Cloud Feedback

Guest essay by Stan Robertson

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In a recent post entitled “Changes in Total Solar Irradiance” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/25/changes-in-total-solar-irradiance/ ), Willis Eschenbach showed a plot of the solar irradiance that impinges at the top of the earth’s atmosphere. I have borrowed that from his post and repeat it here for convenience:

Fig. 1 Variations of TSI

Willis asked a profound question about these results:

If the tiny eleven-year changes in TSI of a quarter of a W/m2 cause an observable change in the temperature, then where is the effect of the ~ 22 W/m2 annual variation in the amount of sun hitting the earth? That annual change is a hundred times the size of the eleven-year TSI change. Where is the effect of that 22 W/m2 change?

This is a great question, but it is really two questions. First, why don’t we see some significant annual cyclic variation of global mean temperature? This is a truly profound question! It ought to keep climate modelers awake all night, every night. Second, if 22 W/m2 variations peak to trough don’t produce noticeable temperature variations, why should the 0.25 W/m2 variations of TSI associated with solar cycles produce any measurable temperature variations?

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Let’s take the first question first. TSI reaches a peak on January 3 when we are nearest the sun and drops to a minimum six months later. Now 22 W/m2 is comparable to the change of TSI at 60 degrees north or south latitudes between ice ages and interglacial times. On this basis, one might expect to see a fairly substantial annual cyclic variation in global mean temperature. I failed to recall any in the many plots of global temperature anomalies that I have seen, but thought perhaps that single years wouldn’t stand out clearly in long, noisy records. So I grabbed a quick ten year data plot that I happened to have on hand to see if it showed annual cycles. None were obvious, but just to be sure, I took another look at the (also-quickly-available) periodogram for sea surface temperatures that I had made for a previous WUWT article (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/26/solar-cycle-driven-ocean-temperature-variations.) Not only is there no significant temperature variation with a one year period, there IS a small amplitude oscillation (0.13 oC peak to trough, 2X amplitude) at the 11 year solar cycle period with oscillation peaks that are nicely in phase with the sunspot peaks.

Fig. 2. Amplitude Periodogram of sea surface temperature anomalies 1954 – 2014

One of the first suggested explanations for the lack of annual cycles that I recall was that the variations might occur too fast for the earth mean temperature to respond. Considering that temperatures of either the northern or southern hemispheres of earth respond dramatically on a seasonal time scale to changes of solar flux at the surface, this seemed unlikely to me. Nevertheless, I dusted off my old computer program for calculating ocean surface temperature changes for changes of impinging solar flux. Previous calculation results have been reported here: (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/10/the-sun-does-it-now-go-figure-out-how) and here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/26/solar-cycle-driven-ocean-temperature-variations

In the first of these, I found that a thermal diffusivity of 1 cm2/s for upper ocean waters was needed to account for the ocean surface temperatures (HadSST3gl) and ocean heat content measurements since 1965. If there were no changes of cloud cover or evaporation, 70% of that 22 W/m2 or 15 W/m2 would enter the atmosphere. If it impinged on oceans, it would drive annual temperature variation of 0.45 oC peak to trough. The temperature oscillations would, indeed, be larger if the solar flux variations occurred over a longer time. With a ten year period, they would produce temperature oscillations of 2.25 oC. In either case, most of the variations of the peak heat flux would be taken into the oceans and eventually returned later. Nevertheless, annual oscillations of 0.45 oC ought to stick out like a sore thumb in Fig. 2. So why don’t they occur? The only plausible explanation is that increases of cloud cover prevent most of that 22 W/m2 variation from ever reaching the surface. If absorbed by atmosphere, land or ocean, large temperature changes would necessarily follow. The minimum temperature increases would be those of the oceans, due to their transparency and large heat capacity. But they don’t show!

 

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We can make this a little more quantitative to show that there is reason to believe that most of the TSI variations are negated by changes of cloud cover. The variations of cloud cover should correspond to variations of the atmospheric water column, as shown here in this plot from http://www.climate4you.com .

Fig 3. Atmospheric water vapor column (thickness if subjected to 1 atm pressure)

The total water column varies annually by about 0.45 cm peak to trough, for about 19% annual variation. Taken as a sinusoidal oscillation, its peak to trough variation would be 0.45 cm and its rate of change would have a peak to trough variation of (2 π 0.45 cm/yr). This rate of change would need to be provided by the solar flux that evaporates water at the earth’s surface. It takes about 2260 joules per gram to evaporate water. Then neglecting the minor amount of energy needed to lift the water vapor up into the atmosphere, the peak to trough rate of energy change needed for evaporation at the earth surface would then be:

(2 π 0.45 cm/yr) x (1 gm/cm3 x ( 2260 j / gm) x (1 yr / (365 x 86400 s)) x 104 cm2/m2 = 2 W/m2

This shows that very little of the available TSI variation is needed to produce the annual changes of atmospheric water column and, presumably, the variation of cloud cover. But if earth albedo changes in proportion to the variation of the atmospheric water column, then reflected solar radiation would vary by 19% of the mean 101 W/m2, or 19 W/m2. That would leave only about 3 W/m2 of the 22 W/m2 of TSI variation available to heat the earth surface. Since about 2 W/m2 is needed to produce evaporation, that leaves only about 1 W/m2 to be absorbed and warm the surface. Using the same computer program that I mentioned previously, I calculated that 1.0 W/m2 annual variations at the ocean surfaces would produce surface temperature oscillations of about 0.037 oC peak to trough. This is too little to be reliably extracted from noisy sea surface temperature data, but this is about what is shown in Figure 2.

A careful examination of Fig. 3 shows that the water column peaks seem to occur about late October rather than Jan. 3. The early peak is thought to be due to the end of the vegetation growth season in the northern hemisphere. The larger land mass of the northern hemisphere allows it to contribute more to evaporation during its growth season than does the southern hemisphere. This puts the annual TSI variation and cloud cover variation slightly out of phase but that really doesn’t matter much as long as there is enough extra cloud in January to negate the peak TSI. Another point worth noting about Fig. 3 is the step change downward after the 1998 El Nino. Prior to that, the water column was increasing, presumably because of surface warming and increasing evaporation. The smaller water column since 1998 is consistent with some cooling and the flat global temperatures of this century.

The most significant result of the preceding analysis is that it is clear that evaporation of water vapor into the atmosphere and cloud formation must provide a very strong negative feedback to radiative forcing in the UV/Vis bands that deliver most of the solar energy to earth. Starting from the present near-equilibrium conditions, a decrease of albedo would let more solar radiation reach the surface of the earth. That should be able to evaporate more water, produce more clouds and raise the albedo. If the albedo were to increase a bit beyond equilibrium, the surface would receive less insolation, the upper oceans would cool and cloud cover would decrease until balance was restored. Considering that downwelling infrared radiation is absorbed essentially at the ocean surfaces, the only thing that it can do is produce evaporation. We have just seen that a radiative forcing of 22 W/m2 apparently produces only a few hundredths of a degree of ocean surface temperature change. It seems a bit absurd to think that the 3.7 W/m2 of IR forcing that is expected to accompany a doubling of the atmospheric concentration of CO2 might do more. CO2 is simply not the control knob for the earth’s temperature.

Since cloud cover is so exquisitely regulated that it maintains a steady mean temperature, it would appear to be necessary for climate models to handle clouds well. In fact, however, that is one of their weaknesses. In general, the models used by the IPCC do a miserable job of modeling rainfall. It is highly likely that they are doing an equally poor job of cloud cover and albedo. Until this situation is dramatically improved, the climate models will remain essentially useless for anything but scare tactics.

Moving on to Willis’ implied question: If 22 W/m2 produces no significant temperature variations, why should the 0.25 W/m2 associated with the approximately 11 year solar cycles have the larger effect shown in Fig. 2? Only about half of this small amount would even reach ground level anyway. So how is it that we see 11 year solar cycle period temperature variability in the 60 year sea surface temperature record of Fig. 2? There are several possible explanations here. Some folks claim that the solar cycle temperature oscillations are spurious, but that seems unlikely to me for several reasons. First, the temperature peaks match the sunspot peaks. Second, I showed that Willis’ slow Fourier transform technique is quite capable of pulling this small signal out of the noisy data. Additionally, Roy Spencer, Nir Shaviv and others have found temperature variations of similar magnitude using different methods and data sets. Leif Svalgaard thinks that ~ 0.1oC temperature variations are real; however, he mistakenly persists in thinking that TSI variations of order 0.1 W/m2 at the earth surface can cause such temperature changes in several tens of meters of upper oceans. (Bear in mind that the first 25 meters of ocean has about 10X the heat capacity of the entire atmosphere.) Others claim that the temperature variations are spurious due to significant volcanic eruptions having occurred with approximate solar cycle timing. I think this to be very unlikely on a 60 year data set.

So, let’s take the question and the result of Fig. 2 seriously for a moment. The TSI variations associated with the solar cycle are only about 0.25 W/m 2, averaged over the earth surface and daily cycles. About 70%, or 0.175 W/m2 enters the troposphere. About (160/340)x0.25W/m2 = 0.117 W/m2 reaches the surface at wavelengths below 2 micron. About half the difference between the 0.175 and 0.117 W/m2 reaches the surface at longer wavelengths and after scattering in the atmosphere. This gives a peak to trough variation of about 0.15 W/m2 that would reach the surface. This is only about 15% of the 1.0 W/m2 that would be needed to drive surface temperature oscillations of 0.13 oC. So without even considering the possibility that changes of albedo might prevent most of the solar flux variation from even reaching the earth, it is apparent that TSI variations associated with the solar cycle do not provide enough energy to produce the temperature oscillations shown in Fig. 2.

To make it even more certain that the TSI variations are not the direct cause of the surface temperature oscillations, recall that albedo variations of about 19% were sufficient to negate the 22 W/m2 annual TSI variation and that this required only about 2 W/m2 to evaporate the water. One would therefore expect that about one could negate 0.25 W/m2 variations with about (0.25/22)x2 = 0.023W/m2. This is only about 15% of the 0.15 W/m2, 11 year, TSI variation that would occur at ground level if there were no albedo change. So even though the TSI variations would be too small to produce the observed surface temperature changes, they should easily evaporate enough water for a nullifying negative feedback. So the tiny variations of TSI associated with the solar cycle should be just as effectively negated as the 22 W/m2 of the annual cycle. This leaves a very stark question: If the temperature oscillations of Fig. 2 at the 11 year period are real and if they are produced by the sun, then how could the sun do it?

To answer this we need to consider another point made by Willis Eschenbach here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/28/the-thermostatic-throttle/ . He showed that the evaporative feedback that regulates Earth’s albedo and temperature functions most strongly near the equator. Oceans areas near the poles show the reverse behavior. Tropical albedo changes cool the tropics, but near the poles the albedo decreases with increasing temperatures. This has the effect of making the equatorial zone cooler than it would be otherwise, while making the poles warmer. There seems to be less of either positive or negative feedback in mid-latitudes. This is what allows volcanic eruptions and other atmospheric disturbances outside the equatorial regions to affect surface temperatures. If the sun contributes something other than the dinky TSI changes over solar cycles, and outside the equatorial zone, then it might be able to produce the oscillations shown in Fig. 2.

It is well known that large volcanic eruptions can cool the earth. Volcanic ash shades the earth and produces short term cooling, but the most significant and longer lasting effects occur due to aerosols. The USGS (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/climate.php) says: The most significant climate impacts from volcanic injections into the stratosphere come from the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid, which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulfate aerosols. [Cloud droplets grown on] the aerosols increase the reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space, cooling the Earth’s lower atmosphere or troposphere. Several eruptions during the past century have caused a decline in the average temperature at the Earth’s surface of up to half a degree (Fahrenheit scale) for periods of one to three years. The climactic eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 15, 1991, was one of the largest eruptions of the twentieth century and injected a 20-million ton (metric scale) sulfur dioxide cloud into the stratosphere at an altitude of more than 20 miles. The Pinatubo cloud was the largest sulfur dioxide cloud ever observed in the stratosphere since the beginning of such observations by satellites in 1978. It caused what is believed to be the largest aerosol disturbance of the stratosphere in the twentieth century, though probably smaller than the disturbances from eruptions of Krakatau in 1883 and Tambora in 1815. Consequently, it was a standout in its climate impact and cooled the Earth’s surface for three years following the eruption, by as much as 1.3 degrees at the height of the impact. Sulfur dioxide from the large 1783-1784 Laki fissure eruption in Iceland caused regional cooling of Europe and North America by similar amounts for similar periods of time.

 

These comments show that naturally occurring variations of aerosols are capable of producing surface insolation changes that are NOT entirely killed by negative feedback.

As long-time WUWT readers are aware, the Danish researcher, Henrik Svensmark, in 1996 proposed that cosmic rays that enter the atmosphere can produce aerosol condensation nuclei. The flux of cosmic rays is modulated by the strength of the sun’s magnetic field that reaches the earth and this varies with the nominal 11 year solar cycle. Fewer cosmic rays reach earth at the solar cycle peaks than at minima. This has been confirmed by direct measurements of cosmic ray flux over several solar cycles. Recent studies also seem to confirm that condensation nuclei can be produced by cosmic rays. See, e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDo7saKaEys .

What remains to be seen is whether the amounts of cosmic ray produced condensation nuclei and their variations are capable of significantly modulating the amount and reflectivity of cloud cover. This should be settled by measurements within the next decade or two. It would take very little change of cloud cover to produce the 0.13 oC peak to trough temperature oscillations at the 11 year period shown in Fig. 2. In the WUWT article in which I first used Fig. 2, I showed that it would take peak to trough variation of solar flux of about 1 W/m2, averaged over the sea surfaces to produce this temperature oscillation. This solar magnetic field effect would presumably occur over all latitudes from poles to equator. It would need to produce an average of about 1% change of cloud reflectivity, which presently reflects about 100 W/m2 of the average TSI at the earth.

Conclusions: The feedback that negates the effect of 22 W/m2 should be of huge concern to climate modelers. The amounts, types, both vertical and horizontal distributions and albedo of clouds need to be accurately modeled in order to determine the patterns of surface temperature on the earth. In these regards, I think that the present models used by the IPCC are inadequate, misleading and lacking in any ability to predict global mean temperatures for the future.

 

Whatever one might think to be the cause of the temperature oscillations shown in Fig. 2 at the nominal 11 year solar cycle period, it should be very clear that the TSI variations over a solar cycle are completely incapable of producing them. If the sun really is responsible for producing those small temperature changes, then Svensmark’s cosmic ray modulation theory would seem to be our best hope for understanding how it does it. Think of the cosmic ray modulation as a small amount of jiggling of the earth’s cloud thermostat. About one percent modulation of cloud albedo over a nominal 11 year solar cycle is all that is required.

Or maybe I should just say:

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It’s cloud’s illusions I recall

I really don’t know clouds at all

Biographical Note: Stan Robertson, Ph.D, P.E., is a physicist, retired from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

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304 thoughts on “Cloud Feedback

  1. Excellent paper.
    Alternatively, the lack of annual variability is strong evidence that the solar impact on the climate is constant, in which case the cloud issue also becomes less pressing.

    • Since the annual variability being referred to would be due to the annual changes in the Earth-sun distance, you are saying that the distance of a planet from the sun does not affect its climate.
      SR

    • Maybe take a look at http://mclean.ch/climate/Cloud_global.htm , which is a bit dated now because I haven’t got around to updating it. It’s clear that there’s a cycle in global average mid-level cloud that runs in negative synch (you’ll see what I mean) with low level cloud. Go back to the “cloud cover main page” and via the links there you’ll find the same thing in the Northern exotropics but not in the tropics per se, where it’s low and upper level cloud, or in the Southern exotropics.
      Overall I agree with Stan, there’s a lot we don’t know about cloud.
      FInal thought … looking at cloud from both sides might produce different data depending on what’s obscured by cloud layers.

      • Thanks for the links. IN figure 1 it looks like the low and mid move in opposite directions constantly. Very interesting reading. Thanks.

    • Read down-thread. The author, commenting as “bones” admits that his whole premise was wrong. He’s looking for intra-annual variability in a temp anomaly data set from which intra-annual variance has already been removed.
      Put more simply, the entire post is based on a big misunderstanding.
      Cue Emily Littela.

      • Hi claimsguy, don’t lay it all on Dr. Robertson. Many other prominent people (including Willis and I believe Leif as well) have implied that since diurnal input variations have no effect, then neither do decadal variations.

  2. Nice post. I would add that Svensmark’s proposed solar amplification mechanism is only one of many proposed in the literature. Here’s just a few of many potential mechanisms that were discussed at a symposium last year:
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-amplified-climate-impacts-of-solar.html
    also that convection dominates radiative-convective equilibrium in the troposphere to effectively “short-circuiting” radiative forcing from solar/aerosols/GHGs, blunting RF effects upon surface temperature change.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/25/changes-in-total-solar-irradiance/#comment-1771445
    “Considering that downwelling infrared radiation is absorbed essentially at the ocean surfaces, the only thing that it can do is produce evaporation”
    Hear, hear.
    Solar wavelengths penetrate to heat the bulk of the oceans. Solar UV penetrates the furthest and is the most energetic portion of the solar spectrum, and can vary up to 100% over solar cycles. A new paper suggests the presence of an “ocean greenhouse effect” due to far-IR emissivity of ~0.76-0.89 which “traps” solar radiation in the oceans. Thus could the large changes in solar UV possibly be a driver of an “ocean greenhouse effect” and SSTs despite the tiny changes in TSI?
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/11/new-paper-finds-huge-false-physical.html

    • ““Considering that downwelling infrared radiation is absorbed essentially at the ocean surfaces, the only thing that it can do is produce evaporation”
      Hear, hear.”

      I’m afraid this is (once again) treating the purely mathematically derived radiative POTENTIAL of (the radiative HEAT FLUX that would’ve been emitted to a perfect vacuum at 0 K by) an atmospheric layer (if it were a blackbody surface) at a certain temperature, as if it were a REAL flux (thermodynamic transfer) of energy. It’s not. Everyone needs to move away from this false idea. It is what started the whole AGW hype in the first place. And the one that keeps it going. The atmosphere is NOT sending a radiative flux of energy down to the surface (i.e. transferring energy to the surface through radiation) to do ANYTHING. The surface is sending a radiative flux of energy up to the atmosphere (i.e., transferring energy to the atmosphere through radiation). There are no two separate fluxes, only one bigger than the other. There is but ONE flux; P/A, Q.

      • Why? There are no references to any studies anywhere at any time where a “back radiation” flux from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer sensor was ever detected (not calculated) separately from an upward flux. So why should I need to prove a negative just from stating the truth about the matter: It’s impossible and cannot physically be done. The only REAL flux (actual transfer of energy) in a heat transfer situation is … the HEAT.

      • On Kristian side, there is the whole science of Thermodynamics, widely regarded as the most solid of all scientific laws.

      • Kristian:
        You need to provide a reference… so I suggest you cite the laws of thermo… Just cite:
        http://www.physicsplanet.com/articles/three-laws-of-thermodynamics

        The Second Law essentially says that it is impossible to obtain a process where the unique effect is the subtraction of a positive heat from a reservoir and the production of a positive work. Energy exhibits entropy. It moves away form its source. In this sense, energy or heat cannot flow form a colder body to a hotter body.

        Since the air at altitude (above the troposphere where convection dominates) is at about -30 C, it cannot “warm” the ocean…
        Though I personally like the definitions they use in the introductory paragraph:

        C.P. Snow, the British scientist and author has offered up an easy and funny way to remember the Three Laws. He says they can be translated as: (1) you cannot win (you can’t get something for nothing because matter and energy are conserved. (2) You cannot break even (you cannot return to the same energy state because entropy always increases (3) you cannot get out of the game (because absolute zero is not attainable).

      • E.M. Smith “In this sense, energy or heat cannot flow form a colder body to a hotter body.”
        Without some help in the form of work – as in a refrigeration cycle; taking heat out of the Arctic Ocean to heat your tent.

      • E.M.Smith @ November 12, 2014 at 9:42 am
        “Since the air at altitude (above the troposphere where convection dominates) is at about -30 C, it cannot “warm” the ocean… “
        Not as a source. But, it can change the rate at which energy emitted from the oceans can escape to space.
        I’m not disagreeing with Kristian or HS, and I do respect many of your investigations and inputs over the years. But, we need to keep bad notions from infecting the good, thus providing easy pickings for detractors to dismiss the whole argument, and you need to eschew this line of logic.
        The idea that the cooler atmosphere cannot heat the warmer surface is beside the point. The source, in this case, is the Sun, and it is much hotter than the Earth’s surface, so there is no violation of the 2nd Law. If the Sun’s heat did not get radiated away, then the Earth’s surface would eventually reach the temperature of the Sun. Modulating the rate at which heat escapes changes the equilibrium temperature of the surface. But, the source of the heat is always the hotter body of the Sun.

      • There is but ONE flux

        Well you can measure the downward flux with a handheld IR Thermometer.

        Since the air at altitude (above the troposphere where convection dominates) is at about -30 C, it cannot “warm” the ocean…

        I routinely measure Tzenith temps of <-60F (at 41N, depending on the humidity).
        But, a -30C sky will allow the ocean to cool less quickly than a -51C sky.

      • Bart,
        I’ve tried to clarify the flaw in your logic on this a few times before. You’re right, there is no violation of the Laws of Thermodynamics in the insulating EFFECT of the atmosphere on the surface. The violation lies solely in the “back radiation” EXPLANATION of this effect. The atmosphere does not reduce the cooling of the surface by sending some of its own emitted energy back to it, adding to its total energy INPUT. That’s ridiculous. In such a scenario you end up with a situation where the extra warming does NOT come as a result of the original solar energy piling up at/below the surface (according to the rGHE hypothesis, this escapes again freely, after all), but rather as a result of the postulated ‘back-radiated’ atmospheric energy adding on to the total upon return to the surface. In other words, the extra warming comes as a direct result of the more energy being ADDED, an increased energy INPUT to the surface. You transfer more energy to the surface, the internal energy of the surface goes up, and so does its temperature. In thermodynamics, this is tantamount to an extra transfer of HEAT. This is increased heating, not reduced cooling.
        You reduce the cooling by actually reducing the OUTPUT of energy from the surface. In this way, it is the originally incoming solar energy that piles up – it is no longer able to escape as freely as before. This reduction (real insulation effect) simply comes about through the atmosphere having a TEMPERATURE, it is able to warm, it has a mass, thus a ‘heat capacity’. Space doesn’t.
        Stop treating the DWLWIR as a separate FLUX (transfer) of energy to the surface! It ends up WARMING (heating) it.

