Wind: An Important Forgotten or Ignored Weather Variable

Guest opinion; Dr. Tim Ball

“Every wind has its weather.” English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon (1561 –1621)

What happens if the global average wind speed changes by one kilometer per hour? A great deal, including the rate of evaporation from the surface, a major mechanism of energy transfers in the atmosphere. The wind is not part of the official discussion about climate change because it is not part of the greenhouse effect (GE) mechanism. It is the major reason why GE is a false analogy. Wind is a major variable so important in physical mechanisms of the atmosphere. It is also very important in people’s interaction with the atmosphere. But consider what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 Physical Science Basis Report says,

AR4 concluded that mid-latitude westerly winds have generally increased in both hemispheres. Because of shortcomings in the observations, SREX stated that confidence in surface wind trends is low. Further studies assessed here confirm this assessment. (My bold)

Lack of adequate temperature and pressure measurements mean the computer models cannot reproduce accurately these mechanisms.

Wind (advection) is created by temperature differences at the surface. This creates pressure differences relatively determined as High and Low. Nature tries to offset the imbalance by moving air from the High to the Low. The strength of the wind is determined by the difference in pressure and the distance between the centres of High and Low known as the Pressure Gradient Force (PGF).

Transport of heat is an extremely important function of the wind, which it does when warm air moves into a cold region. It also does it by the least known and understood, but most important, latent heat.

Evaporation is the process of molecules of water reaching escape velocity and breaking free from the surface of the water into the air. This can increase in three ways, increasing of water temperature, increasing in air temperature or, increasing wind speed. The most important of the three is an increase in wind speed.

The energy used to increase the escape velocity of a water molecule is not lost; rather it is within the molecule as latent heat. The molecule changes from liquid to gas in the escape. When condensation occurs the water as gas goes back to liquid and the latent heat is released to warm the atmosphere. This is why air temperature increases when rain or snow occurs.

Moisture is also put into the air through plants in a process called transpiration. This also varies with heat and wind speed. The volumes of moisture are prodigious The United States Geological Survey say,An acre of corn gives off about 3,000-4,000 gallons (11,400-15,100 liters) of water each day, and a large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) per year.” No wonder there is a considerable difference between cleared and forested slopes at the Coweta Experiment Station (Figure 1.)


Figure 1. Comparison of evaporation and run off from

cleared and forested slopes.

The sensationalist media focus on tornadoes and hurricanes, but strong winds constantly and consistently do far more damage. People who lived through the thirties dust bowl talk about the constant winds desiccating everything. Southern Canada saw similar pattern across the Prairies. Figure 2 shows a picture taken in Regina, Saskatchewan in April 1933. Despite this, there are few studies of the wind and its role in aggravating the situation. For example, soil erosion is a natural process, but exacerbated by increased winds.


Figure 2

Most people know about meteorology, but don’t realize it is a subset of climatology, that it only studies physics of the atmosphere. Aristotle wrote a book De Meteorologica that relates to atmospheric processes. He also studied climatology and produced a global climate classification system. The word climate comes from klima, the Greek word for inclination (The spell-checker suggested karma). They mean the angle of incidence, the angle at which the sun’s rays strike the surface. From this Aristotle identified three climate zones (Figure 3).


Figure 3

The Greeks also understood that each region had different wind patterns and seasonal movement of the zones meant changing winds that marked the change of seasons. The wind was so important that in the first century BC Andronicus built the Tower of the Winds in Athens. Each of the eight sides depicts male deities who characterize wind and weather from that direction. The only name familiar to people today is Boreas god of the north wind. We retain two important ideas. The first is that we define winds by the directions from which they come – a north wind comes from the north. For many, especially people whose livelihood like farmers are weather dependent, still use wind direction as a prognosticator of weather conditions. The idea persists because it is observable and a useful method of predicting local conditions. These empirical observations and forecasts were recorded by Theophrastus (371-287 BC), a student of Aristotle’s, in a book Meteorological Phenomena, more commonly known as the Book of Signs.

Wind direction was easily determined, but speed was always much more difficult. Early attempts used a flat board on a spring with a pointer attached set against a scale. Wind pushed the board, and the pointer indicated the force. The major change came with the wind cup or anemometer in 1846, although some earlier instruments existed from about 1450 in the pre-scientific era. It provides an accurate measure, but recording the information for analysis was more difficult. Unlike most weather variables, continuous data is critical because wind speed is extremely variable but the effect is cumulative. Any average is inadequate, except for determining global wind patterns (Figure 4).


Figure 4

George Hadley (1685-1768), lawyer and amateur meteorologist made a major contribution to climatology through an interest in the Trade Winds. He used ships weather logs to produce a theory about a major portion of atmospheric circulation. The Hadley Cell was the only portion of atmospheric circulation we understood in concept for 250 years. Ironically, and sadly, its major role in global weather and climate is still inadequately covered in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) computer models.

There are also distinctive regional winds that often define a cultural region. For example, hot, dry winds blowing from desert regions such as the Santa Ana winds in California, the Sirocco or Harmattan winds from the Sahara, or the Mistral in southern France. They are harbingers of stressing conditions. In Alberta, the Chinook are warm winds blowing down off the Rockies. The name means “snow eater” which reflects higher temperatures but also stronger winds. That great environmental expert Leonardo DiCaprio was in Calgary for a chinook event and displayed his ignorance by saying it was evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

Ironically, the Agricultural Revolution took people away from the weather into the confines of urban areas. When I lived in Winnipeg, I did a regular program each month on the weather. Every autumn it included warnings about travelling outside city limits. Every year people considered conditions reasonable but were suddenly caught in blowing and drifting snow. The worst was west of the city on the open Prairie. For better control, they installed gates so they could close the highway (Figure 5).


Figure 5

Most people are more removed from agriculture than ever. Those still involved recognize the impact. A book “Weather forecasting: The Country Way” by farmer/author Robin Page says in the preface,

Yet it is strange to record that as the weather forecasting service has grown in size and expense, so its predictions seem to have become more inaccurate.”

Some of the wind observations still used in the Northern Hemisphere middle latitudes include;

Easterly winds bring rain. Or; When you can see the backs of the leaves, it will rain.


A west wind is a favourable wind.


A veering wind will clear the sky; a backing wind says storms are nigh.


Veering means the wind direction is shifting clockwise, so a wind that changes from west to northwest to north is veering. This is associated with high pressure, which brings clear skies. If the wind is backing it is turning counterclockwise then there is a low pressure bringing clouds and probably precipitation. These comments explain Buys-Ballots law that says in the Northern Hemisphere

With your back to the wind, the low pressure is on your left.


Wind effects are real-time experiences for comfort and survival of plants and animals. Air temperatures are measured in still air, so they don’t express how plants or humans are impacted. A wind chill index tells us the rate at which a body is losing heat, which is useful for avoiding severe conditions. Wind also creates large scale regional precipitation effects. For example, west or northwest winds across the open water of the Great Lakes can bring lake-effect rain or snow to large areas of the Northeast.

