CO2 and CERES

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the bureaucratic agency which appropriated the role of arbiter of things climatic, has advanced a theory for the lack of warming since the turn of the century, viz:

The observed reduction in warming trend over the period 1998–2012 as compared to the period 1951–2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a cooling contribution from internal variability and a reduced trend in radiative forcing (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the current solar cycle. However, there is low confidence in quantifying the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing this reduced warming trend.

So I thought I’d look at the CERES dataset, and see what it has to say. I started with the surface temperature question. CERES contains a calculated surface dataset that covers twelve years. But in the process, I got surprised by the results of a calculation that for some reason I’d never done before. You know how the IPCC says that if the CO2 doubles, the earth will warm up by 3°C? Here was the question that somehow I’d never asked myself … how many watts/m2 will the surface downwelling radiation (longwave + shortwave) have to increase by, if the surface temperature rises by 3°C? 

Now, you’d think that you could just use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to figure out how many more upwelling watts would be represented by a global surface temperature rise of 3°C. Even that number was a surprise to me … 16.8 watts per square metre. 

trend in downwelling surface lw and expected CO2 effectFigure 1. Blue line shows the anomaly in total downwelling surface radiation, longwave plus shortwave, in the CERES dataset, March 2000 to September 2012. Red line shows the trend in the downwelling radiation, which is 0.01 W/m2 per decade. Gray area shows the 95% confidence interval of the trend. Black line shows the expected effect of the increase in CO2 over the period, calculated at 21 W/m2 per doubling. CO2 data are from NOAA. Trend of the expected CO2 change in total downwelling surface radiation is 1.6 W/m2 per decade. CO2 data from NOAA

But as they say on TV, wait, there’s more. The problem is, the surface loses energy in three ways—as radiation, as sensible heat, and as the latent heat of evapotranspiration. The energy loss from the surface by radiation (per CERES) is ~ 400 watts per square metre (W/m2), and the loss by sensible and latent heat is ~ 100 W/m2, or a quarter of the radiation loss.

Now, the sensible and latent heat loss is a parasitic loss, which means a loss in a heat engine that costs efficiency. And as any engineer can testify, parasitic losses are proportional to temperature, and as the operating temperatures rise, parasitic losses rise faster and faster. In addition, the 100 W/m2 is the global average, but these losses are disproportionately centered at the hot end of the system. At that end, they are rising as some power factor of the increasing temperature.

But let’s be real generous, and ignore all that. For the purpose of this analysis, we’ll swallow the whopper that a 3° temperature rise wouldn’t drive evaporation through the roof, and we’ll assume that the parasitic sensible and latent heat losses from the surface stay at a quarter of the radiation losses.

This means, of course, that instead of the increase of 16.8 W/m2 in downwelling radiation that we calculated above, we need 25% more downwelling radiation to account for the parasitic losses from the surface. (As I said, the true percentage of parasitic losses would be more than that, likely much more, but we’ll use a quarter for purposes of conservative estimation.)

And what that means is that if the IPCC claim of three degrees of global warming per doubling of CO2 is true, when the top-of-atmosphere radiation goes up by a doubling of CO2, an additional TOA 3.7 watts per metre squared, the surface downwelling radiation needs to go up by no less than 21 W/m2 per doubling. And although I was surprised by the size of the number, to me was very good news, because it meant that if it were there, it should be large enough to be quite visible in the CERES data. So I took a look … and Figure 1 above shows what I found.

The red line shows the trend over the ~ 13 years of the record  which is 0.01 W/m2 per decade, statistically no different from zero. 

The black line, on the other hand, is the change in downwelling radiation expected from the change in CO2 from 2000 to 2012, calculated at 21 W/m2 per doubling of CO2. As you might imagine because of its steady increase, there is little difference between the CO2 data and the CO2 trendline, so I’ve left it off. For the same reason, there is virtually no error in the trend in downwelling radiation expected from CO2. The result is an expected increase in downwelling surface radiation of no less than 1.6 ± 0.007 W/m2 per decade. Over the period of the CERES data, it totals almost 2 W/m2, which in terms of the precision of the individual CERES datasets should certainly be visible.

So … does Figure 1 falsify the CO2 hypothesis? Not yet, we’ve got a ways to go, but it is an interesting finding. First, we need to look at the two explanations postulated by the good folks at the IPCC that I quoted at the head of the post—volcanoes and solar variations. And the amount that we are looking to explain is a missing increase of 1.6 W/m2 per decade.

Their first explanation was solar. Since the downwelling surface radiation has not increased as expected, perhaps there’s been a decrease in the incoming TOA solar radiation. This would offset a warming from CO2. Here’s that data:

trend in TOA solar CERESFigure 2. Trend in TOA Solar Radiation, 2000-2012. Red line shows trend, a decrease of – 0.15 W/m2 per decade.

So the IPCC is right about the solar. And from having to explain 1.6 W/m2, we’ve explained 0.15 W/m2 of it which leaves 1.45 W/m2 of missing warming.

Next, volcanoes. The IPCC says that the effect of volcanoes over the period was to cut down the amount of sunshine hitting the surface, reducing the total downwelling radiation.

