How Thunderstorms Beat The Heat

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I got to thinking again about the thunderstorms, and how much heat they remove from the surface by means of evaporation. We have good data on this from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellites. Here is the distribution and strength of rainfall, and thus evaporation, around the middle of the planet.

trmm annual average evaporative coolingFigure 1. Evaporation in W/m2 as shown by rainfall data from the TRMM. It takes about 80 watt-years of energy to evaporate a cubic metre of water, so a metre of rainfall per year is equivalent to an average surface cooling of 80 watts per square metre. The TRMM satellite only covers from 40° North to 40° South.

I have held for some time that the global surface temperature is restricted to a fairly narrow region (e.g. ± 0.3°C over the 20th century) by the action of emergent phenomena (see references at the end of the post). Chief among these emergent phenomena are tropical thunderstorms. My hypothesis says that when the tropical surface temperature goes over a certain threshold, that thunderstorms emerge to put a firm cap on the temperature by cooling the surface.

Thunderstorms cool the surface in a number of ways, but the main cooling method uses the exact same mechanism used by the refrigerators that keep our food cold. Thunderstorms use a standard evaporation/condensation cycle. In one part of the cycle the working fluid evaporates, cooling the surroundings. In another part of the cycle in another location, the working fluid condenses. For a refrigerator, the working fluid used to be some form of Freon, nowadays it’s some other fluid. For thunderstorms, the working fluid is water. When it evaporates at the surface, it cools the local area, and the heat is moved from the surface to the clouds and on upwards.

Now, for my hypothesis to be correct, the number and intensity of thunderstorms needs to increase quickly as temperatures go above a certain temperature threshold. In addition, the change in the resulting evaporation needs to be quite large in order to successfully control the system.

With that in mind, I made a scatterplot of sea surface temperature versus thunderstorm evaporative cooling. Figure 2 shows that result.

scatterplot oceanic evaporation vs temperatureFigure 2. Scatterplot of 1° x 1° gridcell annual average ocean-only thunderstorm evaporative cooling on the vertical axis, in watts per square metre (W/m2) versus 1° x 1° gridcell annual average sea surface temperature on the horizontal axis. 

As you can see, the thunderstorms are clearly functioning to cap the temperature. When the ocean surface gets hot, thunderstorms form and exert immense cooling power. There are some points worth noting about Figure 2.

First, the red area shows the tropics. This part of the earth is important because it is not only about 40% of the planet’s surface. In addition, just over half of all the energy absorbed by the surface of the earth is absorbed in the tropical regions of the planet. As a result, the regulation of this large amount of incoming energy by albedo control is crucial to the overall energy balance of the planet.

Next, these are annual averages. However, they are also daily averages. But during the day/night cycle in the tropics, the evaporation is by no means constant. At night the evaporation is small, some tens of watts per square metre. During the day, on the other hand, evaporation is quite large, hundreds of watts per square metre, because the strong tropical sunshine evaporates the water directly, plus the thunderstorms are largely a daytime phenomenon. This means that the peak hourly thunderstorm evaporative cooling is on the order of twice the average values shown above, up to about 600 W/m2.

Next, the cooling effect of the thunderstorms is not applied blindly or randomly. The thunderstorms only form as and when the local area is above the temperature threshold. This means that the cooling effect, which can be up to 500-600 w/m2, is always located where it is most needed, on the local hotspots.

Finally, here is the most important consideration. The timing and the amount of thunderstorms are NOT a function of greenhouse gas forcing, or of solar forcing, or of volcanic forcing, or of any other kind of forcing. As Figure 2 shows, they are a function of temperature. As long as the surface-atmosphere temperature difference is large enough, thunderstorms will form even at night when the radiative forcing is quite small.

This means that their effect will be to maintain the same temperature, regardless of reasonable-sized fluctuations in the amount of forcing. Clouds don’t know about forcing, they form and disappear based on local conditions.

And this is simply one more piece of observational support for my hypothesis that emergent phenomena regulate the temperature and maintain it within a fairly narrow range.

My best to everyone. Here in California, we have about 150% of the usual snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains. When it was drought, it was said to be the result of global warming … and of course, now that there is heavy snow, that is also said to be the result of global warming.

Buckle your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the vehicle, it’s gonna be a long, uphill struggle to get rid of this madness …

My best to all,

w.

My Usual Request: If you disagree with me or anyone, please quote the exact words you disagree with. I can defend my own words. I cannot defend someone’s interpretation of my words.

My Other Request: If you think that e.g. I’m using the wrong method on the wrong dataset, please educate me and others by demonstrating the proper use of the right method on the right dataset. Simply claiming I’m wrong doesn’t advance the discussion.

Some Of My Previous Posts On The Subject:

The Thermostat Hypothesis

Emergent Climate Phenomena

Cooling and Warming, Clouds and Thunderstorms

Tropical Evaporative Cooling

Data: 

TRMM Data is here, see the bottom of the page for the NetCDF file.

CERES Data is here, I used the EBAF dataset.

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Menicholas

Hi Willis.
A small point, but you said “… thunderstorms only form as and when the local area is above the temperature threshold.”
I would agree with this statement much more strongly if the word “only” was replaced with “largely”, “mostly”, or “primarily”.
Because there are other mechanisms for thunderstorm formation that purely by surface heating. Some of the others are converging surface winds, cold core lows aloft, frontal boundary lifting, and orographic lifting.
In each of these cases, it is likely true that the storms that do form will be more numerous, or longer lasting, or rise to greater altitudes when the surface air which is entrained into them starts off warmer or more humid (because in both of these conditions there is more energy available).
Thunderstorm height may be very important in large scale global feedbacks, as the higher the heat from the surface is transported, the more readily/completely it may be transferred to space.
Thanks for another interesting article!

Bernie

Indeed, Willis and Menicholas, like a pan of boiling water on the stove, adding more energy does not change the temperature of the water. The energy is still in the system, though. Only radiation of photons to space can truly cool a “global” temperature.

BFL

Not just radiation but also solar reflection from cloud tops which should be greater.

rabbit

I guess the argument is that thunderstorms transport heat from the surface to high in the atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect is less.

pete

but if the pan ISN’T boiling, then adding more energy DOES change the water temperature…and last time I checked, we didn’t have any boiling seas…so what was your point?

Bernie

pete, I didn’t intend for you to interpret my comment as an analogy. It’s just a familiar example of a natural mechanism that provides limiting behavior through a discontinuity.

Richard Petschauer

Yes, but latent heat from condensation during cloud formation warms the clouds which increases the radiation to space. The warming is evident with the warmer part of the cloud rising and producing the cloud tops. And at this altitude, the low water vapor content means the atmospheric window passes about 75% of IR radiation to space, up from about only 25% from the surface on a clear day.

george e smith

“””””…..
Richard Petschauer
January 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm
Yes, but latent heat from condensation during cloud formation warms the clouds which increases the radiation to space. …..”””””
I’m of the opinion that latent heat does NOT warm diddley squat.
Water vapor molecules floating around in the atmosphere have more energy, than water molecules floating around in the ocean; that extra energy is the latent heat of vaporization.
Those atmospheric water vapor molecules are going to remain as water vapor molecules so long as they retain that extra energy. As the water vapor rises, the ambient Temperature falls and since the water vapor molecule is in collisions with the air molecules, that extra energy is thermalized and distributed around to the other air molecules, which are in turn in collision contact with even colder molecules at higher altitudes.
Only after all that excess (latent) heat is extracted, by air molecules which remain colder than the water vapor molecule (in terms of where its energy is on the Maxwell Boltzmann distribution tail) will the water vapor molecule be able to deposit on some substrate with other H2O molecules and form liquid water, or ice crystals.
The surrounding atmospheric air molecules never become hotter than the water vapor molecule or else it will stop cooling and losing its latent (excess) heat.
I don’t know where the notion that condensing water vapor hits the atmosphere with a blast of heat and warms it comes from.
When steam from boiling coffee hits your skin, and scalds you, it does dump a lot of heat into your skin (590 cal/gm) but it never raises your skin temperature above that of the steam. Your skin is at 37 deg. C (98.6 deg. F but if the steam is at 70 deg C you will really feel it even though your skin will not reach 70 deg’ C.
g

markx

George says:
I’m of the opinion that latent heat does NOT warm diddley squat.
…..As the water vapor rises, the ambient Temperature falls and since the water vapor molecule is in collisions with the air molecules, that extra energy is thermalized and distributed around to the other air molecules….

It seems to me something is getting warmed. Not the water vapour in the cloud tops, but the other gases which must be mixed in there.

Robert B

George E Smith,
In very small droplets of a few molecules, these are the surface molecules of the droplet so even if large droplets of water should spontaneously form, they don’t unless nucleated by the presence of something that can make the droplet stable while still small.
The gaseous water molecules don’t lose thermal energy to the surrounding air to become liquid molecules of water. The initial small droplet is much warmer than the air and like the heat transfer from surfaces to air, most of it is through emission of LWIR. The droplet will then grow with warming of the droplet when another molecule condenses and that energy being lost through emission of LWIR.

pbweather

Not sure how to reply to George E Smith’s reply, but latent heat release when water condenses out of a rising airmass and removes water from the cloud does warm the local air parcel and the best example of this is the fohen wind blowing over mountain ranges. Water removed from the air on the windward uplift side warms the air compared to its surrounding environmental air mass. When this air falls back down the lee side the air warms anomalously to its environmental airmass. I experienced this first hand just a couple of weeks ago driving from Christchurch NZ to Mount Cook. Christchurch broke its December temp record 36 deg C. Yet when I arrived in Mount Cook cloud was streaming over the mountains and evaporating rapidly as it decended with occasional rain.

Bernie

Search for comment below by gymnosperm.

george e. smith

I have described one view of the evaporation process (of water) several times at WUWT; I’ll try again.
My thought experimental setup consists of H2O molecules in pure water. The possible presence of any other sort of molecule simply complicates things, so this experiment assumes there are none such.
A molecule in the bulk, a m, cm, mm, whatever deep is attracted on all sides by other water molecules for some reason. I called it Van der Waals forces; Phil has told us it is Hydrogen bonds. I don’t understand what Hydrogen bonds are, although I have heard and read of them; I’m not a chemist. I’m happy to accept Phil’s statement. so H bonds it is.
So an individual H2O molecule has no net tendency to go anywhere, and they vibrate around, with an average kinetic energy per degree of freedom, that is determined by the water Temperature.
Those water molecules are much closer together than are the air molecules immediately above the water surface, which are also at the same Temperature as the water if (heat) energy is not being transferred between water and air.
At the water/air interface surface, the H2O molecules have neighbors around and below them, but not above, so there is a net downward pull on a surface H2O molecule by all those hydrogen bonds, and that prevents an H2O molecule from wandering off into space. We call the effect surface tension, and it has the effect of trying to keep the surface flat; whatever flat means at the molecular level.
The KE of the water molecules has some Maxwell-Boltzmann like distribution, which crowds most molecules towards the low energy end of the distribution, with a long decaying tail at the high energy end.
Every now and then, a H2O molecule gets an upward velocity at one of these higher energy values, and pulls away from the surface, breaking its hydrogen bond restraint. This should slow down the escaping molecule, and it might immediately get knocked back down into the water.
The further out of the MB distribution tail, a molecule is, the higher its KE and the greater the probability it will escape with a high enough velocity to get away from the surface.
But the further out on that tail the fewer water molecules there are.
So below some “escape” energy there is low probability of escape, and above some high tail energy there is a low probability of finding many molecules.
So there clearly is some high energy out on that tail, where there are a lot of molecules, and they also have plenty of energy with which to escape.
Consequently, the H2O molecules that escape from the surface tension and drift away from the surface, also have a net KE per degree of freedom that also has a peaked distribution which is at a much higher energy than that of the bulk water molecules.
So the water vapor that is escaping from the water, has a higher Temperature than the water bulk temperature. It might be much higher.
Now the air (N2/O2/Ar) is at the same Temperature as the water because of conduction between them, which won’t allow A HIGH Temperature gradient, so the escaping “steam” finds itself in collisions with air molecules that are much colder, and the water vapor quickly re-establishes thermal equilibrium with the air Temperature, thereby losing all of its excess KE .
By the time the water vapor molecules have moved far enough from the water surface; maybe microns or less, to escape recapture by the water and its hydrogen bond attractions, collisions with air molecules has removed all of its excess energy so it has cooled to the same temperature as the air, which has some Temperature lapse rate with altitude, and as the lighter H2O molecules rise in the atmosphere they too cool and remain at the same Temperature as their local air.
So this process has transferred heat energy from the water and delivered it to the gases of the atmosphere, over and above the mean energy appropriate to the water/air Temperature that would be, in the absence of evaporation, and yes we would describe this as warming/heating of the atmosphere.
BUT! This all happened within microns of the water surface; not at some km altitude.
In the bulk of the humid atmosphere, the H2O molecules are at the same Temperature as the air molecules, and they all cool together as they rise in altitude, at whatever the lapse rate is.
So now what happens if some H2O vapor molecules collide with each other and maybe a few of them. Why don’t those hydrogen bonds make them grab onto each other and remain in contact to form a water droplet.
So now we have to think about that surface tension again.
ST manifest itself as a surface area contracting force of so many newton per meter. A water film that terminates on a wire say one meter long, exerts a pull (per surface) of t newton on the wire, or 2 t for a double sided water film.
If we have a water droplet of radius (r) or a bubble of radius (r) in water, the surface tension (t) tries to reduce the surface area and shrink the bubble or compress the water droplet. Well the hydrogen bonds in the droplet are doing the sucking, that is manifested as (t) but the end result is that the water droplet or the bubble in water, must have an internal pressure that exceeds the ambient pressure either in the ater or the air around the droplet.
How much is that excess internal pressure ?
It’s a 4-H club exercise to show that the excess pressure is 2.t/r newton per meter squared. For a soap bubble with two water surfaces it would be 4t/r.
OOooops ! I see a glitch .
If the water droplet needs an internal excess pressure of 2t/r, then that would require infinite pressure for a zero starting radius droplet.
Now the evaporating water surface was mostly flat, so the internal excess pressure is zero, but to form a coalescing droplet at near zero radius, requires a much higher excess pressure, so it is much easier to evaporate than to condense. In particular the water vapor temperature has to get much lower to reduce the tendency of the intra-molecular collisions KE to just blow the molecules apart.
I’m afraid, I still don’t see how H2O molecules in the gaseous phase can remain well above their local air Temperature and convey excess energy to some high altitude. It seems like they did all their warming (of diddley squat) within microns of the evaporating surface.
But I’m eager to learn differently from someone with a better understanding of it than I do.
g

