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
December 22, 2013 12:00 am

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.

December 22, 2013 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. http://climateclash.com/files/2010/10/EarthHistory1.jpg

RACookPE1978
Editor
December 22, 2013 12:04 am

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.

RACookPE1978
Editor
December 22, 2013 12:08 am

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
December 22, 2013 12:25 am

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
December 22, 2013 12:31 am

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!

December 22, 2013 12:32 am

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
December 22, 2013 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

TimTheToolMan
December 22, 2013 1:15 am

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
December 22, 2013 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?

December 22, 2013 1:38 am

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
December 22, 2013 1:47 am

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
December 22, 2013 1:48 am

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
December 22, 2013 2:01 am

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
December 22, 2013 2:03 am

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

lgl
December 22, 2013 2:10 am

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
December 22, 2013 2:27 am

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?

December 22, 2013 2:37 am

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
December 22, 2013 2:59 am

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
December 22, 2013 2:59 am

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
December 22, 2013 3:03 am

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.

December 22, 2013 3:18 am

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
December 22, 2013 3:32 am

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

phlogiston
December 22, 2013 3:46 am

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!

Editor
December 22, 2013 4:02 am

Thanks, Willis. Enjoy your holidays.

johnmarshall
December 22, 2013 4:04 am

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

Bloke down the pub
December 22, 2013 4:19 am

”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.

December 22, 2013 4:46 am

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.

December 22, 2013 4:50 am

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
December 22, 2013 4:58 am

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

December 22, 2013 5:00 am

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
December 22, 2013 5:04 am

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
December 22, 2013 5:05 am

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).

December 22, 2013 5:09 am

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

hunter
December 22, 2013 5:11 am

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

Grey Lensman
December 22, 2013 5:18 am

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

Richard M
December 22, 2013 5:33 am

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
December 22, 2013 5:37 am

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
December 22, 2013 5:41 am

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
December 22, 2013 5:55 am

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
December 22, 2013 5:59 am

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
December 22, 2013 6:00 am

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
December 22, 2013 6:07 am

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
December 22, 2013 6:13 am

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
December 22, 2013 6:16 am

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
December 22, 2013 6:27 am

Thanks Willis. Have a Merry Xmas!

gbaikie
December 22, 2013 6:28 am

“(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
December 22, 2013 6:34 am

“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.

Count_to_10
December 22, 2013 6:56 am

“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 case no one has mentioned it previously, there is also going to be a negative correlation due to cloud cover moving from the tropics, blocking the sunlight, and lowering the local temperature.

Mickey Reno
December 22, 2013 6:57 am

It’s quite clear to me that ocean currents drive our “climate.” Perhaps they even drive the ice house / hot house changeovers. Disruptions to, or elimination of heat pumping mechanisms caused by plate tectonics plays a huge role. In smaller shifts, on the scale of centuries, perhaps smaller changes in currents and flow of ocean water can create little ice ages and warm periods.

David Riser
December 22, 2013 7:01 am

Great post Willis.
For the pressure folks, Atmospheric pressure differences are caused by temperature differences, ie warm and cold air masses the wind is created by the differences between the pressures, rotation of the earth and land masses deflect the wind but do not create it.
Its interesting to watch cloud formation at different places, particularly open ocean. In the tropics its general after a set time in the morning in the mid latitudes clouds are rare at sea except for storms. I personally have never been to the poles so its hard for me to say what is going on up there.
Finally Some Ocean currents are driven by wind but not all. The great currents are caused by the sum movement of the water from all the small currents driven by the wind which is temperature and pressure related. So Willis idea of a heat engine is absolute genius.
v/r,
David Riser

December 22, 2013 7:09 am

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 2:37 am
It appears that variations in solar activity alter global cloudiness by affecting the zonality / meridionality of the jet stream tracks
There is no evidence for that, only supposition.

James Strom
December 22, 2013 7:10 am

Thanks for your typical lucid presentation. I’ve read enough of them by now that I’m starting to have a new problem: how do you explain the significant swings in the earth’s temperature that you have acknowledged? The thermostat, which I think you have proved to exist, seems to have been capable of different settings, like a building thermostat.

Leonard Weinstein
December 22, 2013 7:16 am

Willis,
Great post.
Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 4:50 am
Stephen, the adiabatic cooling with increasing altitude exists whether there is an atmospheric greenhouse effect of not. It is called the lapse rate, and is due purely to gravity and the gas specific heat. However, this lapse rate is a GRADIENT not a level of temperature. The radiative effects cause an altitude shift of location of average ourgoing energy balance, and thus set the actual temperature LEVEL.

Editor
December 22, 2013 7:23 am

And the typical bifurcations in the Doubled CO2 runs….that one sees so often in chaotic systems..

old construction worker
December 22, 2013 7:26 am

Now, if we understood all the forces effecting “climate/Weather” like the Moon’s influence, the tilt of the earth and so on, coupled with 5 or 6 hundred years of observation we may be able to “predict”
the future (not withstanding a meteorite impact or eruption of a super volcano).

Leonard Weinstein
December 22, 2013 7:27 am

James Strom says:
December 22, 2013 at 7:10 am
James, there are many causes of shifts. One is the moderately long term periodic shifts of ocean currents (e.g., PDO, AMO). Others include changes in solar conditions (flux, spectral balance, magnetic field). Others include variations in Earth’s tilt to the Sun, and movement of large masses of land. Each condition has it’s own set point, but that set point can change with conditions changed. Even with very large changes possible, the average temperature has held to a band of about plus or minus 4% over hundreds of millions of years.

December 22, 2013 7:49 am

“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.”
######################
lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical

December 22, 2013 8:01 am

You are confusing local and transient effects (wind and weather) with the global mean. The regulator of Earth’s temperature is the mass of the atmosphere, and the stable hydrostatic condition of it which produces the stable tropospheric vertical temperature gradient (a.k.a. the lapse rate). Clouds have no effect upon global mean planetary temperature, even the thick cloud layer on Venus, for despite the great difference in cloud cover on Venus and the Earth, the Venus/Earth temperature ratio both above and below the cloud layer, at points of equal pressure and over the full range of Earth tropospheric pressures, is a constant that is precisely and fully explained by the ratio of the two planetary distances, nothing else. Only within the clouds themselves is the temperature lessened, by about 5K, from what it would be without the clouds–clearly due to the greater specific heat of the non-gaseous liquid drops making up the clouds. The only “heat engine” is that due to the non-uniform heating of the planetary surface, primarily latitudinally, which is a primary driver of the local and transient effects of wind and weather. The global mean is the unchanging world stage upon which the continuing but intrinsically lesser effects of wind and weather play their dynamic, ever-recurring roles. I have pointed all this out any number of times in comments here over the last 3 years–whenever the supposed effect of clouds comes up, for example–but you have no more physical insight, or plain sense for the definitive evidence–of the seminal Venus/Earth temperature comparison–than do the alarmists.

James Strom
December 22, 2013 8:04 am

Leonard Weinstein says:
December 22, 2013 at 7:27 am
Thanks for those ideas. As presented, the thermostat seems to be quite powerful, so it will be interesting to discover how these or other phenomena override or reset it. In other eras, for example, has the same thermostat operated at something like 8-10 degrees hotter or cooler?

timetochooseagain
December 22, 2013 8:29 am

Willis, do you understand that that horizontal heat transport and it’s dependence on temperature-or rather temperature gradient-is why you can’t calculate local sensitivity by regressing TOA flux on local temperature? Because you have done it several times and I recall you being dismissive of the idea that horizontal heat transport could make any difference to such results.
Your using the term “constant” a couple of times for the poleward heat flow suggests not, but hope this is just sloppy use of language.

Pamela Gray
December 22, 2013 8:37 am

I know I am a thorn in your side Stephen, but please stop stating your Sun/Jet hypothesis sans tested mechanism. The variation in the energy available in Solar parameters needed to change something as strong as the Jets (through expansion/retraction of the absolute height/depth of the mesosphere thus relaxing/squeezing the jets north or south) would have to be many times greater than it actually is in watts per square meter. The jets are strong enough to impede or speed up the travel time of manmade jets. Your tiny changes in solar parameters just don’t have the chops to move such a powerful entity north or south of its tract. And your thesis does not include the mechanism for its amplification to the level required to move global jets.
Your hypothesis fails at its most elementary level.

John C
December 22, 2013 8:44 am

Please, everybody, don’t focus exclusively on Willis’ actual hypothesis to the exclusion of the larger point, which he states at the end of the paper. That point is that it’s *negative* feedbacks we should be looking for, not positive ones. If the climate system was dominated by positive feedbacks we almost certainly would not be here to observe them. Such a planet is not suitable for the evolution of complex life.

gnomish
December 22, 2013 8:46 am

harrydhuffman
reconcile for me your comparison of venusian clouds to earth clouds with the fact that sunlight never reaches the surface of venus, please.
for bonus points, explain the distinction between aerosols as the working fluid in a heat pump vs a phase change liquid. (as any practical heatpump relies on phase change to move the heat)
for willis:
now that you’re well focussed on the physics of heat pumps, did you know what happens when you increase the heat carrying capacity of the working fluid? (as happens, albeit insignificantly, with increased co2)
(plz note that there is no change of temp during this phase change- so your idea that heat and temperature are directly convertible is disproven. stefan bolzman does not apply to this at all.)
for bonus points- what is the lest dense gas of any significance in our atmosphere? and does it require any convection whatsoever to move from surface to stratosphere?

December 22, 2013 8:53 am

Hmmm, was brushing up on Gulf Stream information after seeing the comment about a shutdown, found this: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2006/4/the-source-of-europes-mild-climate/1
In short: the winds moving east over the Rocky Mountains end up being compressed vertically and spreading horizontally.
There is a counter-clockwise rotation induced by the rotation of the planet (the planetary component in meteorological terms) and conservation of angular momentum leads to a reduction in said rotation as those air columns spread horizontally, which can be treated as a clockwise component to the rotation, and results in a southward deflection.
After crossing the southeast US and reaching the open ocean these columns of air trade that clockwise component back into the planetary component as they expand vertically and accordingly are thus deflected back north to carry milder air over Europe and the British Isles.
I made a comment some time ago in another thread on here about the vertical compression which would result from the rotating “vanes” of the Andes and Rocky ranges interacting with the diurnal bulge, and it was rather quickly shot down as being unlikely to have any significant or noticeable influence.
To be fair I did not explore enough to account for the changes which would result in north/south deflection of air masses traveling over these ranges, but I would expect that there is no coincidence that the prevailing winds and planetary rotation components over the Rocky and Andes are adjacent to two well known oceanic heat transport phenomena: ENSO and the Gulf Stream.

Box of Rocks
December 22, 2013 9:00 am

Steven Mosher says:
December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
“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.”
######################
lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
Let us see
CO2?
Ding Ding Ding
Now give me your money!

Billy Liar
December 22, 2013 9:00 am

Steven Mosher says:
December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
Don’t try anything Gleick-like: you’d spot yourself immediately. 🙂

restalrig
December 22, 2013 9:12 am

rob r says 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?
A quote from Upton Sinclair rings the bell “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.

k scott denison
December 22, 2013 9:14 am

Steven Mosher says:
December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
….
lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
______________
So if I’m translating correctly from Snark to English, you are asserting that inertia limited the climate response to 0.6 C last century. Let’s assume that is true.
Now, given that response to increased CO2 is logarithmic, and that the rate of increase of CO2 is not exponential, we can conclude, then, that the response in this century will be lower than last.
Guess there’s no worry about catastrophe then.

Steve Keohane
December 22, 2013 9:23 am

Thanks Willis. The poles, esp. the arctic seem to be the way the planet dumps heat. I think esp. the arctic because water gets all the way north, plus open water in the arctic really dumps heat to the atmosphere. Melting the bottom of any floating ice consumes a great deal of heat too, which would be happening around Antarctica. The increasing southern ice may be indicative of a cooling planet, more reflected sun = less heating of sea water. I would think snow and ice more reflective than clouds, and it is staying around longer than clouds and growing in the south.
Here is an overlay of the current 12/20/13 ice extents for both poles.
http://i43.tinypic.com/f9p35l.jpg

aequitas45
December 22, 2013 9:40 am

The amount of heat entering the earth varies only a small amount but if it is increased or decreased consistently for decades the heat transport, that Willis talks about,is changed and magnified here on earth leading to climate change. The solar system after billions of years of evolution is in a state of near perfect resonance. The variation in the suns output can be show to be dependent on the movement of planets in the solar system. The climate is now entering a cooling phase because the sun is entering a prolonged quiet phase. The problem of climate change is multi-dimensional but is usually presented as a one cause and effect because that is what Al Gore did and is easy for the human mind to grasp.

D. F. Linton
December 22, 2013 9:53 am

It probably doesn’t yield as cool a slogan, but you could just release top-reflective, ballasted inflatable plastic floats with trailing sea anchors in huge quantities into the tropical seas and get the same effects without the need to dredge all that fill….

December 22, 2013 10:00 am

Thank you, Willis. A great read to reflect on during quiet times of winter holidays. Very enjoyable.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with your new aftermarket parts!

Chris Edwards
December 22, 2013 10:03 am

Thank you I love how you explain complex theories in a down to earth manner (I want to say that even a warmest could understand but that is just my optimism!) I believe this theory, now get a grant for us to launch a bunch of satellites and some supercomputers and we can measure it! (then we can be part of the wealth global elite too! unless they find out its true!)
Im english, it might explain the sarcasm!

Bruce Cobb
December 22, 2013 10:20 am

This dovetails nicely with former- Alarmist James Lovelock’s idea about earth’s climate being homeostatic in nature. In addition to clouds, the oceans also appear to act as giant thermostats, keeping us from getting too warm. Unfortunately, the thermostat doesn’t seem to work well in the other direction.

GlynnMhor
December 22, 2013 10:30 am

Are your CPUs BOINCing?
They should be.
Climate Prediction Dot Net (CPDN) is one of many projects that runs under the Berkely Open Interface for Networked Computing (BOINC) application. http://boinc.berkeley.edu/
Many excellent projects worthy of your CPU support are available, even if the deficiencies of the assumptions for CPDN make that one less useful than it might be.

RACookPE1978
Editor
December 22, 2013 10:41 am

Steve Keohane says:
December 22, 2013 at 9:23 am
Good job on that image! Thank you.
But .. (You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you?
Do you have the same super-imposition of the Sept 20 Antarctic (maximum Southern extents) laid over the Sept 20 Arctic (minimum northern extents) as a contract. You will see an amazing difference between mid-Dec (BOTH at near-nominal, or near-equal) conditions – which actually occurs in late January – compared to the min-max late September comparison.
Now, remember also that Antarctica sea ice is a combination of a “permanent” 14.0 million Km^2 ice-covered continent, a 3.5 MKm^2 permanent ice shelve around Antarctica – which NSIDC has told they do NOT include in the Antarctic sea ice totals – plus the ever-varying sea ice around the outside. Your picture shows a very clean beanie cap of all three together. Which is the correct “reflection” image.
Arctic sea ice extents is also a beanie cap, but offset from the pole towards the north Alaska coast. In analyzing reflections, Arctic sea ice should really include Greenland as well. But never does. Outside of Greenland’s 1.83 MKm^2 ice cap, there are almost no other permanent ice up north: nothing close to antarctic fixed amounts. Notice, by the way, that Greenland’s entire ice cap is only HALF that of Antarctica’s minimum sea ice extents! (Much thicker, but reflectivity (albedo differences) ONLY depend on area and Day-of-Year: Arctic sea ice very, very dirty (low albedo) during the melt season of June-July-August-early September (See Curry’s SHEBA data, for example.) . Much lower albedo than the other 8 months of the year.