The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions …

Here are the anomalies in that regard:

trend in volcanic effect on atmospheric clarity CERESFigure 3. Action of volcanoes in reducing surface solar radiation. This measures the anomaly in downwelling solar at the surface minus the anomaly in downwelling solar at the TOA. The trend in the transmission is a warming of +0.34 W/m2 per decade.

Bad news for the IPCC hypothesis. Rather than volcanoes counteracting the expected warming and decreasing the atmospheric transmission of sunshine over the period of record, we had a trend of increasing amounts of sunlight making it to the surface. The trend of this increase was 0.34 W/m2 per decade. Kinda blows holes in their theory about volcanoes, but all we can do is follow the data …

And as a result, instead of having to explain a missing warming of 1.6 – 0.15 = 1.45 W/m2 per decade, we now have to add the 0.34 W/m2 to the missing warming, and that gets us up to 1.8 W/m2 in missing warming. So rather than explaining things, overall the IPCC explanation just makes things worse …

Anyhow, that’s how it goes to date. If the IPCC theory about 3°C surface warming from a doubling of CO2 is true, we need to either a) come up with something else in the CERES data to explain the missing CO2 warming of 1.6 W/m2 per decade, b) back off on the IPCC climate sensitivity by a factor of about ten … or my perennial favorite, toss out the idea of “climate sensitivity” entirely and recognize that at equilibrium, temperature isn’t a simple function of TOA forcings because the climate system has emergent phenomena which respond and react to counteract the TOA changes.

The big problem that I see for the hypothesis that GHGs rule the temperature is that over the period of the CERES data, we should have seen a shift of almost two watts in the downwelling total radiation … but I find no such thing in the dataset. So I throw this question out to the climate science community at large.

Where in the CERES data is the missing warming? There is no trend (0.01 W/m2 per decade) in the surface downwelling radiation. The IPCC says that over the period, CO2 should have increased the downwelling surface radiation by ~ 2 W/m2. SO … if the IPCC hypothesis is correct, what is countering the expected increase of ~ 2 W/m2 in the downwelling surface radiation due to the increase in CO2 over the 2000-2012 time period?

Solar explains perhaps 10% of it, but the volcanoes push it the other way … so why can’t I find the two watts per square metre of expected CO2 warming in the CERES dataset?

w.

NOTES

USUAL REQUEST: If you disagree with something that I or someone else said, please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU DISAGREE WITH. Then, and only then, let us know what you disagree with. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend your interpretation of my words.

DATA AND CODE: I’ve put the data and code used to produce the graphs and calculations online. There are three code files: CERES Setup.R, CERES Functions.R, and the code for this post, CO2 and CERES.R. In addition, there are two datafiles, one for the CERES TOA files, and the other for the CERES surface files, entitled CERES 13 year  (230 Mbytes), and CERES 13 year surface (112 Mbytes). I think that the data is turnkey, just pull up the CO

All of them need to be in the same folder, because the CO2 and CERES.R file calls the setup file, which loads the data files and the function file. If you’ve downloaded the CERES 13 year file, it is unchanged, no need to reload. Open the CERES Setup.R file to see the names of all of the datafiles loaded, and open the CERES Functions.R file for functions and constants.

And as Steven Mosher recommended to me, use RStudio as your portal into R, much the best I’ve found.

CERES Data: The top-of atmosphere CERES data is measured by the satellites. On the other hand, the CERES surface data is calculated from the TOA CERES data, plus data from the MODIS and GOES satellites. The calculated surface data is energy balanced, meaning that the surface flows sum up to the TOA flows.

I’ve run my own version of ground truthing on the CERES surface data by comparing it to the surface temperature data I was using previously. Differences were small overall, and both sets shows the same small details and fluctuations.

Is this how I’d like to do the analysis? Not at all. I’d rather that everything were measured … but this is the best we have, and the various climate scientists involved have used all of the available observational data from a variety of satellites to determine the various values, and have ground truthed the surface data in a variety of ways. So until we have better data, the CERES datasets are the closest we have to actual measurements … and as near as I can tell they show no sign of the claimed 2 W/m2 increase in downwelling radiation that we are assured is going on over the period of record.

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Patrick

“The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the current solar cycle.”
Were we not told in recent years volcanos and the sun have no effect on warming/cooling and therefore climate?

The main problem for the IPCC and their supported models is that for them 1 W/m2 more or less CO2 absorbance or 1 W/m2 more or less solar or volcanic or human aerosols all have the same effect on temperature/climate. Which doesn’t fit reality.
1 W/m2 extra downwelling from CO2 has its largest effect in the troposphere and in the upper fraction of a mm at the sea surface, causing higher skin temperature / more evaporation.
1 W/m2 extra insolation has a double effect: more ozone formation in the lower troposphere, thanks to extra UV from an active sun, more warming of that layer in the tropics and thus more temperature difference between the equator and the poles, pushing the jet streams polewards. That includes changing cloud/rain patterns as can be seen in the Mississippi and Mediteranean rivers. And as visible light gets deeper in the oceans, extra warming of the whole mixed layer. See e.g.:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005GL023787/abstract
http://ks.water.usgs.gov/pubs/reports/paclim99.html
A similar finding was in South Africa rivers in the SH…
That the effect of change in solar strength is underestimated was even known by climate modellers: if they run the models with 10x solar changes, they could calculate the probable extra effect from “weak” signals in the HadCM3 model. Which gives that the effect of solar variability may be 2x the effect of a change in CO2 downwelling radiation. That all within the constraints of the model (like a fixed influence of human aerosols – also questionable):
http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/StottEtAl.pdf

Ken Calvert

Heh Ian Plimer! Is it now time for you to come in out from the cold?

