An Empirical Review of Recent Trends in the Greenhouse Effect

Guest essay by Robin Pittwood, Kiwi Thinker

Abstract

The core of the human caused global warming proposition is that an increasing level of greenhouse gases acts to reduce heat loss from the planet making the atmosphere here warmer. The amount of warming anticipated by the IPCC models is from about one to several degrees C for a doubling of CO2 concentration. But a conundrum has arisen lately: While CO2 has continued rise significantly the temperature has not. There has been no global warming since about 1997. Scientists on both sides of the debate have noticed this and have offered something like 55 explanations as to why this could be so. Some of those explanations lock into the dogma built into the IPCC models, taking for certain that the greenhouse effect is increasing, but because there is no atmospheric temperature rise, they then have to explain the retained heat is somewhere else.

But is the greenhouse effect occurring as the IPCC models propose?

This study analysed two important factors directly associated with the greenhouse effect; atmospheric temperature and outgoing radiation, and finds that outgoing radiation has not declined. The missing heat has gone back to space as usual. But more importantly the (lack of a) trend observed in an empirical derivation of the Stefan Boltzmann relative emissivity factor directly contradicts the greenhouse theory built into the IPCC models.

Article

Regular readers at any of the main climate change blogs will be aware that since about 1997 there has been nearly no global temperature rise. And they will know too, that this is despite atmospheric CO2 concentration continuing to rise. To date there are some 55 ideas to explain this slowdown in global warming. Some of the ‘explanations’ presume the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ must still be increasing as the IPCC models calculate; it’s just that the heat has hidden elsewhere, maybe deep in the ocean.

This study, based on 34 years of satellite data; outgoing longwave infrared radiation (OLWIR) and temperature, demonstrates otherwise.

I used three data sets, OLWIR from NOAA, and the average of both UAH and RSS for global temperature.

I obtained monthly average OLWIR (W/m2) for each 2.5 degree latitude by 2.5 degree longitude area of the globe. After converting the netCDF files to Excel, I scaled each 2.5*2.5 area’s OLWIR to account for the varying size of its area, resulting in a global average OLWIR. (There was some missing data mid 1994 to early 1995. I populated this by a linear interpolation). The resulting annual average OLWIR is shown in the graph below for the years 1979 to 2012. While there is some variation, OLWIR has generally increased over the period, maximising lately at around 233 W/m2.

The temperature data is also plotted on the graph below.

clip_image002

It is noted that while there is some variation, temperature also has generally increased over the period, maximising lately at around 0.2 oC.

The relationship between temperature and emitted radiation should follow a universal law of physics. Stefan Boltzmann’s law states the emitted radiation is the product of the fourth power of absolute temperature and an emissivity factor. A reduction in the emissivity factor means less outgoing radiation for a given temperature, and that would indicate a stronger greenhouse effect. An increase in the emissivity factor means more outgoing radiation for a given temperature, and that would indicate a more transparent atmosphere. The study derived earth’s emissivity factor for each of the 34 years and the results displayed.

clip_image004

Using an average global temperature of 287 Kelvin added to the temperature anomaly, the relative emissivity has been derived for each year using the formula:

RE = j / (k*T^4)

where RE is the relative emissivity, j is OLWIR, k is the Stefan Boltzmann constant, and T is the temperature.

clip_image005

If the greenhouse effect was increasing, relative emissivity should be declining. A quick look at the graphs shows clearly this is not the case. Our planet’s relative emissivity has been flat-lining, despite increasing CO2 concentration over the study period. The derived emissivity factor, being basically constant, directly contradicts all of the IPCC models. No increased greenhouse effect is observed.

Findings:

The two primary findings of this empirical study are:

· Outgoing radiation has not declined over this period as expected by IPCC models. In fact it has increased. The missing heat has gone back to space – as usual and in the quantity as per Stefan Boltzmann’s law, via OLWIR, and

· The increasing greenhouse effect expected by IPCC models, is not evident in the measurements. It appears there has been no increased greenhouse effect over this period. [A closer inspection of the relative emissivity trend shows the atmosphere is even becoming a little more transparent – though little should be made of this given the variability of the data] and the scale.]

Conclusion:

The core of the human caused global warming proposition is that an increasing level of greenhouse gases acts to reduce heat loss from the planet making the atmosphere here warmer. But is the greenhouse effect occurring as the IPCC models propose? This study analysed two important factors directly associated with the greenhouse effect, atmospheric temperature and outgoing radiation, and finds that the trends observed, along with an empirical derivation of the Stefan Boltzmann relative emissivity factor directly contradicts the greenhouse theory built into the IPCC models.

The original post on this study may be found here.

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203 thoughts on “An Empirical Review of Recent Trends in the Greenhouse Effect

  1. Nicely done. CO2 is definitely not the control knob on temperatures. But how many times are we going to have to disprove AGW and CAGW? Time and time again, skeptics have shown CO2 is an incredibly weak GHG.

  2. Concise, nice article showing emissivity has remained relatively constant from 1979-2013. No indication that increasing CO2 is doing anything to influence the corresponding mean annual temperature over the same period. Thank you.

  3. We face the task of putting the toothpaste back in the tube when we attempt to convince the public that CO2 is not harmful….the results of “big lie” psychology. The same is true in another way with the “big liars” in that simply too much is invested in this hypothesis by many alarmist scientists.
    Nature will eventually decide, but until then I am just going to enjoy this rare interlude of pleasant climate.

  4. One thing has been bothering me about using a trend lines and averages for the temperature. Temperature is only a proxy for the total heat content of the atmosphere. Given everything else being equal, the energy that is not radiated away shows up as a temperature increase, but only in terms of the minimum temperature. Any temperature higher than that minimum represents energy that is going to be radiated to space. So over time, the net increase (or decrease) is the change in the lowest global temperature recorded. The higher values are just noise riding on top of the signal. Averaging over time is bad because you would be averaging the noise into the signal.
    Of course this doesn’t account for the affect of ocean heat absorption/release. However consider the 1998 super el ninõ. Temps dropped rapidly after that showing that the energy released to the atmosphere must have either been radiated away or somehow reabsorbed by the ocean since that is the only sink that I can see.

  5. Nice data sets. 1998 El Nino is visible at the top of the athmosphere with lack. Do we have differences in these curves between land and sea areas, hemispheres ?
    CO2 curves are implicit in this report. What else is diffrerent in our athmosphere? No big volcanoes lately? Humidity ? Clouds? O3, S, C particles .. ?
    What has Roy Spencer to say about this?

    • The NOAA data I used has a separate W/m2 figure for each 2.5 degree latitude by 2.5 degree longitude, so theoretically someone could allocate each of the areas to land or ocean. It is possible to get higher resolution data too, ie: 1 degree by 1 degree.
      There are of course lots of reasons the temperature rises and falls, you’ve mentioned several possibilities. Those things happen and it causes variability. My aim was to look at the greenhouse effect using SB-RE in relation to temperature, whatever it was.

  6. “Stefan Boltzmann’s law states the emitted radiation is the product of the fourth power of absolute temperature and an emissivity factor.”
    There are caveats here, and they affect your analysis. SB states that emission from a black body. over all wavelengths, varies with the absolute temperature at the emitting surface. Issues:
    1. The earth is not a black body. The outgoing spectrum has a very big dip in the CO2 absorption region. This reflects that the emission there is from high altitude. So there is no constant (over frequency) emissivity factor. This matters.
    2. You have used the UAH/RSS lower troposphere temperatures. But a large part of the radiation comes from the tropopause, and another chunk (atmospheric window) from the surface. LT temp is a very rough approx.

    • A further point on temperature. Although you have used lower troposphere anomalies, you have converted to absolute by adding 287K, the ground average temperature. Not only do they not match, but ground is certainly a poor approx for the actual emission region (at most frequencies).

      • Nick raises some valid questions. Attempting to model the whole climate system as a uniform “grey body” is as abhorrent as the simplistic GHG warming the author is trying to refute.
        The article is interesting and I’ll give it a closer look but Nick points are legitimate.
        I’m not sure that I see one grossly simplistic and physically unrealistic account is sufficient to disprove another one.
        AGW has had a good run even though it does not match for 18 years of the 36 years of the satellite record. It is probably helpful to show you can prove whatever result pleases you with such simplistic analyses.

      • I’m not sure that I see one grossly simplistic and physically unrealistic account is sufficient to disprove another one.
        ======================
        If the “accepted” GHG treatment of SB yields a contradiction when applied consistently, then the only valid argument is that the “accepted” treatment must be wrong.
        Given that A is true, then applying A to observation yields a contradiction. Thus, either the observations are false or A is false. Since we accept that the observations are true, then A must be false.
        A = GHG theory.

    • Hair splitting. If CO2 is increasing surface temperature as proposed, then OLR should be growing slower than surface temperatures would suggest. Especially given the alarms raised worldwide over this subject.
      But instead the opposite is observed. OLR is actually growing slightly faster than temperature, which suggests if anything that CO2 has a negative GHG effect.
      This result directly contradicts one of the central predictions of CO2 GHG theory.

      • GHG is a stupid term coined by someone who does not know how a greenhouse works. All the so called GHG’s are in fact good adsorbers of IR and therefore must be good emitters of IR. Extra GHG’s will increase cooling as energy adsorbed is emitted to outer space, thus increasing the planet’s overall OLR. Another reason why the GHEtheory is rubbish.

      • For once, I agree with Nick Stokes. For references to atmospheric models, see
        http://jennifermarohasy.com/2009/03/radical-new-hypothesis-on-the-effect-of-greenhouse-gases/
        http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/387h/Lectures/chap2.pdf
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idealized_greenhouse_model
        For a simple numerical example:
        Let the flux from the sun to the ground be 4 joules/unit time*unit
        area,
        and stay constant.
        –> SUN
        –>
        –>
        –>
        –>
        With no greenhouse gases, the earth will either heat up or cool down
        until
        the outgoing flux from the earth is equal to the incoming flux from
        the sun.
        Sun –> O O O O <– <– <–O O–> <–
        You've now got an unbalanced situation where 5 joules/unit time*unit
        area
        are hitting the earth, 4 from the sun and half of the 2 from the
        atmosphere,
        and only 3 joules per second are leaving the earth, the 2 not
        absorbed by
        the gas, and half of the 2 from the atmosphere. The atmosphere will
        gradually
        warm up until outgoing flux from the atmosphere, plus the fraction of
        the flux from the
        earth not intercepted by the atmosphere, equals the incoming amount
        from the sun.
        Since in my example, half of the outgong flux is intercepted by the
        atmosphere,
        the watts hitting the earth's surface will increase to
        1/(1-1/4) = 4/3 of 4 joules/(unit time*unit area) = 5 1/3 joules/(unit
        time*unit area).
        Remember the atmosphere is intercepting half of this, so 16/6 joules
        (unit time*unit area)
        is intercepted by the greenhouse gas atmosphere, and another half,
        16/6 joules, escapes
        directly to space.
        The final equilibrium balance is
        16/12 Earth
        O–>16/12 16/12(from atmosphere)–>Earth
        Sun –>4
        16/6 to atmosphere <– Earth
        of which 8/6 to space, 8/8 back to Earth
        16/6 to space <– Earth
        Kiwi Thinker is trying to measure the INSTANT when the additional outgoing CO2 suddenly blocks outgoing radiation from earth's surface. If a significant fraction of CO2 were instantaneously dumped into the atmosphere, Kiwi Thinker's algorithm would work. The REAL world starts out just about in equilibrium,
        while an infinitesmal amount of CO2 is constantly being added to the atmosphere.
        With NO change in atmospheric CO2, Kiwi Thinker's algorithm might measure a constant 232 watts/square meter being radiated to space, fluctuating a little over time due to random variations in cloud cover, changes in distance from sun, etc. Doubling Earth's CO2 instantaneously would show an instantaneous drop of 3.7 watts, before the atmospheric radiation regained equilibrium.
        Applying his system to the REAL world, with the atmosphere and earth balance changing infinitesmally, and trying to get back into balance, his system might measure a constant 231.99 watts radiated from earth. The difference would be less than measurement error and fluctuations due to cloud cover, etc.