      • Mi Cro says:
        “Well you can measure the downward flux with a handheld IR Thermometer.”
        No, Mi Cro. Your instrument automatically CALCULATES a flux value (and from that an estimated ‘source’ temperature) from what it actually detects, heat flux and sensor temperature. This is no secret.

        • Kristian commented

          No, Mi Cro. Your instrument automatically CALCULATES a flux value (and from that an estimated ‘source’ temperature) from what it actually detects, heat flux and sensor temperature. This is no secret.

          And just what do you think that heat flux is?

    • Kristian – the 2nd Law states that net heat only moves from hotter to colder. It does not, thereby, forbid any exchange of heat from the colder to hotter body. It just says more will go from the hotter to the colder than the other way.
      And, that is true here. The net flow of heat is to the atmosphere rather than to the surface. But, that does not mean that no portion of that net is traveling from the atmosphere to the surface.

      • Er, no, Bart. It states that HEAT moves spontaneously only from hot to cold. Within the framework of the ‘Prevost bidirectional principle’ concerning radiative heat transfer, the HEAT (P/A, Q) is the net energy.
        Heat does NOT go both ways, Bart, for Pete’s sake! I cringe! This is exactly why we’re still in this mess. People actually walk around believing this nonsense.

      • Er, no Kristian, Bart is correct. When you write, I cringe. Unless the sink is at absolute zero, there are always a few photons passing from the colder body to the warmer. The Second Law is absolute only for the net effect in a closed system.

      • Thanks, D.J. Basically, there’s nothing to stop a cold body shooting out its photons in every direction. It doesn’t know anything about a hotter body being in some direction where it is somehow not allowed to send them.

      • D.J. Hawkins says:
        “Er, no Kristian, Bart is correct. When you write, I cringe. Unless the sink is at absolute zero, there are always a few photons passing from the colder body to the warmer. The Second Law is absolute only for the net effect in a closed system.”
        I think we end this discussion here. Because this is just embarrassing. Read a book on thermodynamics and learn something, D.J. Hawkins. What specifically is HEAT? What specifically does it do? How does it work? Try to figure this out first. Heat is NOT something carried by individual photons!!!!!!! Are we seriously dropping down to this level!?
        In an electric current, individual electrons always fly around in all directions. They always do. That doesn’t mean there is an electric CURRENT going both ways between two different voltages at different strengths, leaving us with only a NET of the two. The CURRENT always goes only ONE way, for heaven’s sake! From higher to lower potential.
        In wind, individual air molecules always fly around in all directions. They bump into each other all the time, after all. That doesn’t mean there is a WIND going both ways between a high and a low pressure, leaving us to figure out the NET of the two. The BULK AIR MOVEMENT always goes spontaneously one way only. From higher to lower potential.
        HEAT is exactly equivalent. A spontaneous energy FLUX (a actual transfer of energy) between two systems/regions at different temperatures goes only ONE way, from hot to cold; from high to low potential. There are no exceptions to this fundamental thermodynamic principle. Simply because we now know about photons or EMR waves doesn’t mean we are allowed to violate this basic and absolute physical law. If ‘heat’ were allowed to flow in all directions throughout the universe, even from cold to hot, full anarchy, then there wouldn’t be a universe. It would’ve been long gone. Already at birth. Nature has organised itself in a pretty orderly manner that way. We should be thankful.
        Again, figure out what HEAT really is, how it is strictly defined in thermodynamics, before you put out comments like that.

      • Bart, you aren’t reading what I’m trying to tell you. The EXPLANATION of “back radiation” somehow being an extra INPUT of energy from a cool atmosphere to a warm surface is what violates the 2nd Law, because it ends up making THIS back-added energy doing the extra warming, not the original solar. Don’t you get it? It’s the “back radiation” EXPLANATION of the effect I’m after. It’s completely and utterly un-physical. The insulating EFFECT of the atmosphere on the surface is of course NOT violating any physical laws. Do you seriously not see the difference!?

      • I’m sorry, Kristian, but you are incorrect. Your examples are only applicable to macroscopic idealizations of underlying, very complicated, phenomena.
        You appear to be self-trained. That is all well and good, and autodidacts can often bring surprisingly fresh insights to moribund fields which have encountered a cul-de-sac. This, however, is not such an instance. Nobody is going to take you seriously if you go on this way, and you are hurting the cause which you support. If you were open to instruction, I would explain in far greater detail where you err. That, however, seems rather a futile effort at this time.

      • For the record, Kristian was correct. Someone said ” 2nd Law states that net heat only”. However, Heat is already defined as net energy transfer. It’s non sense to say “net net energy transfer”. Heat is only going one way, from hotter to colder. The fact that there are stray radiative effects from colder objects can be COMPLETELY ignored.
        >> handheld IR Thermometer
        That’s adding nothing relevant to this discussion. The prerequisite to this instrument showing a reading is simply some kind of mass in front of it, radiating at some temperature. Look around, everything you see, in all it’s detail, indicates that EM radiation has “lit” it all up for you. If I had an infrared filter, I would still see it all. However, it would not have any relevance to thermodynamics, where Heat is defined as Net energy transfer.
        Bart, the land and/or sea is heated by solar energy. The atmosphere is heated by the land/sea until it’s in near thermal equilibrium. Before you resorted to ad-hominem, you seemed to acknowledge that the colder air could not actually heat the water, but that it would result in hotter water, because it wasn’t radiating away as quickly. This is a back door attempt to violate 2nd Law. Specifically, you said
        “If the Sun’s heat did not get radiated away, then the Earth’s surface would eventually reach the temperature of the Sun.”
        This is misleading. The 1st and simplest reason is time. In the AGW simplified model, earth is a flat plane, always exposed to a low level of average insolation. However, in reality, it’s a rotating sphere. So, temperature would not keep rising, since it quickly rotates out of the heat.
        The 2nd and much more significant reason is that radiation isn’t the only heat transfer method in operation. Aside from conduction and convection with the air, all the water is connected, and in contact with all the land, which is in contact with the whole internals of the earth. Nothing can stop Gibbs law and the 2nd Law from acting. Have you ever placed a soldering iron on a larger mass of metal? I’ve placed my finger on the metal, just millimeters from the soldering iron, and felt no heat. Why? It’s because the energy from the soldering iron was being conducted away, heating the entire mass. It would take a really long time.
        It’s the same with the energy from the sun. When it’s heating land and/or sea, it’s not limited by the very low heat capacity air. It’s limited by the intense heat flowing through the water and land, both being decent conductors of heat, and both having very large heat capacity. The low heat capacity air very quickly comes to thermal equilibrium. This is where writing and solving the differential equations is crucial to understanding the time dynamics.
        The 3rd reason is that the effective temperature of the sun is 5780 K. Earth’s core temperature is 6273 K. Gibbs law rules. IOW, energy flows downhill. For example, earth shining out at -18C doesn’t result in the Sun getting hotter. It just means that the sun cools down infinitesimally slower.
        The bottom line is that the only effect of slightly more thermal mass in the atmosphere is a slightly longer time delay when cooling off at night.

        • VikingExplorer commented

          The prerequisite to this instrument showing a reading is simply some kind of mass in front of it, radiating at some temperature.

          Exactly my point, my thermometer is “measuring” this flux of 8-14u photons, and using the sensors internal temp calculates a temperature of “some kind of mass in front of it”.
          Heat is the net of transferred energy.

          Look around, everything you see, in all it’s detail, indicates that EM radiation has “lit” it all up for you. If I had an infrared filter, I would still see it all. However, it would not have any relevance to thermodynamics, where Heat is defined as Net energy transfer.

          Of course it does, that would be the dynamic part of thermodynamics, if there were no dynamics, heat wouldn’t move around.

          “If the Sun’s heat did not get radiated away, then the Earth’s surface would eventually reach the temperature of the Sun.”
          This is misleading. The 1st and simplest reason is time. In the AGW simplified model, earth is a flat plane, always exposed to a low level of average insolation. However, in reality, it’s a rotating sphere. So, temperature would not keep rising, since it quickly rotates out of the heat.

          So what, if after it rotated out of the flux, (it isn’t heat), if it didn’t radiate away, every time it went into the flux it would, guess what, get warmer, until it’s the same temp as the Sun.
          In your exchange with Lief you talked about solving for 25 variables to help someone with their thesis, I could never do that, I don’t have the math skills, good on you, but either you don’t really understand what you’re talking about (which I truly doubt, but we’ll see), or you’re not saying it much better than Kristian, whose IMO big issue is how he’s describing thermodynamics, and probably not so much his understanding.

      • >> Exactly my point, my thermometer
        You’re just measuring radiation, which is irrelevant to thermodynamics. Kristian explained it very well: In circuit theory calculations, we don’t have worry about individual electrons. Similarly, the fact that everything with a temperature radiates doesn’t change thermodynamics. Micro phenomena CANNOT contradict the macro theory, which in this case, is the most solid of all our scientific laws. Attacking the 2nd law is more like a sign of a world view bias, as Andrew West has been educating us about.
        >> that would be the dynamic part of thermodynamics
        Ahh, actually, the “dynamic” part refers to time. Sorry, you’re way off track here.
        >> if it didn’t radiate away, … get warmer, until it’s the same temp as the Sun.
        This statement is misleading because while technically true, it doesn’t support your thesis. First of all, if the earth was somehow prevented from radiating away energy (a completely hypothetical construct), the surface temperature would slowly rise to 6273 K (temp of earth core). After it rises above 5780, the earth would start heating the sun.
        Second, let’s add the assumption that earth doesn’t have a hot core to this extremely hypothetical and irrelevant thought experiment. Let’s also add the assumption that the sun is forever, so we don’t run out of time. In this case, you’re right, the surface temperature of the earth would slowly rise to 5780, after the entire mass of the earth and water are also 5780.
        However, in order for this to support your thesis, this warming of earth would have to increase the temperature of the sun. IT WOULD NEVER DO THAT —> 2nd LAW. In this thought experiment, earth would rise to 5780, and then stay at that temp in a happy thermal equilibrium, but the sun temperature would remain unchanged. Similarly, increasing the thermal mass of the atmosphere will never result in a warmer land/sea.

        • VikingExplorer commented

          You’re just measuring radiation, which is irrelevant to thermodynamics. Kristian explained it very well: In circuit theory calculations, we don’t have worry about individual electrons. Similarly, the fact that everything with a temperature radiates doesn’t change thermodynamics. Micro phenomena CANNOT contradict the macro theory, which in this case, is the most solid of all our scientific laws. Attacking the 2nd law is more like a sign of a world view bias, as Andrew West has been educating us about.

          I’m not attacking the 2nd law, I really hope that’s not what you think. But let’s see if radiation is irrelevant or not, imagine a hypothetical concave mirror of zero mass, and you place a red hot piece of iron at it’s focal point, and compare that to the same piece without the mirror, does that not change the thermodynamics of that hot iron (remember you said “actually, the “dynamic” part refers to time”)?

      • >> with Lief
        Even worse than attacking the 2nd law is misspelling a Scandinavian name:
        It’s LEIF.
        [We know. But that error has been repeated hundreds of times. .mod]

      • VikingExplorer @ November 14, 2014 at 6:32 am
        “The 2nd and much more significant reason is that radiation isn’t the only heat transfer method in operation.”
        With this, I agree. There is definitely a lot more going on than just radiative heat transfer. How well the modelers have captured other modes of heat transfer, I do not know, but my confidence in them is not high.

      • First of all, it’s not that radiation isn’t a form of Heat (net energy transfer). It’s that Heat is all we have to concern ourselves with, when it comes to thermodynamics. And if it’s a temperature you’re after, it’s only Thermo that’s appropriate.
        >> hypothetical concave mirror
        I think you’ve just set up the hypothetical where a system is denied radiation as a method of Heat transfer.
        I could be wrong, but I believe that the object with the mirror will lose no energy, and stay at the same temperature. The object without the mirror will lose energy, cool down.
        I mean, you don’t think that the hot object will heat itself up, do you?
        I’m reminded that some 10 years ago thinking “it’s like these AGW people think that CO2 is reflective.

        • VikingExplorer commented

          First of all, it’s not that radiation isn’t a form of Heat (net energy transfer). It’s that Heat is all we have to concern ourselves with, when it comes to thermodynamics. And if it’s a temperature you’re after, it’s only Thermo that’s appropriate.

          So, now we get the backtracking. In the classical view, radiation doesn’t exist, but we all know (or should) that it’s absolutely vital for the (QM) description of what is really going on! That’s what the long list of people who have been arguing with you and Kristian about. And I’m not sure you can even describe a mechanism to explain GHG’s without it.

          I could be wrong, but I believe that the object with the mirror will lose no energy, and stay at the same temperature. The object without the mirror will lose energy, cool down.
          I mean, you don’t think that the hot object will heat itself up, do you?

          Of course the object is heating itself up, it just can’t heat itself up hotter than it starts out at! Now with an imperfect mirror, it will still cool, only slower than the iron without the mirror. A perfect mirror with a hole in it will cool, and if you point an IR thermometer in the hole, even from across the room, it will read the flux and give you a temperature, or if you put another mirror with the holes aligned, with it’s own iron block and they will distribute the heat equally between them after some amount of time will reach equilibrium. but if you block the flux (IR Photons), the heat transfer will stop.

      • >> So, now we get the backtracking.
        Huh? I haven’t back tracked at all. In your hypothetical concave mirror scenario, there is only ONE component. Thermodynamics is about multiple components.
        >> In the classical view, radiation doesn’t exist,
        Huh? Where did you get that completely stupid idea? Radiation is and always has been, a mechanism of Heat transfer in classical thermodynamics (CT).
        It’s “back radiation” that is so contradictory to CT. If you have water at 20 C, and the air above it is at 19 C, then both components are radiating at their associated temperatures. The radiation coming from the air is fully cancelled out by part of the radiation coming from the water. That leaves a delta T of 1 C, and this is what results in Heat (net energy transfer).
        >> That’s what the long list of people who have been arguing with you and Kristian about.
        The list of people who have supported classical thermodynamics is far longer than you seem to realize: Rudolf Clausius, William Rankine, Germain Hess, Lord Kelvin, Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, Max Planck, James Clerk Maxwell, James Prescott Joule, Albert Einstein…
        >> And I’m not sure you can even describe a mechanism to explain GHG’s without it.
        There is nothing mysterious about it. What we call the GHE is just like a temperature gradient. Picture a house with a central wood burning stove type heater (analogous to the earth’s surface). When it’s really cold outside, there is a temperature gradient. It’s warmer near the heater, and cooler further away. Then there is the insulated walls, windows between the inside and the outside (space). There is a temperature gradient in the house, just like there is with the atmosphere. If we increase the insulation, we’ll reduce the gradient, which will make parts of the house warmer, but this is analogous to somewhere up in the atmosphere. We can add all the insulation we want, but it will never make the fire hotter. All it can do is result in the fire losing heat slower.
        >> Of course the object is heating itself up, it just can’t heat itself up hotter than it starts out at!
        No, by definition, Heat is a net transfer of energy. In this case, there is no net energy transfer, so no Heating is going on. It will stay at the same temperature.
        >> but we all know (or should) that it’s absolutely vital for the (QM) description of what is really going on!
        It seems like you believe that QE can and does contradict classical thermodynamics (CT). The history and science of thermodynamics is so well established, anyone who contradicts it is truly a science denier. CT requires an extremely small amount of matter to be in effect. Let’s put into perspective what you are trying to contradict:
        “A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression that classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced will never be overthrown, within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts.” – Albert Einstein
        “The second law of thermodynamics is, without a doubt, one of the most perfect laws in physics. Any reproducible violation of it, however small, would bring the discoverer great riches as well as a trip to Stockholm. The world’s energy problems would be solved at one stroke. It is not possible to find any other law … for which a proposed violation would bring more skepticism than this one. Not even Maxwell’s laws of electricity or Newton’s law of gravitation are so sacrosanct, for each has measurable corrections coming from quantum effects or general relativity.” – Ivan P. Bazarov
        “The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.” -Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

      • VikingExplorer November 14, 2014 at 8:23 pm
        “”(…) if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.” -Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington”
        Thanks, VikingExplorer.
        This is what I’ve been telling these fellows now for some time. But they absolutely refuse to listen. It’s all just fingers in ears, eyes sqeezed tight and chanting lalalalalala until it’s over, and then it’s straight back to their implanted talking points about the wonders of “back radiation”. They think they’re sceptics. They’re not.
        It is very clear from this particular line of discussion that Bart and Mi Cro here don’t even know what ‘heat’ and ‘heating’ means, how it’s very specifically defined in TD. They simply don’t understand the concept. And they seem adamant not to. What’s worse, this condition seems disturbingly pervasive among lukewarmers.
        You cannot have NET heat flowing between two opposing systems in a heat transfer, because this implies that there is heat flowing both ways, only more from hot to cold than from cold to hot. Heat ALWAYS moves spontaneously from hot to cold ONLY, not even a little in the other direction.
        Eddington is absolutely right. If your ‘theory’, your attempted EXPLANATION of how an observed physical effect comes about, ends up directly violating the Laws of Thermodynamics, then sorry, it’s back to the drawing board. Try again. That doesn’t mean the EFFECT isn’t real. It simply means you haven’t understood its origin correctly.
        The “back radiation” EXPLANATION of extra surface warming doesn’t work. Because you end up having to let the “back radiation” itself do the extra warming. And this is HEAT from cold to hot. Which does not occur in nature.
        I have explained on multiple occasions and in the simplest of terms how this violation arises. Any person with just a little bit of critical thinking instilled in him would see the exceedingly fundamental flaw in the “back radiation” explanation of extra surface warming. If he only ever cared to actually have a look and think it through:
        http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r565/Keyell/Drivhuseffekten_zps96e8febd.png
        (Derived from Stephens et al. 2012.)
        It is not the original solar input piling up that does the extra warming here. It is plain to see. It’s the surface feeding back its own emitted energy to itself, through the cooler atmosphere, in an internal, self-amplifying flux loop. The surface could not go from 232K (165 W/m^2) to 289K (398 W/m^2) if it weren’t for the extra INPUT of 345 W/m^2 from the cooler atmosphere. That 345 (minus the 112 from conductive/evaporative loss) of “back radiation” is what is fully and solely responsible for the surface temperature rising to +15-16 degrees C.
        This is no ‘reduced cooling’ (reduced OUTPUT), this is ‘extra heating’ (increased INPUT). And it blatantly violates the Laws of Thermodynamics.
        Yes, VikingExplorer. This is all about temperature gradients. The atmosphere has a MASS, hence a ‘heat capacity’. It is able to warm. Space isn’t. It also has a weight, exerting a downward force on the surface called pressure. Space doesn’t.
        This is how the atmosphere actually insulates the surface of the Earth.

      • Kristian, awesome post!
        Mi Cro, the quote you got from wiki is correct and is consistent with what we’re saying:
        wiki: The radiative heat transfer from one surface to another is equal to the radiation entering the first surface from the other, minus the radiation leaving the first surface.
        VE: The radiation coming from the air is fully cancelled out by part of the radiation coming from the water. That leaves a delta T of 1 C, and this is what results in Heat (net energy transfer).
        K: You cannot have NET heat flowing between two opposing systems in a heat transfer
        The above are 3 statements of the same concept.
        A simple but correct analogy: If I give $100 to my son, and he gives me back $90, the net transfer is $10 to my son.
        You and Bart, along with whoever created that “back radiation” cartoon, are saying that it’s possible for “NET” transfer to go both ways. At the most basic level, it contradicts the meaning of the word “NET”. I can’t believe we’re even discussing the meaning of the word “NET”. Billions have been spent because some idiots believe that the $90 my son gave me will increase my account balance, rather than partially fill the void left by the $100 I forked over to him.

        • We are all saying that the $90 back dollars reduces the rate of depletion of your account, my mirror example the back dollars are that all $100 comes back to your account. And that they are real, ie there is an actual transfer, you hand your son a $100 bill at the exact same time he hands you 4 $20’s and a $10, and that the transaction is not you just handing your son a $10.

      • >> We are all saying that the $90 back dollars reduces the rate of depletion of your account,
        Ok, then you agree with Kristian and myself that increased thermal mass in the atmosphere can only reduce “rate of depletion”, it CANNOT result in more money in the account, which is what an increased surface temperature implies.
        The cartoon, the back radiation idea, says that the $90 coming back results in a bank account balance greater than before I gave him $100.
        >> the transaction is not you just handing your son a $10
        Everyone knows and understands that everything with a temperature radiates energy. You trying to convince us that radiation exists is getting silly.
        Account balance is perfectly analogous to Temperature. As far as account balance goes, only NET transfers matter.

      • Mi Cro,
        The money analogy is an ANALOGY. It is made for you to focus on the NET term. It is not made for you to say that radiation and an exchange of money is the same thing.
        The only real transfer of energy in a heat transfer is … the HEAT. There is no transfer of energy from cold to hot.
        This whole discussion started with my original reply to HockeySchtick above. We’ve come full circle, it seems. As always happens with warmists, famous for their self-imposed goldfish memory. Here is what I pointed out originally:
        “I’m afraid this is (once again) treating the purely mathematically derived radiative POTENTIAL of (the radiative HEAT FLUX that would’ve been emitted to a perfect vacuum at 0 K by) an atmospheric layer (if it were a blackbody surface) at a certain temperature, as if it were a REAL flux (thermodynamic transfer) of energy. It’s not. Everyone needs to move away from this false idea. It is what started the whole AGW hype in the first place. And the one that keeps it going. The atmosphere is NOT sending a radiative flux of energy down to the surface (i.e. transferring energy to the surface through radiation) to do ANYTHING. The surface is sending a radiative flux of energy up to the atmosphere (i.e., transferring energy to the atmosphere through radiation). There are no two separate fluxes, only one bigger than the other. There is but ONE flux; P/A, Q.”
        P/A (power per area) or Q is, if you didn’t know, the HEAT FLUX.
        I have now already explained three times on this thread why pretending that some mathematically derived DWLWIR term is in fact an actual, real flux (transfer) of energy from cool atmosphere to warm surface, in the end forces you to directly violate the Laws of Thermodynamics in justifying the extra surface warming (Sun connected). You are obviously not even interested in trying to understand what I’m saying. I only hear your ‘Lalalalalala! Are you done soon? Lalalalalala!’
        So why do you even bother with this ferocious apologetic opposition …? Is it the cognitive dissonance trickling forth?

