# Feedback on Feedbacks

Guest essay by Rud Istvan

In recent weeks, there have been a number of WUWT guest posts on climate sensitivity related matters. Sensitivity is determined by feedbacks to increased CO2. The delta T to doubled CO2 in the absence of feedbacks is 1.1-1.2C. Monckton calculated 1.166C in his new (and unfinished) ‘Feet of Clay’ series of posts; Lindzen used 1.2 for simplicity (below). The slight difference is of no matter for this mostly conceptual post.

There have been a number of ‘skeptical’ comments and even guest response posts (FUBAR) that have gotten a lot of things ‘not quite right’ on this very important general subject including:

1. Feedback cannot be positive since conservation of energy (COE) would be violated.

2. Feedback cannot be positive since the climate would go unstable.

3. Bode feedback model does not apply to climate at all.

4. Positive feedback cannot be >0.1 as the Bode ‘amplifier’ goes unstable.

These misconceptions are underpinned by mis-definition of the greenhouse effect (GHE), by mis-definition of feedbacks, and by mis-application of the Bode feedback amplifier conceptualization to climate. Bode can ‘translate’ easily between actual climate feedbacks and a simplified conceptual climate system model, when correctly applied within realistic value ranges as Lindzen did in several of his previous papers.

The purpose of this guest post is simply to clarify the general subject matter so that WUWT denizens do not mindlessly repeat apparently erroneous misconceptions. It use only words and logic. No math for the math challenged, and only robust general data for the data challenged. Uses only some simple arithmetic plus some simple Socratic logic. It will therefore be a bit philosophical in nature, as only the big picture is intended. It uses only simple intuitive explanations. Quibbles concerning any of the above are hopefully irrelevant.

And it endeavors to use only previous WUWT guest posts or comments as references (just two footnotes, both relating to one sub-assertion concerning a perhaps little known factoid about observational/model precipitation). Google is your friend if you wish to verify any guest post assertion using only peer reviewed literature, as some warmunists unwisely demand. The Google-Fu clue words are in the text. Truth obviously does not lie only in peer-reviewed literature. Especially not politicized climate ‘truth’. ‘Truth’ is based on verifiable, repeatable scientific method results. And ‘truth’ cannot ever be proven (Gödel’s theorems); only the lack of ‘truth’ via falsification (Popper, Kuhn). As Einstein said, “A single experiment can prove me wrong”. See ebook The Arts of Truth for many confirming ‘Popperian’ examples including in the penultimate climate chapter. And for supporting details with many footnotes, see some essays in ebook Blowing Smoke, foreword by Judith Curry.

GHE

The Earth (both land and sea) is warmed by sunlight energy, aka incoming shortwave radiation (ISR)—and very little else. (Borehole temperature reconstructions show how little heat is coming up from Earth’s core to the surface, another speculative misconception—but that is a digression). Earth is cooled by outgoing longwave radiation (aka infrared, OLR). At any atmospheric CO2 concentration, incoming and outgoing must eventually balance first at the notional effective radiating level (ERL) high in the troposphere somewhere, and then for sure at the definitely measurable (by satellite) top of atmosphere (TOA). Earth then reaches some reasonably stable radiative temperature balance but for its other (for whatever reasons) natural variations (ice ages, MWP, LIA).

For purposes of this mostly conceptual post, lets stipulate surface averages ~287K, or ~14C in 1880, with a 0.8C ‘anomaly’ increase toward ~15C since 1880 as CO2 went from ~280ppm to ~400ppm now. Those are the IPCC norms. See several previous Bob Tisdale guest posts for referenced fact details. The specifics do not matter too much for the conceptual big picture here.

The GHE is not an increase in heat, does not involve CO2 ‘creating’ heat, and does not violate COE. All wrong conceptualizations of AGW basics. Earth’s heat energy input is provided by solar ISR, at about a constant 240wm-2 (Monckton FoC #3 table 1, and Nick Stokes comments to Fubar). GHE is the result of certain gas molecules, most importantly water vapor and CO2, ‘absorbing’ and then ‘scattering’ by omnidirectional re-emission, OLR photons. That is, those atmospheric molecules hinder OLR radiative cooling from Earth’s surface to space. A surface warmed by ISR but not cooled by an equivalent amount of OLR will warm until the increase in resultant surface temperature produces enough additional OLR to restore the net balance. That is the simple essence of the GHE. The precise calculations involve the Stephan-Boltzman law, altitude lapse rates, and other complicated considerations—but those details are not material to this conceptual general post. The net rebalanced temperature equilibrium where net incoming again equals net outgoing radiation energy for a doubling of CO2 is called the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). More practically (concerning observational energy balance model (EBM) calculations of it), the ‘effective climate sensitivity’. (The difference between ‘equilibrium’ and ‘effective’ involves variations over very long time frames to minor stuff like vegetative albedo changes over many centuries. You want the highest ECS, go long like Hansen’s 1000 years paper. We neglect those additional quibbles in this post as a mere sideshow distraction.)