    • LT temp is a far more atmosphere then the surface stations cover, which are more questionable for many reasons. OLWIR covers all energy escaping to space yes? The surface energy must pass through the LT no? Troposphere T was expected to rise at about double the surface rate as I recall yes? It has not come close. The projected warming at the surface and in the troposphere has failed to happen. The expected reduction in OLWIR has also apparently failed to happen.

    • The emission is given by the fourth power of the temperature, multiplied by the Stefan-Boltzmann constant, and for emitters other than black bodies, an emissivity factor. Robin seems to have contracted both factors into a single emissivity factor. We can assume he is aware that the earth is not a black body.
      Of course, this is not a strict analysis of the IR emission of the real earth-atmosphere system, and this should have been stated more clearly. However, the pseudo-emissivity calculated here can still provide a useful relative measure of the greenhouse effect. The ground temperature should determine how much energy is radiated into the lowest layer of the atmosphere. If the impedance of the atmosphere increases, than the pseudo-emissivity should decrease, as stated by the author. It would be better, of course, if the temperatures were analysed on the same grid as the OLR, if the satellite data sets provide that resolution (I would abstain from using the garbage collected by GISS and the other station data sets).
      BTW it is not Stefan Boltzmann’s law — both Stefan and Boltzmann are last names, so it is the Stefan-Boltzmann law.

    • The outgoing spectrum has a very big dip in the CO2 absorption region.
      So presumably an even bigger dip in the H2O absorption region, I imagine.

    • Nick raises some valid questions
      ==================
      Unfortunately Nick is selective in his application of the facts. SB is the basis of GHG theory. You cannot selectively discount SB when it disproves GHG theory, and then at the same time claim that GHG theory based on SB is valid.
      Either GHG based on SB is invalid because you cannot treat earth as a black body, or you must accept that applying SB directly contradicts one of the central predictions of GHG theory.

      • Ferdberple,
        You have hit the nail on the head. Nick is in part correct saying that you can’t treat the land/ocean/atmosphere system as a blackbody. But this caveat also applies to the 255K “surface without atmosphere calculation.
        The oceans are not a near blackbody, they are a SW selective surface and standard SB equations cannot be used. We do not have a 255K surface being raised 33K by a radiative atmosphere, we have an ocean surface being cooled from around 335K by a radiatively cooled atmosphere.
        What Robin is showing is a perfect fit for a radiatively cooled atmosphere having a net cooling effect on the surface. The failed radiative GHE hypothesis does not fit, as OLR should drop as surface temperatures rise.

    • Nick:
      I find it interesting that the climate cabal seem to think that they have a lock on the understanding of radiative heat transfer. Hottel was studying this in the 1940’s at MIT. He brought his analysis to 4 ft.atm with a maximum emissivity of about 0.2 from 0 F to 3,600 F. Leckner showed that CO2 emissivity maxes out at about 0.18 at a path length of about 500 bar.cm (or about 16 ft.atm). In the 4.3 um vibration rotation band of CO2, HITRAN has about 12,500 lines. HITEMP has about 185,000. So it isn’t that we consider fewer bands. It is interesting that Leckner’s sensitivity is lower than Hottel’s. In combustion engineering, as in climate, the closer you look, the lower the impact, at high levels (300 ppm is high) of CO2. Note that these consider concentration and distance. The “blanket” argument you are using is double counting.

      • Good point John. However it falls on deaf ears. I and others have noted this for years. I have asked several persons that post here what the emissivity of CO2 is at 1 atmosphere and 255 K. Crickets.

      • In reply to:
        >mkelly November 9, 2014 at 9:30 am
        >I have asked several persons that post here what the
        >emissivity of CO2 is at 1 atmosphere and 255 K. Crickets.
        I have a pdf of just such an analysis and a forcing curve generated from it here:
        http://johneggert.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/the-path-length-approximation/
        Also, I have posted a PDF of the leckner curves for those who want to see how little the impact of increasing CO2 is at very high concentrations . . . such as 300 ppm in the atmosphere.
        Cheers
        JE

    • But a large part of the radiation comes from the tropopause
      What do you mean by the above statement? IIRC the tropopause marks the altitude at which the stratosphere begins, a fictitious line in the atmosphere. A large part of the radiation comes from a fictitious line?

    • Yes Nick, the earth is not a black body. It’s a grey body. I certainly didn’t mean to imply it was a black body. I calculated the ‘relative emissivity’ from the numbers I had, and got close to 0.6 with a presumed ground temperature of 287K. So my result was that earth is a grey body with 60% emissivity of a black body.
      I took satellite temperatures because they cover the whole planet. I thought they’d be best for a global calculation. I tried two other offsets, 273k and 263k, and the derived relative emissivities were about 0.73 and 0.85 respectively. However, the trends are the same. Basically a horizontal line – with a tiny move upwards over the 34 year period.
      My argument is not based on the absolute value of the relative emissivity factor, it is based on its trend not diminishing to a lower value over the period.

  7. Bottom line, in many temp records, we are on track for a record warm year and there is no El Niño. When is that last time that happened?

  8. On the site CO2now they go into debt explaining the IPCC models and how accurate they have been with previous years. They show a lovely graph that demonstates the models ability to follow the real temperature trend. The graph conveniently ends at 2005, almost 10 years ago

    • When visiting junk sci websites I leave a comment that unbiased information can be obtained at WUWT. Then I run Malwarebytes, just to be sure…

  9. The empirical observations and subsequent analysis presented here agrees with Ferenc Miskolczi’s work recently high-lighted at Tallbloke’s Talkshop.

  10. Let’s not get dogmatic about this just yet. The presented graphs show the trend of exported IR going in the direction described by the author, but don’t we need to relate the numbers for IR and temperature a bit more carefully before we jump to conclusions? Surely we would expect increased radiation according to SB with or without a greenhouse effect? And, as Nick Stokes points out, identifying the quantum we would need to use for the budget is a lot more complicated than stated?

    • “Surely we would expect increased radiation according to SB with or without a greenhouse effect?” — my published study on total solar radiation and net radiation showed 10.5 plus or minus 0.5 years cycle and its multiples. That means, these two parameters follow natural rhythm.
      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  11. SB Law is easily applied to a surface, or to a system as a whole. But in the context of the global warming debate, care must be taken in its application. The GHE can increase surface temperatures without changing emissivity. SB Law is about how much energy is radiated, the GHE is in part about from where it is radiated. Photons escaping to space from earth could originate anywhere from surface to TOA. Changing the percentage of them that escape from any given altitude would change the temperature profile from TOA to surface without changing the total energy flux to space.
    I hate to agree with Nick, but in this case he is correct in my opinion.

    • Why is the emotion of “hate” involved in a scientific question? Ego? Ego and reputation is what led Ptolemy’s followers to the dust-bin of history — i.e. forgotten.
      For this intellectual Climate “Enterprise”, we all must become LtCommander Data’s or Commander Spock’s. So ditch the emotions. Understand the data and the science, and leave egos behind. Discard discredited explanations of the data and accept that what is left may be correct.

      • Hate in this context means unwilling. It’s a figure of speech, the richness of the english language. If we had no ego then we would not be human.

      • I’d say, it shows that davidmhoffer is human and a fair one. Warmists are generally doing things which take away our freedom to thrive, but they can be right about things. Being fair and balanced shows the high level of open minded thinking davidmhoffer has. He is both human and open minded. That’s what I take of his statement.

    • David, you say “Photons escaping to space from earth could originate anywhere from surface to TOA. Changing the percentage of them that escape from any given altitude would change the temperature profile from TOA to surface without changing the total energy flux to space.”
      Yet, if the T profile changes at different elevations within the atmosphere, but overall the atmosphere does not gain energy, then said warming and off setting cooling of disparate elevations of the atmosphere, is somewhat limited and this is not the main warming expected from the GHE as I understand it.
      My understanding of the GHE is that given steady state insolation, more up welling LWIR is redirected back into the atmosphere and surface, thus increasing the residence time of LWIR radiation within the earth, while solar insolation continues, thus resulting in less OLWIR, and more overall warming, not just a change in the lapse rate.
      Please feel free to correct this impression.

      • A further thought if you please. If the surface warms, but the atmosphere above that does not, then would not convection and conduction between those levels accelerate, somewhat offsetting the change in radiation due to changes in the GH composition of the atmosphere?

      • According to SB Law, the effective black body temperature of earth (the temperature of the earth/atmosphere system as a whole as seen from space) is exactly the same (at equilibrium) after CO2 doubles as before.
        Think of it like a teeter totter, one end on the ground, the other in the air. Measure its height above ground every ten centimeters from one end to the other, and calculate an average. Then push the high end of the teeter totter down by some amount. Measure height above ground at the same points as before and calculate the average again. Hmmm. Exactly the same number. But the high end is now lower than it was before, and the low end is higher…..
        So, assuming we are talking about equilibrium states and ignoring all the messy stuff in between while CO2 levels are in flux rather than fixed at the before and after values, the increase in CO2 results in a change in the Mean Radiating Level, with temps above the MRL going down and temps below the MRL going up. As seen from space though, the exact same amount of energy is escaping. Any particular photon that escapes however, does so (on average) from a higher altitude.
        As to your follow up question, yes, to figure out what the end result is, you’d have to figure out what all the feedback effects of changing evaporation, convection, conduction, etc etc etc were to calculate the actual effect at surface. The climate models are clearly not capable of doing this, and are predicated upon faulty assumptions about the science itself. That, coupled with cleverly worded descriptions of the science that give a false impression of the physics have lead to the current CAGW hysteria. That doesn’t change the physics that is correct though, and I am in agreement with Nick Stokes for that reason.

      • If the radiation remains in balance but the CO2 alters the thermal profile of the atmosphere there is a possibility for there to be climatic change.
        I’m not sure of where or what but different is possible.
        But CAGW would be hard to support in this context. a very trivial change in cloud could be the only outcome.
        Very very interesting Ha

      • davidmhoffer says,
        “According to SB Law, the effective black body temperature of earth (the temperature of the earth/atmosphere system as a whole as seen from space) is exactly the same (at equilibrium) after CO2 doubles as before.”
        Exactly. That’s the idea. So under no circumstance is total OLR from the ToA allowed to increase over time if a strengthened rGHE is to be the cause of the warming in the medium and long term. The OLR is only ever allowed to grow back (through surface/troposphere warming) to where it started before the enhanced ‘radiative forcing’ was effectuated. We would see decadal/multidecadal warming with the total global OLR from the ToA remaining at the same mean level. That’s how the warming mechanism of the rGHE is supposed to work, isn’t it?

      • Thanks David, regarding “So, assuming we are talking about equilibrium states and ignoring all the messy stuff in between while CO2 levels are in flux rather than fixed at the before and after values, the increase in CO2 results in a change in the Mean Radiating Level, ”
        Yes, this makes sense to me, yet clearly with increasing CO2, we are not at equilibrium yes? I am curious how long this would be expected to take. Since we are dealing with very fast photons, I expect not long.
        However, as you say, changes in convection, conduction, evaporation, cloud cover, acceleration of hydrological cycle, all could be negative feedbacks to a little additional GHG.
        Also, determining what percentage of GHG molecules received energy is from conduction, vs. surface LWIR radiation, therefore cooling (via radiating away conducted energy) relative to said energy packet simply conducting to other non GHG molecule and staying within the local thermodynamic equilibrium, is a question I have never seen addressed. At lower levels I would think most of the energy received by CO2 is from conducted energy from non GHG molecules, as the transfer rate of conducted energy is far more likely. I am not certain how this changes at higher elevations.