      • Ok, I think we took a step backwards. Now I see why Mi Cro seems to be arguing that radiation exists.
        Kristian, I think your statement “The atmosphere is NOT sending a radiative flux of energy down to the surface” is confusing the issue.
        Everything with a temperature is radiating energy. Why? Because an electron creates an electric field, and a moving electron creates a magnetic field. All molecules have electrons. Molecular vibration (temperature) therefore results in moving electrons, which results in EM radiation. That’s what Mi Cro is measuring with the IR thermometer.
        So, atmospheric molecules are radiating in all directions, including toward the ground / water. However, as far as temperature is concerned, it’s irrelevant, because as I said:
        VE: The radiation coming from the air is fully cancelled out by part of the radiation coming from the water. That leaves a delta T, and this is what results in Heat (net energy transfer).
        The analogy is exact. A child can’t make dad richer by giving him back a portion of his allowance. It has the effect of just reducing the allowance (drain).

        • Perfect, and Bart explained why an increase in Co2 forcing, if everything else is the same will increase surface temps. This part is the consensus case.
          If we argue that there is no back radiation, they marginalize us, why as pedantic as it is it’s important to clear up.
          We have to make the case everything isn’t the same, we have to find proof of this, we have to show that the earth isn’t responding to Co2 as that cartoon shows.
          That’s why I bought my IR thermometer, a weather station and have been studying their own surface data.
          And I really think there is evidence that they are wrong, in their own data, this the case that must be made.

      • VikingExplorer @ November 15, 2014 at 6:32 am
        “Billions have been spent because some idiots believe that the $90 my son gave me will increase my account balance, rather than partially fill the void left by the $100 I forked over to him.”
        This actually is a good analogy, but you need to take it a step further.The payment is periodic, not just a one shot deal. You are continually getting more money in every week, and giving your son a $100 bill every week, and let’s say he gets it changed and gives you back $80.
        At some point, your son decides altruistically he isn’t really earning the money (yeah, it’s a thought experiment, not the real world) and starts giving you back $90 every week. You start piling up $10 a week into your bank account, spending slightly more of it until you are comfortable with the new level of your bank account, and are spending it all. Net result: your bank account has risen by the amount you tucked away before reaching an equilibrium spending level.
        This is a key point: heat is not a flow. Heat is measured in Joules or BTUs or whatever. It is a quantity of energy. A flow of heat per unit of time is power, which is measured in Watts (which is a Joule per second) or horsepower (which is 550 foot-pounds per second – a BTU is about 780 foot-pounds so 1 horsepower is about 550/780 BTU/sec) or whatever.
        We typically measure solar input in Watts per square meter. That is a measure of energy passing through each square meter of area per unit of time. It is continuously arriving and departing due to re-radiation from the surface. If you slow the rate of departure, the surface will heat up until the rate of departure increases enough to get past the impedance and equilibrate once again with the input. The heat account of the Earth grows larger by the amount stored before equilibrium was reached.
        So many mistakes are made in this field by treating these flows as static quantities. You’ve really got to think in terms of dynamic flows. And, get out of the mindset that the Sun is supplying energy. It is not. It is supplying power, a given quantity of energy every single second.

      • VikingExplorer @ November 15, 2014 at 9:04 am
        “A child can’t make dad richer by giving him back a portion of his allowance.”
        Of course he can, if he is giving back something he previously kept.
        Reducing the “drain”, as you say, does increase the quantity held, if the inflow is constant. Turn on the water in your sink, with the drain partially closed. You reach an equilibrium level of water in the sink. Now, with the same rate of inflow, close the drain a bit more. Watch the water level rise to a new equilibrium, once the pressure rises to the point where water is pushed out as fast as it flows in.
        It’s a dynamic flow. New water is coming in every second. Your son is giving back more of his allowance every week. The Sun is providing heat at every instant of time.

      • VikingExplorer November 15, 2014 at 9:04 am
        “So, atmospheric molecules are radiating in all directions, including toward the ground / water. However, as far as temperature is concerned, it’s irrelevant, because as I said:
        VE: The radiation coming from the air is fully cancelled out by part of the radiation coming from the water. That leaves a delta T, and this is what results in Heat (net energy transfer).
        The analogy is exact. A child can’t make dad richer by giving him back a portion of his allowance. It has the effect of just reducing the allowance (drain).”

        Well, then I fear you’re on your own from now on in this discussion. Because if what you claim here is in fact true, then Bart and Mi Cro’s conclusion has been correct all along and yours has been wrong. This is the very issue that has everyone so confused that they don’t even know or see it themselves. They blindly think (on no observational evidence from the real world whatsoever) that the cooler atmosphere is actually sending a radiative flux (as extra INPUT, adding to the solar) down to the warmer surface. You seem to think so too. So I’m sorry, but this is where we part our ways.
        I’ll just explain briefly. You forget the incoming heat from the Sun, VikingExplorer. If you keep Q_in to the surface constant and then reduce Q_out from the surface (which you seem to agree with Bart and Mi Cro here is what the “back radiation” is doing), then the surface WILL necessarily warm. There is no way around it. That is thermodynamics.
        I set forth my position on all this here:
        http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/why-atmospheric-radiative-gh-warming-is-a-chimaera/
        http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/how-the-ipcc-turn-calculated-numbers-into-heat/
        http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/the-great-magical-greenhouse-effect-self-amplifying-loop/

      • Bart,
        Actually, it’s you who have assumed static quantities. The most important thing one learns in a thermodynamics class is that Heat (net energy transfer) is delta T dependent.
        To make this analogy more accurate, the amount the parent gives to the child is dependent on delta Account (dA). The amounts are not to scale, just for illustrative purposes. These transactions are repeated over and over, but account balances stay the same.
        Lower thermal mass atmosphere:
        Parent: account balance = $1000, parent receives $160 every week; Child: account balance = $500
        Parent pays child $500 (dA), parent spends $80 on partying (radiation to space)
        Child returns $420 to parent, child spends $80 on partying (radiation to space)
        Subsequence account balances: Parent = $1000, Child = $500
        Higher thermal mass atmosphere:
        Parent: account balance = $1000, parent receives $160 every week; Child: account balance = $800
        Parent pays child $200 (dA), parent spends $32 on partying (radiation directly to space is less because air is thicker)
        Child returns $72 to parent, child spends $128 on partying (radiation to space is more, because of the higher temperature)
        Subsequence account balances: Parent = $1000, Child = $800
        The atmospheric lapse rate is just a temperature gradient, like my example with a wood burning stove in a house. If we increase the insulation, we’ll reduce the gradient, which will make parts of the house warmer, but this is analogous to somewhere up in the atmosphere. We can add all the insulation we want, but it will never make the fire hotter. All it can do is result in the fire being closer to thermal equilibrium.
        In order to affect the surface temperature, we’d need to modify something –upstream– from the surface. This would either be something that would affect solar insolation or something geothermal.
        >> You start piling up $10 a week into your bank account
        That would be a direct violation of the 2nd Law. Just like water doesn’t run uphill, Heat cannot flow from cold to hot.
        Yet another analogy: Water flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario over the Niagara falls. scenario A = Niagara is a cliff (thin, lower thermal mass atmosphere). scenario B = Niagara is a 45 degree slope (higher thermal mass atmosphere).
        Which of these scenarios will make the water level in Lake Erie higher?
        >> If we argue that there is no back radiation … we have to show that the earth isn’t responding to Co2
        Mi Cro, a good scientist starts with no a-priori agenda.

        • Two comments,
          First, there’s lots of incoming solar heat (~6,000 degrees) default, and a lots is ending up in space. Think fire hose into a bucket made of screen, won’t take much.
          Second, I’ve been at this for +15 years, I didn’t have an opinion when I started.

      • >> Well, then I fear you’re on your own from now on in this discussion
        That’s ok, this shouldn’t be about forming into teams. It’s about learning more about it, and like Leif has said, following the evidence, where ever it may lead.
        >> the cooler atmosphere is actually sending a radiative flux (as extra INPUT, adding to the solar) down to the warmer surface. You seem to think so too
        I’ve been clear. It’s an inarguable fact that EVERY molecule with a temperature radiates energy. It’s basic electromagnetics, which was my EE specialty. Kristian, you cannot deny this fact.
        However, it’s not EXTRA input, adding to the solar. Only net energy transfer will affect temperature, and it always flows from hotter to colder. There is no way for a colder object to add Heat to a warmer object.

      • VikingExplorer @ November 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm
        “Just like water doesn’t run uphill, Heat cannot flow from cold to hot.”
        Net heat is not flowing from cold to hot. The heat is coming from the Sun. From there, it flows to the Earth’s surface. From there, it flows to the colder atmosphere, and from there, to even colder space.
        There is no point in this entire train where net heat is flowing from cold to hot. It is merely slowed down by the GHG so that some of the flow pools higher than it otherwise would*, but the direction of net flow never changes.
        Note the net. Two bodies in thermal equilibrium do not stop passing energy back and forth to each other. Each one is continuously shedding photons every which way. Those photons have no means of determining that there is an equally hot body nearby to which they cannot go, and adjusting their paths accordingly. They just go. But, the bodies remain in equilibrium because they simply pass the same amount back and forth, so that the net average flow is zero.
        Just so, two bodies at different temperatures are also always passing energy back and forth. But, the amount sent from the hotter body is greater than that sent from the cooler body, so the net movement is from hot to cold.
        That’s the best I can do. Either you get it now, or you don’t.
        * Than it otherwise would, all things being equal. But, all things are not equal. That is the weakness in the GHE theory. Not silly allegations of violating the 2nd Law, but of the reactions of other mechanisms which would tend to mitigate the heating effect, depending on the current state of the overall system.

      • VikingExplorer November 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm:
        “However, it’s not EXTRA input, adding to the solar. Only net energy transfer will affect temperature, and it always flows from hotter to colder. There is no way for a colder object to add Heat to a warmer object.”
        And yet that is EXACTLY what this explanation ends up proposing. Keep Q_in (from the Sun) constant while reducing Q_out (by increasing “back radiation”), then you get warming, VE. Sorry, but you do. That’s basic thermodynamics. You need to reconsider your position here, otherwise you’ll end up just like Mi Cro and Bart, thinking they’re sceptics when they’re not.
        Listen to me, VE. Bart and Mi Cro both appear to be lost cases. They simply WILL not see the basic flaw in their argument. They WILL not listen. I, however, hope that you are willing to.
        Your money analogy fails as soon as you include a third party, VE – the bank (Sun).
        What happens when you introduce the overly generous bank continuously handing you money? Money you pass directly on to your son. Who then always returns 90% of it. If the bank gives you 100$ and you only manage to rid yourself og [100-90=] 10$ after each ’round’, then money will pile up in your hands. And the money that piles up are the money you get in return from your son, VE. The 90$ back.
        One more time: You get 100$ from the bank. You pass these 100$ on to your son. And your son hands 90 of them back to you. You end up with +90$. The ones that came BACK from your son.
        Next round, you get another 100$ from the bank. Same thing happens, you give them all to your son. But once again he takes 90 and returns them to you. You are now 180$ up. 90+90. Two rounds of money BACK from your beneficiary. ‘Warming’ you.
        The money would thus simply continue to pile up, UNLESS you didn’t start handing your son more money per round, that is MORE money than what’s supplied from the bank.
        Meaning, your OUTPUT (what you handed to your son) would at no time reduce. It would increase. In order to balance the extra INPUT.
        This is the completely nonsensical and un-physical gist of the rGHE hypothesis. The cooler atmosphere gives back radiative energy originally emitted by the surface, and this recycled and reabsorbed energy is the SOLE reason why the surface keeps warming beyond pure solar radiative equilibrium.
        This is HEAT from cooler atmosphere to warmer surface, VE. ‘Heat’ disguised as ‘radiation’. Don’t you see?
        The analogy above shows exactly where and how the “back radiation” story is simply WRONG. It directly and flagrantly violates the Laws of Thermodynamics. You cannot first let the energy from the hot Sun freely escape the surface, but then later within the same cycle let it return from the cool atmosphere to heat the surface a second time. How bizarre is this!? Still, this is precisely what the rGHE hypothesis suggests. Look at the energy diagram I attached above. It conveys the essence of the rGHE “back radiation” explanation of the extra warming (insulating) effect on the surface. It’s all a load of bunkum!
        If you believe the atmosphere actually sends a separate radiative FLUX down to the surface, VE, then you will have to face the consequences of that belief; then this flux alone will be the one making the surface warmer, there’s no escape – HEAT from cool atmosphere to warm surface.
        Don’t forget the third party. The Sun.
        Did you check out the links?

      • According to you, Kristian, we cannot hope to create artificial lakes by building dams across rivers because, as any idiot can see, dams do not produce water.

      • >> There is no point in this entire train where net heat is flowing from cold to hot. It is merely slowed down by the GHG so that some of the flow pools higher than it otherwise would
        I’m glad that we agree on this first sentence. This is a very tricky and subtle point to understand, but please think about the fact that if the first sentence is true, then no temperature is changed without a delta T. The ONLY way that air can Heat land or sea, is if it’s hotter than the surface. Sometimes, this happens, but generally, the surface is warmer. Your idea of “pools higher” is correct, but it doesn’t affect the surface, it affects air somewhere up in the atmosphere.
        Please consider the analogy: Water flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario over the Niagara falls. scenario A = Niagara is a cliff (thin, lower thermal mass atmosphere). scenario B = Niagara is a 45 degree slope (higher thermal mass atmosphere). Which of these scenarios will make the water level in Lake Erie higher?
        Answer: neither, because in either case, water can’t flow up hill. However, scenario B (higher thermal mass atmosphere) does raise water from where it would have been, had it dropped off of a cliff, to a higher place, because of the 45 degree slope. It has “pooled higher” using your words, but it can never add water to Lake Erie, because it’s still down hill from Lake Erie.
        >> we cannot hope to create artificial lakes by building dams across rivers because, as any idiot can see, dams do not produce water
        Except it’s not about building dams. It’s about a river with varying slopes. It has some flatter spots (gentle flowing water), and some steeper (rapids). However, the same volume of water flows through the whole river. If we were to modify the river to go around a steep decline, thereby avoiding rapids, does not the same volume of water flow?
        Yes, because the flow is caused by the difference in elevation between the top and the bottom, and what’s in between doesn’t matter. In calculus, this would be a path independent line integral. In the case where we modified the river to flow around the rapids (like modifying the atmosphere to increase it’s thermal mass), we decrease the initial drop, which has the effect of raising the elevation of the water around the point of the modification. However, it’s still downhill from the top, and there is no way that this could affect the top. Why? Because a gentler slope down is not the same as going uphill and we haven’t eliminated the difference in elevation from top to bottom.
        A skier who refuses to do any Work can not ski up a green run any more easily than he can ski up a black run.

      • Did you read my money analog, Bart? Are you fine with the generous man becoming richer solely from the money RETURNED to him from his son? His bank isn’t doing it, because everything he gets from them he simply passes on to his son. It is only when the son decides to give most of it BACK that the money starts piling up in his hand.
        This is the “back radiation” explanation of global warming, Bart. You seem completely fine with it. Everything’s A-OK!
        One more time: It is not the EFFECT that violates the LoT. It is the “back radiation” EXPLANATION of it. The atmosphere DOES insulate the surface to make it warmer than at pure solar radiative equilibrium. It simply doesn’t do it by “back radiation”, by increasing its energy INPUT. Its ONLY energy input is from the Sun, its actual ENERGY SOURCE. More input means more HEATING, not less cooling. No, the atmosphere insulates by simply being ‘warm’. Through its temperature (temperature gradient away from the solar-heated surface). This is a matter of atmospheric MASS (of ‘heat capacity’ and weight), not a matter of “back radiation”.
        But there will probably only be more lalalalala sessions and more misdirecting by talking of dams from this. So I’ll leave you to it …

        • Kristian,

          This is a matter of atmospheric MASS (of ‘heat capacity’ and weight)

          You’re wrong.
          But, if you have evidence to make this case, I’ll read it. And not with money, no analogies, show me some equations where you’ve calculated this out, and I don’t want pointed off to someones blog page. You’ll need to account for air temps, and land temps.
          But let me point out that once the sun sets, the air cools off very quickly, it doesn’t have a lot of thermal mass (in fact most of the thermal mass is water vapor).

      • VikingExplorer @ November 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm
        “Except it’s not about building dams. It’s about a river with varying slopes.”
        No, it is building dams. Leaky dams, but dams nevertheless. Outgoing photons actually are stopped, and prevented from passing through.
        Kristian @ November 16, 2014 at 3:03 am
        “Did you read my money analog, Bart?”
        Couldn’t see the point, to tell the truth. Liked mine much better.
        I must be off for an extended period, so there will be no more replies. It’s a dynamic problem, guys. Every second, new energy is coming in which has to be dissipated, or it pools up until such a time as equilibrium can be reestablished. It is exactly like the sink and drain example I gave earlier. Think about it, and maybe it will eventually gel for you.
        This is all well established physics, and products are made which would not function without it. In a situation where all heat transfer is by radiation, the energy from an outside source, like the Sun, can be impeded from exiting the body, thereby keeping the body warmer, and more uniformly warm, than it otherwise would be.

      • I do want to point out something I agreed with VE about earlier. Heat exchanges on the Earth are not via radiation only. Some would say yes, but ultimately, all heat exiting the planet and its atmosphere must be via radiation. But, that ignores the fact that where the heat is radiated from makes a big difference.
        For example, space vehicles using MIL insulation to trap heat energy also often make use of radiators and heat pipes to channel heat to sun shaded areas from whence it can be efficiently dissipated. The Earth has its own effective heat pipes in the form of rising columns of water vapor. How it all plays out is very complicated, and there is no guarantee that the simple model of rising GHG trapping more and more heat is actually operative here on the Earth.
        So, to wrap it all up, while these objections on the basis of 2nd Law violations is malarkey, it is nevertheless not well established that rising GHG concentrations must increase temperatures at all times and for all states of the overall climate system. In fact, it is impossible for it to do so for all times and for all states of the system, as can be grasped by the simple thought experiment of supposing GHG concentration rose to 100% solid mass. In that case, the atmosphere becomes merely an extension of the body, and there is no additional heating of the surface beyond the standard SB result.

        • Something else I thought of is that clouds have over a magnitude more surface forcing than Co2 does, so even if Co2 has a 1.1C forcing for a doubling, if clouds cover 50% of the surface, that will cut the effect of Co2 by the same 50%.

      • Kristian: No, the atmosphere insulates by simply being ‘warm’. Through its temperature (temperature gradient away from the solar-heated surface). This is a matter of atmospheric MASS (of ‘heat capacity’ and weight), not a matter of “back radiation”.

        Mi Cro: You’re wrong. But, if you have evidence to make this case, I’ll read it

        Mi Cro, what Kristian wrote there can’t be categorically wrong, since it’s standard thermodynamics. You simply can’t dispute it by simple saying “you’re wrong”. If “back radiation” is a correction to classical thermodynamics, then it would contradict over 100 years of science. it’s already accounted for by concentrating on delta T.
        Introducing more thermal mass typically has a moderating effect, reducing temperature extremes. For example, cities east of the great lakes (like Erie and Buffalo) have moderate temperatures. The lakes and the humidity from them keep it from getting too hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter. In contrast, cities like Rockford, IL have much greater extremes.
        If adding thermal mass automatically raised temperatures, then it would imply that humid places should always be hotter then dry places. I’m not saying these 2 places have all other things equal, including insolation, but it’s still conventional wisdom that the driest places (lower thermal mass) are also hotter places. This contradicts the case you’re making.
        humid (95%), and warm (91): https://weatherspark.com/averages/31262/St-Petersburg-Florida-United-States
        dry (50%), and hotter (105): https://weatherspark.com/averages/30108/Phoenix-Arizona-United-States

      • No, it is building dams. Leaky dams, but dams nevertheless. Outgoing photons actually are stopped, and prevented from passing through.

        This is simply a false statement, not consistent with physical reality. CO2 does not reflect, nor does it “block”. It absorbs IR, just like water vapor.
        In the last 50-60 years, we’ve apparently added 1 additional CO2 molecule for every 11,000 other molecules. If one is attending a concert with 11k other people, and one additional person comes in, how much effect can it have?
        >> objections on the basis of 2nd Law violations is malarkey
        thermodynamic fact: no temperature can change without a delta T (assuming no Work, pressure changes or chemical reactions, etc.).
        To claim otherwise is malarkey. Adding thermal mass to the atmosphere will change how fast the surface cools off. There is a subtle, yet crucial distinction between getting hotter and cooling off slower.
        >> … becomes merely an extension of the body
        You’re almost there. The air closest to the surface is typically in near thermal equilibrium with the surface. In your words, it’s like an “extension of the [surface]”. The surface is heated by solar radiation, and the surface temperature rise is not limited by the air, but by the thermal conductivity and heat capacity of the land or water. As the surface temperature rises, the low heat capacity air (right above the surface) follows in lock step.
        This triggers a delta T between this air and air higher up. Lower air heats higher air, but is then immediately heated by the surface, as soon as any delta T opens up between the surface and the lowest air. When one places one’s hand on a large marble structure, the difference in heat capacity means that our hand cools quickly, while the marble structure temperature drops infinitesimally. Similarly, the hot surface can easily keep the air in near thermal equilibrium.
        When solar radiation stops, heat is drained from the surface in multiple ways. An important (but often forgotten) way is that heat is conducted away by land and/or sea. Even if there was no other way for the surface to lose energy, this alone would result in a cooling atmosphere, as the air temperature near the surface would still stay in lock step with the cooling surface. Of course, energy is also drained into the rapidly cooling atmosphere.

