# Why Volcanoes Don't Matter Much

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

The word “forcing” is what is called a “term of art” in climate science. A term of art means a word that is used in a special or unusual sense in a particular field of science or other activity. This unusual meaning for the word may or may not be logical, but each field has its terms of art, and it’s useless to complain that they don’t make sense. The IPCC defines “radiative forcing” as follows:

Radiative forcing is the change in the net, downward minus upward, radiative flux (expressed in W m–2) at the tropopause or top of atmosphere due to a change in an external driver of climate change, such as, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or the output of the Sun. Sometimes internal drivers are still treated as forcings even though they result from the alteration in climate, for example aerosol or greenhouse gas changes in paleoclimates.

Now, the current climate science paradigm says that regarding the things that affect temperature, everything averages out in the long run except for any changes in total forcing. The current paradigm further says that the future evolution of the climate can be forecast by the simple linear relationship given as:

Change in temperature equals climate sensitivity times change in total forcing.

Me, I think that’s simplistic nonsense, but let’s set my opinion aside for a bit and compare their forcing claims to the actual observations of the changes in forcing. As an example, let me use the forcings that are the result of volcanic eruptions. The larger eruptions blast aerosols (various molecules and minerals) into the stratosphere, reducing the incoming sunshine. These forcings have been estimated by Sato  as being of the following amounts:

Figure 1. Volcanic forcings estimated by Sato et al.  http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.txt  Forcings are negative because they represent a reduction in available solar energy due to volcanic aerosols. The large eruption at the far right is Pinatubo in the Philippines, 1991, and the eruption to its left is El Chichon, Mexico, in 1982.

You can see that some eruptions, like that of El Chichon, produced a much larger aerosol cloud in the northern hemisphere (red) than in the southern (blue), while others like Pinatubo were more equal in the distribution of the aerosols between the hemispheres. In all cases, the hemisphere where the volcano is located shows the greatest effect from the eruption.

As I mentioned above, I think that the idea that the temperature slavishly follows the changes in forcings to be a fundamental misunderstanding of how the climate system operates. Instead, I say that although initially the temperature responds to the forcings, soon the climate system responds to the resulting changes in temperature by changing the forcings themselves, often in very non-linear ways. In particular, I have presented plenty of evidence that the climate system responds to increasing tropical temperatures by varying the timing and strength of the daily emergence of the cumulus cloud field. Part of the climate system response works like this:

On warmer days, the emergence of the tropical cumulus cloud field is both earlier and stronger. This cuts down on the available solar energy by reflecting more of it back to space. The high cloud albedo means that less sunlight reaches the surface, so the surface cools.

And on cooler days, the opposite occurs. The tropical cumulus field emerges later, and is weaker. As a result, the day warms up more than it would otherwise, because there is less cloud albedo and thus more available solar energy.

All that is required to show that this effect exists is to show that tropical albedo is positively correlated with temperature … as I have done here, here, and here.

Now, if we assume for the moment that my theory is correct, what kind of climate response would we expect to find from a volcanic eruption large enough to put aerosols into the stratosphere and cause some global cooling? Well, eruptions reduce available solar energy in two ways—increased reflection from white aerosols, and increased absorption from dark aerosols.

So the first thing to happen after the eruption would be the reduction in incoming sunlight from the increased albedo and increased stratospheric absorption. Then after the decreased sunlight actually starts to cause widespread cooling, the climate system would respond. We’d expect the climate system response following such an eruption to have the following characteristics:

Right after the eruption, there would be a reduction in available solar energy, due to the volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere.

This initial eruption-induced reduction in available solar energy would be both deeper and sooner after the eruption in the hemisphere where the eruption occurred than in the opposite hemisphere.

As a result, the corresponding climate reaction in the eruption hemisphere would also both be deeper and occur sooner than the climate reaction in the opposite hemisphere. In other words there will be a dose-related effect, where a larger reduction is met with a larger climate reaction.

The form of the climate reaction will be an albedo reduction, which will cause increase in available solar energy. The increase in available energy will be of the same order of magnitude as the corresponding decrease due to volcanic aerosols.

With those predictions derived from my theory about the nature and timing of the climate response, we can compare them to what actually happened when Mount Pinatubo erupted. I’ve taken the albedo records for the globe and for each hemisphere individually, and analyzed what happened after the eruption of Pinatubo in June of 1991. This gave me the anomaly in the amount of solar energy that is actually available to the climate system. Figure 2 shows three variables for the period 1984-1997, which includes the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on June 15, 1991.

First, in black, is a closer look at the same dataset shown in Figure 1. Black shows the global average of the Sato volcanic forcing data for the period 1984-1997.

Second, in violet, is the aforementioned anomaly in the amount of incoming sunshine, in watts per square metre. This is the “available energy”, meaning the solar energy that remains after the albedo reflections.

Third, in gold, is the amount of incoming solar energy that is absorbed in the stratosphere. Recall that volcanoes affect the sunshine in two ways—changes in reflection (violet line) and changes in absorption (gold line). The gold line shows the reductions from absorption of solar energy by stratospheric aerosols.

Figure 2. Sato estimated volcano forcing (black), available solar energy anomaly after albedo (violet), and stratospheric absorption forcing (gold). The observed values (violet and gold) are expressed as anomalies around the value they had the month before the eruption. See below for methods and data sources.

Now, the first thing I noticed is that immediately after the eruption, all three datasets agree with each other—as we would expect, there is a precipitous drop in downwelling solar radiation. However, after that they go their separate ways, so it’s hard to tell what the overall effect of the absorption and the reflection might be.

For that kind of comparison, I use a running post-eruption average. This is the average forcing over the period from the date of the eruption to the date in question. So for example, the data point for January 1996 represents the average forcing from the date of the eruption until January of 1996. Figure 3 shows that type of post-eruption average applied to Figure 1, with the actual Figure 1 data shown grayed out in the background for reference.

Figure 3. Post-eruption averages. Total observed eruptive forcing [reflection (violet) plus absorption (gold)] is shown in yellow. Other colors as in Figure 1 — black is the Sato estimate of total volcanic forcing; violet is available solar anomaly after albedo reflections; gold is stratospheric absorption anomaly. Each point on the graph represents the average forcing from the eruption until that date.

The important thing to note is that from the eruption to the end of the record (end of 1997) the Sato forcing estimate (black line) has an average forcing of about minus one watt per square metre (W/m2). However, the observed change in total forcing of the period (yellow line, sum of purple (albedo forcing) and gold (absorption forcing) is a bit more than plus one watt per square metre.

Also, the speed of the climate response is visible in Figure 3. The total forcing (yellow line) follows the Sato forcing estimate (black line) for the first four months or so after the eruption. But after that, while the Sato calculated forcing continues to become more and more negative, the observations show that the total observed forcing does not ever become much more negative than it was at four months after the eruption. Instead, it runs level for about a year, and then rapidly increases. By the end of 1993, the observed post-eruption average forcing has returned to pre-eruption values … while the Sato theoretical forcing is still at minus two W/m2.

Now, Figures 2 and 3 show the global situation. We also have data for each hemisphere separately. This will let us observe the difference in the response of the climate in the two hemispheres. Here are the observed forcing and the Sato theoretical forcing for the northern and southern hemisphere.

Figure 4. As in Figure 2 but by individual hemisphere. The two panels show the Sato estimated forcing (black), the solar absorption forcing (gold), and the available solar energy after albedo (upper panel, red, northern hemisphere; lower panel blue, southern hemisphere)

The most notable difference between the hemispheres is the deep drop in available solar energy in the northern hemisphere (red line, upper panel) during the months immediately following the eruption. I note also that following that initial drop, the amount of available energy in the NH steadily increases in both the absorption (gold) and reflection (red) datasets.

To conclude this analysis I looked at the post-eruption averages for the individual hemispheres. Figure 5 shows those results:

Figure 5. As in Figure 3 but by individual hemisphere. These show the running average starting at the time of the eruption and moving forwards.

In the northern hemisphere we can see that the initial drop in forcing was almost as large as the Sato estimate. However, from there, the climate response kicked in, and the amount of available energy started to rise rapidly. In the southern hemisphere, on the other hand, the response was smaller and initially slower.

However, once the SH response began, the available solar energy rose very quickly. Both hemispheres took about the same amount of time, about two years, for the average forcing over the post-eruption interval to return to zero.

And in both hemispheres, the eventual response was nearly identical—the average change in total available sunshine at the end of the record is about plus a watt and a half per square metre, compared to the Sato estimate which has an average change to the end of the record of minus one watt per square metre.

Conclusions: The main conclusion that I draw from this is that the central paradigm of modern climate science is wrong—temperature does not slavishly follow the forcings.

To the contrary, when the tropical temperature changes, the solar forcing subsequently changes in the opposite direction, negating much of the effect of the volcanoes.

And in particular, the observations agree with the theoretical predictions, which were:

Right after the eruption, there would be a reduction in available solar energy, due to the volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere.

This initial eruption-induced reduction in available solar energy would be both deeper and sooner after the eruption in the hemisphere where the eruption occurred than in the opposite hemisphere.

As a result, the corresponding climate reaction in the eruption hemisphere would also both be deeper and occur sooner than the climate reaction in the opposite hemisphere. In other words there will be a dose-related effect, where a larger reduction is met with a larger climate reaction.

The form of the climate reaction will be an albedo reduction due to the temperature reduction, which will cause an increase in available solar energy. The increase in available energy will be of the same order of magnitude as the corresponding decrease due to volcanic aerosols.

These theoretical predictions are all visible in the graphs above, and they lead back to the title of this piece. The reason volcanoes don’t matter much is that the climate rapidly responds to re-establish the status quo ante. Yes, eruptions do put loads of aerosols into the stratosphere; and yes, these aerosols do cut down available solar energy; and yes, this does have local effects in space and time … but because available solar energy in the tropics goes up as the temperature goes down, the balance is quickly restored. As a result of this and other restorative phenomena, the climate system has proven to be surprisingly insensitive to such variations in forcing.

My best regards to everyone,

w.

The Usual Request: If you disagree with someone, please quote the exact words that you disagree with, so we can all be clear both who and what you are objecting to.

Methods and Data

Sato Theoretical Forcing: The Sato data is from here. Following Sato, I have used the aerosol optical depth (AOD) to estimate the forcing. Sato says that the forcing is estimated as a linear function of the AOD, which seems reasonable. I have used his formula for the “instantaneous” forcing (as opposed to the “equilibrium” or other forcings), since we are discussing the immediate effects of the eruptions.

Available Solar Energy Anomaly After Albedo: For the albedo data, I digitized the albedo shown in Figure 5(b) of the most interesting study, Long-term global distribution of Earth’s shortwave radiation budget at the top of atmosphere,  by Hatzianastassiou et al.  I multiplied the monthly (1 – albedo) by the monthly TOA solar to get the absolute value of the available solar energy after albedo reflections. Then I  subtracted the “climatology”, which means the monthly averages, from that dataset to get the anomaly in available solar energy

Stratospheric Absorption: While researching for this post, I had an interesting insight about the increase in stratospheric absorption of solar energy after an eruption. This was that I could use the change in stratospheric temperature to calculate the amount of additional sunlight being absorbed, using the Stefan-Boltzmann relationship. For the stratospheric temperatures, I used the UAH satellite based estimate of the lower stratosphere, Version 6.0beta2, available here. Yes, I am aware that this is an uncertain estimate, but it’s accurate enough for a first-order analysis such as this one.

Sensitivity to Assumed Emissivity: I used the most conservative assumption, that of a blackbody relationship with emissivity=1. If we assume a graybody, the change in solar absorption corresponding to a given temperature difference goes down in proportion to the change in emissivity. This reduces stratospheric absorption forcing. And this in turn increases the difference between the observed (yellow line) and the Sato theoretical forcings (black line) in the period immediately after the eruption, but makes little difference in the later years because the stratospheric absorption term is small. For an example of the change in the early years, using an emissivity of 0.5 reduced the largest total forcing decrease (reflected plus absorbed) to about minus one W/m2, rather than the approximately minus 1.75 W/m2 as shown after the eruption in Figure 3.

Data: One of the bad things about this is that the dataset is so short. Can’t be helped, because as far as I know there’s no hemispheric estimate of the albedo during the time of the previous eruption, El Chichon in 1982. (If you know of such a dataset, please post a link). But the good side of short data is there’s not much of it, so it’s easy to move around … for example, I’ve been looking at one-minute radiation measurements from Mauna Loa, 31 million data points per year since 1980. That’s hard to download, and too big for me to put up on something like photobucket.

But here we only have 14 years at 12 months per year = 168 records, so it’s small enough to put into an Excel spreadsheet, which I’ve done in .csv format here. The spreadsheet contains the TOA solar values, the albedo values, the Sato forcing values, the stratospheric temperature values, and as a special bonus, the hadCRUT4 records for the period both globally and for individual hemispheres. Enjoy.

Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
Joel O'Bryan
July 29, 2015 9:36 pm

” Instead, I say that although initially the temperature responds to the forcings, soon the climate system responds to the resulting changes in temperature by changing the forcings themselves, often in very non-linear ways. “

Willis,
You know the word. I know the word. Most commenters here know the word.
I searched your post for it, it wasn’t there.
The word is feedback.
The feedbacks in our global climate system are robust, in the engineering sense, and strongly negative to forcings. You discuss them with your recent and this post’s quite lucid descriptions of (Lindzen’s) Iris hypothesis from the satellite data on cloud albedo.
If it weren’t for today’s corrupt climate pseudoscience and their national academy abettors, you should get a invite to the national academy for your solid work.
Back to the point at hand. Perturbations initially move the equilibrium, but feedbacks damp them out and then homeostasis mechanisms (water, in all its forms) moves the system back to where it was, as long as the the thing that is outside the system (solar energy input) doesn’t change (which of course it does too, which is why unchanging climate is an illusion.).
It is the implementation of that word (feedback) that the multi-billion dollar GCM ensembles purposefully get so, so, so wrong in order to provide their “politically useful” output for politicaians and crony capitalists looking to cash-in on the green subsidy windfall at the taxpayer and electricity users expense, while keeping the 3rd World energy starved.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 29, 2015 11:14 pm

The earth’s climate is not an open system. It is a closed system (for the most part, save solar wind stripping off hydrogen nuclei at the mesosphere). There is an input: solar radiation to the “top of the troposphere” is maximum at 5778 K at solar noon, and 3 K at midnight at the equator, and seasonal-dependent at the poles (the poles are certainly the radiators, and the equator is the collector).

” but wouldn’t you agree that is an incredibly feeble word to describe the an automatically appearing surface cooling phenomenon that only materializes when and where it is needed???

Not at all. Feedbacks appear (such as a strong tropical typhoon/hurricane pumping many thousands of A-bomb’s of heat to the 4K cosmic background) and then are gone, poof!
El Ninos come, they redistribute the west Pacific Ocean surface heat eastward, and then predictably become La Ninas several seasons later as they recharge the cooler waters.
Feedbacks beget oscillations. Simple EE circuits 101. RCL loops, on steroids.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 12:06 am

If not feedback then what do you call it? Homeostasis? Something more…As Talkbloke commented on your ‘It’s not about Feedback’ Willis, “you and James Lovelock are a lot closer together in your ideas than you realize.” This looks very much like Gaia hypothesis circa 1975-8. I would be interested whether you agree.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 12:19 am

I used to have a vacuum cleaner like that. He was called my Steward and was a very small Singaporean gentleman.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 12:37 am

When there is an unbalance in energy it starts to flow. Entropy?

climatereason
Editor
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 1:12 am

Willis
I have commented several times on your volcano posts and have written on them extensively elsewhere.
The big problem I have is that when, for example, the cooling effects of a large volcano is ‘proven’ and examples are given-such as Dr Mann’s belief that the 1257 Volcano helped to precipitate the LIA and Millers belief in the same theory, albeit by a group of volcanos 40 years later- the proof is not given in the wider historical context.
The 1257 volcano is a good example of only looking at what happened afterwards and not examining the context in as much the climate had already substantially deteriorated some 10 years prior to the eruption and returned to ‘normal’ very soon after.
Similarly, the late 1200’s volcanic effect was short term with some of the following decades being some of the warmest in the observational record.
If the volcano is sufficiently dirty enough/in the right place etc it can undoubtedly have a short term effect- a season or so. However, with most examples the lasting effect claimed is impossible to discern from actual real world observations.
tonyb

Mike
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 2:36 am

Firstly Willis, this is one of your best articles on this subject so far. The cumulative average ( a better term than running average which means something else ) is very informative It points out that a major volcano should produce a _permanent_ cooling not a temporary dip.
Now there are two reasons which could explain why this does not happen:
1) Another independent warming forcing gradually rubs out the cumulative cooling of the volcanic forcing.
2) The system displays a negative feedback
3) A combination of the above.
Option 1 is AGW , by arbitrarily selecting the appropriate “effective” scaling or sensitivity for each phenomenon they can be made balance over some given period. This is what IPCC does. It will work for the period for which the fiddle factors been tuned to work and will fail for a period where one or the other disappears: eg. post 2000 lack of eruptions.
Zealots will attribute any deviations as random “internal variations” of climate, or “correct” the data record to fit a failed hypothesis. An objective scientist will look at the detail of the deviations for further information as to whether the assumptions are correct and if not in what way they are wrong.
In short the slow rise of CO2 cannot account for the recover in a couple of years as is clearly seen in the data. It’s a con. At this stage it is nothing less than deliberate misdirection.
Option 2 is what an engineer will see, with the possibility of option 3.
Each individual event : clouds, dust-devils, whatever you like, is a complex, non-linear event that can not be simply described as a feedback. The regional sum of such events very likely can. We can then discuss whether it is a linear feedback or a stronger, non-linear feedback or whether non-linear but approximately linear over a limited range of certain variables.
You really need to make peace with the term feedback. This is very clearly what you are describing.
.