      • Regarding Krisitan says; Thank you, I should have thought of that. Initially OLWIR should decrease as additional CO2 captures said radiation in that small band, and then equalize back to balance with assumed steady state insolation and a slightly greater heat capacity within the atmosphere. (assuming a million other things not in evidence)

      • Instead of “captures said radiation in that small band” I should have stated “redirects some outgoing radiation back into the atmosphere…

      • David A, you said …

        Also, determining what percentage of GHG molecules received energy is from conduction, vs. surface LWIR radiation, therefore cooling (via radiating away conducted energy) relative to said energy packet simply conducting to other non GHG molecule and staying within the local thermodynamic equilibrium, is a question I have never seen addressed. At lower levels I would think most of the energy received by CO2 is from conducted energy from non GHG molecules, as the transfer rate of conducted energy is far more likely. I am not certain how this changes at higher elevations.

        Try Jinan Caos’ blog where he presents some figures regards this.
        http://jinancaoblog.blogspot.com.au/

    • What does CAGW theory actually predict when CO2 increases? Changes in the temperature gradient? A hotspot as its signature? Or changes in OLWIR?
      Robin Pittwood’s post have been few days on the blogosphere and has got surprisingly few comments. One commenter said that the NOAA’s OLWIR should not be used – because it is following the temperature? At Joannenova, IIRC. Of course, this is not anything new. I remember earlier discussions about measurements at TOA and Earth’s energy balance.

    • davidmhoffer
      November 8, 2014 at 11:39 pm
      ////////////////////////////////////////////////

      SB Law is easily applied to a surface, or to a system as a whole. But in the context of the global warming debate, care must be taken in its application.

      David,
      therein lies they foundation error in the radiative GHE hypothesis. SB law is not easily applied to surfaces, if surface properties are not properly measured. The foundation claim that the oceans are a near blackbody was a grave error. They are instead a complex SW selective surface. They have IR emissivity asymmetric with SW absorptivity. They are SW translucent, they convect and they are intermittently illuminated.
      Just the emissivity to absorptivity asymmetry leads to error of around 25K in the 255K “surface without atmosphere” calculation. On top of this the five rules for SW translucent materials need to be added –
      http://i59.tinypic.com/10pdqur.jpg
      – and you run hotter again. These factors were clearly not considered in the 255K “surface without atmosphere” calculation. A better figure for “surface without atmosphere” would be 312K, which means the net effect of our radiatively cooled atmosphere is surface cooling.
      There is a greenhouse effect on our planet, but it is in the oceans not the atmosphere.

  12. Can you link to your Excel file please? You said on the other link that you could supply it if asked.

  13. My Climate mea culpa came 12 months (or so) ago.
    I am a PhD scientist (not a physicist, but a BS CE and a PhD in Bio-med, and 4 years of ME EE work), and I KNOW this one thing:
    I have deeply studied the science, the non-linear mathematics of chaos theory, and issues at hand over the past 16 months.
    Despite all the bleatings from the AGW believers (like I was once), and Al Gore, and NASA, and the IPCC, my conclusion is simply:
    The science is NOT settled on what the effect of increasing CO2 is on our planet’s temperature “set point.”
    (yes I saw “Inconvenient Truth” when it came out and I accepted it. Looking back, it was sad moment in my own critical thought.)
    CO2 may or may not act to trap upwelling LWIR, but certainly in mid-term feed-backs, the sea surface, water vapor and atmospheric processes MUST mitigate and they MUST largely negate the effects that increasing atmospheric CO2 will have. The mere fact that Earth has had a relatively stable atmosphere and climate for 550 Million years of changing CO2 levels demands the acceptance of this.
    As an engineer I understand this: Every computer model MUST be validated against real world data. The IPCC’s CMIP5 models are no exception. In that regard, they are now utter garbage due to their obvious failures. It is far past time for those relevant scientists and mathematicians to openly acknowledge those GCM’s glaringly obvious failures in their fidelity with hard observational data. That includes those many papers that have used reanalysis computations through those models. All are garbage. Acknowledge that, and move on.
    An entire Climate Science Mea culpa for Climate Change protagonists is coming.
    Attributing our changing climate to man’s CO2 is a fundamentally flawed theory, IMO.

    • Good man Joel.
      I took AR4 at face value when it first came out and went straight to look at some ice core data expecting it all to be verifiable science. I soon found out that transparency and archiving is only skin deep. You quickly come up against undocumented “calibrations” for which data is not openly available and relies upon “pretty please” requests to unresponsive authors who do not reply to requests outside their own professional clique.
      I never watched Al Gore’s convenient untruths because politicians are professional liars, not scientists and for the same reason that I would not watch B. de Mill’s “Ben Hur” if I wanted to study history of the roman period.

      • I watch de Mill’s work for his interpretation of the very human story between our physical humanity and our supra-physical existential desire to know what is the “higher” good. And because my grandmother was in his movies way back in the silent era. A 5’2″ red headed, green-eyed roaring 20’s flapper clad in VERY skimpy set costumes.

      • Cecil B. DeMille never made a version of Ben Hur, but he did strive for historical accuracy, down to underwear that wouldn’t be visible. Of course he also lit scenes in a Roman era movie, Cleopatra, so that a slave girl could get away with wearing not only no underwear, but apparently nothing at all. The Liz Taylor version was less inventive, strategically wrapping its naked slave girl in a snake.

      • Strikes me that Gore’s movie is to Climate education what ‘Reefer Madness’ is to drug education.

    • Joel You say “It is far past time for those relevant scientists and mathematicians to openly acknowledge those GCM’s glaringly obvious failures in their fidelity with hard observational data. That includes those many papers that have used reanalysis computations through those models. All are garbage. Acknowledge that, and move on. ”
      I have been saying he same thing for several years. Check
      http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-forecasting-methods-and-cooling.html
      I said
      “In summary the temperature projections of the IPCC – Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them have no solid foundation in empirical science being derived from inherently useless and specifically structurally flawed models. They provide no basis for the discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a foundation for Governmental climate and energy policy their forecasts are already seen to be grossly in error and are therefore worse than useless. A new forecasting paradigm needs to be adopted.”
      The same post provides forecasts of the probable coming cooling based on the 60 and 1000 year periodicities clearly seen in the temperature data and using the 10 Be and neutron record as the most useful proxy for solar “activity” on recent millennial time scales .
      We are just past the peak of the latest 1000 year cycle and the simplest working hypothesis is that we are about to repeat the general temperature trends from 1000 AD on. It is of interest to note when considering the immediate future the substantial variability about the 50 year mean trend shown in Fig 9 in the linked post.

    • Joel,
      Your altered viewpoint, from believer to skeptic, may be the exception. Of your acquaintances, how many others have likewise changed their views? I ask, because basically I am interested in whether the debate has any influence on those who are decided on the AGW view.

      • Mpainter,
        If I may. As you know, I am no scientist. I came with a tendency to “believe” that AGW is occurring due to a lifelong friendship with one who’s been deeply involved in this topic since 1998. But due to an excess of liberal leanings my radar went up so I started looking myself. Just recently I found this site. Everywhere I turn, I’m directed elsewhere for more information. And in my research (admittedly lacking scientifically) I find more: mights, maybe, likely, potentially and the like than I can accept comfortably. So for me, I began as an unscientific AGW’er and now find myself a resounding “skeptic” of AGW but comfortable that GW is occurring. Due to changes in land use such as deforestation in the Amazon, conversion to Ag uses around the world, water removal for human use et al, we’re having some climatic effects but I see them as more regional. I can’t see that nature isn’t just toying with us and with that question in mind I perceive that others see it the same way. This transition has been forming over the years. I have one other lifelong friend in our group of 3 from high school days that have remained close and I’d venture to say he’d be comfortable with me grouping him in similar fashion. I would not say that “the debate” is the influence due to “the debate” itself but instead it’s due to the numerous references, arguments, and abundance of sharing. This applies to many sources both pro and con. Interaction has helped me to learn to ask better questions.

        • Great to see you back Danny. You survived the initiation… just kidding. I’m impressed with your humble attitude. I sensed you wanted to seek truth… but that you were pushing some buttons… and that is why I stepped in when you were fighting with my friend in this forum.
          Seeking truth is a lifelong quest for anyone who’s a skeptic. It’s also good for the brain to figure out things for ones’ self. I really believe that’s what separates the two camps of people. One group is in a quest to be right so that an agenda can be moved forward, the other group is in a quest to find what is true, so that decisions that affect the masses can be made based on, —well, good information!!!
          Regardless of whatever you end up believing, you are a skeptic.. That puts you on the right side of the debate. Notice how the term ‘skeptic’ is a positive thing?

    • Interesting: Before I watched Inconvenient Truth, I accepted that the climate was warming because of CO2. The first part of the movie got me a bit upset and while watching it, I felt manipulated and then skeptical… by the end of the movie and while looking at the hockey stock chart, I was offended… and felt like I was being swindled… I became a skeptic by the end of the movie and on a mission to seek truth be it convenient or not.
      I am now more skeptical than ever, and quite certain that the CAGW mantra is full on politically driven to use fear to control our lives. This realization for me drives my quest for truth. I work with lots of young people as a volunteer and a promote skepticism from our future leaders! I tell them that the debts left for their “benefit” will have to be paid by THEM… and so they should care. That’s just doing my part, my duty as a US citizen.

      • Yes, we should always be skeptics about everything that any politician say or promote. The probability it’s more for their benefit than ours is huge !

  14. I would be cautious about assuming black body behavior for the outgoing radiation. The assumption requires that the radiation of the system is in complete equilibrium with all sources and sinks within the system, which should not be the case for the earth. Some work has been published on outgoing earth spectrum directed toward characterizing what to look for in exoplanets. One such is Tinetti et.al. in Astrobiology 6-1, 2006, p34 at
    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2006.6.34
    It requires subscription access, but they do present disk averaged measured spectra of the earth in their Figure 7. They particularly note the spectrum in the 8-20 micron region is generally not very nearly black body except for the case of high cirrus clouds.

    • Thank you for reminding. Now I remember more about energy balance at TOA and discussions about measurement accuracy.
      In the first reading, I did not find how Pittwood took changes in incoming solar radiation into account.

    • Every man made structure and artifice stands as testament that the earth does not behave as a black body for outgoing radiation. The ton of coal that warmed the furnace…

  15. I wish someone with more intellectual capability/specialist expertise/time on their hands than I would look closely at the tropospheric hot-spot (or lack thereof)
    In my opinion it is the Achilles Heel of the AGW hypothesis. Global Temperature data is subject to so many variables it can be made to say almost anything, as can most of the AGW ‘supporting evidence’. We need to do proper science – examine the hypothesis, construct an experiment which isolates the individual phenomenon we are interested in, and determine if it is occurring or not.
    Only then can we build on firm foundations.