      • In the form stated by Rudolph Clausius: “No cyclic machine may have no other effect than to transport heat from a source at one Temperature, to a sink at a higher Temperature.”
        He says nothing about transporting “energy”, just “heat” which is just one form of energy, and he also says “no cyclic machine” which means heat CAN move in both directions, and it clearly does in conduction along a metal rod heated at one end. It’s just that more goes from high temperature to low temperature, than verse vicea.
        And “hot”, “cold”, “warm”, “cool” are all in your head. Your sense of “feel” creates those in your mind. They aren’t energy.

      • Yes, this is truly how far we’ve come at the end of 2014. (Presumably) well-educated people walk around thinking for real that HEAT pass, not only from hot to cold, but from cold to hot. HEAT from cold to hot. Yup.
        This is what the “Climate PhysicsTM”, based on the ‘CO2 is evil!’ agenda, has actually managed to do with the minds of the modern world. Even people calling themselves ‘sceptics’ swallow this obvious nonsense whole, without even so much as chewing on it first, feeling it out, thinking it through (‘What am I actually eating here?’).
        If you seriously believe that HEAT can move from cold to hot, then you seriously believe that cold can warm (‘heat’) hot, only less than hot can warm cold. If the universe worked like that, it would’ve come to a very early end and we most certainly wouldn’t have gotten the chance to be around today to discuss the matter.
        FYI, george e. smith. Clausius back then (and thermodynamics still today) was VERY clear on this. He said:
        “Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time.” (1856)
        What is that other ‘change’? Work applied, of course. Like in a fridge. Spontaneously (in nature), HEAT CAN NEVER PASS FROM A COLDER TO A WARMER BODY.
        ‘Net heat’ is something else entirely. Net heat for the surface of the Earth, for instance, is the HEAT IN from the Sun (~ +165 W/m^2) minus the HEAT OUT to the atmosphere/space (~ -165 W/m^2). For the Earth as a whole it is the HEAT IN from the Sun through the ToA (~ +240 W/m^2) minus the HEAT OUT from the surface/atmosphere through the ToA to space (~ -240 W/m^2).
        That’s NET HEAT. In a singular heat transfer between two opposing systems the only thing moving between them is … the HEAT (HEAT OUT for the hot system, HEAT IN for the cold system). If you absolutely must adhere to the archaic (and ultimately flawed, but still useful as a tool for understanding in limited cases) ‘Prevost bidirectional principle’ (it is still only a principle, theory, conceptual model of what’s going on), then the correct term is ‘NET ENERGY’. ‘Net energy = heat.’
        Please, people. This is not something I’m saying. It is not something I’ve made up. It’s in every and any textbook on Thermodynamics out there, it is what is taught in every and any class on basic Thermodynamics across the world.
        Thermodynamic definition: HEAT is simply that energy which is spontaneously transferred from a hot to a cold system/region by virtue simply of the temperature difference between the two. In nature, this is ALWAYS and ONLY a unidirectional (irreversible) transfer, from hot to cold. This is true whether the transfer happens through convection, conduction or radiation. There are no exceptions whatsoever!

        • Kristian commented

          Yes, this is truly how far we’ve come at the end of 2014. (Presumably) well-educated people walk around thinking for real that HEAT pass, not only from hot to cold, but from cold to hot. HEAT from cold to hot.

          If this is what you took from the exchange, you weren’t listening.

          That’s NET HEAT. In a singular heat transfer between two opposing systems the only thing moving between them is … the HEAT (HEAT OUT for the hot system, HEAT IN for the cold system). If you absolutely must adhere to the archaic (and ultimately flawed, but still useful as a tool for understanding in limited cases) ‘Prevost bidirectional principle’ (it is still only a principle, theory, conceptual model of what’s going on), then the correct term is ‘NET ENERGY’. ‘Net energy = heat.’

          You have heat and energy confused is some jumbled up misunderstanding. A thing has heat (if it’s above absolute zero), it exchanges energy with everything around it. In this exchange of energy, net heat always “moves” from warm to cold. But the move part is always from an exchange of energy. In this way, if the cold sky as seen from the Earths surface, gets warmer, slightly less heat will move from the surface to the sky, thereby the Earth will be slightly warmer too. But the exchange is always energy, which because the sky is slightly warmer(has more heat) it radiates slightly more energy.
          Chew on that for a while……..

      • A thing has heat (if it’s above absolute zero),

        We’re talking about science, so we’re using the scientific definition, not the housewife / plumber definition.
        You’re making yourself look really stupid, because you are using the word “heat” as synonymous with “temperature”.
        Heat is defined as Kristian wrote in bold. Only an idiot would argue against 10k text books and 100 years of science.
        And yes, everything is radiating, but thermodynamics (supreme among physical laws) is the science of Temperature, and it says that the ONLY thing that can change a temperature (excluding Work and chemical reactions) is a delta T. When a delta T exists, the warmer object heats the colder object.
        IOW, the colder object becomes warmer, and the warmer object becomes colder. How fast they do that, and the final steady state temperature is what thermodynamics is for.
        However, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the warmer object to get WARMER because of the colder object.
        I’m sick of explaining 100 year old science to you. Either take a course in thermo, or write a paper and announce to the world that the 2nd law has been disproved.

        • Really?
          I used the same Heat Kristian used, so sue me. And I used thing so even a child would understand.
          Okay, let’s see if I can say this in a way even you will understand.
          Let’s make another hypothetical situation. You have an object like a plate of aluminum that’s a meter sq (with an emissivity of 1.0). On one side it’s being irradiated by 1,000w/m^2. The other side radiates to to another identical plate that is held at -70F, the edges do not radiate at all. It is in equilibrium.
          Then you change the second plate from -70F to -68F, what does the temperature of the first plate do?

        • VikingExplorer commented

          However, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the warmer object to get WARMER because of the colder object

          I thought I’d help you out.
          To maintain thermal equilibrium with 1000w/m^2 radiating on to the first plate, it too has to radiate 1000w/m^2 out (in the example it’s 1000.000004), with the second plate at -70F, the first plate is 215.821198F, with the second plate -68F it’s 216.2077706F, a change of 0.3865726F warmer.
          So, the warmer object does gets 0.38F warmer because of a 2F increase in the temperature of the colder object.

      • Wow, you made my case for me. You’ve made the classic false radiative balance assumption.

        To maintain thermal equilibrium with 1000w/m^2 radiating on to the first plate, it too has to radiate 1000w/m^2 out (in the example it’s 1000.000004), with the second plate at -70F, the first plate is 215.821198F, with the second plate -68F it’s 216.2077706F, a change of 0.3865726F warmer.

        Radiation is dependent on temperature, not the other way around.
        If for some reason, it was artificially maintained in a state of thermal equilibrium, it would mean it’s temperature remains the same, so no temperature rise. However, this would require Work. Also, holding the 2nd plate at -70 (“held at -70F”) would also require Work.
        So, let’s analyze assuming no Work. At whatever temperature it’s at (say Ti), it radiates at that temperature (say 1000 w/m^2). When faced with the colder plate, there is a delta T, and the first place warms the second plate. If we wrote out the differential equations, we’d see the time domain dynamics. Given that both plates have the same heat capacity, and temporarily ignoring the constant input into the first plate, the first plate temperature would (over time) drop to a temperature half way in between Ti and -70, and the 2nd plate temperature would increase to that same temperature.
        However, the 1st plate is receiving a constant input of energy. At Ti, it was in thermal equilibrium. As plate 1 temp drops, there is a delta T, and this would be warming the 1st plate (which is now less than Ti), and as a delta T opens up between the two plates, the 1st plate would warm the 2nd plate. The time dynamics would result in a temperature gradient where plate 1 would lead plate 2 upwards. As the temperature approached Ti, the rise would slow as the delta T drops. The steady state temperature of both plates would be Ti.
        If we repeated this with a warmer 2nd plate, the mid way point would be 1 degree higher. So, if we graphed both situations in the time domain, we would see that the plate one temperature would start out at Ti, experience a transient droop to some temperature (Tdroop), and then rise back to the original Ti temperature. The only difference between the two alternate 2nd plates is that the warmer 2nd plate would result in a Tdroop which is warmer than the other one. They would both eventually return to Ti.
        At no point would a temperature rise above Ti. Why? It is IMPOSSIBLE for the warmer object to get WARMER because of the colder object.

        So, the warmer object does gets 0.38F warmer because of a 2F increase in the temperature of the colder object.

        Only because you a-priori implied the answer you wanted in your assumptions. I’m marveling at the world view bias that forces one to conclude that all existing scientific laws must be wrong.

        • Whose thought experiment is this? I didn’t mention work.
          What I did was make an analog of the Sun (1,000w/m^2 source), Earth (plate 1) and Sky(plate 2) system.
          The Sun streams a pretty constant flux of energy, and the sky sinks to the near absolute zero of Space. Both are vast enough to source and sink all of this energy billions of times over.
          Let tweak my thought experiment a little. Lets define that plate 2 does radiate directly to space, but instead of being aluminum, we pick a material that has a thermal conductivity so that at the 1,000 w’s it has to conduct it maintains that exact -70F, the first plate will have the exact temp I specified.
          Now let’s say we adjust the conductivity (by say adding Co2 to the atm) so that instead of maintaining -70F, it maintains -68F, plate one’s temp increases, also just as I indicated.
          I’m right, you know I was right and the only way you could somehow show I was wrong was to change the experiment.

      • If you intended plate 2 to be Space, then you failed miserably. Space isn’t cold. There is a crucial difference between being cold and having NO temperature. Space DOESN’T shine back at us.
        You missed my point about Work. In order to maintain temperatures, against thermal equilibrium, we would need to do Work. You can’t just say “maintains -68”.
        I analyzed what would happen if we didn’t do Work to maintain temperatures. Your tweaked thought experiment is also invalid, since unless you do Work, the only way for temperatures to remain constant is to be in thermal equilibrium, which means zero delta T with other components.
        Delivery Person: I’ve got your cubic meter of ice. It’s winter, are you sure you want it in the living room?
        2nd Law Protester: Yes, absolutely.
        Delivery Person: I’ve got two kinds, one is at -68 F, and the other is at -70 F, which do you want?
        2nd Law Protester: Oh great, it’s only 70F in my house, and I’d feel more comfortable if it was 72 F. So, give me the warmer one.
        Delivery Person: Huh, ok, here you go.
        2nd Law Protester: How much do I owe you?
        Delivery Person: Actually, keep your money, because I’ve just read that there is a virus that makes one dumber, and I don’t want to catch anything.
        2nd Law Protester: stupid climate denier…

      • Leif, right there is the cosmic background radiation with no discernible source. However, I assume you agree that it doesn’t emanate from empty space.

      • I’m right, you know I was right and the only way you could somehow show I was wrong was to change the experiment

        Again, you a-priori implied the answer you wanted in your assumptions. If you presume that some magic will raise the temperature of the first plate in order to maintain radiative balance, then you shouldn’t be surprised that the temperature ends up higher, contrary to the Second Law.
        I’m sorry that your world view bias prevents you from seeing that we can’t warm something up by placing something cold next to it. And placing something a little less cold next to something warm doesn’t change the fact that it’s something colder.
        >> no empty space
        Probably not if you don’t constrain volume. <==== tangent

        • If you presume that some magic will raise the temperature of the first plate in order to maintain radiative balance

          That magic came from 2 guys, Stefan and Boltzmann. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Although from this conversation, I’d be surprised.

      • That magic came from 2 guys, Stefan and Boltzmann.

        The Stefan–Boltzmann law basically says that everything with a temperature radiates. It’s true because moving electrons set up a characteristic EM wave. It does NOT say that the temperature of the plate will be raised above Ti, in contradiction to thermodynamic laws. In fact, it could never imply this, since SB was derived from the fundamental thermodynamic relation.

        • The Sun (Tin) is ~6,000C, I know I’m not as bright as you are, but I think that’s warmer than 216F. Maybe I muffed up the conversion from C to F?

      • Mi Cro,
        The problem is not temperature conversions, it’s conceptual and psychological.
        Even if the first plate is not in thermal equilibrium, but is steadily rising in temperature in response to the sun, it doesn’t change the analysis I provided.
        If we make this more realistic, the thermal mass of the first plate is increased tremendously over the 2nd plate. As we add thermal mass to plate 1, and remove it from plate 2, the Tdroop temperature moves up closer to Ti.

      • VikingExplorer,
        You’re still forgetting about the third body, the bank/Sun. The steady-state temperature of the first plate (the surface of the Earth) will have to end up higher with the second plate (the atmosphere) in place than without. The first plate needs to maintain a heat balance (Q_out = Q_in) with its source (the Sun), but the second plate isn’t letting it … until its mean temperature has increased. This is how the atmosphere insulates the surface of the Earth. The EFFECT is very real. The “back radiation” EXPLANATION of the effect is what is wrong, because it directly and falsely promotes extra HEATING of the surface by a cooler place that isn’t a separate energy source for the surface, just calling it ‘reduced cooling’. No, the atmosphere insulates the surface simply from being warmer (from having a higher temperature) than space, thus setting up a gentler temperature gradient away from the solar-heated surface, so that less energy goes out from the surface, making incoming solar pile up, forcing the surface temperature up.

      • You’re still forgetting about the third body, the bank/Sun. The steady-state temperature of the first plate (the surface of the Earth) will have to end up higher with the second plate (the atmosphere) in place than without.

        No, I’m not. Read my analysis again. It includes a constant incoming radiation. Even if the first plate is not in thermal equilibrium, but is rising, it doesn’t change the analysis.
        The transient temperature is higher, but not the steady state. You’re forgetting that while being heated by the sun, the surface temperature rise is limited by conductivity with the rest of the surface, not the air. Compared to the air (k=.022 W/(m.K)), the surface is quite a good conductor of heat: Earth-dry (k=1.5 W/(m.K)), Ground soil-very moist (k=1.4 W/(m.K)), Ground soil-very dry (k=.33 W/(m.K)), Rock-solid (k=2 – 7 W/(m.K)), Water (k=.58 W/(m.K))

        The first plate needs to maintain a heat balance (Q_out = Q_in) with its source (the Sun),

        No, it’s chasing thermal equilibrium, which means that as long as surface temperature is below 5780 K, it will keep rising until rotated out of direct view.

        This is how the atmosphere insulates the surface of the Earth. The EFFECT is very real.

        Empirical evidence and common sense says that the real effects of the thermal mass in the atmosphere are:
        a) lessen the steepness of the thermal gradient of the atmosphere
        b) moderate temperatures (reduce high temps in daytime / summer, increase low temps in night time / winter )
        It may be politically incorrect to point out, but the reality is that thermal mass in the atmosphere affects incoming radiation as well as outgoing. In terms of energy, more than 50% of the sunlight reaching the earth’s surface is infrared. Lowering thermal mass would have the effect of increasing high temperatures. That’s why more northern Phoenix is hotter than St Petersburg, FL.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunlight#mediaviewer/File:Solar_spectrum_en.svg

      • VikingExplorer,
        “The transient temperature is higher, but not the steady state.”
        Yes it is. This is a very simple 1st Law problem. A body/system (like the surface) needs to be in HEAT balance to maintain a steady temperature. If the heat IN (from the Sun) is kept constant, then if you reduce the heat OUT from the surface, the internal enegy [U] of the system will necessarily rise, because the Q [= Q_in – Q_out] term will be positive. When Q_out once again equals Q_in, at a higher steady state temperature, then the system HEAT balance is restored.
        “[The first plate is] chasing thermal equilibrium, which means that as long as surface temperature is below 5780 K, it will keep rising until rotated out of direct view.”
        What!? This is just silly. The surface (like any real-world object) warms whenever the INCOMING heat is greater than the OUTGOING heat. In between, excess incoming energy piles up at/below the surface, increasing its internal energy. At the point where the surface has reached a temperature where its heat OUT equals the heat IN, then steady state has been achieved. This temperature is nowhere near 5780K. How can you even consider that!?
        We appear to agree on most of the basics, VE. Where we disagree is apparently on the cool atmospheric radiative ‘flux’ to the warm surface. There you agree rather with Mi Cro and Bart. You simply appear to be saying it doesn’t matter. Well, if it exists, it does. It would reduce Q_out (the net energy). Just like Bart is saying.

        • Well, if it exists, it does. It would reduce Q_out (the net energy). Just like Bart is saying.

          It exists (you can see it on thermal cameras), it does reduce Q_out, but all with the expected classical thermodynamics result. Everything emits “back” radiation, it’s one big soup of IR photons of all different wavelengths, and they’re coming from every where, every object in a normal persons environment. All Integrated together it is CT.

      • Mi Cro,
        Yes, VikingExplorer can’t have it both ways. He can’t both agree with you there is an atmospheric radiative flux to the surface and claim it has no bearing on the surface steady-state temperature. He needs to sort this out.

      • body/system (like the surface) needs to be in HEAT balance to maintain a steady temperature … any real-world object) warms whenever the INCOMING heat is greater than the OUTGOING heat … At the point where the surface has reached a temperature where its heat OUT equals the heat IN, then steady state has been achieved

        You seem to not make any distinction between static equilibrium and dynamic equilibrium. You’re describing a dynamic equilibrium, yet calling it steady state.

        This temperature is nowhere near 5780K

        You’re right, it’s not 5780. The thought experiment specified a flat square meter plate, so the geometry is simple. If one side is facing the 1000 W/m^2, then the plate would continue to rise until Pout = Pin. With two sides radiating, it would be whatever temperature resulted in 500 W/m^2.

        Where we disagree is apparently on the cool atmospheric radiative ‘flux’ to the warm surface

        Kristian, it’s an inarguable fact that everything with a temperature emits radiation. It’s basic electromagnetics that moving electrons will create a EM field.

        can’t both agree with you there is an atmospheric radiative flux to the surface and claim it has no bearing on the surface steady-state temperature

        I think you need to sort out why Phoenix is hotter, even with a lower thermal mass atmosphere over it. Shouldn’t all the water vapor be increasing the temperature of St Petersburg FL, or are you sticking to the idea that the water vapor simply decides not to radiate, contrary to electromagnetics and the SB law?
        I think the disagreement is really about the use of the term “steady-state temperature”. I’ve already stated that there is a difference in the transient response. I think a key insight is that the surface is not limited to radiation. It’s highly conductive, and this heat transfer is based on delta T. If one threw a space blanket over a soccer field right after the sun stopped shining, one might think it would warm up the ground. However, as it cooled off slower than surrounding ground, it would set up a delta T, and that energy would be transferred anyways. No change in steady state temperature.

      • VikingExplorer,
        “You seem to not make any distinction between static equilibrium and dynamic equilibrium. You’re describing a dynamic equilibrium, yet calling it steady state.”
        I use the term ‘steady state’, yet could just as well have used the term ‘dynamic equilibrium’, yes. The definitions and distnictions might be a bit confusing, I realise. From wikipedia:
        “Steady state is a more general situation than dynamic equilibrium. If a system is in steady state, then the recently observed behavior of the system will continue into the future. (…) In many systems, steady state is not achieved until some time after the system is started or initiated. This initial situation is often identified as a transient state, start-up or warm-up period. (…) While a dynamic equilibrium occurs when two or more reversible processes occur at the same rate, and such a system can be said to be in steady state, a system that is in steady state may not necessarily be in a state of dynamic equilibrium, because some of the processes involved are not reversible.”
        It is still a steady state even if things are happening, VE. The only requirement is that there is, for instance, no more warming, no more accumulation of mass or energy.
        Day and night, summer and winter doesn’t really matter. There is always sunshine on half our globe and no sunshine on the other half. The respective hemispheres are simply changing constantly. Yes, a specific area of the global surface will warm during the day (accumulating energy) and cool during the night (shed excess energy). But the planetary surface as a whole won’t. The global energy content at any instant is ~ constant; likewise, for each specific area, the energy gain/loss across a full diurnal (and/or annual) cycle would normally be equal. Of course there are minor variations to this, but overall, the global surface of the Earth is in a definite steady state between incoming heat from the Sun and outgoing heat to the atmosphere/space. If this were not the case, we would see continued heating or cooling. When you heat an object, steady state is reached when its temperature no longer rises. It would rise fast at first and then gradually slower, until the heating rate levelled off to zero. At that point, the object’s HEAT OUT would finally equal its HEAT IN from it’s energy (heat) source.
        “Kristian, it’s an inarguable fact that everything with a temperature emits radiation. It’s basic electromagnetics that moving electrons will create a EM field.”
        You need to get your definitions straight here, VE. I’m not talking about photons flying around inside a radiation field. I’m talking about a thermodynamic FLUX of radiative energy, a TRANSFER of energy by radiation from the cool atmosphere to the warm surface. Suggesting that the DWLWIR is such a working and separate flux of energy is un-physical, illogical and simply at odds with reality.
        This is what you have to make up your mind about, VE. Because this is precisely the nonsense idea that Bart and Mi Cro are promoting. And I have explained above why such an idea is pure nonsense.
        You could also have a look at these links:
        http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/the-great-magical-greenhouse-effect-self-amplifying-loop/
        http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/how-the-ipcc-turn-calculated-numbers-into-heat/
        “I think you need to sort out why Phoenix is hotter, even with a lower thermal mass atmosphere over it. Shouldn’t all the water vapor be increasing the temperature of St Petersburg FL, or are you sticking to the idea that the water vapor simply decides not to radiate, contrary to electromagnetics and the SB law?”
        The WV (and clouds) radiate Earth’s energy to SPACE, VE, not back to the surface. Yes, St Petersburg is cooler than Phoenix (among other things) because it has a higher atmospheric content of H2O above it. H2O in the atmosphere acts radiatively COOLING, not warming. You can see more about that here:
        http://okulaer.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/the-greenhouse-effect-that-wasnt-part-2/
        “I think the disagreement is really about the use of the term “steady-state temperature”.
        No, it’s clearly more fundamental than that.
        “I think a key insight is that the surface is not limited to radiation.”
        No. That only confuses matters. This discussion is solely about the postulated rGHE and its extra surface warming by “atmospheric back radiation”. Forget about conduction/evaporation. In the real world, they’re both crucial, of course. But you can’t bring them in here to explain away the “back radiation” warming mechanism of the rGHE adherents. They, after all, assume all else is equal. There is ONLY a change (increase) in “back radiation”. According to how you appear to see radiation and fluxes back and forth, increasing the “back radiation” and keeping the solar input to the surface constant, by the 1st Law of Thermodynamics MUST make the surface warm to a new steady state. I don’t think anyone here on this thread is convinced in the least by your attempts to escape that basic fact.
        You can’t have it both ways, VE. If there is such a thing as a distinct flux of energy being radiated from the cooler atmosphere down to the warmer surface, which you seem to be arguing, then this will HAVE TO do something. It will HAVE TO be accounted for. And this ‘something’ is, reducing the Q_out from the surface. Forcing the surface to WARM to restore balance.