A significant climate change was captured in a long-term weather record. Wind was the most consistent entry in the Daily Journals of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Officers were all trained as Mariners maintained the journals. They used a standard logging technique developed by Dr. James Jurin in 1722 and recorded the wind to 32 points of the compass. At no time in the record did they measure wind speed, rather, they used a subjective scale similar to that developed by Admiral Beaufort.

Figure 6 shows plots of the percentage frequency of south winds at York Factory located on the southwest shore of Hudson Bay (Figure 5).


Figure 5

The plot compares percentage of wind directions for two decades over 100 years apart. In the early decade from 1721 to 1731, which is well within the Little Ice Age (LIA), south winds blow less than 7 percent of the time. In the decade from 1841 to 1851, which is outside of the LIA, south winds occur over 12 percent of the time with a peak in 1842 of 27 percent.


Figure 6: Percentage of south winds at York Factory

Source; Ball (1986), Climate Change, Vol. 8 pp. 121-134.

This indicates York Factory was within the zone of the polar easterlies (Figure 4) during the Little Ice Age. Then, as conditions warmed naturally, the Polar Front moved north, and York was in the zone of the Westerlies. The same change did not occur at Churchill approximately 190 km further north (Figure 5).

There are so many variables ignored, underreported or simply not understood in climate science and especially in the computer models that purport to simulate global climate. This destroys any pretense we know or understand weather and climate. James Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia hypothesis, said,

“It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think that we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.”

The degree to which the IPCC and their supporters have fooled the world is amazing. As Jean-Francois Revel said:

“How is it possible for a theory, which is false in its component parts, to be true as a whole.”

With ‘official’ climate science many parts of the whole are simply omitted. Revel explained the mentality of the AGW supporters when he wrote,

“A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence.”

His book, “The Flight from Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information” tells it all.


143 thoughts on “Wind: An Important Forgotten or Ignored Weather Variable

  1. 70% of the Earths Surface is covered by water and because of its distribution the oceans absorb close to 80% of the total energy in the Earths energy budget.

    The oceans primary means of transferring heat to the atmosphere is via evaporation with net radiation from the surface accounting for a very tiny amount.

    Latent heat, not radiation is the primary way the atmosphere is warmed.

    • We live on a water world. Understanding the oceans, their interaction with the atmosphere and the water cycle is the key to understanding our climate.

      • I once watched a talk by Andy Thomas, the first Australian astronaut. He showed some pictures from the sky, with some ocean patterns that no one at the time could explain at the time. And for which little has improved so far. He then added “If we don’t understand the ocean, we don’t understand the climate”. And, to the surprise of many, he also said: “All models based on this are wrong”. Latter, someone in the audience asked him: “Even the climate change models?” And he didn’t blink: “All models”.

    • “Latent heat, not radiation is the primary way the atmosphere is warmed.”

      Following the data of the Earth’s Radiation Balance of Kiehl and Trenberth
      ( there are four means of warming the atmosphere:
      1. by LW radiation (radiation surface minus ‘radiation atmospheric window + back radiation’) = 390 – (40+324) = 26 W/m2
      2. by evapotranspiration 78 W/m2
      3. by thermals 24 W/m2
      4. by direct SW heating by the Sun: 67 W/m2

      In total 195 W/m2. Of which LW radiation is 26/1,95 = 13,3%. The other three, all influenced by ‘weather’ warm the atmosphere by 86,7%.

      A change in reflective capacities of the Earth influences the temperature of the atmosphere as well.

      We need to know and understand at least all ‘weather’ aspects – inclusive wind – to be able to predict. A good idea of Dr. Tim Ball to ask attention for this subject.

      What do we know about wind?

    • The effect of latent heat is immense, I learned that in heat transfer class in engineering school. Which is why the attention paid to pure temperatures is totally misplaced.

      • oeman50 September 11, 2016 at 8:35 am

        Too true! Enthalpy expresses total heat content of a parcel of air (i.e. latent plus sensible heat). A summer day in Phoenix can be 110°F with 10% relative humidity. On the same day, Orlando it could be 85°F with 40% relative humidity. The total heat content in both cases is approximately the same but the temperatures differ by 25°F!

        Air temperature alone tells us nothing about total heat content so using it as an indication of an enhanced greenhouse effect—due to human CO2 emissions—is meaningless. Doing so requires the assumption that when the average temperature of the globe has a given value there in one, and only one, coincident value for average moisture content of the atmosphere.

        Given that the troposphere is highly turbulent, and weather is extremely variable, this is a very improbable assumption.

        AGW due to CO2 may be real but historical temperature trends are not evidence of its existence.

  2. Yet another reason that the term “climate change” is utter nonsense.
    Climate is a REGIONAL parameter that is determined by many factors including the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years.
    Another way to determine the climate of a REGION is the dominant plant species.
    Climate is NOT a proxy for temperature, as is generally insinuated.
    Therefore the “Earth’s climate” is as bogus and impossible to determine mathematically and thermodynamically as is the “mean global temperature”.
    To paraphrase the Revel quotes within, ONE CANNOT DETERMINE SENSE FROM SHEER NONSENSE.


  3. Wow I didn’t know that wind had such great influence in our lives. It is definitely fascinating to see how something that we usually take for granted can be so disasterous. Your doing an excellent job with your blog. I am glad to see that someone is actually making people aware of climate change.

  4. Most farmers, and housewives who still dry their washing on the line, are probably more aware of the important role of wind than many educated climate scientists. Getting the washing dry on a windy night or finding a boggy patch crusted over after a windy night provides visible proof of the big role wind plays. The fact that wind is not accorded much importance by the warmist scientists plays a role in my scepticism

  5. Thank you Dr Ball, The statement by Mr Revel :

    “A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence.”

    is an absolutely immensely valuable, accurate observation, and to me you see it happen in large crowds everywhere, such as sports stadiums, parades, political and protest marches. ( even now after a democratic vote regarding Brexit in Britain the EU supporters are being mislead by the propaganda from the EU bureaucrats and politicians.

    And as an example I use the comments I have heard from British visitors the past few days.

    They had never heard of the deaths brought on by the regulations preventing people from using coal to heat their homes, the shutting down of coal fired electrical plants and them being converted to burning wood chips imported by ( diesel burning ships) from the USA. Let alone the lack of follow up regarding the rape culture re: Rotherham.

    The couple was flabbergasted and after showing them a few different news outlets other than BBC et al they were frankly embarrassed. I have had similar reactions from family in other parts of the EU and none of them are what I would call (As Clinton puts it) “Deplorable! In fact many of them are Uni educated but that may be the problem to begin with.

    ( and apologies for the rant but it is despicable what the MSM has “accomplished” in the past 20 years. Their destruction of the truth and their misleading of the general public is the only thing that is truly DEPLORABLE !

    • The important word there is ‘prestige’. The Brexit is another classic example. Project Fear expected that their scare stories would be believed because they came from sources with ‘prestige’. The Prime Minister, Chancellor, supposedly independent governer of the Bank of England, OECD, IMF, big international banks – how could they all be wrong. Well the first two have gone, the third should be following them, the others have had to issue reports noting that the UK economy is doing well, better than the EU, and not in meltdown. So much for ‘prestige’ eh?