Conclusions: The main conclusion that I draw from this is that the central paradigm of modern climate science is wrong—temperature does not slavishly follow the forcings.

I think this post shows that they do follow the volcanic forcing quite closely but that there are strong negative feedbacks that correct the effects of the change in forcing within 2 or 3 years. This is evidence of much stronger negative feedbacks than are currently proposed by published climatology. This is the same as say much lesser climate sensitivity to ALL radiative forcings.
And that finally is why volcanic forcings get scaled down from the objective values that Lacis, Sato and Hansen produced in 1993.
More detail of the evaluation and history of volcanic forcing here:
https://climategrog.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/on-determination-of-tropical-feedbacks/
As I final note on this excellent article: don’t get too focussed on tropical feedbacks to extent of ignoring extra tropical regions. IMO the feedbacks are less strong once away from the tropical feedbacks you have done so much to explain. The tropics have a stabilising effect on the whole climate and are where the action is radiative forcing does have more effect outside this zone.

Joe Born
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 2:40 am

Although I see no value in entering the nomenclature debate, I will commend to readers’ attention Roy Spencer’s Pinatubo analysis, which for my money is among the most readable treatments of the “feedback” view.

Mike
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 2:52 am

To clarify the thing about “slavishly following”. :
The IPCC idea is that there will be a new equilibrium point with at δT proportional to δRad. It should take decades to reach the new stable level. What this post demonstrates, is that the feedbacks are much stronger than accepted values, sensitivity is much less and the settling time is much faster.
A simple linear feedback approximation is compatible with all of that and would also imply a δT that is so small as to be undetectable with the data available. So I would conclude that temp is “slavishly following” forcings but is finally settling to an unmeasurable small deviation.
I don’t see anything here that is contrary to idea of simple linear climate response to forcing, it is just the sensitivities that are not consistent with the data. And that is what all the shouting is about.

Joe Born
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 3:09 am

By the end of 1993, the observed post-eruption average forcing has returned to pre-eruption values … while the Sato theoretical forcing is still at minus two W/m2.

That’s where the nomenclature difference between the head post and Dr. Spencer’s above-mentioned post stands out. It is only the head post’s “Sato theoretical forcing” that Dr. Spencer refers to as feedback. The other “forcing” is, I believe, what he refers to as forcing plus feedback.

Mike
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 3:34 am

Joel, I think the “Sato’s theoretical forcing” is also forcing for Spencer. ( I question the scaling, which Hansen explicitly states was altered from their earlier values in an attempt to reconcile model outputs with the climate record ).
It is Willis’ ” observed post-eruption average forcing ” that is forcing plus feedback for Spencer and just about anyone else with an engineering background.
The article I linked above is a development of Spencer’s article but uses more recent data as well. Spencer’s graphs are very short and only used 72d averages which meant very few points. It was however, an inspirational approach.

ferd berple
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 6:40 am

much the climate had already substantially deteriorated some 10 years prior to the eruption and returned to ‘normal’ very soon after.
===============
Willis found this in a previous article. Global temperature anticipated volcanic eruptions, which throws cause and effect into question. In effect, global cooling causes volcanoes.

K. Kilty
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 8:19 am

Willis,
In response to Joel O’Bryan you state that what is going on here is not “simple feedback” as the IPCC defines it. I do not know the IPCC definition, and as you have referred to this definition, you might clarify quickly what this definition is to aid the occasional visitor here like me. However, I sense a disagreement over the word “feedback” at heart of this post and see no reason for it. The Spencer post that Joe Born refers to is a nice supplement to this post of yours, and Spencer refers to this as “feedback”.
Let me suggest an analogy. Even in a system as simple as the home furnace, one has a device that provides heat when needed (materializes) and then shuts off (vanishes)–sort of like your dust devil analogy. With separate zones it even appears where needed and then disappears. All of this works through feedback provided by the wall thermostat. And if the thermostat is of the “on/off” variety the feedback is not a linear system, but rather the actuator (furnace) is either off or saturated–pretty non-linear and a lot like your illustrative dust devil. No one is going to deny this as an example of feedback control, however.
How does seeing this as not “feedback” but some other sort of complex interaction advance understanding of the phenomenon?
Kevin

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 8:36 am

No, what Joel wrote is exactly right. “Feedback” is the precise term of art, and, as you say about the word “forcing,” it is useless to complain about it.
Your real complaint is that it’s not linear feedback. Which is right.
Overshoot and even ringing (multiple cycles of alternating overshoot and undershoot) are common in systems with feedback, particularly when there’s a significant delay in the feedback loop. That is true even when the system has only linear feedback, as in this example (showing step-forcings):
http://i.stack.imgur.com/1HIa6.gif
However, if the feedback is linear and the response to the forcing is followed by overshoot, then the duration of the overshoot will not exceed the duration of the original excursion caused by the forcing.
That’s not what your graphs show, not even close. In your graphs, the overshoot drags on and on, lasting for much longer than the original excursion caused by the forcing. That is evidence of nonlinear feedback.
Actually, there are multiple plausible explanations (and they’re not mutually exclusive). One explanation is that the feedback is highly nonlinear: it is stronger and/or quicker responding to negative excursions than positive. You identified powerful evidence for that in your wonderful “Albedic Meanderings” article.
Another possibility is that the feedback source (or one of the sources of feedback) is not radiative flux, but some other factor, such as cloud seeding, which has different duration and/or delay characteristics than radiative flux.
Another possibility is that, as Mike suggested, some other, unidentified factor is at work, perhaps just coincidentally, which is holding the radiative flux high, in the years following the volcanic forcing.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 8:46 am

berniel wrote, “…then what do you call it? Homeostasis? Something more… This looks very much like Gaia hypothesis…”
Or Intelligent Design.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 9:25 am

Howdy Willis,
I know perfection for you isn’t enough, so, your 2nd para. after 3rd figure, line 4 you are missing what I think is the word “forcing”. Don’t want to leave ’em guessing.
“Also, the speed of the climate response is visible in Figure 3. The total forcing (yellow line) follows the Sato forcing estimate (black line) for the first four months or so after the eruption. But after that, while the Sato calculated forcing continues to become more and more negative, the observations show that the does not ever become much more negative than it was at four months after the eruption. Instead, it runs level for about a year, and then rapidly increases. By the end of 1993, the observed post-eruption average forcing has returned to pre-eruption values … while the…”

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 9:27 am

Willis, sorry. Make that line 5

WilliMac
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 10:05 am

[dust devil] Is a tornado similar, just more powerful?

george e. smith
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 1:44 pm

“””””….. (the poles are certainly the radiators, and the equator is the collector). …..”””””
One thing that the earth’s polar regions are not, is ” the radiators “.
That is the very last thing that they are.
The total radiant emittance of a black body at the Temperature of the coldest polar regions (Antarctic highlands; circa -94 deg. C) is around one twelfth of the total radiant emittance of a black body at the temperature of the hottest tropical desert surfaces (circa +60 deg. C or higher).
The earth’s tropics radiate at about 1.8-2.0 times the global mean radiant emittance, while the coldest polar regions radiate at about one sixth of the global mean rate.
g

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 30, 2015 12:31 am

Joel: UNEP, UNFCCC, IPCC etc.. Are all based on the idea to use nature to dominate Man and undermine the Western World cultural and economic values. I think we can just call it cultural Marxism? A product of communist Soviet is now loose in the Western World. And it’s probably a bit absurd for today’s Russia and China to witness the 68’s attempt to revive Marxism in the Western World, less than 30 years after it failed in Soviet and China. China started to work when they implemented capitalism. And the Western World will stop working if capitalism is banned.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 30, 2015 5:09 am

+10
Willis’ posts are always very interesting.

george e. smith
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 30, 2015 11:58 am

“””””….. The IPCC defines “radiative forcing” as follows:

Radiative forcing is the change in the net, downward minus upward, radiative flux (expressed in W m–2) at the tropopause or top of atmosphere due to a change in an external driver of climate change, such as, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or the output of the Sun.
for example aerosol or greenhouse gas changes in paleoclimates. …..”””””
Now let me see if I have this straight.
I just cut and pasted this from your blue panel above, Willis, including your lead in
“”””” The IPCC defines “radiative forcing” as follows: “”””
The rest is what you posted, as an IPCC definition.
So the IPCC said this as part of a scientific definition : “”””” Sometimes internal drivers are still treated as forcings even though they result from the alteration in climate, for example aerosol or greenhouse gas changes in paleoclimates. “””””
I’m flabbergasted; One can actually use the word ” sometimes ” in a rigorous scientific definition ??
That sentence reads to me as gobbledegook anyhow !
“” Sometimes internal drivers are still treated as forcings even though they result from the alteration in climate, ….””
I thought ” Forcings ” were supposed to be the DRIVERS of climate; but now it seems climate can make its own forcings ??
I don’t know where you found this IPCC definition of ” forcings ” Willis, but it sure is a bobby dazzler .
g

Danny Thomas
July 29, 2015 9:36 pm

Willis,
Not completely off topic, but more or less a tangent. What are your thoughts w/r/t volcanic/geothermal activity in the area of the western Antarctic? (Know volcanoes have been an area of focus of yours). Asking as I see that as a good portion of what needs to be evaluated/discussed w/r/t those ice sheets and their activity IO perceive volcanoes are a bit understated regionally. Hansen’s recent offering indicates great concern, but this observers perception is the volcanic/geothermal involvement is not well evaluated/understood. (Apologies for the tangental comment).
Respectfully,

Danny Thomas
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 6:57 am

Thank you!

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 8:52 am

Yes, and here’s an interesting, relevant article: Subglacial volcanoes melting West Antarctic Ice sheet, say scientists.

Danny Thomas
July 30, 2015 1:23 pm

Dave Burton,
Thank you. I’ve been reading up on this phenomena and all I can find and it’s interesting that the volcanoes are a ‘relatively recent’ discovery, and yet as Willis suggests even though we’ve not known about their extent why would we tend to think they’re leading to melting now as they obviously been there much longer than we’ve been aware.
Antarctica is a mystery (to me and apparently many, many others). The geothermal portion of the conversation is one of the unknowns which we just don’t have an understanding. Appreciate the article.

Dixon
Reply to  Danny Thomas
July 30, 2015 5:42 am

I saw an ocean surface temp plot recently (which I need to check out again) and most of the warming areas were based around what my limited geology says are subduction zones. Given how cold the deep oceans are, how small the warming trends in ocean temp are, how poorly surveyed most ocean floor is, much less sampled, how the earth seems to run using coupled oscillating systems and how volcanic activity seems quite periodic, I do wonder if we’ve underestimated the impact of geothermal heat on ocean circulation and hence climate. As you say, too many questions.
But it doesn’t matter does it? The answer is renewables whatever the cost! / sarc off.

dp
July 29, 2015 9:52 pm

If there is no trend in volcano eruptions then there is no trend in any volcano forcings. Sure there is a weather response to individual eruptions but they are not long term and don’t matter in the big climate picture. If Mt. Rainier, heaven forbid, should explode like Mt. St Helens it results in a spike and nothing more. They are anomalies. Any use of non-trending volcano forcing is fraudulent when applied to climate. It’s really that simple. In any event we can’t manage volcanoes and have to accept what ever they dish out with the understanding that they don’t affect climate except in the short term. Unless we’re talking about a new version of the Deccan Traps or equivalent.
Whadda you guys wanna talk about now?

Joel O'Bryan
July 29, 2015 10:05 pm

Volcanic aerosols are the climate modelers’ (savior) fall-guy right now. They have to artifically pump-up aerosols in the models to counterbalance their (circular) logic of the CO2 forcings to arrive at today’s temps from yesterday’s starting point (Mr Pause, please take a bow).

george e. smith
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
July 30, 2015 12:00 pm

I thought aerosols were now known to be the product of plankton farts.

Joel O'Bryan
July 29, 2015 10:33 pm

dp,
The whole volcano sulphur-particulate aerosol thing, today absent a Deccan Traps event, is just what the modellers curently use to save themselves from reality. They must invoke higher than observed aerosols to save the models from running too warm due to their (circular logic) tuned-to-be too warm state.

Graeme W
July 29, 2015 10:05 pm

Conclusions: The main conclusion that I draw from this is that the central paradigm of modern climate science is wrong—temperature does not slavishly follow the forcings.
To the contrary, when the tropical temperature changes, the solar forcing subsequently changes in the opposite direction, negating much of the effect of the volcanoes.

Only being pedantic because I think you’re right, but that conclusion doesn’t follow from the investigation presented. What you’ve shown in that the forcing themselves can react to other forcings, so a change in one forcing doesn’t mean a corresponding change in total forcing — other forcings can change in response, such as the solar forcing changing in response to the aerosol forcing change.

george e. smith
Reply to  Graeme W
July 30, 2015 12:24 pm

Lenz’s law an the like, are examples of le Chatelier’s principle’ that changes in physical systems induce other changes that end up opposing the original change.
For example, LEDs that emit photons, some of which can escape to be seen by us, commonly tap most of those photons (TIR trapping) due to the high refractive index of LED materials. As a result many of those trapped photons rattle around inside the diode, and can get re-absorbed by the diode, since good LEDs are also good photo-detectors, and conveniently can efficiently absorb the very same photons they emit.
These re-absorbed photons generate a photocurrent, which it turns out flows in exactly the opposite direction to the current being applied to the LED from its external driver circuit,, so the net current drops for the same diode voltage, creating an apparent increase in the internal impedance of the diode.
Well it isn’t an apparent increase, it is a real increase in the impedance, and it acts to reduce the external radiation from the LED.
If you change the optical geometry of the LED die, so as to eliminate some of the TIR tapping, you get les captive photons, and so generate less reverse photo current, so the diode voltage drops, and its power efficiency increases.
Soraa is an LED company founded by Shuji Nakamura; inventor of the blue LED and blue laser diode; and they grow their LED materials on single crystal GaN which is a hexagonal crystal (Wurzite lattice I believe) rather than the cubic diamond lattice of silicon or GaAs.
So Soraa saws their LED dies into an equi-lateral triangle shape, rather than a square or rectangular shape. This triangular die has much lower TIR trapping, and shorter photon path lengths before escape from the die, giving them the most efficient blue LED you can get.
So any and all physical, chemical or biologic processes that contribute to any and all climate processes, is individually and collectively subject to le Chatelier’s principle.
I wouldn’t call that ” feedback “, it is simply ” compensation “.
g

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
July 30, 2015 12:27 pm

And the typos are a consequence of a lousy keyboard (or technique) , and not the result of amateur ignorance.
g

upcountrywater
July 29, 2015 10:23 pm

Farce-ing…The planet going to burn-up due to AGW..

July 29, 2015 11:05 pm

Speculative drivel once again. Volcanic ash simply means more sunlight being absorbed in the atmosphere and less being absorbed at the surface. Laws of thermodynamics dictate the change in temperature gradient this would cause and the time taken to cause it, but “radiative forcing” is nothing other than a misleading idea that masks the fundamental properties of the atmosphere, which are a function of incoming energy, atmospheric mass and gravity.

Joel O'Bryan
July 29, 2015 11:23 pm

If I put a mirror on a laser beam input, that would otherwise rapidly warm a surface, would you still think that the surface must somehow magically warm? Of course not. Aerosols are a mirror to Shortwave solar radiation.
In our climate, that mirror is volcanic sulphur dioxides reflecting shortwave (SW) back to outter-space. But volcanic aerosols are removed within a year or two by weather, water, and gravity for one-off events like Mt Pinatubo. Only the multi-millenial-long scale events like the Deccan Traps have the staying power to reduce solar SW inputs.