      • But the planetary surface as a whole won’t. The global energy content at any instant is ~ constant

        Bad assumption. In fact, Earth is generally exothermic, meaning that it’s slowly cooling off, and has been for a long time. As I’ve been saying for a decade, and George has been saying here recently, the correct approach is to analyze the time domain dynamics, and not the average of average of averages.

        If this were not the case, we would see continued heating or cooling.

        But we do.

        You need to get your definitions straight here, VE. I’m not talking about photons flying around inside a radiation field. I’m talking about a thermodynamic FLUX of radiative energy, a TRANSFER of energy

        Your terminology is unclear. Bottom line: all matter with electrons radiates according to it’s temperature. However, empirical evidence, as expressed in the 2nd law, says that when it comes to temperature, only delta T matters.
        Picture a large room, with everything in thermal equilibrium at say Troom. The room contains a dozen very widely spaced objects. Suddenly, a person moves them all really close to each other, but not touching. Would their temperatures go up? No, because they all have the same temperature, so there is no delta T, so no net energy transfer, because all the radiation comes to nothing.

        Because this is precisely the nonsense idea that Bart and Mi Cro are promoting. And I have explained above why such an idea is pure nonsense.

        It’s also nonsense to deny that all matter with electrons radiates according to it’s temperature.

      • If there is such a thing as a distinct flux of energy being radiated from the cooler atmosphere down to the warmer surface, which you seem to be arguing, then this will HAVE TO do something. It will HAVE TO be accounted for.

        Does it? Let’s be honest. I’m not totally certain of any of this. Neither are you of what you write, neither is anybody else. However, I’m pretty sure that you won’t find “back radiation” considered in any thermodynamic or analytical chemistry text book.

        “The Stefan-Boltzmann law radiation law says radiation rate is proportional to its absolute temperature **4, no T difference involved; the radiation rate of 150 is proportional to its radiating T = (65.6 + 273)**4, no matter what the surroundings. However, the absorption rate of real bodies depends on whether the absorber T (radiating or not), is less than the intercepted radiation T, or not. If the receiver T > intercepted T, no absorption occurs; if the receiver T < intercepted T the absorption rate may be as great as proportional to (T intercepted – T absorber), depending on the amounts reflected, transmitted or scattered." -Pierre R Latour, PE, PhD Chemical Engineering

        I find the PE designation particularly compelling.

        “When a photon of energy strikes the atom or molecule, absorption may occur if the difference in energy, ΔE, between the ground state and the excited state is equal to the photon’s energy” -Analytical Chemistry 2.0 (D. Harvey)

        I find this explanation compelling. I could be wrong, but it seems to be that a photon released by a colder object doesn’t have the right amount of energy to trigger absorption into a warmer object. The bottom line is that when it comes to science, empirical evidence rules. Yes, Dr. Nasif Nahle has impressive credentials, but more importantly, he appears to be applying the principles of the scientific method:
        http://principia-scientific.org/publications/New_Concise_Experiment_on_Backradiation.pdf

        • “Let’s be honest. I’m not totally certain of any of this. Neither are you of what you write, neither is anybody else. ”
          Wrong, I’m certain.
          “However, I’m pretty sure that you won’t find “back radiation” considered in any thermodynamic or analytical chemistry text book.”
          You’re looking in the wrong books then.
          Try a physics book and look for a two body S – B equation.

      • Except, Thermodynamics is the right text book for a study about Temperature. As has been explained to you, SB is about temperature causing radiation, not the other way around.
        A misunderstanding about SB can’t overturn and invalidate all of the thermo and 100 years of empirical evidence. If you believe otherwise, you’re certain of nothing.

        • As has been explained to you, SB is about temperature causing radiation, not the other way around.

          It works both ways! Every emitting surface also absorbs radiation, and photons are the energy carriers for electromagnetic fields. SB calculates radiation from a single body in Watts/M^2, an energy flux, 2 body SB includes an exchange of energy flux from/to both objects, but the net is always from warm to cold.

          A misunderstanding about SB can’t overturn and invalidate all of the thermo and 100 years of empirical evidence.

          And for the the 100th time, SB is 100% compatible with “thermo”! They describe the same physics.

          Let’s be honest. I’m not totally certain of any of this.

          This explains everything, you are confused! But you being confused does not mean I’m confused, I’m not confused.

      • [SB] works both ways!

        SB definitely does NOT describe or deal with absorption of radiation.
        If bodies at the same temperature absorbed radiation, then suddenly surrounding one object with many other objects would raise the temperature of the one surrounded.
        You haven’t read what Dr. Latour or Dr. Nasif Nahle have written, or the quote from the Analytical Chemistry text book, because you don’t want to know. If you were a curious person, you would also read:
        http://www.csc.kth.se/~cgjoh/blackbodyslayer.pdf (Dr. Claes Johnson: Master of Engineering, Chalmers Univ. of Technology, 1969, Ph.D. in Mathematics, Chalmers Univ. of Technology, 1973)
        There is direct empirical evidence contradicting the “back radiation” speculative idea. There is a big hole in your knowledge that nothing can fill, except your own curiosity.

    • I most whole heartedly agree with tom in Florida. I believe we see, and have always seen a large difference in temperatures throughout the year – the seasons I beleive. Given the seasons depend not only on the Earth Sun distance but also on angle of incidednce, then the Southern hemispehere is in summer when we in the Northern are in winter.
      Surely this is sufficient to smooth out the variation in teh global average ) since you are essentially always averaging Summer and Winter temperatures.
      I have long believed that a global average temperature is a meaningless and therefore useless number, that is essentially made up. I am also concerned about the use of anomolies and the associated homoginisation ( frigging? ) of the data.
      I beleive it would be a better measure to calculate the trends for each recording station using raw absolute and unadjusted data, and then see if there is any descernable pattern in the trends. Adjustments and analysis and determination of systematic error can then be done in the light of identifiable station characteristics. it also woud remove the complexities of spatial averaging, which is non-sense if local geography is not taken into account.
      I do not beleive using anomolies are in any way better for comaprision over large areas. For example, last Friday night there was a 4 degree C difference between where I live and the next village about three miles down the road.
      So I agree with tom, a single Global average temp is just meaningless.

      • I also agree, coming up with a global average temperature is ok for comparing the temperatures between planets. Using it to track and then even worse predict termperatures on a planet as diverse as ours has always seemed a fools errand to me.
        Just quickly walking across my yard, I get different temperatures at different ends of the yard, so the idea of absolute temperatures is out the window, it varies by meters and minutes. That leaves trends. I can take a temperature reading everyday at the same spot, at the same time in my yard and then trend the readings.
        That will work for my yard, but only my yard. My neighbors yard will have a different trend. Even assuring that the time of day and location is the same and in either full sun or shade, we will still get a different trend simpy due to geography, surrounding structures and different foliage causing different temperature flux leading up to the magic moment temperature read. As pointed out in the article with clouds, there are factors we have poor understanding of and I’ll add factors we still don’t know we don’t know. But we continue on, in my neighborhood we average the temperature trends in the two yards and get a trend for a non-existent location since the trend reflects neither yard. Using that trend of a non-existent location we predict the the temperature of my neighbors yard 100 years from now. Which is what climate models do, come up with trends for a non-existent planet, and then extrapolates those trends into the future which is easy since make-believe planets behave very consistently and predictably over time.
        That they do this to hundredths of a degree makes it even more absurd.

      • Another good way of pointing out the absurdity of using a global average temperature as a measure of some planetary energy imbalance is this:
        If you put an equal amount of energy into a volume of dry, cold polar air and then into a volume of moist, warm tropical air containing as much mass, then the temperature of the former volume would rise a lot more than the temperature of the latter one. Even if the energy added is just the same.
        This is how temperatures are amplified moving away from the tropics.
        So any process moving relatively more of the energy absorbed in the tropics out to the extratropics (that’s how the climate system works, after all) – the temperate zones and the polar regions – would raise what we call ‘the average global temperature’, but not necessarily global energy content.

  3. “The feedback that negates the effect of 22 W/m2 should be of huge concern to climate modelers.”
    Yeah. As if they are concerned with their models working properly and possibly NOT showing that CO2 is going to destroy the planet. I do not think they are going to even read about this. For them, it’s a yawn, as they already know the answer they want and have.

  4. Well argued. Seems worth serious consideration by the true experts who read these posts.
    I, too, think albedo effects are not well enough understood and consequently poorly modeled. The laymen’s observations of sudden, large temperature drops when clouds block sunlight illustrate the point.
    CO2 seems an unlikely suspect based on history but SOMETHING has accounted for variations we humans experience as huge changes in our world. Humankind needs to search for facts and data more and political/theological conclusions less. Real data and real answers will improve lives, new ideologies (or variations on old ones) not so much.

    • True. Too short period such as 60 years always calls for looking closer at the algoritm behind the computerprogram chosen. The figure that might have been observed had the computer program used only emperi-data as input value might fall within Tjebychev’s theorem and not been significant enough for the model to observe using 60 years 11 cycle differences.
      Only real data and data from at leat four times more GPS-points each day 1 meter resp 3 meters below waterlevel comparing those over at least 100 years real observations close to coast and meassured in open sea far from land might result in a true significant peak, but that’s not certain. Even good models from algoritms looking into 80% of all “needed” premises might not result in sound conclusion.
      Computersystem and computerprogram might be logic within assumed but not within emperic “true” input figures resulting in a non-sound conclusion…

  5. Leif Svalgaard thinks that ~ 0.1oC temperature variations are real; however, he mistakenly persists in thinking that TSI variations of order 0.1 W/m2 at the earth surface can cause such temperature changes in several tens of meters of upper oceans.
    you seem to be off by a factor of the order of 15. The TSI variation with the solar cycle is not 0.1 W/m2, but about 1.5 W/m2.

    • Even if you insist on measuring TSI at the surface [divide by 4 and take a fraction 0.7 = 0.3 W/m2] you are still way off. I’m perfectly happy to live with the assumption that the 0.1 C temperature variation is observed. I expect 0.07 C which may be in the noise.

      • Leif, If it will make you happier, I will even concede that 70% of that 1/4 W/m^2 is available to heat the atmosphere if you will concede that 0.15 W/m^2 is the part that hits the surface where it could cause some temperature increase if not too deeply buried. But that’s the problem. It is buried.

      • I don’t think you or anybody else have a good estimate of what is ‘buried’. And where it is. The point is that you should not ascribe something to me I din’t say. So you will make me happy to concede that.

    • Leif,
      You need to get your arithmetic straight. The average amount that hits the top of earth’s atmosphere is only 1/4 of 1 W/m^2 (Data that you posted on your web site for three recent solar cycles shows 1 W/m^2, not 1.5, of which 1/4 W/m^2 is the average over earth area and day/night cycles.) Then, as I explained, what actually reaches the ground in all wavelengths is about 0.15 W/m^2. About 1/8 W/m^2 in UV/Vis goes right into water and penetrates several meters. By ten meters depth, the heat capacity of the waters is already about 4X times that of the atmosphere. Conduction will take the heat even deeper. I stand by my statements as written in the article. You can continue to misunderstand if you wish.

      • 1: The usual solar cycle variation of TSI is about 1.4 W/m2, not 1 W/m2
        2: 1.4/4 = 0.35
        3: with albedo being 0.29. what reaches the surface is (1-0.29)*0.35 = 0.25 W/m2, not 0.1 W/m2
        4: regardless of the above we must have dT/T = dS/S/4 [S is TSI] = 1.4/1361/4 = 0.000257 which with T = 288 K gives dT = 0.074 K
        5: this is the expected change in temperature for a change of 1.4 W/m2 in TSI. Assume that for a million years you had TSI = 1360.6 and for the next million years TSI is 1362.0. Any much shorter time scale would make dT less than 0.074 K
        6: you can stand by your statement, but should not falsely ascribe something to me.

      • If the solar variation were 1 W/m2, I would expect dT = 0.05 C or less [if the oceans dampen the variation], but my point is that you are putting words in my mouths that I have not uttered.

    • I’ll have to agree with Leif on these points: It’s more like an additional 1.5 W/m2 during a solar max, not .1. Solar energy striking the earth system in general is relevant, not just what happens to make it to the surface. No energy can be buried. It either does Work, or is Heat.

  6. Stan, Thank you. Very nicely discussed. You provide some interesting thoughts and ideas to ponder on for a few days, read a couple of times and then comment. Analyses like this are best considered and reflected on before commenting.
    As an aside, this may be in line with the emergent phenomena hypothesis of climate regulation that Willis brings up from time to time. There is possibly something to it. The fact that water readily transitions between 3 phases in the troposphere and surface interfaces, the enormous reservoir and heat buffering of the liquid phase component, bio-geo-chemical weathering forces on multi-logtime scales, the long-lived magneto-dynamo of the earth, and the tidal-spinLOD interplays all suggest some complex emergent behavior (regulation) could arise over the many millions of years with our quiet solar neighborhood. And cloud-albedo changes could be a predictor-indicator of that behavior. But mankind is likely centuries, if ever, from being able to understand it, if it exists.

  7. “One of the first suggested explanations for the lack of annual cycles that I recall was that the variations might occur too fast for the earth mean temperature to respond.”
    Well, the obvious explanation for its absence from an anomaly time series is that the anomaly process will subtract them out, along with seasonal variation. There may well be such a cycle, but you can’t look to anomalies to find it.

    • Very good, that would be a simple enough reason for their failure to show if the anomaly calculations are done month by month, location by location by subtracting off some long time average for each one and averaging the results for a global anomaly. To the extent that solar cycles are repeatable and periodic within the averaging period, any solar cycle variations would remain.

    • Oh good grief,, “too fast for the earth mean temperature to respond” Where has everyone been for the last 24hour temperature swing. Maybe there is too much engineer in me, but, The climate is just another example of an energy system, describable just like any other. I have yet to see any magic at play, just physical properties. I used to work on a hydro plant where the input head could vary by 10%. The output was rock steady. Reason: a governing system and a flywheel. Same as in any other energy device that I have worked on analogue or digital.
      The on/off cycle of daily input from the sun seems to me to be fairly detectable, even by the unobservant ones such as myself. The response rate of the atmosphere is on the order of over 5 degrees per hour in desert conditions and 1 degree in moist. The absence of yearly or 11 year cycles on small changes in the input is diagnostic of a governor in the system.
      The governor gets overwhelmed at night and during winter, It works properly during the day and in summer.
      Now the question is, what is that governing system? Well, I’m looking at moisture, latent heat is a massive heat storage device, and clouds are a very complex device. Co2,,,, pah,,
      Now the big problem is trying to find out what is setting the governed max temp, there seems to be dual attactors at play here, one around 0 C and another around 30 C.
      This planet should be called Water,, not Earth.

      • “The absence of yearly or 11 year cycles on small changes in the input is diagnostic of a governor in the system.”
        The absence of the 11-year cycle is easily explained by the very small input.
        As for the annual cycle, we do have a large seasonal response to insolation change. Insolation changes due to the combined effects of axis tilt and orbital eccentricity, both annual. I don’t see how these causes can be separated by observing temperature cycles.

      • Bill, the operative word in “too fast for the earth mean temperature to respond” is “mean”. You are talking about a local response to heat flux. Everyone agrees that the temp rises in one’s yard when the sun rises. But why doesn’t the average global temp vary in accordance with the large annual variation of solar insolation due to the changing Earth-Sun distance over the course of a year is the question.
        Everyone also agrees that the oceans are a tremendous moderator (being a humongous heat sink) of temperatures at all time scales. Many agree that clouds are the governor you refer to. I speculate that the larger component of oceans in the SH provide sufficient cloud production to “govern” the greater solar input to the Earth during SH summer.
        SR

      • “This planet should be called Water,, not Earth.”
        As I been saying for years, we live in a big swamp cooler. But, of course, you can’t tax water vapor.

      • I agree with Bill. This is no surprise.
        The post analysis is flawed. It accepts the premise of AGW proponents and confuses power with energy.
        Solar energy is an instantaneous power input (Watts) into earth but the global mean temperature represents an accumulated energy (Joules) in the earth system, consisting of land, sea and atmosphere. To help clarify this relationship, I’ll illustrate by comparing TSI with speed and Temperature with Position on a cross country trip.
        Daily variation: represents a change from 1362 W/m^2 to zero. Every time I stop my car at a red light, my position stops changing. Not too surprising.
        Monthly variation: represents a change from 6073 kJ/m^2 to 22351 kJ/m^2, which 3.68x the minimum (Chicago). Every time I start driving 3.7 times faster, I make a lot more progress.
        Annual variation: This is only a 6% change from minimum to maximum. Whenever I start driving 67 mph, I make slightly more progress than when I drive 63 mph. However, this variation is very sinusoidal. Two cars, one going exactly 65, and the other varying between 63 and 67 will get from sea to shining sea at almost exactly the same time.
        Decadal variation: represents only a rate change of .1%. It does add up to something over 5 years, but in no way compares to Daily or Monthly variation.
        The key point is that of these 4 types of variations, if we integrate them over 5 years, they would all sum to zero difference from average except for the Solar cycle. It’s amplitude varies, and more importantly, the frequency varies a lot.
        The bottom line is that even simple thermodynamic systems typically do not show periodic input power variations in output temperatures. It’s absurd to expect an extremely complex system such as Earth with sinusoidal input power variations as small as 6% to show up in component temperatures.

    • Nick Stokes wrote, ” the obvious explanation for its absence from an anomaly time series is that the anomaly process will subtract them out, along with seasonal variation. There may well be such a cycle, but you can’t look to anomalies to find it.”
      Precisely.

    • Well, the obvious explanation for its absence from an anomaly time series is that the anomaly process will subtract them out, along with seasonal variation. There may well be such a cycle, but you can’t look to anomalies to find it.

      Spot on! I’m with Nick on this one. The obvious reason why you cannot see the anual variation of 22W/m2 reflected in the temperatures is that you are looking at temperature ANOMALIES, which is the temperature compared to the average temperature of the same place at the same time of the year, which substracts any seasonal variation. So any conclusion based on “22W/m2 have no effect on the temperatures” is based on a false premise.

    • That’s just right.
      Anomalies don’t show periodic variations.
      So have I missed what this article is for? I don’t understand.

  8. Does anyone have any figures for the difference in wm2 for summer and winter (at any latitude) please

    • stuartlarge
      November 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm Edit
      Does anyone have any figures for the difference in wm2 for summer and winter (at any latitude) please

      For every day-of-year (DOY), TOA radiation at top-of-atmosphere follows a cosine equation curve fit to Leif’s 10 years of SORCE measured radiation data within +/- 0.30 watt/m^2 every day with the following:
      TOA =1362.36+46.142*(COS(0.0167299*(DOY)+0.03150896))
      Above is in radians, using Excel’s “language” for DOY from 1 to 366.
      For Latitude in Radians, again using Excel’s language,
      where TAU = Day_Angle (based on Day-of-Year) TAU = 2*3.1415*(DOY-1)/365
      Declination angle =0.006918-0.399912*COS(TAU)+0.070257*SIN(TAU)-0.006758*COS(2*(TAU))+0.000907*SIN(2*(TAU))-0.002697*COS(3*(TAU))+0.00148*SIN(3*(TAU))
      We can keep going, because, based on each hour-of-day and day-of-year, you can get the actual radiation falling (in clear skies) on each sq meter at any latitude for any hour of the day.
      The values in the graphs are above are represent daily total approximations. NOT the actual radiation falling on a flat surface at that latitude.
      Thus, for the following day-of-year values, top-of-atmosphere radiation =

      Date 	D-of-Y	TOA_Rad.
      5-Jan	5	1408
      21-Mar	81	1371
      21-Jun	173	1317
      5-Jul	187	1316
      22-Sep	266	1352
      21-Dec	356	1406
      
      • For today, 11 November, for example, at latitude -60 South (right at the edge of the Antarctic sea ice)
        today’s radiation on the sea surface is:

        TSI Ave=	1362	1388	<=TOA Today	DOY (Today) =	315	11-Nov	<=Date (Today)
        				LAT (Deg) =	-60	-1.047	<=LAT (Rad)
        Date 	DofY	TOA_Rad.	        	-0.301	<=DECL_Rad
        5-Jan	5	1408				5.41	<=TAU, Day Angle
        21-Mar	81	1371		ATF (Attenuation)=	0.85
        21-Jun	173	1317
        5-Jul	187	1316
        22-Sep	266	1352
        21-Dec	356	1406				Perp Surface    Flat Surface
        Hour	HRA	SEA_Rad	SEA   Air_Mass	DIR_ATT	Rad_Perp	Rad_Horiz.
        0.0	-3.1416	-0.2231	-12.8	0.000	0.000	0	        0
        1.0	-2.8798	-0.2064	-11.8	0.000	0.000	0	        0
        3.0	-2.3562	-0.0814	 -4.7	0.000	0.000	0	        0
        5.0	-1.8326	 0.1332	  7.6	7.156	0.313	434	        58
        7.0	-1.3090	 0.3898	 22.3	2.617	0.654	907	        345
        9.0	-0.7854	 0.6361	 36.4	1.680	0.761	1056	        628
        11.0	-0.2618	 0.8005	 45.9	1.392	0.798	1107	        794
        12.0	0.0000	 0.8241	 47.2	1.361	0.802	1113	        817
        13.0	0.2618	 0.8005	 45.9	1.392	0.798	1107	        794
        15.0	0.7854	 0.6361	 36.4	1.680	0.761	1056	        628
        17.0	1.3090	 0.3898	 22.3	2.617	0.654	907	        345
        19.0	1.8326	 0.1332	  7.6	7.156	0.313	434	        58
        21.0	2.3562	-0.0814	 -4.7	0.000	0.000	0	        0
        23.0	2.8798	-0.2064	-11.8	0.000	0.000	0	        0
        24.0	3.1416	-0.2231	-12.8	0.000	0.000	0	        0
        

        Above:
        HRA = Hour Angle (0 at local noon)
        SEA = Solar Elevation Angle. If negative, the sun is below the horizon.
        Air_Mass = Amount of air the sunlight must penetrate to hit the ground.
        If Air_Mass = 0, the sun is below the horizon, and no sunlight hits the surface.
        Dir_ATT = Attenuation factor that air mass at that elevation angle for polar skies.
        RAD_Perp = Sunlight falling on a flat surface perpendicular to the sun’s rays.
        RAD_Hori = Sunlight falling on a flat surface at groundlevel parallel to the ground.