Menicholas, my thoughts exactly. Plus the effect of wind blowing the evaporated moisture around, sometimes thousands of kilometres away. It doesn’t just rain on the ocean. The evaporation cools the ocean, and the clouds and rainfall can cool land as well, or suppress evaporation over water in other areas. Another factor limiting thunderstorm development would be higher pressure areas, when the surface cools via evaporation but the moisture is blown somewhere else and few clouds form locally. This is seen in the dry season in monsoonal regions (at least north Australian waters) and even in the supposedly wet season in El Nino years.
As always, a stimulating article. Thanks, Willis.
KS

RWturner

It’s also not entirely true that increased SST will cause an increase in thunderstorms. This is seen during El Nino, when the cloud cover actually decreases in the eastern Pacific, and a decreases overall worldwide. The opposite is true for La Nina.
I think this has to do with El Nino reducing nutrients in tropical waters, restricting plankton growth (especially diatoms), which in turn reduces dimethyl sulfides in the air, reducing the nuclei for cloud formation.

Not sure I agree with this analysis. Just because sea level evaporation increases doesn’t mean that cloud formation will increase in the same region, as that will depend on RH/ temperatures at higher altitudes as well as prevalent winds at different altitudes carrying away the water vapour that results from the surface evaporation. e.g.- B.C. is at some distance Northward from the el nino mass but is receiving heavy snowfalls this winter.

markx

RW Turner, John Harmsworth,
Note Willis has calculated the energy moved from rainfall data.
So, on the proviso the TRMM database is accurate, that water vapour has evaporated, has formed clouds, and has fallen as rain.

pbweather

I think you have Nina and Nino cloud amounts reversed. The OLR decreases (cloud increases) over the Eastern tropical Pacific during El Nino because the warmer SSTs induce more convection and cloud cover. Save some satellite pictures this year and compare them with a year from now when the inevitable cooler La Nina Phase kicks in.

RWTurner

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~rmeast/OceanCloudsweb.pdf
I was mistaken by confusing stratus cloud cover with cumulus, which I suppose is the only cloud type that pertains to this essay. There is a negative correlation with marine stratus and stratocumulus to SST, not a negative correlation with cumulus.

Pretty much agree with all this. The way I look at this is essentially, the climate/ weather system of earth is a heat engine. All the movement of air and water is caused by the heat input to the system, with the end result being heat output to space. More heat input mainly accelerates the engine. Water is clearly a primary mode of transport for this heat, and based on what is evident from our knowledge of water evaporation and rainfall, it is obvious that more heat causes more rainfall on a pretty immediate basis. Unfortunately, it is also obvious that the field requires this thorough explanation and even this will probably prove to be insufficient. I’m not a scientist. I’m just a refrigeration tech with a lot of design experience in psychrometrics but I know the heat capacity of humidity would stagger most people and I believed from early on that water vapour was key to this question. This is very good work and needs to be seized upon and stressed until the talking heads acknowledge it’s importance.

george e smith

Well I have no disagreement with Willis or his hypothesis.
I have often cited Wentz et al SCIENCE July 13 2007 (I think) “How much more Rain will Global Warming bring ? ” and its consequent presumption of cloud cover modulation and ultimately surface solar energy negative feedback, as a basic mechanism of earth Temperature regulation.
It seems to me that Willis’s process, is a part of that negative feedback loop.
I don’t think earth’s temperature has much to do with GHGs at all (except water).
An atmosphere without water would launch the mother of all radiative forcings

Ray Boorman

Menicholas, the storms formed by the mechanisms you mention would be very rare in the tropics, even rarer over the oceans, which is where the cooling effects Willis is describing take place.

Steve McIntyre

Willis, what is the response of thunderstorms to the current Nino in the Nino 3-4 area? It seems to max out a little over 29 deg C.

Is the “max out at a little over 29C” referring to SST’s in the Nino 3-4 area or Figure 2 in Willis’s posting? If the former, then figure 2 gives a good indication as why SST’s max out at 29C.
I was intrigued by an earlier WUWT article by Willis on SST’s versus thunderstorm activity. Crunched some numbers relating to steam table data and found out that some where between 25C and 30C, the buoyancy for air (inverse of density) at 100% RH went from being driven by air expanding due to temperature (roughy linear) to being driven by the increase in water vapor (roughly exponential). Also noted that the NWS considers SST’s of 26C needed for tropical cyclone intensification.

Owen in GA

I thought the “max out” value that Willis has used in the past was about 31C. But I may be misremembering

Willis Eschenbach

Owen in GA January 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I thought the “max out” value that Willis has used in the past was about 31C. But I may be misremembering

Thanks, Owen. The answer is, we’re looking at annual averages, so the average is a bit below 30°C, which is approximately the open ocean temperature limit.
w.

richard verney

Whatever the physics is, it is universal across the globe, and whilst the majority of the oceans in the tropical regions do not have a SST exceeding 30 to 31degC, this is not because evaporation places such a cap on ocean temperatures (as Willis initially suggested in one of his ARGO posts). It is far more complex and there are many processes at work which act to effectively restrict SST in the majority of the oceans exceeding that temperature. Currents in 3D being the main one, and winds being another, and of course evaporation also plays a part. If evaporation capped temperatures at around 30 to 31degC, one would not see swimming pools with summer temps of around 36degC (my swimming pool often has such a temp in late July), nor would one see any oceans such as the Red Sea, the Gulf of Mexico etc regularly supporting SSTs in excess of 31degC..
However, as I pointed out in the ARGO thread there are dozens of seas and gulfs which regularly have surface temperatures exceeding 32 degC and often up to 34 to 36degC. I recall posting a comment on the ARGO thread where I listed at least half a dozen port authorities currently that day listing highs exceeding 32degC.
That said, the higher the surface temperature the more evaporation is driven, the earlier the clouds begin to form etc.

richard verney – A single swimming pool is way too small to create a thunderstorm. On land, quarter section plowed fields can generate enough convection to form small cumulus clouds, but it takes a large area to generate the convective flow needed for a major thunderstorm.

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, Steve, good to hear from you. The thunderstorm evaporation gets much larger during the El Nino events, so it is obviously acting to cool the surface. Unfortunately, my TRMM dataset doesn’t cover enough of 2015 to see the most recent El Nino, but the previous El Ninos (1998, 2003, 2007, and 2010) are clearly visible.comment image?w=640
My best to you, and thanks as always for your marvelous website,
w.

Steve McIntyre

that’s an interesting perspective on the Nino area, to say the least.

William Larson

Mr. Eschenbach–
“…but the previous El Ninos (1998, 2003, 2007, and 2010) are clearly visible.” I can track, based on the above figure, with this statement regarding the El Ninos of 1998, 2003 (I suppose) and 2010, but 2007? I find your emergent-phenomena concept compelling, to say the least, so I want to agree with everything you say that has to do with it, but my eyes see nothing of note for 2007. Am I out of it, or what?

This is what the IRIS interferometer measured from 1100 km over Guam in clear skies vs the top of thunderstorm anvils back in the day. The cloud top temperature tracks the 215K Planck function like it is on rails except for blurbs of higher temperature radiation in the CO2 and ozone bands. Shades of an Antarctic spectrum.comment image
Unfortunately, it seems clear skies do a much better job of radiating to space in the atmospheric window than thunderstorms do, probably because water is such a versatile GHG. Somehow the cloud top temperature seems to be constrained to the lapse rate, as 215K is pretty chilly.
On the other hand, there is evidence that energy gets transmitted to the stratosphere by Ninos, monsoons, volcanoes, etc. We know that thunderstorm anvils occur because they flatten out against the stratospheric inversion. Maybe there are tunnels of conduction there?
Not trying to be difficult but we have to deal with all the data.comment image

Bernie

Is your spectral chart daytime or nighttime?

Think it is daytime. Think the graphic is from Petty. Don’t recall any discussion of day vs night.
Interesting question though. Does the temperature of the stratopause change at night?
I’ve been thinking the spectrometer may be reading some sort of “cool skin” on the cloud that belies the internal temperature. But if that skin is persistent, the effective radiative temperature does not change.

Leo Smith

Unfortunately, it seems clear skies do a much better job of radiating to space in the atmospheric window than thunderstorms do, probably because water is such a versatile GHG. Somehow the cloud top temperature seems to be constrained to the lapse rate, as 215K is pretty chilly.
I think that there is a subtle error here. Without clouds, what you are ‘seeing’ is of course largely the ground radiating. With clouds, of course its the cloud tops, which of course are pretty cold, the adiabatic cooling haven taken care of that.
215k is not chilly in comparison to deep space, which is what counts for net radiation interchange between two ‘black bodies…’
If cloud tops are not losing heat, and if the radiation is so much better from the ground, what happened to the albedo? Or is that radiating/reflecting in a frequency that that graph doesn’t show? And how come warm wet air goes up and cold rain comes down?
I would absolutely believe those curves as night time curves, because we know that clouds make it warmer at night, but by day? When that spectrum is not just deep infra red, but massively up to the visible and UV.?
I am not questioning the data, but does it mean what you say it does?

I’m struggling with that too. As I mentioned there is very good evidence for monsoon and enso energy transfer to the stratosphere. How do they do it if the cloud tops are radiating at a lower temperature than the stratosphere above?
Albedo (reflection) of high energy solar light is not thought to affect the temperature of the reflecting body, but if it did, the effect would be to warm it.
Crazy instant idea: what if the apparent energy transfer to the stratosphere were just the cloud top reflectance forcing the solar SW to make two runs through the ozone?

” How do they do it if the cloud tops are radiating at a lower temperature than the stratosphere above?”
The temperature of molecules at high altitude is high, but the density has to be very low, so it doesn’t matter.
From the ground, the ir window reads 100F or more colder than surface temps, which has to include all molecule average temp in that column of air. At cloud tops, there must be more loss to space. I think there should be a strong ir signature from water vapor losing energy to become liquid water, while some must be reabsorbed a lot can dump straight out that window to space.

The following is a widely known old school spectrum from Petty that was taken with the same instrument from a (U-2?) at 20 km and from the surface of the Arctic ice looking up.comment image
You are right. In the atmospheric window the U-2 sees something like the surface at 288K and the guy looking up sees the chilly Arctic tropopause at like 160K. Bear in mind that ice has very low vapor pressure and surface humidities can be as low as CO2 concentration.
How can this be? These instruments measure photons. Photons radiate equally in all directions. It is easy to see how the upwelling from the surface (if as I suspect that surface is the ice which is a surprisingly good blackbody) is going nowhere but up. However, the radiation at the tropopause goes both ways.
It must boil down to intensity. The surface intensity is very high, but it is running away from the sensor looking up.The tropopause intensity is very low (barely above zero), and winds up being lunch money for the sensor looking through it.
Not sure where this leaves us regarding cloud tops. Maybe the same thing, but the cloud tops are way above zero. Something like 30 radiance units for the cloud tops vs 100 for clear skies…

Just thinking the high altitude sensor can’t really be seeing the ice itself as it is hard to imagine 15 C ice. Just another mystery. A melted skin?