Stephen Richards
July 30, 2015 1:17 am

If you really know this post is rubbish write one of your own to show where and why otherwise FO

Khwarizmi
July 30, 2015 1:39 am

wickedwenchfan “…but “radiative forcing” is nothing other than a misleading idea that masks the fundamental properties of the atmosphere, which are a function of incoming energy, atmospheric mass and gravity.”
==========
Even if you were only interested in temperature you couldn’t derive any fundamental “properties” of the atmosphere from your three factors. With no outgoing energy budget, your model guarantees permanent global warming, even beyond the life of the sun! It also has no water to absorb, emit or reflect radiation, moderating temperature extremes that would otherwise occur from night to day.
In other words, your model is just “speculative drivel.”

Richard M
July 30, 2015 7:54 am

@wickedwenchfan
I think you are being a little too simplistic in your thinking. I suspect that the real answer is a combination of what you are getting at and the natural feedback system.
For example, if what Willis is stating was the entire picture then there would be no such thing as ice ages. The climate system would adjust to any increased albedo and allow in more solar energy preventing the accumulation of ice. On the flip side, your view would allow massive swings in the climate system from volcanoes, etc.
I suspect the real answer incorporates both ideas to some degree.

July 30, 2015 9:23 am

wickedwenchfan wrote, “Speculative drivel…”
Oh, good grief: more “slayer” nonsense. Sometimes it seems like the slayers’ raison d’être is to serve as straw men for climate alarmists to ridicule.
Willis and I occasionally disagree, but he never writes “drivel.” As Joel points out, it is ridiculous to suggest that changes in radiative flux can’t affect surface temperatures.

george e. smith
July 30, 2015 12:38 pm

Well any thing or every thing that results in “absorption” (rather than reflection or scattering) by the atmosphere, results is solar energy that does not reach the earth condensed surface (particularly the deep oceans, and contribute to earth’s energy budget.
Instead, it is eventually converted to isotropic LWIR emissions from the atmosphere, and less than half of that LWIR radiation is able to reach the surface; the rest escapes to space. The second law suggests that the net ” HEAT energy ” flow in the atmosphere must be from the hotter surface towards the colder space. So warming the atmosphere, is not the same as warming the surface.
So anything which absorbs solar spectrum energy in the atmosphere, by any means, results in a net cooling of the planet, rather than a net warming.
g

Bob Highland
July 29, 2015 11:56 pm

Beautifully argued and presented logic as always, Willis. The more one looks at it, the better one realises that the remarkable thing about Earth’s climate is not that it changes slightly through various cycles and events, but how stable it is over time. This suggests that there are some powerful stabilising factors in the whole system that react to perturbations to restore comparative stasis, and I agree with your overall central premise that it is the tropics and the hydrological cycle that are the key.
After all, the tropics/sub-tropics are the principal driver of heat flows across the planet, since those latitudes receive the most heat and rainfall and affect the balances elsewhere. The high latitudes don’t get enough heat over a year to be worth a damn, and while the mid-latitudes do receive an appreciable amount of heat, the actual weather/temperature that they experience is more often a factor of which way the wind is blowing than the heat actually downwelling in any given location.
Another clue is that on a typical day in the tropics it gets to about 32C, day in, day out, around the world. I am sure that it is no coincidence that that is also the typical maximum temperature of seawater. Beyond that temperature, water evaporates off the moist land/sea surface at a rate that determines what happens next by way of clouds, storms etc, and these phenomena are what drive the atmosphere and ocean currents into systems that affect the rest of the world and modify their weather, either hotter or colder than their local insolation might suggest on any given day.
It is to be regretted that a certain section (sect?) of the populace has chosen to become obsessed with CO2, attributing it with a power far beyond its modest radiative means, when water, with its ubiquity, concentration, high radiative activity, massive specific heat and high latent heat properties, and its quad-state (solid, liquid, vapour and suspended droplet) existence marks it as the true driver and equilibriant of climatic systems.

charles nelson
Reply to  Bob Highland
July 30, 2015 4:50 am

I agree with what you say.
I believe that the major problem for Climate Science is that the most potent “Warming Gas”; Water Vapour is also a ”Cooling Gas”.
There is no ‘Greenhouse’ with its implicit finite/absolute barrier, instead there is an infinitely fluid and variable blanket which handles the transfer of ‘energy’ in and out of the atmosphere on a: topographical, continental, oceanic, seasonal and diurnal basis.
Just one example, the University of Wisconsin has some marvellous satellite animations which allow you to see atmospheric conditions over the Pacific Ocean infra red, water vapour etc.
No Engineer could look at these images of the actual atmosphere shunting heat around the planet and think for a split second that there’s even a hint of overload. Talk about excess capacity!..the Atmosphere isn’t even ticking over let alone stressed. This preposterous notion that heat his ‘hiding’ in the oceans makes my blood boil… If the oceans need to eject heat they can do it any damned time they like….yet there are vast swathes of this planet where there is barely any water vapour present at all!
As for the simplistic atmospheric models that are used, people have no idea of the complexity and variability of the atmosphere. A few years back I tracked a body of warm air as it built in the eastern Pacific, crossed central America and Cuba making a beeline for the Arctic. Water vapour from the equator became part of the Greenland icecap entire process took around 3 days…now that’s impressive!
The more the ‘scientists’ get bogged down in 100th˚C arguments the more obvious it becomes that few of them could be trusted to set the climate controls of a large building let alone an entire Planet!

July 30, 2015 12:27 am

“…the climate system has proven to be surprisingly insensitive to such variations in forcing”.
In the short term quite possibly.
However longer term-where there is tens to hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of years of increased volcanic activity- the system might not be able to respond in such a manner.
So the eruption of major volcanic provinces such as the Siberian Traps seems linked to mass extinctions and hothouse conditions.

Another Ian
July 30, 2015 1:22 am

Willis
Re your response to Joel above and the mention of dust devils – somewhat O/T
“ROM
July 28, 2015 at 8:21 am · Reply
Yeh! The amount of gas aka “air” in those thermals make the amount of gaseous CO2 they are trying to capture look like piddling in a lake.
Say a thermal is 300 metres across;
Thats an area of about 71,000 sq metres
Thermal height from Ground to inversion or cloud base ; say 2500 metres [ 8000 ft ]
Air weighs in at sea level and standard temperature and pressures at 1.1 kgs / cubic meter so say with the decreased density at altitude , about 1 kg / cu mtr
Weight of air in a typical Australian summer thermal , very, very roughly 1.75 million tonnes all moving upwards at anything from 2 metres / sec [ 400 FPM ] to 8 mtrs / sec [ 1600 FPM ]
And you have something like that every 2 or 3 or 4 kms as you can see when those cumulus clouds dot the sky. Each one of which was created by the water vapour in that thermal column condensing out when it runs into the colder levels of the atmosphere at height.
Similar in effect when you breathe out on a frosty morning and your breath turns into a thin fog from the water vapour in your breath condensing when it reaches the cold dry frosty outside air .
ALL clouds as in ALL clouds other than the 80 to 100 km high Arctic and Antarctic Noctilucent Clouds are formed by rising air.
Of course there are many, many other days where the air is dry enough so that no clouds or few clouds form on the top of thermal columns and we have clear air thermals.
Where air goes up, air also comes down but usually spread over a much wider area and therefore slower in descent than in a thermal column.
But if you run into a good patch of “sink” the altimeter unwinds like the backward running second hand of a clock which definitely gets ones attention as the ground starts to loom up.
A regular, nice round classical thermal column is like global warming, it exists in theory but most glider pilots have yet to find one as thermals are messy, shifting, changing, more often petulant than not and makes one wonder why the hell one ever took this frustrating sport up
A really rough thermal, one that jars your teeth literally like getting mixed up in a good willy, willy thats more like the inside of a concrete mixer as you try to climb away from a low level definitely shakes your confidence in your immortality.
Thats until you hit a beauty and get a lift like ride at 1200 feet or more a minute up to 10,000 feet and you are on your way with a smile on the face and the wind in your hair, thats figuratively speaking only in these days of fully enclosed cockpits.
From
http://joannenova.com.au/2015/07/wait-til-you-see-these-numbers-on-carbon-capture-and-storage/

July 30, 2015 1:41 am

I am impressed, and pleased to see the term ‘forcing’ get some critical review. I suspect it caught on because the codewriters for GCMs could use it to claim they were modelling everything but the kitchen sink in their bloated, but still utterly inadequate to the claims being built upon them, models. Just calculate, estimate, or merely assert a forcing for item X, and lo and behold with a modest amount of keyboard time, you have X included in your model. Later on, flux adjustments, or whatever the modern perhaps more hidden version is, will take care of the verisimilitude issues so important to those who have claims in mind for political goals.

Jarryd Beck
July 30, 2015 1:45 am

I agree that feedback is the wrong word. A feedback is that a function of the output is being put back into the system, and I would argue that the system is far too complicated to describe as just inputs and outputs.
It’s le chatelier’s principle at work: a system (at equilibrium) will react to oppose any change made to it. We can probably consider parts of the system to be close enough to equilibrium to still be valid in this case. A nice sunny day is definitely closer to equilibrium than when it has a giant ash cloud being pumped into it.

ulriclyons
July 30, 2015 2:27 am

“The form of the climate reaction will be an albedo reduction due to the temperature reduction, which will cause an increase in available solar energy.”
What about ENSO? Interestingly, the El Nino episode from mid 1991 to mid 1992 is largely during positive NAO/AO conditions.

EternalOptimist
July 30, 2015 2:37 am

Feedback is definitely the wrong word. Willis is describing a complex reactive system as opposed to a complex system. Both can contain feedbacks

steveta_uk
July 30, 2015 4:14 am

Hmmmm – if not feedback, what would you call such a process? Perhaps it is behaving more like a governor – come to think of it, I think someone may ave suggested this before.

John M. Ware
July 30, 2015 2:41 am

Fine and enjoyable article. One little thing: under Fig 3, paragraph 2, end of line 4, word or words missing: ” . . . that the [blattablattablatta] does not . . . “

Leo Smith
July 30, 2015 2:42 am

well as an engineer I would say that feedback is exactly the right word. A complex form of feedback, yes, but that’s still feedback.

ulriclyons
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 30, 2015 3:05 am

I see ENSO and the AMO as amplified negative feedbacks.

Bloke down the pub
July 30, 2015 2:45 am

Typo? ‘ Sato calculated forcing continues to become more and more negative, the observations show that the …..does not ever become much more negative ‘
Is there a cloud seeding effect somewhere here that is not being taken into account?
By the way, if the net forcing of volcanoes is positive, does that make their absence in C21st another cause for the pause?

Joe Born
July 30, 2015 2:54 am

the observations show that the does not ever become much more negative than it was at four months after the eruption

A missing word?

K. Kilty
Reply to  Joe Born
July 30, 2015 8:31 am

Yes.

Mike
July 30, 2015 3:22 am

Joel:

The whole volcano sulphur-particulate aerosol thing, today absent a Deccan Traps event, is just what the modellers curently use to save themselves from reality. They must invoke higher than observed aerosols to save the models from running too warm due to their (circular logic) tuned-to-be too warm state.

I think the level of “atmospheric optical density” from volcanic aerosols is reasonably well measured. The fiddle factors arise in working out the forcing which comes down to guessing ( or using convenient values ) of aerosol size distributions to derive the radiative ‘forcing’.
These have been tuned to make the models roughly match 1960-2000 climate record.
Several refs and quations on that subject here:
https://climategrog.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/on-determination-of-tropical-feedbacks/
Hansen et al 2002

3.3. Model Sensitivity
The bottom line is that, although there has been some
narrowing of the range of climate sensitivities that emerge
from realistic models [Del Genio and Wolf, 2000], models
still can be made to yield a wide range of sensitivities by
altering model parameterizations.

RERT
July 30, 2015 3:23 am

Willis –
Why did you stop the charts of your analysis at 1998? Is the subsequent data unavailable, or was there some other reason?
R.

Mike
July 30, 2015 4:00 am

Willis’ fig 2 confirms what was pointed out here:
https://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=902
that major eruption have a long term effect on the composition of the stratosphere.
I would describe Willis’ violet line as the sum of volcanic forcing and climate feedback to volcanic disturbance of surface temps.
His gold line is probably a secondary effect of volcanoes, rather than a direct feedback. It is a consequence of directly induced changes in the stratospheric chemical composition, not a feedback of what is happening in the lower climate.
This warming forcing produced by volcanoes which so far seems to be conveniently ignore by mainstream climatology and is falsely attributed to AGW.
Which better explains the observed data can be seen in the post 2000 period with AGW getting ever strong and satellite observations showing slight cooling.

Mike
July 30, 2015 4:05 am

Forgot the image:
“Why Volcanoes Don’t Matter Much” , well if that is meant to mean that there is a very low sensitivity to initial volcanic forcing, I would agree.
However, I would say that analyses such as Willis presents here and the effects on the stratosphere matter a whole lot. They provide the key to understanding the different effects, sensitivities and causes. Saying they “don’t matter” would be foolish.

stevefitzpatrick
July 30, 2015 5:44 am

Willis,
Very interesting article. I particularly like the conversion of satellite measured stratospheric temperature change to a change in net solar absorption via Stefan-Boltzmann…. very clever. I would only suggest that while the development of reflective clouds probably does have a strong cooling effect (a strong negative feedback) in the tropics, the situation outside the tropics could be different. An increase in cloud cover at high latitudes in winter likely reduces radiative cooling of the surface…. since there is much less sunlight to reflect. Changes in clear sky moisture for sure change the rate of radiative loss (I have confirmed this with a radiometer), so increasing moisture level could be a positive feedback with a clear sky. The influence of clouds on reflected solar energy may well be why the tropics have warmed the least. Positive feedbacks may well be why high northern latitudes have warmed the most.
There are positive and negative feedbacks which are both acting in response to temperature changes. How large these feedbacks are, where and when they are important, and what their opposing effects sum to are clearly difficult to determine. Simple energy balance calculations (like Nic Lewis and others have done), indicate a slightly positive net feedback on average. I applaud your efforts, but hope you will also consider feedbacks outside the tropics.

george e. smith
July 30, 2015 1:04 pm

“””””….. Positive feedbacks may well be why high northern latitudes have warmed the most. …..”””””
Not so.
Tropical regions are hotter than polar regions; excuse me; I meant MUCH hotter.
Thermal (BB like) radiation goes as the 4th power of Temperature, and the thermal spectral peak spectral radiance increases as the 5th power of the temperature.
Ergo, the greatest thermal radiative cooling (by far) of the earth, occurs in the very hottest tropical deserts, and other tropical environments. The total radiant emissivity in the tropics, can be a factor of 12 times higher that the total radiant emittance of the Antarctic highlands.
So the reason the poles warm faster than the tropics, is because the tropics cool MUCH faster than the polar regions. It’s not even close. The polar regions are NOT cooling the earth. They would be even colder, and thus radiating even less, if it were not for the massive transport of heat from the tropics via the gulf stream and other ocean currents, as well as atmospheric circulation.
The polar regions are cold because not much solar flux ends up there, compared to in the tropics; and they warm faster, because they simply cannot cool, at their low Temperatures.

stevefitzpatrick
Reply to  george e. smith
July 30, 2015 5:45 pm

Are you suggesting that the average temperature of high latitude regions has increased less over the last 100 years than the average temperature in the tropics has increased? If so, you are simply mistaken.

eorge e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
July 31, 2015 2:04 pm

“””””…..
stevefitzpatrick
July 30, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Are you suggesting that the average temperature of high latitude regions has increased less over the last 100 years than the average temperature in the tropics has increased? If so, you are simply mistaken. …..”””””
Steve I’m a little dense this morning; excuse me, make that a whole lot dense.
So help me out; please cut and paste the exact wording in my post that leads YOU to conclude that I ” suggested ” what you wrote above.
I could have sworn that what I wrote EXPLAINED exactly why the high latitudes have warmed more, than the tropics.
Simple translation:
A black body radiator at a Temperature of one kelvin, doesn’t radiate as copiously as a black body radiator at a Temperature of 300 kelvin.
So if you irradiate each of those BBs with an irradiance of 342 w/m^2 (or even just 1 W/m^2), the colder body will increase in Temperature much more than the hotter body does.
No I am NOT suggesting anything so obviously foolish, that even a 4-H club member knows is wrong.
g

eorge e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
July 31, 2015 2:09 pm

“””””…..
george e. smith
July 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm
“””””….. Positive feedbacks may well be why high northern latitudes have warmed the most. …..”””””
Not so. …..”””””
English translation:
POSITIVE FEEDBACKS ……. are NOT why ….northern latitudes have warmed the most. …..”””””
QED

rgbatduke
July 30, 2015 5:46 am

Now, the current climate science paradigm says that regarding the things that affect temperature, everything averages out in the long run except for any changes in total forcing. The current paradigm further says that the future evolution of the climate can be forecast by the simple linear relationship given as:
Change in temperature equals climate sensitivity times change in total forcing.
Me, I think that’s simplistic nonsense