Doug Jones

On the other hand, the CERES surface data is calculated from the TOA CERES data, plus data from .

I thin you may have lost some text there. What is the second data set?
Aside from this quibble, I think you’ve driven a stake through the heart of the IPCC vampire. If CO2 allegedly causes warming via forcing, and we can measure the forcing, and the postulated forcing Just Ain’t There, the warmists have to come up with a whole new form of handwaving. Epicycles, I’m sure.
[Thanks, fixed. The other data sets are MODIS and GOES satellite data. -w.]

AlecM

The concept of ‘Forcing’ in climate alchemy is unscientific because it presupposes that the Kiehl-Trenberth Energy Budget, with ‘back (‘downwelling’) radiation’ is valid when this is the biggest mistake in instrumental analysis in history.
Radiative Physics 101 states that the net IR flux is the vector sum of the Radiation Fields at a plane. A pyrgeometer calculates the RF for the measured temperature (and the instrument does that badly), so the net flux from the surface is just 160 W/m^2 = SW thermalised.
Of the net flux, 63 is IR of which 40 goes directly to Space and 23 is absorbed in the non self-absorbed water vapour bands. The rest is convected or lost as latent heat.
What happens when ‘Forcing’ increases is that net surface IR decreases, so in the absence of other factors, surface temperature increases thus increasing convection and evapo-transpiration.The atmosphere uses CO2 in the heat engine that keeps surface temperature constant independently of pCO2 and also compensates partially for net thermalised SW change.

“CERES surface data is calculated from the TOA CERES data, plus data from . The calculated surface data is energy balanced, meaning that the surface flows sum up to the TOA flows.”
Is there something missing at the end of the first sentence? “plus data from…” what and where?
Thanks.

Willis Eschenbach

tallbloke says:
January 14, 2014 at 12:58 am

“CERES surface data is calculated from the TOA CERES data, plus data from . The calculated surface data is energy balanced, meaning that the surface flows sum up to the TOA flows.”
Is there something missing at the end of the first sentence? “plus data from…” what and where?
Thanks.

Thanks to you, Rog. The other datasets are from the MODIS and GOES satellites.
W.

Peter Miller

Wow!
SS Global Warming holed below the waterline.
In comparison, over on that font of all knowledge Real Climate, Gavin and Mike are trying to talk up climate sensitivity to rising CO2 levels. I am unable to follow the logic of their arguments which seem to be mostly based on faith in the models (plus the overall effects of clouds are temperature neutral), as opposed to any hard facts.
About once a month, I make the effort to see what the black hatted guys are saying. Most of its tedious stuff, based on the concept of “Trust me” and trying to ramp up the credibility of climate models.

Good post Willis. I have argued that the volcanic aerosol loading has decreased not increased since Pinatubo. Dr Richard Keen estimates having a 0.2F warming effect. Eruptions have been high latitude and shorter lived in recent years. The total solar is more that radiative forcing. you have amplifiers like the UV components heat production through ozone chemistry in low to mid latitudes and cosmic ray low cloud effects. The very low solar in recent years’ (most notably 2004-2010) reduction would be greater than just the radiative. Then there is the ocean influence – the PDO turned cool in 1998 and after a bounce around 2005. The AMO is still positive but may have peaked.

Steven Devijver

how many watts/m2 will the surface downwelling radiation (longwave + shortwave) have to increase by, if the surface temperature rises by 3°C

It depends. If you start from 0°C and want to rise to 3°C you will need less energy than if you want to rise from 14°C to 17°C. What’s your starting point, it’s not clear from the article?

Konrad

Awww, come on Willis. I already called it.
The oceans without a radiatively cooled atmosphere above (if they didn’t boil off into space) would reach around 80C.
Therefore the atmosphere cools the oceans and radiative gases cool the atmosphere.
The oceans will not freeze without DWLWIR. The “Snow Line” in the solar system is 3 AU.
Come to the dark side, we have cookies!
well, that should be “I” instead of “we”..
..and it’s a packet of time expired Tim-Tams. (the cat stole the last Oreo.)
But that’s more than non-existent “dark money” or “big oil cheques”!

AlecM

@Konrad: do a radiative equilibrium calculation for 341 W/m^2 and it’s a mean surface temperature of 4 to 5 deg C. This means (1) the real HGE is presently ~11 K (33/11 = 3 is the fake positive feedback) and (2) that part of the oceans unfrozen is by the atmosphere advectng heat to the poles.