  6. Farmers and agronomists alike know that deforestation changes both wind and rainfall patterns. The flow on naturally affects evaporation and soil and the greenhouse gas lobby hides these two realities. Ongoing denuding of crucial Amazonian forests for palm oil production, in particular, means that climate science conclusions simply cannot be drawn in the ways that they are.

  7. Wind speeds can change in geographic regions. There is information that wind speeds dropped a couple of years ago in the western U.S. and affected wind turbine production and thus earnings from the affected turbines.

  8. As as resident of Saskatchewan, the province immediately West of Manitoba ( where Dr. Ball formerly lived and worked), I can confirm some of his statements. Winter blizzards here bring much greater snowfall when they “back in” on Easterly winds. And, as an interesting aspect of evaporative effects, I remember my mother hanging out washing at -20. I never understood how it could be dry after 3 or 4 hrs. until many years later when I learned about relative and absolute humidity. I know many if not most people have no idea of the fantastic amount of moisture and latent heat that is transported around the globe and to altitude, where condensation releases that heat.

  9. Tim Ball is correct. The dominant cooling process for the Earth’s oceans is wind driven evaporation. This is discussed in detail by Lisan Yu and coworkers from Woods Hole.

    The net LWIR cooling emission from the ocean surface is nominally 50 W per sq. m. The rest of the cooling must come from wind driven evaporation. The oceans must heat up until there is sufficient water vapor pressure at the surface to remove the absorbed solar heat by wind driven evaporation. The idea that the ocean surface temperature is somehow controlled by the LWIR flux is complete and utter nonsense.

    Within the equatorial Pacific warm pool, an approximate energy balance is reached between tropical solar heating and ocean surface cooling at an average wind speed of 5 m per sec. This is discussed by Clark [2013]. A change of 1 m per sec in wind speed produces a change in the evaporative cooling flux of approximately 40 W per sq. m. Over the last 200 years or so, the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration of 120 ppm has resulted in an increase in the downward LWIR flux at the surface of approximately 2 W per sq. m. In the warm pool, this corresponds to a change in wind speed 20 cm per sec. The penetration depth of the LWIR flux into the ocean surface is less than 100 micron – the width of a human hair. Any warming effect from the increase in CO2 flux is completely obliterated by the normal variation in the wind speed. The cooler water produced by evaporation at the surface sinks through the layer cooled by the LWIR emission and is replace by warmer water from the bulk ocean below.

    In order to understand the global warming fraud it is necessary to go back and examine the original paper by Manabe and Wetherald that was published in 1967. Their ‘climate model’ was nothing more than a mathematical platform for the development of radiative transfer algorithms. They created global warming as a mathematical artifact of the assumptions used their model. These assumptions included an exact flux balance between an ‘average absorbed solar flux’ and the emitted LWIR flux at the top of the atmosphere. Their Earth’s surface was a blackbody surface with zero heat capacity. Water vapor amplification of the surface heating had to occur because of the fixed relative humidity profile used in their model. This type of model was used to create the global warming discussed in the Charney Report in 1979. This report established the benchmark for global warming fraud that had to be met by later models. The blackbody surface was subsequently replaced by a fake ‘ocean’ with heat capacity and thermal diffusion. This was described by Hansen et al in 1981. All of this is nothing more than computational climate fiction. Climate modeling had departed from physical reality by 1967.


    Charney, J. G. et al, Carbon dioxide and climate: A scientific assessment report of an ad hoc study group on carbon dioxide and climate, Woods Hole, MA July 23-27 (1979)
    Clark, R., 2013a, Energy and Environment 24(3, 4) 319-340 (2013) ‘A dynamic coupled thermal reservoir approach to atmospheric energy transfer Part I: Concepts’
    Clark, R., 2013b, Energy and Environment 24(3, 4) 341-359 (2013) ‘A dynamic coupled thermal reservoir approach to atmospheric energy transfer Part II: Applications’
    Hansen, J.; D. Johnson, A. Lacis, S. Lebedeff, P. Lee, D. Rind and G. Russell Science 213 957-956 (1981), ‘Climate impact of increasing carbon dioxide’
    Manabe, S. and R. T. Wetherald, J. Atmos. Sci., 24 241-249 (1967), ‘Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity’
    Yu, L. (2012),
    Yu, L., J. Climate, 20(21) 5376-5390 (2007), ‘Global variations in oceanic evaporation (1958-2005): The role of the changing wind speed’
    Yu, L., Jin, X. and Weller R. A., OAFlux Project Technical Report (OA-2008-01) Jan 2008, ‘Multidecade Global Flux Datasets from the Objectively Analyzed Air-sea Fluxes (OAFlux) Project: Latent and Sensible Heat Fluxes, Ocean Evaporation, and Related Surface Meteorological Variables’ (Available at: )

    • Which “Woods Hole” do you mean? There are two. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the oldest and best known, founded in 1930; the ultra-warmist Woods Hole Research Center (founded in 1985), apparently hopes to ride on the reputation of the former.

  10. “Ironically, the Agricultural Revolution took people away from the weather into the confines of urban areas”. That is why people who live in cities are in favour of wind power. They have no idea how variable wind is (in strength, gustiness and direction), nor the fact that the power is proportional to the cube of the wind speed.

  11. Wind from the south equals global warming, (in the Northern hemisphere). Wind from the north equals global cooling. Bottom line, don’t blame my Oldsmobile for those hot summers in the 1930s. It’s the winds fault. CLEARLY, the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind……. :-).

  12. I posed the wind question to Willis a while back. Got no answer, in fact got no answer when posing this question to anyone. What tipped me off was the wind’s effect on sublimation in the Arctic.

    Nice to see it’s been taken up by one at least, one versed in the science. Well in there Dr Ball.

  13. When condensation occurs the water as gas goes back to liquid and the latent heat is released to warm the atmosphere. This is why air temperature increases when rain or snow occurs.

    It may well do at 50,000 ft, but at ground level it sure gets colder!

      • Yup and yup, …… when rain clouds blow in they block the incoming solar irradiance and the surface and near-surface temperature decreases.

        And when the initial deluge of “cool” raindrops make contact with the “warmer” near-surface air and/or said raindrops strike the warm surface, …… some of the rainwater will “evaporate” and transport that surface and near-surface heat back into the atmosphere and the temperature will decrease some more.

        Of course, the opposite effect can or will occur as a result of a “temperature inversion”, read more @

      • And here in Colorado where it is fairly dry, 10-20% RH is common, a 10-20°F drop is also common when it rains.

      • Actually, prevailing wind direction is very knowable from isolated trees. There would be an indicator of wind speed as well. Trees branches will tend to grow away from the prevailing winds, especially strong winds. Coring the tree from the windward side will also reveal different ring structure from the leeward side. The trees know which side they’re blow upon and compensate.