David Dibbell

Nice work! Water vapor is the superhero of climate modulation. As such it has a CAPE. “Convective Available Potential Energy” in meteorology. This old-school mechanical engineer appreciates the immense refrigeration system with which the atmosphere rejects just the right amount of heat.

You get additional radiative cooling in the tops of those thunderclouds that return cold rain and hail to the surface.

Gloateus Maximus

How can ocean temperature not be a function of heating by the sun, and possibly of undersea volcanism?

richard verney

Some people think that DWLWIR plays a role, but they do not explain what processes are at work which effectively sequester the DWLWIR energy that is absorbed in just a few microns to depth, thereby dissipating and diluting that energy by volume, at a rate fast enough to prevent the oceans being boiled off from the top down.
Some people consider that ocean overturning (which does not operate 24/7 since it is a diurnal event) and other slow mechanical processes such as wind, waves and swell mix the absorbed LWIR to depth but since these are slow mechanical processes, and do not operate effectively when weather conditions are calm say BF2-3 and less, these people never explain how these processes can overcome the consequences of DWLWIR being fully absorbed in a wafer thin volume of water (fractions of a human hair width) before that energy if absorbed would drive evaporation.
Fortunately, for us, solar is absorbed at depth and over a large volume and hence the energy is dissipated and diluted by volume. IF the absorption of solar was the same as that of LWIR, the oceans would have boiled off long ago and we would not be living on this water world of ours.

Gloateus Maximus

Naturally, quite so. But relatively small changes in solar activity can produce climatic effects over decades, centuries and millennia. On the time scale of tens and hundreds of thousands of years (and probably shorter scales as well), insolation variation based upon Milankovitch cycles produce larger effects.
Most of the heat that is discharged during El Ninos comes ultimately from the sun. Thus El Ninos should and do occur with greater frequency and amplitude during periods of higher solar activity.

ulriclyons

El Nino conditions and episodes increase during solar minima!

I’ve heard this ‘IR cannot heat the oceans’ meme a number of times. But never from a researcher.
The ocean is constantly losing heat through evaporation. Add heat from IR and yes, it will disappear as evaporation – but an equivalent amount of heat that was already in the ocean will, as a result, NOT be lost. So it does cause heat to build up. Conceivably the amount of heat accumulation in the ocean will be less than the increase in IR, due to increased evaporation, and conceivably for this reason solar could be more (causing a greater proportion of ocean heating vs evaporation as compared to IR). I’m out of my depth now. But IR does heat the ocean, you can be sure.
The idea that IR cannot heat the oceans also fails the sanity check. If not increased downwelling IR, what has caused the buildup in ocean heat content? I’ve heard about decreasing cloud cover but that applied to the 1980-2000 period or so, not the last 15 years (when OHC buildup has continued).

Thanks for the highly interesting article Willis.
Always ” thought” that forcings were an administrative term.

Willis you say: “The timing and the amount of thunderstorms are NOT a function of greenhouse gas forcing, or of solar forcing, or of volcanic forcing, or of any other kind of forcing. As Figure 2 shows, they are a function of temperature. ” (my emphasis added)

Are you implying that temperature is not a function of solar forcing?

Gloateus Maximus

IMO submarine volcanism also is a factor in ocean temperature, even of the surface, as is of course average depth. For instance, in the hottest part of Cretaceous, the accelerating breakup of Pangaea caused thermal expansion of the oceans, driving them up onto the continents, as in the shallow epicontinental seas of Europe and North America so comfy to giant marine reptiles. Tropical ocean temperature then was 37 degrees C (98.6 °F) or more, even with the sun producing almost one percent less power.

Willis Eschenbach

Michael Palmer January 8, 2016 at 11:31 am

Are you implying that temperature is not a function of solar forcing?

Thanks for the question, Michael. The answer, as is often the case in matters of climate, is yes and no. Yes, temperatures are sensitive to forcing. We see this every morning when the sun comes up.
However, this relationship between forcing and temperature breaks down when we are considering the global average surface temperature in the running system. For example, the sun is estimated to have warmed by 5% in the last half billion years … but the earth’s temperature over the same period has cooled slightly.
As another example, volcanoes make little difference in the global surface temperature. Why not? Because their blocking of the sunlight is quickly adjusted for by a reduction in tropical albedo and thunderstorm cooling, so the previous temperature range is quickly restored.
It’s like a house with a thermostat that’s been unoccupied for a while. We come in and we turn on the gas furnace. Is the house temperature a function of gas use?
Well, just as with the earth, the answer is yes and no. Clearly the house ends up warmer with the furnace turned on, so that part of the answer is yes. But once the house reaches the set-point temperature of the thermostat, the house temperature is no longer a function of gas use. At that point, the gas use becomes a function of the outdoor temperature, and the average house temperature is totally decoupled from the amount of gas used.
All the best,
w.

Gloateus Maximus

Willis,
While the Early Cambrian might have been cool as a hangover from the Snowball Earth, its average temperature has been estimate much warmer than now, ie c. 21 °C
(7 °C above modern level).
IMO your analogy overlooks the possibility of turning up the thermostat, as happens when the sun is more active both in its irradiance and magnetic flux. The sun has been more active coming out of the LIA than it was during it. SST also reacts with a lag to accumulated solar heating on annual to decadal time scales, which affects the changes in wind force and direction which drive the ENSO, for instance.

Steve Fraser

Willis…I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the contribution of surface wind to the rate of evaporation.

@Michael Palmer: I understood him to be saying that *given* temperature, solar forcing as such doesn’t have any predictive value for timing & amount of thunderstorms. I certainly didn’t see anything there saying that solar forcing had no effect on temperature.

richard verney

My hypothesis says that when the tropical surface temperature goes over a certain threshold, that thunderstorms emerge to put a firm cap on the temperature by cooling the surface.

When I was at school, this is what I was taught about the pattern of weather in the tropics. This was one of the characteristics. Just like in some areas monsoons being another. No one at that stage was addressing global warming or climate change, and therefore no one suggested that this process/pattern was the or even a control knob which kept centennial temperatures at a level of say +/- 0.3 degC, but it was well known and accepted that was simply the pattern of the day; the temperature increased, clouds formed, thunderstorms emerged, and the day cooled.
A similar course of events usually happens to end warm spells in the UK.. There may be a few goods days of weather, the week heats up, and then the good weather is brought to a sudden end with a thunderstorm , Usually, in time for the weekend so that the planned for BBQ is ruined. Following the thunderstorm, the air is fresh and cool, and temperatures return to ‘normal.’

Brian j in UK

I lived in Zambia for five years and the year was divided into two, re weather – wet season 6 months and 6 months totally dry no rain. The wet was a major thunderstorm every day about 2:30pm lasting about 1 hour, very heavy torrential rain. Within minutes of the rain ceasing the roads would be drying up, steam rising from the tarmac. Within half an hour the whole place was dry. I read somewhere at the time that 70% of the rainfall was immediately transpired back into the atmosphere. This was at least 1000 miles from any ocean. As it did so the temperature noticeably cooled – so it was ok for our local cricket matches starting after work at 4pm!
Just an observation.

Perhaps cricket causes cooling? Gives me the chills just thinking about watching it : )

See this happen all the time on the bottom edge of the tropics where I live – hot day often ends with a thunderstorm and cooler afternoon.

Willis Eschenbach

Brian j in UK January 8, 2016 at 11:42 am

I lived in Zambia for five years and the year was divided into two, re weather – wet season 6 months and 6 months totally dry no rain. The wet was a major thunderstorm every day about 2:30pm lasting about 1 hour, very heavy torrential rain. Within minutes of the rain ceasing the roads would be drying up, steam rising from the tarmac. Within half an hour the whole place was dry. I read somewhere at the time that 70% of the rainfall was immediately transpired back into the atmosphere. This was at least 1000 miles from any ocean. As it did so the temperature noticeably cooled – so it was ok for our local cricket matches starting after work at 4pm!
Just an observation.

Indeed, this kind of thunderstorm cooling is common across the tropics, not just on the ocean. I used the ocean because the response is clearer, since it is not confounded by elevation and other orographic features.
Eric Worrall January 8, 2016 at 11:47 am

See this happen all the time on the bottom edge of the tropics where I live – hot day often ends with a thunderstorm and cooler afternoon.

It is also common in other parts of the planet, but often only at certain times of the year.
Regards to you both,
w.

brian j in uk

Willis, I read your contributions with v great interest. I also lived in Sydney for many years and same thing there. V hot day or days then a line of thunderstorms would come up – known locally as a “Southerly Buster” with torrential rain and enormous lightning activity – sometimes lasting many hours. Result – temperature would drop as much as 15 degF in as many minutes. Great relief all round!! We thanked all that was holy for those Southerly Busters. I know this is only anecdotal, but thunderstorms cool locally wherever they occur. So if they occur over a very wide area as you maintain then massive cooling will result.

Just as a side note on this. It is always apparent here in Western Canada in the winter time that snowy days are typically warmer. Below approximately -30C it very rarely snows and is usually bright and sunny. The phase change of water vapour to snow ( ice) is 970 btus per lb water vapour to liquid sate+ 144 btus per lb liquid to ice with the heat given off helping to keep surface temps slightly higher. Unfortunately, some of that heat ( most? ) escapes to space. Seems to me we have pretty good numbers worldwide on precipitation in different forms so we should be able to calculate total heat transfer.

george e smith

When I lived in St Louis county Missouri, in the Summer time, every Sunday afternoon at 3-4PM there was a thunderstorm, and me and my buddy would go out in a corn filed and set up our cameras to record the lightning strikes.
We gave up the practice, when on one of those occasions, a big tornado went through the cornfield, and tore it up something fierce.
The nearest ocean to St Louis County, is Lake of the Ozarks.
g

A watt is a power unit, 3.412 Btu per English hour or 3.60 kJ per metric hour. The sensible heat of dry air is 0.24 Btu/lb-F, of liquid water 1 Btu/lb-F. Water evaporates/condenses latent heat at constant temperature at about 1,000 Btu/lb. The heat in moist air (see psychrometric charts, programs) is a combination of dry air sensible heat and water vapor heat, dry at the sensible heat value and the water vapor holding over 1,000 Btu/lb.
The water vapor cycle is the thermal gorilla that runs the climate, CO2/GHG RF is a flea on that gorilla’s butt.

gary turner

More likely it’s a pimple on the butt of said flea.

Hugs

Willis said 0.8 Wa/m2 equals the heat required to evaporate a 1mm thick layer of water. So 2xCO2 means about 5mm increase in yearly rainfall / evaporation would eat the heat flow. But. How much the temperature rises to do that? A little? Or more? And the atmospheric water vapour, I thought it is not increasing atm?

P.S. It’s relative humidity that drives evap/cond more so than temp.

Tom in Florida

That’s probably why you do not see thunderstorms develop over desert regions.

Gloateus Maximus

Desert thunderstorms do occur but with less frequency, as during the Arizona monsoon season. They are a major cause of hazardous flash floods.

Jon Jewett

Lived in Reno, NV for some 8 years. We had thunder storms in the summer without seeing a cloud. They would start brush/forest fires.

Hugs

Or wind multiplied with RH?

Relative humidity is a function of both temperature and absolute humidity so can’t exactly discount temperature.

Rel Humidity also plays a role in night time cooling, when it increases as it cools, once it in the 80’s and 90’s, the hourly rate of cooling slows. I’ve not sorted out if it’s just the latent heat of condensation contributing to a constant rate of energy loss, or whether the larger water molecules slows the rate of energy loss in the IR bands.

Very nice analysis. There is a compounding knockon effect beyond SST thermoregulation, Lindzen’s adaptive infrared iris (BAMS 2001) which he showed regulates regionally over multiple days via tropical cirrus impacts. More/strongerTstorms, more rainout, less moisture detrainment from the thunderhead ‘anvil’, so less cirrus (dryer upper troposphere), so more cooling. Cirrus are are ice, so ‘warm’ since opaque to outbound infrared LWR while transparent to incoming SWR. Bjorn Smith’s paper last year showed that by adding adaptive iris alone, model sensitivity was moved halfway to observational. Judith and I did back to back posts on it over at CE. That Without including the additional Eschenbach heat flux effect.
Dai’s 2006 J. Climate paper showed precipitation is undermodeled. Wentz’s 2007 Science paper showed by about half in the tropics. Strong literature support for this solid looking theory highlighting fundamental climate model flaws.

Quinn the Eskimo

Cool.

With a chance of rain!