Toto
December 22, 2013 11:03 am

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.

and

First, like all heat engines, the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference.

Something else needs to be stated more explicitly, and that is the importance of phase changes in the working fluid. The absolute temperature is important, not just the temperature difference. The climate set points emerge from the properties of water. Heat is used to evaporate water, which then gets transported elsewhere. Clouds and other weather fall out from this.

December 22, 2013 11:11 am

Pamela Gray says:
December 22, 2013 at 8:37 am
Pamela, all that is necessary is for solar variations to affect lower stratosphere temperatures.
A warmer stratosphere pushes the tropopause down and a colder stratosphere pulls it up.
The cause is NOT variations in TSI but instead variations in the amount of ozone.
Here is some evidence in support:
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/how-climate-models-dismiss-role-of-sun_21.html#comment-form
“The authors find periods of low solar activity increase high-energy UV wavelengths, which would increase stratospheric ozone production. This has an inverse effect upon global temperatures, thus acting as a solar amplification mechanism.”
The most recent evidence is going my way 🙂

December 22, 2013 11:21 am

Leonard Weinstein says:
“Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 4:50 am
Stephen, the adiabatic cooling with increasing altitude exists whether there is an atmospheric greenhouse effect of not. It is called the lapse rate, and is due purely to gravity and the gas specific heat. However, this lapse rate is a GRADIENT not a level of temperature. The radiative effects cause an altitude shift of location of average ourgoing energy balance, and thus set the actual temperature LEVEL”
I think the radiative effects are neutralised by the altitude shift of location of average outgoing energy balance and thus offsets any consequent change in the actual temperature level.
The entire atmosphere expands so that the effective radiation level rises higher but remains at the previous temperature.
AGW theory proposes that the effective radiating level rises to a cooler level but I think that is wrong.
The effective radiating level stays the same temperature so as to continue matching energy in with energy out despite the change in height.

BBould
December 22, 2013 11:26 am

Nice post!
” 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.”
I’ve always thought so myself but too few people are eager to search for it when many think they already found the culprit in CO2. Sad because they stopped looking.

December 22, 2013 11:26 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 22, 2013 at 7:09 am
“Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 2:37 am
It appears that variations in solar activity alter global cloudiness by affecting the zonality / meridionality of the jet stream tracks
There is no evidence for that, only supposition”
The Mediaeval Warm Period shows zonal jets as does the late 20th century Warm Period.
The LIA shows more meridional jets.as does the period since 2000.
The pre 2000 warm spell showed reduced cloudiness as per past posts on this very site and according to the Earthshine project cloudiness has increased since 2000.
Plenty of evidence available for those willing to see it.

donald penman
December 22, 2013 11:29 am

The idea is that volcanic activity causes short term cooling but then there is global warming that causes long term warming but what is forgotten is that volcanic activity also causes uplift of the continents which makes the remaining oceans deeper ,the surface area of the oceans is less so less heat is lost through evaporation and from the uplifted continents ,the climate becomes more arid.There are many examples of volcanic uplift today the Himalayas the alps and the west coast of north America as well as the UK all were at the bottom of the sea and have marine sediments deposited such as limestone and chalk.

December 22, 2013 11:30 am

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 11:11 am
Here is some evidence in support: “The authors find periods of low solar activity increase high-energy UV wavelengths, which would increase stratospheric ozone production. This has an inverse effect upon global temperatures, thus acting as a solar amplification mechanism.”
Unfortunately, those measurements are much in doubt, e.g.:
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/3945/2013/acp-13-3945-2013.html
and are most like the result of calibration errors [of this very difficult measurement].
The most recent evidence is going my way 🙂
ANY data whatsoever [good or bad] is always going your way, it seems.

December 22, 2013 11:31 am

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 11:26 am
Plenty of evidence available for those willing to see it.
Confirmation bias, as Yogi Berra said: “if I hadn’t believed it, I wouldn’t have seen it…”

December 22, 2013 11:40 am

phlogiston says:
December 22, 2013 at 3:46 am
“Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!

Not really that new. I am not fond of the expression myself and you made me look up its origin. A light-hearted but well documented post is right here:
http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2009/12/is-off-of-so-awful.html
The usage seems to go way back to 15th century. Long before American English. I am not sure it’s the case here but you may know that many features of older “upper class” English were adopted by Scottish nobility and survived in the Scots-Irish American south so long as to be considered “low class” and illiterate.
On the other hand, there are many truly new and interesting constructs in English and other languages. Finnish “pilkunnussija” is a good specimen:
http://betterthanenglish.com/pilkunnussija-finnish
The Dutch and others seem to also have expressive insults for posts like yours and mine.
Huh! I nearly forgot to mention that you failed to properly use an apostrophe in: “It’s horrible, stop it!”
***
“Jake liked to joke. He didn’t like to work. I have exactly those same failings myself.” Gus McCrae, Lonesome Dove

December 22, 2013 11:50 am

Leif said:
“Unfortunately, those measurements are much in doubt, e.g.:
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/13/3945/2013/acp-13-3945-2013.html
and are most like the result of calibration errors [of this very difficult measurement].”
Maybe so, but to get increased jetstream zonality at a time of active sun one has to have a higher tropopause above the poles relative to the height of the tropopause above the equator and that requires less ozone above the poles with reduced stratosphere temperatures which is exactly what we did observe during the late 20th century warming spell.
That was what all the panic about the ozone hole was about was it not?
And it isn’t just one paper that points out an inverse relationship between stratospheric ozone and surface temperatures as that link points out.
On that basis I judge that the more recent measurements are likely to be correct and not simply a result of calibration errors.
As for your ‘confirmation bias’ jibe that cuts both ways.
Some time ago I challenged you with a list of events that could cast doubt on my hypothesis. Thus far none have occurred so you may as well change the record.

December 22, 2013 11:58 am

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 11:50 am
Some time ago I challenged you with a list of events that could cast doubt on my hypothesis. Thus far none have occurred so you may as well change the record.
The very first one on the list suffices:
Stephen Wilde says:
December 16, 2013 at 12:29 am
I’m awaiting falsification but it hasn’t happened yet.
The types of observations that would falsify it have been set out by me several times before.
i) Cooling stratosphere with a quiet sun or warming stratosphere with an active sun.

Since solar activity has been decreasing in recent decades and the stratosphere has been cooling, it would seem that even your first example of falsification has been met…

TB
December 22, 2013 12:00 pm

Willis – It strikes me that you overlook one very important factor here, and that is the nocturnal behaviour of tropical maritime convective cloud.
The peak activity for convection is between midnight and 6am – therefore there are peak cloud amounts during that time.
And therefore peak back-radiative effect. (there can be no reflection of SW from cloud tops nocturnally).
From: http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/TCF/TRAINING_DOC/BOM/pngdiurnal_text.shtml
“Another study compared the diurnal variations in tropical cloudiness determined from IR brightness temperature with the estimated precipitation intensity differences between morning and evening observations from microwave satellite data. Both observations indicate maximum convective activity in the predawn hours over the tropical oceans “
and
“The study showed that the raining area and rain rate between midnight and 0600 local time are dominated by the stratiform component, confirming that nocturnal convection consists of extensive stratiform clouds. The maximum area rain rate of the convective type near 0300 local time makes a significant contribution to the nocturnal rain rate maximum. In addition to the nocturnal signal, the area rain rate of the convective type shows a secondary peak in the late afternoon.”
Note “Stratiform” clouds, indicating a spreading out of convective cloud (to be expected at night) – again reinforcing a “warming” signal at the surface
Now, I don’t pretend to know any figures, but would not the above negate the cooling effect by daytime convection?
This study indicates that overall the two forcings cancel each other:
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014%3C4495%3ATCATEB%3E2.0.CO%3B2

December 22, 2013 12:06 pm

Leif said:
“i) Cooling stratosphere with a quiet sun or warming stratosphere with an active sun.
Since solar activity has been decreasing in recent decades and the stratosphere has been cooling, it would seem that even your first example of falsification has been met…”
Perhaps you would also like to post my response to your earlier such assertion so as not to mislead readers ?
Stratosphere temperatures have been cooling since at least 1958 due to a series of active cycles and the rate of such cooling declined during relatively low cycle 20. The rate of cooling stopped altogether with the arrival of weak cycle 24 and on some measures shows signs of recovery.

December 22, 2013 12:09 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Perhaps you would also like to post my response to your earlier such assertion so as not to mislead readers ?
Stephen Wilde says:
December 16, 2013 at 11:27 am
Short term ups and downs do not count.
From your link:
“From 1979 to 1996, satellite and radiosonde measurements show that temperatures in the lower stratosphere declined, although that trend was interrupted by episodes of warming due to the El Chichón and Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruptions. For most of the last two decades, there has been little trend, but no sign of a reversal. “

Pamela Gray
December 22, 2013 12:10 pm

But Stephen, you just falsified your own thesis. The noisy temperature data juxtopositioned across your stratospheric anomaly indicates to me there is very little correlation. You have focused, it seems to me, on a very weak source. This shows your inability to voice a cogent mechanism that has a measurable affect on our weather patterns.

December 22, 2013 12:23 pm

Leif and Pamela,
This link is clear enough:
http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/2012-state-climate-temperature-lower-stratosphere
“no sign of a reversal. ”
Not yet, which I conceded but it does depend on which interpretation one adopts.
However, to falsify my hypothesis one needs a resumption of cooling to match the pre 1994 rate and there s no sign of that.
For example, the purple line does show signs of a reversal.as does the blue line to a lesser extent.
Perhaps we can now move on and not derail Willis’s thread ?

Editor
December 22, 2013 12:25 pm

Excellent Willis. I love the mapping of regions of positive and negative temp-albedo correlation. As forcing decreases, say by a decrease in solar forcing (both direct through TSI and indirect through whatever amplification processes may be at work), the northern negative correlation will at some point overwhelm the tropical thermostat and the planet will descend into another 100,000 yr long glacial period.
I wonder if the kind of regional correlation mapping you are doing, if it could be refined by starting temperature and other initial conditions, would be able to identify the glaciation tipping point/points. That would be quite a prize, to know how close we are to the coming disaster.

December 22, 2013 12:26 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm
For example, the purple line does show signs of a reversal.as does the blue line to a lesser extent.
Stephen Wilde says:
December 16, 2013 at 11:27 am
“Short term ups and downs do not count.”
Except when they behave as desired, apparently.
Perhaps we can now move on and not derail Willis’s thread ?
The derailing started with your falsified claim…

December 22, 2013 12:28 pm

“The derailing started with your falsified claim…”
Wishful thinking on your part:

December 22, 2013 12:29 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm
“The derailing started with your falsified claim…”
Wishful thinking on your part:

And you continue the derailing…

December 22, 2013 12:48 pm

Alec Rawls said:
“As forcing decreases, say by a decrease in solar forcing (both direct through TSI and indirect through whatever amplification processes may be at work), the northern negative correlation will at some point overwhelm the tropical thermostat”
The northern negative (cooling) correlation (arising from lower solar activity) is itself associated with more meridional jets, more global cloudiness and less solar energy getting into the oceans which itself turns down the activity of the tropical thermostat.
La Nina comes to dominate over El Nino.
If an increased portion of top of atmosphere solar energy fails to get into the oceans at all then it is lost to the system forever and cooling must ensue.
Which is the current situation and which was the situation during the Maunder and Dalton Minima et al.
The tropical thermostat fixes the maximum temperature that can be achieved at any given combination of solar input and surface atmospheric pressure.
Reduce either and cooling will ensue but as we know the average surface atmospheric pressure is fixed on time scales relevant to humanity.
That just leaves solar induced cloudiness changes as the primary climate driver but modulated by internal ocean cycles and GHGs of not much relevance at all.

December 22, 2013 12:54 pm

Pamela Gray says:
December 22, 2013 at 8:37 am
The variation in the energy available in Solar parameters needed to change something as strong as the Jets (through expansion/retraction of the absolute height/depth of the mesosphere thus relaxing/squeezing the jets north or south) would have to be many times greater than it actually is in watts per square meter.
Here
http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=0.00,90.00,400
you can see a nice Rossby (planetary) wave, working its way around the planet. However it gets occasionally thrown of course. If you take a good look you can see it breaks up just south of Kamchatka and further on it reforms into its classical shape. Kamchatka peninsula has 3 or 4 active volcanoes continuously pumping warm gases which push upwards the tropo-pause, but no eruptions at the moment.
When eruption happens for prolong period (few weeks) then the effect is much stronger, the warm tropospheric air dome rises into stratosphere, the result is sudden stratospheric warming SSW.
Here you can see there is no SSW this December,
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/temperature/70mb9065.gif
while the last one it was on its way. To find what was going on in Kamchatka last D-J you could start here:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NH.htm
if inclined to pursue source of power needed to break up jet-stream.

David Riser
December 22, 2013 1:15 pm

TB,
Read your link again…. the big maximum is at midafternoon with a secondary peak (not THE maximum) in the predawn.
v/r,
David Riser

Kevin Kilty
December 22, 2013 1:24 pm

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.

Or the heat radiates directly back to space as it would in regions of hot surface and dry overlying air, or it radiates to space at the tops of convective storms. It is a complicated heat engine with cold reservoirs at a variety of temperatures.
With regard to the “throttle” of the climate system one could generalize to say that all irreversibilities act to throttle this system. For example, mixing of dry and wet air is an important irreversibility, and precipitation falling through air is another such irreversibilty acting as it does through drag. Without precipitation, even at the sort of efficiencies one finds for the climate system, we would observe wind speeds of hundreds of miles per hour routinely.

December 22, 2013 1:27 pm

Here is some up to date data associating low solar activity with a warmer stratosphere which is the opposite of conventional climatology as espoused by Leif and others:
http://theweathercentre.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/persistent-stratospheric-warming.html

December 22, 2013 1:31 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm
Here is some up to date data associating low solar activity with a warmer stratosphere
From your link:
“All of that said, if we continue to see the current sunspot numbers stay at unusually low values (circled in blue), the stratosphere should continue to warm”
Except that we did not continue to see low solar activity, on the contrary, solar activity is now at its ‘second peak’ with recent values above 100…

GlynnMhor
December 22, 2013 1:36 pm

As solar peaks go, this ‘second peak’ is among the least active in a century or more.