  14. An important article.

    “There is a considerable amount of climate information about the climatic effects of grand solar minima that essentially points to an atmospheric effect. The observed phenomenology is usually:

    – Increased precipitation in mid and high-latitudes
    – Decreased precipitation in tropical and subtropical areas
    – Weakening of tropical monsoons.
    Increase in mid and high-latitude wind strength
    – Increase in polar circulation
    – General cooling
    – Sea surface cooling
    – Glacier advances
    – Increased iceberg activity

    These effects are consistent with an expansion of the polar cells, a southward displacement of the polar jet, an equatorial shift of the Ferrel cell and subtropical jet, and a similar displacement of the descending parts of the Hadley Cells that contract. The resulting change in wind patterns would be responsible for the alterations in precipitations and temperatures. These atmospheric changes were described by Joanna Haigh in her landmark 1996 article “The impact of solar variability on climate” where she described the changes found in a general circulation model when simulating changes in solar irradiance and stratospheric ozone. Since then Haigh’s hypothesis has received support not only from paleoclimatology, but also from meteorological data reanalysis. The hypothesis states that solar variability affects climate through a bottom up mechanism from surface changes in irradiation coupled to a top down mechanism from stratospheric UV and ozone changes, being the second one the main in terms of effect.

    There is paleoclimatological evidence that a poleward atmospheric expansion of the Hadley and Ferrel cells, and associated wind regimes, including the Southern Westerly Winds strengthening and southern displacement associated with persistently positive phases of the Southern Annular Mode (Antarctic Oscillation) has been taking place, as assessed in the Patagonia (Chile), for over 100 years (Moreno et al., 2014). The expansion of the Hadley cells, that is usually attributed to ozone depletion, has been measured since 1979 at about 1-2° in latitude. The continuation of the Hadley cells expansion is an indication that natural recovery from the LIA has not ended, since it is believed that greenhouse gases contribute little to this phenomenon (Allen et al., 2012), and it seems to have been taking place for over 100 years.

    Allen, R. J., et al. (2012) “Recent Northern Hemisphere tropical expansion primarily driven by black carbon and tropospheric ozone.” Nature 485, 7398, 350-354.

    Haigh, J. D. (1996) “The impact of solar variability on climate.” Science 272, 5264, 981-984.

    Moreno, P. I., et al. (2014) “Southern Annular Mode-like changes in southwestern Patagonia at centennial timescales over the last three millennia.” Nature communications 5, 4375.”

    This is an extract from my upcoming article on solar variability and climate in the “Climate, Etc” blog.

    Science already has partial answers to all these questions, Tim. The problem is that those answers are not to the liking of the prevalent hypothesis. The LIA was a solar induced complete rearrangement of the planetary atmosphere with the wind playing a primordial role. As a lot of evidence, including the Hudson Bay Company’s York station data from the 18th and 19th centuries presented by you, support, the atmosphere has been recovering from the LIA for the past 350 years and is still doing it.

    Despite mounting evidence none of this is being taken into consideration by the prevalent hypothesis and its models, and the underestimation of the solar/atmospheric forcing, with its very long (several centuries) effect, leads inevitably to the overestimation of the anthropogenic effect.

    • In other words, sunspot activity levels are very connected to planetary wind levels. And…this means our local star, the sun, is the thing that controls Ice Ages and Interglacials and a host of other things.

      • Actually the glacial/interglacial cycle is due to the effect of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Venus on the orbit of the Earth. Nobody knows what causes Ice Ages, but an interesting theory is that they are caused by the crossing of the spiral arms of the Galaxy by the Solar System.

  15. This is why air temperature increases when rain or snow occurs.

    This statement needs clarification. When rain and snow falls the atmosphere below cloud base COOLS due to evaporative cooling. Within the cloud formation layer air temps are warmer due to latent heat release .

    • As far as I can see they haven’t even really proved there is an increase in turbulence world wide let alone that it has a thing to do with global temperatures. Just saying that the incidence of turbulence for aircraft flying and increasing relatively proves little. How many more or less on average are passing over high mountain areas? It’s not a matter of just how many but where, both geographically and vertically in the air column, this turbulence is being noticed.

  16. wierd moment
    earlier today some uk science show a kid asked
    if the planets rotation is slowing and winds affected BY rotation
    then is/are wind speeds slowing?

    and then someone called me..and I missed the reply. damn

  17. Around 7 years ago, I read an article in an engineering magazine that mentioned wind turbines causing smog build up down wind because they reduce wind speed. I believe this is because they take kinetic energy out of the wind although the article didn’t say.

    Is it possible that wind turbines could alter the climate by reducing wind speeds? How large an area would wind turbines have to cover before this became a problem?

    • Me thinks big tall trees with medium to wide canopies (leafy limbs) will have more effect on wind speed than does wind turbines.

      • Are trees often cut down to make room for wind mills, or are they more likely to be built in areas in which trees are already sparse?

      • Trees are not a consideration when selecting a site(s) for placement of wind mills or wind turbines. Iffen there are trees on the site selected for said turbine(s) then they will be clear-cut.

      • yep. i have even asked technical people provided by some of the wind companies at national consultation events here in scotland what effects are known as a result of large scale energy removal from the wind. never had an answer yet.

      • Makes one wonder how much energy is pulled out of the winds by those massive conifer (pine) forests that are situate across the northern latitudes of North America, Europe and Russia?

        But I decided it wasn’t important …… so I quit wondering about it.

      • So askith pf me: MarkW

        Are those conifer forests growing in size? Otherwise, why your response?

        Mark, it was a mildly satirical …. “why-don’tja-think-about-it” …. response to Patrick PEAKE’s question of …….

        So what happens when all those wind turbines pull lots of energy out of the wind?

        ……. in hopes of enticing those reading it to make a “wind energy” depleting comparison between several thousands of wind turbines ……. and tens-of-millions of acres of conifer forests.

        Or one could compare the “wind-energy-depleting” magnitude of all the newly installed wind turbines ……. to the “wind-energy-increasing” magnitude resulting from the “clear cutting” of America’s virgin forests.

        Me thinks the latter is by far, the greatest magnitude.

    • @Patrick Peake: Exactly what I was thinking here. Don’t wind turbines interfere with Nature’s attempt to equalize air pressure and redistribute heat? (I’m not a scientist, so forgive me if my understanding of this is incorrect). What will be the consequences of that interference with pressure equalization and heat distibution if we start harvesting wind energy on a large scale as an alternative to our fossil fuel power plants?

      It seems to me that this makes wind energy harvesting on a large scale is contrary to the Green philosophy of humanity not interfering with Nature, is it not? It seems to me that this point deserves more time and attention when arguing with wind energy supporters and other Greenies about the subject.