Willis Eschenbach

Steven Devijver says:
January 14, 2014 at 1:17 am

how many watts/m2 will the surface downwelling radiation (longwave + shortwave) have to increase by, if the surface temperature rises by 3°C

It depends. If you start from 0°C and want to rise to 3°C you will need less energy than if you want to rise from 14°C to 17°C. What’s your starting point, it’s not clear from the article?

Sorry for the lack of clarity, Steven. I started from the CERES estimate of the average temperature, which is 16.8°C (400 W/m2 radiation).
w.

Edim

In the big picture, the sun heats the ocean by radiation, the ocean heats the atmosphere by evaporation and the atmosphere cools by radiation to space.

Willis Eschenbach

Konrad says:
January 14, 2014 at 1:26 am

Awww, come on Willis. I already called it.

No, you didn’t do any such thing, Konrad. This is a brand new analysis that you never did, and that you never called. Now you want to ride on the back of my post and pretend you’ve done this analysis before?
Go away. You contribute nothing but dissension and execrable “science”
w.

Barry Cullen

How nice that Mosher was able to make a real contribution to this work.
Keep going Willis! You’re close to the very last nail.

TimTheToolMan

They can claim ocean warming claims about 0.4W from Levitus.

AP

The time periods the IPCC select cause me to be suspicious (aside from the fact that if they move their lips they’re lying), since they are comparing one time period (1951-2012) to another time period (1998-2012) which is a subset of the original time period. Now, I’d have thought that from a statistical point of view, that’s a “no-no”?

Konrad

AlecM says:
January 14, 2014 at 1:31 am
“… do a radiative equilibrium calculation”
—————————————————–
Still not getting it?
Never, ever apply SB equations to moving fluid bodies in a gravity field.
That would include not just the atmosphere but also the oceans.

DEEBEE

I find it fascinating how the shenanigans of statistics have pervaded our thinking on all sides. The graphs talk about trends and confidence limits of 95%, while most of the data lies outside of the limits. Puts climatology in the same league as taking fMRI images of the brain flashes and formulating theories. It is a great job, if you can make someone shell out money for it.
Let me hasten to add I find your articles always fascinating to read but could not shake this notion as soon as I saw the first graph.

David L

” Kinda blows holes in their theory about volcanoes, but all we can do is follow the data …”
Therein lies the problem of global warming research. I’ve noticed over my career that a large number of scientists and probably the entire field of science operates in this way: that you learn basic fundamental principles and then postulate your way to fame. Theories are not to be disproven but rather proven. There’s no ego in being wrong but rather in being right. So in general I’ve observed from the scientific fields that the modus operandi is to think hard about the problem and solve it by “first principles” and then later gather the data that proved your theory correct and also proved how smart you are.
I see in Willis and in the rare breed of scientist what I call “explorers”; those that use data as the primary means to guide them in seeking the truth. In other words, people willing to follow the data. Being a scientist I can sadly say this trait is rare. People don’t want to follow the data but rather follow their thought-up explanations based on principles.

A C Osborn

Willis Eschenbach says: January 14, 2014 at 1:35 am
Konrad says:
Willis, you are correct that Konrad has not done the same work as you have here, which is very good and is so important it needs confirming.
But Konrad arrived at the same basic results as you by experimentation, so please do not knock what he did over the last few years.

richard verney

Willis
I am very pleased to see this latest article. In one of your previous articles on CERES, I suggested that you provide something similar to put matters in perspective. This latest article of yours has provided somewhat more information (and hence perspective) than I was suggesting. Well done.
Konrad, myself (and indeed others) have for sometime been suggesting to you that the oceans would not freeze even without DWLWIR. As regards myself, I have restricted this to the equitorial and tropical oceans. I have repeatedly suggested that there is excess solar energy going into these oceans such that they would not freeze even without DWLWIR and this excess solar energy is transprted poleward thereby higher latitude oceans ice free, or ice free for some parts of the year. The problem with climate science is that it always looks at averages, and one needs to look at the real world, not some artifiicial average construct.
Of course, it may be the case that without DWLWIR the eqitorial and tropical oceans would be somewhat cooler, but if so they would radiate less energy so in this scenario there would be less radiative loss, but they would not freeze. I accept that there may be some debate as to temperature, but not as to whether they would freeze.
The importance of this is that the water cycle would always be open and in operation, and any effect of CO2 at current levels is lost in the water cycle. This is why the signal from CO2 cannot be measured (there is no first order correlation between CO2 and temperature) in any thermometer temperature record or satellite data set).
It may be that CO2 played some role when it was 100ppm, or 20ppm, or 40ppm or even80ppm, but at today’s level, it would appear to be nothing more than a bit player.
I would suggest that a proper interpretation of all the data sets is strongly suggesting this to be the case.r .

Konrad

Edim says:
January 14, 2014 at 1:34 am
——————————————-
You got it.
Pity about Willis.