JJM Gommers

This mechanism controls nicely the temperature in the tropical region, but there is heat dissipating to the higher latitudes with an amplifying effect on the temperature. The ultimate heat sinkholes are the poles. Incremental heat effects like the anthropogenic will become apparent at the polar regions. There is no measurable change at Antarctic and minor change at the Arctic because the majority of the anthropogenic contribution is in the Northern Hemisphere. Is the conclusion justified that the anthropogenic contribution to the climate is far less than the proponents of AGW are telling.

Most of the heat dissipated to the poles would be “attached” to water vapour so an important effect would be increased precipitation which would reduce the realized temperature effect. Perhaps this is why the actual observed temp rise is vastly lower than the models predict and why Antarctica is gaining billions of tons of snow mass. Arctic snowfall mainly occurs over water I would expect so quantity is probably largely unknown?

Wim Röst

Great!
“Buckle your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the vehicle, it’s gonna be a long, uphill struggle to get rid of this madness …”
Posts like this will help to make ‘the uphill struggle’ much shorter!

Thomas Edwardson

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
Are we …

Alf

So how do lapse rates fit into the picture or can they be considered to be Constant?

ralfellis

You need a T-phi diagram to find out.
On this one, the atmosphere is stable, until the surface temperature hist 35ºc. Then the dry adiabatic line (DALR green sloping left) hits the CMR line from the dewpoint temp (purple line sloping right). At that point, the air condensates, and follows the saturated adiabatic lapse rate (SALR green dotted that bows right and left).
The basic premise is that the air will stop rising when either the DALR or SALR hit the bold temperature line (red). But as soon as cloud formation starts, the air gets a warming boos from the latent heat of condensation. This is why the SALR line is almost vertical, and suddenly the rising air pocket is not goind to hit the stabilisation red temperature line until 150 mb (44,000 ft). Presto, you have a thunderstorm.
So yes, the lapse rate is key to thunderstorm formation.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QnO-j1SaIl0/TqXJNuPkeiI/AAAAAAAAAHw/vbnXxN1gwoU/s1600/skew-t++for+use+in+the+blog+3.png

ralfellis

Here, I have filled it in.
My purple pocket of air rises up the DALR line and hits the red temperature line, and comes to a halt at a low level. ie: there is no deep convection and no thunderstorm.
But when the surface temperature reaches 37ºc, my blue pocket of rising air hits the CMR (my orange) and condensates, before hitting the red line. So it then follows the SALR all the way to 44,000 ft. So a very little extra surface warming, can cause a massive change in cloud top altitude.
http://s30.postimg.org/a5411makh/T_phi.jpg

Toneb

Good posts Ralph …
However the Cb will not top-out at the where it crosses the ELR – it has momentum. You need to calculate the CAPE (in my experience your T-Phi exhibits massive CAPE and will (given correct wind profile) a supercell/tornados.
A T-Phi/SkewlogT has energy equaling equal areas, and so for the area enclosed by your SALR and ELR from the Normand’s point, the cloud could well rise an equal area above the 150mb level into the Strat.
Follow the SALR on up until a line drawn horizontally from it back the the right until reaching the ELR again and you have your cloud (Cb or thunderhead top).

Barbara

It’s interesting to watch anvil clouds form and disappear over Lake Erie during the summer months. It’s the big anvil clouds you have to be wary of. Small anvils no problem.

ferdberple

tell that to Wilie E

Barbara

By no problem. I mean small anvil clouds are not so dangerous in regards to thunder storms.

Barbara

‘Weird Clouds Look Even Better From Space’
Has photo of anvil clouds from space. Location – West Africa.
http://www.wired.com/2010/05/gallery-clouds
Photos of Great Lakes anvil clouds are on the internet.

eyesonu

Barbara,
Interesting collection of satellite photos of clouds in your link above. Thank you.

Smokey (can't do much about wildfires)

Personally, I don’t care to be standing under clouds made of ANY size anvil. I’ll leave that to Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius, and welcome to it!

David Dibbell

In support of the points made above by other commenters, here is a quote from a NASA web article on its EarthObservatory website (Lindsey, 2009) “At an altitude of roughly 5-6 kilometers, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the overlying atmosphere is so small that heat can radiate freely to space.” 5-6 km is about 18,000 feet. Thunderstorms top out typically much higher than that, reaching over 50,000 feet in some cases. Every thunderstorm launches a massive burst of upward/outward longwave radiation unhindered by the overlying atmosphere!

Wim Röst

I think a very important quote! Thanks!

Wim Röst

Ristvan, thanks. “There are two altitudes for the two GHG, and they vary wirh latitude”. Can you give us some examples of their altitude in the tropics and on higher latitudes?

Actually,this altitude can be calculated more prescisely from CO2 concentration, surface specific humidity plus lapse rate, and local surface barometric pressure. There are two altitudes for the two GHG, and they vary wirh latitude. Essay Sensitive Uncertainty. Models don’t do any of this. But if they did, they would show that the CMIP5 models were falsified by this excellent cited observation.
Simplified, models have to parameterize convective processes like Tstorms because their computationally constrained minimum grid scales are several orders of magnitude too big tomeven attempt a bad mthematical simulation. Guest post here last year. And, per IPCC, the parameterization left out natural variation. So they must–and do– run hot by a lot.

Wim Röst

Sorry, took the wrong ‘reply’:
Ristvan, thanks. “There are two altitudes for the two GHG, and they vary wirh latitude”. Can you give us some examples of their altitude in the tropics and on higher latitudes?

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Several interesting (to me anyway) things. First it looks like tropical latitudes take longer to respond to heat than extra-tropical ones, if I’m interpreting your scatterplot correctly. It looks like NH and SH regions produce significant evaporative cooling at 15-20°C, while the tropical areas hardly register at 20°C and really take off around 25°C. I can’t think of why that might be. Why wouldn’t the onset of evaporative cooling occur at approximately the same temperature in all regions?
Second, echoing Steve Mcintyre’s comment, I would expect there to be an El Niño signal in the TRMM data. Does it go back far enough to include the 1998 El Niño?

Willis:
You have explained—with elegant charts and prose—that t-storms have a governing (thermostat) effect on local temperatures but it is not clear to me what this has to do with the question of climate “forcings.”
It is obvious and established fact that thunderstorms form when hot moist air is lifted. If conditions are right, the lifted air is cooled by expansion, so the lifted moisture condenses to form cloud particles, and the resulting latent heat of condensation causes further lifting. The fact that the local environment is cooler just before, during, and after a thunderstorm forms has been known since well before man had evolved sufficiently to invent the word “cold.”
In the satellite temperature record of the lower troposphere one can clearly see the effect of volcanic forcing from the eruptions of El Chichon and Pinitubo on global temperature. That these eruptions were the cause of global cooling is further backed up by measurements of atmospheric optical depth.
However, tropical thunderstorms (presumably a dearth of them) were not able to overcome cooling caused by those volcanic eruptions. The global temperature did not recover until the had dust settled. It is not unreasonable to conclude the t-storm thermostat would also not be able to overcome any CO2 forcing on global temperature.
On the other hand, I know of no scientifically credible evidence to support the idea of runaway AGM. We have already conducted a 100 year experiment and we find that the current global temperature is probably no warmer than it was in the recent Holocene past.
Humankind has prospered because of our use of fossil fuels. Yet, all the global warming claimed by alarmists would, only just, be detectible by the average human being if it occurred instantly. No human could detect such a small temperature rise occurring slowly over 135 years (for obvious reasons).
Media hype about increases in dangerous weather, droughts and floods is not substantiated in any scientific record that I have ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few.
Future global warming is likely to be similar to past warming, mild and mostly beneficial for Earth’s biosphere, which we are an integral part of.

Willis Eschenbach

Thomas January 8, 2016 at 1:02 pm

In the satellite temperature record of the lower troposphere one can clearly see the effect of volcanic forcing from the eruptions of El Chichon and Pinitubo on global temperature. That these eruptions were the cause of global cooling is further backed up by measurements of atmospheric optical depth.

Thanks, Thomas, but that’s not as true as you seem to think. See my previous posts on the subject, viz:
BEST, Volcanoes and Climate Sensitivity 2012-08-13
I’ve argued in a variety of posts that the usual canonical estimate of climate sensitivity, which is 3°C of warming for a doubling of CO2, is an order of magnitude too large. Today, at the urging of Steven Mosher in a thread on Lucia Liljegren’s excellent blog “The Blackboard”, I’ve…
Volcanoes: Active, Inactive, and Retroactive 2013-05-22
Anthony put up a post titled “Why the new Otto et al climate sensitivity paper is important – it’s a sea change for some IPCC authors” The paper in question is “Energy budget constraints on climate response” (free registration required), supplementary online information (SOI) here, by Otto et alia, sixteen…
Stacked Volcanoes Falsify Models 2013-05-25
Well, this has been a circuitous journey. I started out to research volcanoes. First I got distracted by the question of model sensitivity, as I described in Model Climate Sensitivity Calculated Directly From Model Results. Then I was diverted by the question of smoothing of the Otto data, as I reported…
The Eruption Over the IPCC AR5 2013-09-22
In the leaked version of the upcoming United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Chapter 1, we find the following claims regarding volcanoes. The forcing from stratospheric volcanic aerosols can have a large impact on the climate for some years after volcanic eruptions. Several…
Overshoot and Undershoot 2010-11-29
Today I thought I’d discuss my research into what is put forward as one of the key pieces of evidence that GCMs (global climate models) are able to accurately reproduce the climate. This is the claim that the GCMs are able to reproduce the effects of volcanoes on the climate.…
Eruptions and Ocean Heat Content 2014-04-06
I was out trolling for science the other day at the AGW Observer site. It’s a great place, they list lots and lots of science including the good, the bad, and the ugly, like for example all the references from the UN IPCC AR5. The beauty part is that the…
Prediction is hard, especially of the future. 2010-12-29
[UPDATE]: I have added a discussion of the size of the model error at the end of this post. Over at Judith Curry’s climate blog, the NASA climate scientist Dr. Andrew Lacis has been providing some comments. He was asked: Please provide 5- 10 recent ‘proof points’ which you would…
Volcanoes Erupt Again 2014-02-24
I see that Susan Solomon and her climate police have rounded up the usual suspects, which in this case are volcanic eruptions, in their desperation to explain the so-called “pause” in global warming that’s stretching towards two decades now. Their problem is that for a long while the climate alarmists…
Volcanic Disruptions 2012-03-16
The claim is often made that volcanoes support the theory that forcing rules temperature. The aerosols from the eruptions are injected into the stratosphere. This reflects additional sunlight, and cuts the amount of sunshine that strikes the surface. As a result of this reduction in forcing, the biggest volcanic eruptions…
Dronning Maud Meets the Little Ice Age 2012-04-13
I have to learn to keep my blood pressure down … this new paper, “Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks“, hereinafter M2012, has me shaking my head. It has gotten favorable reports in the scientific blogs … I don’t see it at…
Missing the Missing Summer 2012-04-15
Since I was a kid I’ve been reading stories about “The Year Without A Summer”. This was the summer of 1816, one year after the great eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia. The Tambora eruption, in April of 1815, was so huge it could be heard from 2,600 km…
New Data, Old Claims About Volcanoes 2012-07-30
Richard Muller and the good folks over at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project have released their temperature analysis back to 1750, and are making their usual unsupportable claims. I don’t mean his risible statements that the temperature changes are due to CO2 because the curves look alike—that joke has…
Volcanic Corroboration 2012-09-10
Back in 2010, I wrote a post called “Prediction is hard, especially of the future“. It turned out to be the first of a series of posts that I ended up writing on the inability of climate models to successfully replicate the effects of volcanoes. It was an investigation occasioned…
Get Laki, Get Unlaki 2014-11-18
Well, we haven’t had a game of “Spot The Volcano” in a while, so I thought I’d take a look at what is likely the earliest volcanic eruption for which we have actual temperature records. This was the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki in June of 1783. It is claimed to…
Volcanoes Once Again, Again 2015-01-09
[also, see update at the end of the post] Anthony recently highlighted a couple of new papers claiming to explain the current plateau in global warming. This time, it’s volcanoes, but the claim this time is that it’s not the big volcanoes. It’s the small volcanoes. The studies both seem to…
My best to you,
w.