    • Patrick,
      I have had the same question for years.
      Obviously the Turbines extract kinetic energy from the earth’s atmosphere, turn it into electricity which heats the planet when used. Similarly solar panels capture more solar energy than normal and likewise turn it into heat which must be radiated out to space or will heat the planet. To be fair, burning fossil fuels also adds heat to the earth which also must be radiated out to space.
      When this question is asked, the answer is always the incremental amount of energy is small relative to the incremental energy trapped by increased CO2.
      Someone else needs to quantify the impact.
      Of course taking the energy out of wind also has other impacts, like affecting evaporation due to lower wind velocities which also needs explanation. Clearly it is not as simple as “they” would want us to believe. convection impact is so small.
      I am skeptic about the claimed small effect of convection in their models that indicate radiation is so dominate. Others may be able to explain better than I… .

      • Any heat added by man’s burning anything, or use of any other energy source is so small compared to the planet’s daily dose of sunshine, that it is completely insignificant.

      • Alan,
        It is not the total energy from the sun that needs to be compared with the relative energy from capturing wind energy, or solar or burning fossil fuels, but rather the actual energy trapped with increasing levels of CO 2 (currently at 0,04%) that needs to be compared since the claim is that CO 2 will cause significant warming even though it is a very small fraction of the gas in the atmosphere..
        I would appreciate any numbers if you have them.

      • but rather the actual energy trapped with increasing levels of CO 2 (currently at 0,04%)

        Catcracking – the only known entity in the universe that is capable of “trapping” thermal (heat) energy is a Black Hole which is located at the center of a galaxy.

  18. I thought for a moment there you were going to talk about dust. A major factor in climate which is much neglected…and you kept up that tradition nicely!

  19. I have never understood why a big wind, the tornado, stays ‘coherent’ if I can abuse that term. Why does that energy not dissipate quickly? I have seen little whirlpools made by oars that seem to persist strangely long. But I rationalize that small cell of swirling water is held together by polarity or something or is it a conservation of angular momentum phenomenon? I can imagine two massive wind fronts colliding and causing a rotation and compression of air in the interface which eventually is pulled to the ground by gravity but why does it stay together so long? Does the air surrounding it hold it together by electrostatic repulsion or something?

    • The quick answer is that eddies in water or air are held together by pressure differences – the low pressure in the center pulls the stuff toward the center, but since the stuff is moving at right angles, the sped doesn’t change, but the direction does. Hence, a circle.

  20. For reasons, allow me to say that I concur with Anthony and just about everyone else on the site that good stewardship of the Earth is important to me.

    Now, a thought or two: How vexing it is for temperature to have been allowed to play the role of energy in the important Broadway play of “Man’s Effect on Climate.”

    For temperature, patently, is a weak and untalented player, and allows the entire production to fail around him, night after night, week after week, month after month, etc. Astounding that the marquee remains illuminated and the crowds continue to snake around the theater for what, seriously, is one of the poorest performances ever given.

    And, of course, it’s not temperature’s fault. He knows not what he does.

    I can no longer afford to discuss climate on a regular basis, neither here, nor in my daily life as a teacher, writer, and parent. The price is too high where I am situated. When all employers now Google potential employees and your first Google entry lists you as a denier, it’s not good. Let’s leave it at that.

    But the fact that the people who hold power over yours truly in the realm of the Interweb and more importantly that of independent schools where otherwise I fit in nicely haven’t for the most part even the foggiest notion of what temperature has done in the past few millions years is a little hard to take.

    And the fact that they don’t know that temperature doesn’t mean what they think it means, don’t know whether wind has increased or decreased during the period of putative energy increase in the vast, layered, chaotic nonlinear system that is our climate, don’t know whether humidity has increased or decreased during the same time (past century and a half, for the sake of argument), don’t know whether river flow has increased or decreased globally during the period, don’t know whether sea ice has ever done what it has been doing in the last few decades (it has), don’t know whether cloudiness has increased or decreased, don’t know whether ocean currents have, in the aggregate, increased or decreased, don’t know whether ocean cycles have favored warming (for the most part couldn’t name a single ocean cycle if offered a million dollars), don’t know how these various factors variably influence one another is, I admit it freely, much harder to take.

    To return to the theatrical metaphor, it is akin to watching otherwise intelligent people give a 5-minute standing ovation to the awful fool that is Temperature at the end of each night’s performance of “Man’s Effect on Climate.” Meanwhile, Temp doesn’t know that he has failed because he doesn’t know that he is not the star of the show. He has been celebrated, falsely, for so long, that he thinks he is a genius.

    Who wouldn’t, in his place?

      • No one really knows. The BHO wrote an attempt to explain it, but they aren’t very committed to their monograph, see , nor am I very impressed. I like to compare things to the AMO/PDO cycles, but they don’t really apply here, especially with that century-long period with constant wind at the beginning. It’s frustrating, as you quickly run out of reasonable things to blame.

      • What is happening?

        Well obviously it hasta be the same problem as was found with a big majority of the Surface Station Temperature units.

        New infrastructure caused an increase in temperatures being measured by thermometers …….. whereas at Blue Hill Observatory there musta been new infrastructure that caused a decrease or diversion in the winds being measured by the anemometer(s).

      • Excerpted from cited article:
        The contacting anemometer (circa 1960) is calibrated so that a nearly constant 640 spins of the instrument equal one mile of wind passing the Observatory. Each time that count is reached, an electrical contact sends a signal to the indoor recorder, which makes a mark on a moving chart.

        Most electrical “contacts” are super-duper reliable ….. except when they are corroded, dirty, etc., etc.

      • Ric Werme September 11, 2016 at 10:20 pm “No one really knows.”

        WR: I looked at some annual Wunderground data for Boston for the years after 2008 and a continuing decline in wind speed in the same (high) rate was visible. My first thought: less depressions on the average at that latitude? Because the sudden and continuing change, one would expect more literature on this. I would be interested in changing pressure patterns for the North Atlantic for the different seasons. I would like to know whether a same ‘trend break’ around 1980 will be visible.

    • I’ve read that as farms in the mid-west grew, farms in the east were abandoned and allowed to become forest again.
      1980 is pretty late for this to be a direct factor, but perhaps trees that were started during that time were reaching a critical height?

  21. His book, “The Flight from Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information” tells it all.

    Here’s a link to a good review on The Christian Science Monitor.

    Many thinkers have twigged to the fact that people will select facts that back up their preconceptions. The people who can do that most effectively are the most educated. Their superior thinking skills enable them to maintain the belief that black is white in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    I used to think that education is the antidote to bull crap. That might be true somewhere but not anywhere I have been.

  22. Given that wind is a vector , I guess an “average” speed would be an rms value ?
    I would imagine that 1 km%hr would be a larger fraction of that speed than the 0.3% variation we have seen in our temperature .

    • I guess an “average” speed would be an rms value ?

      It depends on what you want to do. If you want to estimate the power from a wind turbine, I would guess that rms would make sense.

      On the other hand, for many purposes it is more practical to use wind run, which is first cousin to an arithmetic average of wind speed.

  23. “What happens if the global average wind speed changes by one kilometer per hour?”

    I’m sorry but how can anyone calculate to any level of accuracy “global average wind speed”?
    And certainly not changes by one kilometer per hour.

      • Modelling is always the answer.
        Unless you wanted to model whether I’m a smart aleck, or not.
        I wouldn’t go with “or not”.