Me, I think that is a definition of climate sensitivity, which makes it really difficult for it to be wrong.
Remember, if you define forcing in terms of TOA radiation imbalance, a nonzero forcing must drive an internal energy change or the gods of energy conservation become angry. Since the gods of thermodynamics define temperature in terms of internal energy content, that too must change. The change will continue until TOA radiative imbalance is brought back to zero, and as long as the imbalances/changes are small it is reasonable to use a Taylor series and keep one term, a.k.a. “a linear model” for the net change that brings it back into balance (even if the way it returns is e.g. exponential or multiexponential decay to the new “equilibrium”.
This means that you can only really object to two things in the definition. One is the assumption of linearity in the shift, even for small shifts. Remember, this works both ways — it is equivalent to asking “Suppose the Earth were suddenly and uniformly heated by 1 C above its current instantaneous perfect radiative balance temperature. How would TOA forcing change?” Most people would say that it becomes net positive to lose the extra heat, by an amount proportional to the 1 C change relative to the base temperature, pure Taylor series. This is unsurprisingly exactly what you get from a Taylor series of SB around some initial equilibrium temperature, of course. The other is that the constant of proportionality is a constant of proportionality.
Of the two, personally I think the second is a worse assumption than the first, because the first is just math and a very reasonable way to define a linear response. The second, however, is obviously incorrect — the “sensitivity” is not a constant in space or in time. It isn’t even clear that its average is constant (assuming one figures out a clever way of defining the average of a moving target). We know this because we know that the mean temperature of the Earth is not a constant even when we don’t change the state of the sun. The Earth is clearly capable of making changes to its own “forcing”, because if one plots any of the temperature anomalies, they are not smooth curves but rather bounce up and down.
Which brings me back to fluctuation-dissipation, of course. Every time temperature changes, so does the forcing. Every time the forcing changes, so does the temperature. The way it responds in time both ways is a critical clue to how it loses the energy, but the only way I know of to ascertain a detailed knowledge of the dissipative modes that control the forcing is from TOA measurements of the specific spectral components that control net forcing.
Of course it would also be lovely to know how internal energy is moved around internal to the system, but it is simply impossible to measure that, and difficult even to meaningfully sample it, and trying to predict it involves solving the Navier-Stokes equations from the unknown initial conditions subject to equally unknown future conditions.
So if you want to assert that $\Delta T = \lambda \Delta F$ makes no sense at all from the tail chasing point of view where forcing both leads and follows temperature change as need be, I’m not sure I agree. But if you want to assert that in this expression, $\lambda(t,T,C_{co2},I...)$ (for a rather long list of variables, many of which are internal state variables, some of them integrated over past times) is not constant and not reducible to a single number that does not change independent of the concentration of CO2 or aerosols or temperature or humidity or orbital state or solar state or ocean state or…
You’ll get no argument from me. It isn’t clear that it can even be meaningfully averaged to make it into a pretend constant, or an effective constant. Because the climate isn’t stationary with or without any overt parametric shifts. It is a nonlinear, chaotic, turbulent, non-Markovian system, that is very likely highly multistable, with a different $\lambda$ associated with each climate attractor and a near-continuum of attractors (in a very high dimensional space). But hey, we’re still going to present it that way because yeah, the Earth still has to satisfy the first law and the zeroth law (or microscopic definitions of “temperature”).
rgb

Rob Morrow
July 31, 2015 12:41 pm

RGB,
“Remember, if you define forcing in terms of TOA radiation imbalance, a nonzero forcing must drive an internal energy change or the gods of energy conservation become angry.”
Willis’ article is suggesting that the duration of said TOA energy imbalance is shorter than the current paradigm suggests. During that shorter period of imbalance there is still an increase in energy storage. That smaller stored heat will still dance with the radiative imbalance until a new transient equilibrium is reached. I think if that dance is just one song instead of a marathon, it plays well for:
“Change in temperature equals climate sensitivity times change in total forcing.
Me, I think that’s simplistic nonsense”
Rob

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 31, 2015 12:51 pm

Thinking now that I misunderstood and you are really just objecting to the often equivocal use of the word “forcing”.

rgbatduke
July 30, 2015 6:03 am

Oops, sorry about the accidental shouting
[Fixed, I think … w.]

Sturgis Hooper
July 30, 2015 6:20 am

In the post by Mike?

July 30, 2015 6:52 am

rgb,
Can’t see your original post. Did you use a naughty word like d*n*er and get sent to moderation? Looking forward to it when it shows up.
pbh

Sturgis Hooper
July 30, 2015 7:29 am

Or in comments to another post?

george e. smith
July 30, 2015 1:09 pm

Where shouting ???
g

Greg in Houston
July 30, 2015 6:03 am

A bit off topic, but what this also seems to show is that the idea that “deadly” CFCs migrate to the southern hemisphere to affect the ozone layer.

Reply to  Greg in Houston
July 30, 2015 8:03 am

Or maybe it’s the phytoplankton 😉
I suspect the CFC’s migrate south with the other snowbirds.
(Some great posts recently that require re-reads and note taking. Thanks to the writers.)

TImo Soren
July 30, 2015 6:37 am

For clarity: Willis is the ‘reaction of the system’ to the eruption solely the the cloud mechanism OR are you saying ‘I know the system reacts’ and I am looking for how my hypothesis: ‘that there is a reaction’ versus the Sato’s model and demonstrate my hypothesis ‘fits the data’ better than Sato’s?
The reason I ask, is I am not a big fan of the ‘my model fits the data better than yours’ but I am a big fan of the data imply some underlying concept that is evident in the analysis.
It seems to me that you are arguing that ‘the data supports a reactive self-adjusting system’ rather than the Sato model. Hence, we should investigate the fundmentals of what they ,say cumulus reaction to cooling in the tropics, are really doing what the set of reactions are.

July 30, 2015 6:39 am

ToA is 340 W/m2 +/- maybe 10. According to IPCC AR5 the additional RF due to the 120 ppm of CO2 added between 1750 and 2011 is about 2 W/m^2. The four models use 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5 W/m^2 as the RF due to corresponding ppm of CO2. Trivial in comparison to 340.
The notion is that this additional RF is trapped in the atmosphere under a blanket, another half baked analogy as incomplete as the GHE. Both ignore the role of water/water vapor as master thermostat.
The RF of CO2 is lost in the ebb and flow, uncertainty and rounding errors of the total global power (watt is power, not energy) balance.
Geothermal heat flux through the ocean floor is a huge uncertainty.

george e. smith
Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
July 30, 2015 1:21 pm

TOA is 1362 Wm^-2 give or take maybe 4 Well that is average for the whole solar orbit period, and it has that value pretty much 24 hours a day. But it only illuminates a bit more than half te planet ata time.
At 340 Wm^-2, even continuously, even a perfect black body cannot reach a Temperature of 288 K, which is earth average, let alone reach 333K or more which some tropical desert surfaces reach or exceed every day in northern summers.
Earth is not a perfectly thermally conducting isothermal black, or even gray body, which it would have to be to be 59 deg. F everywhere at all times, in the Kevin Trenberth et al climate model .

July 30, 2015 6:43 am

The interesting aspect and semi-proof of Willis’ point is that Pinatubo, for example, had “forcing” of -4.0 W/m2 while the most temperature dropped was about -0.35C.
That forcing is almost as large as doubled CO2/GHGs yet the surface temperature barely moved. It is, in fact, hard to pick out from the normal internal variability.
So why does doubled CO2 produce 3.0C yet an equivalent change from a volcano produce -0.35C. It could be magic although I’m sure the climate change prophesy has an excuse/explanation.

Sturgis Hooper
Reply to  Bill Illis
July 30, 2015 7:14 am

As nearly as I can divine from the incantations of Warmunistas, they might murmur something about water vapor feedback. But even without that supposition, the assumed effect of CO2 alone is around one degree C, which still looks too high. This suggests net negative feedbacks, as in fact observed with volcanoes.

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 30, 2015 8:20 am

.35c is significant, no matter what time period it covers and that is just from one isolated volcanic eruption.
In addition it only had an explosive index level 6. Much less significant then say a 7 or 8.
What would happen if Yellowstone erupted for example?
According to Willis ,and his line of reasoning hardly anything.

ferdberple
July 30, 2015 6:47 am

the central paradigm of modern climate science is wrong—temperature does not slavishly follow the forcings.
================
Climate science ignores the most fundamental of principles. When subjected to a change, systems react to counter the change.

July 30, 2015 6:49 am

Volcanoes are important for replenishing atmospheric CO2 via subducted limestone (mostly) and fossil fuels. The current CO2 crash would have lasted for millions of years without Man burning fossil fuels. We would have had to wait for a period of massive volcanism and an end to the current ice age with the melting of Greenland and Antarctica (releasing CO2 from the oceans). That’s how the Carboniferous CO2 collapse ended, the only other time in earth’s history when CO2 levels have been so low.

rogerknights
July 30, 2015 7:02 am

‘The word “forcing” “farcing” is what is called a “term of art” in climate science.’

george e. smith
July 30, 2015 1:24 pm

AKA as “jargon”.
g

Craig Loehle
July 30, 2015 7:20 am

Years ago I had a long-running debate with a colleague in Ecology who insisted that interactions in ecosystems were linear. He liked linear equations because then complex analyses of the whole system could be done, such as tracing dependencies and impacts. He wanted analytical expressions and because he wanted this he insisted that the real world had to match what he needed. I never made any headway even though we remained friendly. This situation is the same, the assumption that responses to forcings are a simple multiplicative relationship is to deny that negative feedbacks can exist. In science such an important thing should be determined empirically and rigorously and not just because it is a convenient simplification. Kudos to Willis for keeping on pushing his (correct IMO) theory.

July 30, 2015 7:21 am

Willis Eschenbach: “The increase in available energy will be of the same order of magnitude as the corresponding decrease due to volcanic aerosols.”
Nice work, Willis. That is precisely what explains the absence of volcanic cooling. They are all imaginary but are shown on various temperature curves. I demonstrated (“What Warmomhg?” pages 17-21) that all these so-called “volcanic cooling” incidents are nothing more than misidentified La Nina valleys. ENSO and the occurrence of volcanoes are not in phase. If by chance an eruption coincides with an El Nino peak it will be followed by a La Nina valley which invariably is named as this volcano’s cooling. An example is Pinatubo. You find it marked even on monthly satellite temperature charts. On the other hand, if the eruption coincides with a La Nina valley it will be followed by an El Nino peak and that volcano will not get any cooling to call its own. An example is El Chichon. Intermediate cases of various degrees of reduced cooling also exist because of the various possible mismatches between eruptions and ENSO phases. I have had it out for five years now but the climate “scientists” who control temperature records are still ignorant of this.

ulriclyons
Reply to  Arno Arrak (@ArnoArrak)
July 30, 2015 6:15 pm

How about large eruptions cause El Nino conditions/episodes,

July 30, 2015 7:29 am

feed·back ˈfēdˌbak/ noun
1. information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.
synonyms: response, reaction, comments, criticism; More
2. the modification or control of a process or system by its results or effects, e.g., in a biochemical pathway or behavioral response.
Therein lies the problem. Most folks confuse reactionary forces as feedback. It’s not.
Real feedback examples: Engine governors (e.g. steam engines going “balls out”); Op-amps — feeding the output of an amplifier back into the grid.
Back EMF, for example (the phenomena wherein a DC motor acts as a reactive generator as rotational speed increases) is a reactive force and not “feedback”

July 30, 2015 7:51 am

Here is Willis with his same old wrong reasoning. Willis how do you explain all the abrupt past climatic changes based on your reasoning? How do you reconcile it?
The reason why you do not respond is because you have no answers.
In addition the data shows clearly that many volcanic eruptions have major climatic effects although they are short lived.
Willis conclusion.
Conclusions: The main conclusion that I draw from this is that the central paradigm of modern climate science is wrong—temperature does not slavishly follow the forcings.

LT
July 30, 2015 7:54 am

Makes sense, I think the fact that Earth exists in this magical state where water is balanced in a strange state where it can exist in 4 molecular configurations, solid, liquid, gas and clouds, creates a very complicated feedback system that is not easily understood. All of the various transfers of energies associated with convection, conduction, evaporation, condensation and precipitation are all made possible because 70% of the surface is covered in liquid water.

July 30, 2015 7:56 am

The study I have sent below has it spot on and is what most people subscribe to when it comes to volcanic effects versus the climate. It says everything I could possibly say about this subject. Just an excellent study and evaluation of how volcanos interact with the climate.
Look at table 3 of this report. I think they have it about right.
http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/ROG2000.pdf

July 30, 2015 8:01 am

If I understand the ramifications of Mr. Eschenbach’s “equilibrium response” of climate correctly – then the (few) documented historical instances of large volcanic eruptions causing crop failures is more likely a case of a systemic climate outlier reinforced by the eruption – as opposed to the eruption itself being the primary driver. Kind of like nitrous in a combustion engine vs. the engine’s fuel: the eruption (nitrous) makes the fuel derived engine power greater, but doesn’t offset the fuel type (wood vs. natural gas vs. gasoline).
I had wondered about this because my own personal examination of Pinatubo showed that the actual world climate response seemed so much lower than “expected” – which seemed discordant vs. many documented examples of poor weather due to Tambora.
But then I saw where an article where a historian went back and correlated written documentation of weather related events – primarily agriculture related – and showed a correlation with Tambora, but also with another unknown “super” eruption in 1807 (5 years before Tambora).
Now, the possibility of a completely unknown super eruption on a similar scale to Tambora within just 5 years – with no historical record other than crop failures – is certainly possible. But then again, a simpler explanation might just be that the 1807 to 1814 era was just a particularly cold and bad decade, kind of like the 1970s.

Dawtgtomis
July 30, 2015 8:35 am

Don’t forget that Tambora took place at the time the Dalton minimum was well underway, after most of the cooling had occurred. Same with the 1811-1812 extreme tectonic event of the new madrid fault. This correlation could suggest a relationship (or not) between those events and solar influences. Possibly the failed crops after Tambora were more the result of the solar influence and the subsequent climate changes of a solar grand minimum.
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/it2m_land_best_1800:1820_13month_low-pass_loess1a.png

Dawtgtomis
July 30, 2015 8:57 am

Could it be that Pinatubo erupted during a time of lower cosmic radiation to the atmosphere (due to higher heliospheric density) and less of it’s aerosol emissions were energized to form clouds which cause cooling? Could the lower heliospheric density during the Dalton minimum be part of the difference?

gbaikie
July 30, 2015 9:22 am

I think it’s only the bigger eruption like Tambora which have much cooling effect.
So anything which has ejecta of over 20 cubic km of rock into stratosphere.
A cubic km of water is 1 billion tonnes, cubic km of rock is over 2 billion tons.
So if had say 5.1 billion tonne of rock put into higher atmosphere and earth has 510 million square
km, on average it’s 10 tons of powdered rock per square km. Or .01 kg per square meter.
Which should begin to effect the clarity of the open oceans. And while it’s in the atmosphere it also has an effect..

July 30, 2015 8:05 am

I hate the word forciing . Just give me differential equations .
Thanks for dissing this jargon papering over a lack of solid applied math education .

Dawtgtomis
July 30, 2015 8:11 am

Willis, if you’re still watching this thread, I am curious if this theory also would apply to nuclear explosions or impacts with asteroids, etc.?

July 30, 2015 8:12 am

Finally Willis is treating all volcanic activity as if each eruption was exactly the same. What could one say. I guess. I throw my hands up when I hear these blanket statements being addressed to the climatic system which is dynamic, chaotic, random ,non linear which means given forcing applied to it is going to give different results, no matter what the source of the forcing, volcanic eruptions included.
This one cause climate effect reasoning with the climate result line is really getting old. I will oppose this because it is plain old wrong.
Not accounting for the location of the eruption, the explosive index of the eruption, the amounts of SO2 from the eruption, how isolated or not the eruption was, the Initial State of the Climate at the time of the eruption for example the Ice Dynamic, all of which make the neat conclusions presented here to be nothing more then some norm with out regard to the specific dynamics of the volcanic eruption itself and the Initial State Of The Climate which are not going to give the same outcomes he wrongly keeps suggesting.
While I am at it your line of reasoning just does not reconcile with what the historical climatic record shows, as produced for Ice Cores. This thermoregulation theory you try to present is proven wrong time and time again by the historical climatic record.
It is time to think again.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/02/multiple-intense-abrupt-late-pleisitocene-warming-and-cooling-implications-for-understanding-the-cause-of-global-climate-change/

July 30, 2015 8:17 am

Douglass and Knox published on this a little over ten years ago (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2004GL022119/full). They used a linear systems feedback model and concluded. Their conclusion: “results are contrary to a paradigm that involves long response times and positive feedback”.

Mike M. (period)
July 30, 2015 8:30 am

Willis,
Interesting, but I do not find this convincing. My problem is that you do not seem to have investigated the question of whether the data are sufficient to see the effect you look for. The available solar energy data are clearly quite noisy. They are also likely to be affected by El Nino (I think there was one in 91-92) and La Nina events. So your failure to detect an appropriate signal due to the eruption could be, as you suppose, that the signal is not there or it could just be that the signal is lost in the noise. Without addressing the latter, your case for the former is unconvincing.