  9. Dr. Robertson, so glad to see you are still searching for answers into that same area of solar variances. That really takes some perseverance and patience.
    That is an excellent, excellent way to approach this analysis and is greatly appreciated.

  10. lsvalgaard
    November 11, 2014 at 8:24 pm
    6: you can stand by your statement, but should not falsely ascribe something to me.
    ——————————————–
    I took your TSI data, and found 1 W/m^2, not 1.4, so that is not false. But it is also true that I found that it would require 1 W/m^2 to give the 0.13 C peak to trough temperature variations at the ocean surfaces. So I am not misrepresenting the fact that you think that even 0.25 W/m^2 can cause the observed temperature changes when it cannot. Nor am I misrepresenting the fact that your dT/T calculation must apply at the top of the atmosphere, not at the earth surface. When you do a correct calculation of the surface temperature, let me know the result.

    • You are playing with the numbers here. The TSI variation is not the same in every cycle. For cycles 17, 18, 19, 21, 22 the variation was 1.4. for very small cycles it is less. Then you say that 1 W/m2 gives a 0.13 C dT. Now is that at the TOA or at the surface? You are misrepresenting me when you claim that I say that 0.25 W/m2 [at the surface] can cause the 0.13 C. My dT/T calculation is valid at the surface as well [think about it]. Using T = 288 K incorporates albedo and greenhouse effects automatically, and so is correct. To paraphrase you: you can continue not to understand, if you wish. But the main point is that you falsely claim I have said things that I have not [“he mistakenly persists in thinking that TSI variations of order 0.1 W/m2 at the earth surface can cause such temperature changes…”]

      • I did not say that you said things that you never said. I said that you must think some things that I think to be mistaken. Now you are telling me that your calculation would apply at earth’s surface. Tell me how your calculation would change if the earth were everywhere covered with a material at a phase transition temperature.

      • I said that you must think some things that I think to be mistaken
        ‘I must think’? how do you know what I must think? Do you tell me what I must think?
        For the record, I do not think that a solar cycle variation in T has been established. I have calculated it to be small [0.05-0.07 K] and so probably buried in the noise. Many people claim to have found a larger variation. I can live with a variation of 0.1 K, but no larger.
        If you have difficulty about how to calculate the temperature this tutorial might help:
        http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/mathstatmodels/examples/GEBM1.html

      • What I wrote was “Leif Svalgaard thinks that ~ 0.1oC temperature variations are real; however, he mistakenly persists in thinking that TSI variations of order 0.1 W/m2 at the earth surface can cause such temperature changes in several tens of meters of upper oceans. ”
        Leif, I apologize for offending you with that last part that says “in several tens of meters of upper oceans.” You obviously do think that the small TSI variations at the surface can cause the surface temperature to vary. You have so stated.
        But I conclude that you do not believe that the TSI variations would enter tens of meters of the oceans at all. Now It would be a neat trick if a “just right” part of the solar spectral radiation could avoid entry into the water, but please explain that to me. I think that you are missing some serious physics here. Having the energy enter and later leave a material with a huge heat capacity is a bit like having it absorbed in a phase transition zone where it would not produce a temperature change, it just needs to be able to enter and leave somewhat reversibly.

      • It is not about ‘tens of meters’ and you are missing my point: I do not think a solar cycle variation of T has been established in the first place. I have calculated from energy balance that such variation should be small and therefore hard to dig out of the noise. I can live with a very small variation no larger than 0.1 C; any larger and we would have found it. As a consequence, discussing the details of the process is somewhat pointless. What I objected to [as any reasonable person would do] is you projecting what you think I ‘must think’, mistaken or not.

      • I think you’re both missing some math and science (namely calculus and thermo). I would suggest retaking those courses. 🙂 Just friendly banter, don’t over react.
        Leif>> I have calculated from energy balance that such variation should be small. … I can live with a variation of 0.1 K, but no larger.
        Your answer may be nearly correct, but the method is wrong. I have already demolished your assumption about radiative balance. There is no law of physics supporting the assumption or the idea that temperature variations inside the system cannot be larger than .1 K. If only 37% of the extra energy from a solar max were in the atmosphere, it would result in a 2 degree increase. Girma showed a graph that seems to show it as varying between .1 and .2.
        Bones>> I think that you are missing some serious physics here. Having the energy enter and later leave a material with a huge heat capacity is a bit like having it absorbed in a phase transition zone where it would not produce a temperature change
        It should be fairly obvious that from a thermodynamic point of view, solar energy generally flows from sun to land & sea, then to atmosphere, then to space. As such, there is nothing mysterious about solar energy being absorbed by the ocean, then released to the atmosphere.
        For example, 50 meters of ocean need to be 26.5 C, in order to support a tropical cyclone. How did 50 meters of ocean get to be 80 degrees F? The sun. Apparently, you are claiming that the ocean at 80 F doesn’t heat the atmosphere? Otherwise, how can you possibly say “Having the energy enter and later leave a material .. where it would not produce a temperature change”? You’ve averaged away the dynamics.
        You seem to be missing the science of thermodynamics, with emphasis on thermo and dynamics. It seems like when people reduce everything to averages over time and every square meter of earth, they can convince themselves of very strange non physical ideas. In thermodynamics, it’s delta T that matters. The sun is still hotter than the 80 F ocean, so it’s still heating it. The air above the ocean will be quickly heated by the water until it’s in near thermal equilibrium. The atmosphere is the thermodynamic slave of the ocean, because of the difference in heat capacity.
        You seem to be missing the math of calculus. Solar energy is an instantaneous power input (Watts) into earth but the global mean temperature represents an accumulated energy (Joules) in the earth system, consisting of land, sea and atmosphere. To calculate the change in input energy, you need to integrate over time ( ʃ TSI dt ). That results in 2.746 x10^22 Joules. This is 2.66 x the amount needed to raise the atmospheric temperature by 2 degrees. This is 1/53 of the total energy of the atmosphere. This is 1.8x the total energy received each day from the sun.
        I wouldn’t be surprised if it was bigger, but I’m also not surprised that with all the complexities of the system, it’s in .1 to .2 range. I’m just reacting to you saying that it’s impossible. This is clearly wrong. It’s like saying it’s impossible that slightly increasing bank deposits for 5 years will result in more money in the account.

      • I have already demolished your assumption about radiative balance. There is no law of physics supporting the assumption or the idea that temperature variations inside the system cannot be larger than .1 K.
        You have ‘demolished’ nothing and seem to have an overinflated opinion of your own capability [like many here]. Over a long enough period [e.g. a million years] there will be balance regardless of variations within the period.

      • >> Over a long enough period [e.g. a million years] there will be balance regardless of variations within the period
        By saying this, you are admitting that the assumption is invalid, which also means that the dT/T calculation is invalid. In words, your calculation says that when additional energy is input into the system, 1) there is a radiative imbalance and 2) it’s immediately present in the upper troposphere to radiate away additional energy at the same rate as it is coming in (Pout = Pin).
        The reality (which is implied by your words “a million years”): Earth is exothermic, on average, always bleeding off more energy than is coming in. The additional energy from a solar max, instead of triggering a fictional Pin = Pout, actually accumulates energy in Earth components (land, sea, atmosphere), according to the laws of thermodynamics. So, instead of additional Pin resulting in just additional Pout, it is actually more likely to result in varying internal component temperatures (including possibly the upper troposphere), additional work (e.g. cyclone), or simply slightly more –time– until balance is achieved (a million years plus a couple of days).

      • By saying this, you are admitting that the assumption is invalid, which also means that the dT/T calculation is invalid. In words, your calculation says that when additional energy is input into the system, 1) there is a radiative imbalance and 2) it’s immediately present in the upper troposphere to radiate away additional energy at the same rate as it is coming in (Pout = Pin).
        Nonsense. My calculation [as I detailed] deals with the case where the incoming energy is absolutely constant for a million years. Then increases by a small amount and stays constant at the slightly higher value for the next million years.

      • >> My calculation [as I detailed] deals with the case where the incoming energy is absolutely constant for a million years. Then increases by a small amount and stays constant at the slightly higher value for the next million years.
        Except that seems to be some case you just made up. The reality is that input energy from one solar max accumulates for 5 years or so (about 2 solar days). That energy adds to the pile of energy of the earth, according to the laws of thermodynamics. It may never end up in the upper troposphere, radiating away to space. In this case, it would take a million years + 2 days to reach balance. In this case, setting Pout = Pin was never correct. The assumption is demolished.
        Anyone who says that they are calculating a temperature of earth or an earth component, based on radiative physics, are simply deluding themselves and other people. You can’t pretend that there isn’t a large and extremely complex thermodynamic system between input and output. You can’t pretend that there is some law of physics that says that planets must be in radiative balance.
        There is a dramatic difference between “what would the earth have to warm up to, in order to radiate with the same power as is coming in” AND “what are the thermodynamic effects on a complex system from various energy inputs”.

      • It was made to illustrate the effect of a small change in TSI over long periods. Over much shorter periods the thermal inertia of the system will make the change less, so the solar cycle effect calculated from the long timescale radiative equilibrium will be an upper limit.
        You can’t pretend that there is some law of physics that says that planets must be in radiative balance
        Conservation of energy does the trick nicely.
        Or perhaps your system of 25 equations with 25 variables is based on sometime else…

      • >> so the solar cycle effect calculated from the long timescale radiative equilibrium will be an upper limit
        Actually, it’s more like a lower limit. As I’ve said, 2 days of solar energy is more than enough to raise the atmosphere by 2 degrees C.
        >> Conservation of energy does the trick nicely.
        The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system cannot change. Leif, is Earth an isolated system?

      • >> Nonsense repeated is still nonsense
        I see a similarity between you and Lewandowsky. So smart, but emotion controls the intellect.
        >> And the Sun+Earth is an isolated system
        So, are you saying that Sun+Earth is in radiative balance with it’s environment?
        And how does that translate into an assumption that a single component inside the “system” must be in radiative balance? And if so, why doesn’t it apply to Jupiter?

      • It does apply to Jupiter. You just have to take into account the internal sources as well. [same for Earth, except it is negligible and constant on timescales we care about].

      • Nonsense repeated is still nonsense.
        From a psychiatric point of view, it might not be wise to keep pushing you toward the breaking point of your world view. Ahh, what the hell…
        So, to clarify, you believe that because of “conservation of energy”:
        The Sun+Earth “system” is in radiative balance with it’s environment.
        This means that a component inside the “system”, like earth, must also remain in radiative balance.
        Jupiter is in radiative balance with it’s environment, when you consider internal energy sources.
        All non sense in reality, but now this is more interesting from a psychological point of view. A carefully constructed world view with strong walls for defenses.
        Leif, don’t you have students who would be embarrassed to read this? Oh wait, you have to believe all this, so you just give them an “F” for being stupid, so your world view isn’t threatened.
        I’m going to laugh a good long time at the idea that conservation of energy can translate into Sun+Earth being in radiative balance. I guess for some people’s world view sanctity, stars shining in must equal sun shining out. Jupiter isn’t hot because of a gravity collapse in the past, it’s in radiative balance with parts of itself. A contradiction in terms, but that’s what’s necessary to keep up the façade of an intact world view, where internal temperature’s of extremely complex thermodynamic systems can be calculated quickly and easily.

  11. I think the IPCC concept is that the Earth is, indeed, a highly efficient energy redistribution machine. The 22 W/m2 variation has, over time, come into a stat of harmony and the current temperature variations regionally and temporally reflect this. The IPCC model is that this state is stable but extremely sensitive in a chaotic way. A small amount of extra energy will throw the system towards some other, stable state, but what that state will be is unknown (and possibly calamatous).
    The skeptic position as I see it, and the one I hold, is that the current 22 W/m2 variation has been evened out to prduce the world we have today, but that it is not a fixed state dependend on the exact 22 W/m2 arriving when and where it does, but a more-or-less fixed state requiring a significant change to modify it at all, and not in a chaotic way. If a doublly of CO2 is 3.5 W/m2, then the energy redistribution system would be 22 working up and down from a general 341.5 + 3.5 W/m2. We’d hardly notice it.
    It all comes down to our climate being squishy or rigid in the face of solar heating.

  12. When thinking about clouds – y’all might consider the changing cloud cover in the different latitude bands,
    See Fig 11 in Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2014, 4, 727-742
    Published Online October 2014 in SciRes
    . http://www.scirp.org/journal/acs
    http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/acs.2014.44066
    Here is the conclusion
    “Since 1950, global average temperature anomalies have been driven firstly, from 1950 to 1987, by a sustained shift in ENSO conditions, by reductions in total cloud cover (1987 to late 1990s) and then a shift from low cloud to mid and high-level cloud, with both changes in cloud cover being very widespread.
    According to the energy balance described by Trenberth et al. (2009) [34], the reduction in total cloud cover
    accounts for the increase in temperature since 1987, leaving little, if any, of the temperature change to be attributed to other forcings.
    With ISCCP cloud cover data available only for the period from 1984 to 2009 this hypothesis should be regarded as tentative.”

  13. “What remains to be seen is whether the amounts of cosmic ray produced condensation nuclei and their variations are capable of significantly modulating the amount and reflectivity of cloud cover. This should be settled by measurements within the next decade or two. It would take very little change of cloud cover to produce the 0.13 oC peak to trough temperature oscillations at the 11 year period shown in Fig. 2. In the WUWT article in which I first used Fig. 2, I showed that it would take peak to trough variation of solar flux of about 1 W/m2, averaged over the sea surfaces to produce this temperature oscillation.”
    My comment: Interesting that you got “peak to trough variation of solar flux of about 1 W/m2” because in 2011 James Hansen got 0.58 Wm-2 as the energy imbalance. In 2012 Loeb et al. updated this to 0.5 Wm-2.
    Observed changes in top-of-the-atmosphere radiation and upper-ocean heating consistent within uncertainty.
    (NATURE GEOSCIENCE j VOL 5 j FEBRUARY 2012)
    URL: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~sgs02rpa/PAPERS/Loeb12NG.pdf
    So your estimate of the effect of clouds was twice as large as NASA scientist’s estimate of energy imbalance.

    • Thanks. As someone pointed out above you can’t expect to find an annual signal in a dataset that has subtracted the annual variation at each grid cell.
      HadSST3 is an anomaly dataset !!
      The fact that there is a small annual residual is probably due to a small difference in the mean annual cycle of the data from the mean annual cycle of the reference period.

      Fig 3. Atmospheric water vapor column (thickness if subjected to 1 atm pressure)

      No, it’s not 1 atm. It is the equivalent depth of liquid for the same mass of water.
      Also some number errors as Dr S pointed out.
      This is an interesting approach but a lot of it needs correcting. Especially any calculations and conclusions drawn from using an anomaly dataset.
      The most useful part, that I will make a mental note of, is the 2 W/m2 to account for the evaporation indicated by the annual variation in the water column.

    • That data of actual SST ( not anoms ) shows both a 6mo and an annual cycle. The 6mo cycle peaks in March and Sept when the sun is directly over the equator, the remaining annual seems to peak close to the begining of the years.
      I should not be too hard to fit a cos(6mo)+cos(12mo) model to get the magnitude and timing of the annual component and do what Stan was intending to do looking at the effect of the 22W/m2 variability.

    • To answer the question, “where is the effect of that 22 W/m2 change?”, the effect is simply masked by the much bigger seasonal cycle resulting from the Earth’s axial tilt (obliquity of the ecliptic).

      • I think you answered the question as to where the effect is. The effect is an average temperature of about 15.5 C for earth in July, about 12 C in January, changing sinusoidally in the interval between- pretty large effect, especially considering that those temperatures are not in equilibrium with solar radiation at eithr of those peaks.

      • Of course, the temps oscillate the opposite of what we get from the sun, thanks to strong negative feedback- and the fact that most of the land is in the Northern Hemisphere.
        In theory, if the earth IS warming measurably, it should show up by December-January-February temperatures increasing faster than June-July_August temperatures, thanks to that 4th power negative feedback

    • Edim, if you are going to show a graph, at least give some indication of what the data being shown is ! “average Temperature” of what, according to who?

    • When I read http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/25/changes-in-total-solar-irradiance/ my immediate thought was but there is an annual 4 degree temperature change between average global temps for January and July. I do not know where I had gained that impression from, but it is something that I have regarded as being a ‘fact’ for many years and years.
      Your plot shows this 4 degree swing, and therefore corresponds with something that I have taken for years to be a fact, but I would very much like to know the source of the data so that I can double check something that I have regarded as being a ‘fact’ is in practice a fact (within the bounds of the usual measurement errors).
      Please identify your source.
      The NH and SH have differing magnitudes of response as one would expect due to their differing distribution of land mass and land to ocean ratio. It wouls be interesting to see Arctic and Antarctic ice response to the seasonal changes. If you have that data (area extent), then it would be interesting to see that.

  14. May be the entire radiative model of Earth’s climate is misconceived in its thinking that radiative energy balances and transfers are significant drivers in the system.
    .
    May be radiative transfer of energy (save that at TOA) merely dots the Is and crosses the Ts, and the real drivers of energy transfer (ie the heavy lifting) is performed via convection, conduction and latent energy changes.

    • I just grabbed Reynolds SST for 23S-23N and did NLLS fit to a two cosine model
      cos1(x)=a1*cos(2*pi*(x-yz1)/p1)
      cos2(x)=a2*cos(2*pi*(x-yz2)/p2)
      fit cos1(x)+cos2(x)+c datafile u 1:2 via a1,a2,yz1,yz2,c
      Final set of parameters Asymptotic Standard Error
      ======================= ==========================
      a1 = 0.408474 +/- 0.0238 (5.827%)
      a2 = 0.245692 +/- 0.02327 (9.472%)
      yz1 = 0.264442 +/- 0.009007 (3.406%)
      yz2 = 0.339293 +/- 0.007633 (2.25%)
      c = 26.884 +/- 0.0166 (0.06174%)
      Contrary to my eyeball estimations earlier the annual component is very close to the spring equinox. The 6mo peaks lag about a month behind the equinoctial dates. The lag presumably being time needed for SST to respond. Temperate zones lag about 2.5 months behind solstice dates.
      Is it a coincidence that the 12mo cycle peaks almost exactly at spring equinox, is this the perihelion/aphelion variation with almost precisely a 3mo lag ?

      • Since the temperature is the integral of instantaneous power input, a pi/2 lag probably fits rather well.

      • Just winging this, if that 0.4 results from 22W/m2 annual variation then 3.7 W/m2 of AGW would lead to 0.06 deg C rise in tropics.
        Probably a little more for extra tropics which have less forceful negative feedbacks.

      • In view of radiative power driving d/dt(SST) rather than SST itself, I fitted the same model to rate of change in SST, in the tropics.
        Final set of parameters Asymptotic Standard Error
        ======================= ==========================
        a1 = 0.215584 +/- 0.01172 (5.437%)
        a2 = 0.242375 +/- 0.01196 (4.933%)
        yz1 = 0.0531397 +/- 0.008857 (16.67%)
        yz2 = 0.254155 +/- 0.003848 (1.514%)
        c = -0.00470817 +/- 0.00839 (178.2%)
        the two parameters yz1 and yz2 are the phase terms of the cosines , as detailed above.
        Now both the 12mo and 6mo peaks fall very close to perigee and the equinoctial dates. The two components are quite close in amplitude.

    • plaz’ , in you last graph you seem to be misaligning your earth sun distance peaks. Perihelion is around 4th Jan, not 21st December !

  15. “On this basis, one might expect to see a fairly substantial annual cyclic variation in global mean temperature. I failed to recall any in the many plots of global temperature anomalies that I have seen”
    Sorry but you lost me here. Of course you can’t see annual cycle in anomaly graph, that’s why we use anomalies instead of real temperatures. Annual cycle has so large amplitude that it hides all subtle effects. Anomaly is what remains after subtracting annual cycle from data.
    The only place I know of where you can see some remnants of annual cycle in anomaly graph is arctic sea extent anomaly graph between 2007 and 2012 since during this period the annual cycle changed so substantially that large periodic departures from long-term average are visible.

  16. The average annual variation in global mean surface temperature in the 20th century has been estimated to be about 4C, with the peak of 15.8C in July, and the minimum of 12.0C in January. That the Earth is closest to the Sun in January but we see the lowest mean temperature is presumably explained by the tilt of the spin axis which leads to the ocean-dominated hemisphere pointing towards the Sun then. Monthly mean temperature estimates here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/

    • John, as I said above, mixing land a sea temps makes the mean pretty meaningless for physical analysis. Also the land/sea asymmetry of the hemispheres further distorts the result.
      In the tropics 23S-23N the annual min. is a year+0.64
      As I showed above that seems to match well with rate of change of SST driven by earth-sun distance, plus 6mo “seasons” of the tropics, peaking at the two equinoxes.

  17. Presuming Roberson is right or even that Svalgaard is right then both imply Earth’s temperatures should be close to steady state. What, then, tips the Earth into glaciation for hundreds of years and then reverses it?