December 22, 2013 1:37 pm

GlynnMhor says:
December 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm
As solar peaks go, this ‘second peak’ is among the least active in a century or more.
As predicted…

December 22, 2013 1:37 pm

“Except that we did not continue to see low solar activity, on the contrary, solar activity is now at its ‘second peak’ with recent values above 100…”
What did the stratosphere do?
Mind you, I think the short term variations can be misleading and I prefer to regard as significant the longer term lack of stratospheric cooling from 1994 to date as the sun became less active. As my previous link shows there is some sign of warming from the 1994 low in at least two of the data sets.
The next few years should clarify the issue.

December 22, 2013 1:39 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm
Mind you, I think the short term variations can be misleading
Yet you link to a report of such when convenient…

December 22, 2013 1:45 pm

“Yet you link to a report of such when convenient…”
Just following your example.
I gave you a link to the 1958 to 2012 record which is clear enough to all but you.

December 22, 2013 1:48 pm

Stephen Wilde says:
December 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm
“Yet you link to a report of such when convenient…”
Just following your example.

Lame excuse for bad behavior.
I gave you a link to the 1958 to 2012 record which is clear enough to all but you.
As your link says: “For most of the last two decades, there has been little trend, but no sign of a reversal.

TB
December 22, 2013 2:10 pm

David Riser says:
December 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm
TB,
Read your link again…. the big maximum is at midafternoon with a secondary peak (not THE maximum) in the predawn.
v/r,
David Riser
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
David, there is a second max but it seems the nocturnal one is involved with the most areal cloud and heaviest rainfall (meteorological explanation is via radiative cooling of cloud tops and consequent build of cloud depth).
And I read the paper differently to you – I don’t read anything about the big max in the pm. The contrary actually….
“Maximum enhancement of deep convection over the western Pacific occurs between 0600 and 0900 local time.”
“Throughout the equatorial Pacific region, the early morning maximum is typically deep convection whereas the afternoon maximum is generally mesoscale cirrus-anvil clouds.”
“Both observations indicate maximum convective activity in the predawn hours over the tropical oceans….”
“The variation is dominated by heavier rain during the night from 2200 to 0600 Local Time, and lighter rain in the remaining part of the day.”
“Cumulus convection in the morning and afternoon consists of shallower convective elements, and the nocturnal convective system consists of deeper convective cells and larger areas of stratiform clouds.”

December 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm
The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface.
All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun, as it formed out of a contracting cloud of interstellar gas, until it became so hot that nuclear fusion was initiated…

December 22, 2013 2:55 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm
Just, you know … planets and planetary atmospheres.
Like Jupiter… “The temperature and pressure inside Jupiter increase steadily toward the core. At the phase transition region where hydrogen—heated beyond its critical point—becomes metallic, it is believed the temperature is 10,000 K”…

Greg
December 22, 2013 3:12 pm

phlogiston says:
“Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!
“Construct” is a verb. Construction is the noun. Abuse of verbs as nouns is a horrible American-English habit, stop it! Grammar is a noun , grammatical is the adjective. Abusing nouns as adjectives is a horrible American-English habit, stop it!
Use of the correct parts of language is a good habit. May I suggest “grammatical construction”.
I trust you use a spelling checker rather than a ‘spell check’.

cd
December 22, 2013 3:13 pm

Pressure heads – what like Boyle. You once made some good posts with a novel – even if sometimes naive (by others judgement not mine) – interpretation. But what is the point of this piece – no mention of equilibrium nor even entropy, which even if only theoretical (given scale or complexity of the system) is important to the discussion.
Can I suggest you spend some time consulting climate modellers before your next post – I’m not suggesting that this is the subject of this post but somehow I think it will be the subject of your next.

Greg
December 22, 2013 3:18 pm

Position of the ITCZ is probably what causes the “mysterious” polar see-saw. Varying proportions of heat engine throughput get directed north and south.

cd
December 22, 2013 3:20 pm

Greg
Why do you bother?

Robert of Ottawa
December 22, 2013 3:30 pm

Thank god for the tropics, otherwise we would freeze our privates off here in Canada. Oh, wait a minute.

Greg
December 22, 2013 3:41 pm

lsvalgaard says: “Except that we did not continue to see low solar activity, on the contrary, solar activity is now at its ‘second peak’ with recent values above 100…”
Which is still low , as you predicted.
The way the second peak is looking it seems like 24 will have dominant N peak like cycle 20 and will probably die a fair bit quicker than the current functional curve is predicting.
That would leave overall peak closer to your 2008 timing. Curious the way “smoothed monthly values” SSN curve manages to show a peak at the month having the lowest SSN count in about the last three years
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/sunspot.gif

Bob Weber
December 22, 2013 4:02 pm

It’s been a pleasure checking this article out Willis. If the clouds are a throttle, where is the engine? And what is the fuel? A throttle that acts as a thermostat is very interesting.
If Svensmark’s cosmic ray (which are protons, right?) cloud cover climate theory is right, then doesn’t it make sense that geoeffective solar proton/electron events would cause sudden increases in cloud cover and precipitation, driving extreme weather events? There is plenty of evidence for this in the satellite solar wind data history.
What happens during a sudden stratospheric warming event and where does the driving power come from in the first place? Are SSW’s predictable? Where does blocking high pressure come from? What really creates a low pressure system? Does anyone know?
Piers Corbyn knows. He not only knows, he predicts US and UK/Ireland weather 30 days ahead very well within what I consider to be a reasonable margin of error considering the chaos in the system. Here it is Dec 22 and the Weather Channel’s named storm Gemini is moving eastward off into the Atlantic. Looking at Piers’ forecast period for the last few days shows three weeks ahead of time his prediction for the exact frontal, temperature, and precipitation structure and movement as we have seen with winter storm Gemini. Was he lucky or does he know what’s he’s talking about? He predicted a very dangerous cold and snowy December for the US – right on track – including the mild times and areas.
The sun is the engine. Water along with photons, protons, and electrons are fuel – solar rain bringing earth rain/snow.

joeldshore
December 22, 2013 4:05 pm

Stephen Wilde says:

AGW theory proposes that the effective radiating level rises to a cooler level but I think that is wrong.
The effective radiating level stays the same temperature so as to continue matching energy in with energy out despite the change in height.

This shows that you understand neither the scientific theory that you are critiquing nor the implications of your own statement.
What AGW theory says is that when you add GHGs, you increase the altitude of the effective radiating level (initially at 255 K). Since the troposphere has a lapse rate, this will indeed mean that the new higher altitude is cooler and hence the radiation leaving the Earth will be less than it receives. However, as a result of this, the atmosphere will warm over time until the altitude of the effective radiating level is again 255 K.
To calculate the surface temperature, you have to extrapolate the temperature to the surface using the environmental lapse rate. For an environmental lapse rate of 6.5 K per km and an effective radiating level of 5 km, the surface temperature would be 255 K + (6.5 K/km)*(5 km) = 287.5 K. If the increase in greenhouse gases were to increase the level to 6 km then the new surface temperature would be 255 K + (6.5 K/km)*(6 km) = 294 K.
[This, of course, assumes the environmental lapse rate doesn’t change, which is a good first approximation. In reality, the environmental lapse rate in the tropics is expected to decrease a little bit because the moist adiabatic lapse rate is a decrease function of temperature…and so this produces a negative feedback, i.e., causes the surface temperature to increase somewhat less than the above considerations predict.]

joeldshore
December 22, 2013 4:12 pm

Leif says:

All astronomers are then ‘pressure heads’ as it is generally accepted that pressure alone heated the Sun, as it formed out of a contracting cloud of interstellar gas, until it became so hot that nuclear fusion was initiated…

Gravitational collapse can indeed convert gravitational potential energy into other forms of energy (like thermal energy). However, the Earth’s atmosphere is not undergoing gravitational collapse and, hence, the energy that it emits back out into space must be approximately equal to the energy that it receives from the sun (if it is not rapidly heating or cooling). And, in fact, satellite data confirms that to a good approximation, the Earth is emitting back out into space the amount of energy it absorbs from the sun.
The larger point that Willis is making is that magical incantations about pressure that people like Stephen Wilde make do not get him around having to conserve energy and thus make his various conjectures nothing but pseudoscientific nonsense.

Myrrh
December 22, 2013 5:42 pm

“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.”
Then how do we bring these back into general education?
The thick fluid blanket of the gas air which is our atmosphere is around 14lbs/sq inch and it’s in this most of our weather happens, and that is due to the properties and processes of the mainly nitrogen and oxygen gas molecules, which act to keep the Earth heat from escaping too quickly , and water which cools the Earth from the great temperature it would be without it.
Unfortunately for the discussions about this confusion arises because there are two conflicting paradigms in play here, between those who associate the “minus 18°C” with ‘Earth without greenhouse gases’ and those who associate it with ‘Earth without any atmosphere whatsoever’, the latter which is the standard teaching still in physics and the comparison is with the Moon, without an atmosphere*.
Standard teaching is as follows:
Earth with atmosphere: 15°C
Earth without atmosphere: -18°C
Moon without atmosphere: -23°C
Earth with atmosphere but without water: 67°C
By standard teaching then, it the main gases nitrogen and oxygen and water which are the real greenhouse gases which regulate the Earth’s temperature.
*For example, seen as the norm by this question in a standard physics discussion:
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=172646
“Earth’s surface temp without atmosphere vs moon’s
“Without an atmosphere, the earth’s average surface temperature would be -18 C.
“The moon’s surface temperature averages -23 C. Is this 5 degree C difference due to heat from the earth’s core?”
and, used as the norm in other standard physics pages:
http://www.kowoma.de/en/gps/additional/atmosphere.htm
“◦Makes possible a mean temperature on Earth’s surface of +15 °C instead of -18 °C as would be without atmosphere”
The AGW attributed ’33°C rise to greenhouse gases’ meaning ‘ir imbibing’ and making carbon dioxide a key player while ignoring the great roles our atmosphere of nitrogen/oxygen and the water cycle within that play in temperature regulation, is a sleight of hand change to standard physics.

Ulric Lyons
December 22, 2013 5:50 pm

Willis said:
“Finally, I think that the idea that the El Nino / La Nina alteration functions to regulate the temperature by pumping warm tropical water to the poles when the tropics start to overheat is my own idea as well.”
But warmer water usually gets transported to the poles at the same time as when the warmer water in the tropics is going nowhere. Northerly transport of water increases with negative AO/NAO conditions, which occur more during El Nino episodes/conditions. It’s not until a La Nina that the warmer tropical warmer is going anywhere far, by which time less is going to poles as there will be more positive AO/NAO episodes.
The largest supply to the Arctic is from the Atlantic, I would expect that atmospheric circulation in the mid latitudes determines the transport of warmer water into the Arctic, though it would be interesting to see what effects of the occasional Benguela Niño episodes may have. The big deal is what is actually moving the “throttle” from Nino with negative AO, to Nina with positive AO.

gnomish
December 22, 2013 5:53 pm

sorry, willis – not to invite quibbles but you once explicitly stated that temperature and heat were directly convertible by the stefan bolzmann equation – which, you supported by stating that an infrared thermometer could not otherwise work. then you cited the formula for the conversion.
you were in a mood, though, as sometimes happens to any of us, so i withdrew and left you taunting me, saying i would not withdraw because i could not resist your attention. i do not want a rerun of this because, as you point out to mr mosher, i know you are better than that.
the lightest gas of any significance refers to the percentage of it in our atmosphere.
water gas is that gas – hydrogen and helium are not significantly present in our atmosphere.
that means that it rises with or without convection – which i consider an important fact that never receives mention.
any additional heat carrying capacity of a working fluid INCREASES THE EFFICIENCY of the heat transfer. therefore additional capacity from CO2 or any other component IMPROVES THE EFFICIENCY OF THE COOLING. this is another fact i consider neglected if not contradicted by conventional treatment of the topic of climate change vis a vis CO2.
if you prefer to be rude and hypocritical – then once again i will withdraw – for you have no talent at it and i unsocratically assert that hypocrisy sucks, snarky sucks and feigning ignorance sucks.
you’re no nucciteli. why try to compete? you can’t win anything.

Ulric Lyons
December 22, 2013 5:58 pm

gnomish said:
“did you know what happens when you increase the heat carrying capacity of the working fluid? (as happens, albeit insignificantly, with increased co2)”
CO2 has less heat capacity than dry air, an increase will reduce the heat capacity, albeit insignificantly.

gnomish
December 22, 2013 6:09 pm

sorry- you are quite right, mr lyons.
thank you for the correction.
i guess that cures one of my deficiencies.

John gardner
December 22, 2013 6:27 pm

Great article, Willis. Ot, but can I ask you whether you have thought about the fact that water (i.e. clouds) is a polar molecule, and therefore subject to attraction / repulsion by electrostatic charge? As you know, high electrostatic charges build up in the atmosphere, so there must be an opportunity for the charges to affect clouds.
Cheers from oz

Konrad
December 22, 2013 7:16 pm

Willis, it was looking so good –
“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.”
And then you went and did this –
“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”
Yes, there is a poleward flow of energy from the tropics to the poles, but the primary heat engine is expressed as energy flow from the surface to space driving tropospheric convective circulation. Planetary rotation and Coriolis forces split this into the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar tropospheric convection cells. Energy is being radiated to space allowing the subsidence of air masses from the upper half of each of these circulation cells, not just at the poles.
Willis, previously I believed you were getting so close. You described the formation of tropical cloud as emergent phenomena, and showed that increased interception of surface IR would simply decrease the time from dawn to cloud formation. It should have been only a small step to considering that this applies to all convective circulation in the atmosphere. Adding radiative gases to the atmosphere simply decreases the time to air mass break away (reduction of Raleigh number) after dawn.
I claim that AGW is a physical impossibility, and that radiative gases act to cool our atmosphere at all concentrations above 0.0ppm. The reason is the critical role radiative gases play in driving non-radiative energy transports in our atmosphere. Prior to 1990 the “basic physics” of the “settled science” was essentially two shell radiation only models, very much like your “steel greenhouse” (I have an experiment you can build that demonstrates that the radiative physics of two shell models works just fine). The problem with these types of two shell radiative models is that they simply parametrise non-radiative transports and the lapse rate these circulations pneumatically generate. The reality is that the speed of tropospheric convective circulation is dependant on radiative gas concentration. Radiative gases are the only “cold end” of the tropospheric circulation “heat engine”.
After the political battle to keep the 1990 IPCC report inconclusive, there was a frantic attempt to save global warming by changing radiative only models to radiative-convective models, introducing claims of “strongly positive water vapour feedback” and erasing the medieval warm period record that disproved these claims.
Here is a typical pre AGW description of the “heat engine” of tropospheric convective circulation and the role radiative gases play in allowing the subsidence of air masses –
http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~dib2/climate/tropics.html
And here is one of the more ridiculous post 1990 attempts to negate the role of radiative gases in driving tropospheric convective circulation-
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%282003%29016%3C3706%3ASPAETA%3E2.0.CO%3B2
This paper dealing with poleward energy flow claims that most of LWIR emitted from convective circulation cells is a “feedback” of circulation, not a driver.
Willis, your post seems to be drifting in the direction of the second paper. Might I suggest you check the authors of the second paper? (please don’t do this while drinking beverages near expensive computer equipment).