Konrad

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 14, 2014 at 1:35 am
————————————-
Oh for goodness sake Willis!
The internet record shows you being presented with this simple experiment
this is the somewhat expensive experiment that can disprove not just AGW but also the idea of a NET radiative greenhouse effect-
http://i42.tinypic.com/315nbdl.jpg
This experiment simulates what would happen to the oceans if the planet did not have an atmosphere (and the oceans could be prevented from boiling into space). The experiment heats a water sample with an intermittent SW source at depth. The sample can cool only by IR emitted from the surface. Conductive and evaporative cooling is restricted. There is also virtually no LWIR incident on the surface of the water. Initial temperature of the water 15C
1. How hot will can the water get?
2, Will it freeze due to the lack of LWIR incident on the surface?
3. Or will it rise toward 80C?
4. What effect will the cycle frequency of the SW source have on the final temperature?
If the oceans can reach 80C in the absence of an atmosphere (assuming they didn’t boil into space) that would prove that the net effect of the atmosphere on the oceans is cooling. There is only one effective means of cooling the atmosphere. Radiative gases. This would mean that not just AGW but the hypothesis of a net radiative greenhouse effect is disproved.
Willis, you chose to avoid answering those four simple questions.
NASA has already done the empirical proof Willis. The “Snow Line” in the solar system is 3 AU.
Am I really being so unpleasant?*
I have given you so many free clues since 2011. Exactly who did you think I wanted to “call it” Willis?
Your olfactory proboscis being dislocated is now your own concern.
*maybe in some measure, I am. The problem you may have is believing there are good and bad people in the world. There are only ever and always the bad people, it’s just that some of them are on different sides. An unending sea of evil, shallow in most places, but deeper, oh so much deeper in others. (with apologies to T. Prachett)
Am I a bad person? Are you a bad person Willis? Shall we ask Rog at talkshop?
When I say the cat got to the last Oreo, there was only some slight nibbling….and licking. Bit of a scrape and it should still be good…

CharlieUK

Could I ask a simple but related question?
In the past, the earth’s atmosphere contained over 5000 to 7000 ppm of CO2, and its concentration has dropped over the last 500 million years to the current low level. I’ve assumed that the earth did not boil at the previous high levels because once all the reflected heat that can be trapped and reradiated by CO2 had occurred then adding more CO2 would make no difference.
I’ve read that the effect of CO2 falls off logarithmically (ie 100 ppm – 78%, 200 ppm – 88%, 300 ppm – 92%), and that at the moment at 400 ppm, CO2 is exerting around 95% of its maximum possible effect. And this will rise to virtually 100% at 800 ppm.
Thus my question is – if the logarithmic tapering off is true, and the extent of tapering is true – how can the IPCC state that if the CO2 doubles, the earth will warm by 3oC?
This would mean that the earth would be 12oC warmer at 6400 ppm and 3oC cooler at 200 ppm – whereas, if tapering was, indeed, correct, then 6400 ppm would have no real warming effect but going down to 200 ppm certainly would.
Any clarification appreciated.

John Marshall

What is ”sensible heat”? No such animal when I did physics or thermodynamics. Perhaps you mean convection which is the major cause of surface heat loss closely followed by latent heat of evapouration. Radiation comes a poor third.
According to the GHE theory as greenhouse gasses increase TOA heat loss will decrease due to the heat ”storage” of the GHG’s.(stupid idea and a further violation of the laws of thermodynamics). TOA average heat loss is steady at 240W/m2 ish which means that overall heat transfer has not changed despite increases in atmospheric CO2.

thingadonta

Wonderful how a bureaucracy can invent volcanic eruptions of significance, when there aren’t any of significance. These people need to get out more.

richard verney

Willis
I do not intend to get involved in any dispute that you may have with Konrad. My personal view, is as expressed by AC Osborn.
If i recall correctly, much of this arose in your article on radiating the oceans. Last year (probably in ome of your ARGO posts), I suggested that you should rewrite your article on radiating the oceans. This suggestion was not meant in any nasty manner, but merely because I consider that you have so much more to give, and that your article on radiating the oceans was too superfisial (personal view, others may not share my personal view).
In my view understanding the oceans is the key to understanding the climate. It is the oceans that are the huge heat resoir and which drive the climate system. This is where the key debate should be, and people will inevitably have differing views. These differing views will be legitimate because of lack of data, and lack of experimentation.
There is an issue of principle, namely where a body wishes to give up energy (say because it is hotter than its environs), and can give up this energy in a variety of ways (Eg., two or more of conduction, convection, evaporation/latent phase change, radiation) does it do it by the path of least resistence, and does the fact that it is giving up energy say by convection and evaporation limit how much energy it can give up say by radiation. This strikes at whether energy is net flows or gross.
As you are aware, many take the view that the oceans are in balance because one only looks at net flows. In my opinion, this can only be satifactorily answered by experimentation.