      • Alan,
        “Modelling is always the answer.”

        Modelling is all they have. The only theoretical support they had was Bode’s analysis showing how positive feedback can amplify something small into something large, but as many posts on this site have shown, the mapping from Bode to the climate is so broken the only theoretical foundation they have is gone.

  24. thanks for the wonderful accounting of wind history. I’d never have known Aristotle needed acknowledgement in this area. good stuff.

  25. Wind speed and direction obviously affect the slant range of air movement and thus energy movement across lines of latitude, IOW the path length of energy movement from the equator toward the poles. And quite as obviously this is how energy picked up at sea in the form of clouds is distributed longitudinally over land or other seas in the form of rain.

  26. My mom remembers her father, a 1940s Missouri sharecropper, going out to check the sky and the wind every evening after supper. If he said, “You kids keep your shoes handy.” when he came back in, my mom would inwardly groan; that meant he thought a bad storm would come during the night and they would need to head for the cellar. And nine times out of ten, he would be right.

    Her father had only a 6th grade education. (Though the average 6th grader back then learned a lot more than today’s average 6th grader.) He wouldn’t have been able to explain the underlying physics of why the weather was going to turn sour. But he did have deeply-ingrained experience with the land and the local climate. From having seen hundreds of storms come and go, he unconsciously knew what signs to look for. He was an expert in the truest sense. True experts are defined not by their abstract knowledge, but by the track record of their practical expertise.

    The people that pass for experts these days have knowledge dripping out their ears, but precious little expertise.

  27. ‘This is why air temperature increases when rain or snow occurs.’

    In the tropics it doesn’t. A sudden drop in temperature is a sure sign it is about to rain heavily.

  28. OT Breaking news — Hillary Clinton “overheated” @ 9/11 memorial service. Global warming (to be) blamed.

    • It was just her allergic reaction to the presence of so many deplorable basket cases. She’ll have forgotten the whole incident by tomorrow.

    • See interview @garyfranchi reporting, on youtube someone is trying to block the link, where a retired neurologist has a working knowledge that Hilliary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease and has had same for the last ten years. The recent events are the prolonged use of a medication that is no longer working. Don’t believe the bullsh*t story that she has pneumonia that’s a cover.

  29. Wind (of course pressure also) is on average more important determining Texas coastal sea level. On the central coast the normal summer low stand this year seems absent, but have not seen the data. Happened before, more area inundated, many biological effects. Seasonal changes in sea level larger than daily or monthly astronomical. Strange intertidal. A few other places similar. Lots of wind here, being captured by windmills that show up on the Corpus Christi Radar to the North.

    Too much clutter today, but it is there, some days like sun rays.

    • “Northern Hemisphere atmospheric stilling partly attributed to an increase in surface roughness”?

      WR: Could be. From the abstract: “regions of pronounced stilling generally coincided with regions where biomass has increased over the past 30 years, supporting the role of vegetation increases in wind slowdown”. Source:

      Upper air winds seem to be a bit in the opposite: fig. 3b,c:

      After the Dust Bowl in the US 220 million trees were planted to break the winds at the surface:

      • Vast numbers of the shelterbelts throughout the Great Plains cereal- growing regions have been ripped out, beginning mostly in response to Governmenl programs of the late 70’s and 80’s which paid farmers to not plant crops, as a price support method which only paid for tillable acreage, so the trees were removed to increase acreage. Remaining shelterbelts have been under assault most recently from farmers increasing acreage to plant corn, for ethanol. Borrow ditches have even been discovered to have been leveled in areas and crops drilled out into the county roads a ways, narrowing the roads.

        Surface roughness has increased nationwide, due to the fact that there are now more trees than during the Colonial settlement and expansions. Most towns and cities could be considered to be forests in disguise, due to the number of planted trees. Adding to the increase in trees, within the un- plowed grazing regions of the plains, Red Cedars, originally started in the shelterbelts, have become widespread nuisance trees and must be actively managed/removed. Lands owned by absentee holders who spend no time or money on improvements have quickly been overwhelmed by the Cedars and to lesser extent, Locusts and Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) commonly used as shelterbelt trees. Nature would turn the prairies to forest, given the chance, but ranchers have again taken up the practice of setting prairie fires at certain time of year, which curtails the spread of trees and woody plants. Some have advanced the idea that the natural incorporation of prairie fire char into the soil over millennia helped to build the rich prairie soils, much in the manner of the terra preta soils of South America.

      • Alan Robertson said:

        Nature would turn the prairies to forest, given the chance

        Umm…nature had it’s chance before man showed up (native or otherwise) on the Great Plains & it chose not to. You imply it was the Native Americans which clear-cut the Great Plains forests & that is way they are today & nature would return them to forests. I think not.

      • JKrob September 11, 2016 at 4:43 pm
        “Umm…nature had it’s chance before man showed up (native or otherwise) on the Great Plains & it chose not to. You imply it was the Native Americans which clear-cut the Great Plains forests & that is way they are today & nature would return them to forests. I think not.”

        WR: Who looks at the vegetation bands in Russia will find them differing south to north: the prairie goes east to west as taiga does. The taiga (pine trees) you will find more to the north. A matter of temperature controlled evaporation in combination with precipitation. In the US vegetation bands differ more east – west: a matter of moisture as well. From forest to tall grass to short grass when going from the east coast westwards. But, as higher CO2 is diminishing the plant need for H2O, former prairies could turn into an equivalent of savanna’s: a mixture of grass and trees. This seems to happen.
        I wandered whether ‘bisons’ could have controlled the ‘outbreak’ of trees. Although they eat some shrub, it is not clear that in the given circumstances it would have been enough to prevent a kind of savanna type vegetation or even reforestation. The last also because the newly introduced tree species are more drought resistent as former native trees (as I think to know, but I am not 100% sure).

      • JKrob, you said:
        “You imply it was the Native Americans which clear-cut the Great Plains forests & that is way they are today & nature would return them to forests. I think not.”
        I made no such implication. The prairies were building long before man’s arrival. Fire suppressed the trees. The Indians saw how nature handled things and took up the practice of setting prairie fires.The Indians didn’t clearcut anything. Where would you get such an idea? It’s a lot of work to take down a tree with a stone axe.

        One needs only look at areas of present day prairie to see where ill- managed pastures turn to trees. My native home is in the remaining Tall Grass Prairie region of Oklahoma and there are more than a few pastures that have turned to small forests, or Savannahs in my lifetime. My Dad calls them lazy ranchers, but in many cases, the owners are absentee and usually lease the land to others, who for whatever reason, allow the trees to spread. Most ranchers do a good job of land management, but there are some who don’t and they eventually have trees all over their grazing lands. Let one Osage Orange in your pasture get big enough to fruit, and next year, you have hundreds of seedlings. Wait five years and you can’t get through the tangle and you have 1000 more starts all over the place. In fifty years, you can go home like me and see those pastures that were mismanaged 50 years ago and since- they’re grown over into forest, fence to fence, where the kids used to hunt rabbits in wind swept snow drifted Winter pasture, with an occasional tree that never fell to saws and axes, progenitors of all that are there now.