Paul Vaughan
December 22, 2013 7:36 pm

• Concise overview of heat engines = p.433 [pdf p.10] here:
Sidorenkov, N.S. (2005). Physics of the Earth’s rotation instabilities. Astronomical and Astrophysical Transactions 24(5), 425-439.
• Elaboration on heat engines = section 8.7 (begins on p.175 [pdf p.189]) here:
Sidorenkov, N.S. (2009). The Interaction Between Earth’s Rotation and Geophysical Processes. Wiley.
http://imageshack.us/a/img850/876/f0z.gif (credit: JRA-25 Atlas)

Eugene WR Gallun
December 22, 2013 7:43 pm

THE “OFF OF” CONTROVERSY
“the climate heat engine doesn’t work off of a temperature. It works off of a temperature difference.”
I think you are misplacing your attention — talking about “of” when you should be examining “off”. The word “off” has a number of meanings, some fallen out of usage. The intended meaning of “off” determines whether or not “of” is used. Therefore it is sometimes right to say “off of” and sometimes right to say just “off”.
Surprisingly, “off” has no specific meaning that allows it to be used in a sensible fashion in the above example. The word “off” does not really convey the meaning that the author is hoping to convey.
But in English we make words say what we want them to mean — and if enough people do it then it gets added to the dictionary.
Eugene WR Gallun

December 22, 2013 7:58 pm

joeldshore says:
December 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Gravitational collapse can indeed convert gravitational potential energy into other forms of energy (like thermal energy). However, the Earth’s atmosphere is not undergoing gravitational collapse
Neither is Jupiter nor Venus [for that matter]. These bodies are not contracting, their atmospheres are just obeying the usual gas law: PV = nRT

Dave Dardinger
December 22, 2013 9:25 pm

Willis,
I’m glad you gave Steve Mosher yet another thrashing. I was tempted to, but he’s, as you say, such a waste of time. Yes, he seemed smart at one time, but something happened over time which seems to have made him unable to be either objective or humble. I realize that’s somewhat the definition of a tr*ll, but I don’t think he’d accept that appellation. So what is he?

Brian H
December 22, 2013 10:01 pm

The foibles of the thermostat on the downside are far more nervous-making than are those on the upside. There are no historical or paleohistorical instances of harm from upside changes (droughts being cold dry air phenomena), but many of downside swings. Another (of a superfluity) fatal flaw of CAGW.

December 22, 2013 10:25 pm

lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
Steven Mosher,
You should go to Engineering School to learn how awful a mistake this is. There is no Inertia, nor whatever intertia is, in the climate. Inertia is momentum, M x V, a simple scalar quantity. Heat and energy and power and flux, the last being what “Climate Scientists” think is a “forcing,” no inertia to be found anywhere, nor “intertia.”
Willis makes a strong point that increasing temperature, wherever, could and may be already causing an increase in clouds, which would be a true “regulator.” Without this sort of regulator the planet’s climate would have run away, in either direction, long ago.
I am not sold on either the posited “Snowball Earth,” nor Hansen’s “Fire = Venus” planet. Willis makes a strong point that either extreme would have happened long ago without some sort of regulator in the system. IPCC freely admit that they cannot model clouds.
Engineers are hired because any sort of energy costs money, and wasting money is offensive to the people who actually have to pay. Mosher, whatever it is you do for a living, it is not engineering.

December 22, 2013 10:43 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm
OK, not gas giants either …. any other exceptions you’d care to note?
Venus comes to mind…

December 23, 2013 12:26 am

Willis said:
“The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This moves more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.
Which of course is one more mechanism whereby an increase in forcing may not lead to an increase in temperature.”
Which has been exactly my point for years.
GHGs may initially act to slow down energy throughput but that is negated by a circulation change that speeds up throughput again to keep the system stable.
The change in speed of throughput is manifested by circulation shifts that we see as ‘climate change’.
The natural changes in throughput speed from oceanic and solar variability being many magnitudes greater than from changes in GHG amounts.

December 23, 2013 12:30 am

“The larger point that Willis is making is that magical incantations about pressure that people like Stephen Wilde make do not get him around having to conserve energy and thus make his various conjectures nothing but pseudoscientific nonsense.”
Nothing magical.
Work against gravity in uplift (cooling) is matched by work with gravity (warming) on descent.
Energy is conserved.
Nothing to do with gravitational collapse.

December 23, 2013 12:34 am

joeldshore said:
[This, of course, assumes the environmental lapse rate doesn’t change, which is a good first approximation. In reality, the environmental lapse rate in the tropics is expected to decrease a little bit because the moist adiabatic lapse rate is a decrease function of temperature…and so this produces a negative feedback, i.e., causes the surface temperature to increase somewhat less than the above considerations predict.]
GHGs do change the environmental lapse rate and in the case of water vapour it is a lot. Check the difference between the dry and moist lapse rates.
Ozone actually reverses the environmental lapse rate above the tropopause.
The effects are then negated for the system as a whole by speed of throughput changes (circulation shifts) as Willis correctly observes.

Greg
December 23, 2013 12:40 am

re the graph of lower stratospheric temp Willis posted in comment-1510262
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/uah-msu-stratospheric-temperature.jpg?w=560
Despite the obsession of everyone to look for (linear) trends, this graph anything but linear and those incapable of thinking in anything but Excel fitted straight lines will miss the point.
Both events resulted in a drop in temperature (by eye about 0.3 and 0.6K respectively).
The initial disruption of the weaker, earlier event lasted about 2.5 years, for Mt.P it lasted about 4 years. (I think Willis’ grey lines are a short, though that’s subjective without a formal criterion).
There was an essentially flat period between the two, although one could suggest a slight rebound. Similarly after Mt.P there is clear rebound bump, though post 97 is essentially flat.
So the information shown here would suggest that despite the initial warming spike the decadal scale effect of both eruptions was permanent drop in stratospheric temperature.
We have the advantage here of seeing a clear signal of both events relatively unperturbed by the sort of large scale variability that confounds clear identification in the surface records.
As I understand the explanation of the warming spike it is due to blocking of incoming solar due to changes in the composition of the stratosphere. The same argument then leads to the conclusion the persistent drop in LST after each event indicates less blocking of solar (this has been discussed elsewhere in detail).
This means that the net effect of these major eruptions is an ADDITIONAL radiative input to the lower climate system, not the exaggerated cooling “forcing” that is used counter balance the speculative amplification CO2 effects.
How much of the late 20th c. warming was caused the climate’s response to those events that is witnessed in the stratosphere data?

December 23, 2013 12:42 am

Willis said:
“Seems there’s been a misunderstanding, Stephen. The people I call “pressure heads” are those that think that on a planet with a GHG-free atmosphere, say an argon atmosphere, that pressure alone can raise the temperature of the surface”
Noted and thanks but I think you may find that even a nearly radiatively inert argon atmosphere will have a warmer surface than S-B predicts due to uneven surface heating and the consequent convective circulation.
It isn’t the pressure alone that does it but rather the time delay in energy throughput resulting from the conversion of kinetic energy at the surface to gravitational potential energy higher up during uplift and then reconversion back to kinetic energy during descent.
That is how your thermostat really works.
The clouds and thunderstorms are a consequence of the rising air being rich in water vapour and are thus a side effect rather than a driving force.

phlogiston
December 23, 2013 1:01 am

Greg on December 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm
phlogiston says:“Off of” is a cacophonous new American-English grammar construct. What does it mean? Its horrible, stop it!“
Construct” is a verb. Construction is the noun. Abuse of verbs as nouns is a horrible American-English habit, stop it! Grammar is a noun , grammatical is the adjective. Abusing nouns as adjectives is a horrible American-English habit, stop it!
Use of nouns as adjectives and verbs as nouns is becoming a reality in vernacular english. OK its not high english but it pales into insignificance next to “off of”.

phlogiston
December 23, 2013 1:33 am

Folks (now I’m using US vernacular) are reading too much into this article and criticising it unfairly. Willis did not – I’m sure – intend it as a new climate model of everything. He just points out the fact, beyond dispute, that the climate system is a heat engine, which follows from the equally uncontroversial assertion that the equator is closer to the sun than the poles (and sunlight has a shorter path).
Two terms are very conspicuous by their absence from this debate: they are “dissipative” and “far from equilibrium”. These descriptors strongly characterise the climate heat engine and they are also the major pre-requisites of a system to enter dynamical chaos and exhibit nonlinear pattern formation.
Important insights into the climate heat engine would flow from this understanding, but they are not doing so. It is sad to see that half a century after the discoveries of Lorenz, Feigenbaum, Mandelbrot, Prigogine and many others, mainstream science still turns a blind eye toward chaotic and nonlinear dynamics and pattern. A valid scientific revolution is being extinguished by predjudice.

Konrad
December 23, 2013 1:43 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm
—————————————————-
“I fear I don’t understand that. “Energy flowing from the surface to space” doesn’t drive tropospheric convective circulation. The circulation is driven by the massed thunderstorms of the ITCZ. These create the deep convection that make the whole thing go ’round …”
Perhaps I should have written energy flowing from the surface to space via both radiative and non-radiative transports.
I would have to disagree that thunderstorms make the “whole thing go ’round”?
Previously you stated that “A heat engine needs both a hot end and a cold end.”
Moist convective uplift and release of latent heat in Hadley circulation is the “hot end”.
Radiative energy loss to space at altitude is the “cold end”.
Comments from Dr. Spencer in 2009 indicated that he believed almost all tropospheric circulation would cease in the absence of radiative gases (except for a very thin near surface layer), and such a static atmosphere would trend isothermal through gas conduction.
(I found Dr. Spencer’s 2009 comments after conducting simple empirical experiments after 2011 on relative heights of energy entry and exit from tall gas columns and its effect on Raleigh-Bernard circulation and average temperature. I was backtracking to find out who else knew.)
While Dr. Spencer’s claim may seem dramatic, it is completely in line with the results of my gas column experiments.
Willis, I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?

Ulric Lyons
December 23, 2013 1:58 am

Willis said:
“The other thing which bears constant restating is that the system can speed up without heating up, by increasing the throughput of the working fluid. This move more energy polewards, without much increase in surface temperature.”
Why and when would it speed up without heating up? And surely if there is an upper limit on tropical surface temperature, moving more energy polewards will increase the total surface temperature.
I would reckon that the poleward transport of energy is differential between the ocean and atmosphere. More atmospheric energy is transported poleward when the jet streams are more poleward, and more warmer ocean is transported poleward when the jet streams move towards the equator.

Gail Combs
December 23, 2013 3:08 am

Steven Mosher says: @ December 22, 2013 at 7:49 am
“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….
######################
lets see. intertia ,,,,,,or some magical thermostat that makes a clunky analogy more analogical
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Or a specific set of conditions, continent configurations that have kept the Holocene temperature unusually stable GRAPH
And these graphs GRAPH 1 and GRAPH 2 showing overall cooling.

December 23, 2013 3:21 am

“conducting simple empirical experiments after 2011 on relative heights of energy entry and exit from tall gas columns ”
You could get an isothermal structure from a tall glass column with a perfectly flat base, vertical sides and evenly illuminated at the base.
Not so for a rough surfaced, rotating sphere illuminated from a point source of light. In that case you would always get cooling with altitude because of the density variations arising throughout the volume occupied by the gases and the consequent circulation.

gbaikie
December 23, 2013 3:25 am

– Bob Weber says:
December 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm
It’s been a pleasure checking this article out Willis. If the clouds are a throttle, where is the engine? And what is the fuel? A throttle that acts as a thermostat is very interesting. –
Engine is ocean. Fuel is sunlight.
Fuel is source of energy. Throttle controls how much fuel/energy gets to engine.
But also need brakes. Ocean is engine and brakes [:) jake brake??].
And Ocean is also a flywheel.
But the land surface is also a engine, it’s just not the main engine.
Land not a main engine because it’s low percentage of total surface area- particularly in tropics
where most sunlight reaches Earth. And Ocean is more of engine per square km of area.
So ocean area of same area as land is a more powerful engine.
So oceans dominate Earth global climate and weather. And it’s mostly the tropical ocean.
Which is all well known. Or everyone knows El Niño and .La Niña have large effect upon weather and global climate. Everyone knows Europe is warmer due to the Gulf Stream.
Everyone know coastal regions have more milder weather- doesn’t get as cold nor get as hot- but mostly doesn’t get as cold when in night and winter.
Land has higher temperatures, but not higher average temperature. Land warms the air during the day, but doesn’t warm air much during night.
And the atmosphere is also an engine. It’s whole focus of “greenhouse efect” but it’s a minor
engine, and also minor flywheel. Or instead flywheel it’s like the mass or load of vehicle.
And we ocean evaporating and condensation- more flywheel/battery/load/governor/regenerative braking.
So land is only place you get high surface and air temperatures. But high surface [skin] temperature and high air temperature has little to do with increasing global aveage temperature- or the Moon would have a high average temperature. High global average temperature is all about retaining heat, and ocean retains heat for centuries of time.
So the main factor of why our world has what might seem a high average temperature is largely or nearly exclusively about the Earth’s oceans. Or put a deep global ocean of water on the Moon and Moon will have a much higher average temperature.

December 23, 2013 3:33 am

Ulric Lyons asked
“Why and when would it speed up without heating up?”
Because the additional energy is in the form of gravitational potential energy and not kinetic energy.
The change in size or speed of the convective heat engine changes the ratio of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy within the atmospheric gases so as to keep radiation out to space equal to radiation in from space. That also involves keeping the surface temperature stable despite forcing elements that try to destabilise it.
The phase changes of water are an additional ‘lubricant’ which increases the efficiency of the engine so that less violent circulation changes are needed to maintain stability.
If cloudiness changes occur then that alters the proportion of top of atmosphere incoming radiation that enters the oceans and so mimics a change in top of atmosphere insolation and will change the surface temperature.
Even then the system will maintain stability by adjusting the speed of energy throughput via circulation adjustments.

December 23, 2013 3:37 am

gbaikie said:
“So the main factor of why our world has what might seem a high average temperature is largely or nearly exclusively about the Earth’s oceans.”
Yes.
Been saying that for years. See The Hot Water Bottle Effect.
For energy retention purposes the oceans must be regarded as part of Earth’s atmosphere.
As someone else said “The atmosphere is the continuation of the oceans by other means”.

cagwsceptic
December 23, 2013 4:16 am

It would be interesting to calculate the thermodynamic efficiency of this global heat engine and compare it with the best man made heat engines. For instance the boiler turbine condenser cycle of a modern power plant operating near the critical point is at best around 50%.

TimTheToolMan
December 23, 2013 5:02 am

Leif writes “Neither is Jupiter nor Venus [for that matter]. These bodies are not contracting”
Jupiter is thought to be contracting. Thats where it gets its extra energy from.

TimTheToolMan
December 23, 2013 5:37 am

Leif also wrote “These bodies are not contracting, their atmospheres are just obeying the usual gas law: PV = nRT”
But the atmosphere of Venus is CO2 as a supercritical fluid which doesn’t behave like an ideal gas.