Robbo

“you’d think that you could just use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to figure out how many more upwelling watts would be represented by a global surface temperature rise of 3°C. Even that number was a surprise to me … 16.8 watts per square metre”
Hi Willis,
Could you please spell out how you used Stefan-Boltzmann to get this number ?

izen

Unfortunately there is a fundamental error in the initial assumption made at the begining of this article that invalidates all the subsequent claims. It is this :-
@-” Here was the question that somehow I’d never asked myself … how many watts/m2 will the surface downwelling radiation (longwave + shortwave) have to increase by, if the surface temperature rises by 3°C?
Now, you’d think that you could just use the Stefan-Boltzmann equation to figure out how many more upwelling watts would be represented by a global surface temperature rise of 3°C. Even that number was a surprise to me … 16.8 watts per square metre.
This is nonsense. To understand why consider the big rise in temperature around 12,000 years ago from the glacial period to the present interglacial. That was a global rise double the predicted 3degC you examine here, the consensus is that there was a rise of around SIX degrees C. On your simplistic calculation that would require far more than a 16.8W/m2 increase in upwelling LW.
And yet the solar input was the same, just altered in where and when it was received, and albedo fell, CO2 rose a bit.
So the transition from glacial to present warm conditions was much greater than the present projected climate change without the massive increase in LW your uninformed assumptions imply. Back to the literature I suggest, or the science of doom site if you find the peer reviewed studies too hard to follow.

Bill Illis

Regarding the 16.8 W/m2 of additional forcing required to raise temperatures by 3.0C, the majority of this comes from the feedbacks (and more accurately, the feedbacks on the feedbacks on the feedbacks).
Doubling CO2 (and including the forcing from other GHG increases like methane which are predicted to occur as CO2 gets up to double) produces about +4.2 W/m2 of initial forcing.
Then water vapor increases and low clouds decline and there is adjustment in the lapse rate and in the stratosphere which produces a first round of feedbacks. This raises temperatures further and another round of feedbacks occurs.
After about 11 rounds of feedbacks on the previous feedbacks/initial forcing, you get up to +16.8 W/m2 and each additional round of temperature change/feedback forcing transitions to close to zero / ie. no further change.
This requires extreme fine-tuning in the feedback assumptions to get the numbers to work and 11 rounds of feedbacks. Change low clouds to zero or make it a negative and the whole feedback on feedback amplification falls apart.
Since we don’t really know what water vapor, or clouds or even the initial CO2 forcing is really going to do, and the theory depends on these numbers being so exact, we should just measure what really happens rather than just continue repeating the same assumptions over and over again. As Willis has done here.

Jim, too.

Willis,
You claim in your first graph a 0.01 trend in downwelling radiation. Should that be 0.10 or are the units on the y-axis wrong? Sorry if I am incorrect in my interpretation.

AlecM

@Konrad: you can easily do a S-B equilibrium for an hypothetical O2 – N2 atmosphere with no clouds or ice and get 4 to 5 deg C mean surface temperature.
The issue with 1981_Hansen_etal.pdf is that they assume a -18 deg C emitter in the upper atmosphere, and establish the lapse rate temperature difference, when there is no such emitter.
This led to 40 years of crap science so has to be stopped.

Quondam

“The energy loss from the surface by radiation (per CERES) is ~ 400 watts per square metre (W/m2), and the loss by sensible and latent heat is ~ 100 W/m2, or a quarter of the radiation loss.”
Willis, I believe the 100 W/m2 is a net flux due to mass transport, the difference between rising and ascending flows, e.g. 500-400. This energy is found in the degrees of freedom contributing to heat capacity. Trenberth’s cartoon is misleading in comparing the net mass energy flux with resolved radiative energy fluxes. That the net radiative flux density doubles on rising through the troposphere suggests that, at the surface, radiative and convective fluxes are similar (MODTRAN). ‘Consensus’ modeling does not include convective compensation (lapse rate change) for increased radiative flux impedance by CO2.

Leo Smith

“b) back off on the IPCC climate sensitivity by a factor of about ten”
Indeed. If you remove the fiddle factor lambda, that is about the climate sensitivity you get. 0.25C per doubling.
Why is lambda there, and what does it mean in real terms?
lambda is there to fit the general equation of dT= lambda.log(dCO2) …(+- other known knowns) to a short period of twenty years of late 20th century global warming.
It is a multiplier, which implies positive feedback between rising temperatures and…rising temperatures, via. an unknown and never properly explained mechanism.
The equation could equally have been chosen as
dT=d. log(dCO2) + lambda …(+- other known knowns)
Where instead of the parametrised unknown lambda being a multiplier, it was simply an additional unknown driver of climate change.
The equation has as many unknowns, and still fits the data.
It has however, one important characteristic. It provides no support for global warming being man made and supports no government policy of intervention in climate research or energy production whatsoever. Ergo it is a pretty useless equation if those are in fact your aims….
I rest my case.

Steve Keohane

Thanks Willis.

cd

Konrad
All your points seem perfectly plausible.
If the oceans can reach 80C in the absence of an atmosphere (assuming they didn’t boil into space) that would prove that the net effect of the atmosphere on the oceans is cooling.
What you’re suggesting is that the atmosphere acts as a conduit for energy transfer via evaporation and conduction, in short energy is transferred from the ocean to atmosphere where it does additional work. In other words, the effect of the atmosphere is as much as anything to do with increasing the amount of work for the energy to do in the system; more than it would otherwise have if there were just an ocean.
But this doesn’t refute the AGW theory. Increasing AGW effectively, and temporarily, reduces the rate of transfer of energy back into space – that is all. In the end the “energy’s residence time” in the atmosphere is the only thing that has changed afterwards.