Willis,
If we compare Global Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness (link below) with UAH Lower Tropospheric Temperature, we can clearly see the effect of the eruptions of Pinatubo and El Chichon. First on optical thickness, then on global temperature.
El Chichon in 1982 caused a notable increase in global optical thickness in 1983. The global temperature bottomed out in 1984 and didn’t recover until the dust had settled back to background levels in 1987.
With Pinatubo, global temperature fell immediately (1992) and didn’t recover for four years.
In your “Spot the Volcano” post you mention Mt. Redoubt in Alaska (2009) but that eruption had no notable affect on global optical depth, partly because it occurred in the far north, and partly because there was little ash and sulphur dioxide ejected into the upper atmosphere.
If we look at eruptions that eject large amounts of ash and sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, sufficient to cause a significant increase in optical thickness, they have a strong global cooling effect and the effect lasts until the dust settles. This is evidence that the thermostat effect of thunderstorms, while real, is not sufficient to overcome the cooling effect of aerosol forcing.
For El Chichon and Pinatubo, the cooling effect is small, 0.25°C and 0.30°C respectively, but it’s clearly real. They occurred early in the UAH record and there have been no significant eruptions since, which makes me wonder of if the lack of recent volcanos might be the major cause of all the warming trend in that record. Was global temperature suppressed by volcanos in the 1980’s and early 1990’s so that what appears to be a warming trend is just a recovery back to normal? In other words, did a lack of volcanos cause global warming?
I will email my chart to Anthony and ask him to forward it to you. I would appreciate further discussion with you if you are in the mood.
One subject that currently fascinates me is that global warming as evidenced in the UAH record isn’t global at all. Almost all the warming is in the norther extra-tropics and polar regions. There seems to be a close correlation with the AMO and hurricane tracks, which can carry heat from the tropics up the gulf stream “super highway” and into the Arctic Ocean. The Atlantic has a large water connection to the Arctic Ocean while the Pacific has only a small connection at the Bering Strait.
GISS Global Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness site:
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/strataer/
GISS Global Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness DATA
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/strataer/tau.line_2012.12.txt

Willis Eschenbach

Thomas January 8, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Willis,
If we compare Global Stratospheric Aerosol Optical Thickness (link below) with UAH Lower Tropospheric Temperature, we can clearly see the effect of the eruptions of Pinatubo and El Chichon.

Thanks, Thomas. I’m not sure what you are objecting to in this part of your comment. I’ve never denied that we can see the volcanic eruptions in the stratospheric records. But as my “Spot the Volcano” analysis clearly shows, volcanoes do NOT have the effect usually claimed for them.

If we look at eruptions that eject large amounts of ash and sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, sufficient to cause a significant increase in optical thickness, they have a strong global cooling effect and the effect lasts until the dust settles. This is evidence that the thermostat effect of thunderstorms, while real, is not sufficient to overcome the cooling effect of aerosol forcing.

I’m sorry, but your uncited and unsupported claim that volcanoes “have a strong global cooling effect and the effect lasts until the dust settles” does NOT constitute “evidence that the thermostat effect of thunderstorms, while real, is not sufficient to overcome the cooling effect of aerosol forcing”. Evidence is verifiable facts and observations, Thomas, not your uncited claims.

For El Chichon and Pinatubo, the cooling effect is small, 0.25°C and 0.30°C respectively, but it’s clearly real. They occurred early in the UAH record and there have been no significant eruptions since, which makes me wonder of if the lack of recent volcanos might be the major cause of all the warming trend in that record. Was global temperature suppressed by volcanos in the 1980’s and early 1990’s so that what appears to be a warming trend is just a recovery back to normal? In other words, did a lack of volcanos cause global warming?

Nope. If they had, the lack of volcanoes since 1992 would have led to continual warming, but in fact the world hasn’t warmed in almost two decades. Which makes me wonder if you actually read all of my discussions on this question …
And then we have the recurring problem of your uncited claims, like the idea that “For El Chichon and Pinatubo, the cooling effect is small, 0.25°C and 0.30°C respectively, but it’s clearly real.” No mention of either what is being measured, who measured it, or where it was measured. It’s just an anecdote.
In fact, El Chichon occurred in the middle of the temperature drop that you think it caused, and it did not appreciably change the speed of the temperature drop. See here for details.
So while it is true that you’ve provided lots of anecdotes, I’m sorry, Thomas, but as they say, “The plural of anecdote is not data.”
Please do not take this, however, as disparaging your efforts. I am always pleased to see people actively investigating what is going on rather than just accepting what passes for peer-reviewed scientific papers these days …
w.

Man Bearpig

Does anyone know how much energy in MWatts is released in a single lightning strike? and;
How many tonnes of CO2 would it take to make the same amount of energy ?

MW is power, not energy. Btu is energy. MW is 3.4E6 Btu/h.

Crispin in Waterloo

ManBear
Your first question is answerable, and the number is very large. It is not a useful number but there is such a number. Suppose the voltage was 100m and the current (typical) is 20,000 amps. The duration is not relevant because asking for MW automatically introduces time which is independent. The answer is about 2 million MW but the time interval is short. Multiple to time in seconds (as a decimal) by the 2 million MW and you get MJ.
The second question is not answerable. CO2 doesn’t make MW.
More important is the fact that the energy in the lightning bolt mostly comes from friction in the atmosphere so it is not a net heating factor. It just concentrates energy from a diffuse source to a concentrated point. If we could tap lightning, it would cool the atmosphere, eventually, unless it was all turned into heat, not radio waves, deformed materials or high energy chemicals.

Stephen Richards

Willis did you see Steve Mc’s question.

Willis Eschenbach

Stephen Richards January 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm

did you see Steve Mc’s question.

Answered, thanks for the reminder.
w.

HankHenry

Fascinating. I wish I knew what makes the depths of the ocean so cold. There seems to be even more refrigeration going on there. Do you suppose the mid-atlantic ridge is a ridge due to heat?

It is actually pretty simple conceptually, even if the details are horribly complicated. It starts mainly in the Arctic. Google thermohaline circulation.
In a nutshell:
The annual Arctic winter ice buildup cause of subfreezing atmospheric temps means the new sea ice exudes brine. (Ice is freshwater). Resulting briny cold (near freezing) surface seas are denser thanks to the extra salt, so sink to the ocean bottom. Now that ‘thermal engine’ flow displaces other deep water around the globe, based on ocean bottom ‘shapes’. Until it reemerges hundreds of years later as nutrient rich upwellings like off the western Americas.
Thus is the briny deep always near the freezing point of seawater. Actually, about 0C- 2C compared to seawater freezing point about -2C. Ignore depth pressure considerations in this rough sketch explanation.

HankHenry

It seems peculiar and surprising that the energy that drives this thing is found at a polar extreme. Is there some kind of latent heat of solidification or liquification at play? It seems akin to that thing that makes ice cream makers work. How would one go about estimating the kind of energy it takes to maintain the extreme cold of the abyss of the ocean?

HH, I had an interesting day with Lindzen himself at MIT, since I asked him to critique the climate chapter of The Arts of Truth pre publication, at my expense. He asked me your very question (among many others–resulting in the lengthly Svalbard footnote in the continental drift example).
There is poleward heat transport both in the atmosphere and the oceans. Skip all the specific known mechanisms. The simplest answer is heat flows from hot to cold.
So the equators heat (subject to the Lindzen/ Eschenbach regulation theories), and what happens at the poles says what eventually happens to that heat.

Oldseadog

An anecdote:
Going north in the Malacca Strait at around 20:00 local time I ran into a real humdinger of a thunderstorm, loaded with a full cargo of petrol (gasoline) and rain so hard that the radar was totally blank. Before running into the rain I had several very large vessels steaming in the same direction in the vicinity and good reason to believe that there were similar vessels coming the other way.
The quartermaster on the wheel had a spinal deformation and could not stand up straight.
So we steamed along in almost zero visibility with the E/R on standby and hearts in mouths.
Then the wind picked up from ahead, and at the same time the E/R phoned to say they had a problem which was causing sparks to come out of the funnel The fumes of gasoline from the masthead vents from the cargo tanks were therefor going straight back into the sparks.
What to do?
Well I turned round to go the other way so that the wind was aft.
And just after I turned round a lightning strike hit the water about 100 yards away. I swear that the quartermaster stood up straight as a ramrod. For the next few minutes we had St. Elmo’s Fire on the mast rigging. Then the rain stopped, all was well and we proceeded on our way.
But during the actual thunderstorm the temperature dropped noticably, and rose again once we were clear.
I think I aged 10 years in that half hour.

Is this controversial? Are there “climate scientists” disputing this theory … a theory that Willis has been writing about, with data, for years? Are they ignoring it? It’s not like this blog is unknown and unread by “climate scientists.”

Gloateus Maximus

It’s not a theory. At most it’s an hypothesis, but really more of an observation. It’s not in the least bit original. Here is a skeptical climate scientist’s take on the phenomenon of thunderclouds and evaporative cooling and of Willis’ views about the same:
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/10/citizen-scientist-willis-and-the-cloud-radiative-effect/
Clouds and evaporative cooling are indeed however an important part of climatology ignored by the models of so-called “climate scientists”, ie GIGO computer gamers.
The extraordinary heat of the mid-Cretaceous I mentioned above has been attributed to lower biological productivity from the very hot seawater of that epoch, hence fewer cloud condensation nuclei.

Toneb

Gloatus:
“Clouds and evaporative cooling are indeed however an important part of climatology ignored by the models of so-called “climate scientists”, ie GIGO computer gamers.”
Incorrect:
“Moist convection releases latent heat and is important to the Earth’s energy budget. Convection occurs on too small a scale to be resolved by climate models, and hence it must be handled via parameters. This has been done since the 1950s. Akio Arakawa did much of the early work, and variants of his scheme are still used, although a variety of different schemes are now in use.[20][21][22] Clouds are also typically handled with a parameter, for a similar lack of scale. Limited understanding of clouds has limited the success of this strategy, but not due to some inherent shortcoming of the method.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Circulation_Model
And:
“Moist convection causes the release of latent heat and is important to the Earth’s energy budget. Convection occurs on too small a scale to be resolved by climate models, and hence must be parameterized.”
From
http://climate.unist.ac.kr/research/globalClimateModel.sko;jsessionid=0A27400024AD01C884B7ED2DD36BB4D0
To list but 2 references.

Willis Eschenbach

Gloateus Maximus January 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm Edit

It’s not a theory. At most it’s an hypothesis, but really more of an observation. It’s not in the least bit original.

Nonsense. First, I’ve provided lots of observational data to support my hypothesis, so at this point it is a theory.
And as to your claim that it is not original? Prove it. Provide us with one person who has made the same claim before I did, that the timing and strength of emergent phenomena control the global temperature. I know of no one who made that claim before I did … and I say you don’t know of anyone either, you’re just flapping your lips.

Here is a skeptical climate scientist’s take on the phenomenon of thunderclouds and evaporative cooling and of Willis’ views about the same:
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/10/citizen-scientist-willis-and-the-cloud-radiative-effect/

Dr. Roy is one of my heroes, but on this one he was dead wrong. He accused me of not crediting Ramanathan, whose theory was totally different from mine, so there was no reason to credit him. Dr. Roy also neglected to do enough homework to notice that I HAD credited Ramanathan when I talked about his work. For those interested in facts rather than Maximus’s pathetic attempt to gloat, see my post responding to Dr. Roy’s unpleasant accusations, linked below.
w.

Dr. Roy Spencer’s Ill Considered Comments on Citizen Science 2013-10-09
Over at Roy Spencer’s usually excellent blog, Roy has published what could be called a hatchet job on “citizen climate scientists” in general and me in particular. Now, Dr. Roy has long been a hero of mine, because of all his excellent scientific work … which is why his attack…

Gloateus Maximus

Apparently you don’t know the difference between a theory and an hypothesis. Some theories are those of universal gravitation, atomic matter, germ-caused diseases, evolution, relativity and quantum mechanics. Do you seriously expect anyone to place your unfounded conjecture in the same category as these well-supported, general scientific theories (actually laws in some cases)?
Sorry, but I’m going with Roy on this one, who has produced far more than enough evidence in the link provided.
What exactly do you imagine to be original in your hypothesis, if your assertion may be so dignified? The roles of evaporative cooling and moist convection have been well understood in meteorology for decades, at least. Is it your unsupported claim that tropical thunderstorms in particular limit global temperature, to the exclusion of other factors? Here’s a discussion of moist convection from over ten years ago:
http://people.atmos.ucla.edu/bstevens/Documents/annurev.earth.33.092203.pdf
If there’s any nonsense here, it’s all yours.
I’m also still interested in your response to my comments on the role of the sun and volcanoes in SSTs, which have been much higher in the past than permitted by your “theoretical” limit. I don’t see how anyone can argue that solar activity currently plays no role in ENSO and climate. The sun heats the ocean. When it shines more brightly for periods than in other periods, El Ninos are more frequent and stronger. Also, when its magnetic field is stronger, fewer clouds form, leading to more surface heating.

Willis Eschenbach

Gloateus Maximus January 8, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Apparently you don’t know the difference between a theory and an hypothesis. Some theories are those of universal gravitation, atomic matter, germ-caused diseases, evolution, relativity and quantum mechanics. Do you seriously expect anyone to place your unfounded conjecture in the same category as these well-supported, general scientific theories (actually laws in some cases)?