December 23, 2013 5:54 am

TimTheToolMan says:
December 23, 2013 at 5:02 am
Jupiter is thought to be contracting. Thats where it gets its extra energy from.
That contraction is of minor importance and certainly not in the outer layers. Most of Jupiter’s energy is simply left over from its formation.
TimTheToolMan says:
December 23, 2013 at 5:37 am
But the atmosphere of Venus is CO2 as a supercritical fluid which doesn’t behave like an ideal gas.
No, only the lowest part near the surface is. Most of the atmosphere is not and is still hot and under high pressure.

ferdberple
December 23, 2013 6:50 am

cagwsceptic says:
December 23, 2013 at 4:16 am
It would be interesting to calculate the thermodynamic efficiency of this global heat engine and compare it with the best man made heat engines.
================
I posted just such a back of the envelope calculation awhile back. The efficiency was about 20%.

gbaikie
December 23, 2013 7:07 am

-TimTheToolMan says:
December 23, 2013 at 5:37 am
But the atmosphere of Venus is CO2 as a supercritical fluid which doesn’t behave like an ideal gas.
No, only the lowest part near the surface is. Most of the atmosphere is not and is still hot and under high pressure.-
Yes. But increased earth atmosphere by 20 times, this would be the supercritical part, and add 70 times more of the Earth’s 1 atm atmosphere that would the part not supercritical.
Or:
… “above the critical point for carbon dioxide, it can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid. More specifically, it behaves as a supercritical fluid above its critical temperature (304.25 K) and critical pressure (72.9 atm” ….
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercritical_carbon_dioxide
Or it’s supercritical for about first 4 km of elevation above surface.
Disfused sunlight reaching Venus surface, and it seems it would be less disfused at 4 km elevation. But I suppose it’s mostly significant in terms of having better transfer of heat, so I suppose allows better global uniformity of temperature [or less wind is required to transfer heat].
I have wondered if supercritical CO2 has anything to do with explaining Venus high temperature,
but mostly I think it’s large atmosphere and the clouds [droplets of H2SO4] which heated by sunlight. And sulfuric acid rain which occurs at a much higher elevation in the Venus atmosphere which could explain mostly why Venus is hot.
Though it possible also could have something with Venus planetary interior heat being so well insulated by the dense atmosphere.

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 8:05 am

Willis, I see now your difficulties in being truly scientific stem from stubbornness and arrogance that closely looks like the global warmists behaviour. For one thing, what Piers Corbyn does and says is not nonsense. Is your answer then “he was lucky”? and if so what do you base that judgment on? You whined in responses above about how you were mistreated in snarky comments, etc. wow Willis I didn’t know. I didn’t realize that having a double standard was your way. You have done to Piers Corbyn exactly what the warmists have been doing to skeptics for years, you attack the man and ignore the facts, just like a politician.
I read your dismissive article on Piers Corbyn last year. Clearly you don’t understand what he does, and further, your bias precludes you from taking a serious look at the true cause-effect relationship between solar activity and terrestrial weather. Clearly you don’t pay attention long enough to understand his forecasts, nor do you appear to follow solar activity sufficiently to “see it coming” like others can and do. Its your choice to wallow with the warmists and continue to believe solar forcing is insufficient to drive the oceans and the atmosphere and the weather and climate.

December 23, 2013 8:18 am

Two points:
1) So volcanic eruptions at the equators would have a far more significant impact on global temperatures compared to those that occur further North or South. Which could explain why the year without a summer was so dramatic due to the Mount Tambora eruption. Not just because it was a massive eruption but also because of its location where it would have had an instant effect on albedo.
2) I wonder how much heat engine activity occurs in the biosphere? Can it be measured?

beng
December 23, 2013 8:28 am

***
lsvalgaard says:
December 23, 2013 at 5:54 am
TimTheToolMan says:
December 23, 2013 at 5:02 am
Jupiter is thought to be contracting. Thats where it gets its extra energy from.
That contraction is of minor importance and certainly not in the outer layers. Most of Jupiter’s energy is simply left over from its formation.

***
Right. The “contraction” phase occurred long ago, during formation. Equilibrium has long since been established. Jupiter maintains its inner heat ’cause it’s BIG & well insulated — look at the cold upper atmosphere as evidence of the insulating effect.

Pamela Gray
December 23, 2013 8:42 am

Bob, I understand Corbyn’s forecasts quite well. And I am just an armchair climate nerd less than that of this thread author. Most peer-vetted climate scientists on both sides of the debate do not speak well of Corbyn’s thesis. Corbyn’s use of prediction statistics is a very good example of allowing poorly understood and applied statistical machinations to make unsupported and unverifiable projections and claims of victory. Inappropriate and slight of hand statistics can be the equivalent of a Jeff Dunham. If you are good at presentations, someone like Corbyn can make statistics do the equivalent of stand-up comedy with a talking stick.
If you believe Corbyn’s claims of victory are substantial evidence that he is right about what drives climate and weather pattern variations, you must also believe that Peanut and Jalapeno are real.

December 23, 2013 8:45 am

Pamela Gray says:
December 23, 2013 at 8:42 am
you must also believe that Peanut and Jalapeno are real.
Last I looked, they are. Explain.

Pamela Gray
December 23, 2013 8:56 am

Leif: Real humans, not puppets that Jeff so creatively uses in his comedy act. I am a big fan. Ranks with the funniest.

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 9:26 am

Pamela thank you for that statement. I wonder what kind of predictions you, Willis, the establishment solar scientist, the peer-vetted climate warmists and others have made that panned out recently and are they worth talking about.
Either Piers is right and you and a whole lot of others are wrong, or not, right? I repeat my question from above: was he lucky or does he know what he’s talking about? If he’s wrong as you say, then he must just be lucky, as you appear to insinuate. Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying there is no scientific evidence in support of Corbyn’s premises and methods?
Are you saying 110% for sure that Piers’ claim that solar particles and magnetic linkages control atmospheric circulation and other metrics especially during periods of higher solar activity is wrong? and they do nothing in relationship to weather and climate? and that isn’t predictable? I want an affirmative statement from you and Dr. Svalgaard on those questions, and if that’s too far outside the box for you, explain why.
I am convinced that there are too many scientists out there who don’t follow the scientific method. It is not hard to drop $30 on a three month forecast of Piers, and then follow it along as it happens, including his predictions for increased solar activity levels and the subsequent influences on our weather, and then see how close he is, as I have done. You don’t have to be a PhD to understand cause and effect relationships. I think a Phd sometimes has difficulties seeing the obvious.
Pamela, are you saying that I made up some BS story about there being evidence for solar-lunar weather/climate action on both long-term and short-term scales? Are you saying there is no evidence in the satellite solar wind data and earthly weather/climate history that supports Corbyn’s premises and methods?
The following statement you made to me is totally inapplicable in this discussion:
“Inappropriate and slight of hand statistics can be the equivalent of a Jeff Dunham. If you are good at presentations, someone like Corbyn can make statistics do the equivalent of stand-up comedy with a talking stick.
If you believe Corbyn’s claims of victory are substantial evidence that he is right about what drives climate and weather pattern variations, you must also believe that Peanut and Jalapeno are real.”
What are you talking about? I am declaring claims of victory for him, as do so many of his customers on both sides of the Atlantic. Do you even know what his forecasts were for the last three months and have you specifically falsified them or the premises he uses to make them?

James at 48
December 23, 2013 9:41 am

Not only do the clouds block incoming radiation, but in extremis (e.g. CuNim) they are nature’s tower heat sinks, conveying heat directly to outer space.
Passing thought. Some other planet’s heat engine could be the secret to interstellar travel. The biggest stumbling block for interstellar travel is the immense energy required to propel a ship to near c. Near c the mass approaches a singularity and therefore the energy requirements are nearly unthinkable. Perhaps by harnessing a planetary heat engine in some manner a ship could reach 0.1c or some reasonably high velocity. Of course this action would probably render the planet uninhabitable, so the planet would need to be carefully selected (imagine that EIR!).

Pamela Gray
December 23, 2013 9:47 am

Bob, your response clearly demonstrates you have little to no understanding of inappropriate application of statistical prediction methods.
Let me give you an example. If you say that there is a greater than 50% chance of widespread torrential rain in your regional area of forecast and it does indeed rain hard in one spot, you cannot say that your prediction was right. This is a slight of hand trick often used by Corbyn.
Another example. If you list all the parameters you think cause weather patterns to happen in your prediction and indeed your predicted weather pattern happens, you cannot say your parameters were the driver. That is very poor scientific methodology (paraphrase: if you list enough variables you can make an elephant wriggle its trunk) and would not be publishable or believable by anyone except the yourself and the easily led.

Greg
December 23, 2013 10:01 am

http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=750
To check what I suggested earlier, I got the UHA data did a 365d filter on the real temps rather than anomalies. As I suspected each of the two major eruptions resulted in permanent drop in TLS. ( I was wrong in so far as they were pretty much equal in magnitude. So much for ‘anomalies’).
Now if the TLS takes a permanent hit that is a strong indication that more incoming solar is getting into the troposphere.
Does this indicate eruptions cause a positive forcing?

December 23, 2013 10:02 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 23, 2013 at 9:57 am
Thanks, Leif. I don’t understand this. Are you saying that pressure alone raises the surface temperature on Venus?
CO2 helps too…
If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].

Larry Ledwick
December 23, 2013 10:05 am

One related consideration to Willis’s discussion here is that both of the working fluids in his heat engine analogy under go phase change with significant changes in energy content and no change in temperature due to water’s physical properties.
Temperature is really an awful way to try and capture energy transport. We really need to look at specific heat of the working fluids and total energy including energy held isothermal as phase change. In the case of air you have phase changes of liquid water to vapor (humidity) then as the moist air is transported to cooler regions that moisture is “squeezed out” of the air flow as rain or snow. Releasing huge amounts of heat as those phase changes occur but with trivial changes in temperature. The specific heat capacity of a hot moist tropical air mass is significantly higher than a slightly cooler dry air mass. This is one of the forms of “hidden heat” that confounds the models. Likewise in the ocean currents you have the phase change to solid ice in the arctic/antarctic regions, which also release enormous amounts of heat with little temperature change.
The earths heat engine is much like two parallel heat pipes one moving a condesable vapor (warm moist air) and the other moving a phase change liquid (water ice mixture). A mass of chilled ocean water full of slush ice has a much different heat content than a mass of all liquid water with no slush content at the same temperature.
By using the inflow out flow of energy, Willis has neatly side stepped this weakness of the models who focus on the temperature rather than the heat content.
At the time Willis was first considering his thermostat concept, we were having discussions here on WUWT regarding this same issue in thunderstorms and their vertical convection. As the warm moist air rose in the cell and first condensed out the water. It first transitioned to liquid water drops and then into ice crystals, releasing latent heat of condensation and freezing liberating huge amounts of energy at high altitude with relatively small changes in temperature. This like in a heat pipe, transported the heat as latent heat of phase change not temperature to the thermopause where it could be easily radiated to space above most of the IR blocking gasses in the atmosphere (water vapor and CO2)
Large scale vertical convection with phase change short circuits the entire IR process below the thermopause completely bypassing the IR absorption and re-radiation of the green house gases. Then to add insult to injury it creates a marvelous high albedo sun shade that strongly reduces solar heating at ground level, and directly reflecting the suns energy at high altitude outside much of the green house gas envelope of our atmosphere. At high altitude water vapor content changes (concentration and physical form) are by far the dominant “optical throttle” to radiant heating and heat loss not CO2.

December 23, 2013 10:21 am

Leif said:
“If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].”
Which is clearly correct but don’t forget warming with descent and that air warms at the dry adiabatic lapse rate on descent which is faster than cooling at the moist adiabatic lapse rate during uplift of more humid air.
I have encountered a misunderstanding over the compression aspect. Some say that the warming effect of simple compression is too small and so it is if height stays the same because the compression is only working against the weak intermolecular force.
However, if one changes altitude then work is being done with or against the gravitational force and that is what causes the observed lapse rate rather than simple compression. Obviously the stronger the gravitational field or the more atmospheric mass involved the more work needs to be done and the more heat will be generated.
So, provided one has a circulation within a radiatively inert atmosphere there will always be cooling with height and an isothermal atmospheric structure will not develop.
There will always be a circulation within any sort of atmosphere around a rotating sphere with a rough surface and illuminated from a point source of energy.
Note that the ‘surplus’ heat at the surface is being used to hold the atmosphere off the surface at the observed height and thus that heat is not available for radiation to space (unless the atmosphere were to collapse to the ground).
So one does have a warmer surface without GHGs provided a circulation can be maintained.
All the examples of isothermal scenarios involve suppression of circulation and are therefore unrealistic.

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 10:35 am

Pamela you assume more than one thing that isn’t so, including my understanding. I notice you don’t want to answer my questions. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or talk down to you or anyone else here but I believe many here have some of the same blind spots as do the warmists.
There exists a long list of peer-reviewed papers that provides evidences for the premises Piers Corbyn uses and for the statements he makes. For the last six years I’ve seen all kinds of papers that discuss cycles within cycles and observed solar weather impacts on earth, some of it here covered here at WUWT. You seem to be arguing the man not the science. I don’t remember ever seeing a forecast period by Piers with a 50% confidence rating. Your statistical argument is a straw dog and that dog doesn’t hunt. Piers is respected all around the world yet you treat him this way. Do you really understand what he does?

December 23, 2013 10:35 am

I don’t know if it’s exactly the same, but it kind of reminds me of the weather where I live in the Los Angeles area, a few miles from the water. Although the news reports periodically predict a “heat wave” or a “cold snap”, the temperatures at my house don’t change much. As it gets hotter inland, the heat rises and the cool air off the ocean gets pulled in to my house, cooling things off. As it gets colder inland, the moisture gets wrung out of the atmosphere, the sunshine gets more intense and it gets warmer. So no matter what happens, the general effect is that the temperature doesn’t change much.

December 23, 2013 10:37 am

Willis said:
“IF an inert atmosphere could raise the temperature above that point, THE PLANET WOULD BE RADIATING MORE THAN IT RECEIVES”
Your example refers to a superconducting planet with no atmosphere.
Now think about conduction which fuels convection whether or not the gases are radiatively active.
In order to radiate to space the amount of energy received from space AND conduct to the atmosphere the surface MUST be warmer than S-B predicts.
It is true that ‘surplus’ energy is coming back from the air to the surface but that returning energy cannot be lost to space because it is constantly needed to refuel continuing uplift.
If that returning energy were to be diverted from the conductive exchange to radiation out then the atmosphere would contract and eventually fall to the surface.
The surface temperature supports two processes in parallel:
I) A constant conductive exchange with the air above which is net zero as you pointed out in another thread some time ago and:
ii) A constant radiative exchange at top of atmosphere with the external energy source which is also net zero.
If anything attempts to distort the balance between those two processes then the circulation must change and the atmosphere expand or contract to regain balance.
That is your thermostat and in a water vapour rich atmosphere clouds and rain are a side effect.