  16. The Stephan-Boltzmann Law applies to a surface which is at one temperature. It is nonsense to attempt to apply it as in this article. Nonsense!
    The Earth’s emissions to space originate from arrange of altitudes. Some come directly from the surface (via the atmospheric window) but others come from different altitudes in the atmosphere, where the air is much colder, and it is simply wrong to assume that represent the surface temperature but with a different emissivity. That is nonsense. Have I said that be before?
    I must agree with Nick Stokes and David Hoffer on this one. Though they were more polite, this is nonsense

    • Agreed, this is total nonsense.
      basing any S-B calculation on an “average” temperature implies an assumption that radiation and temperature are at least approximately linearly related over the range of temperatures concerned.
      For a forth power law, you may get away with this over about 1 degree at surface temps.
      Comparing T^4 for SST at 10 deg C and 20 deg C , gives a factor of 7.7 difference in the S-B relationship.
      This is a typical seasonal change in temperate latitudes in any one location, so is not even remotely valid just for an annual averaging at a single location. There’s 30 deg. C difference between SST at equator and poles and the stratosphere is more like -60.
      The author clearly does not have the first idea what he is doing.
      Typical spreadsheet climatology.

  17. David A November 9, 2014 at 1:16 am
    Regarding Krisitan says; Thank you, I should have thought of that. Initially OLWIR should decrease as additional CO2 captures said radiation in that small band, and then equalize back to balance with assumed steady state insolation and a slightly greater heat capacity within the atmosphere. (assuming a million other things not in evidence)

    Agreed. The increased heat capacity in the atmosphere would be predicated upon the amount of heat trapped by the increased number of CO2 molecules. At a concentration of just 280 ppm (pre-industrial) and doubling them to 560 ppm , we’re still talking about a tiny, Tiny, TINY percentage of the molecules in the atmosphere with a heat capacity that is miniscule and may as well be considered zero. That’s why I get all bent out of shape when the MSM yammers on about heat trapping gas. Technically true but at a value so small it may as well be rounded off to zero.

  18. Global cooling November 9, 2014 at 12:09 am
    What does CAGW theory actually predict when CO2 increases? Changes in the temperature gradient? A hotspot as its signature? Or changes in OLWIR?

    What they claim is a moving target that evolves as each element of their theory gets debunked. But at the simplest level, they are making two claims:
    1. CO2 increases raise the MRL. Above the MRL, temps decrease and below the MRL temps increase.
    2. For the portion where temps increase ,there will be positive feedbacks, mostly in the form of increased water vapour due to higher evaporation rates and as air warms it can “hold” higher amounts of water vapour, itself a GHE that adds to the initial effects of the increase in CO2 levels.
    This theory falls apart at multiple points. The main one being that observations show much lower temperature increases than predicted by the models, suggesting that they have one or more pieces of the puzzle wrong. But in answer to your original query, that’s the basics.

  19. There is no greenhouse effect. Atmospheric mass not atmospheric composition is the dominant condition determining the thermal enhancement of a planet that an atmosphere provides. The ideal gas laws are the appropriate physics to be studying on this matter and greenhouse theories need to be put to rest.

  20. I have already problems with the first sentence:
    The core of the human caused global warming proposition is that an increasing level of greenhouse gases acts to reduce heat loss from the planet
    As far as I remember from long ago: the reduction in heat loss is only temporarily and causes an increase of surface/lower troposphere temperature until the heat balance is restored.
    So I don’t see any discrepancy between the increased temperature and increased OLWIR, as that says next to nothing about the greenhouse effect of one of the drivers in a dynamic changing system and where there are a lot of influences at work: changes in water vapor en especially clouds. A small 1% change in the latter has more influence than a CO2 doubling in the radiation budget..
    More interesting would be the recent findings in the CO2 bands: some years ago there was a publication that showed that the absorption in the CO2 band had increased over time, but that was based on different instruments in different satellites and different periods in the solar cycle.
    A more recent work by Chen e.a. expands that to 2006 and takes into account the difference in instruments and has a longer time span.

    • As far as I remember from long ago: the reduction in heat loss is only temporarily and causes an increase of surface/lower troposphere temperature until the heat balance is restored.

      This is true but there is – or should be – a TOA energy imbalance. If not then all the warming from the atmospheric CO2 increase over the past ~150 years has been fully realised which implies low climate sensitivity.
      If , however, outgoing LWIR has remained constant over time AND there is an imbalance at TOA then the TOA imbalance must also have remained constant. This would seem to be a bit unlikely since the rates of warming have changed of the the past 30 odd years. Given the recent slowdown in warming we might expect to see an increase in the TOA imbalance though I’m not sure it would be measurable given the limitations of the data.
      The other ‘variable’ is solar energy. If that changes then all other things being equal OLWIR should change. This is actually the key to the whole argument. How much solar energy is entering earth’s climate system versus how much LW energy is leaving. Even if we had accurate.precise measurements of these two variables we are left with a calculation to find a small number from the difference between 2 big numbers. Unfortunately we do even seem to have that option.

  21. · Outgoing radiation has not declined over this period as expected by IPCC models. In fact it has increased. The missing heat has gone back to space

    Others have been saying this for some time too.

    Willis Eschenbach – 21 August 2013
    So I took a break from writing to look at the correlation of surface temperature and albedo in the CERES satellite dataset. Here’s that result, hot off of the presses this very evening, science at its most raw:…………
    …………My conclusion is that Dr. Trenberth’s infamous “missing heat” is missing because it never entered the system. It was reflected away by a slight increase in the average albedo, likely caused by a slight change in the cloud onset time or thickness.thickness.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/21/stalking-the-rogue-hotspot/

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/24/missing-heat-isnt-missing-after-all/

  22. Very interesting. This reminds me of a paper by Richard Lindzen a few years ago where he also analyzed global IR emissions. If I remember correctly, he found that the trend was not just different to the IPCC’s model predictions, it was the opposite sign. Once again, the IPCC’s predictions seem to be as wrong as it’s possible to be. But we knew that already, didn’t we?
    It’s a shame this piece doesn’t include the IPCC OLWIR model predictions, so that they could be checked against reality.
    It seems the science is slowly moving toward lower CO2 sensitivity values, a recent paper gave just 0.4C for a doubling.
    I think the real value is probably very close to zero. As far as I’m aware, the ice core data provides not a single example of temperature following CO2 as predicted by AGW. Not a single one. Of course, what the ice cores do show is that the CO2 follows the temperature, for a well-known reason. If Nature’s one million year laboratory experiment shows zero evidence for CO2 as a climate driver, then it’s not happening.
    It’s claimed that the Earth is tens of degrees warmer due to CO2 and the other greenhouse gases. But this warming occurs when moving from zero CO2 to today’s finite amount, in other words an infinite number of doublings. If the greenhouse gases do make Earth significantly warmer, then it shows that they are rather a good thing. But it says nothing about the sensitivity except that possibly it’s not zero. But a sensitivity of 0.01 would be perfectly compatible with a warmer Earth.
    So, until there is any evidence to the contrary, my assumption is that the warming sensitivity of CO2 is as close to zero as makes no difference. It’s not happening. The warming is primarily natural, just as it was 1000, 2000 and 3500 years ago. The slightly worrying thing is that each warm period is a bit cooler than the previous one.
    I assume the CO2 warming effect works in a laboratory experiment, though it’s odd that Gore resorted to fraud in his video. But the only laboratory that matters is the planet we live on.
    Chris

  23. The core of the human caused global warming proposition is that an increasing level of greenhouse gases acts to reduce heat loss from the planet making the atmosphere here warmer. The amount of warming anticipated by the IPCC models is from about one to several degrees C for a doubling of CO2 concentration. But a conundrum has arisen lately: While CO2 has continued rise significantly the temperature has not. There has been no global warming since about 1997. Scientists on both sides of the debate have noticed this and have offered something like 55 explanations as to why this could be so.
    … But is the greenhouse effect occurring as the IPCC models propose? … The missing heat has gone back to space as usual. …

    There are two issues here. Issue one is that no one has ever demonstrated to my satisfaction that a warming of “about one to several degrees” would be anything but a Good Thing (TM) for life on planet Earth. We are in an interglacial period of an ice age right now. I read that the warmest weather we’ve had in recent times (since the rise of mammals) came 55 million years ago. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum saw global surface temperatures increased by up to 10° compared with today and parts of North America experienced a tropical climate and there was spring-like temperatures in the Arctic. This is hell on earth????
    Issue two is that CO2 may very well not do any warming at all in the lower atmosphere. Since the molecule will receive a photon of energy and then most often “bump” into a non-radiating molecule (nitrogen or oxygen) and lose said energy before it has a chance to radiate that photon up or down or sideways. Convection dominates in the lower atmosphere. CO2 is at most a tiny, tiny bit player in the dynamics of the lower atmosphere.
    As a side note, I don’t see how we can ever “break on through to the other side” (h/t The Doors) as long as we play on the alarmist’s grounds. They are using the James Hansen theory of atmospherics and he has never been right about anything. If he said that the sun rose in the east I would be forced to get up before dawn and watch the sunrise to verify his statement. The Scottish Sceptic who occasionally comments here once said that those who believe Hansen was totally wrong on atmospherics were good on the physics but horrible, horrible on PR. If he was right about that, woe unto us — it may be generations before science once again honestly looks at the climate and until then we will just have these faith-based post-science types shouting “the sky is falling”.

  24. Robin is confusing emissivity with the greenhouse effect. Emissivity isn’t power (W/m2); it is a dimensionless ratio. Dimensionless ratios don’t warm anything; energy (power*time) does. So Robin’s analysis of emissivity can’t tell us anything about the GHE or AGW! Greenhouse gases slow down the rate at which radiation (energy) emitted by the surface escapes to space. For this reason, climate scientists sometime define the greenhouse effect (G) using the following equation:
    OLR = oT^4 – G
    where OLR is infrared radiation escaping to space, o is the S-B constant, and T is surface temperature. All three terms in this equation involve energy (per area per time), not dimensionless ratios. If Robin had used this equation, he might have presented something useful about the GHE.
    QUESTION: Why isn’t OLR decreasing as GHG’s have been increasing? ANSWER: T may have gone up enough to compensate since 1979 – leaving OLR unchanged.
    QUESTION: If OLR didn’t drop between 1979 and 1997, why did temperature rise during this period? ANSWER: Warming isn’t caused by a DROP in OLR; it is caused by a CONTINUING radiative imbalance (SWR – TOA OLR). A radiative imbalance grew during the first half of the 20th century and then probably remained approximately constant as the earth began to warm as heat from the imbalance accumulated.
    QUESTION: Why hasn’t temperature gone up since 1997? Unforced variability can be high. If surface temperature can go up 0.5 degC in 1997 and down 0.5 degC in 1998, we can’t draw ANY unambiguous conclusions about the greenhouse effect from the absence of the smaller SURFACE warming (0.15-0.2 degC/decade) expected during the hiatus. ARGO has shown that the ocean – unlike the surface and troposphere – has warmed at a steady rate appropriate for a radiative imbalance of about 0.5 W/m2 for the last decade. This ocean warming is evidence that the greenhouse effect has been operating during the hiatus. The energy associated with ocean warming is much larger than the energy missing from surface warming.
    What happened in ’97-’98? Upwelling of cold deep water in the eastern equatorial Pacific and downwelling of warm water in the western equatorial Pacific both slowed. The resulting warmer Pacific warmed the rest of the surface and troposphere. When normal rates of upwelling and downwelling were re-established, the temperature returned to “normal”. It is POSSIBLE that after the 97-98 El Nino, upwelling and downwelling may have been greater than before – carrying Trenberth’s “missing heat” into the deeper ocean. Unfortunately, ARGO isn’t sensitive enough to detect this “missing surface heat” in 2000 m of ocean. Multi-decadal patterns such as the AMO and PDO may be associated with differences in upwelling and downwelling.
    FINAL QUESTION: Is the IPCC right after all? ANSWER: Of course not! The IPCC’s climate models over-predicted the amount of warming and under-predicted variation in warming rate. Their estimate of aerosol cooling appear to be too big; making the over-warming problem more serious. Their future projections are therefore dubious at best. The IPCC discounted the importance of unforced variability (such as the 1925-1945 warming), so that they could over-interpret the similar 1978-1998 warming. They incorrectly attributed all of the 1960’s hiatus to aerosols, opening the door for the current hiatus (which is similar so far) to really damage their credibility. However, ARGO shows that the current hiatus in surface warming hasn’t disproved the greenhouse effect.