From the web, what is basically the definition I was using:

A hypothesis is an attempt to explain phenomena. It is a proposal, a guess used to understand and/or predict something. A theory is the result of testing a hypothesis and developing an explanation that is assumed to be true about something. A theory replaces the hypothesis after testing confirms the hypothesis, or the hypothesis is modified and tested again until predictable results occur.

Since I have provided a wide variety of actual observations to back up my hypothesis, and since the testable predictions from my hypothesis have been shown to be true (including in this post), I call it a theory rather than a hypothesis. Is it the same as the theory of gravity? Nope, never said it was. At present it is an unaccepted theory.

Sorry, but I’m going with Roy on this one, who has produced far more than enough evidence in the link provided.

Roy provided no evidence of prior art to back up his bogus claim, and you’re just waving your hands without producing any prior art either. If you have prior art to share that makes the same claims that I have made regarding emergent phenomena regulating the planet’s temperature, it’s time for you to put up or shut up. Flapping your lips just isn’t enough.
w.

Gloateus Maximus

If there’s any lip-flapping and hand-waving going on here, it’s by you. “Continental drift” via seafloor spreading of tectonic plates is a theory. Your unoriginal observation of the well-known effects of tropical thunderstorms is not even an hypothesis, let alone a theory.
Clearly, you didn’t do enough of a literature search before claiming to have made a discovery and developed a unique “theory”, which your unoriginal observation isn’t. No surprise that you can’t state what you imagine to be original about your observation.
That earth’s temperature is self-regulating is about as far from an original observation as possible. That tropical clouds (cirrus in this case rather than cumulo-nimbus) play a role in this homeostatic process is also no surprise. Lindzen, et al, wrote a paper on the topic in 2001 in the AMS Bulletin:
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=8144
Commenters here discuss the phenomenon which you imagine you have discovered. The observation is a commonplace, so no wonder Roy took exception to your false claim of originality:
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.cl/2014/02/why-earths-climate-is-self-regulating.html

Crispin in Waterloo

Gloateus
You are digging over a field already ploughed. Willis already presented here months ago an excellent defence as to the novel nature of his theory. It may be worth your going to read that so he doesn’t have to repost everything here. You are guessing and hoping. The readership here is waiting for you to catch up. Please don’t waste more of our time.
It is novel, it is published, it is a theory now. It is also correct, IMV.

Ian W

Willis a nice article.
You may be interested in this NOAA FAQ site. This part looks at energy released by hurricanes per day. A hurricane is after all a bunch of thunderstorms working together and hurricanes only occur when the SSTs are sufficiently high (85F or more) so they fit very well with your hypothesis.
This FAQ states interalia:
It turns out that the vast majority of the heat released in the condensation process is used to cause rising motions in the thunderstorms and only a small portion drives the storm’s horizontal winds.
Method 1) – Total energy released through cloud/rain formation:
An average hurricane produces 1.5 cm/day (0.6 inches/day) of rain inside a circle of radius 665 km (360 n.mi) (Gray 1981). (More rain falls in the inner portion of hurricane around the eyewall, less in the outer rainbands.) Converting this to a volume of rain gives 2.1 x 1016 cm3/day. A cubic cm of rain weighs 1 gm. Using the latent heat of condensation, this amount of rain produced gives
5.2 x 1019 Joules/day or
6.0 x 1014 Watts.
This is equivalent to 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity – an incredible amount of energy produced!”

http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/D7.html
Note: that is 200 times the world wide electrical generating capacity per hurricane day
I often am amazed by the hubris of humanity thinking that they are all powerful. We are dwarfed by nature. Ants and Termites produce far more CO2 than humans. Not that CO2 matters.

Gloateus Maximus

Interesting, to me anyway, is that, while thunderstorns can and do form on the equator, hurricanes do not, due to lack of so-called Coriolis forces. No tropical cyclones have been observed to form within five degrees latitude of the equator, but once formed they can move into this zone. I might be wrong, but last I read, none had been seen to cross the equator however, at least not in the Atlantic or Pacific. Not sure about the Indian Ocean.

actuator

But what about all that most powerful of GHGs, water vapor, being released into the atmosphere at low altitudes via evaporation following the storm?

Berényi Péter

During the day, on the other hand, evaporation is quite large, hundreds of watts per square metre, because the strong tropical sunshine evaporates the water directly, plus the thunderstorms are largely a daytime phenomenon.

Rate of evaporation is not only a function of fluid temperature, but it is also proportional to surface area of the interface. As long as there is no storm, this area is pretty small (it is the sea surface). However, once a storm is started, high winds produce a prodigious amount of sea spray, which increases interface area by several orders of magnitude, so the entire thing becomes a self propelling engine. Until sea surface cools down sufficiently, of course. Anyway, there is this hysteresis, which should also be taken into account.

Ian L. McQueen

Willis-
Another of your excellent postings. Continuing thanks.
There is one thing not touched on here, which I have never seen anywhere else either. That is the amount of energy moved upward worldwide compared with the same for radiation. Do you have such a comparison?
Ian M

Willis Eschenbach

Worldwide, the surface losses through sensible and latent heat loss about about 110 W/m2, and the surface losses from radiation are about 400 W/m2.
w.

JamesD

Willis,
Here’s something else to ponder. Take a surface of sea, say a square foot by an inch deep. The surface area of that water is 1 ft^2. Now evaporate it and condense it at 50,000 ft. What is the surface area of the water now? It is several orders of magnitude higher. Therefore you have much more surface area to radiate heat to outer space. This is the piece that the climate alarmists don’t understand.

Willis Eschenbach

JamesD January 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Willis,
Here’s something else to ponder. Take a surface of sea, say a square foot by an inch deep. The surface area of that water is 1 ft^2. Now evaporate it and condense it at 50,000 ft. What is the surface area of the water now? It is several orders of magnitude higher. Therefore you have much more surface area to radiate heat to outer space. This is the piece that the climate alarmists don’t understand

Thanks, James. Mmmm … there is a problem with your theory, which is that most of the condensed water is in the middle of the cloud, so it cannot radiate anywhere.
w.

commieBob

The graph reminds me of a fat hockey stick. 🙂

u.k(us)

I worked outside for like 20 years in the Chicago area, and as a bit of a weather geek, I noticed that if the cumulus started getting puffy by say 10 or 11 in the morning, there was a good chance of thunderstorms later in the day.

“plus the thunderstorms are largely a daytime phenomenon. ”
Not necessarily.
“Over the tropical and southern oceans, showery precipitation tends to peak from midnight to 0400 LST. Maritime thunderstorms occur most frequently around midnight.”
From http://www.rengy.org/uploadfile/file/中文版/资源/文献/2000/Global%20precipitation%20and%20thunderstorm%20frequencies%20Part%20II%20diurnal%20variations%20.pdf
Title (if link doesn’t work): Global Precipitation and Thunderstorm Frequencies. Part II: Diurnal Variations

Willis Eschenbach

Thanks, Eric. From your link:

However, afternoon maxima were also found over some oceanic areas such as the tropical eastern Atlantic (Reed and Jaffe 1981), the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ; Albright et al. 1985), and the tropical central and eastern Pacific (Augustine 1984). Over the tropical western Pacific, afternoon maxima of convection and rainfall were also found during the periods when there are few large-scale convective systems passing by and the diurnal cycle of sea surface temperature (SST) is strong (Sui et al. 1997). An analysis of global surface wind divergence fields by Dai and Deser (1999) shows that while surface convergence peaks in the morning (around 0600 LST) over many oceanic areas close to continents, afternoon maximum convergence also occurs over many open oceans. This again suggests that the diurnal cycle in oceanic convection and rainfall may have different phases over different regions.

All the best,
w.

An opportune time for a reprise, an encore post.
First off a discussion of units.
A watt is a metric unit of power, energy over time, not energy per se. The metric energy unit is the joule, English energy unit is the Btu. A watt is 3.412 Btu per English hour or 3.600 kilojoule per metric hour.
In 24 hours (sun shining, what happens at night?) ToA power of 340 W/m^2 will deliver 1.43 E19 Btu to a spherical surface with a radius of 6,386 km. The CO2 RF of 2 W/m^2 will deliver 8.39 E16 Btu, 0.59% of the ToA.
At 950 Btu/lb of energy, evaporating 0.74 inches of the ocean’s surface would absorb the entire ToA, evaporating 0.0044 inches of the ocean’s surface would absorb the evil unbalancing CO2 RF.
More clouds. Big deal.
ToA spherical surface area, m^2……………5.125.E+14
W = 3.412 Btu/h……………………………………3.412.E+00
ToA, 340 W/m^2, Btu/24 h……………………1.43E+19
CO2 RF, 2 W/m^2, Btu/24 h…………………..8.39E+16
Ocean surface , m^2………………………………3.619E+14
m^2 = 10.764 ft^2………………………………….1.076E+01
Ocean surface, ft^2………………………………..3.895E+15
Water density, lb/ft^3………………………….62.4
Lb of water in 1 foot of ocean………………..2.431E+17
Evaporation, Btu/lb……………………………950.0
Amount of ocean evaporation
Feet needed to absorb ToA…………………..0.062
Inches needed to absorb ToA………………..0.74
Feet needed to absorb CO2 RF………………0.0004
Inches needed to absorb CO2 RF…………..0.0044
Don’t like my work? Think it’s wrong or irrelevant? At least I took a shot at doing it. Where’s your work?
Fun-duh-mentals.

Willis Eschenbach

Nicholas Schroeder January 8, 2016 at 6:54 pm

… Don’t like my work? Think it’s wrong or irrelevant? At least I took a shot at doing it. Where’s your work?

I don’t have a clue about the purpose of your work, or what it is supposed to do show. More than anything, however, I don’t have a clue who your comment is aimed at …
w.

CM

Willis,
I’m glad someone finally started talking about the verticle transport of latent heat.
The point that everybody is missing is that the AGW models don’t factor this in. They only look at convection of sensible heat. This is a fatal error.
Also, ponder this: According to AGW enthusiasts, if there is more CO2 in the lower troposphere then more infrared radiation is reflected back to the surface. That means more evaporation. More important, it means less infrared being absorbed by water vapor above and therefore a cooler upper troposphere. That means more clouds. More clouds means higher albedo and less sunlight reaching the surface. That means cooling. Therefore CO2 causes global cooling.
If that isn’t enough, the increased CO2 below actually creates a reverse greenhouse effect by reflecting the infrared radiation coming down from above back out towards space. Oops. Nobody thought about the fact that the “greenhouse effect” is a two edged sword.
CARBON DIOXIDE CAUSES GLOBAL COOLING!
I sent Anthony a paper on this a few days ago. Ask him about it. Somebody needs to take the ball and run with it.

Willis Eschenbach

CM January 8, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Willis,
I’m glad someone finally started talking about the verticle transport of latent heat.

The point that everybody is missing is that the AGW models don’t factor this in. They only look at convection of sensible heat. This is a fatal error.

Thanks, CM. In fact, the models DO “factor this in”, so your claim is incorrect. The models have many shortcomings which render them unfit for the purposes they are used for. Ignoring evaporation is not one of the shortcomings.

If that isn’t enough, the increased CO2 below actually creates a reverse greenhouse effect by reflecting the infrared radiation coming down from above back out towards space. Oops. Nobody thought about the fact that the “greenhouse effect” is a two edged sword.

Hate to say it, CM, because you seem like a nice guy, but that last claim is so far off the rails that as Mosher might say, “It’s not even wrong”. First, CO2 doesn’t “reflect” any radiation, that’s simply not true.
Second, the models do indeed take into account the absorption (not reflection but absorption) of downwelling longwave radiation, so yes, people have indeed not only “thought about” but have dealt with that issue.
Regards,
w.