        There have always been trees in the bottom lands around creeks and such. Many of the species one finds there, such as Pecans and Hickories, send deep taproots that can only thrive where the Limestone bedrock has been pierced by erosion and plate movement, or the soils have built up enough to let the trees mature. Those rich black prairie soils can be over fifteen feet deep, where they haven’t been put to the plow.

        The forests at prairie edge are usually an indicator of poor soils; bottom land excepted. Trees in forests have a tendency to remove the nutrients in the soil and store them in the tree, while the soil’s organic content and attendant fertility is greatly diminished The differences between the poor soils of South American forests and North American forests is just a matter of degree. The deepest fertile soils of the planet are found in the prairies and grasslands. If the grasslands turn to forest, then those soils lose their organic matter and fertility and revert to their basic inorganic nature; clay, or whatever with just the thinnest layer of organic matter at top.

    • It seems to follow the AMO and Arctic warming since the mid 1990’s, which is also in concert with the altitude shift in atmospheric water vapour, with increases for the lower to mid troposphere, and decreases above that.

  30. Very Interesting article and discussion.

    From the article: ““How is it possible for a [CAGW] theory, which is false in its component parts, to be true as a whole.”

    Because the theory has an entire propaganda industry promoting the idea as being true. The Leftwing Media in the U.S. and other western nations are working hard every day to make people believe in this theory, and the Alarmists are feeding them one study after another seeming to confirm this theory.

    It is being done for control and for the big money involved.

    Even so, the thermomter is not cooperating with the theory, and has cast serious doubt over the viability of the CAGW theory. They may have gone about as far as they can go with their “Hottest Year Evah!” claims. Let’s see if next year is a “Hottest Year Evah!”.

  31. I remember back in 2009 when some boffins were dumping iron into the Pacific as yet another exercise in engineering climate. In the spring of that year El NIno obliged by doing what it occasionally does in the right conditions: it dumped millions of tonnes of iron-rich silt from the centre of Australia into the Pacific by catching it up on the strong inland westerlies which are a feature of our springs. Nino feeding Nina, as it were.

    Probably the iron-seeders went about their business without paying any heed. Maybe, after perusing the Guardian, they made a remark about erosion or a dust disaster over Eastern Australia before they went back to doing iron-seeding the wrong way…while our spring westerlies were doing it the right way.

    You can lead a climate activist to weather phenomena but you can’t make him think.

  32. Ice cores from glacial periods are full of desert sand while those from interglacial periods have almost none. What does that tell you? Cold = desertification and lots of wind. Via la warming!

  33. The main global wind change that I see is a slight decrease in wind speed over the northern hemisphere because the Arctic is warming more than other parts of the world – that is one thing the models got right. Reduced wind speed means evaporative cooling increases less (as a result of warming) than it would if wind speed stays the same.

    • Donald L. Klipstein, “The main global wind change that I see is a slight decrease in wind speed over the northern hemisphere”.
      WR: Where did you see/observe this main global wind change?

  34. Technically, wind is considered, but just in an obfuscated way. Trenberth lumps this in with ‘back radiation’ and of course, wind is energy transported by matter and not energy transported by photons which is the distinguishing feature of radiation.

    The source of the energy driving wind, an in fact all weather, is latent heat. This is obvious in the wake of a Hurricane which leaves a trail of cold water where its been and starts to dissipate once it hits land. This is also indicative of the net effect of clouds and weather is to cool. i.e. a negative feedback like effect.

    Another non radiative component of Trenberth’s ‘back radiation’ is the heat returned to the liquid water as it condenses and falls as rain. Rain is much warmer than it would be without the latent heat component. Some latent heat is also converted into the potential energy of liquid water lifted against gravity as it condenses which we tap as hydroelectric power.

    • co2isnotevil “The source of the energy driving wind, an in fact all weather, is latent heat”

      WR: More precisely the source of the energy driving wind is in the weight of air columns. This weight is partly by latent heat in the form of H2O that is lighter than N2 and O2. The other weight determining part is the average temperature of the air column. The higher the temperature, the bigger the distance between the molecules and the less molecules / weight that column of air has.

      The role of H2O is important in enforcing wind. A warmer column of air will start to rise and in doing so will attract more air at the surface. When at sea, warm moisture surface air is sucked up, lowering the weight of the air column even more – which will attract even more wind. Waves will enhance evaporation etc. etc.

      Besides that, the extra H2O will catch extra photons, both at the surface level and in the rising air column itself and in doing so will raise the temperature of both the attracted and the rising air. (So far I did not read about this and I don’t know how big it’s relative role in the process is)

      What goes up, must go down. The lowering air in the corresponding descending air columns is dry and because of this, relatively heavy. Because of this, it lowers and the parcels of air warm up just because of this lowering and get an even lower RH. The dry air doesn’t catch much photons and this air column is a window for extra (!) spaceward radiation (open window) because it misses H2O, compared to the situation before the process of convection. In doing so, the dry air column is cooling the Earth.

      Convection in itself has an effect on the distribution of H2O, our main greenhouse gas. H2O is responsible for 75% of the total greenhouse effect. As we saw, the dry air column (low H2O) means also an open window for radiation to space. We find relative low humidity not only in deserts like the Sahara, but also (very dry air) on the Poles. The air in a hurricane may contain up to 400 times the precipitable water content of the air at the South Pole:,-90.84,508/loc=-25.572,-89.743

      H2O is our main greenhouse gas and is in the same time playing its role in cooling the surface as well as the Earth. Should be in the centre of research. Like wind.

      • “H2O that is lighter than N2 and O2”

        Until it condenses into liquid/solid water which is what we see when we look at clouds since water vapor is invisible.

        “Besides that, the extra H2O will catch extra photons”

        But the H2O will be emitting photons too, so what do you mean by ‘extra’. For the LTE case, which is all we really care about relative to climate change, the energy of the photons emitted by liquid water in the atmosphere will be equal to that of the photons absorbed. Otherwise, that water is destined to either heat or cool without bound.

      • Wim,

        I also like to think of water as the refrigerant in the global heat engine that produces weather. The second law prohibits a heat engine from warming its source of heat, which in this context, is the surface.

        In other words, the net effect of the hydrological cycle (evaporation, water vapor GHG effects, clouds, and weather) must be surface cooling which precludes the possibility of net positive feedback consequential to water. Hurricanes are the existence proof of this.

      • co2isnotevil September 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm “what do you mean by ‘extra’”

        WR More precipitable water in the atmosphere is said to enhance the CO2 effect of warming. If that is true, there is also a local effect because H2O (unlike CO2) is very unevenly distributed in the air.

      • “More precipitable water in the atmosphere is said to enhance the CO2 effect of warming. If that is true”

        It should be clear that it isn’t true. First of all, the CO2 effect of warming is a function of CO2 concentration and nothing more. The presumption that higher temperatures results in more water vapor which results in more H2O GGH effects is unfounded, unwarranted and defied by the data.