Greg
December 23, 2013 11:00 am

Piers Corbyn talks like an cockney barra’ boy. Sadly his sales pitch is about on the same level.
I probably has positive prejudice to the kind of techniques he claims to use, I like the idea, but having looked at some of his claimed successes (which obviously avoids shining a light on the failures) I have to be unconvinced.
REPLY: Greg sums up exactly why I don’t give any credence to Corbyn. At one time it looked like he had something of value. Now, I see his Jeane Dixon astrology style over generalized prognostics for what they actually are. – Anthony

Greg
December 23, 2013 11:12 am

lsvalgaard says: “If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls ”
obviously, that’s just conservation of energy. I don’t see anyone having a problem with that. This does not answer the key question of whether it will _maintain_ a higher surface temperature.
To maintain a higher temp, there either has to be a constant conversion of gravitational potential (continued collapse) or the same TOA energy balance has to be maintained despite the higher surface temp.
Maybe I’ve missed a trick , but I don’t see the slightest indication in the “pressure head” hypothesis that explain how an increased temp can be maintained without further input or conversion of energy. That seems to be Willis’ point too.

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 11:21 am

Willis I know those past forecasts are free to the public. I will check right now… hold on. Here they are at http://www.weatheraction.com/pages/pv.asp?p=wact46 (Forecasts Archive)
Ok Willis, what do you say now after having said what you just said?

December 23, 2013 11:45 am

Willis said:
“over time, the total conduction of energy to the atmosphere must be zero ”
Agreed that it must be net zero but there is still conduction to the air causing uplift and conduction back to the surface upon descent.
That energy exchange is locked into the system for as long as there is any sort of gaseous atmosphere and it is over and above (and isolated from) the radiative exchange between surface and space and so requires a higher surface temperature than S-B.
That is the true greenhouse effect and it has its effect by causing a delay in the throughput of part of the solar energy passing through the system.That part of the incoming solar energy is diverted to the slower conductive exchange between surface and air and so causes a surface temperature rise without destabilising top of atmosphere radiative balance.

December 23, 2013 11:51 am

Willis, you and others are missing the surface warming effect of adiabatic descent.
http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter6/adiab_warm.html
Taken globally that is what warms the surface above S-B and not DWIR.

Samuel C Cogar
December 23, 2013 12:15 pm

Willis Eschenbach stated in commentary:
Now, if my hypothesis is correct, then we should be able to find evidence for this dependence of the tropical clouds on the temperature.
————
Mr. Willis E, ….. great science based commentary and my opinion is, …. your hypothesis is absolutely correct.
And I say absolutely correct because the context of your following two (2) paragraphs also apply, …. on a minor scale, …. to various land masses around the globe during their “hot days” of summertime.
Thus said, if one changes the “bold-faced” words in the following paragraphs, the 1st one to “terrestrial clouds” and the other 3 to “land”, ……. the “facts-of-the-matter” don’t change. To wit:
————–
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.

———–
When conditions warrant it, local weather reporters are always “warning” their listeners to … “watch out for thunder storms popping up unexpectedly”.

December 23, 2013 12:16 pm

Thanks Willis. An excellent article.
Again you demonstrate that the Earth’s climate system includes a thermostat!
Merry Christmas!

Trick
December 23, 2013 12:37 pm

Stephen 11:51am: “..(adiabatic descent) is what warms the surface.”
No, not spatially and temporally avg.d globally. Your link and you write the global ascend and descend process is ideally adiabatic! No net warming – of any mass can result. Not even a parcel. The diabatic process “warms the surface”.
To warm any mass requires using up an energy reservoir resource (my furnace warms my house mass by using up nat. gas reservoirs). Only the sun significantly “warms the surface” by using up hydrogen. DWIR is simply part of the 1st law modern text book (as yet unread by Stephen) surface energy balance of the earth, atm., & sun global thermo. system.

Mario Lento
December 23, 2013 12:44 pm

Trick says:
December 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm
Stephen 11:51am: “..(adiabatic descent) is what warms the surface.”
No, not spatially and temporally avg.d globally. Your link and you write the global ascend and descend process is ideally adiabatic! No net warming – of any mass can result. Not even a parcel. The diabatic process “warms the surface”.
To warm any mass requires using up an energy reservoir resource (my furnace warms my house mass by using up nat. gas reservoirs). Only the sun significantly “warms the surface” by using up hydrogen. DWIR is simply part of the 1st law modern text book (as yet unread by Stephen) surface energy balance of the earth, atm., & sun global thermo. system.
+++++++++++++
I could be wrong here. I believe the intent was to describe the transport process, not describe the source of energy. The energy source is primarily the sun. Everything else transports the energy, sometimes holding on to it, sometimes letting it go.

phlogiston
December 23, 2013 12:49 pm

CO2 helps too…If you increase the pressure, you do work on the molecules and their temperature rises. If you reduce the pressure, the air parcel expands, and the temperature falls [cause of temperature decreasing with altitude].
This is contradictory. The AGW camp attribute cooling at high altitude to radiative gas. Needless to say this is false – high altitude cooling is indeed adiabatic due to reduced pressure. CO2 does not “help” or contribute in any significant way to atmospheric heat.

TB
December 23, 2013 12:55 pm

Think of a bicycle tyre – you pump it up: it gets hot. Leave it as it is (in atmospheric case – at equilibrium). It cools. That is what would happen if on some magically, newly constructed planet with an atmosphere, it’s gravity had suddenly been switched on. The atmosphere would collapse and heat, forming a LR. But as this happens just once – it would cool and become isothermal. But would it? As a spinning differentially heated planet with a non-smooth surface would have instabilities – primarily due geopotential height differential and the causation of thermal winds which in turn would be vectored by Coriolis into jet-streams. There would be turbulence/friction/convection from the surface and quite soon an Earth-like circulation would appear. This would happen as well even if the atmosphere consisted of just N2 and O2 (non-radiative).
BTW: Venus’ temp, in the same way is not generated by atmospheric mass either.
Yes, gravity is continually acting, so yes, there is still a “pump” at work. But it’s not compressing any further (akin air in a bike tyre held at same pressure by the tyre walls). Therefore that heat energy would have been lost to space once Solar absorbed equalises with LWIR emitted. A new LR would develop purely by cooling/warming due to compression/rarefaction of vertically moving air keeping it in check. + radiational effects affecting the ELR.
Oh BTW – my take on Corbyn:
I actually met the guy once (at the UK MetSoc) in London. Didn’t speak to him though.
He is a laughing stock in UK Met professional ranks. It may make business sense to hide his methods – but it is certainly not the scientific method. Ergo he is not a scientist, whatever his qualifications.
He does nothing more than big-up his own work and constantly denigrate others, especially the UKMO.
How does he do it? Tea-leaves? A £100m supercomputer and access to all the best climate and solar data + the best models available? Or use stats and sleight of language?
The Sun allegedly is how he does it, via sunspots. Right, I’m going to predict the REGIONAL (not general) weather mind-you for the UK from that in 30 days time (Britain is a small country).
I remember seeing charts in the 80’s when he used to give them to customers and he’d partitioned the UK into (many) zones – with mutually exclusive weather in neighbouring ones.
He’s a hand-waving charlatan. He gets away with it because no one properly checks what he produces and like the pine-cone/sea-weed viewing old codgers of old it only takes one success and their always right. Whereas with the professionals – it only takes one miss and their always wrong.
Worse, actually, if he’s wrong and it’s been splashed over the media then it’s win/win for him. Cos the professionals get the blame.
Smoke, mirrors, and con.

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 1:00 pm

I will simply say that anyone can be wrong including Piers, in the line of work they do, especially forecasting. I have seen Piers be on the 15% side of his confidence rating. I don’t recall anyone here calling Dr. David Hathaway from NASA any disrepectful names because of the fact that his many forecasts for the first peak of SC24 were wrong. NOAA made specific predictions for an active hurricane season this year which did not happen. Who did however predict this winter we’re having now? Piers did.
We are seeing a winter here in N. Michigan that has started out looking like the bodacious winter of ’78. So far Piers has called it to a tee. Do you know that 18 days ahead of time Piers predicted a high solar activity day for Nov 17, where he predicted tornadoes in the US and volcanic activity (non-specific location), and it happened? Tornadoes happened in the US & volcanoes erupted in the Pacific ring of fire that day. It was a full moon – there’s your lunar action. Was he lucky?
What happened? What preceded these extreme earthly events? Higher SSNs and SOLAR FLARES. Photons, protons, & electrons. The solar wind impacted the earth causing this stuff to happen, and SC23&24 history is replete with such examples, including Typhoon Haiyan.
A few weeks ago I saw an ACE chart, I lined it up with a SSN chart, and tornado and hurricane activity charts for 2013, and wow, what do you know, it sure looked to me like solar activity has a lot to do with causing specific extreme weather events (which is what Piers Corbyn says). Today Paul Pierett responds on WUWT today with his own study of 2008-09 activity and comes to the same conclusions I did. Where does that ACE energy accumulate from? The Solar Wind. The sunspot number on Nov 17 was the highest I’ve seen in very long time at 282.
So, do I have a reason to believe Piers? Yes I do. He nailed every major storm so far for the US in December.
Piers says on his blog today that when the sun’s active region 1934 reaches geoeffective position Dec 29-Jan2, during a new moon, we will have R4 and R5+ conditions leading to some serious weather. Stay tuned that and for reputation-changing paradigm-shifting attitude adjustments worldwide in 2014.

December 23, 2013 1:05 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 23, 2013 at 11:09 am
Is a superconducting earth-sized planet (room temperature super-conduction, obviously) with an argon atmosphere going to be warmer than a superconducting planet with no atmosphere?
Why is it important that the planet be superconducting [of electricity, I presume]? And what is the heat source for the planet? A star? internal heat? radioactivity? something else? And where do you measure the temperature? At the surface, presumably. Average over planet?. Is the planet rotating? Is the Argon important? How about CO2 or CH4? I say the problem is poorly put.

December 23, 2013 1:24 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 23, 2013 at 11:09 am
Is a superconducting earth-sized planet (room temperature super-conduction, obviously) with an argon atmosphere going to be warmer than a superconducting planet with no atmosphere?
I’ll generalize your question a bit. I assume that the atmosphere can absorb light from the star around which the planet orbits, and from the surface as well. Then with the atmosphere, the surface gets radiation from two sources: the star and the atmosphere so will be warmer than with only one source. The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer. At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates. This is grossly oversimplified, but should roughly match my thoughts on this.

December 23, 2013 1:49 pm

lsvalgaard said:
“The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer.”
Yes, exactly.
And the amount of atmosphere is mass not radiative characteristics.
If the atmosphere is non radiative you still have energy transferring to and fro between surface and atmosphere (and atmosphere to surface) via conduction and that makes the surface warmer just as radiation from the atmosphere would.
But since the vast bulk of energy transfer between surface and atmosphere is due to atmospheric mass leading to conduction and convection (both uplift and descent in equal amounts) the trivial contribution from radiative characteristics matters hardly at all and our contribution even less.
and he said:
“At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates”
Also correct and the effect of radiative gases is to change that height by expanding or contracting the entire atmosphere thereby altering the global air circulation by a miniscule amount depending on their net thermal effect (which is still disputed by many).
That change in height and the associated circulation change is INSTEAD OF most if not all of any surface temperature change that might otherwise occur.
Willis is on the right track by referring to changes in the speed of energy throughput but needs to think through the logical implications of that concept.
The idea that the change in radiating height is to a colder location must be wrong. Instead, the temperature of the radiating height must stay the same but at a new height.
In the end the thermostat is that constantly varying height as the power and vigour of the convective circulation ebbs and flows in response to internal system forcing elements.

December 23, 2013 2:02 pm

Mario Lento said:
“I could be wrong here. I believe the intent was to describe the transport process, not describe the source of energy. The energy source is primarily the sun. Everything else transports the energy, sometimes holding on to it, sometimes letting it go.”
Absolutely correct.
Only mass and gravity determine the proportion of insolation retained.
Everything else only affects the transport mechanisms and in order to maintain stability any change in one transport mechanism is offset by an equal and opposite change in another.
Thus GHGs might or might not slow down energy throughput but whatever they do is negated by a change in the adiabatic / conductive / convective transport mechanism (assisted by the phase changes of water) but such GHG induced changes are not measurable compared to oceanic and solar induced variations.
The key is to realise that the adiabatic cycle returns energy back to the surface just as much as it takes energy away from the surface and so changes in its size or speed can easily adjust the system whenever the surface tries to become too warm or cool for radiative equilibrium at the radiating height as described by Leif.
Those changes in size and speed accord with Willis’s diagnosis about throughput variations and I thereby reconcile what Leif says with what Willis says.

joeldshore
December 23, 2013 2:06 pm

Leif says:

Neither is Jupiter nor Venus [for that matter]. These bodies are not contracting, their atmospheres are just obeying the usual gas law: PV = nRT

Well, this is much closer to your area of expertise than mine, but it was my impression that Jupiter was undergoing slow gravitational collapse and that this was a reason why it is emitting somewhat more energy than it absorbs from the sun. (For what it’s worth, here is a website that mentions the gravitational collapse part: http://www.astrophysicsspectator.com/topics/planets/Jupiter.html )
Venus is not, but Venus is not emitting more radiation to space than it is absorbing from the sun. It’s surface temperature is high because most of the radiation that it emits to space is absorbed by its atmosphere, i.e., it has a very strong radiative greenhouse effect.
At this point, I am not sure what point you are trying to make. Perhaps it would be better if you just come right out and make it, rather than just saying what you don’t like about what Willis said and then what I said?

TB
December 23, 2013 2:09 pm

Bob Weber says:
December 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Of course he does Bob and all by some miraculous, magical method that none knows. Akin to clairvoyance.
Pity, if he published his methods he’d be in receipt of a Nobel. And no doubt fabulous riches.
Bound to – it’s world shattering (secret) science.
PS: forgive my sarcasm.
I have decades long (professional) reasons to do so.

joeldshore
December 23, 2013 2:15 pm

Stephen Wilde says:

Willis, you and others are missing the surface warming effect of adiabatic descent.
http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter6/adiab_warm.html
Taken globally that is what warms the surface above S-B and not DWIR.

And, this is the “magical” pseudoscientific nonsense that I am talking about. It is strange after all this time that you are unable even to understand the basic point that your answer doesn’t even answer the right question. The point is that the surface can’t possibly be as warm as it is unless the atmosphere is absorbing some of the radiation emitted by the surface. If this were not the case, the Earth would be radiating away far more energy than it is receiving from the sun and would cool.
The only answer you have to this is to deny basic laws of radiative physics and to make up your own physical laws. That is why I call it pseudoscientific nonsense.

joeldshore
December 23, 2013 2:27 pm

Stephen Wilde says:

In order to radiate to space the amount of energy received from space AND conduct to the atmosphere the surface MUST be warmer than S-B predicts.