    • Robin is confusing emissivity with the greenhouse effect. Emissivity isn’t power (W/m2); it is a dimensionless ratio.

      He calculated a dimensionless ratio (the RE) and, broadly speaking, he is correct that this ratio should reduce as the GHE increases. He, effectively, calculates RE thus
      RE = OLR/ Surf_Rad
      If the enhanced GHE causes the Surface Temperature to rise then the Surf_Rad increases and RE reduces. If the enhanced GHE results in no rise in surface temperature (e.g. there is a pause) then OLR should fall and, again, RE reduces.

      • John Finn: Climate scientists sometimes define the greenhouse effect (G) to be the amount of radiation (heat) that does not make it through the atmosphere. (Other times they calculate 33 degC of warming.)
        G = oT^4 – OLR_TOA
        Doing some algebra gives:
        emissivity (e) = OLR/oT^4 = 1 – G/oT^4
        In other words, the emissivity of the atmosphere is not determined by G alone and vice versa. If both G and oT4 increase at the same rate, the greenhouse effect can strengthen without ANY CHANGE in emissivity.
        Rearranging the terms differently:
        G = oT^4 * (1 – e)
        G can go up if oT^4 increases (the surface warms) or if emissivity gets smaller or some combination of both occur.
        Rearranging the terms one more time:
        OLR = oT^4 – G
        Warming is caused by a radiative imbalance:
        imbalance = post-albedo SWR minus OLR at TOA.
        When increasing GHGs increase the G term, OLR goes down and the earth begins to warm. That makes the oT^4 term begin to increase and radiative balance begin to be restored. The IPCC tells us that aGHG’s have increased G about 3 W/m2 since 1750. The rate of ocean warming measured by ARGO tells us that the CURRENT imbalance is only about 0.5 W/m2. 0.7 degC of surface warming would account for the other 2.5 W/m2.
        Use the right equation; get the right answers.

  25. davidmhoffer November 9, 2014 at 1:24 am
    “The increased heat capacity in the atmosphere would be predicated upon the amount of heat trapped by the increased number of CO2 molecules. At a concentration of just 280 ppm (pre-industrial) and doubling them to 560 ppm , we’re still talking about a tiny, Tiny, TINY percentage of the molecules in the atmosphere with a heat capacity that is miniscule and may as well be considered zero. That’s why I get all bent out of shape when the MSM yammers on about heat trapping gas. Technically true but at a value so small it may as well be rounded off to zero.”
    CO2 has a lower specific heat capacity than O2 and N2.
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/specific-heat-capacity-gases-d_159.html

  26. The effectiveness of the GHG effect must depend on the probability of the excited molecule emitting a photon before transferring the kinetic energy to other atmospheric gases. Trace gases like CO2 must have a very low chance of warming the surface.
    The chance of radiating a photon increases with the concentration of GHG since the potential to radiate can be retained if collision is with a GHG of the same type. A trace gas like CO2 is never going to make much difference.
    Water, on the other hand, is not only present in our atmosphere in much higher concentrations, but in clouds the concentration is massive, guaranteeing that downwards radiation has a noticeable effect.
    This is why cloud coverage retains heat at night, the GHG effect is lacking in the desert and trace GHG has virtually no effect.

  27. @Joel O’Bryan
    My Climate mea culpa came 12 months (or so) ago.
    I am a PhD scientist (not a physicist, but a BS CE and a PhD in Bio-med, and 4 years of ME EE work), and I KNOW this one thing………………..
    An entire Climate Science Mea culpa for Climate Change protagonists is coming.

    Alas, Dr Joel, you may be well versed in Bio-Medics and Engineering, but you seem less competent in Sociology and Socio-Psychology.
    Though it is common for the ‘hard’ sciences to sneer at the soft ones, and in many cases this is justified, there are still some truths and understanding to be cleaned from a study of human social interaction en mass. Charles Mackay’s “Madness of Crowds” is a good example.
    The scientific establishment has been wrong many times before. As, indeed, have most established sectors of humanity – the military, the politicians, etc… Each time they pick themselves up and go on as if nothing had happened, joining in an unspoken conspiracy not to mention the error again. Anyone who draws attention to the mass delusion that made sane humans think that marching troops forward into machine guns is a good way to win a war, that appeasing a dictator would ensure peace, or that a tea-stained mix of human and orangutan skulls proved that early man developed brains first is at first politely ignored, then thrown out of the club if they persist in pointing out the lack of clothes on the Emperor…
    In this case we will probably stick with the belief – too many people have built careers on it. Only when they have gone will a new tranche of climate researchers be permitted to say what is currently not able to be uttered if you want to keep a job in climate science.

    • Sadly, I’m afraid your socio-psychological analysis is absolutely right…
      But maybe mother nature might help quickening the acceptance of the “aha-effect” by some cooling in the next decades…

  28. It doesn’t really make any real difference, but my understanding was that CO2/GHGs don’t reduce the heat leaving the earth, but trap more in the atmosphere than the atmosphere could move into space. Disrupting the balance. And the hiatus heat can’t be on the deep ocean because heat won’t flow in that direction. Bottom line is that CO2/GHGs simply don’t have the horsepower to overcome all the other factors, i.e. ocean evaporation, clouds, precipitation, solar thermal heating, etc. in the earth’s natural heat flow/balance.
    IPCC AR5 TS.6 Key Uncertainties is where climate science “experts” admit what they don’t know about some really important stuff. They are uncertain about the connection between climate change and extreme weather especially drought. Like the 3” drought that hit Phoenix. They are uncertain about how the ice caps and sheets behave. Instead of gone missing they are bigger than ever. They are uncertain about heating in the ocean below 2,000 meters which is 50% of it, but they “wag” that’s where the missing heat of the AGW hiatus went, maybe. They are uncertain about the magnitude of the CO2 feedback loop, which is not surprising since after 18 plus years of rising CO2 and no rising temperatures it’s pretty clear whatever the magnitude, CO2 makes no difference.
    http://www.writerbeat.com/articles/3713-CO2-Feedback-Loop

  29. I recently read an article by Hansen et al 2013 on Assessing Dangerous climate change (I’m not all the way through it yet!) and it is pertinent to this argument to take values from its very first set of graphs (less easy for CAGW believers to dispute) that show total fossil fuel CO2 emissions have gone from @1.5GT/pa in 1950 to @10GT/pa now a six or even sevenfold incease and yet the only other pertinent quantifiable measure – the Mauna Loa CO2 record – shows an increase from @ 1.5 ppm to at best 3ppm now.
    If the global warming camp is to be believed then surely this ppm reading should have increased by the same amount and should be at least 9ppm now as both amounts are factual and entirely quantifiable.
    By their own readings therefore there must be (and I mean MUST BE) a negative feedback of 6ppm as compared with the 1950s. Where has this gone. Forget the heat hiding! an average of 4GTpa since the 1950s has just disappeared, some 250GT – I dont recall anybody ever noticing that. Perhaps that too has hidden in the oceans……..oh but wait that would mean that Global warming cant be happening at the expected rate – thats not right…….or perhaps this ‘pocket’ of CO2 will suddenly reappear in some monstrous upwelling and asphyxiate us all!!

    • Actually I reckon it is in the oceans mostly – due to a biological negative feedback response – but thats a personal opinion. But where else has it gone!

    • Good point. The reason is that there are carbon sinks. One is physical,,the oceas vianHenry’s Law and Le Chatellier’s principal. The other is biological, evidenced by the greening of the Sahel (as more CO2 enhances C3 photosynthesis) and the white cliffs of Dover (ocean sequestation as planktonic (diatoms, coccolythophorids) calcium carbonate ‘shell’). All limestone deposits evidence biologically sequestered CO2. It is presently thought that the biological sink is roughly 50% terrestrial and 50% oceanic. See the climate chapter in The Arts of Truth ebook.
      It is obvious that neither the physical nor the biological sinks are saturated, nor can be given Earths history. So the net atmospheric residual is much less than emissions. Keelings curve gives some sense of the met present carbon sink imbalance.

    • Your figures seems not completely right, as since 1960, when the accurate measurements at the South Pole and Mauna Loa started, all players: human emissions, increase in the atmosphere and net sink rate increased a 4-fold. The ratio between increase in the atmosphere and human emissions remained quite constant over the past half century:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1960_cur.jpg
      For the current 4.5 ppmv released by humans, some 2.25 ppmv remains in the atmosphere, 0.5 ppmv is absorbed by vegetation, about 0.25 ppmv by the ocean surface layer (the upper few hundred meters) and the rest of the difference, some 1.5 ppmv got into the deep oceans. All in mass amounts, not the original emitted molecules…

  30. This was an over simplification that did not include possible change in albedo (from clouds, or changes in large scale organic sources from CO2 increase). Mixing albedo change with emissivity is not valid.

  31. But…….even with all the caveats, this appears to work better than the repeatedly readjusted computer models. Now ain’t that strange…….

  32. The “emissivity” as calculated here should not be confused with a true emissivity as defined in the context of the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Instead, it is a relative measure of the resistance put up by the whole atmosphere, with greenhouse gases, clouds, convection, and all, to the transport out to space of IR that is emitted at the ground level. While this parameter should probably have been named differently in order to avoid confusion, it would seem that it should indeed change in response to a significant, uncompensated increase in the greenhouse effect.
    It is of course a very crude approximation to treat the entire earth as a single emitting body with homogeneous temperature. However, most of this crudeness should cancel out when pseudo-“emissivity” is compared between different time points.

  33. Very good post, lots of clueless comments about basic physics. Just to take one, Nick Stokes wrote:
    ” The earth is not a black body. The outgoing spectrum has a very big dip in the CO2 absorption region. This reflects that the emission there is from high altitude. So there is no constant (over frequency) emissivity factor. This matters.”
    The author treated emissivity as a variable, why the straw man about a black body? That is just poor. What CO2 absorption “region”? CO2 absorbs at specific frequencies, and those frequencies were saturated at pre-industrial levels. That has nothing to do with the altitude, you haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about. The author did not say there was constant emissivity, either, that is two pathetic straw men in one post.

    • “The author treated emissivity as a variable”
      I said, constant over frequency. He is assigning a single number emissivity which varies over time.
      It matters because most of the GHE involves that variation within the frequency spectrum. The GHG bite becomes deeper, because that part of emission is from higher altitude. But solar incoming still has to be emitted, so other parts of the spectrum have to emit more. These come from lower altitudes; with the atmospheric window, it comes from the surface. To emit more, emitting regions have to become warmer.
      You can’t get any of this with a black body spectrum.

      • Nick is again, correct. If we’re going to be skeptics, let’s be skeptics on the basis of the correct science.

  34. OLR at TOA is a net of everything. GHG scattering, water vapor feedback, clouds, aerosols,… So there is no direct connection to SB. And SB cannot be used in the pure simple form here because Earth is a grey body, which among things says the SB approimation cannot be applied to global average temperature, at best only to zonal latitude averages by season. Which is how the rigourous 1.0C per doubling of SB becomes 1.2C in grey Earth approximations accepted by Lindzen as starting points for his analyses.

  35. Thanks for this. Real data, real science and a real explanation of our world’s temperature regulation mechanisms.
    I have long suspected that if CO2 is effective at increasing energy absorption it would also increase emissivity. This does not exactly prove it but sure indicates some connection. As is mostly the case a new answer raises new questions but this is progress toward understanding the mechanisms of climate and “Greenhouse Gases”.
    Let us search and research for facts before we leap to conclusions. Saves money, effort and embarrassment.

