFT IS WEIRDING THE WEATHER!!!!!
Soon to be newest global warming fallback position. Sorry, popped into my head and I could not help myself.
Eugene WR Gallun

Half TIde Rock

Willis, I enjoyed the post. It is just sensible. I have always maintained a mental model that Atlantic hurricanes were simple and efficient energy transfer mixing mechanisms. Because I sail south in November I am rooting for early and frequent less powerful storms to transfer the accumulated energy north and leave a more tranquil body of water. Fronts traveling East on the 500 MB line peeling off Hatteras are a battle between warm and cold mixing energized by the warm Gulf Stream. Never get into a low on the North side of the line. The greater the temperature difference the more intense the experience. Bla, Bla, Bla! Could it follow therefore that as world temperatures increase the difference in temperature may decrease, this could result in fewer or less violent storms. Perhaps larger weather regimes? Some toning down may have taken place in the North Atlantic during the medieval warming period. (Anecdotal evidence) These thoughts applied to some N Atlantic warming were consistent with the lack of hurricanes this season. While the world is a complex place your thoughts took me up a notch in my thinking and make good sense to me. Thanks.

Eugene WR Gallun

Willis,
In some of your older stories you have talked about being at sea and watching the morning clouds form. You provided us all with that information. None of us got it.
Eugene WR Gallun

Richard M

It would seem to me that this picture is already a little muted. Radiation (IR) that is being measured by CERES does not all travel vertically. It travels at all possible angles although much of it is coming from high up in the atmosphere. Not sure what this situation is doing to the picture. It may pretty much cancel out.

Louis Hooffstetter

An excellent presentation Willis. This is the kind of science one would expect to see at a convention of climate scientists. This is much better than any presentation I’ve seen from the recent AGU convention. Why not pull your cloud thermostat ideas together and give a formal presentation at the next AGU convention? I would be more than happy to hit the tip jar to offset your expenses.

Eric Barnes

Thanks Willis. Have a Merry Xmas!

gbaikie

“(Daedalus, of course, would not let this opportunity pass without pointing out that this means we could easily control the planet’s temperature by the simple expedient of increasing the amount of land. For each square metre of land added, we get 40 W/m2 less absorbed energy over that square metre, which is about ten doublings of CO2. And the amount would be perhaps double that in tropical waters. So Daedalus calculates that if we make land by filling in shallow tropical oceans equal to say a mere 5% of the planet, it would avoid an amount of downwelling radiation equal to a doubling of CO2. ”
And if instead we fill the tropic so all is land, how much do we cool the planet?
It seems we might close to the -18 C in which earth suppose to be without a greenhouse effect.
Or if wanted to design a planet with max “greenhouse effect” you have the tropics 100% ocean.
Or if want to have cooler planet you have the tropics 100% land.
So for instance we wanted a warmer planet, Mars, we would create an equatorial ocean.
So Earth has about 85% ocean at the tropics.and tropics 23 to 23 north and south latitude is 40% of entire Earth surface area. Let’s move up to 38 degree latitude and have 50% of entire
surface area. So if reduced ocean by 10% [having it land] we get 75% area ocean and cool by
1 C. And we continue this, so reduce it to 65, 55, 45, 35, 25, 15, and Zero%.
Reducing average global temperature by 8 C. This of course is not including any amplifying effect
from CO2,
And Earth covered with land in tropics is not going to have water vapor at the Tropics that Earth has- instead it’s going desert like condition regardless of temperature.
So with Mars having ocean in half it’s world at tropics and beyond, we add 8 C plus 85% going to 100%, let 2 C. So 10 C added to Mars average temperature. Plus Mars would much higher water vapor in it’s tropics which covered with water.
So you say since Mars has average temperature of -60 C, one would still have ice rather than liquid water at it’s equator.
It seem that if add 10 C for water, and say with existing CO2 in atmosphere one adds another 10,
and 10 C from water vapor, that still an average global temperature of -30 C. Since Mars has 28 times more CO2 as Earth, one might make 15 C from the CO2 [of if added pure water it would suck up a lot of CO2 atmosphere]. But in any case even add the 5 C one still has -25 C.
BUT could the average global be -30 C and still have liquid ocean [btw even if it was frozen ice at Eaquator one still a lot water vapor at Mars tropics than Mars has now [somewhere in range of 10 to 100 times more].
What if half Mars had average temperature of about 0 C and the other half was -60 C. So Mars has average temperature of -60 C, but the part above 38 latitude would on average be colder than -60 C. So half world covered with water, this warmer water might add +5 C to cooler part above 38 degree latitude, or bring it’s average temperature UP to -30 C.
So Mars is like Earth in terms of it’s tilt of axis, the water, in say above 20 degree latitude in it’s winter might freeze, and thaw in spring and summer.

Ulric Lyons

“Next, over the land, the area which is importing energy is much closer to the equator than over the sea. I assume this is because of the huge heat capacity of the ocean, and its consequent ability to transport the heat further polewards.”
Land cools down at night, especially so where it is drier like the Sahara, which appears to be where the blue line is nearest to the equator.
“So the question naturally arises … in the climate heat engine, what functions as the throttle?”
ENSO is playing a large part in the tropics too, but there is a also a “throttle” in the oceanic flow to the poles, it increases with negative AO/NAO conditions.