Jim Clarke

There are only two possibilities: The IPCC is wrong or the data is wrong. The scientific method clearly indicates that the IPCC is wrong, but the mainstream climate community has a well established history of changing the data to fit the IPCC hypothesis and conclusions. I imagine there will be papers coming out detailing why the CERES data needs to be corrected, or at least highlighting the potential errors in CERES data.
In the meantime, some mainstream climate scientists will quietly abandon their sinking ship. Some of them will rework this post, add a lot of technical words, Greek symbols and much more complicated graphs and claim that they may have discovered a serious flaw with the AGW hypothesis, just needing more grant money to confirm it. The name ‘Willis Eschenbach’ will not appear in their paper, but we will know.

u

‘Radiative forcing’?
Do these guys just take a science word and a verb, slam them together, and send it off to the media for publication? Because it sure seems like they do.

Alberta Slim

richard verney says:
January 14, 2014 at 3:52 am
“Willis
I do not intend to get involved in any dispute that you may have with Konrad. My personal view, is as expressed by AC Osborn…………………………………”
I totally agree. Well Said.
I feel that many “luke warmers” of the GHE are giving up on the GHE altogether.

Mike M

I’d swear there was an article a while back concerning CERES and a solar event that briefly blasted us with an increase of radiation and that the sensors detected more LR being emitted back out to space from the TOA than was modeled/expected. I think the idea of CO2 at TOA was suspected of basically doing the same thing to LR upstairs as what it does down here but in reverse?

Were we not told in recent years volcanos and the sun have no effect on warming/cooling and therefore climate?
Not at all. We were told that volcanic ash and aerosols were responsible for global cooling events in the past and that the variability of the sun in all dimensions has a very small effect on the climate. Since there has been comparatively little overt/catastrophic vulcanism post Mount Pinatubo — a few eruptions, to be sure, but nothing particularly “global” in its reach — we could rewrite your statement as “we were told that volcanoes and the sun have had little effect on the climate in recent years” which is not QUITE the same thing.
It is precisely the lack of vulcanism that is responsible for a good chunk of the failure of climate models. The integrated effect of aerosols is a big question mark, but as Willis has pointed out many times before, actually, one cannot really pin the lack of warming on volcanic aerosols in an era when we can observe the entire globe from space and hence know for a fact that there hasn’t been anything like an anomalous release of volcanic aerosols at a scale capable of explaining the supposed temperature deficit. Models predict that with aerosols roughly constant and CO_2 increasing, it should warm. But it isn’t warming. At least the IPCC acknowledges the problem tacitly by noting that they cannot really make any statements about the precise way all this works out with any confidence at all because the models that are supposed to do this are not working!
There are other areas where there are extraordinary unexplained changes. One of the most interesting ones is the dramatic and rapid reduction in stratospheric water vapor that occurred over precisely the interval in question. Stratospheric water vapor is a key component of the greenhouse effect. If I recall the NASA paper announcing this fact correctly, it was estimated that the observed reduction alone was sufficient to drop GASTA by order of 0.5C, that is, by roughly the amount of all of the warming attributed to CO_2 increases to date. But even this is a very rough estimate.
The cause of this reduction is, as far as I know, yet another in the many mysteries of the climate system. It is coincident with the equally dramatic reduction in mean solar activity, so one is tempted to commit the sin of post hoc ergo propter hoc and associate the two as cause and effect, but as far as I know there are no credible models for how variation of either total insolation (not quite negligible, but surely very small, as repeatedly noted) or the more complicated variation of heliogeomagnetism and incident radiation could be responsible for it. One could speculate — it might well be the case that cosmic radiation penetrating to the troposphere, while capable of small modulations in cloud particle nucleation rates, is a negligible perturbation of direct particulate and aerosol nucleation but that in the stratosphere it becomes a dominant contributor either directly or indirectly by affecting things like ozone concentrations. Or the modulation could come from something else entirely — a natural variation that simply increases the cloud fraction well below the tropopause so that less moisture survives to be transported into the stratosphere. Or both, either independently or nonlinearly augmented. Or there could be three- or four-way causes.
This suggests another interesting chore for Willis, if there exist any data sets to support it. CERES gives one TOA upwelling data. Soundings, one hopes, gives one data from the tropopause itself. The difference between upwelling SW and LW radiation and the tropopause and upwelling SW and LW radiation at the TOA is the integrated effect of all atmospheric layers above the tropopause. If there has been in fact a substantial variation in the atmospheric radiative effect of the (mostly) stratosphere, it should be immediately visible in the differences as a pronouced negative trend. This actually is capable of explaining at least part of the so-called missing heat — if the stratosphere “suddenly” became substantially more transparent to outgoing LWIR in the water vapor bands, it would substantially affect the optical depth of the upper troposphere where the atmosphere radiatively cools, precisely in those bands responsible for the cooling that precipitates clouds. This in turn could modulate albedo, a substantial nonlinear cooling effect in the tropics and weak warming effect in the polar regions (and nearly neutral in between). Since there is a hell of a lot more area in the tropics than in the poles, this sort of thing could easily cause anything from cancellation of expected warming to actual cooling.
Actual cooling because modulation of the Earth’s net albedo is an extremely powerful factor in even single slab models. The Earthlight project reported that in rough consonance with the alteration of the solar cycle, the Earth’s average albedo substantially increased — order of 3-7% — from e.g the mid 80s when the sun was highly active compared to today. IIRC it was CERES data that people tried to use to argue that there was no such increase, but of course it doesn’t go back far enough and I’m not sure that I believe strongly one way or another. The time constants of any possible variation are also unknown — it might take decades of lower solar activity for the stratosphere and troposphere to move to a new quasi-equilibrium state — if such a thing even exists, if the sun is in any measure responsible for modulating either stratospheric or tropospheric atmospheric radiation, if, if, if.
But if or no if, examining CERES vs sounding at the top of the troposphere would surely be interesting, especially if anything like a meaningful trend emerges in the difference.
rgb