  36. Apart from Nick’s points, another severe problem with the analysis is that even if the S-B law is valid in this situation, it says the OLR is proportional to the fourth power of the temperature. That means if you are doing any averaging then you must take the instantaneous temperatures to the fourth power before averaging them to compare them with the average OLR. The one thing you cannot do is to average the temperatures and then take the fourth power, because you have lost a huge amount of relevant information by doing this.
    The reason for this is explained below.
    Take two days of the same average temperature, averaged over the normal 24 hours of midnight to midnight. Assume the temperatures during both days are sinusoidal. The averaging method used in this post would say the OLR from both days was the same.
    But what if one day had twice the range of the other (both have the same average remember) – say it was 20 degree peak to trough instead of 10 degrees about an average of say 300K (27 C). The fourth power of the S-B law will emphasise the peak temperatures of any day and de-emphasise the troughs in the OLR average for the day. So the first day should have a significantly higher OLR than the second day, but the calculation in this article assumes they are the same which is false.
    When Kiwi thinker went half way and worked out the effect of average monthly temperatures then the emissivity oscillated by month with a peak to trough of 0.024. There was no easy way to do it by day, but doing this will produce daily oscillations of a similar magnitude superimposed on top of the monthly oscillations in emissivity. So the peak to trough emissivities which he is averaging over a year will be around 0.048.
    Bear in mind that the change in emissivity you are looking for to prove or disprove AGW is of the order of a reduction of 0.003, and you have oscillations of 0.048 – sixteen times as much. The standard error for the trend on a straight linear regression analysis is based on the standard deviation of the individual values about the calculated regression line, and it is fairly clear that with daily variation figures this is going to give you a trend standard error much higher than 0.003.
    There may be sophisticated techniques available which give a reduced value of the standard error in the trend.
    Of course all this is really just saying that you should not use the straight averaging of temperatures over individual years when trying to evaluate whether emissivity figures based on OLR prove or disprove the standard IPCC AGW projections.

  37. The answer is simple, people, just call it DARK HEAT like the astronomers do with matter & energy, although thermodynamics was there first with “entropy” which is the gap between observed heat and modelled heat. Maybe dark heat is just entropy in a different guise.

  38. On the apparent use by Trenberth and IPCC of Stefan Boltzmann (SB) with emissivity = 1 for Earth surface.
    Kiel and Trenberth, 1997; IPCC AR4 WG1, 2007:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/fig/faq-1-1-figure-1-l.png
    Surface Temperature ST from SB:
    Surface Radiation (SR) = 390 [W/m2] = 5.67*10^-8 * ST^4
    ST = 288.0 K = 15 Celsius
    Trenberth et al, 2009:
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Topics/Fig1_GheatMap.png
    ST = (396/5.67 * 10^8)^-4 = 289.1 K = 16 C
    The alleged energy imbalance in the latter cartoon amounts 0.9 W/m2 which is small relative to the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) of 238.5 W/m2. OLR/SR (the author’s “emissivity”) amounts ~0.602 in both cartoons, and less than 0.605 if the imbalance would be added to OLR in the second one.
    The biggest unknowns in the energy budget are most likely the thermal and latent heat fluxes. Evapotranspiration (latent heat) is found to vary 6 percent per degree Celsius (K) of ST, based on satellite estimates; see Wentz et al, 2007 as referenced by Kininmonth, 2010 (p. 76 of pdf, p. 234 of E&E issue):
    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/EE_21-4_paradigm_shift_output_limited_3_Mb.pdf
    6 percent of 78 W/m2 – the latent heat in the 1st cartoon – amounts 4.7 W/m2, not the 2 W/m2 difference with the 2nd cartoon. This alone outweighs the presumed imbalance by a factor 3. As such, response of evapotranspiration to surface temperature delivers a much larger negative feedback than assumed by the IPCC in Global Circulation Models (GCM’s). This results in a climate sensitivity of less than 1 degree C, based on otherwise similar assumptions such as constant relative humidity with atmospheric temperature rise (see Kininmonth, referenced above).

  39. “Ferdinand Engelbeen November 9, 2014 at 1:54 am
    I have already problems with the first sentence:
    The core of the human caused global warming proposition is that an increasing level of greenhouse gases acts to reduce heat loss from the planet”
    #########################
    when they get the theory wrong in the first sentence that is a good clue that more rubbish will follow

  40. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, excited by IR radiation from the warm earth, is much more likely to pass on its excess energy as kinetic energy to non GHG molecules than to emit an IR photon in a random direction. In other words, the GHG is much more likely to promote convection than to radiate IR energy back to the earth. The reason for this is that the rate of photon emission is very slow compared with the rate of probable collision with other atmospheric molecules.
    The real back radiator is clouds. The water in the clouds absorb the IR from the earth and radiates it in all directions as any warmed body will so do. Given the huge water content of clouds, this is a significant effect. Each water droplet is associated with water vapour saturated air, so this provides a huge localised mass of greenhouse gas capable of absorbing and re-emitting IR photons of the appropriate wavelength. These molecules also collide with their neighbours but in this case a very high proportion of the adjacent molecules are also water vapour so the excess kinetic energy can still be converted to IR radiation.
    All of this suggests to me that clouds are the major source of back heating by IR radiation by a combination of general radiative warming and GHG warming. I am suggesting that this is the major source of back heating. I am also suggesting that lone molecules of GHG have little chance of avoiding collisions long enough to emit their energy as photons. The chances of passing their excess energy to another GHG molecule of the same type are very low for water vapour and tiny for a trace gas.
    If the dominant GHG radiation is from clouds then one can understand why there can be no catastrophic positive feedback since clouds also act as earth’s sunshade by controlling incoming solar radiation. There is stability and elegant simplicity.
    The magnitude of the GHG effect is based on a comparison of observed temperature compared with implied S-B temperature at equilibrium with solar radiation. This is not affected by whether the GHG radiation is from clouds or lone molecules. The radiative properties of GH gases are not in question. It is just that in the real world, many collisions with non-greenhouse gases are much more like likely in the time it takes to emit that photon.

    • The chances on average of a CO2 molecule hitting another GHG molecule of course depend upon where in the atmosphere the carbon dioxide is located. As you note, in a cloud there are a lot more H2O molecules than on average. But looked at on a larger scale, an exited CO2 molecule is on the order of 1000 times more likely to hit an H2O molecule in the moist tropics than the dry air above the poles.
      If the global average of water vapor be around 30,000 ppm & other GHGs be considered too rare for inclusion, then the odds of a CO2 molecule bumping into a fellow GHG water molecule are one in 33, but of an inert argon atom one in 108, of an effectively non-GHG oxygen molecule 21% & non-GHG nitrogen molecule 78%. So a long shot, indeed.

  41. Heat transfer in the system ‘the Earth’s surface – the atmosphere – open space’ is multimodal. It cannot be solved by handwaving about ‘radiative balance’.
    http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/sites/default/files/article_images/components2.gif
    A very useful concept of electrical cicuit analogy and thermal resistances can be used for analysis and solution. This is the circuit model with some assumption and simplifications:
    http://file.scirp.org/Html/3-9801007/2786aedf-f5fe-470c-8af9-4710598bf569.jpg
    And the paper:
    http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=1539#.VF_Hnsk4QxE
    From the conclusions:
    “The decreasing of the cover (atmospheric) temperature causes the decreasing of the core (surface) temperature. Anti-greenhouse effect realizes on this way, and the decreasing of atmospheric transmission causes global cooling. It is found as the additional result that the radiative heat transfer qr has small influence on the integral heat balance.
    Greenhouse effect in it traditional interpretation real-izes when one of the following conditions is satisfied: qs > 50 W/m2; εs > εa; γ < 0.4.
    It is found that trends of the climate change caused by the increasing of the carbon dioxide emission depends on the whole set of parameters realized actually nowadays. There is the great interest to determine the values of the parameters as reliably and quickly as possible. Small changes of the basic parameter values established after 12 years [7] don’t influence on our results."
    So, increasing atmospheric CO2 cools the atmosphere and therefore the Earth's surface, just as some of us skeptics suggested. However, it's very likely insignificant.

    • Inasmuch as the premises of the simplistic “radiative greenhouse” paradigm have been drilled into the minds of true believers and skeptics alike, getting people to recognize how heat transfer, which indeed is multi-modal, actually operates in the climate system is a real challenge. Good luck!

  42. While I applaud the effort, I find the results of the analysis quite puzzling. Several issues.
    First, the author says that the average outgoing longwave infrared (OLWIR) is on the order of 230 W/m2 … but every other estimate I’ve ever read is on the order of 240 W/ms. This includes the CERES data, the Kiehl/Trenberth energy budget, and many more. At a minimum, the author needs to explain this huge 10 W/m2 discrepancy.
    Second, the annual variation in the author’s OLWIR is much larger than that of the CERES data. The CERES data varies from 2000 to 2012 by only three quarters of a watt per square metre (0.75 W/m2), where the author’s values for that period vary by four W/m2, a huge disparity … again, this requires explanation.
    Third, the author seems to think that if the greenhouse effect is actually working, that the OLWIR should decrease. I don’t understand this claim at all. Why should the outgoing longwave infrared decrease? The OLWIR is a function of the the downwelling shortwave radiation and the (largely oceanic) planetary heat storage. This is because output = input ± storage. So I don’t understand the author’s basic underlying claim.
    Finally, the CERES data allows us to see the change in the greenhouse effect, which as the author points out can be measured as the amount of energy leaving the TOA divided by the energy radiated by the surface. But the problem, both in the author’s data and in the CERES data, is the size of the variation.
    In the author’s data above, the ratio varies by about ± 0.5% (half a percent). In the CERES data it’s even smaller, at ± 0.1%. The author hasn’t given us any error bars for his results … but the 95% CI for the annual CERES results is ± 0.5%. As a result, we can’t conclude anything from the CERES-reported changes in the GHE, they are smaller than the error … and I would be shocked if the 95% CI in the data used by the author is smaller than that.
    I’m sorry, but I find this analysis confusing, inadequately documented, without error bars, and lacking both data as used and code as used …
    w.

  43. Third, the author seems to think that if the greenhouse effect is actually working, that the OLWIR should decrease.

    I’m not sure he is saying this, Willis. I could be completely wrong and it may be me that’s missing the point but I think people are being a little over-analytical here.
    If GHGs are increasing in the atmosphere 3 possible things will happen
    1. OLR will reduce – only
    2. Surface Temperature (and thus upward surface radiation) will increase – only. [see below]
    3. OLR will reduce and Surface Temperature will increase.
    Robin Pittwood is calculating the Relative Emissivity (RE) which he defines as the ratio of OLR (Y) to Surface Flux (X). So that
    RE = Y/X
    Clearly, then, as GHGs increase then RE will decrease. Robin’s analysis, though, suggests that RE is remaining constant and may even be increasing. He has, therefore, established some doubt.
    Now I know there are plenty of issues which need to be addressed and I know there are those who will question my point (2) above. They will argue (correctly) that it’s possible to have an average global temperature increase without a corresponding increase in upward Surface radiation. I say – fine – show us where this is happening. The temperature anomaly maps for all datasets are available so let’s see the regions of cooling (reduced surface flux) which offset the warming regions.

    • I also meant to mention those who query the averaging of surface flux based on the average surface temperature. Why is this relevant? Does it matter? Yes – it will change the absolute values of RE but it won’t alter the sign of the trend.

    • John Finn November 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Third, the author seems to think that if the greenhouse effect is actually working, that the OLWIR should decrease.