Mike M. (period)
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 5:37 pm

Willis,
“This greatly increases the odds that it is a real signal.”
Maybe by a factor of two. Seems to me like there is a 50-50 chance of having the noise respond in one hemisphere ahead of the other.
It is oh so easy to see what you want when you have autocorrelated noise. I tend to be skeptical whether it is what I want to see, or not.

ulriclyons
Reply to  Mike M. (period)
July 30, 2015 6:16 pm

More likely the eruptions cause El Nino.

FerdinandAkin
July 30, 2015 8:38 am

I can’t wait for Willis to start including data from NASA’s OCO-2 satellite in his analysis.

Dawtgtomis
July 30, 2015 9:14 am

Access to that data appears to be forbidden to all except the ‘science elite’.

Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 9:14 am

Excellent post Willis! How does the response from El Chichon, or other major eruptions, look when analysed using the same method?

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 9:18 am

NVM, I had skipped over your “data” note.

Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 9:15 am

I am less titillated by smaller volcanic events (that I think the global weather pattern system recovers from within a season or two) than I am larger catastrophic events and their interactions with ENSO timing and memory mechanisms. It is now generally accepted that under normal conditions ENSO processes have memories related to the normal delayed oscillating La Nina to neutral processes that are somewhat randomly interrupted by El Nino events, especially if La Nina conditions hang around too long. The results of this overall process and its many different short and long term pattern variations are then echoed significantly throughout the globe through its many oceanic/atmospheric teleconnections. It is also generally accepted that they do NOT cancel out over long term time scales but instead of short, long, and very long patterns of variation. For further information the following webpage is a good place to gather educational understandings of ENSO processes http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/.
Now add a catastrophic blow that pumps out copious amounts of sulfuric acid into the stratosphere along with near continuous pulses after the initial event. And place this catastrophic blow directly in the path of ENSO processes that depend on clear sky solar insolation to replenish copious amounts of energy lost during El Nino events. For me, that is where the money is in terms of discussing sudden and severe global cold periods that result in multiple years of flora and fauna death. And because ENSO processes are interacting with this disruptive catastrophic event, the resultant ENSO disruption echoes across the global weather pattern oceanic/atmospheric systems in a variety of ways and timing. These effects, once set in motion in terms of a less than normally recharged ocean, continue in spite of the eventual clearing of stratospheric veiling and may take decades to fully recover from.
Unfortunately, the last catastrophic event (1257) does not have the fine scale of sensor data to inform us as to the accuracy of its echoed effects on global climate processes. So at this point, it remains a conjecture, but one that is spurring a debate that is heating up http://www.pnas.org/content/111/28/10077.full.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 9:32 am

Pam your line of reasoning is correct

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 1:32 pm

Typo: “It is also generally accepted that they do NOT cancel out over long term time scales but instead [have] short, long, and very long patterns of variation.”

Sturgis Hooper
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 1:54 pm

How does it feel to be in bed with Michael Mann of the Inappropriate Tree Rings?
The Warmunista phony paper you cite is is pure, unadulterated garbage.
In fact, the period 1250 to 1300 was one of the peaks of warmth during the MWP, as you’ve repeatedly been shown.
Volcanoes have no climatic effect, only on weather for much less than ten years. Even tropical VEI7 eruptions.

Sturgis Hooper
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
July 30, 2015 2:04 pm

PS
The coldest 40 years of the LIA were during the Maunder Minimum, not the Dalton, even with the boost downward of Tambora.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
July 30, 2015 2:15 pm

Sturgis, you fail to understand the significant difference in calibration between Mann’s malpractice attempt at temperature reconstructions and the significant work done by the authors of the paper I linked to. You also fail to understand Earth’s teleconnected system and it’s lagged temperature response to catastrophic atmospheric disruptions. Under normal conditions, the world’s temperature producing systems do not turn on a dime when it comes to its cycles (the Arctic and Antarctic cycle being a good example) and tend towards having a fading memory with various responses on a regional basis of its regimes. Evidence is mounting that catastrophic atmospheric events can indeed cause a regime shift that stays around awhile.

Sturgis Hooper
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
July 30, 2015 2:47 pm

Pamela,
I’m pretty sure I understand the climate system better than your presumed expertise, not that anyone knows much about it.
But, if I may take their names in vain, Willis, Dr. Brown, Bob Tisdale, Bill Illis, Tony and other regular commenters here can explain to you at least as well as I why a volcano in 1257 wasn’t responsible for the LIA, as you and Mann presume. In fact I’m closer to your position than any of those esteemed commenters, since I allow for WX effects for years, just not for climatic effects for centuries, as you so unjustifiably imagine.
But then you could be much smarter and better informed than all of us. It’s possible.
Tree rings are not thermometers, period. Unless you have an ax to grind, like Mann and yourself.

Sturgis Hooper
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
July 30, 2015 2:54 pm

PS
It’s not just the tree ring circus, but the fact that in order to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period, Mann et al also sink to citing volcanoes to explain the LIA.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Both the LIA and MWP are natural fluctuations, just like those which preceded them in the Holocene and in all previous interglacials. And glacials for that matter, but deeper.

ulriclyons
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 6:19 pm

“randomly interrupted by El Nino events”
Not random but an amplified negative feedback to weak solar wind conditions, and volcanic aerosol cooling.

LT
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 9:19 pm

It is just as likely that the stratospheric conversion of SO2 to H2SO4 from El-Chichon and Pinatubo had a long term warming effect that we are still experiencing because the conversion process altered the water vapor content and or ozone levels within the Stratosphere in a cascaded manner which would alter the radiative properties in the stratosphere in a stepped function that is seen in the RSS and UAH datasets.

LT
July 31, 2015 4:40 am
July 31, 2015 6:13 pm

LT July 30, 2015 at 9:19 pm says:
“…It is just as likely that the stratospheric conversion of SO2 to H2SO4 from El-Chichon and Pinatubo had a long term warming effect that we are still experiencing because the conversion process altered the water vapor content and or ozone levels within the Stratosphere in a cascaded manner which would alter the radiative properties in the stratosphere in a stepped function that is seen in the RSS and UAH datasets.”
Nonsense. It has nothing to do with conversion of SO2 to H2SO4. There is no such thing as a stepped function in the satellite data. What is there is a an ENSO wave train that you obviously cannot recognize in your poor quality graph. It precedes the super El Nino and comprises five El Nino peaks with La Nina valleys in between. Look at figure 15 in my book and follow up the explanation.

LT
August 3, 2015 8:34 am

Arno, there is most certainly a stepped function that occurred in the stratospheric temperature record in which the stratosphere cooled in a steeped function after the effects of El-Chichon and Pinatubo that altered the radiative properties of the stratosphere.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/29/why-volcanoes-dont-matter-much/#comment-1996836

LT
August 3, 2015 8:46 am

Unless your book can explain why the stratosphere dropped from a minimum of 212.5K to 212K after El-Chichon and remained at or above that temperature until after the effects of Pinatubo in which it dropped to 211.5 K and has remained at roughly that temperature since 1995.

July 30, 2015 9:26 am

Interesting Willis. There are other areas where this hypothesis might be explored such as the supposed climate disruption caused by impact events. I’ve personally thought that so far the effect has been exaggerated on mostly an almost anecdotal basis…”everybody knows” the great dinosaur extinction was “caused” by the climate changes associated with an asteroid impact.

John Coleman
July 30, 2015 10:19 am

This student has studied the entire Article by Willis and all the comments that followed. I conclude that volcanoes do have a significant impact in the hemisphere in which they are located but only for around a year. Then the pattern and trend of temperatures continues where it left off. I have long felt that forcing is a misnomer.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  John Coleman
July 30, 2015 1:44 pm

But that would not make sense in an oceanic/teleconnected system that when disrupted in any one of the major connections, would tend to echo that disruption, and if a major disruption, would put the system out of balance for quite some time and like ripples in a pond, continue to echo the memory of that event. It is also possible that the disrupted system could lead to a rebound greater than its initial state.

July 30, 2015 10:25 am

Dr. Spencer’s Conclusions. Again correct. We have the data.
The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines on June 15, 1991 provided a natural test of the climate system to radiative forcing by producing substantial cooling of global average temperatures over a period of 1 to 2 years

gammacrux
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 11:50 am

That’s just what complexity means or homeostasis in living systems, the most remarkable complex systems.
Its emergent and so cannot be inferred from first principles or merely be reduced to physics, as “climate models” naîvely assume .

markx
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 4:23 pm

Feedback is just feedback… it may be runaway (positive) feedback, diminishing (negative) feedback, or under some rare coincidental circumstances, regulatory feedback.
Then, it is a governor.
A governor is regulatory feedback.
And is better termed a governor.

July 30, 2015 10:32 pm

Exactly right, markx, except that regulatory feedback systems are not rare.
If a vacuum cleaner robot runs around the room randomly, like a Roomba, without regard to the result, that’s not feedback. But if the vacuum cleaner looks at the result, and goes back and re-vacuums the dirty spots, that is an example of feedback. (Of course, even a dumb Roomba has other feedback systems for other purposes, like collision avoidance, automatic recharging, etc.)
Of course, we wouldn’t call a vacuum cleaner which examines the floor for dirt a “feedback device,” because that’s insufficiently descriptive. We’d call it something like a “smart robotic vacuum cleaner” or “Your Personal Electronic Maid™.” But it’s still using feedback.
Regulatory feedback systems are everywhere. Even your own body is full of them. They operate in an enormous variety of ways, over a great variety of time scales, for a huge number of purposes.
The mere fact that you can stand upright is a result of your body’s internal feedback control systems: if the wind picks up and starts to blow you to the left, your body will respond to the lurch by shifting your weight a bit to lean you to the right, into the wind, so that you don’t topple over. That’s a regulatory feedback system.
The fact that your irises shrink and expand according to how much light your eye is admitting is another regulatory feedback system.
The fact that you breathe harder and your heart pumps faster when your blood O2 level drops is an even more important regulatory feedback system. Specialized chemoreceptor cells sense your blood O2 level, and feed back the information through your nervous system, to increase or decrease your breathing and heart rate, as necessary, to maintain oxygen homeostasis.
The fact that your skin darkens if you’re exposed to too much sunlight, to protect you from too much sunlight, but lightens when you’re not exposed to much sunlight, to help you make vitamin D, is another regulatory feedback system.

July 31, 2015 1:39 am

Dave, I stand corrected, they are very common indeed in nature. As you point out, every biological system is so regulated.

July 30, 2015 11:27 am

PS—I’ve run into this argument before when I’ve described the regulatory system as a “governor”. People kept telling me that a “governor” is just feedback … I pointed out that James Watt patented his system as a “flyball governor”, and not a “flyball feedback” …
Willis your regulatory system as a governor (for climate) does NOT stand the test of time. If it was abrupt climate change would have NEVER occurred, as well as inter-glacial /glacial periods of time .
What you keep trying to say(a governor to the climate system) does not conform to the data. .
Again how do you reconcile your regulatory system (governor )with the historical climatic record?
As far as feedbacks you are forgetting thresholds that are out there and which have been crossed from time to time which give a new meaning to a climate/feedback result.
If you were correct in what you keep trying to convey about the climate having some kind of a governor the temperature of the earth would have never varied by more then 1 degree centigrade and abrupt climate change would have never happened much less alternating periods of ice ages and inter- glacial periods of time.
Your theory or take on how the climate system works in my opinion is wrong and it is backed up by the historical climatic record of data.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 12:02 pm

Maybe you own a car. If you do, it’s engine is governed. Does your car only go at one specific speed? Probably not. I bet it can go fast or slow, or anywhere in between, depending on the system’s input’s (mainly pressure on the gas pedal).
The Earth’s system in much more complicated in terms of the number of inputs. Here is an important one: the position of the continents. As continents shift over geological time scales, there are changes to the earth’s albedo based on the average latitude of the land masses. The position of the land masses will also affect the way the oceans circulate heat. E.g. the formation of the isthmus of Panama separating the Atlantic from the Pacific.
The governor(s) of the climate system are not locked in at one temperature, just like you’re car isn’t stuck driving at just one speed.

Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 12:41 pm

My post made at 12:15 pm is not all that much different then what you just posted.

Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 11:33 am

“What you keep trying to say(a governor to the climate system) does not conform to the data. .”
Salvatore, this is the second time you have stated that the concepts presented in the article do not conform to “the data”. Please be more specific about which data you are referring to, and just how that data refutes Willis’ proposal.

July 30, 2015 11:36 am

A picture is worth a 1000 words and this historical record of global temperature changes speaks to what I conveyed in my previous post. VARIATION!
It is quite clear that the climate has a vast variation and that no thermoregulatory system is in play for if it were the historical global temperature record would flat line.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 11:39 am

The existence of governors in climate dynamics does not mean that the climate will not vary over long periods of time. Please elaborate so we know you have some idea of what a governor does.

Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 12:15 pm

Rob my answer below but let me ask you a question first. Why does the existence of governors in climate dynamics does not mean the climate will not vary? How about abrupt climatic changes over a decade or century? How is that reconciled? I just sent that data over in my post sent at 8:12am . Address that if you could.
My reply to you is as follows:
It depends on your definition of what a climate governor is. Now one can look at it in two different ways. One can say a climate governor is in place(not necessarily earth bound) that keeps the temperature of the earth from running away in a forever hot direction or cold direction. I guess from that stand point one can say the earth has a climate governor giving it a degree of stability.
On the other hand the governor what ever it may be is not sufficient to keep the earth in a stable climatic regime as far as it being either in a constant glacial or inter- glacial state, which is what Willis is trying to convey.
The climate governor’s efficiency is apparently subject to Land/Ocean Arrangements, Ice Dynamics, Random Terrestrial Events, Extra Terrestrial Events (ranging from Milankovitch Cycles, Geo Magnetic Events/Field Strength ,Solar Variability etc) which will be enough as past historical climate data clearly shows to cause the climate of the earth to shift into a different climatic regime(despite a governor) , but not go forever in that particular direction.
Which says to me yes one can say a climate governor of sorts is out there but not one that is strong enough to prevent the climate of the earth from going from a glacial state to inter glacial state which makes the climate of the earth in that sense not stable and not having a climate governor in practical terms..
The last 10,000 years for example not being representative of how the climate has functioned over the last 2 to 3 million years which Willis always tries to invoke as his proof that a climate governor is in play.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 1:02 pm

Salvatore
“Why does the existence of governors in climate dynamics does not mean the climate will not vary?”
Please see my 12:02pm posted car governor analogy. The system’s input do no remain static over long periods of time. Think of the “governed” temperature as the equilibrium temperature. If the equilibrium state of the Earth changes, so will the governed temperature.
“How about abrupt climatic changes over a decade or century? How is that reconciled? I just sent that data over in my post sent at 8:12am . Address that if you could.”
Not sure what you are asking here. What in that article are you referring to?
“On the other hand the governor what ever it may be is not sufficient to keep the earth in a stable climatic regime as far as it being either in a constant glacial or inter- glacial state, which is what Willis is trying to convey.”
If anything, regular oscillation between glacial and interglacial periods is itself evidence of governing dynamics in the system. Without governor(s), why would the system cycle back and forth instead of jsut continuing to get colder or warmer in one direction?
“The climate governor’s efficiency…”
I think you mean effectiveness.
“Which says to me yes one can say a climate governor of sorts is out there but not one that is strong enough to prevent the climate of the earth from going from a glacial state to inter glacial state which makes the climate of the earth in that sense not stable and not having a climate governor in practical terms..”
The long term temperature trend during an ice age oscillates between glacial and interglacial periods. Those oscillations themselves suggest that the system is governed. Possible governing feedback mechanism: colder atmosphere produces fewer clouds, thus higher absorbed solar radiation. Warmer atmosphere produces more clouds, and less absorbed solar radiation causing cooling. These oscillations about the trend line are the governor in action.
If you want to point to one thing in particular that acts as a governor: water. The specific physical properties of water are likely the strongest influence on where the system is governed. E.g. freezing point, boiling/evaporation point, specific heat, reflectivity/absorption in its many physical states, etc.
“The last 10,000 years for example not being representative of how the climate has functioned over the last 2 to 3 million years which Willis always tries to invoke as his proof that a climate governor is in play.”
But are the last 10,000 years are not an outlier in the current 2-3 million year ice age. How is this period not representative?
“Which says to me yes one can say a climate governor of sorts is out there but not one that is strong enough to prevent the climate of the earth from going from a glacial state to inter glacial state which makes the climate of the earth in that sense not stable and not having a climate governor in practical terms..”
You are already open to the idea of a governor, but you need to understand that the presence of a governor does not suggest that the system remains static forever. I hope my attempted explanation helps.