This sounds good only if you don’t understand the laws of physics. The actual laws of physics say that the surface radiates according to its temperature. END OF STORY. There is no law that says that if it conducts more away, it radiates less …
Or, to put it another way: Yes, convection & evaporation reduce the amount of energy that the Earth’s surface radiates. However, they do this by causing the Earth’s surface to be at a lower temperature than it would be without these processes (&, by the S-B Equation, if the Earth’s surface is cooler, it radiates less). They don’t do this by causing the Earth to radiate less at a given temperature.
Stephen, if you don’t understand, and are hence unconstrained by, the laws of physics then you can come up with all sorts of ways to make the atmosphere work the way you really, really want it to work.
However, the way it actually works is the way that obeys the laws of physics.

Trick
December 23, 2013 2:43 pm

Mario 12:44pm: “the intent was to describe the transport process, not describe the source of energy.”
Willis’ intent is to discuss the magnificent atm. heat engine which requires an energy source (sun fusion) AND transport (i.e radiative, conductive and convective source energy transfer). It is the energy source diabatic process science that “warms the surface” by using up H not the adiabatic transport process science as claimed incorrectly by Stephen (cite modern text books for the correct science) since the adiabatic transport process uses up no energy reservoir that “warms the surface” mass.

December 23, 2013 3:01 pm

joeldshore says:
December 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm
Well, this is much closer to your area of expertise than mine, but it was my impression that Jupiter was undergoing slow gravitational collapse and that this was a reason why it is emitting somewhat more energy than it absorbs from the sun.
Most of the energy is primordial stemming from gravitational contraction very early on. There may still be some gravitational settling with heavier elements sinking. This even happens in the Earth’s core, but that amount of energy is small and is not relevant for the rapid increase of temperature in the outer layers.
Venus is not, but Venus is not emitting more radiation to space than it is absorbing from the sun. It’s surface temperature is high because most of the radiation that it emits to space is absorbed by its atmosphere, i.e., it has a very strong radiative greenhouse effect.
And the more atmosphere [i.e. pressure], the more radiation is absorbed and the higher the temperature.
At this point, I am not sure what point you are trying to make.
Simply to point out that high pressure [i.e. more atmosphere] helps to raise the temperature near the surface.

joeldshore
December 23, 2013 3:15 pm

Leif says:

And the more atmosphere [i.e. pressure], the more radiation is absorbed and the higher the temperature.

Simply to point out that high pressure [i.e. more atmosphere] helps to raise the temperature near the surface.

Yes, I agree that higher pressure will tend to be associated with more radiation absorbed, i.e., a larger greenhouse effect both because, higher pressure means more greenhouse gases if some fraction of the atmosphere is greenhouse gases AND higher pressure also means more pressure-broadening of the absorption lines of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
But, these scientific points are very different from Stephen WIlde’s nonsense about higher pressure leading to higher temperatures INDEPENDENT OF the radiative greenhouse effect.

Mario Lento
December 23, 2013 3:23 pm

lsvalgaard says:
December 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm
… Then with the atmosphere, the surface gets radiation from two sources: the star and the atmosphere so will be warmer than with only one source. The amount of atmosphere [i.e. the pressure] will determine how much warmer. At some level in the atmosphere the temperature will have decreased to the value that corresponds to the energy from the star and there the temperature will be as S-B dictates. This is grossly oversimplified, but should roughly match my thoughts on this.
+++++++++++
I’ve heard lots of argument both ways based on temperature of planets due to an atmosphere vs the same planet without one, so would like to comment here.
1) Is not the temperature a function of how much the planet receives? If there is no atmosphere, the surface gets all the energy (that’s not reflected back into space). In a simple sense, adding heat to the atmosphere would be a zero sums game, if this is true –which it might not be. That is, what warmth the atmosphere receives is not received by the surface.
2) However, the atmospheric lapse rate then complicates all of this such that the sum of the energy absorbed in the atmosphere plus the surface is more than either one alone?

joeldshore
December 23, 2013 3:27 pm

Leif says:

Most of the energy is primordial stemming from gravitational contraction very early on. There may still be some gravitational settling with heavier elements sinking. This even happens in the Earth’s core, but that amount of energy is small and is not relevant for the rapid increase of temperature in the outer layers.

But, the point is that Jupiter is emitting significantly more energy than it receives from the sun…This source http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=65 says it receives 10 W/m^2 and emits 16 W/m^2…and, this is said to be due to the gravitational collapse (“Kelvin Helmholtz gravitational energy release process”).

gbaikie
December 23, 2013 4:09 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
December 23, 2013 at 10:18 am ”
“Steven, suppose we have a superconducting planet with no atmosphere. Alternatively, we could use a regular planet warmed evenly by a thousand suns spaced around it.
Since the planet is at equilibrium, it is radiating the exact amount of energy it is receiving. The temperature is the same at all points, and is the amount predicted by the S-B equation.”
So our with our superconducting planet [say surface is made out Vzwp Plastek ].
And remove chunk of it from surface [meter square sheet of it] and by removing made it so it wouldn’t be conductive. And we insulated one side of it. Then faced towards the sun, and it radiated 1360 watts per square meter, and it’s temperature being over 120 C. So we are at earth sun distance from a star like our Sun.
If we than exclude any reflective nature of this unknown substance when it’s at low angle to the sun, the energy received by the disk area of the planet will divided by surface area to sphere.
So, 1360 watts divided by 4. So surface radiates 340 watts per square meter.
Which assumes side facing towards ground is insulated- and having it have equal temperature
would insulate any heat flowing towards interior.
And with the thousand sun, if remove chunk from the surface, the energy of sunlight from the suns would warm, the Vzwp Plastek or something like Vzwp Plastek which was not superconducting material so it radiated 340 watts per square meter or was about 5 C.
It should be noted that Earth isn’t like a world covered with Vzwp Plastek,
but could more similar to a world like Earth with half such an “Earth” is covered with Vzwp Plastek. If divide this world in half by making a band of Vzwp Plastek extending north and south
to 38 degree latitude. So divided world with two poleward section equaling the surface area
of the middle section [the mostly tropical zone of the planet]. So instead divided by 4, one divides by 2. So the Vzwp Plastek isn’t being a superconductor to region north or south of
38 degree latitude. So instead of 340 watts per square meter it’s 680 watts per square meter.
Or it’s temperature is 56 C.
And other two parts of the planet since in vacuum they could much cooler and since receiving less than 10% of sunlight may be far beyond freezing, though once add atmosphere and other means of conducting heat they would become warmer, thereby more resembling Earth.
As Earth is imbalanced in terms the energy it receives from the sun and the tropics are much warmer than the two temperate and arctic zone.
Of course our tropics don’t have an average temperature near 56 C, the water of ocean is simply unable to reach 56 C due to it evaporation, and there are such things as an atmosphere reflecting sunlight, and etc. But point is it more resembles Earth, then Earth which receives a uniform amount of energy from the Sun.
It’s a better model to start with.
“Stephen, IF an inert atmosphere could raise the temperature above that point, THE PLANET WOULD BE RADIATING MORE THAN IT RECEIVES. Since this is impossible, we can conclude that there is NO mechanism by which an inert atmosphere can warm the surface of a planet.”
But an inert atmosphere can retain heat. And an inert atmosphere does not radiate heat. For an inert atmosphere to lose heat it must heat something which can radiate heat- such a surface or droplet or particles in the inert atmosphere.
“Note that this proof does not simply apply to pressure-based mechanisms. It shows that there is no mechanism by which an inert atmosphere can raise the temperature beyond the S-B limit.”
If Earth was dominated by being heated by air temperature- and one could say this, but one would say with Venus this more the case than with Earth- then if dug a very deep hole on Earth,
1000 meters down that hole the air temperature would warmer. Due to lapse rate. So per 1000 meters it about 6.5 C warmer.
And Venus has similar lapse rate, and Venus is much larger atmosphere than Earth. One needs to go about 50 km in elevation on Venus to get the same atmosphere pressure as on Earth [and at such elevation and pressure temperature is close to hottest it gets on Earth].

Ulric Lyons
December 23, 2013 4:21 pm

stephen wilde says:
December 23, 2013 at 3:33 am
Ulric Lyons asked Willis
“Why and when would it speed up without heating up?”
Because the additional energy is in the form of gravitational potential energy and not kinetic energy.
The change in size or speed of the convective heat engine changes the ratio of kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy within the atmospheric gases so as to keep radiation out to space equal to radiation in from space. That also involves keeping the surface temperature stable despite forcing elements that try to destabilise it.
=======================================
OK that would mean that convection doesn’t actually do any cooling, and does nothing to answer my question to Willis.

Trick
December 23, 2013 4:44 pm

Willis 3:54pm: “…argon. Doesn’t absorb or radiate much light or longwave at all. So you can’t assume that the atmosphere absorbs light from anywhere.”
Minor but important point – that’s text book radiative physics in 1st sentence clipped. To be consistent in your last sentence consider this inserted ^ works better: “So you can’t assume that the atmosphere absorbs ^much^ light from anywhere.”
Meaning even mass of argon atm. would feebly absorb and emit IR, having that feeble affect on the surface energy balance.

December 23, 2013 5:10 pm

joeldshore says:
December 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
this is said to be due to the gravitational collapse (“Kelvin Helmholtz gravitational energy release process”).<i?
Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.
Willis Eschenbach says:
December 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm
It’s argon. Doesn’t absorb or radiate much light or longwave at all.
If you have a completely transparent atmosphere that doesn’t absorb anything, you might as well not have any atmosphere at all. I was under the false assumption that we were somehow talking about real planets with H2O, CO2, CH4, NH3, O3, etc…

December 23, 2013 5:15 pm

joeldshore says:
December 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
this is said to be due to the gravitational collapse (“Kelvin Helmholtz gravitational energy release process”).
Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 5:19 pm

Willis, I saw for myself the effects of solar activity over the years since ’98, and formed my own hypothesis regarding weather-climate, as does everyone here I suppose. My thinking involves earthly responses from solar activity with some influence by the moon, based on years of observing solar activity levels as they relate to earth weather. It just so happens that I found Piers along the way in my search for answers, and as he is the primary source of long-range weather forecasting based on these premises, I refer to him. However the evidence for what I’m talking about is independent of what Piers says or does.
I don’t need everything spelled out from him in the detail you apparently expect, and while your interpretation of what he offers borders on slander, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt too. If you know of a longer-range weather forecaster that is more successful than Piers, tell me who that is, and I’ll be glad to give that person the same fair shake Piers gets from me.
If a POWERFUL high-speed coronal hole stream, or a CME, solar flare, or filament eruption takes off from the Sun and travels along the Parker spiral and engages our magnetosphere with protons and electrons AND DOESN’T cause any weather effects, I’ll be the first to admit I’m wrong. I guarantee you no matter what we say, the Sun is going to create extreme weather events here, where the real deadliest space weather really happens, and there’s nothing anyone here can do about it except understand it and watch it happen.
Why is your opinion better than his or mine? All I’ve seen is people here playing it safe. So far today no one here has answered a single honest earnest question I asked regarding solar weather – all I’ve gotten is vitriol because you don’t like Piers. I like Piers because he’s not afraid to tell the warmists how it is. Are you in agreement with the warmists? Are you a warmist? A true believer of CAGW? Do you believe downwelling LWR from CO2 is the reason for extreme weather events?
Can we at least agree that the weather doesn’t cause weather, and that climate change doesn’t cause climate change? Can we agree that understanding the global atmospheric electric circuit is a very important part of understanding weather changes? Can we agree that powerful solar emissions can impact the global atmospheric electric circuit? If so, how? We need to find out. We are at the beginning stages of understanding here, we are on a learning curve. So is Piers. He continually works on improving his methods and his customers have no fear in telling him when he misses, but we don’t abuse him for it. We understand that he’s not perfect. Are you perfect Willis?

joeldshore
December 23, 2013 5:39 pm

Leif says:

Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.

Well, like I said, you are much more of an expert in this stuff than me…but I am a bit skeptical. When I see descriptions of the Kelvin-Helmholtz Effect applied to Jupiter, I don’t see them explaining that this as something that occurred in the past and what we have now is just the primordial heat leaking out; I see them describing it as if it is still going on and generating heat.
I’m not saying that you are incorrect (and it all has zero impact on any of the discussion here), but could you at least provide some reference that supports this notion?

TimTheToolMan
December 23, 2013 5:56 pm

Leif writes “There may still be some gravitational settling with heavier elements sinking.”
and then “Which mostly happened 4 billion years ago. We are just seeing that primordial heat still there, slowly leaking out.”
I sense an opportunity for Leif to learn something new here if he would just take the time to do some research 😉

Konrad
December 23, 2013 6:24 pm

Willis, I note that you have not answered my simple question –
“I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?”
I have been collecting yes or no answers from climate bloggers for the following question –
“Without radiative gases, would strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation cease with the bulk of the resultant stagnant atmosphere trending isothermal through gas conduction?”
So far my results are –
Dr. Roy Spencer (sceptic) “Yes”
Konrad (sceptic) “Yes”
Nick Stokes (AGW believer) “No”
Tim Folkerts (AGW believer) “No”
Joel Shore (AGW believer) “No”
“Trick” (AGW believer) “No”
Doug Cotton (Slayer) “No”
Davidmhoffer (lukewarmer) “No”
“TB” (AGW believer?) “No”
Stephen Wilde (Sceptic) “No”
Willis Eschenbach (sceptic) “unknown”
Willis, do you believe continued vertical circulation across the pressure gradient of the troposphere, strong enough to overcome gas conduction and pneumatically generate the observed lapse rate, would cease in the absence of radiative gases?