CM

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Willis.
You misunderstand my claim about the models. The models try to account for convection of sensible heat, but they don’t factor in the verticle movement of latent heat – from evaporation at the surface to condensation at higher altitudes. I’ve found no place in the models that accounts for gas-liquid phase transition or convection of latent heat. Unless they started doing it recently I don’t believe it’s there.
This ties in with your second critique about reflection. The conventional wisdom says that infrared-absorbtive gas in the atmosphere absorbs and re-emits infrared. Half goes up and out and half goes back to the surface. True or not, that’s the fundamental basis of the so-called greenhouse effect. I used “reflect” as a shortcut for the sake of brevity because reflection versus absorbtion-reemission is irrelevent to my argument.
Think of the gas as the “roof” of the greenhouse, If you move latent heat (and sensible heat, for that matter) from the surface to higher elevations then you have partially or completely taken the heat above the roof. The conventional wisdom still applies – the gas layer forms a barrier in the downward direction in the same manner as it does in the upward direction. Presumably half goes one way and half goes the other way. It makes no difference which way is up or which way is down. Insulation generally operates in both directions. That’s a fact.
There is a more subtle mechanism at work here that is independent of convection. There is only a certain quantity of infrared being emitted at the surface. If a molecule of CO2 absorbs a fraction of that radiation then a molecule of water vapor is not absorbing it. Ignoring all other mechanisms, more CO2 at lower levels will mean less infrared reaching the water vapor at higher levels. Think of it as lowering the roof or adding more insulation. That means more condensation and more cloud formation above.
Think about the purported cooling effect of increased cosmic radiation causing cloud formation in the upper atmosphere. We’re told it has an overall cooling effect.
Consider this in simple terms. There is a tremendous amount of latent heat being moved from below the insulation (“greenhouse gases”) to above the insulation. That heat is now deterred from returning to the surface. Additionally, the cooling above the insulation causes more cloud formation.
Let’s try it another way. CO2 is a nifty cloud maker. It traps heat over the oceans around the equator and pumps clouds out to the upper latitudes. It might (maybe) cause some surface warming at the equator but it might cause cooling everywhere else.
The claim that more CO2 will actually cool the planet is deliberately off the rails. The point is this: It’s a lot more credible than the idea that a tiny bit more CO2 amongst a lot of water vapor can cause warming. It considers important physical mechanisms that have not been considered and it is more consistent with the known facts. Whether these mechanisms merely reduce warming or cause outright cooling is beside the point.
If you let go of the presumption that CO2 must cause warming then this doesn’t seem so crazy. I say the two-phase nature of water is a much more powerful mechanism that a little CO2 (I think you do too). If a little cosmic radiation can cause cooling then why can’t a little CO2? We can’t let ourselves get caught up in their groupthink.
The AGW conjecture is dying anyway but wouldn’t it be nice to have a better counterargument? Let’s at least make them account for these mechanisms. Since you’re already going down this road you might want to take a closer look.

CARBON DIOXIDE CAUSES GLOBAL COOLING!

Well there is this article at Judith Curry’s blog:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL066749/full
“How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica”
Of course Antarctica is not the globe, but you may find it interesting.

Toneb

“The point that everybody is missing is that the AGW models don’t factor this in. They only look at convection of sensible heat. This is a fatal error.”
Of course they do!
It’s a MASSIVE transport of heat from the surface aloft.
Fundamental to the working of the climate system.
See my response to Gloateus.
And Google it there are pages of references to it being so.

CM

Last time I looked, the literature wasn’t talking about vertical transport of latent heat. Fiddling with parameters is just guessing.
Regardless, convection and latent heat transport are two different things. You can’t assume that you can Supersize the convection parameter to account for latent heat. One really good reason off the top of my head is that there is massive poleward transport of latent heat. That has nothing to do with convection. Sorry.
Also, the change in latent heat transport with increased CO2 cannot be assumed to be the same as the change in convection. There may be a different level of feedback.
Therefore, I’m quite certain that they aren’t modeling latent heat. Shortcuts don’t count. You might want to look for some primary references on this if you still disagree.
Either way, the models are pathetic. I looked at them a couple years back and was shocked by the crudeness and downright vulgarity of it all. They are little toys for little boys. Those models will never, ever, ever be right because they don’t accurately model the thing they are trying to model. They need to be reconceptualized. I used to be a programmer and I’ve done a lot of systems analysis so I know that of which I speak. Those guys should be hoisted on their parameters.

IPCC AR5 gave clouds a -20 W/m^2 RF.

ralfellis

Willis
Are you going to update your cloud thermostat paper, to include all of these developments?
http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/E&E_Thunderstorm_Hypothesis_Eschenbach.pdf
R

Marcus

OK, the twit is erased, we can rid of that now !!

nobodysknowledge

From Held: http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/blog/isaac-held/2015/09/09/62-poleward-atmospheric-energy-transport/#more-9254
A warming atmosphere typically results in larger horizontal moisture transports. In addition to the implications for the hydrological cycle and oceanic salinity discussed in previous posts, this increased moisture transport also has implications for energy transport. If energy is used to evaporate water at point A and the vapor is transported to point B where it condenses, releasing the heat of condensation, energy has been transported from A to B. This latent heat transport is a large component of the total atmospheric energy transport. Outside of the tropics, eddies are mixing water vapor downgradient, resulting in a poleward transport. Close to the equator, the Hadley circulation dominates, with its equatorward flow near the surface that carries water vapor from the subtropics to the tropical rain belts (the compensating poleward flow near the tropopause carries very little water vapor in comparison).
Held speaks about the ratio between horisontal an vertical energy trensport. The vertial is very little compared to the horisontal. As I understand some of the comments thunderstorms modify this by increasing heat upwards. And that this can go to latitudes that give more radiation to space. I think it is very ineresting to see the “thermostat” as a result of both vertical and horisontal motion of air and moisture.

nobodysknowledge

Correction: And that this can go to altitudes that give more radiation to space.

richard verney

Willis
I have a couple of questions for you arising out of various statements quoted below:

“Here is the distribution and strength of rainfall, and thus evaporation, around the middle of the planet”

We live on a water world, and understanding the water cycle is the key to understanding the planet’s climate, but I do not understand the above assumption. As I have previously mentioned to you, energy absorbed in one part of the system re-emerges in a different part of the system because of oceanic and atmospheric currents, and of course, not all energy is absorbed at the surface, and some of the energy absorbed say in the 20cm to 5 m depth of the ocean is mixed vertically downwards.
Fisrt, If you look at Fig1 (and if I understand matters correctly), are you really saying that there is no evaporation in the dark blue areas, say off the East Coast of Africa, or off the West Coast of Australia? The Figure portrays that much of the Indian Ocean (vast areas of which are particularly warm) has no evaporation!
You also state:

“It takes about 80 watt-years of energy to evaporate a cubic metre of water…”

I do not know how that approximation/rule of thumb has been calculated, but (if my maths is correct), given that the specific heat of water (which is 4.186 Joule/gram °C), that means that it requires some 293.02 Joules of energy to heat 1 gram of water by 70 °C (ie., from about 30 °C to 100 °C).
Now then due to the omnidirectional nature of DWLWIR approximately some 60 to 70% of all DWLWIR is fully absorbed in just 3 microns of the ocean. This is a volume of just 0.000003 cubic metres and is a mass of some 3 grams. According to K & T, the global average DWLWIR is some 324 W/m^2, and ignoring the fact that in the tropical region DWLWIR will be considerably higher than the global average, there is approximately some 226 W/m^2 (ie., 324 x 70%) or 226 Joule Seconds being fully absorbed in just 3 microns. Thus, it would take just 1 second to entirely evaporate the 3 micron layer (in which about 60 to 70% of all DWLWIR is fully absorbed), and this means that if DWLWIR possesses sensible energy and is capable of performing sensible work in the environ in which it finds itself, the oceans would boil off from the top down, and would no longer remain given that they have received this energy for the best part of some 4.5 billion years, unless the energy that is absorbed in the top 3 microns can be sequestered to depth and hence diluted and dissipated by volume at sufficient speed to prevent this energy from boiling off the top microns of the oceans. This leads on to my next question.
Second, the question is what physical processes operate to mix this energy and sequester it to depth at sufficient rate to prevent this boil off?
In the past, you have mentioned processes such as ocean overturning, the action of the wind, waves and swell. My response to that is that these are all slow mechanical processes, and do not operate 24/7 365 days of the year.
For example, ocean overturning is a diurnal event, and therefore can at best only operate for half the day. Further, there may be no equivalence in some large inland seas, lakes such as the Great lakes, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Azov etc.
The action of wind, waves and swell cannot operate effectively when weather conditions are in the order of BF2 when there is simply insufficient wind to break surface tension, and to cause waves etc to carry out any mixing.
When we last discussed this (before Christmas), I mentioned that I was overlooking the Mediterranean and it was as still as a millpond with not a ripple in sight. The local weather station suggested that the prevailing wind speed was 1 mph, so one can see why there was no mixing by this slow physical process. I asked you why the Med was not boiling off from the top down. Again, today, similar conditions are being encountered although it is said to be a little windier at 5 mph. This is midway in BF2, ie., a light breeze and according to the BF scale, there should be “small wavelets, crests of glassy appearance, not breaking”. Where I am the trees are not rustling at all, and one cannot feel any breeze on the skin even if licked, and I would estimate that the local conditions are more like BF1 (I have 40 years plus of sailing experience), so I would again enquire why is the Med not boiling off from the top down as we correspond?
All I want to know is what physical process can on a 356 24/7 basis sequester the DWLWIR being absorbed in the top few microns of the oceans down to depth (and hence dilute and dissipate that energy by volume) with sufficient rate so as to prevent that energy from simply boiling off the top microns?
I do hope this time to receive an answer to the questions posed.

Smokey (can't do much about wildfires)

@richard verney:
“If you look at Fig1 (and if I understand matters correctly), are you really saying that there is no evaporation in the dark blue areas, say off the East Coast of Africa, or off the West Coast of Australia? The Figure portrays that much of the Indian Ocean (vast areas of which are particularly warm) has no evaporation!”
Not so. Those are area where the evaporation results in zero effective cooling, as expressed in W/m^2. It does NOT say there is no evaporation. Having been to Bahrain, Kuwait, etc., I can tell you this jibes with what I’ve personally experienced; nighttime fog at 30+C air temp is a freaky thing.
“Thus, it would take just 1 second to entirely evaporate the 3 micron layer (in which about 60 to 70% of all DWLWIR is fully absorbed), and this means that if DWLWIR possesses sensible energy and is capable of performing sensible work in the environ in which it finds itself, the oceans would boil off from the top down, and would no longer remain…”
If I’m understanding you correctly, you estimate that the 3 micron layer amasses about 3 grams worldwide. Given that, you then assume that the evaporation of 3g/sec from the oceans would be enough to evaporate them entirely, given geologic timescales.
This seems a reasonable conclusion until we remember that there are a number of 24/7/365 processes which add water BACK to the oceans at the same time this evaporation is taking place. If it were not so, the Mediterranean (at least) certainly would not exist, given that it seems to lose a lot more water to evaporation that it gets back via rainfall alone — as you have eloquently pointed out via personal experience & observation.
Thus, just as it makes sense to you (as it does me) that there would be much more energy available for evaporation at the tropics than at the poles, so too it makes sense to me that is there quite a bit more rainfall/precipitation in general in the tropics than at the poles. I’d be willing to bet the two phenomena nearly cancel, with other water cycle processes making up what would otherwise be a measurable oceanic deficit.

richard verney

Thanks your clarification of fig !. That makes more sense.
As regards my 3 gram figure, this is 1m x 1 m x 3 microns, ie., it is the 3 micron wafer of a 1 metre by 1 metre square area of the ocean which square receives the 324 W/m^2 in the K&T energy budget cartoon. I use 3 micron wafer since about 60 to 70% of DWLWIR is fully absorbed in that wafer.
As a matter of vertical penetration 50% of LWIR is absorbed in 3 microns, but since DWLWIR is omni-directional with a large component having a grazing angle of say 25%or less, it follows that somewhere between 60 to 70% of DWLWIR is fully absorbed in a vertical slice 3 microns thick.

Crispin in Waterloo

Richard:
The energy needed to evaporate a g of water from a 30 Deg C ocean is 2501 J minus (30 degrees x 2.44 J). This subtraction accounts for the extra energy it takes to directly evaporate the water without heating it up to 100 C first (which is what happens).
So it is 2,428 J/g or 2.4 GJ per cubic metre which is 77 Watt-years.
324 Watts average DWLWIR is enough to evaporate 324/2428 g per second = 0.1334 cc or 11.53 litres per day. That is a depth of 11.53 mm per day, presumably in the tropics.
The calculation is not much help because the annual average evaporation from the entire ocean is nothing like that much. But that is the calculation you wanted.

Richard Verney “…DWLWIR…”
IMHO (BSME, PE, 35+ years in power gen) whether conduction, convection or radiation heat flows from hot to cold, not from a colder LT to a warmer surface. S-B would be negative in this delta T direction. This popular upwelling/downwelling GHG radiation loop is a basic perpetual motion violation of thermodynamic principles.
Plus because of Einstein’s Nobel winning photo electric effect any re-emitted energy has to be less than the incident energy, difference being the work function and in the microwave range.
Which is all academic because:
1) Mankind’s net 4 GT/y CO2 contribution to the globe’s 45,000 GT of stores and 100’s of Gt/y natural fluxes is trivial.
2) CO2’s 2 W/m^2 RF is trivial.
3) The GCMs are trash.