July 30, 2015 11:38 am

I hope this will post. It is a graph of global historical temperatures.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 11:49 am

If you post a similar chart that shows CO2 as well, you should be able to see that the climate does not act like an un-governed system at the mercy of forcings. There use to be many times more CO2 in the atmosphere than there is today. If the system was not governed, and CO2 forcing caused linear warming, the deadly greenhouse effect would have runaway with itself and the earth would look more like Venus. Fortunately for us, it didn’t.

Bill Illis
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 12:02 pm

This chart has several errors in it.
First, there is a disconnect between the 67Mya temperature and the 100M+ temperatures. Between 3M to 67M the values should be detrended by about half. The PETM, for example, global average temperature was around 6C, not 14C
Second, the temperatures in the red/yellow section (100M+) come from a study by Royer, Berner 2004 and the actual temperatures they showed were only about 2/3rds of what is depicted here.
I have noted other problems including these ones to the author and he agreed with me on the public forum of RealClimate but he has not fixed the chart since then.
Throw this chart out.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Bill Illis
July 30, 2015 12:08 pm

Even if the chart was perfect, it would not help his argument.

Reply to  Bill Illis
July 30, 2015 12:27 pm

The point of the chart was to show climate variation Bill , not that the climate has flat lined which I am sure you concur with.
I take it you believe in glacial and inter- glacial periods of time which was my point.

Berényi Péter
July 30, 2015 12:01 pm

The IPCC defines “radiative forcing” as follows:

No, it does not.
see IPCC AR5 Chapter 8 Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing — 8.1 Radiative Forcing (pp. 664 onward)
Definition of its various flavors (instantaneous radiative forcing, radiative forcing, effective radiative forcing) alone takes up some 16 kBytes of space, so the issue is a bit more complicated than that.
In fact it is so complicated, that neither version of radiative forcing can be measured, not even in principle.
Therefore propositions referring to these concepts are unverifiable, and as such, are completely outside the realm of science.
Still, they may have emotional value, because forcing resembles to rape, which is an abomination.

Berényi Péter
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 3:53 pm

Indeed, CERES ToA fluxes is a treasure trove. But it has nothing to do with forcing of any kind. Because the definition of various flavors always include allowing some parts of the climate system to readjust to radiative equilibrium, while holding other variables fixed at unperturbed values. So, it is not only a difficult-to-measure level (the tropopause), but also counterfactual preconditions, which can never be realized in any measurement.
ERF (Effective Radiative Forcing) is particularly interesting in this respect, because it refers to ToA (Top of Atmosphere).

ERF is the change in net TOA downward radiative flux after allowing for atmospheric temperatures, water vapour and clouds to adjust, but with surface temperature or a portion of surface conditions unchanged.

Even then, how do you “allow for” some variables to adjust while keeping others “unchanged”? Nonsense, CERES keeps fixed nothing, it observes the climate system in free run.

Berényi Péter
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 5:37 am

@Willis Eschenbach July 30, 2015 at 8:40 pm
You’ll note that what I’ve used is called “instantaneous” forcing …

Read the fine print, please. The problem with “instantaneous forcing” is not that anything is allowed to readjust, quite the contrary. In this case everything is held fixed except the forcing agent itself.
Now, that can never be accomplished in the real climate system. We simply do not have the means to hold anything fixed for any length of time, not to mention everything. And even if we had the geoengineering power to do that, there would be grave political issues related to its application.
CERES EBAF ToA data are available as monthly averages. That’s plenty of time for fast readjustments, so what you can see in CERES is surely not “instantaneous forcing”.
There are a coupule more “radiative forcing” concepts. In case of plain “radiative forcing” (or “adjusted radiative forcing”), the stratosphere is allowed to readjust after the forcing is applied, but nothing else. This is why it should be measured at the tropopause, the boundary layer between stratosphere and troposphere. In case we are able to hold everything fixed below it until the measurement is completed. Which is not the case. Furthermore, the tropopause is not a continuous surface (see tropopause folding events), therefore it makes sense to use it as a reference surface. Not.
The third kind of “radiative forcing” is “effective radiative forcing”. In this case everything is allowed to readjust except sea surface temperatures and sea ice. It is a concept closest to CERES, because in that case everything is allowed to readjust, including sea surface temperatures and sea ice. Then we are left with no forcing of any kind. Auch.
It is also a bit troublesome, that both “instantaneous radiative forcing” and “adjusted radiative forcing” are insufficient to define a climate response. Beyond the value of forcing, one also has to specify the forcing agent, then apply a fudge factor called “efficacy” specific to that agent. Some may consider it a drawback, that “efficacy” of a forcing is utterly unmeasurable.
The case of “effective radiative forcing” is better, because climate response only depends on its value, not its kind. However, one still have to find a way to keep both sea surface temperatures and sea ice fixed for a while.
The three flavors of “radiative forcing” are vastly different, so there is no point in mixing them up. They have only one thing in common, they are difficult to measure. That’s because it’s pretty difficult to accomplish an impossible quest.

Tom
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 1, 2015 4:09 pm

Willis,
As an engineer, I have a hard time dealing with the word “forcing”. Every time I see it used by climate junkies, my mind immediately devolves into rants about inappropriate use of my beloved ‘forces’, and I loose track of what is being said.
Think about it for a moment….try to define ‘force’. It’s sort of like pornography. You know it when you see it, but you have a hard time coming up with a simple definition. But I know what it is not. A force is NOT a factor that influences climate. And climate junkies promiscuous use of ‘forcing’ is equally pornographic.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Berényi Péter
July 30, 2015 1:06 pm

A random walk thought about climate modeled volcanic aerosol values:
While I have not studied the maths related to radiative forcing as it is represented in models, my hunch is that they use the typical clear-sky surface insolation value of 1000W/m2. However we have observed insolation values going back to 1985. Insolation varies tremendously from 0 to OCCASIONAL spikes above 500. There are a variety of atmospheric disturbances that serve to limit solar insolation. These disturbances include clouds, sea spray, dust, soot, and volcanic substances. None of these things cancel out as they tend to be random walk occurrences that may even be tied to long term climate variations (such as thought about drought sourced dust and soot). Because cloud variation cannot be translated into a mathematical equation and modeling clouds is a monumental wicked problem (and are poorly modeled in general circulation models), a single “insolation limiting” value (most often volcanic aerosols) is used to fine tune model results to match tuning period observations. However this single value fails to accurately work in hindcasts and scenarios. So they run models with a variety of initiating climate values and then calculate the mean as the resultant “whatever%” confidence scenario.
However, random runs averaged to a mean do NOT represent our future climate. Any one of those runs could be the real climate we get to experience, meaning that each one has the same “whatever%” confidence value. Random walks are like that. And they don’t walk back to the beginning initiation even if CO2 fudge factors were removed. But by chance they could.
So what should we do when a major stratospheric potentially ENSO disrupting blow happens? Prepare for a 10 year or more period of drought and cold…and hope another one does not soon follow.
Just sayin.

Sturgis Hooper
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 30, 2015 2:59 pm

Pamela,
A nit to pick, but if you’re an American, the word is math. If you’re British, it’s maths.
I gather that you’re a fellow denizen of the ueber American Pacific NW, hence saying maths is precious and arch at best.

eorge e. smith
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 31, 2015 2:19 pm

Well Sturge old chap; you say it your way, and let others say it their way.
I’m with Pamela; mathematics is ” maths ”
Well maybe you only studied one ” math “.
Maybe it’s time to study another math.
g

Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 31, 2015 7:30 pm

Pamela Gray July 30, 2015 at 1:06 pm says:
“However, random runs averaged to a mean do NOT represent our future climate. Any one of those runs could be the real climate we get to experience, meaning that each one has the same “whatever%” confidence value. Random walks are like that. And they don’t walk back to the beginning initiation even if CO2 fudge factors were removed. But by chance they could.”
Absolutely correct. That is the problem with CMIP5 and similar bunches of horsewhips they are putting out to justify their existence. To me this isn’t science, it is computer games played on the world’s most expensive game machines. Climate models have produced nothing worthwhile since Hansen introduced them in his presentation to the Senate in 1988. He had the nerve to forecast coming world temperature which he called “business as usual” up until the year 2019. Most of that time has already lapsed and you can now see how his predictions came out. Would it surprise you if they are worthless despite his important post at NASA? Other predictions constantly overestimate the warming to expected. If you are going to make predictions for me do it like Hansen did with his “business as usual.” He turned out to be dead wrong because his theory was all wrong but at least he honestly tried. By now his predicted temperatures have completely separated themselves from the real temperatures and float happily above the global temperature curve. Since that time no one has actually come close to predicting any real temperatures so they invented the horsewhip. If at first you don’t get it , try, try again (50 or 75 times if needed!) But it does not work like that. No way will the average of fifty wrong answers magically tell us the future. The best thing to do is to cut our losses and close down the entire climate modeling enterprise. A big plus of this would be that it will stop producing false predictions for politicians.

July 30, 2015 12:25 pm

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/02/multiple-intense-abrupt-late-pleisitocene-warming-and-cooling-implications-for-understanding-the-cause-of-global-climate-change/
This MAKES my argument and makes my points. Now if you choose not to believe the data that is entirely a different manner and a different debate.
I believe this data is correct and because I believe this data is correct I can back up what I am suggesting.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 1:42 pm

I have no reason not to believe that the data from the linked article is a correct proxy temperature record. Whether or not those data are correct, it is immaterial to you’re argument. You’re argument boils down to “the climate system can’t be governed because temperature changed in the past”. This is evidence for your ignorance of what a governor does and how it does it. The data you present are not evidence in favour of your argument.

Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 2:53 pm

You are not listening Rob , this is what I said which I will send once again.
The point I am trying to make is the climate governor is not strong enough to keep the climate of the earth in the same climate regime and the global temperatures within a range of 1C plus or minus. That is what I am pointing out.
The data I have sent IS evidence of what I just said.
I think and I might be wrong but Willis seems to be indicating that the climate governor he subscribes to (which he thinks has worked out quite well so far through out the Holocene will continue to do so) and is in place and is going to continue to keep the climate in this perfect narrow range for some x time into the future. I say no that is not how it is going to happen but rather the climate sooner or later will return to how it was for most of the past 2 to 3 million years due to the items I listed below.
That is the whole essence of my argument that is it.
The climate governor’s efficiency is apparently subject to Land/Ocean Arrangements, Ice Dynamics, Random Terrestrial Events, Extra Terrestrial Events (ranging from Milankovitch Cycles, Geo Magnetic Events/Field Strength ,Solar Variability etc) which will be enough as past historical climate data clearly shows to cause the climate of the earth to shift into a different climatic regime(despite a governor) , but not go forever in that particular direction.
Which says to me yes one can say a climate governor of sorts is out there but not one that is strong enough to prevent the climate of the earth from going from a glacial state to inter glacial state which makes the climate of the earth in that sense not stable and not having a climate governor in practical terms..

Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 2:58 pm

You’re argument boils down to “the climate system can’t be governed because temperature changed in the past.
No my argument is the climate governor is not strong enough to stop the climate from going from a glacial state to an inter glacial state.
.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 3:28 pm

“The point I am trying to make is the climate governor is not strong enough to keep the climate of the earth in the same climate regime and the global temperatures within a range of 1C plus or minus.”
I don’t think anybody here is making the claim that a climate governing system would keep global temperatures within that range in perpetuity.
“I say no that is not how it is going to happen but rather the climate sooner or later will return to how it was for most of the past 2 to 3 million years due to the items I listed below.”
You err again in this comment. Our current climate is very normal for the past 2-3 million years. Check out the chart of the last 400k years at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_glaciation#/media/File:Vostok_Petit_data.svg
If you still say that our current climate is vastly different from the recent past, please provide some support for that statement.
“The climate governor’s efficiency is apparently subject to Land/Ocean Arrangements, Ice Dynamics, Random Terrestrial Events, Extra Terrestrial Events (ranging from Milankovitch Cycles, Geo Magnetic Events/Field Strength ,Solar Variability etc) which will be enough as past historical climate data clearly shows to cause the climate of the earth to shift into a different climatic regime(despite a governor) , but not go forever in that particular direction.
Which says to me yes one can say a climate governor of sorts is out there but not one that is strong enough to prevent the climate of the earth from going from a glacial state to inter glacial state which makes the climate of the earth in that sense not stable and not having a climate governor in practical terms..”
I read these again as you suggested. The first paragraphed is a messed up run-on sentence which doesn’t convey your meaning very well. However I do agree that the climate record shows vast variation, and any proposed climate governor does not keep the temperature flat or within your +/-1C range. As I said before, the presence of a governor(s) in the climate system does not mean that the system won’t find a new equilibrium once the inputs change.
As for the second paragraph; I wrote before that I believe glacial/interglacial oscillations themselves are evidence of the governor in action. The climate is effectively range-bound between a cold extreme and a warm one. What more do you want?

Khwarizmi
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 6:51 pm

Rob,
You must have a proprietary definition of “governor” rather than a public one.
=================
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/governor
5. Machinery. a device for maintaining uniform speed regardless of changes of load, as by regulating the supply of fuel or working fluid.
=================
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feedback
1.
Electronics.
a. the process of returning part of the output of a circuit, system, or device to the input, either to oppose the input (negative feedback) or to aid the input (positive feedback)
British
1. a) the return of part of the output of an electronic circuit, device, or mechanical system to its input, so modifying its characteristics. In negative feedback a rise in output energy reduces the input energy; in positive feedback an increase in output energy reinforces the input energy
=================
The term of the art version of “forcing” finally got a dictionary entry last year, after all around 30 years of usage. Perhaps one day your version of “governor” will be recognized.
(I’d rather it was not: climatology has already debased too many terms!)

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 7:59 pm

Khwarizmi,
You must have a liberal arts education, rather than engineering or science. Any real world governor is not perfect and “uniform speed regardless of changes of load”. Do a simple google image search for a chart of a governed response. Furthermore, I am not saying that there is some “master” singular governor that presides over the entire climate system.
In the real world there is often no exact speed or exact temperature setting. Taker your home thermostat for example, it works as a type of governor. If you set the thermostat to 72F, it doesn’t mean the average ambient temperature will remain perfectly at 72F through time . The thermostat’s thermometer(s) will reach a set temperature, causing the heater/AC to kick in if it passes or undershoots the temperature. Then the heater/AC will shut off after reaching another set temperature. If you looked at a real temperature vs time graph of your house, you would see oscillation about 72F.

July 30, 2015 1:03 pm

” I know there’s no hemispheric estimate of the albedo during the time of the previous eruption, El Chichon in 1982. (If you know of such a dataset, please post a link).”
simple. the glass albedo product
http://glcf.umd.edu/data/abd/
ftp://ftp.glcf.umd.edu/glcf/GLASS/ABD/
Working with HDF in the R enviroment will require you to get up to speed on various GIS packages
in R.
I’ve got a bunch of work around albedo and its relationship to SAT.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 4:31 pm

for HDF4 you have to work ( Im recalling) with gdalutilities, the MODIS package also has stuff but there is a big learning curve. if its version5 then yes that is way easier.
For HDF4 you have to transform using either rgdal or gdalutilities.
I didnt work with the AVHRR data which covers the early period, but rather the MODIS data.
So, not during the period you are intested in.

taxed
July 30, 2015 1:54 pm

Willis l think your theory is correct but only when dealing with the climate of the tropics. Once you go beyond the tropics other factors come into play. Because whats key to your idea been correct about the global climate. ls that there is high degree of variation in the weather patterns beyond the tropics in order to mix the air between the poles and the tropics. lts when this variation in the weather patterns becomes reduced is the thing which places a limit to your theory. As the ice ages have shown.

July 30, 2015 3:02 pm

You are already open to the idea of a governor, but you need to understand that the presence of a governor does not suggest that the system remains static forever. I hope my attempted explanation helps.
My reply – I agree.
I think however Willis was implying the fact the climate would stay static due to a climate governor. This is what got me started on this.

1sky1
July 30, 2015 4:04 pm

That there’s a wide disconnect between available empirical results on insolation and Sato’s calculation of volcanic “forcing” is evident at a glance at Figure 2. The former starts dropping well before the Pinatubo eruption and no strong coherence is evident in any frequency range. This indicates only a rapidly transient, at best marginal impact of volcanism upon the planetary TOA energy balance.
The entire confusion about putative climate “forcings” and “feedbacks” can be resolved by abandoning the gob-smacking oversimplifications and misnomers endemic in “climate science.” Dry-bulb air temperature is an intensive state variable that cannot be related to any energy metric by a simple constant of proportionality in any realistic treatment. The usual formulation of climate “sensitivity” is dimensionally inconsistent. And there is no true “feedback” mechanism that feeds outgoing LWR at TOA back as input into the system. What we have is a nonlinear feed-through system that is adaptive in a self-regulating way to internally-produced modulations of insolation. Little-varying solar radiation is virtually the ONLY source of energy entering the system, i.e., the only true physical forcing.