    • A question that has exercised me since I first started to look more closely at climate science about ten years ago!
      I have two working hypotheses – one favoured by my colleague analysing the ice-core and marine sediment cores; and one evolving from my largely intuitive disbelief of his conclusions. Almost all of the science literature finds that orbital variations in insolation – particularly at 65 North, prime the steady state system of ‘ice-ages’ for a sudden threshold response. There also appears to be a roughly 10kyr cycle, most readily seen in the Greenland ice-data for 50-30 kyr BP, so after a number of these cycles, the system becomes sensitive enough to flip by 10-15 C degrees at the poles and 3-5 degrees at the equator. The roughly 100 kyr cycle is then held to be a combination of inclination, eccentricity and precessional cycles – and the explanation as to why some peaks in-between do not produce deglaciation may lie in the sensitivity of the system which somehow increases as the glacial period nears its end-time. We know, for example, that the glacial planet is much drier and dustier, and probably has less cloud; it also has a more zonal pattern of jetstreams with more southerly tracks of cyclones. CO2 is reduced to 180 ppm. My colleague thinks that this system is then a lot more sensitive to small upward changes in CO2 – and at first thought that these could trigger deglaciation, once the orbital parameters had primed the system. The standard view is that although orbital changes in annual wattage are small, the changes in summer insolation at 65N are quite large enough to melt snow cover on land and decrease albedo, reduce sea-ice, increase freshwater input to the North Atlantic, and perhaps affect the oceanic system of currents and overturning circulation – a system of positive feedbacks amplified by release of CO2 from the warming and upwelling oceans.
      The problem I have with the standard view – and my colleague’s closer look at it as a damped oscillator, is that assumptions are made about past system responses which ‘fit’ the known changes , whereas there is very little direct evidence for these mechanisms. Furthermore, the rise in regional mean temperature that precedes the global warming of the oceans is very sudden – of the order of 1 degree C/year in the northern hemisphere (damped around the equator by a factor of five). The polar ice-cap changes precede the equatorial and oceanic changes by several hundred years. Only a major shift in wind patterns can do this – from zonal to meridional.
      So what else, other than this threshold idea, can trigger such abrupt shifts in wind patterns?
      I am not convinced by the posited internal mechanisms and look to the Sun as a potential source of ‘abrupt’ change. This would not likely be insolation changes, rather magnetic flux and farUV effects…which have been implicated in shifting the jetstream equatorward (Drew Shindell’s work at NASA in 2001-2003). Recent jetstream dynamics during sudden and unexpected low magnetic status (since 2006) show more meridional patterns. Certainly these changes in wind patterns would affect cloudiness, albedo, and surface insolation and quite abruptly. If I am right, then proxies for the magnetic status of the Sun should show low magnetic status as the ‘norm’ over the 100 kyr cycle, with 10 kyr pulses of higher activity and perhaps a major period of activity for the final deglaciating cycle. The problem at the moment is that the proxy for magnetic status (also therefore the proxy for far-UV) is also affected by wind changes (via rates of snow accumulation). And although there has been a major reduction in magnetic status – there has not been a significant change in cloud patterns or surface temperatures (other than the failure of temperature to go on rising after the drop in cloud cover during the high solar status period of the late 20th century; and a slight recovery in cloud cover after 2001, when solar magnetic status was high.
      So – for me, the mystery endures, but for many it was solved some time ago.

      • The biggest problem with the Milankovich cycle explanation of glacials is that like almost all other studies of natural phenomena, it limits the time span to a period of clear patterns and then correlates a known phenomenon with the pattern. If you consider global climate in geological spans of time, the available evidence indicates that the climate changes in a manner that no current theory explains.
        Shaviv and Veizer make a serious attempt, but they reach outside the solar system to find an answer. If they are right, then no internal explanation will ever suffice. There have been some serious efforts to defend CO2’s influence on climate over the Phanerozoic (e,g. http://www.atmosedu.com/Geol390/articles/RoyeretalCO2GSAToday%2704PhanerozoicClimate.pdf) and these do address Shaviv and Veizer, but they only correlate CO2-levels to glacial epochs. While no one disputes that there is clear indication that very low CO2 levels and very low temperatures correlate (we can even see this over the comparatively short Pleistocene span), there is no evidence at all that very high levels of CO2 correlate with very high planetary temperatures. Worse, since there have only been two very cold/very low CO2 episodes in the last 500 My: the Permian/Triassic transition and the Pleistocene-Holocene, even that huge span may not offer a sufficiently long data span to extract climate regularities. There may well be none to extract.

      • Duster,
        The only interval comparable to the ongoing Cenozoic Ice House is the Late Carboniferous/Early Permian Ice House, which stayed cold enough long enough for CO2 levels to fall perhaps as low as they do during Pleistocene glacial phases.
        The prior Ice House occurred during the relatively brief but intense glaciation (Ice Age) at the Ordovician/Silurian Period boundary, under CO2 levels ten to 20 times higher than now.
        Cosmoclimatology at least offers an explanation for the periodicity of Ice Houses (~every 150 million years), although the Mesozoic one (at the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary) was too warm & the continents too far from the poles for a full-blown Ice Age to happen then.
        Milankovitch Cycles of course happen continuously, but other factors need to be in place for them to produce the periodic glacial & interglacial phases observed in the current & previous Ice Ages.

  18. Anthony, I fear you need to vet these submissions a bit more closely. An entire complicated analysis about a lack of seasonal variation that uses a data set from which seasonal variation has been removed? Come on.

    • plazaeme, I suggest you read my posts above, Firstly you seem to have your sun-earth distance wrongly aligned in time. See above.
      Also if you fit a 6mo and 12mo cosine to d/dt(SST) in the tropics it all ties up quite closely with max over head sun at the equinox and perihelion in January.
      Nothing odd at all.

  19. Dr. Robertson,
    Well said. It is even more interesting that actual temperatures go against the 22w/m2. If you and Willis are right then it makes sense that the greater exposure in the southern hemisphere of ocean water would have an impact on temperatures.
    P.S. your figure 2 is missing!
    v/r,
    David Riser

    • The figures do not appear here as they are in the Word doc that I emailed away, but it doesn’t matter. This whole submission is wrong in several respects. As several have noted, the seasonal variations are removed from anomaly plots and I should have caught that. Please read Greg Goodman’s comments above to see what I should have found.

      • DR. Robertson,
        I am aware of the error, but my point is that the error is not really a problem to the greater question. I say this because the temperature reacts differently in each hemisphere in the opposite direction of the forcing. Your thoughts on this would work based on the idea that the southern ocean has much more water surface area which would lead to more cloud formation from excess energy. The Northern hemisphere has a great deal more land surface in the critical 0-23 degrees of lat which reduces the moderating effect of cloud creation from ocean water evaporation. just my two cents.
        v/r,
        David Riser

  20. I think the 22 Wm-2 is wrong. The trough to peak variation is more like 100 Watt per square metre. Eccentricity of 0.0167 will give you 94 on a base of 1365, or check the “TSI True Earth” on the SORCE website, which cycles from the low 1300s to the low 1400s. R.

    • The TSI intercepted by the Earth varies indeed by nearly 100 W/m2, but has to be distributed over the whole surface [a sphere], whose area is 4 times as large as the area of the intercepting flux [a flat disk], hence 22 ≈ 92/4

    • What’s more it provides an answer to Willis’ “very good question” : how much does this affect global temps.
      Well, at least I derived an answer for the tropics which have the strongest neg. feedbacks:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/11/cloud-feedback/#comment-1786422
      … and the follow-on comments.
      “… if that 0.4 degrees results from 22W/m2 annual variation then 3.7 W/m2 of AGW would lead to 0.06 deg C rise in tropics.”
      That would seem to be what the author set out to do. So a bit of peer reviewed worked a treat.
      Probably a little more for extra tropics which have less forceful negative feedbacks.

      • Actually, that does not necessarily follow since the AGW is all longwave IR whereas the 22W/m2 is “broadband” solar. It’s probably the short vis and UV components that are doing the warming.

  21. I think that Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory is probably the best explanation for climate changes. Readers should watch the following video that explains so much about the issue:

  22. Thank you Stan Robertson for this informative post. Heavy reading for me as well as looking up various links. Be happy to fork out a couple of quid or so for a kindle version of the whole story. 🙂

    • No. Obama wants to save , the Chinese want to buy the world.
      They have agreed to mutually work to jerk off the population of the West.

  23. “One might expect to see a fairly substantial annual cyclic variation in global mean temperature. I failed to recall any in the many plots of global temperature anomalies that I have seen”

    Anomalies are relative to the mean for that particular month. For example, the February anomaly is relative to the average of all Februaries, August’s anomaly refers to the average of all Augusts etc. So, you should not expect to see any cyclic variation by looking at anomalies. To do this, it is necessary to look at the absolute temperatures for those months. Edim has posted a graph that does this and shows a marked cyclic variation throughout the year.
    The warmest month (globally) is July and the coldest is January (although January is the month when the Earth is closest to the Sun). This occurs because most of the land mass is in the Northern Hemisphere(NH) and land warms and cools more quickly in response to changes in TSI. This means that the globe warms in the NH summer and cools in the NH winter and the magnitude of this change overwhelms the 22W/m2 change in TSI.

    • Using Leif’s figure of 1.4 W/m2 for solar cycle variation in TSI:
      0.4deg C / 22 * 1.4 = 0.025 deg C in tropics, expect more outside tropics where feedbacks are less strong. It remains very small and compatible with his suggested figure of 0.1 deg C.

      • Greg, thanks for correcting my errors and doing what I should have done. I have enjoyed the resulting discussion, but with a lot of egg on my face. But I still regard Leif’s calculation as inapplicable. Most of the outgoing IR at the top of the atmosphere originates from cloud tops rather than the earth surface. The temperature there is closer to 255 K than to 288 K. One cannot just look at the top of the atmosphere and assume that the radiation arises from a blackbody surface below the clouds.

      • Yes, I thought the dT/T=dS/S idea makes some huge unspoken assumptions. I did not bother commenting since there’s no chance of correcting someone who knows it all already and with an ego bigger than his telescope. Always a waste of huff and puff in my experience.
        Thanks for the positive comment. It was interesting to find direct signal of earth-sun distance. It would be interesting to do it with actual ephemeris data rather than a cosine approximation. There’s phase mismatch of about 12 and 15 days in the two cases that I’d like to explain. ( I log that monthly means at mid month, so it’s not that.)
        Also the neg. f/b should give a phase lag in the other sense I think but as a first stab it’s interesting.

  24. Solar EUV causes the Ozone layer to warm and expand the upper atmosphere. The EUV has such a strong effect that NASA monitors it and issues alerts to satellite operators. Strong EUV can expand the atmosphere so much that the increased drag will change the satellites orbits.
    A thickened atmosphere keeps in heat [infrared]. The “Ozone holes” allow heat to escape [infrared].
    Why is this smoking gun ignored??

  25. Climate models do a very poor job with clouds, and a poor job with precipitation. From which it can be inferred that they don’t get specific humidity right either. Documented in essays Cloudy Clouds and Humidity is still Wet.
    The reason is intrinsic. Smallest computable grid cells are at least one order of magnitude larger than what is needed to physically convection cells responsible for humidity transport into the troposphere, cloud condensation with release of latent heat, and precipitation washing out humidity. Explained and illustrated in essay Models all the way Down. Since time steps must increase as grid cells shrink, the computational gap is rule of thumb two orders of magnitude and unlikelymtombe solved by any supercomputer forseeable in the next few decades.
    Tangible evidence of both above statements is the physical absence of the CMIP5 modeled tropical troposphere hotspot. Evidence presented by Dr. Christy to Dr. Koonin’s APS climate statement review committee. All covered in Blowing Smoke, essays on energy and climate.

  26. “A careful examination of Fig. 3 shows that the water column peaks seem to occur about late October rather than Jan. 3. The early peak is thought to be due to the end of the vegetation growth season in the northern hemisphere. The larger land mass of the northern hemisphere allows it to contribute more to evaporation during its growth season than does the southern hemisphere.”
    The fertilization effect on plants has contributed greatly to the increased vegetative health, planet wide. This in turn, has increased plant transpiration significantly. This is especially true in the Northern Hemisphere.
    That contribution to low level moisture and precipitable water vapor in the lower levels, has reduced lifting condensation levels, which has resulted in more lower level(cumulus) clouds, that develop earlier in the day and block more SW radiation. This has also contributed to rain events with a positive feedback going on there.
    With regards to global warming, the increase in vegetation acts as a negative feedback, not only via albedo changes from more low clouds but also from changes in the surface albedo from the increase in vegetation.
    An additional factor is related to increased rainfall and in some locations a positive feedback in the water cycle as the additional transpiration leads to increases in rainfall, which continue to be used by plants that transpire back into the atmosphere.
    We are also seeing clear evidence that diurnal temperature departures are less. Minimums are higher, while maximums are not. Much of the global warming contribution has come from higher min’s(warmer nights). This is consistent with the above.

  27. Stan wrote:
    “The most significant result of the preceding analysis is that it is clear that evaporation of water vapor into the atmosphere and cloud formation must provide a very strong negative feedback to radiative forcing in the UV/Vis bands that deliver most of the solar energy to earth.”
    Around half of solar heating is in the near infra-red, where there are several absorption bands for water vapour.
    “Then neglecting the minor amount of energy needed to lift the water vapor up into the atmosphere..”
    Does it rise simply due to its low density?
    “This leaves a very stark question: If the temperature oscillations of Fig. 2 at the 11 year period are real and if they are produced by the sun, then how could the sun do it?”
    I would discard the periodicity analysis, and study the chronology of discrete events to see if they aligned better with the solar wind peaks and troughs better than the sunspot cycle. That could also help explain the other large peaks in fig 2.

  28. Sadly this seems like a hit and run article. I would have thought the author would have wanted to follow reaction and correct some of the bloopers.
    Maybe he’s rewriting it now …
    It’s a little disappointing from someone with his credentials.

    • Senility is a curse. I should have known intuitively that anomaly plots suppressed seasonal effects. It seems that my ocean heat program nailed the 0.45 C variations, but that is small consolation. If not for some other pressing time demands, I would be fixing some problems here. The effect of CO2 forcing still should be small, say (3.7/22)x0.45 = 0.075 C. That point and the small amount of heat required to change the atmosphere water column might be worth salvaging someday.
      Stan Robertson

  29. Thanks, Dr. Robertson.
    “there is reason to believe that most of the TSI variations are negated by changes of cloud cover.”
    I think yes, this are changes driven by the Eschenbach convection thermostat and the Svensmark nucleation from cosmic rays.

    • clouds do not affect TSI in any way. What you maybe meant was the effects of TSI variations on climate.
      Those were “negated” by the author choosing an anomaly dataset. Try reading some of the above discussion.
      The amplitude of the annual component of just 0.4 deg C pk-pk that I found in tropics confirms strong negative feedbacks are present. Also note that Reynold SST has a small non significant negative trend over the full record. beginning in 1980. Not a sniff of warming going on.

  30. Climate by definition is a Coupled Non-Linear Chaotic System.
    Thus we would not expect to see small cyclical changes in [one of many] inputs as cyclical changes in [one of many] outputs — certainly not when there are untold metrics and myriad ways of looking at climate “output”.
    Recommended reading ==> Gleik’s “Chaos – Making of a new Science” and/or Ian Stewart’s “Does God Play Dice?”
    For more advanced readers ==> “Chaos and Fractals: New Frontiers of Science” by Heinz-Otto Peitgen, Hartmut Jürgens, Dietmar Saupe

      • It’s all “stochastic” except the bit they want to keep. That’s 95% certain, dangerous, toxic worse than ebola and ISIL all rolled together. We MUST act NOW ( before the penny drops ).
        1975 to 1995 was not at all stochastic, it has been proven to be caused by humans, however, it’s been getting a lot most stochastic for the last 18 years and 1 month. 1945 to 1975 was a pretty stochastic bit too.

      • Reply to Ulric ==> Edward Norton Lorenz discovered this during the 1950s. “Lorenz became skeptical of the appropriateness of the linear statistical models in meteorology, as most atmospheric phenomena involved in weather forecasting are non-linear.[2] His work on the topic culminated in the publication of his 1963 paper Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow in Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and with it, the foundation of chaos theory._ — Wiki
        Dr. Brown, at Duke, goes into this quite a bit in his recent post in the comments particularly.
        The IPCC says “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. ” TAR – Working Group I: The Scientific Basis
        It is those who do not acknowledge this fact and its implications that run into trouble.

      • Kip, it’s not a fact at all, it’s just a label to make it appear like they know what they are talking about, that’s the price of being an official expert, you can’t just say nothing. Their whole approach is backwards anyway, they attempt to forecast likely future regional weather states by modelling the climate change. While the only way to forecast climate with any certainty whatever, is to forecast what the short term solar effects on atmospheric teleconnections will be doing, and then their effects on oceanic modes over varying time scales. That way you start with short term deterministic regional weather forecasts, from which climatic forecasts can then be extrapolated. For example, I can give you a deterministic forecast for a very negative AO/NAO and very cold Arctic outbreaks in the northern mid latitudes from Jan through March 2017. Given that will take the SOI negative, and warm the AMO/North Pacific, that then provides the beginnings of a climate signal, and also the likely SST anomaly pattern for applying to the subsequent shorter term regional weather forecasts. Repeating that builds a climate forecast step by step. The key to it is forecasting the short term solar signal, without that, there’s basically nothing to go on.

      • Reply to Ulric Lyons ==> It is not that forecasts can’t be made — of course they can.
        As a professional, I’m sure you are aware of Lorenz and his work. I’m fairly sure that you must know that the Earth’s climate is a non-linear dynamic system — name your desired name — but that won’t change the physics and mathematics of it.
        Short term predictions based on known conditions, observed cycles, historic record of repeating patterns are all good. This is what farmers use to decide on predicting when and what to plant.
        If you think that correctly naming the climate as a “Coupled Non-Linear Chaotic System” or “Coupled Non-Linear Dynamical System” means one can’t do short-term predictions, you should take advantage of the reading list above — as it means no such thing.
        I have a little trouble understanding who the “they” is you are speaking of when you say:

        they attempt to forecast likely future regional weather states by modelling the climate change.

        Dr. R G Brown? Me? Edward Lorenz? James Gleick? Ian Stewart? Heinz-Otto Peitgen, Hartmut Jürgens and Dietmar Saupe? The IPCC? (well, there, I agree that they miss the mark in general — but they finally admitted the non-linear dynamics.)
        You might want to look at Dr. Judith Curry’s “Stadium Wave” idea ==> “Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century” by Marcia Glaze Wyatt and Judith A. Curry. It has nothing particular to do with non-linear dynamics, but it uses recognizable repeating climate features to predict future conditions.
        What climate being a non-linear dynamic system does mean is that

        we would not expect to see small cyclical changes in [one of many] inputs as cyclical changes in [one of many] outputs — certainly not when there are untold metrics and myriad ways of looking at climate “output”.

      • Kip said:
        “I’m fairly sure that you must know that the Earth’s climate is a non-linear dynamic system..”
        I’m sure that the major oceanic modes of ENSO and the AMO are negative feedbacks (with large overshoot) to solar variations at less than weekly scales. We should find that solar plasma variability has a direct effect on polar air pressure and the NAO/AO at down to daily scales. Meaning that none of what is assumed to be internal to the climate system, is really internal at all.
        It is the antithesis of chaotic, and can be predicted, from forecasting the solar signal, at great range, at very small scales. Like the forecast I have given you for early 2017. This cold hit into the US currently is a highly similar solar signal to the cold that came in from the second week of March 2013. I forecast this one to start from around 10/11th Nov 2014. Given what I know, and what forecast experience I have, I’m thoroughly satisfied that the idea that the Earths climate of being a Coupled Non-Linear Chaotic System, is a techno waffle expert syndrome sound bite, a hypnotic mantra that only serves to extinguish scientific curiosity. and confound any proper understanding of climate.

      • I look forward to your papers and books that set the rest of the scientific community to rights, then. Should be an interesting read.

  31. “What remains to be seen is whether the amounts of cosmic ray produced condensation nuclei and their variations are capable of significantly modulating the amount and reflectivity of cloud cover. This should be settled by measurements within the next decade or two. ”
    You can settle it now by looking at historical data.
    There is NO measureable, consistent, relationship between GCRs and cloud cover at any pressure level.
    None. zip. nada.

    • There is however good correlation between GCRs (10Be and temperatures.) See the Steinhilber data in Fig 10 at http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-forecasting-methods-and-cooling.html
      See also the 10Be ice core flux data from Berggren Fig 11
      Re sun climate connection the post says
      “NOTE!! The connection between solar “activity” and climate is poorly understood and highly controversial. Solar “activity” encompasses changes in solar magnetic field strength, IMF, CRF, TSI, EUV, solar wind density and velocity, CMEs, proton events etc. The idea of using the neutron count and the 10Be record as the most useful proxy for changing solar activity and temperature forecasting is agnostic as to the physical mechanisms involved.”
      Having said that, however, it is reasonable to suggest that the three main solar activity related climate drivers are:
      a) the changing GCR flux – via the changes in cloud cover and natural aerosols (optical depth)
      b) the changing EUV radiation – top down effects via the Ozone layer
      c) the changing TSI – especially on millennial and centennial scales.
      The effect on climate of the combination of these solar drivers will vary non-linearly depending on the particular phases of the eccentricity, obliquity and precession orbital cycles at any particular time.
      Of particular interest is whether the perihelion of the precession falls in the northern or southern summer at times of higher or lower obliquity.”

  32. There is a huge variation on average global surface temperature summer to winter caused by most of the land mass being in the northern hemisphere. Not sure what this article is claiming isn’t there.

  33. This discussion illustrates the danger of using anomalies. Unfortunately, anomalies are a rule rather than an exception in climatology. As opposed to measured data, an anomaly depends on a lot of other influences, e.g.
    – what is the base period for an anomaly computation?
    – is the base data raw data or adjusted data?
    – if it is adjusted data (where the history changes routinely), what version of data was used?
    – has any smoothing been used for the base?
    – is the anomaly defined as a difference from a monthly average or a yearly average?

  34. why don’t we see some significant annual cyclic variation of global mean temperature? This is a truly profound question! It ought to keep climate modellers awake all night, every night.