izen says:
January 14, 2014 at 4:26 am
So the transition from glacial to present warm conditions was much greater than the present projected climate change without the massive increase in LW your uninformed assumptions imply.
======
there are many problems with the radiation/insolation theory of glaciation. the 100k problem for example.
largely overlooked by climate science is the effects of the ocean tides, which move massive amounts of water. Due to orbital mechanics the tides are not static. Their magnitude increases and decreases in phase with the cycle of ice ages.
Perhaps the ice ages are not governed by radiation. Rather by volume of water transported from the equator to the poles. Increase the flow rate, you get an interglacial. Decrease the flow rate, the poles ice over.

The problem with the isolation theory of glaciation is that isolation varies as the earth’s orbit, while the tides vary as the earth’s and the moon’s orbit, and the magnitude of change in glaciation appears to better match the combined earth and lunar orbit, than it does the earth’s orbit alone.

RockyRoad

u says:
January 14, 2014 at 6:23 am

‘Radiative forcing’?
Do these guys just take a science word and a verb, slam them together, and send it off to the media for publication? Because it sure seems like they do.

Good point, “u”.
Wouldn’t surprise me if they used “Pixie Dust” next for their explanation, which uses two nouns and is about as nonsensical.
The IPCC is goin’ down! They resort to magic, not science.

RockyRoad

A most enjoyable and enlightening read, Willis! The IPCC certainly has some explaining to do!

Rud Istvan

Willis, another nice climate post. Your vulcanism conclusion from Ceres data is strongly supported by MLO LIDAR data on atmospheric apparent transmission available from NOAA/ESRL. The reason over the period you study is simple. To have a climate effect, volcanic aerosols have to reach at least the upper troposphere where they will mix into the stratosphere and survive for a while (1-3 years max). This requires a VEI of 4 or greater for the eruption plume to reach those altitudes. There have been no such eruptions over the time period, ( and just one in 2009 that affected stratospheric opacity at all measured by MLO LIDAR, Sarychev in the Kurile Islands). So the stratosphere has been naturally ‘clearing’ slightly, resulting in the negative result contradicting the IPCC explanation you show via independent means. Using volcanos to explain the pause when there have been no eruptions of the minimum required magnitude was transparent IPCC voodoo.

Mike M

richard verney says:
(1) “…In my view understanding the oceans is the key to understanding the climate. It is the oceans that are the huge heat resoir and which drive the climate system. … ”
I doubt that anyone disagrees with that.
(2) “..This is where the key debate should be, …”
But that is non sequitor to (1) because just understanding more about the climate does not necessarily equate to understanding it completely enough to sway opinion when the affects from that which remains unknown/vague/fuzzy/poorly measured/etc. will provide plenty of wiggle room to the CAGW faithful well into the future.
The ‘key’ debate should be the one which provides the most obvious and provable means to drive a stake through the CAGW hoax. Your very explanation of the complexity of ocean currents and mentioning various heat transport mechanisms in itself exemplifies my assertion. In contrast, the energy budget analysis has only one variable in and out of a black box – heat radiation. It doesn’t matter to ‘the debate’ how complex the ocean is in regard to the climate if it can be proven that more heat can nonetheless be emitted back out to space than what went in despite an increased atmospheric concentration of CO2. Such in my opinion is THE “Sword of Damocles” to AGW theory itself and the one I most want to see dropped on the on the heads of the ‘consensus’.

scarletmacaw

izen says:
January 14, 2014 at 4:26 am
This is nonsense. To understand why consider the big rise in temperature around 12,000 years ago from the glacial period to the present interglacial. That was a global rise double the predicted 3degC you examine here, the consensus is that there was a rise of around SIX degrees C. On your simplistic calculation that would require far more than a 16.8W/m2 increase in upwelling LW.
And yet the solar input was the same, just altered in where and when it was received, and albedo fell, CO2 rose a bit.
So the transition from glacial to present warm conditions was much greater than the present projected climate change without the massive increase in LW your uninformed assumptions imply. Back to the literature I suggest, or the science of doom site if you find the peer reviewed studies too hard to follow.

Are you saying there was NOT a massive increase in upwelling LW in the interglacial compared to the glacial? When there was a massive decrease in reflected SW after the glaciers receded, there had to be a corresponding increase in LW.