      I’m not sure he is saying this, Willis. I could be completely wrong and it may be me that’s missing the point but I think people are being a little over-analytical here.

      Here’s what the author says:

      This study analysed two important factors directly associated with the greenhouse effect; atmospheric temperature and outgoing radiation, and finds that outgoing radiation has not declined. The missing heat has gone back to space as usual.

      and

      The two primary findings of this empirical study are:
      · Outgoing radiation has not declined over this period as expected by IPCC models

      w.

      • Wilis
        Ok – fair enough – I could be reading too much “between the lines”. But, to give Robin the benefit of the doubt, I have interpreted his comments to mean that OLR should have declined given the current ‘pause’ in global temperatures.

      • John Finn November 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

        Wilis
        Ok – fair enough – I could be reading too much “between the lines”. But, to give Robin the benefit of the doubt, I have interpreted his comments to mean that OLR should have declined given the current ‘pause’ in global temperatures.

        Thanks, John, but that’s my point. There’s no reason to expect any change in the OLR regardless of the change in temperatures. Output = Input ± Storage, and storage is a tiny part of that, on the order of half a watt. Our measurements are nowhere near accurate enough to measure that, so to a first order, output (OLR) has to equal input.
        And input is also stable to within about ± 0.4 W/m2 (CERES data). So there is no reason to expect large or even discernible changes on OLR.
        w.

  44. Basic Questions:
    How is the outgoing radiation being measured:
    Spectrometer? Bolometer? bolometer and spectrometer? Bolometer with input filters.
    How is the instrument calibrated:
    Reference area on land?
    Reference area on ocean?
    Internal?

    • The author is welcome to correct me, but I think it is basically from satellites, with missing values interpolated. See here for details.
      w.

      • Thanks for the link Willis.
        It looks like the radiation is measured only during equator crossing.
        There is probably a wealth of information if the data is gathered for the entire path:
        North to south outgoing radiation field. Dynamic response of the physical processes to incoming radiation that absorb, reflect, move, and radiate energy back to space, as the Earth rotates.
        Emergent phenomena comes to mind.
        There is, unfortunately, no technical information about how the measurements are physically made.

  45. Trenberth really should consider entropy, which in thermodynamics is the gap between observed heat and modelled heat. So he’s missing heat? This is what inefficiency is all about, a.k.a. entropy. Where is the entropy on his global energy budget chart?

  46. I’ve a BSME and 30 plus years in power generation. A lot of people talk about entropy, but few really understand what it means. I’ll have to think about your definition, maybe Google one. I don’t think modeled and observed really apply.

    • The “entropy” is the missing information in an inference for a deductive conclusion about the outcome of the associated event. In thermodynamics these outcomes are the “accessible microstates.”

  47. Really, “accessible microstates” Never heard of it. Will need to research. I have been down this path before.
    I enjoyed Neumann’s observation about entropy.
    “My greatest concern was what to call it. I thought of calling it ‘information’, but the word was overly used, so I decided to call it ‘uncertainty’. When I discussed it with John von Neumann, he had a better idea. Von Neumann told me, ‘You should call it entropy, for two reasons. In the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name, so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, nobody knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_entropy#Popular_use
    Another excellent link.
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/thermo.htm

  48. Insightful analysis.
    Two decades of flat atmospheric temperatures but rising IR emissions? This means net loss of heat, maybe from rising SSTs.
    The transparency point is interesting. Adding an IR-radiative gas to the atmosphere may be expected to increase IR transparency – or perhaps translucency.

  49. Willis E.
    If you are still reading this thread I have a question for you which is sort of related to the current topic. In one of your WUWT posts you discuss CERES data and make the point that using CERES yields an unrealistic energy imbalance (~5 w/m2 I think). You also say that the mean imbalance has been adjusted to fit the Hansen estimate of ~0.85 w/m2. I’m sure you are correct but is there a link which explains that this is exactly what has been done. I’ve been ‘debating’ on pro-AGW blogs and have tried to make the point that scientists are unable to measure the energy imbalance directly (even leaving aside the problem of determining a small number from 2 ‘noisy’ large numbers). TIA
    By the way I agree completely with this

    Thanks, John, but that’s my point. There’s no reason to expect any change in the OLR regardless of the change in temperatures. Output = Input ± Storage, and storage is a tiny part of that, on the order of half a watt. Our measurements are nowhere near accurate enough to measure that, so to a first order, output (OLR) has to equal input.

    In fact I think I actually commented somewhere upthread to the effect that Robin’s logic was fairly sound but whether any changes were measurable was an issue. I’ve not expressed that very well but you get the gist.

      • Phil, I must confess, I despise uncited graphs with no provenance and no explanation. In your graph above, for example, what on earth is the yellow line?
        Whatever the yellow line is, it is EXTREMELY deceptive. Look at the period from 1984 to 1991, for example. The actual data (black line) actually trends slightly upwards. But the yellow section is craftily designed to make that section look like it is cooling.
        In reality, the stratosphere is not “cooling as predicted. It was predicted to cool steadily as CO2 rose. Perhaps that’s what the yellow area means, who knows. In any case, instead of dropping steadily, stratospheric temperature has dropped after the two volcanoes (El Chichon on the left and Pinatubo to its right), and in between it has basically stayed level. Why? Well … as far as I know, no one knows why.
        Bad commenter, no cookies. Posting that kind of uncited graphic just means that in future people will pay less attention to what you have to say.
        w.

      • OK Willis it’s the RSS Stratospheric result (TLS). When I click on the graph it gives the source, I guess it doesn’t do that for you, sorry.
        The graph and discussion can be found at: http://www.remss.com/research/climate
        Here is the figure legend, which contradicts the assertion that I was rebutting:
        “Fig. 4. Global (80S to 80N) Mean TLS Anomaly plotted as a function of time. The thick black line is the observed time series from RSS V3.3 MSU/AMSU Temperatures. The yellow band is the 5% to 95% range of output from CMIP-5 climate simulations. The mean value of each time series average from 1979-1984 is set to zero so the changes over time can be more easily seen. Note that the response to the volcanic eruptions of El Chichón (1983) and Pinatubo (1991) is too large in some of the models, and that the models tend to show less overall cooling than the observations.”

      • Thanks for that info, Phil. Since the yellow band is the model results, and the black line spends most of its time outside the yellow band, and the yellow band drops from 1984-1991 while the data is rising … I fear that your claim that the stratosphere is “cooling as predicted” doesn’t match up with reality.
        I can’t tell you how tired I am of people waving their hand at some model result that looks vaguely like observations, and saying that things are going “as predicted”. It reminds me of the line from the old song:
        “She could easily pass for forty-three
        In the dusk with the light behind her.”
        So yeah, in the dusk with the light behind it you might mistake the yellow model predictions for the black observations … but a closer look reveals the problems.
        w.

        • When q person waves his hand at some model result that looks vaguely like observations, and says that “things are going “as predicted” an argument is made that is of the form of an equivocation for the word “predicted” has a variety of meanings and changes meanings in the midst of this argument. A logically proper conclusion may not be drawn from an equivocation. To draw such a conclusion is an “equivocation fallacy.”

      • So where was your indignation Willis and Terry when cogniscentum waved his hands and claimed that the stratosphere wasn’t cooling? As predicted by Manabe and Wetherald in 1967, Journal of Atmospheric Sciences: “Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity” the stratospheric temperature is cooling, TLS by about 0.3ºC/decade, upper stratosphere by about 1ºC/decade.
        I made no reference to the models, they were included on the RSS graph and in their report. RSS is good enough for Monckton’s ‘pause plots’, so they’re good enough for the stratosphere as far as I’m concerned.
        So yes Willis, the stratosphere is cooling, as predicted.

        • Phil
          I don’t entirely catch your drift. I do observe that your argument employs terms that are polysemic (have several [meanings]). These include “about 1ºC/decade” and “predicted.” Use of these terms makes of your argument an equivocation. One cannot logically draw a conclusion from an equivocation. Nonetheless you proceed to do so. In doing so you are guilty of an “equivocation fallacy.”
          [We assumed “meanings” vice “Mannings”, right? But, then again, this is Phil. He might have meant Mannings. .mod]

      • Terry, your arguments about ‘polysemic’ words and ‘equivocation’ are a load of nonsense. ‘About 1ºC/decade’ is not ambiguous or equivocating, depending on exactly which altitude you measure at and over which period you get a slightly different values close to 1ºC/decade. Manabe and Wetherald ‘predicted’ that increasing GHGs in the stratosphere would lead to cooling, which increases with increasing altitude, exactly as is observed, no equivocation there. Come back when you have a real substantive argument instead of this nonsense.

        • Phil:
          Contrary to your assertion,‘about 1ºC/decade’ is ambiguous and equivocating. Is the claim that it is 1.01 ºC/decade’? Is the claim that it is 1.02 ºC/decade’? Who knows?

      • Phil.,
        So, CO2 now causes cooling! I guess you’ve got all the bases covered then.
        “Come back when you have a real substantive argument instead of this nonsense.”

      • Phil.:”The stratosphere is cooling as predicted”
        #####
        Look closer, Phil. The stratosphere is not cooling. It has had two stepdowns in T the past 30 years, but no cooling. The last stepdown occurred 20 years ago.
        The model looks like a bad imitation of the T record, and I imagine that is precisely what it is.

      • Well painter I’m not interested in your imaginations which are far from the truth. The lower stratosphere is particularly sensitive to large volcanic eruptions and the influence of O3 as well as CO2, above the Ozone layer the CO2 has the major influence as predicted by Manabe and Wetherald, and Clough and Iacona. As shown by RSS cooling continues, for example centered at 30km:
        http://data.remss.com/msu/graphics/C12/plots/RSS_TS_channel_C12_Global_Land_And_Sea_v03_3.png

  50. It’s my understanding that the greenhouse warming effect of man-made CO2 is very minor, less than 1/10 of a degree. But the IPCC models have “forcings” which predict a rise in the temperature, the main one being water vapor. Theses forcings have not materialized. My opinion is that just because you raise the temperature slightly does not mean you have the energy necessary to evaporate much more water. This is my understanding correct me if I’m wrong.

  51. I think Robin Pittwood is using the same faulty reasoning as the CAGWers who believed in an atmospheric “hot spot”.
    He is trying to measure the INSTANT when the additional outgoing CO2 suddenly blocks outgoing radiation from earth’s surface. If a significant fraction of CO2 were instantaneously dumped into the atmosphere, Robin Pittwood’s algorithm would work, just as a “hot spot” would appear.
    The REAL world starts out just about in equilibrium,
    while an infinitesmal amount of CO2 is constantly being added to the atmosphere.
    With NO change in atmospheric CO2, his algorithm might measure a constant 232 watts/square meter being radiated to space, fluctuating a little over time due to random variations in cloud cover, changes in distance from sun, etc. Doubling Earth’s CO2 instantaneously would show an instantaneous drop of 3.7 watts, before the atmospheric radiation regained equilibrium.
    Applying his system to the REAL world, with the atmosphere and earth balance changing infinitesmally, and trying to get back into balance, his system might measure a constant 231.9 watts radiated from earth. The difference would be less than measurement error and fluctuations due to cloud cover, etc.
    You’ve got to measure DOWNWELLING radiation from several levels in the atmosphere to see if there’s any significant effect from increasing CO2. OLWR should stay about the same regardless of CO2 increase, unless the atmospheric portion of CO2 changes drastically in a short period of time.

    • Your reply is a concise explanation of why the radiative forcing theory is non-falsifiable.
      Changes in down-welling IR (or rather the lack thereof) could never falsify the theory. There are too many other confounding variables inbetween the TOA and the surface or wherever inbetween, where the measurements are made. You could never conclusively say “it should have changed but it didn’t”.
      And for the observations of total OLR at TOA, what you say applies.
      There’s just no way to falsify it. Therefore this isn’t science this is metaphysics. It’s just the same as trying to prove The Matrix isn’t real, or God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster don’t exist.
      This entire debate is an exercise in maddening futility that will end with humanity none the wiser.