        A prediction of this presumption is that we should expect to see the surface warm significantly when there is a lot of water vapor in the air. The highest local densities of atmospheric water and water vapor is a Hurricane. If water vapor has a significant warming effect, we should expect a Hurricane to leave a trail of warm surface where its been, while the data tells us the complete opposite.

        The problem is that they don’t consider the end to end hydro cycle and instead focus only on the GHG effect of water vapor which constitutes only a tiny fraction of the net effect from the hydrological cycle.

      • co2isnotevil, perhaps we agree more than you think. I also think that the water cycle is a temperature stabilizing system that corrects a large part (if not all) of any initial warming.

        My point is, that because H2O/water vapour is unevenly distributed in the atmosphere, the warming of the surrounding by radiation captured by locally available H2O must have a locally differentiated effect that stimulates the correcting water cycle. Convection is stimulated if H2O catches photons. just because H2O is very unevenly distributed.

        For convection you need warm and light air columns – those start the convection process. A lot of H2O makes the air column lighter. When (a lot of) H2O is catching photons as well, the resulting warming will make the air column even lighter – and so stimulate convection.

        When warming stimulates emission (and it does) this extra emission in combination with the catching by unevenly distributed water vapour is the cause of a stimulated convection cycle. In doing so, emission is helping to correct any warming in an atmosphere that is dominated by H2O. That is my point.

      • Win,
        I agree about the local effects, but when trying to establish the sensitivity, all we care about are long term averages and how these averages are affected by change. Local effects are irrelevant to global behavior that must adhere to first principles physics in the aggregate and for the averages of local effects across the planet to be in LTE, there can be no excess anything and any locally excess ‘absorption’ is cancelled out by locally deficient absorption somewhere else. Thermals go up, cold air is sinking somewhere else. Latent heat goes up with evaporation and returns the surface as heated liquid water and weather. There is a lot more zero sum behavior going on in the climate that is often thought, especially when we are considering the LTE response.

        You can draw an arbitrary Gaussian surface enclosing the planet’s solid surface and the long term average flux crossing this surface will, and in fact must, be zero. Otherwise, along that surface will either warm or cool without bounds until the average flux crossing it is zero. This is actually a more formal definition of LTE.

  35. If it is true that wind plays an important role (I believe it does) & a change in windspeed by 1KPH is significant, what impact would the huge windfarms planned have on a) local weather, and b) climate? They must reduce windspeed in the locality.

  36. As a proud deplorable may I add:

    1 – the kinetic energy in wind is trivial in comparison to the overall energy budget for the atmosphere. However, some of it reflects the fact that the atmosphere is only loosely coupled to the earth itself -i.e. not all of the energy is due gravity acting to balance highs and lows against solar or other heating. Very hard to work out even in theory and so far utterly impractical to measure, but real none the less.

    2 – one issue I keep wondering about involves the loss of atmospheric kinetic energy to windmills. Fourteenthe decimal place stuff; but a real and unnatural transformation none the less.

    • Paul,
      As another deplorable, I would like to compare the energy removed from wind and from solar systems preventing return to space compared to the impact of incremental CO 2 caused by fossil fuels.
      Do you have any numbers?

  37. You forgot to mention:

    Because of higher wind speeds, SUVs will burn more gasoline, and of course EVERYONE knows SUVs burning gasoline are the main cause of climate change.

    A climate change article on wind?

    What could wind have to do with global warming?

    Next thing I imagine you’ll be writing about the sun, cosmic rays and clouds!

    EVERYONE knows global warming is caused by humans — there is a 105% consensus on this!

    Expert scientists, such as Mr. Obama, Mr. DiCraprio, and the Pope himself, say so.

    Everyone knows humans cause climate change:
    (A) Who puts thermometers next to runways?

    (B) Who wild guesses data for about half the grids every month?

    (C) Who “adjusts” historical raw data to better match the confuser models?

    In my opinion, and I have 18 years of edumacation, the “adjustments” to the raw temperature data are the main cause of global warming … and the rest is just random temperature variations, from century to century — and that small amount of warming is only noticed because so many HUMANS are overweight !

    A huge number of overweight HUMANS were feeling warm, and all those baby boomers going through menopause were feeling warm, so a lot of people in the world were ready to believe in the global warming boogeyman.

    If most people had been skinny, like models, and cold all the time, like my wife, global cooling would have been the boogeyman.

    I believe this comment, which is not satire … makes as much sense as so many people living in a wonderful climate in 2016, that has barely changed in 150 years, and believing we are actually living in an ongoing climate catastrophe that will end with runaway global warming?

    Thanks for yet another interesting article Dr. Ball

    • “Because of higher wind speeds, SUVs will burn more gasoline”

      Mine gets about 1 MPG less when driving into a head wind, but also gets 1 MPG more when driving with a tail wind. Cross winds are another story …

      • Let’s not confuse my post with actual facts.

        I have a climate blog with serious posts:

        September 11 was even more depressing for me than usual, because today my wife insisted on us watching a replay of the actual MSNBC broadcast on September 11, 2001 … I went graduate school in the shadows of the twin towers, and the first time I took my wife to NYC we ate at Windows on the World restaurant on the top floor of one of the towers.

        Yet here we are 15 years later, and I’m not sure if the attack on the towers, or the US response to it, was worse!

        Sending so many Americans to Muslim countries, where our soldiers became targets like ducks in a shooting gallery, and even more Americans were killed by Muslims — did that make sense?

  38. FWIW A couple of observations on wind that come from the perspective of a driver of a not overpowered truck.

    One of my regular runs starts in open grassland and then goes through open woodland (around 30 – 40% canopy cover).

    If I head out with a stock crate on the truck (i.e. not very aerodynamic) into a good head wind I will gain up to 20 km/hr when I get to the timber. Obviously the wind hasn’t stopped, but it is now a layer over the trees and its effect is diluted below the tree line.

    And in a good hot summer day the engine temperatures will be higher in the timber, even though there is some shade there.

    Also I wonder at some bare patches in the timbered country that don’t seem to be related to stock activity and whether there might be something like boundary layer vortices in action.

  39. Seems like there are similar scale boundary conditions in the oceans which have no trees to identify them. Don’t see much study.

  40. Plant life significantly alters ground airflow patterns, and some evidence suggests plants may utilize wind-induced motion to generate energy. When considering wind, then, we should also consider alterations to airflow with plant life interactions in mind; “Another Ian” touches on this above. The potential implications of extensive wind power on weather are important, but the implications for agriculture, as we potentially rob plants of an energy resource, may be at least as significant.

  41. Fine post as usual from Tim Ball who knows more about the atmosphere than you could discover if you upended a hundred PhDs. The direction of the wind coupled with its origin is the prime determinant of surface temperature. Changes in the global circulation are systematic, natural and under external control. There is apparent chaos until the mechanism is revealed. At I look at the impact of cosmic rays as part driver of the well recognised annular modes of climate change, generally recognised as the dominant mode of natural climate change and provide a proof that there is no greenhouse effect.

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