July 30, 2015 4:20 pm

Rob -we are in agreement. It is being said in a different tone and manner. I agree with all of your points does Willis?
Rob says
If you still say that our current climate is vastly different from the recent past, please provide some support for that statement
My reply – By recent past it was in reference to the climate the past 10,000 years versus climate from the the end of the last Inter- glacial which ended some 120,000 years ago. I should have clarified that point..
Rob said
As for the second paragraph; I wrote before that I believe glacial/interglacial oscillations themselves are evidence of the governor in action. The climate is effectively range-bound between a cold extreme and a warm one. What more do you want?
As I have said I was arguing the point that the climate governor can not keep the climate in the same climatic regime but it does keep it range bound but in a big enough range that makes the climate unstable not stable in practical terms. Going back and forth from glacial to inter- glacial regimes is not stable, although as you pointed a governor is still in place.
Then finally my point is the effectiveness of the climate governor is limited in that even with it in place the global temperature range is still great enough to bring the earth into different climatic regimes depending on the various items which exert an influence on the climate ranging from extra- terrestrial sources to terrestrial sources.
A better way to look at this climate governor issue is to say it allows the climate of the earth to have cyclicality and be ranged bound despite this within this range bound climate cycle the climate variation can be dramatic. Especially in the high latitudes.

brambo4
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 7:51 pm

Could this mean there is more than one governor? One that exists as Wiilis describes on a reagional level, and a completely different govener that works to keep the temperature between the glacial and interglacial limits?

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 8:19 pm

Salvatore I think we are in general agreement.
Maybe you don’t agree with this though: not sure
I think that Willis has pointed to what may be a governed response acting on a very short time scale of roughly 2 years. If further study shows this sort of response to normal for volcanic eruptions in general, or if governed responses can be demonstrated for other climate processes, it may means that the Earth’s climate governor/feedback/whateverthefuckyouwannacallit systems may be numerous and act on different time scales.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 30, 2015 8:52 pm

Salvatore I think we are in general agreement.
Maybe you don’t agree with this though: not sure
I think that Willis has pointed to what may be a governed response acting on a very short time scale of roughly 2 years. If further study shows this sort of response to normal for volcanic eruptions in general, or if governed responses can be demonstrated for other climate processes, it may means that the Earth’s climate governor/feedback/whatevertheFyouwannacallit systems may be numerous and act on different time scales.
Reposted with cursed F… removed. Apologies.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 9:24 pm

Perhaps there is a single governor (determined by the properties of water?) and it acts on different time scales based on the magnitude and duration of the change of inputs. Volcanoes are basically a point-source change in the system that is easily rubbed out. Disconnect the Atlantic and Pacific via Panama and you get the gulf stream, leading to warm wet weather in the north, which counter-intuitively increases glaciation, and you get our current ice age.
This is by no means rock-solid geology (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 9:37 pm

Given that water is most most important fluid in most climate systems (clouds, oceans, greenhouse gas), why wouldn’t water be the governor? The idea that CO2 sets the control knob for the entire system via linear forcing is probably the biggest hoax pulled off in history in terms of # of people bought-in.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 9:56 pm

According to wiki the mass of the entire atmosphere is about 5.15×10^18 kg and the mass of all the oceans is roughly 1.35×10^21 kg. The atmosphere and the oceans together make one fluid system. They are not separate. The amount of water in the system is roughly 2.5 orders of magnitude higher that the mass of the entire atmosphere in which CO2 is a trace gas. Hmmmmmm

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 30, 2015 10:29 pm

**The idea that CO2 sets the control knob for the entire system via linear forcing is probably the biggest hoax pulled off in history in terms of # of people bought-in.
I was almost in bed when I realized this needed correction. The IPCC paradigm includes POSITIVE feedback from water vapor caused by “CO2 warming”. Beyond backwards.

Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 31, 2015 7:18 am

As I said I may have misunderstood Willis. I hope he will clarify his thoughts on what we discussed.

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Rob Morrow
July 31, 2015 12:20 pm

Thanks for the discussion. Apologies for rambling at the end.

JC
July 30, 2015 6:57 pm

I beg to offer a counter-example. The (greatly-missed) Antarctic “Hole in the Ozone Layer” had unitary positive correlation with the activity of the volcanoes directly below. Mt. Erebus ceases eruption, hole vanishes, and al we have to show for it is on the order of a half trillion dollars in regulatory costs from Freon to hairspray to asthma inhalers

Dinostratus
July 30, 2015 7:26 pm

I couldn’t get past “I think that’s simplistic nonsense…..” This week, instead of recommending you take a math class, let me suggest you take a signal processing class.
Thank you for another edition of Science as Understood by Rubes.

Dinostratus
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 4:26 am

Probably too arrogant.

Walter Royal
July 30, 2015 7:37 pm

I haven’t been on here for a couple years or so but I have been reading this for a while. I am writing now to see if my idea has been proposed before and to see if you all think it is worthwhile or if I am nuts to consider it. To give you a little background on me; I spent 37 years in construction and now I farm. I have spent a great deal of time solving problems and making things work that didn’t.
Now for the point. Most of the hype behind global warming/climate change is the idea that we must destroy the world economy to save the world (We had to destroy the village to save it.) I see no reason why we can’t improve the world economy instead. My idea is to duplicate volcanic eruptions in a very controlled manner. I propose building multiple tubes in desert areas between the tropics and use explosives to launch sand etc into the upper atmosphere. Does Jules Verne come to mind? The debris will fall out of the atmosphere fairly rapidly and therefore can be controlled easily and if it doesn’t work we can simply stop. The best part is it would help pump tons of money into third world countries because they would get the work (and it would shut those AGW proponents up. I look forward to your thoughts.
Walter Royal

robert_g
Reply to  Walter Royal
July 30, 2015 8:47 pm

might be a cure for insomnia.

Walter Royal
July 30, 2015 9:22 pm

LOL, Only if you set them off at night

Walter Royal
July 30, 2015 9:26 pm

Sorry, Only if you don’t set them off at night.

robert_g
July 31, 2015 7:16 pm

Thanks for being good natured and allowing me to poke a little fun at your scenario. Actually, your first response was more in line with my fantasy. I was thinking of the traditional “Sandman” who puts children to sleep and gives them dreams. I enjoyed your reference to Verne.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 30, 2015 10:49 pm

Yes. I guess to be more precise, we could call the poles net radiators, and the tropics net collectors.

Unmentionable
July 30, 2015 9:39 pm

A mechanism that can actually eliminate global civilization doesn’t matter – and most of which we don’t even see occurring because it occurs in deep marine regions and volcanic centers that end to end dwarf the volcanic systems on land. A network that created most of the earths crust does not matter to general circulation and climate – got it.
In other news, a geek says his computer model revealed that old age is not a factor in human mortality.

Unmentionable
July 30, 2015 10:44 pm

You guys are being much too kind.
But I’m just relieved that simply because the ocean and atmosphere were, and in fact still are still being daily out-gassed from the mantle via the largest active volcanic complex in the solar system, who’s area and length dwarf the spotty volcanic complexes found on both Venus and Io, and constitutes the largest global terraforming planet encompassing interior exhalative network known, with literally uncountable innumerable volcanoes and innumerable associated hydrothermal centers, and the total internal energy release of earth each year, which in combination is known to alter the entire earth’s chemistry, and its physical form, via energy levels that boggle the mind, and do so on both the very long and also very short time scales, does not not matter much to global climate change or weather cycles.
That’s a great weight off, and also effectively sidelines one of the more tedious intellectual factors, which can now be safely set aside and ignored in our theoretical cogitations of planetary dynamics. And it greatly simplifies the whole topic and comprehension of earth, and general circulation if we can simply safely set aside those still unquantified and still unobserved and unmeasured structures, due to an almost total lack of sensors or priority to make the necessary investment in measurement, plus the almost total absence of currently viable data sets.
So yes, given we have almost no data, and only patchy (but always surprising and confounding) observations of that massive planetary volcanic network, it does seem reasonable to suggest that it would have no particular effect on global climate or weather cycles.
___
In other news, a geek was fined \$25,000 today, for cutting down several hundred trees without local council permission. When the Magistrate asked why he had done such a rash thing, he replied, “I just wanted to get a better view of the forest, I love to observe and understand nature, as it is.”

Unmentionable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 3:21 am

As I pointed out, you don’t have data on the topic to proclaim, “Why Volcanoes Don’t Matter Much”.
If you had minimal undergrad understanding of igneous processes you would not make such a post, at all.
It does not apparently occur to you that you are discussing something not commensurate with the scale of your puny databases and suppositions. This is not occurring on weather-cycle or satellite record time scales, nor even human civilization time scales.
You are talking about geology matey (or at least you imagine you are). The only thing longer (or slower) is astronomical. But here’s you, a human, who has never even seen all of the volcanoes on earth.
Nor do most people realize oceans and atmosphere are the direct product of volcanoes and other igneous processes, and nothing else, and their presence on earth is maintained by nothing else. All the sea salt came out of volcanoes, all the water too, all gases came out of volcanoes as well, the land and ocean crust came from volcanoes, ocean and land topography also from continuous high-energy release dynamics, secular and transient.
But none of this matters to global climate huh?
If you think you are being diligent and ‘scientific’ you’re not. If you can not accept that you are kidding yourself. You seem OK with thinking you have it covered, but you know nothing about it in fact. Many climate-ish ‘scientists’ have been playing this game for a very long time, and all seem to act like it’s a matter of sorting unrelated atmosphere and ocean datasets and conceptions and you’ll get it all sorted out, you’re making good progress.
Sans any real understanding of what the beast is that’s running the whole shebang.
The truth is you are not only not capable of addressing this suitably or appropriately, the data we need does not exist, and it won’t exist for a very, veeeeery long time, even if vast sums and sensors were deployed today.
Do you regard yourself an honest person? Yes, I bet you do. Well, Willis, an a nominally honest person, you should first ask, “can I know this”, am I in a position to find it out or conclude anything like that?
Geological processes are difficult to uncover, data sloooow to accumulate. Expensive to develop and store, difficult to maintain, and geo processes themselves that need ‘testing’ take a very long time. When it is under water, even one meter of water, it becomes all the more difficult. And when it is under kilometers of water and kilometers of rock, and can not even be seen, it is so much harder, and more expensive and slow to get solid data on.
The honest thing to do, if you are interested in intellectual honesty (and I know on the lip service level you are, but apparently intellectually you are not), is to not pretend that all is known, or even KNOWABLE. or that you know something, or can actually conclude something from a physical process where there is even barely the beginnings of the necessary data.
You “see through a glass darkly”, you do NOT have the capacity to make such high-fluting science-ish assertions.
Personally, I’m very comfortable will the fact that during my life time, and that of anyone presently alive, that humanity will not be able to honestly make a statement like, “Why Volcanoes Don’t Matter Much”, to weather or climate processes. First, ask yourself, can be known, by me? As that would save you and us all a lot of dodgy buggerizing around.
When I see people fail to do that I respond with apt disdain at the pretense of sciencey-ness and doctor of philosophy-ness that follows.
So you’ll have to pardon me for not engaging you in a pointless parody of scientific debate.
___
[PS: Honestly Willis, sorry for the ‘geek’ comment above, I suppose you could have taken that as a personal slight, but it was intended to make a point, rather harshly, about data wonks tending to get wrapped up in software and pedantic conceptions, while reality quietly slips away and hides. It was not personal I would have said it to anyone who did similar.]

Dinostratus
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 7:19 am

Unmentionable, don’t worry about it. Willis sets himself up for this sort of thing. He knows he does not have any expertise in these areas yet is very public with his analysis actively inviting ridicule. It’s gotten so bad over the years, he repeatedly demands to be treated with respect, i.e. “The Usual Request: If you disagree with someone……”. I’m mean, seriously, he wants to draw conclusions from a model yet conflates the terms “forcing”, “transfer function” and “feedback”. How seriously should we take that?
Since this is a Willis post, let me make an argument by analogy. It’s as if a nine year old walks past a soccer field of 14 year olds, runs onto the field and says, “Pass me the ball! Pass me the ball!” Of course one of the 14 year olds is going to tell him to STFU and go away. It’s not the 14 year old that is arrogant treating the 9 year old with disrespect.

Unmentionable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 9:35 am

Dinostratus, expository penetration factor of 0.93 on the open-ended rapier scale. You have talent my friend. I realize climate causation conjecture inevitably produces quasi-sober multi-discipline thought bubbles with occasional conclusion-making and posturing. Seems unavoidably to come with the territory of such a complex topic. And rare to ever find people with a combination of discipline, practical experience and mental connectivity to bring that together. But someone should have realized his limitations by now, and not dashed in where a fool would fear to tread.

Dinostratus
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 10:53 am

“And rare to ever find people with a combination of discipline, practical experience and mental connectivity to bring that together.”
Levenspiel had it. Hottel had it. Yes it’s rare and I am grateful when those who had it shared it.

Unmentionable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 12:47 pm

Willis: “… So like many other cowardly anonymous pundits before you, you cast caution to the winds and you come out of the gate relentlessly attacking me …”
___

Rob Morrow
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 1:12 pm

Unmentionable,
Were you born in 1984 by any chance? You seem to suffer from doublethink. You said, sarcastically:
“That’s a great weight off, and also effectively sidelines one of the more tedious intellectual factors, which can now be safely set aside and ignored in our theoretical cogitations of planetary dynamics. And it greatly simplifies the whole topic and comprehension of earth, and general circulation if we can simply safely set aside those still unquantified and still unobserved and unmeasured structures, due to an almost total lack of sensors or priority to make the necessary investment in measurement, plus the almost total absence of currently viable data sets.”
How does the IPCC treat water vapor’s contribution to the greenhouse effect and overall energy imbalance? I could go on a sarcastic rant but I’ll just say that it’s basically ignored in a way that is being described in this article; among many other convenient omissions / false overly-simplistic conclusions. Try to bring a little class.

Unmentionable
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 3:52 pm

Ah, here again you are off on your little geek tangent, unable to grasp the most basic facts and how they impact your oblivious state of self-delusion.
Let me make it very clear to you, so you can’t continue claim you do not understand this, and can try to just weasel-word away from this again.
The vast majority of active volcanoes on earth are under sea, and under oceans, kilometers deep. They erupt as often or even more often than those above the waves, and they almost always erupt unseen and unmeasured, but we know they often erupt on a grand scale (from before and after transect surveys).
And let’s be totally clear here, the first time I said this:
“… and most of which we don’t even see occurring because it occurs in deep marine regions and volcanic centers that end to end dwarf the volcanic systems on land.”
The second time I said this:
“… and constitutes the largest global terraforming planet encompassing interior exhalative network known, with literally uncountable innumerable volcanoes and innumerable associated hydrothermal centers, …”
But despite this already having been pointed out to you above twice already, you still want to waffle about your ‘data’, but don’t even grasp or else simply won’t accept that the effect of volcanoes on both ocean and atmosphere are unknown and literally unmeasured.
Nevertheless, you remain so self-satisfied with this situation that you confidently adamantly make a case for, “Why Volcanoes Don’t Matter Much”
The data that YOU need, does not even EXIST, for YOU to make such a claim!
Most properly scientific that!
It is not MY need for data that is at issue, I did not calling for your ‘data’, I simply pointed out that the data YOU need for your sorry fairytale of progressive self-delusion is not available.
So I already know you have no clue what you’re talking about, which was self-evident from the beginning, hence my seeming “dripping with poison” and “attacks” (as your inflated EGO interpreted it as), was simply deep and actually warranted disdain for your failure to even comprehend at any point (and during the months of writing those links which you posted) that your model tail-chasing, and conclusion making, and verbal posturing, is all a load of complete bollocks.
One would have hoped that pointing this out to you once would have been enough. But now it has been pointed out to you what’s wrong three times.
And it will not surprise me if you again attempt to PRETEND it away with all you mighty cache of ‘data’ and augmentative certainty that’s unassailable, commensurate with you self-delusion that you have all this nicely wrapped-up.
What ails you can not be rectified with more words, once should have been enough, in fact, once should never have been necessary. And like I also said to you already, if you had even a basic undergraduate level grasp of igneous processes of earth you would know what was wrong and the nature and paucity of data without even being told, so you would never even have considered making such a claim.
Nor would you have been wondering why you were replied to as though you were a bit of a simpleton.
So I find your name, your data, and your publications and reputation exceptionally unimpressive.
Do you think more words helped here?
Well that least that’s that last comment reply you will get from me on this topic, so hopefully you’re good at analyzing something else, which you do have a clue about.
And as much as you would love to pretend this “personal”, and that you have been “attacked”, it is any thing but, it is merely deep disdain for a tremendous demonstration of both rank incompetence combined with galloping hubris,

1sky1
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 5:25 pm

Willis:
Pray tell, what exactly of your “work” was it that “Nature magazine and the other scientific journals were happy to peer-review and publish…?” A mere comment on the “Climate-change effect on Lake Tanganyika?” appearing in a reputable journal scarcely fits that characterization.