Ulric Lyons
December 23, 2013 6:28 pm

Bob Weber says:
“Are you saying there is no scientific evidence in support of Corbyn’s premises and methods?”
The problem is a lack of science in the methods. Theoretical Solar-Lunar cycles don’t work out any better than chance for predicting weekly-monthly temperature deviations from average because they are not actually predicting the short term solar signal that is forcing the teleconnections.

gbaikie
December 23, 2013 7:46 pm

-“I’m going to have to ask for clarification. Do you believe strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude?”
I have been collecting yes or no answers from climate bloggers for the following question –
“Without radiative gases, would strong vertical tropospheric convective circulation cease with the bulk of the resultant stagnant atmosphere trending isothermal through gas conduction?”
So far my results are –
Dr. Roy Spencer (sceptic) “Yes”
Konrad (sceptic) “Yes”
…. –
There can’t be strong radiative cooling at altitude, because at altitude it is very cold.
And very cold things do not radiate much of their heat energy. They don’t have a lot
to give.
Though it does not matter how warm a gas is in terms how much it can re-radiate- you make nitrogen glow by exposing it to certain wavelengths, and it doesn’t have any relation to the temperature of the nitrogen gas. Or doesn’t have anything to do with the kinetic energy of the gas.
Rockets would be really easy if it did.
So convective is related to kinetic energy transfer of gases.
The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by
the sunlight. Though seems that water droplets, which one confuse with water vapor, are related to convection.
So I believe: “strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude”.
So, Yes

Bob Weber
December 23, 2013 8:49 pm

Well Ulric, Piers doesn’t predict temperatures per se. So technically you’re right, but what about someone like me who needs to know whether its going to rain or snow at any temperature so I can get my outside work done in time? It seems like there’s an implied perfection standard applied to Piers, and whenever something doesn’t pan out exactly as he says everyone piles on, conversely, when he’s right he’s only lucky – I mean that is the central message I’m getting from a few people here today, right? You don’t want to give him credit for when he is right, and he’s right a lot.
The method problem can be improved with sufficient magnetic and electric field measurements in three dimensions globally. A fine net to “see” what those teleconnections are doing, how they form, how long they last, the power they convey, and their immediate to long-term influences. We have a long way to go before solar particle and magnetic weather effects are fully understood, yet we can’t afford to ignore space and earth weather connections because of misunderstandings.
I have to say again so many don’t understand Piers’ forecasting method, and are quick to call everything he says “vague” when indeed he is specific about a great many things.
So much focus on temperature is taking away from understanding when and where severe weather will occur, in what time frame, and for how long. Piers excels at that. I think most people know the difference between “very cold” “cold” “warm and humid” and the other qualitative temperature descriptors for weather up to 30 days out that he uses. The Weather Channel doesn’t give precise long-range temperature forecasts either. Their long-term seasonal outlooks are fairly non-specific.
The attention minor temperature anamolies get is really overdone. Who can even sense a difference of 1 degree F or C? People don’t usually die from small changes in temperature, but those extreme weather events are killers. Piers Corbyn simply tries to help people prepare for bad weather, and he rails against governments hell bent on wasting time and money on looney tune carbon dioxide climate theories instead of helping people avoid freezing to death in what he calls Mini Ice Age conditions he says (among others) we’re entering. His heart is in the right place.
Ulric your last point needs clarification. He does forecast specific solar activity levels like the space weather prediction center. Its not hard to plot the motion of an active region as the sun rotates. When active region 1934 reaches geoeffective position on the right-hand side of the solar disk, expect something to happen here if the solar wind from that region builds up with protons and electrons during Dec29-Jan2.

Trick
December 23, 2013 8:58 pm

gbaikie 7:46pm: “The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by the sunlight.”
Under normal earth conditions in the wild, any fluid in a gravity field will convect if increase its temperature from below. Doesn’t matter whether it has IR active gas well mixed in or not. The way to stop the fluid in a gravity field from normal convecting is increase its temperature from above. Like in Earth’s stratosphere. Zero lapse to +T with +z up there.

Konrad
December 23, 2013 9:27 pm

gbaikie says:
December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm
—————————————————–
If you believe – “strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude”.
– that would put you in the “No” column.
Although there are a few point you may wish to reconsider…
You have stated –
“There can’t be strong radiative cooling at altitude, because at altitude it is very cold.
And very cold things do not radiate much of their heat energy.”
While it is correct that energy loss by radiation does vary with temperature, it appears you are falling into the ERL or effective radiating level trap. The ERL hand-waving used to patch broken two shell radiative models back together is invalidated by a moving atmosphere. Air masses involved in tropospheric convective circulation are not just radiating at the top of their circulation, but on accent and decent as well. Rising air masses are warmer than the air at the altitude they are rising through.
Currently radiative gases in our atmosphere are radiating more than TWICE the energy to space as LWIR than they are absorbing through Net IR flux from the surface and intercepted solar radiation combined. This is because radiative gases are also radiating to space all the energy the atmosphere aquired via surface conduction and the release of latent heat. The atmosphere has no effective cooling mechanism without radiative gases. For a gas atmosphere in a gravity field, the surface is ineffective at conductively cooling the atmosphere.
You also stated –
“The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by
the sunlight.”
There is a far simpler way. Convection can be stopped by the gases above the surface level being at the same temperature as gases warmed by the surface. This could be achieved by removing radiative gases from the atmosphere. This would stop radiative cooling and subsidence of air masses and stall tropospheric convective circulation. If air masses cannot radiativly cool and subside, then air masses rising from below with a similar starting temperature cannot over turn them. Layering then starts to occur. The bulk of the atmosphere would then trend isothermal through gas conduction. It is important to remember that the observed lapse rate is a product of continued vertical circulation across a pressure gradient.

Konrad
December 23, 2013 9:42 pm

Trick says:
December 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm
———————————————
“The way to stop the fluid in a gravity field from normal convecting is increase its temperature from above.”
Trick, you are giving me the sudden urge to buy a lottery ticket and get pig shields installed on the windows 😉
What’s next? Radiative energy loss to space allowing the subsidence of air masses…

gbaikie
December 23, 2013 11:00 pm

” Trick says:
December 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm
gbaikie 7:46pm: “The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by the sunlight.”
Under normal earth conditions in the wild, any fluid in a gravity field will convect if increase its temperature from below. Doesn’t matter whether it has IR active gas well mixed in or not. The way to stop the fluid in a gravity field from normal convecting is increase its temperature from above. Like in Earth’s stratosphere. Zero lapse to +T with +z up there.”
Well. Just trying keep it simple.
Gases or liquids if warmer are are generally lighter and therefore rise due to buoyancy.
So with a solar pond due density gradient of salt water one could cancel a warmer saltier water being less dense, thereby stop convect of the hotter salt water rising in fresher water.
Part what I meant not having sunlight is assumption of having rotating planet which warmes and cools during the night. A uniform heat source such from planetary source would tend limit turburent type convection. Or a lapse rate is expression of uniformity of heat dependent on density of air in a gravity field. So if the lapse rate is 6.5 C per 1000 meters. If it’s 6.5 C cooler 1000 meter above ground it is balenced or one does not have difference of density with same gas 6.5 C warmer at the surface [0 meter elevation].
So if not warming surface [from sunlight] the heat from the surface will not have air rising, mixing, and warming the cooler upper atmosphere.
But as for Earth’s stratosphere, I think there are factors involved rather than just lapse reversing- I don’t think it’s matter of inhibting stratosphere convection as such, as much as reaching limit of heat involved. Or if add enough heat or enough density of cloud and conditions of stratosphere
are pushed to higher elevation.
Or mechanism air packet is distrupted by different regime of of stratosphere. Stratosphere region has more to do with distance travelled by an “average air molecule”. Or gas molecules in stratosphere act more as individuals and not like realm of tropsphere of collisions in fractions of a nanosecond. Of course you still have bouyancy at and above the stratosphere- in terms balloons, but less cohesion of air packets.

gbaikie
December 23, 2013 11:48 pm

Konrad says:
December 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm
gbaikie says:
December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm
—————————————————–
If you believe – “strong vertical tropospheric circulation in the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells can continue in the absence of radiative cooling at altitude”.
– that would put you in the “No” column.
Ok. Your rules. But I am bad company I suppose:)
Which ok, I love it, I found something to agree with them about.
-Although there are a few point you may wish to reconsider…
You have stated –
“There can’t be strong radiative cooling at altitude, because at altitude it is very cold.
And very cold things do not radiate much of their heat energy.”-
“While it is correct that energy loss by radiation does vary with temperature, it appears you are falling into the ERL or effective radiating level trap. The ERL hand-waving used to patch broken two shell radiative models back together is invalidated by a moving atmosphere. Air masses involved in tropospheric convective circulation are not just radiating at the top of their circulation, but on accent and decent as well. Rising air masses are warmer than the air at the altitude they are rising through.”
Not sure what you saying, but:
Yes rising gases are tend to more energetic than surrounding air, though as it rise they tend mix and become light dense [expand] as they rise. Or they had higher “energy density” before rising- though say sort of substituted/transformed into potential energy. Or not saying energy is “lost”.
“Currently radiative gases in our atmosphere are radiating more than TWICE the energy to space as LWIR than they are absorbing through Net IR flux from the surface and intercepted solar radiation combined. This is because radiative gases are also radiating to space all the energy the atmosphere acquired via surface conduction and the release of latent heat. The atmosphere has no effective cooling mechanism without radiative gases. For a gas atmosphere in a gravity field, the surface is ineffective at conductively cooling the atmosphere.”
Yeah, well not much fan of idea of any gases radiating much of any energy. I would be say gases are having radiant energy passing thru them.
But trying make easier argument, that there simply is less total energy up there- though the thin atmosphere does have faster moving molecules. And because higher, potential energy.
So each molecule can be said to more energetic, but cubic km of that air if stay up there is
has less energy.
So rather argue with these strange idea everyone seems to have that gas cooling [slowing down] by radiating energy, I put in simpler bin that all it’s energy is insignificant and can not radiate types levels energy involve with heated planet. Or quite simply whatever going on in the stratosphere has little to do with Earth’s temperature or weather [unless it happens to be jet stream].
-You also stated –
“The only way to stop gas from convecting would be not have the surface warmed by
the sunlight.”
There is a far simpler way. Convection can be stopped by the gases above the surface level being at the same temperature as gases warmed by the surface. This could be achieved by removing radiative gases from the atmosphere. This would stop radiative cooling and subsidence of air masses and stall tropospheric convective circulation. If air masses cannot radiativly cool and subside, then air masses rising from below with a similar starting temperature cannot over turn them. Layering then starts to occur. The bulk of the atmosphere would then trend isothermal through gas conduction. It is important to remember that the observed lapse rate is a product of continued vertical circulation across a pressure gradient.-
Again one assuming CO2 or other gases are cooling by radiating.
So with all the CO2 of Venus, it should be cold.
I would say atmosphere cools by falling at night.
Or at night the surface air cools, and the entire atmosphere cools.
Or the lapse rate doesn’t change in the night.

gbaikie
December 24, 2013 12:05 am

So, question.
Suppose one were to flash freeze Venus. So no atmosphere and hundreds of feet of frozen CO2
on the surface.
How long does it take to warm the planet to earth like temperature, and then back to Venus temperature within 50 C of current global temperature?
Or a year? century? million years? Or never [without something other than sunlight warming it]
or not in a billion years.

phlogiston
December 24, 2013 12:35 am

Gbaikie
I’m curious about your comment that an atmosphere cannot lose heat except by radiative gasses at high altitude.
As it happens we have interesting discussions about the sun and Jupiter going on here, both of which it turns out emit more heat than they receive. Much of the sun’s energy comes from fusion and “primordial” energy at the core. Leif Svalgaard tells us that it takes around 200, 000 years, if I remember rightly, for a photon bearing fusion or primordial energy from the core to be emitted at the sun’s surface.
But how is this possible? The sun cant radiate any heat from its surface without the aid of radiative gasses, which in the current academic climate can only mean CO2. Thus I have stumbled upon a momentous discovery -the sun only radiates heat with the help of CO2! We know from terrestrial atmospheric science that it does not matter how insignificant the concentration of CO2 is, it still dominates all thermal dynamics in the atmosphere.
The same must be true of the sun, surely? Its CO2 wot dunnit again!

Kristian
December 24, 2013 12:58 am

Konrad says, December 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm:
“Convection can be stopped by the gases above the surface level being at the same temperature as gases warmed by the surface. This could be achieved by removing radiative gases from the atmosphere. This would stop radiative cooling and subsidence of air masses and stall tropospheric convective circulation.”
I’m not sure you’re right in the special case of the atmosphere, Konrad. This is how I see it:
Convection on a global scale is not stopped that easily. If the gases above the surface level were at the same temperature as the gases warmed by the surface, then the gases warmed by the surface would simply have to get … even warmer. And they can. The surface still continuously absorbs energy from the Sun and most of this energy will normally be transferred conductively to the air in direct contact with the surface. If that is no longer possible because of a missing temperature gradient, then, well, energy will start piling up. Because then the surface is no longer able to rid itself of energy as fast as it’s coming in. Hence, the surface will start warming from rising internal energy until the gradient is restored. And this cycle would just go on until …
This is exactly what happens in a greenhouse or in any glass-lid box experiment. Somehow stall or in any way perturb free convection away from a heated surface and you’ll get warming.
Only, our atmosphere has no lid. It is free to expand upward. The air being lifted convectively cools adiabatically as it ascends. It is colder aloft than further down. Because of the greater distance from the heat source (surface) and the gradually lower density/pressure away from the centre of the Earth. You can’t make such an air column isothermal just like that.
Rather, the surface would just get hotter and hotter and hotter while the troposphere would correspondingly steadily expand, maintaing the lapse rate, only ‘forever’ stretching the temperature profile (well, at some point it would probably start dissipating into space). The energy constantly being transferred from the surface but unable to escape the atmosphere radiatively would thus continue to accumulate, but would not make the atmosphere isothermal.
And the Earth system would still only give off the same amount of energy per unit of time to space as it absorbs from the Sun. It doesn’t matter what the system temperature is. It matters only how much energy comes in.
“It is important to remember that the observed lapse rate is a product of continued vertical circulation across a pressure gradient.”
By ‘observed lapse rate’ I take it you mean the environmental lapse rate. The adiabatic lapse rate after all is not a product of anything but the specific heat capacity of the atmosphere and the gravitational acceleration of the Earth (and of the H2O release of latent heat in the atmospheric column). The continued vertical circulation starts and ends with surface warming by the Sun. And since the atmosphere is not contained within a closed box and does have a well-defined pressure/density gradient, it won’t be isothermal so easily.
Well, that’s my take anyway …
But this whole hypothetical issue of an Earth atmosphere without radiatively active gases in it is a pretty hard one to argue about, simply because it’s so … completely hypothetical.
I agree with you that the prime task of the so-called GHGs is to cool the atmosphere (and hence, the Earth system) to space. I’m simply not so sure how essential to atmospheric circulation they are …

Konrad
December 24, 2013 1:10 am

gbaikie says:
December 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm
—————————————
Both myself (a sceptic who claims radiative gases cool the atmosphere) and Trick, (an AGW believer who claims radiative gases warm the atmosphere) took issue with your post. There may be something in that.
Having conducted a number of experiments related to radiative gases, I can assure you that radiative physics (including radiative gases) is fine, it’s just that climate “scientists” are giving it a bad name.
I could take you through “Tyndall for beginners” with a postage tube, two rubber bands, some cling wrap, a CO2 bike tyre inflater, your TV remote and a cell phone camera. However I am not sure this is the appropriate thread 😉

December 24, 2013 1:35 am

Willis said:
“But, these scientific points are very different from Stephen WIlde’s nonsense about higher pressure leading to higher temperatures INDEPENDENT OF the radiative greenhouse effect.”
I told you that it isn’t higher pressure per se that does it.
Whatever the pressure ANY gaseous atmosphere whether radiative or not around a rough surfaced rotating sphere illuminated from a point source of energy will have convective overturning.
That convective overturning is a result of conduction between surface and air on the uplift and between air and surface on the descent.
Although it is a net zero energy exchange at equilibrium it introduces a time delay in the transmission of solar energy through the system and that time delay results in a higher surface temperature than for the instant in / out radiative exchange predicated by S-B.
The more mass that is available to exchange energy with the surface or the stronger the gravitational field the more work is needed to move that mass within the atmosphere and the higher the surface temperature will get.
Pressure i