Hot Air

“IMHO (BSME, PE, 35+ years in power gen) whether conduction, convection or radiation heat flows from hot to cold, not from a colder LT to a warmer surface. S-B would be negative in this delta T direction. This popular upwelling/downwelling GHG radiation loop is a basic perpetual motion violation of thermodynamic principles.”
Nicholas, as a fellow ME I couldn’t agree more. The first time I saw that picture showing radiative heat transfer from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer planet I knew it was designed to obfuscate. Anybody that actually has to make things work in the real world, as opposed to between their ears, would NEVER attempt to calculate this for the reasons you state.
The other is it is clear they have never seen nor used a psychrometric chart, nor understand why they should.

Toneb

Oh dear.
The usual misinterpretation of the GHE that is found often on these pages.
It is the NET flow of energy that is of concern.
Of course a colder object cannot “heat” a warmer one but it DOES slow it’s cooling.
Why?
All objects emit/absorb EM energy (above 0K).
An object that receives (absorbs) a photon cannot know (or care) where it came from, and somehow magically reject it whether from a hotter or colder object.
It just absorbs it.
Think of the hotter object (Earth) as a tank of water that is leaking, say 10gals of water per hour.
Then link a smaller (colder) tank of water that drips in 1gal an hour whilst the gig one still leaks the 10 gals.
Result – The big tank is still leaking (cooling) but at a slower rate of 9 gal/hr. IE the NET leakage of water (energy) is still AWAY from the big tank (Earth) but it’s SLOWER whilst the small tank (cold atmosphere) continues to feed in that small water supply.
The 2nd L of Thermodynamics is not broken – it applies only to NET flow.

Toneb says:
It is the NET flow of energy that is of concern.
Wrong, the major concern is the fact that global warming stopped many years ago. But instead of trying to underrstand why your crowd has been flat wrong about everything, you still try to ‘explain’ what isn’t happening.

Toneb

I was addressing the science of GHE (yes I know it’s badly named).
Go to Roy Spencer’s site for an explanation and experiment to demonstrate.
PS: No one is saying there are not natural climate cycles that can mask it’s effect for some years.
Which is what you diverted onto.

Smokey (can't do much about wildfires)

Willis,
Reading richard verney’s comments got me to thinking along a bit of a tangent to this topic, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it anyway:
I wonder what the net effect of continental run-off is on ocean temperatures? It seems like water running off the land would tend to be more easily warmed prior to entering the sea, thus providing a net source of warming to the oceans. This would vary, of course, as regional/planetary climate cycles alternate between warm and cold, seasonally & by epoch. But I wonder if part of the reason the ocean warms at all in large scale is due to a warming of continental run-off compared on average? The “run-off anomaly,” if you will?
Just thinking of the possible plus sign(s) which might run counter to the minus sign you got going with the ITCZ. Thanks for your work!

I found an atmospheric heat/power flux balance diagram among Bing images that is labeled “Fig 10 Trenberth et. al. 2011.” Some of you might recognize the paper. What is interesting is that there are eight values and an average displayed for each of the major state points. From what I can tell there are eight different studies/data bases/calcs and in some cases with quite different values. What happened to consensus? A couple of the variation ranges/uncertainties are an order of magnitude greater than anthropogenic CO2’s 2 W/m^2 RF. And there is the 333 W/m^2 perpetual (GHG?) power flux loop between earth’s surface and sky, i.e. lower troposphere.
A summary table:
………………………..ave W/m^2…..+/- %…+/- W/m^2
ToA net…………………342.1……….1.5……..…..5.13
OLR…………………….243.9………..9.0……..…21.95
Albedo, %…………………29.8……..…..3.5……..…..1.04
Surface Radiation……..398.0……….2.5…….……9.95
Back Radiation……..….338.3……….8.5…………28.76
Evapo transpiration…….85.1…….….9.0……….…7.66
Reflected Surface………27.4…………5.7…………1.56
Reflected Solar………..101.4…….….11.5….…….11.66
Latent Heat…….……….88.1………….8.0…..….…7.05
Per IPCC AR5 the cumulative CO2 RF between 1750 and 2011 is 2 W/m^2. OLR uncertainty is +/- 22 !!!!!!! Reflected solar +/- 12!!! Even RCP 8.5 gets lost in uncertainties this large. How can anybody claim significant confidence in the present or future global temperatures with such huge uncertainties?

Thanks, Willis, for a very good article.
Yes, I can see thunderstorms moving heat up to be radiated out, and how this conforms a feed-back control of local weather in the tropical and sub-tropical regions.
Your “scatterplot of sea surface temperature versus thunderstorm evaporative cooling” (Figure 2) is very convincing evidence.
Happy New Year!

glen martin

Willis, if the thunderstorms are shifting heat upwards:
“For thunderstorms, the working fluid is water. When it evaporates at the surface, it cools the local area, and the heat is moved from the surface to the clouds and on upwards.”
Shouldn’t this show up in the satellite data as warming in the upper troposphere like the global warming fingerprint that hasn’t been found?

Craig Loehle

This I believe is the big flaw in the climate models which use a constant lapse rate to view water vapor and ignore heat transfer by thunderstorms. The model grid cells are much too large for thunderstorms anyway. If thunderstorms were not dissipating heat, they would not exist. They transfer massive amounts of heat to the upper atmosphere where it is more easily lost to space. It is like boiling a pot of water. As long as bubbles can form and rise, the water stays at the boiling point. Only in a pressure cooker can the water get hotter than this.
I think this is also why the ice ages were very dry–not much ocean warm enough to create convective storms.

CM

Yes. The models consider convection in some crude fashion but I don’t believe they consider the verticle movement of latent heat in water vapor. I raised this in my post but Willis didn’t give a clear response. I’m hoping he will clarify.
Latent heat movement is many times higher than sensible heat movement in water vapor. By the way, it’s not just true of thunderstorms. It applies to the entire hydrological cycle.
In my post I made the additional point that if CO2 has an insulating effect then it should start to deter the return of infrared back to the surface as convection carries the water vapor above the CO2 (and other greenhouse gases). Insulation works in both directions, after all. A blanket will keep your beer cold just as well as it keeps your body warm. More insulation, less heat coming in, colder beer.

Toneb

“Yes. The models consider convection in some crude fashion but I don’t believe they consider the verticle movement of latent heat in water vapor. I raised this in my post but Willis didn’t give a clear response. I’m hoping he will clarify.”
They consider LH release via convective uplift (and also by frontal/baroclinic/orographic uplift).
LH is far greater that sensible heat transport by clouds – even small Cumulus cloud has WV condensing and warming the Trop at lower levels.
And BTW: Unless and until we can get a massive supercomputer to model each individual cloud – then all we can do IS to parametarize the process. Even in NWP (weather models) it cannot be done explicitly.
“Some of the datasets in Table 3 are estimated; for instance latent-heat fluxes and the other components of the surface energy balance are estimated, based on the extent of empirical formulas
and energy-conservation principles.”
From: http://www.ecmwf.int/sites/default/files/Land_surf.pdf

In the HVAC industry a common term for cooling is the ton. It’s the amount of energy stored in a short ton, 2,000 lb of ice, 12,000 Btu or 3,517 Wh. That’s the energy needed to freeze a ton of water into ice or the energy released from melting that ton of ice and cooling the air circulating in the building.
Antarctica covers 14 E6 km^2 (14 E12 m^2) more or less. Snow and ice a meter deep would be 14 E12 m^3. A m^3 holds a tonne of water (slightly more ice), 2,204 lb, and would represent 13,224 Btu.
Precipitate a meter deep by square meter (i.e. cubic meter) of snow/ice over 24 hours, 13,224/24 h = 551.3 Btu/h or 161.6 W/m^2. That cubic meter of snow/ice precipitated over Antarctica would remove 5.43 E16 W from the atmosphere. Wow! Good thing it doesn’t snow much in Antarctica.
In 24 hours ToA of 340 W/m^2 delivers 17.4E16 W.
So it would take almost undetectable amounts of snow/ice at the ice caps and sheets to suck up mankind’s pitiful 2 W/m^2 of CO2 RF.
Subject to peer R&C.

CM

It’s time to acknowledge that the atmosphere is a three-phase system.
Willis, along with some of the commentators, has opened the door on something that goes way beyond thunderstorms. Where this must ultimately lead is the realization that all current models are 100% useless – because they don’t properly consider the transport of latent heat as water transitions through gas, liquiid and solid phases.
A thunderstorm is the biggest example of latent heat transport but every cloud is doing the same thing to some degree. You have to look at the entire hydrological cycle. Every bit of evaporation at the surface moves up in the atmosphere and eventually returns to the surface. It must – otherwise the atmosphere would load up with water.
Latent heat is captured at the point of melting/evaporation/sublimation and released at the point of freezing/condensation/desublimation. Most of it is captured at the surface and released somewhere in a cloud, but that’s not the only way.
There is also a massive amount of capture happening up in the atmosphere. Virga (raindrops that evaporate before they hit the ground) are just one example. All clouds are really continuous heat pumps that are capturing latent heat below and releasing it above. You can see this if you watch fast-motion video of cumulus clouds. The roiling of the cloud is caused by droplets falling from the top and re-evaporating somewhere down below.
Furthermore, a lot of evaporation & condensation is happening invisibly at the microscopic level. Just because you don’t see a cloud doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. When you look up and see sky that isn’t cloud but isn’t as blue as it should be, or when you see haze, you’re getting a peek at this phenomenon.
So, the entire atmosphere is a continuous, dynamic phase-transition process. That’s important because latent heat released up in the atmosphere will presumably escape to space more readily – and because latent heat is a significant portion of the heat in the atmosphere.
Good luck modeling that. Heck, good luck even measuring that.
Now here’s the real mind blower: Once you acknowledge a three-phase system you have to start distinguishing between temperature and enthalpy. Delta T does not equal delta H so you can’t just stick a thermometer out the window any more. Poof (that’s the sound of the entire climate paradigm going up in smoke).
I’m glad I’m not a climatologist. You’ve got your work cut out for you. I’m out of here.

“Delta T does not equal delta H”
For liquid water it’s close enough, beyond that, good luck! e.g. 50/50 glycol & vapor, et.al.

old construction worker.

Thanks Willis Good job
“At night the evaporation is small, some tens of watts per square metre. During the day, on the other hand, evaporation is quite large, hundreds of watts per square metre, because the strong tropical sunshine evaporates the water directly, plus the thunderstorms are largely a daytime phenomenon.”
To really nail down evaporation, one needs to keep record of wind speeds.

old construction worker, replying to Willis E

“At night the evaporation is small, some tens of watts per square metre. During the day, on the other hand, evaporation is quite large, hundreds of watts per square metre, because the strong tropical sunshine evaporates the water directly, plus the thunderstorms are largely a daytime phenomenon.”
To really nail down evaporation, one needs to keep record of wind speeds.

Well, sort of. Even if yoiu assume the water temperature and air temperature are in equilibrium with each other – which ABSOLUTELY is NOT the case in real life, the evaporation heat losses from open, wind-swept water are only one of four “other losses” goin on simultaneously:
LW radiation down to the water (a heat energy gain)
LW radiation up from the water (to – or through! – the near surface atmosphere & relative humidity, into the high altitude air mass and then into space’s darkness)
SR radiation down into the water (from the sun, proportional to day-of-year, time-of-day (solar elevation angle), wind speed, wave height, and air cloudiness, and air clarity)
Evaporation (a heat energy loss, and a very minor mass loss as well.)
Convection (a heat energy gain or loss, depending on surface air temperature)
Conduction (replacement of heat energy into the depths, if no ice is present.)
If you know, or assign, surface water temperature and near-surface (2 meter) air temperature, then the last three become
Energy in (+LW in + SW in) = Energy LW Out + Energy Evap + Energy Convection + Energy Conduction
Three of the four Energy “losses” are proportional directly to DeltaT, or ( T Water – T Air)
Two (long wave radiation in and out) are proportional to Twater^4, Tair^4, and the relative humidity near the ground and Tair (altitude) and a few other factors (such as air clarity and cloud cover reflections.)
So you have to solve the four equations simultaneously to get an approximation for the approximation of a single hour’s equilibrium losses and gains.
In the absence of ice covering the surface, you have to keep track of (or estimate) each hour’s surface air temperature, each hour’s surface air wet bulb temperature, (and from that) each hour’s relative humidity, each hour’s actual air pressure, each hour’s wind speed, each hour’s surface water temperature, and some approximation of each hour’s deeper water temperature. That let’s you begin calculating approximate heat transfer coefficient for the other heat losses ….
It’s a “fun” problem. Not. Given data for one place at one hour, I’d like to run these “other heat losses” for even one day at some particular latitude and day-of-year.
the total “other losses” of each square