    (spelling corrected)
    His whole essay is based on this premise which is demonstrably false. As stated several times in the comments, there IS a “significant annual cyclic variation of global mean temperature” so the arguments he puts forward that the global temperature is almost completely insensitive to TSI because of this so called “fact” collapses and his conclusion immediately loses about 90% of its support.
    The residual question remains of how sensitive the global temperature is to TSI, but that is a much more finely balanced equation and probably needs a lot more time and effort to tease out than has been put into this effort. All of this has been thoroughly researched before, of course, as it is fundamental to the whole of meteorology and climate. Maybe a bit of reading of the existing literature before posting is called for?
    Sadly I think we have to dismiss this whole essay and ask Dr Robertson to go back and start again – if he can be bothered after such a catastrophic blooper.
    In the absence of peer review it might be worth running these sorts of essays past somebody with existing knowledge in the field, particularly if you think you have stumbled on an effect that appears to totally debunk all climate models at a stroke! The models have all sorts of problems, an inability to predict anything useful being the main one, but the modellers all have a much better grounding in climate science than Stan so one needs to be really up to speed on our current understanding before telling them how they have got it all wrong.
    Having said all that, I am glad WUWT is around and is prepared to post this sort of stuff – it is entertaining and we can all learn by other people’s mistakes!

  35. http://spot.colorado.edu/~koppg/TSI/TSI.jpg
    The problem which can not be better illustrated .
    Nevertheless there is much historical to show galactic cosmic ray increase/decline in global temperatures.
    What has to be kept in mind is it is not just the sun which controls the amounts of galactic cosmic rays coming into our atmosphere, one has to take into the account the strength of the earth’s magnetic field and the concentration of galactic cosmic rays out in space in the vicinity of earth.

      • Among other sources, it is available at the Solar Reference page here at WUWT, which duplicates the original through a live link.
        See the reference links across the top of the http://www.wattsupwiththat.com Home page.
        Direct link is: http://spot.colorado.edu/~koppg/TSI/TSI.jpg
        Now, what I find interesting is that it shows the solar input is measured as significantly reducing since th earliest measurements 1975 at 1372 watts/m^2 down to today’s 1360 watts.m^2.
        Leif, however, strongly disagrees, and maintains firmly that solar output has NOT changed over time, but that instruments THEN were measuring TODAY’S TOA values incorrectly, and that solar output has remained unchanged over time.
        However, if that were true, then EVERY calculation made between 1975 and 2014 (today) using ANY solar power TOA value other than today’s 1362 watts/m^2 is WRONG and needs to be re-calculated with the correct solar radiation level.

      • Thanks Leif for that paper on the TSI radiometry. I certainly agree with the improved collection optics. Once you let excess radiation enter the instrument, you have a devil of a time making sure that the surplus doesn’t cause any havoc. So I assume that the first input aperture has to be highly broad band reflective on the outside to keep it from reaching a Temperature that can then re-radiate inside the system ??
        The various calibration degradation mechanisms is interesting. I guess you can’t really depend on anything staying put, once you put it in outer space. I’m amazed they can even quantify some of those effects.
        G

  36. I want to add.
    The position of the two earth magnetic poles also playing a part as to where galactic cosmic rays may be directed. The lower the latitude galactic cosmic rays would be directed to via the configuration of the earth’s magnetic field the more moisture they would have to work with the more effective cloud formation potential.
    In addition ,volcanic activity putting up aerosols also has a role in cloud formation and I think to some degree can probably moderate the effectiveness of galactic cosmic rays in cloud formation potential.

  37. Stan Robertson: This shows that very little of the available TSI variation is needed to produce the annual changes of atmospheric water column and, presumably, the variation of cloud cover. But if earth albedo changes in proportion to the variation of the atmospheric water column, then reflected solar radiation would vary by 19% of the mean 101 W/m2, or 19 W/m2. That would leave only about 3 W/m2 of the 22 W/m2 of TSI variation available to heat the earth surface. Since about 2 W/m2 is needed to produce evaporation, that leaves only about 1 W/m2 to be absorbed and warm the surface. Using the same computer program that I mentioned previously, I calculated that 1.0 W/m2 annual variations at the ocean surfaces would produce surface temperature oscillations of about 0.037 oC peak to trough. This is too little to be reliably extracted from noisy sea surface temperature data, but this is about what is shown in Figure 2.
    Have you been able to find calculations such as those in the published literature?
    Good post. Thank you.

  38. TLM: His whole essay is based on this premise which is demonstrably false. As stated several times in the comments, there IS a “significant annual cyclic variation of global mean temperature” so the arguments he puts forward that the global temperature is almost completely insensitive to TSI because of this so called “fact” collapses and his conclusion immediately loses about 90% of its support.
    Where is this significant annual cycling variation in global mean temp presented?

    • Edim has a graph earlier in the comments:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/11/cloud-feedback/#comment-1786361
      The global average temperature cycles about 4c between July and January each year. Stan’s assumption of no change was based on temperature “variance” which compares the day being measured with the average of the same day’s temperature in previous years. If it is 16c on 1st July 2014 and the average temperature for July is 16c then the variance is zero. If the temperature on every day is always exactly the average for that day, then the variance for every day of the year will be zero despite the fact that the globe was 4c warmer in July than it was in January.
      Draw a graph of the absolute temperatures and it will show the neat sine wave shown in Edim’s post. Draw a graph of the temperature variance outlined above and it will be a flat line on zero, the same flat line that prompted Stan to comment that there was no “significant annual cycling variation in global mean temp”. He was just plain wrong and it is difficult to extract anything meaningful from his essay when you understand that point.
      In fact the 4c change is actually the result of counteracting rises and falls in the temperature of each hemisphere. The northern hemisphere experiences a rise and fall range of around 13c due to a change in solar insolation due to the tilt of the earth. We call this affect the “seasons” (you may have heard of this) whereby Solar Insolation increases during the Summer and reduces during the Winter. If the Earth was insensitive to changes in solar insolation in the way that Stan proposes, then we would not have seasons.
      I could be more rude about Stan, but he is clearly a very intelligent guy and we all make mistakes.

      • TLM, Thanks. This is something I keep forgetting. I ought to have read all of the comments before writing mine.

  39. “Recent studies also seem to confirm that condensation nuclei can be produced by cosmic rays.”
    This was demonstrated a hundred years ago by C.T.R. Wilson of the Wilson Cloud Chamber. I guess I’m showing my age. No one seems to cite this pioneer anymore – it was a topic in physics taught in the 1950s and earlier. Wilson won the Nobel Prize for this demonstration. Not just cosmic rays have this effect, but electrons, and other subatomic particles. Possibly we should investigate other particles that also invade our atmosphere or break up atmospheric atoms into such particles. I hope Svensmark duly cited CTRW.

    • Oh dear. Not another one.
      Wake up Rob, read the rest of the thread before you post. HadCrut4 is an index of temperature Variance not absolute temperatures!
      The whole point of using variance is to remove the seasonal effect!

    • Not a fantastic correlation between the difference in RSS and RSS (land only) and TSI minus seasonal but it looks interesting . Land temperatures should lag as the oceans warm (late 1990s) and cloud cover might be important.
      Sorry but I don’t have the time at the moment to put up a plot.

  40. Very interesting.
    As you are looking at what is essentially a hemispheric phenomena – annual variation in TSI – analysis of the data by hemisphere (and by latitudinal bands) would be more informative than global averages.
    For example, to what extent does the SH sea ice peak extent in late September affect the WV column peak in October? I suspect they are not unrelated.

    • My reason for thinking this, is that to the north of the SH sea ice at maximum is essentially continuous ocean. Whereas, to the south of NH sea ice at maximum, land area is at it’s maximum extent relative to ocean area – roughly 75% land.
      Therefore one would expect much greater ocean evaporation in September/October in the SH, compared to March/April in the NH. Also air/sea surface temperature differentials are greater in the SH.

  41. Great post – and comments. Many of us probably did not realise the global temp time series we’re used to seeing is a residuals plot with the annual signal removed. We all make mistakes.
    Nevertheless, this annual variation in TSI holds the key to understanding the checks and balances of the climate system. A massive 22 W/m2 amplitude provides an annual test of all feed-backs and amplifications, instead of waiting around 80 years for the CO2 to double. There is some annual cloud variation too, but second place for annual variation in the climate system goes to the all-important green house gas: water vapor. Water vapor peaks in Sep-Oct, and has a trough in Feb-Mar. The amplitude is ~19%, providing a green house gas forcing that dwarfs any change in CO2 forcing we’ll ever experience. Without water vapor, Earth would be like Antarctica everywhere, so a 19% annual amplitude is pretty dramatic.
    I wonder if the current orbit of the planet placed us nearest the Sun in northern summer instead of in January, would we see a scorching hot northern hemisphere in summertime. Amplified by i) proximity to the sun, ii) peak water vapor in September, and iii) more land area in the north. This of course happens regularly with some several 1000-year interval. Perhaps some paleoclimate has the answer to this. Or does the water vapor somehow balance the TSI variation instead of amplifying it. If you plot TSI and water vapor together, they are in opposite phase with 1-2 months lag time.

    • K.Almholt: Thanks for making the point that the annual variations give us an annual test of feedbacks and amplifications. I may have screwed up this analysis by failing to realize that annual variations had been removed from the records, but you are entirely correct and it is an important point. We ought to be seeing analyses that take advantage of a big annual effect to sort out what is radiatively important and what is not.

      • err, “bones” = Stan Robertson ??!
        That’s a couple of replies that give me that impression. If that is the case, it would make a lot more sense if you could a consistent name so that we know it is the author who is commenting.
        “I may have screwed up this analysis by failing to realize that annual variations had been removed from the records”
        Sorry, there’s no ‘may have’ about it. This error needs to be flagged in an update at the top of the article.
        I suggest you get there before someone like the “hotwhopper” site uses it to trash WUWT.

      • >> This error needs to be flagged in an update at the top of the article.
        Agreed. And for the same reason, the associated Willis E articles should be flagged as well.

  42. I only read as far as: “On this basis, one might expect to see a fairly substantial annual cyclic variation in global mean temperature. I failed to recall any in the many plots of global temperature anomalies that I have seen, but thought perhaps that single years wouldn’t stand out clearly in long, noisy records.”
    Then I scanned the comments to see if anyone had caught the error. A couple people did say that the annual variation is removed, but didn’t say how.
    The annual variation does show up in the monthly average globaltemperatures, because the calculation intentionally takes it out. All of the 5 global temperature organizations use a 30 year period as the baseline. The January anomaly is calculated as the departure from the average of the 30 Januarys, not the departure from the average of all 360 months. Likewise for February and all the rest of the months.
    This is done to purposely remove the annual cyclic variation.

  43. I wonder if the current orbit of the planet placed us nearest the Sun in northern summer instead of in January, would we see a scorching hot northern hemisphere in summertime.
    More importantly, we would see a blistering cold northern hemisphere in the wintertime and have a glaciation…

  44. If you really want find out the role clouds play, then you must consider the dust in our atmosphere. At least someone is looking in to it.
    http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/magazine/features/dust.cfm
    Dust’s role in climate change is “really complicated,” Mahowald says. In fact, one of its most significant effects on the climate is actually a cooling one. Dust affects the ”radiative budget,” or the ratio of incoming solar radiation to the radiation that is reflected from the earth. CO2, for example, traps only outgoing radiation—thus the term “greenhouse effect.” Dust, however, can alter the heat that both enters and leaves the planet’s atmosphere. “Dust acts like a greenhouse gas,” says Mahowald, “but it reflects solar energy too. We think that in the net, it actually cools.”

  45. This essay is very confused. One of the bigger sources of confusion is that the author does not understand that it is not just the magnitude of the forcing that matters but also the timescale over which it varies. The Earth…especially the oceans…have a large heat capacity that means there are large relaxation time scales. The more rapidly a forcing varies, the more heavily the response will be damped because of this. (It’s not difficult to write down some basic differential equations to illustrate this.)
    After all, the radiative forcing in most places on the Earth varies by many hundreds of W/m^2 over a time of 12 hours (between day and night) but we don’t see the temperature varying nearly as dramatically as we might expect from that! [In this case, the variation is local, not global, but the winds and ocean currents are not fast enough to equilibrate between day and night, so that is not the fundamental reason why the temperature doesn’t vary as dramatically as we would expect from this change in forcing.]
    “The feedback that negates the effect of 22 W/m2 should be of huge concern to climate modelers.”
    Why? If you had demonstrated that the models show a big variation due to this 22 W/m^2 forcing then, yes, that would be a problem if it is not seen in the empirical data. However, while you have analyzed the empirical data, you have presented exactly zero evidence that the models are getting this wrong.
    And, as I have explained above, the argument that the models predict a significant temperature change for a variation of 4 W/m^2 over long time scales means that they will necessarily predict a big variation due to this 22 W/m^2 forcing over a much shorter time scale is simply not correct.
    In fact, I would turn things back on the author and say that the fact that Ice Ages occurred from what are estimated to be quite modest forcings should be of huge concern to the author.

    • I think that if you will go back and read what I wrote, you will see that I calculated a 0.45 C temperature swing for an annual 22 W/m^2 cycle and also found that the effect would be 5X larger if the cycle period were 10 years. The serious error that I made consisted of failing to recognize that anomaly records suppress annual variations.

      • Stan, a larger error is that you are confusing power for energy. You say “calculated a 0.45 C temperature”, but where did do any thermodynamic calculations? As a PhD physicist, you must be familiar with thermodynamics. Once upon a time, a PhD thermo professor had a graduate student who couldn’t do his master’s thesis. The professor asked me, a BSEE student, to help him. I ended up doing all the analytical work, writing 25 differential equations in 25 unknowns. I then wrote software to numerically compute the time domain results. In short, I could have earned a masters in thermo. There is no short cut to doing this work, like waving your hands and assume a fictional radiative balance still eons away.

    • joeldshore says:
      it is not just the magnitude of the forcing that matters but also the timescale over which it varies. The Earth…especially the oceans…have a large heat capacity that means there are large relaxation time scales.
      Except TSI forcing isn’t the same as GHG forcing. TSI is partially stored in the oceans. GHG infrared hardly at all since it doesn’t significantly penetrate below the surface. Increase GHG IR and it manifests immediately on both land and ocean. Negligible relaxation time (weeks at most).
      If you want to argue that GHG IR somehow increases TSI at the surface (thru albedo/clouds?), you’re welcome to demonstrate it.

      • These arguments are beyond silly…Even skeptics like Willis Eschenbach don’t buy them. The reason GHG infrared don’t penetrate that far is because it is because water so strongly absorbs it. So, you are basically arguing for a magic mechanism by which waters strong absorption of GHG IR negates its effect. It just demonstrates how some people’s scientific views are driven mainly by wishful thinking.

      • Wishful thinking is believing that man-made global warming is happening in a measurable way, without any testable, empirical evidence. That belief is more religion than science.

      • No, joel, I don’t think it “negates” the effect — read what I wrote. You still don’t answer my question about time-relaxation of GHG IR effects compared to solar SW. You brought up time-relaxation effects in the first place.
        And an insult — “Even skeptics like…..”
        Back at ya — “Even rent-seeking academics like…..”

  46. Unfortunately, anomalies are a rule rather than an exception in climatology.

    This sentence makes no sense whatsoever, as “anomalies” are substantial departures from “the rule” or, more accurately, the middle of a distribution. As such, they occur rather infrequently.

    • 6. Anomaly in Meteorology. the amount of deviation of a meteorological quantity from the accepted normal value of that quantity.

    • Annual cycles are certainly present from the 22 watts per square metre variation.
      Earlier comments have given the 4 to 5 degree C annual temperature change.
      Many of the multitudinous plots from Bob Tisdale have shown the quasi-annual variation of half a degree or more on the NINO 3.4 region. As well a look at the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) plots shows quasi annual variation with roughly 17 watts per square metre more going out on 1st October compared to 1st January.
      However there are not annual El Nino events. They only occur when the climate system slips away (or is nudged?) for a quick circuit or two around a different strange attractor.

  47. @lsvalgaard
    “More importantly, we would see a blistering cold northern hemisphere in the wintertime and have a glaciation…”
    According to the current consensus, the existing configuration of the Earth’s orbit (minimum TSI at 65N in July) favors the onset of glaciation because the summer in the NH has a hard time melting all snow at high latitude. How cold the winter is doesn’t really matter because it is always cold enough to produce snow and ice.
    When the Earth’s orbit has the reverse configuration, we would have maximum TSI in July. If the annual water vapor cycle is really governed by NH land mass, the water vapor peak would still be around Sep (same as today). Together these conditions would make NH summers exceptionally hot and (I agree) winters exceptionally cold. My point is, are the summer/winter temperature differences greatly attenuated by the current Earth orbit configuration, and in 10.000 years (?) time we’ll see Antarctic winters and Saharan summers in the current temperate zones? My guess is that the water vapor cycle is actually governed by the wet oceans, not by the dry land, and in 10.000 years time the water vapor cycle will have reversed to balance the reversed swings in TSI.

  48. Anthony, this article really needs an update up top and bold, pointing out the flagrant error which makes most of what he says and his conclusions totally invalid.
    Finding that there is virually no annual signal in an anomaly dataset is hardly surprising, there’s not supposed to be any ! At that point the logic of the rest of the article falls apart.
    I realise that you don’t have time to check everything in detail and you probably took this aritcle of trust because of the credentials of the author.
    However, to leave this uncorrelcted is very poor and just gives ammo to your detractors who will relish such a silly and careless article as an example of what “climate deenyers” like to put forward as science.
    As it stands it reads well and is very misleading to anyone who does not plough through the 200 or so comments and find one of several people pointing out the error.
    This site is a mine of good information and articles but it does not take many like this to seriously damage credibiltiy.
    Best regards, Greg.

    • MODs, what happened to the convention of posts using out host’s name being held back for his personal attention? That last one came straight up.
      Another I posted just after just disappeared without trace.

    • Greg, I am sorry that I could not get a correction done immediately, but I have submitted one along with an apology for the error. I assume that it will eventually be posted, but if not look me up at swosu.edu and request a copy. Stan

  49. “Kasper you have it 100% correct. When aphelion occurs during the N.H. summer is when glaciation chances are much greater. .
    Kasper Almholt
    November 13, 2014 at 12:06 am
    @lsvalgaard
    “More importantly, we would see a blistering cold northern hemisphere in the wintertime and have a glaciation…”
    According to the current consensus, the existing configuration of the Earth’s orbit (minimum TSI at 65N in July) favors the onset of glaciation because the summer in the NH has a hard time melting all snow at high latitude. How cold the winter is doesn’t really matter because it is always cold enough to produce snow and ice.
    When the Earth’s orbit has the reverse configuration, we would have maximum TSI in July. If the annual water vapor cycle is really governed by NH land mass, the water vapor peak would still be around Sep (same as today). Together these conditions would make NH summers exceptionally hot and (I agree) winters exceptionally cold. My point is, are the summer/winter temperature differences greatly attenuated by the current Earth orbit configuration, and in 10.000 years (?) time we’ll see Antarctic winters and Saharan summers in the current temperate zones? My guess is that the water vapor cycle is actually governed by the wet oceans, not by the dry land, and in 10.000 years time the water vapor cycle will have reversed to balance the reversed
    When the Earth’s orbit has the reverse configuration, we would have maximum TSI in July. If the annual water vapor cycle is really governed by NH land mass, the water vapor peak would still be around Sep (same as today). Together these conditions would make NH summers exceptionally hot and (I agree) winters exceptionally cold. My point is, are the summer/winter temperature differences greatly attenuated by the current Earth orbit configuration, and in 10.000 years (?) time we’ll see Antarctic winters and Saharan summers in the current temperate zones? My guess is that the water vapor cycle is actually governed by the wet oceans, not by the dry land, and in 10.000 years time the water vapor cycle will have reversed to balance the reversed swings in TSI.

  50. At the peaks of Willis’s seasonal +22 W/m^2 “TSI”, the earth is closest to the sun, but it is northern hemisphere winter time.
    That means that the southern oceans are tilted towards that +22 W/m^2 insolation.
    BUT !! That increased solar energy input is being driven deep into the southern oceans, with little energy impact on surface waters. So that excess heat is hiding out in the deep oceans, and isn’t going to show up anywhere in a matter of months, so it is NOT going to drive the MEAN global temperature to a higher than average Temperature.
    Six months later (or earlier) it is the northern hemisphere land areas that face the -22 W/m^2 , but that solar energy does not propagate immediately into the interior of the land, but is manifested in high land Temperatures, and higher re-radiation, often at nearly twice the rate at the global average Temperature.
    The land areas in the northern hemisphere can follow the TSI variations, at surface level, and thereby show seasonal differences, but the fact that southern hemisphere insolation, is largely deposited deep in the ocean so that it has little effect at the surface in times less than years, means that the bulk of the energy storage is happening in the southern hemisphere oceans, where the thermal lags are much to long to show up as an annual variation of mean Temperature.

  51. Second, if 22 W/m2 variations peak to trough don’t produce noticeable temperature variations, why should the 0.25 W/m2 variations of TSI associated with solar cycles produce any measurable temperature variations?
    Should the 22 W/m2 really produce differences? The difference in days between the equinoxes is about 11 days. So while the northern part of the Earth receives less energy per second in July, it is going slowest at that point so the northern part of the Earth has more time to build up the energy.

  52. Global sea surface temperature does indeed vary about .45 degree C peak-to-trough. Have a look at the two graphs in http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009_09_01_archive.html that are plotted in terms of temperature rather than temperature anomaly. I have noticed that such plots are not easy to find. Quick links to each of the two graphs are:
    http://i32.tinypic.com/2jaiydh.png and http://i29.tinypic.com/2zgi8n7.png.
    Also, water vapor content in the atmosphere is not a good indicator of clouds. If relative humidity stays the same, then a major change of temperature can cause a massive change of water vapor content with no change in cloud cover. In fact, my experience looking at cumulus clouds is that for a given surface relative humidity, their coverage varies slightly inversely with temperature.

    • Donald L. Klipstein commented

      . If relative humidity stays the same, then a major change of temperature can cause a massive change of water vapor content with no change in cloud cover.

      Rel humidity is just the % of water vapor the air hold at some temp. For rel humidity to stay the same with a large change in temps means the absolute amount of humidity changed. Changing temp does not change how much water vapor is there, it does change dew point, which probably changes how likely clouds are. Though there are lots of Sunny humid places.

      • Donald,
        You may already know all of that, but was just describing the effect of a large change in absolute humidity with a temp change as an example, if so, sorry to jump in.

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