Tyndall first experimentally determined that H2O and CO2 gasses have this OLR retarding property in 1858-9, as reported then to the Royal Society. Lest anyone think this basic physics is wrong (aka Sky Dragons), experimentally deserts are relatively dry so relatively low water vapor. That is why they cool sharply on cloudless nights. Anyone can run this climate experiment for themselves in any desert to verify this for themselves. (But take along a real good sleeping bag water vapor substitute to remain comfortable.) Low atmospheric water vapor does not hinder OLR radiative night cooling from the ISR heated daytime surface. CO2 is the same, except since reasonably well-mixed deserts won’t show the same desert night cooling effect.

The quantum reason both gas molecules have this ‘OLR obstructing’ property relates to their physical molecular shapes. But that is another digression into interesting physics details unnecessary for this conceptual post. Suffice it to say it is also how microwave ovens work (on H2O).

Feedbacks

Properly defined, a feedback is a change in some climate property given a change in some other climate property. Conceptually, it is a first derivative of the property; a change in one with respect to a change in another. This simple calculus idea (first articulated by Newton and Leibnitz, therein lies another wonderful history of science unnecessary digression) has been the source of much unfortunate skeptical WUWT blogosphere confusion nowish.

Consider just three basic properties: CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, water vapor concentration in the atmosphere (specific humidity, NOT relative humidity), and cloud concentration in the atmosphere.

1. CO2 being a GHG will warm ceterus paribus. Stipulated base from a nominal equilibrium at 280ppm in 1880 at +14C. Consensual result 2x= ~+1.2C. Not disputable since just basic SB physics.

2. H2O gas being a GHG will warm ceterus paribus. Since there is much more H2O gas (the global average is about 1.8-2% of the atmosphere) than the ‘trace’ 0.04% CO2, water vapor must be the predominant GHE warmer. In fact, absent the Earth’s specific humidity, the planet would have been about -18C rather than +14C in 1880. This fact could be described by warmunists as a thermal runaway Δ32C catastrophe—except without it and the resulting natural temperature equilibrium given the water vapor positive primary effect, the Earth would have been frozen solid for many epochs supporting no life at all. So the simple water vapor primary warming effect is NOT evidence for modern CAGW feedbacks. It is life’s primary salvation on our watery blue planet.

3. Clouds are a primary negative forcing of about -20wm-2.

Notice that in 1880 (pre AGW), these three primary factors were in ‘equilibrium’ according to warmunist AR4 SPM figure 4. Logically parse that seminal AGW attribution figure. There are two primary warming properties offset by one negative property, but no thermal runaway is evident according to IPCC. How could that be? Because these are all primary factors rather than ‘first derivative’ feedbacks. The primaries obviously equilibrate in a damped (non-runaway) fashion. That is logically simple. The Earth ~T we experience is where water vapor warming roughly balances ISR to OLR under present Earth circumstances at ~287K , since it is the main GHG. The overall system is negatively damped by two simple negative primary cloud mechanisms. If water vapor increases, so will clouds at altitude via the temperature (hence condensation) lapse rate. Such clouds at some altitude have two secondarily primary negative ΔT damping mechanisms. First, on average more cloud means more albedo, which means less ‘heating’ ISR reaching the surface because more is reflected back to space before warming the surface. Second, more cloud eventually means more precipitation, which by definition lowers atmospheric specific humidity (while also releasing the related heat of condensation higher in the atmosphere where it has an easier GHE time radiating away to cool Earth—there is simply less GHE ‘insulation’ to fight through since thin blankets ‘warm’ less than thick blankets). So clouds cool by reflecting ISR and by removing warming water vapor. That is the primary negative Earth damping. No thermal runaway is possible in such a damped system. Nor has any ever been observed. Else we would not be here to guest post and comment. QED.

Properly defined feedbacks are the first derivatives of these primary mechanisms. That is, how do these primary properties change as the underlying fundamentals change? Do they get stronger or weaker? We know that primary delta CO2 changes as a log function of concentration; each doubling has the same effect as the previous doubling. 280=>560ppm is the same as 560=>1120ppm. And we know that the primary effect of each doubling absent other feedbacks is a bit less than 1.2C. We don’t know the first derivative direct feedback (δCO2/ΔCO2) as that involves the planetary carbon cycle. Changes in natural carbon sources and sinks as CO2 changes. It appears unsaturated (unlike the Bern model), which implies a negative feedback (Coccolithophorids have increased 10x in the North Atlantic in the past 30 years). Lets treat this first direct CO2 derivative as unknown, therefore about zero for the sake of general logical argument even though it is probably negative based on planetary land greening and ocean NPP. (Please, the Salby lectures on carbon cycle stuff is just so wrong in several ways including baseline facts and atmospheric saturation that JC and I decided not to even do a joint post on it—Salby does not merit a credible rejoinder at all. A separate post here could be forthcoming if sufficient WUWT denizen skeptics insisted [to further clear the Salby air]. But this digresses yet further.)