      • In theory, the radiative forcing theory of CO2 IS falsifiable- by measuring downwelling radiation all over the world at various times of day, and various heights in the atmosphere- and seeing if there is an increase matching the theoretical increase from CO2- in practice, you’re right- measurements would be even less reliable than surface temperatures- as shown by Anthony Watts.
        Reminds me of a purported Yogi Berra quote,, ” In theory, results from theory and practice come out the same, but in practice they don’t.”

        • A couple of barriers to the falsifiability of the radiative forcing theory are:
          1) The “downwelling radiation” is a vector that does not generally point downward and
          2) The “theoretical increase from CO2” is in the equilibrium temperature but this temperature is not observable.

      • Alan McIntire November 12, 2014 at 8:56 am:
        “In theory, the radiative forcing theory of CO2 IS falsifiable- by measuring downwelling radiation all over the world at various times of day, and various heights in the atmosphere- and seeing if there is an increase matching the theoretical increase from CO2…”
        +++++++++
        I read Lindzen’s report years ago (also linked in this discussion) –and it seems that the radiative fluxes do not suggest there is a CO2 induced hotspot or build up of heat going on. I took away that as the world warmed, it let off more heat –thus the feedbacks were not overall positive, and leaned negative. There’s no way to attribute any portion of the flux to CO2. That’s not proof CO2 GH Effect does not exist, but it also does not support the CO2 greenhouse “hypothesis”.

  52. Beyond 3 significant figures people are just flat guessing. 111.1 – that third “one” represents 1%. Measuring the real world to that accuracy, to that level of certainty, is challenging. Claiming you know some piece of data at and below that third character, pretty unlikely.

  53. The NOAA OLR data they use here, as far as I can tell, is window-frequency (around 11 microns as I recall) from AVHRR….not broadband IR which is what matters for this application. It would NOT pick up the IR effect of increasing CO2…you need a satellite with a broad-band IR sensor like CERES to do that. The increase in window IR radiation, show here, is to be expected with warming. Nothing new.

  54. Phil. November 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    So where was your indignation Willis and Terry when cogniscentum waved his hands and claimed that the stratosphere wasn’t cooling? As predicted by Manabe and Wetherald in 1967, Journal of Atmospheric Sciences: “Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity” the stratospheric temperature is cooling, TLS by about 0.3ºC/decade, upper stratosphere by about 1ºC/decade..

    1967?? In 1967, my indignation was directed against the Vietnam War.

    I made no reference to the models, they were included on the RSS graph and in their report. RSS is good enough for Monckton’s ‘pause plots’, so they’re good enough for the stratosphere as far as I’m concerned.
    So yes Willis, the stratosphere is cooling, as predicted

    By posting the graph, and by claiming that the “stratosphere is cooling as predicted”, you are making explicit reference to the “predictions” by the CMIP-5 models. If you were NOT referring to them, then what predictions is your statement about “cooling as predicted” referring to? Nostradamus’s predictions? Jimmy the Greek’s? You are obviously referring to the models, don’t try to deny it, we can all read.
    As to whether the RSS is “good enough”, I raised no objections to the use of RSS data, so I have no clue what you are on about.
    w.

    • I asked “So where was your indignation Willis and Terry when cogniscentum waved his hands and claimed that the stratosphere wasn’t cooling?”, that was November 10, 2014 at 3:36 am, not 1967! You complain about my reply to him but not a dickybird about his unsupported claim. Why not? My reference was back to his ‘cooling as predicted’, does not explicitly refer to the CMIP-5 models, in fact I made no mention of models until later when I referred to Manabe and Wetherald. By the way that’s a famous paper you don’t have to have read it in 1967, when you had other things on your mind! Just like you can be aware of Einstein’s 1905 papers without having been around at the time. It has long been understood that increased GHGs would cause increased stratospheric cooling and data such as the RSS bears that out, no need for the models, that RSS chose to put the model results on their page was their choice, I wanted to show the measurements, as I have in the past when posters here have made the same bogus claim that cogniscentum did.
      I also frequently have made reference here to the radiation calculations by Clough and Iacono which have no dependence on models such as CMIP-5. As they say:
      “It is evident that CO2, due to its relatively high atmospheric concentration and due to the large values for the absorption coefficients associated with the rotational-vibrational bands of the molecule, is a primary contributor to stratospheric radiative cooling.”
      With reference to your statement: “You are obviously referring to the models, don’t try to deny it, we can all read”, I would suggest you take your own advice, “QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU DISAGREE WITH”.

  55. Phil. November 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I asked “So where was your indignation Willis and Terry when cogniscentum waved his hands and claimed that the stratosphere wasn’t cooling?”, that was November 10, 2014 at 3:36 am, not 1967! You complain about my reply to him but not a dickybird about his unsupported claim. Why not?

    Because I didn’t see it …

    With reference to your statement: “You are obviously referring to the models, don’t try to deny it, we can all read”, I would suggest you take your own advice, “QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU DISAGREE WITH”.

    Actually, I did quote the words I disagreed with. I’ll quote them again, this time in more detail. This is your entire and complete comment:

    Since the stratosphere is cooling as predicted such an explanation isn’t necessary. Here’s the RSS result: [RSS GRAPH FOLLOWS]

    Since the only prediction in that RSS graph is the CMIP5 model predictions, that certainly appears to be what you were referring to when you showed that graph to demonstrate that it was “cooling as predicted”.
    Now, perhaps that wasn’t your meaning, but that’s sure how it reads. It reads that you put up that graph to show that the stratosphere was cooling as predicted by the model results.
    w.

    • It reads that way because you (and Terry) didn’t take the trouble to read the post to which I was replying and jumped the gun by making assumptions. What I was obviously referring to had you taken the trouble to read the post before mine was the statement: “Can somebody explain to me why the stratosphere isn’t cooling as predicted? ”
      So Willis, why aren’t you interested in which predictions he’s talking about?
      Also if you’d taken the trouble to read the source I gave for the lower stratosphere temperature you would have seen that there was no reference to ‘predictions’, it refers to ‘historical simulations’. The predictions of enhanced stratospheric cooling due to GHGs were from radiative physical chemistry like Manabe & Wetherald and Clough and Iacona, not models like CMIP-5. So no, I wasn’t referring to the non-existent model predictions in RSS, in fact they say: “The basic features of the changes in stratospheric temperature are captured by the models, though some models appear to show too much response to volcanic eruptions and also appear to show too little overall cooling.”

  56. Phil,
    I ‘believe’ in anthropogenic warming because of the circumstantial evidence that the Earth is in a long-term warming phase roughly coinciding with a long-term buildup of greenhouse gas concentrations, and because I’m aware of no alternative mechanism that more plausibly explains it.
    However, stratospheric cooling is not the slam-dunk you seem to think it is.
    A study published last year by Benjamin Santer and colleagues (http://www.pnas.org/content/110/43/17235.full.pdf+html) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), alluding to the IPCC’s iconic attribution statement, proudly proclaimed “clear evidence for a discernible human influence on the thermal structure of the atmosphere.”
    Since 1979, the troposphere has warmed (albeit less than predicted) while the stratosphere has cooled. This observed pattern matches the model-predicted vertical structure (“fingerprint”) of anthropogenic climate change.
    Santer in an interview (http://www.pnas.org/content/110/1/3.full.pdf) offered the following explanation. If the Sun were responsible for global warming, then the stratosphere should also get warmer. Instead, it has cooled, which is consistent with the hypothesis that rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the troposphere trap heat that would otherwise radiate out to space through the stratosphere.
    Such evidence, however, is not conclusive, as Santer et al. seem to acknowledge through their careful — perhaps artful — choice of words.
    A “discernible human influence” can include the cooling effects of manufactured substances, such as hydroflourocarbons, that destroy ozone in the stratosphere. Ozone is itself a greenhouse (heat-absorbing) gas. So some significant part of stratospheric cooling could be due to ozone depletion rather than to greenhouse gas emissions trapping more heat in the troposphere.
    Gillett et al. (http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/11/599/2011/acp-11-599-2011.pdf), a study cited by the Santer team and led by one of its co-authors, acknowledges that possibility:
    “In the mid and upper stratosphere the simulated natural and combined anthropogenic responses are detectable and consistent with observations, but the influences of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances could not be separately detected in our analysis.”

    • @Marlo Lewis November 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm: You wrote:
      “I ‘believe’ in anthropogenic warming because of the circumstantial evidence that the Earth is in a long-term warming phase roughly coinciding with a long-term buildup of greenhouse gas concentrations, and because I’m aware of no alternative mechanism that more plausibly explains it.”
      ++++++++
      Your whole premise needs to find an alternative mechanism by which the earth warmed since the little ice age. By your logic, there is no answer. You say only until you found a short term correlation (which you call long term) where CO2 increased and temperatures increased, it must be due to CO2. Sadness… you’re looking to believe in something by not looking to seek evidence. The correlation was relatively short lived.

  57. Mario,
    I am not “looking to believe.” But being human, I can’t help having opinions. I seek to replace my opinions (beliefs) with knowledge. The point of my comment is that Phil mistakes his opinion (belief) for knowledge. Even if one assumes the “fingerprinting” method is the decisive test of the greenhouse hypothesis, the test results are still inconclusive.
    You say that by my logic, there is no answer. No. Natural variability obviously plays a bigger role than the greenhouse faction assumed, or else model predictions would not be so out of wack with observations. That doesn’t mean, however, that the greenhouse effect is a hoax, or that the ongoing rise in atmospheric greenhouse concentrations could not possibly be responsible for some non-negligible portion of warming since 1950.
    If you KNOW that anthropogenic greenhous gas emissions are climatologically irrelevant, please share your evidence! To be fully persuasive, though, you’ll not only have to provide alternative mechanisms that explain current warmth, you’ll have to quantify their contribution. Only then will we be able to rule out the fossil-fuel greenhouse effect as a significant contributing factor.

    • Your statement here is reasonable right here: “That doesn’t mean, however, that the greenhouse effect is a hoax, or that the ongoing rise in atmospheric greenhouse concentrations could not possibly be responsible for some non-negligible portion of warming since 1950.”
      Saying that it is possible is a fine statement. However, I take extreme issue with the claim that “they” know how much warming with great certainty is caused by increases in CO2 and that it requires immediate drastic measures to address a crisis. Simply because there is no evidence that the net effect is measurable in our climate system with the given science. That claim is a hoax because they do not know! There is an effect, most of us believe, that increases in CO2 to the atmosphere should cause some change. Based on all of the research the answer is that truthfully, there is no actual believable measurement of the effect caused by CO2 to the global temperatures.
      So I put the question to you… How do you determine what is that increase, and is it good or bad? When they talk of no benefit and all bad outcomes including climate refugees, I see hoax written all of it. What say you?

  58. If a pound of air at 70 F & 50% RH has to absorb 9 Btu of energy without any change in its water vapor content, the dry bulb temperature would have to increase about 37.5 F, (9 Btu/lb) / (0.24 Btu/lb-F), or 107.5 F & 16% RH.
    However, by evaporating water into the air until saturated (clouds) that same energy could be absorbed by that pound of air – with absolutely no change in the dry bulb temperature! 0.0078 lb water/lb air to .016 lb water vapor/lb of air.
    Water vapor is considered the most powerful GHG for a reason. It is water vapor, clouds, precipitation that regulate the atmospheric temperatures, CO2’s influence is less than trivial.

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