1sky1
July 31, 2015 4:07 pm

Unmentionable:
No doubt your viewpoint is appropriate to understanding the formation of the Earth and its atmosphere over geological time scales. The focus here, however, is the effect of volcanic ejecta upon month-to-month climatic variability over several decades of the Holocene. While I don’t doubt that much remains to be discovered about submarine volcanism as a factor that may create temporary, quasi-stationary “hot spots” on the SST map, all direct measurements of heat flux across the thin oceanic crust or thicker continental plates indicate that the global geothermal flux density is negligible compared to insolation.

Unmentionable
July 31, 2015 10:51 pm

Well yes, 1s1, but the Archaean is not what I’m referring to, except to demonstrate that volcanism is relevant to weather and climate cycles.
“The focus here, however, is the effect of volcanic ejecta upon month-to-month climatic variability over several decades of the Holocene.”
Sorry, any geo who’s examined proxy palaeoclimate data knows there’s no such thing as ‘climate’ measurement on the scale of months. There are only weather events and seasonal changes and parts of weather cycles on the scale of months and those do not appear in proxy data. So that is simply weather. Same applies to periods of a few decades, as we see only weather cycle noise on those scales that is smoothed off, because the weather cycles have much larger rates of change in degrees K than climate change does.
Genuine climate change occurs detectably on the scale of centuries, for sufficient smoothed degrees K to be unambiguously measured, and a +/- trend in degree K becomes apparent. But even then with considerable uncertainty. But if we are talking about instruments trying to detect a genuine climate change in degrees K, this one might come close, on a shorter period 1881 to 2013:
Also keep in mind, where did the IPCC author/paper list agree the rate of global warming would be the fastest? Well, in the high latitudes it would be amplified. But as this graph is also elevated upon a high icesheet I won’t go hard on that angle, but pretty stable isn’t it? Doesn’t even need smoothing. It came from a CSIRO 2014 climate report, but curiously it seems to have been pulled offline for some reason.
Anyway, from instrumental and Holocene proxy data it’s clear climate change is varying unambiguously only on the scale of greater than ~250 years. I would say that much of the time such data needs at least 500 years to unambiguously detect a change trend in degrees K. So it is common to see climate change as detectable on scales of 500 year increments, most of the time.
That’s the minimum scale relevant to detecting volcanic activity temporal effects on actual climate variability.
It’s thus my (inescapable) view from practicality alone, that people now fretting over satellite data trends and characterising its analysis in decadal intervals as ‘climate-change’ monitoring, have lost the plot.
They are looking at weather cycles, only. The time scale is an order of magnitude too short to detect actual climate variability (not to mention any possible volcanic implications). Hence the more rapid (than climate change rates) ‘changes’ they detect are only and can only be correctly termed, decadal weather cycles. Actual climate cycles don’t change that fast, not for Mann’s graphs (which turned out to be a completely contrived fantasy), and nor for any else either. It is the wrong scale for unambiguous climate change detection, by a whole order of magnitude! So let me know when there’s a satellite record of ~250 years (we’ll all be long gone), and I might then accept a satellite record also detects climate variability. We are a very long way from that (and people need to stand back and reality check what they think they are studying and publishing on).
Some will do flip-flops at the suggestion they’re just looking at the variation of weather cycles, but have a look at the proxy records, outside of the instrumented science observation record, and show me an unambiguous climate change trend within 50 year increments. Can’t be unambiguously done, as the dating is often not that clear cut for starters, let alone suitable temporal resolution in the date sampling.
So ~250 years is the realistic minimum time slice for climate change detection, and even that is really pushing credibility.
But as for volcanic activity itself, it’s common for people to simply assume this amounts to thermal vertical movement only, or mostly. Well, at least initially, it will be of course mostly vertical when thermal, pressure and density differences are greatest at source. But as it rapidly cools it is more likely to become mixed and capped and settle into elongated warmer layer in currents (or to induce their own current) that does not mix as well vertically. Given the appalling lack of sensor data this is all a conjecture, but I think you can agree it is a reasonable possibility, i.e. we see altocumulus capped vertically by a freezing layer in lower troposphere until enough convective difference accumulates to push past the cap.
So it may be that only very large short period thermal transient pulses of very energetic exhalations will have the vertical difference necessary to produce surface expressions from deep ocean eruptions.
But it is likely that the more numerous and far less vigorous but more persistent eruption phases or even larger eruptive volumes that goes on for years to decades, will not have a surface expression in water at all, or at least not a warm anomaly expression.
For instance, if the area involved is large and less intense, as regional rifting cycles are the dominant mechanism in seafloor extension and emplacement, and is widespread, occurs intermittently, as opposed to point source basalt dome formation, then it’s likely the water rises to mid water column, cools and spreads out in capped layers, per the general stratification structure, and is elongated and spread by differential current layers.
In that case, a much thicker and regional series of warm layers could accumulate over years or decades and their density difference tendency with overlaying waters with tend to induce an area rise in water column over regional areas, producing displacement flow of the surface waters away from the region. Thus such a mechanism could produce a persistently cooler exposed mid-level water column at the surface, for a few years, or even decades.
So the effect would be even more difficult to measure and quantify, but result in surface cooling anomalies, or else sharp cold and hot anomalies in immediate juxtaposition, as water layers are destabilised by density flow so plumes form and actually make it to the surface, beside or within a cold general area of upwelling.
So the surface expressions of volcanism can be large ares of hot, cold, or both. And then there’s the effect on horizontal ocean currents to complicate it even further.
So there is plenty of reason to think that on the scales that apply to actual climate degree K of detection over centuries that volcanism can be far more significant an input to ocean and atmosphere than the “negligible” factor as you put it that we appreciate, and over shorter period of NOW, as well.
So this is very much relevant to “modern climate”, whatever that is, in relation to other varieties of climate change.
Should I dare to use the word forcing in respect to oceans? Oh no, I’d better not, that may lead to impromptu aneurism elsewhere. 🙂
If earth observation has taught me anything it is don’t be surprised when the earth expresses prosaic phenomena in totally unexpected counter-intuitive ways, I’ve learned to expect that, so never presume to understand how earth operates, it mostly does not operate in practice in the way the human theory addicts brain supposes.
___
But given “The One” is going to presume my statement to not reply specifically to “The One” applies also to others on this topic, it does not, so I’ll make clear what I wrote above, for the benefit of that “The One”, as I am indeed done with “The One”, per-sec.
“…. that’s that last comment reply YOU will get from me on this topic, …” [caps added]

Unmentionable
July 31, 2015 11:06 pm

A clarification:
“There are only weather events and seasonal changes and parts of weather cycles on the scale of months and those do not appear in proxy data. ”
Of course all sorts of proxy data sources contain overprinting noise of specific events and departures, depending on temporal resolutions. I am referring to the smoothed trends of that data to detect climate change within it.

1sky1
August 1, 2015 5:39 pm

Unmentionable:
There’s much to agree and disagree with in your little essay. I’ll
concentrate on the points most pertinent to the issue at hand.
In speaking of “month-to-month climatic variability,” I was not suggesting
that any secular “climate change” could be detected from a data series of
only a few decades. I was simply referring to the fact that monthly average
data anomalies, with the diurnal and seasonal cycles removed, constitute the
basic, albeit highly volatile, metrics of the very-broad-band “climate signal.”
Granted, the month-to-month and year-to-year volatility is great, prompting some to dismiss such behavior
as mere “weather noise,” but that variability is an inherent physical
property of the climate, not of any particular weather state, which seldom
persists more than days. One might say that weather changes are the
physical basis of climatic variability. The problem with instrumented data
series, of course, is that they are pitifully short.
In looking at proxy data, let’s keep the sharp distinction between
granularity of data and the actual texture of the measurand always in mind.
Proxy data is usually obtained as annual (or even decadal or longer)
averages and suffers from dating and validation problems. There is far less
information on high-frequency or intra-decadal variability than in the
instrumented series. It offers, however, a glimpse–always through the
glass darkly–of climatic variability on much longer time-scales. Power
spectrum analysis of GISP2 data show not only multi-decadal oscillations in
more than one band, but transcentennial and quasi-millenial oscllations, as
well.
That said, I very much agree with you that the time-scales over which any
truly SECULAR trend can be unambiguously established in climatic time series
are very much longer than just a few decades. Where exactly one draws
the line in applying the term “climate change,” however, is a matter of
uncertain choice.
In speaking of volcanic influences upon climate, there’s a clear physical
distinction between effects upon surface air and sea temperatures and upon
oceanic heat content. What makes your speculations about long-persisting
subsurface inversion layers and plumes problematic is the fact that water
is virtually incompressible. Unlike in the atmosphere, there’s little if
any evidence of persistent disruption of oceanic temperature
stratification.

Frank
July 30, 2015 11:36 pm

Willis wrote: “Change in temperature equals climate sensitivity times change in total forcing.”
This statement is grossly wrong due to the absence of two words:
“Change in temperature AT EQUILIBRIUM equals climate sensitivity times change in total forcing.”
Willis wrote: “Also, the speed of the climate response is visible in Figure 3. The total forcing (yellow line) follows the Sato forcing estimate (black line) for the first four months or so after the eruption. But after that, while the Sato calculated forcing continues to become more and more negative, the observations show that the total observed forcing does not ever become much more negative than it was at four months after the eruption. Instead, it runs level for about a year, and then rapidly increases. By the end of 1993, the observed post-eruption average forcing has returned to pre-eruption values … while the Sato theoretical forcing is still at minus two W/m2.”
It also helps to clearly distinguish between power, energy and temperature. Radiative forcing and radiative imbalancs are measures of power per unit area (W/m2), not energy per unit area (J/m2). An object’s mass and heat capacity per unit mass tell us how much its temperature will rise in response to a gain of energy. Power gained normally does not translate into a temperature rise; power translates into a INITIAL RATE of temperature change. As the temperature of an object rises, it will emit more thermal radiation, using up some of the power it is gaining. So the rate of warming starts falling as soon as temperature begins changing. Only when all of the extra power being gained is being consumed by additional thermal radiation – when the system has come into equilibrium – can we say that power has produced a EQUILIBRIUM change in temperature.

Frank
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 1, 2015 11:30 am

Willis: The words “Change in temperature equals climate sensitivity times change in total forcing.” were directly copied from the 10th line in this post. The statement is nonsense because the words at equilibrium are missing, not because the scientific concepts are wrong. And “at equilibrium” suggests a long enough period for the influence of unforced variability to be diminished by averaging.
You say: “I discussed the errors in the modelers forcing estimates”. Observers measured the aerosol FORCING during Pinatubo by comparing surface and satellite measurements of 600 nm radiation (which is not absorbed by any gases in the atmosphere). What you are calling forcing (sometimes observed forcing) is radiative IMBALANCE. The earth is warmed or cooled by a radiative imbalance. Our information about the radiative imbalance is somewhat indirect. CERES has been adjusted to agree with ARGO. ARGO has measured very small temperature changes over a decade (with more heat accumulating in the deeper ocean than near the surface?). Pinatubo was monitored by ERBE, the predecessor of CERES. Hatzianastassiou et al is a reanalysis that tries to reproduce satellite measurements of reflected and absorbed SWR from other data. For Pinatubo, we should have more confidence in radiative forcing than in radiative imbalance.
When you discuss how clouds modulate the response to Pinatubo, you are talking about cloud feedback and its impact on ECS. When I say that the temperature response to Pinatubo fits better with a low ECS, we may be discussing similar ideas.
I skimmed your Cold Equations post, which include E = eoT^4 and dH/dt = C dTs/dt. The latter is about conservation of energy – it makes perfect sense. I personally don’t think that a graybody model for the earth with a fixed emissivity is useful. The crucial thing we need to know for Pinatubo (and AGW) is how much OLR (and reflected SWR) change in response to a change in surface temperature: the climate feedback parameter (dW/dT). For a graybody model, dW/dT = 4eoT^3 + oT^4*(de/dT) and many simply assume that emissivity doesn’t vary with temperature. Ridiculously oversimplified.
The climate feedback parameter (dW/dT) is the reciprocal of ECS (dT/dW). The full surface warming in response to a forcing only becomes apparent at equilibrium, when warming of the deep ocean slows and radiative imbalance has become negligible in a century or more. In contrast, the radiative response to surface warming occurs immediately and is modulated by fast feedbacks (WV, LR, clouds, seasonal snow cover) within days to months. The only feedback not “operating” during the short Pinatubo period is the slow ice-albedo feedback from ice caps. So I think the temperature response to volcanos is an important way to learn about ECS (without ice-cap feedback). Which explains why I object (sometimes impolitely?) to your posts on this subject. dH/dt = C dTs/dt is an appropriate way to study volcanos, but not E = eoT^4. At the Blackboard, Paul_K tried different values for dW/dT to see which fit all the data the best and (somewhat misleadingly) reported the reciprocal ECS = 1.35.

ulriclyons
July 31, 2015 4:30 am

Surely if the surface response to a change in forcing acted as a governor or servo, there would be very little climate change at all. No AMO to speak of.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 9:57 am

But as we know from the historical climatic record the climate does not always change a little.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 10:00 am

Any natural regulatory system has bounds on the variations it can control, and there are events that could alter or destroy the regulation
Because Willis as you have said in the above this can change or destroy the regulation of the climate. anytime.
One of those times may becoming once again in my opinion.

ulriclyons
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 3:04 pm

“First, I call a temperature change of only 0.3°C (± 0.1%) in a hundred years “very little climate change at all”.”
But it is climate change, and the AMO causes big changes in continental interior rainfall, and hence temperature variability, as well as massive changes in the Arctic. All you have come up with is a climate no change model.
“and please, don’t even think “thermal mass”, because the globe swings ten times more than that puny 0.3°C every year.”
Global sea surface temperature changes between January and July are nothing like as large as that.
“Second, both the AMO and the PDO are part of the governing system, so I fail to see why having a governing system means we wouldn’t have them. See my discussion on the PDO here”
Give me your idea of how the AMO is “part of the governing system” then please. Note that the AMO signal is also well evident in the southern hemisphere.

ulriclyons
July 31, 2015 5:56 pm

“ulric, you seem to think that a regulatory system regulates everything. It doesn’t The system I describe controls global temperatures.”
Well everything is in fact global temperatures, so you lost me there.
“Annual global sea temperature swings are about 1°C. But that is in part because of the hemispheric balance, NOT the thermal mass. As evidence of that, the Northern Hemisphere ocean swings ± 3.5°C, which is indeed ten times the century-long global swing of 0.3°C.”
Really?
“If you read my post about the PDO, the AMO works the same, via reorganization of ocean currents. And given that there are a number of definitions of what the “AMO signal” might be, based on very different measurements (pressure and temperature) subject to very different transformations (e.g. first principal component, simple subtraction), perhaps you could give us a link to whatever “AMO signal” you are referring to.”
Your latest model of ENSO “pumping” had the northern Pacific thermohaline circulation going in the opposite direction that it actually does. And there is plenty more in there that I disagree with, I consider ENSO an amplified negative feedback. Your “heat builds up in the eastern tropical Pacific, while the poles are cool.” contradicts the fact that El Nino is associated with negative NAO/AO, and that is associated with a warmer Arctic. This:
“Now, for me, both of those charts are totally uninteresting. Why? Because they don’t tell me when the regime changes. I mean, in Figure 3, was there some kind of reversal around 1990? 1950? It’s all a jumble, with no clear switch from one regime to the other.!
No, 1945 to 1975, i.e when the PDO was cold. I never trust what you say about graphs, especially after your post on solar minima where CET was brought up. Just as well you don’t read x-rays for a living.
“I’ve hypothesized that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is another one of the complex interlocking emergent mechanisms which regulate the temperature and the heat content of the climate system.”
It’s actually causing it to change, but not half as much as the AMO, and all you have about what is at the root of that change, is assumption.

ulriclyons
August 1, 2015 2:10 am

Wiilis, basically, so what that I was breaking down the regional effects of the AMO, everywhere is still global. And you are using the fuss over this point to ignore the rest of the points brought up, and as an excuse to cease further communication. That’s really cowardly in my book. You always seem to choose to ignore me when I correct you on any matter. That is bad form.

ulriclyons
August 1, 2015 2:11 am

“You will advance any claim, no matter how bizarre or patently ridiculous, to support your position …”
That is a projection Willis.

July 31, 2015 7:30 am

Any natural regulatory system has bounds on the variations it can control, and there are events that could alter or destroy the regulation.

Finally Willis you have said what I wanted to hear. I had to go through so much to get you to say it, and be extreme to get it out of you.
It was worth it.
The next topic of discussion could be what is the source or sources of this climate governor? It would be interesting to see all of the diverse opinions on that one.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 31, 2015 9:48 am

Well you clarified your position which brings it closer to mine.