The CMIP3 and CMIP5 climate models estimate ECS (not using Bode at all, just mathematical/parameterized climate long term simulations of emergent properties) at about 3.2, implying a Bode feedback f of about 0.65 if f=0 is ~1.2 per Lindzen (below). We also know that several different ways of computing observational ECS give about 1.65 per a comment to CoF #3: “Lewis and Curry 2014 used only IPCC AR5 ‘official’ values to estimate 1.64 (median) using the observational EBM approach. They also provided confidence interval ranges around the central value, and showed the value was not sensitive to choice of EBM time frames. See their table 1 at Climate Etc. Guy Callender estimated 1.67 way back in 1938 in his paper to the Royal Met. Soc. A simple regression of log CO2 ppm versus HadCrut T gives 1.71 with an r^2 of 0.9. Both approaches are discussed in essay Sensitive Uncertainty in ebook Blowing Smoke. Lewis 2013 used Bayesian objective priors to estimate 1.6.

So we finally reached the core of the true feedback conundrum. There is a ~2x difference between model ECS ~3.2 and observation ECS ~1.65. But note than in neither the GCM model case nor the observational case is there any ‘thermal runaway’ or climate instability ‘tipping point’ implied. There is in either case no C in CAGW (absent the ever feared but non-existant ‘tipping point’ hobgoblins). That imagined instability is another misapplication of climate ‘derivative’ feedbacks based on misunderstanding/misapplying Bode.

A familiar example helps explain why the operational electronic amplifier design example (Bode) is inapt, a mis-definition of ‘tipping point’ instability in the climate context and also in the Bode feedback amplification context. The amplifier design is not the sound system; it is one of four components: the amp, the mic, the loudspeakers, and the ‘room’ environment.

It is self evident from most denizen’s personal experience that auditorium microphone/amplifier/loudspeaker sound systems are usually well behaved despite the existence of substantial feedbacks (the mike obviously ‘hears’ the speaker plus the amplified loudspeaker version of the speaker (with speed of sound delay), and feeds both sounds back to the amplifier for further amplification—a positive feedback by definition). Auditorium sound systems do not misbehavenly screech until the system Bode f present in the venue gets too high (usually f~>0.8, and usually at a fairly high pitched ‘screetch’ frequency since those are more easily reflected from walls back to the mike—which is why Bose sound systems also use a separate single omnidirectional sub woofer). That certainly is not f=0.1 giving a measly ‘stable’ Bode amplification of ~1.1x as Monckton’s FoC series figure 1 ‘max stable’ asserts. Such a sound system would be worthless. No politician would ever be heard at the back of the auditorium—which might be a good thing politically, but unfortunately does NOT happen in the real world. The FoC figure as labeled implies all auditorium sound systems are essentially useless. Obviously that is not true. There are two practical ways to solve this well-known physical feedback problem in actual sound systems. Place the speakers further from the mike so the acoustic feedback energy is sufficiently attenuated by distance to lower system f below ~0.8, or reduce the system amplification to lower f below system ~0.8. The former, not the latter, is usually done so that the crowds can still hear the speaker despite about 6x audio amplification; just put the loudspeakers in the far side corners, or better yet in the room’s back far corners. If a transitory problem, the latter (turn the amp down a bit) is usually done immediately by the mike guy running the sound system.

Reconciling Feedbacks and Observational ECS

The essence of the warmunist ECS 3 difference to observational ECS ~1.65 (e.g. Monckton FoC#3) must lie in correctly defined ‘first derivative’ feedback differences. There are only two significant ones, as all the other minor feedbacks roughly cancel to zero per both AR4 and AR5. These two are water vapor and clouds. Lets consider them in reverse order for simplicity’s sake. Dessler (2010) purported to find (per NASA website) a positive cloud feedback. But his r^2 was only 0.02, meaning no statistical difference from zero feedback despite his and NASA’s subsequent claims. Eschenbach used CERES at WUWT very recently to show the likely value was slightly negative. Zero or slightly negative makes no difference for this general post. Zeroish is just fine conceptually. Both CMIP3 and CMIP5 have a significantly positive cloud feedback.

AR3 made the clear written assertion that water vapor feedback doubles the CO2 no feedback primary result (IPCC TAR WG1 7.2.1.1). So ~1.2C absent feedbacks amplifies to ~2.4C. That translates to a simple WVF Bode f=0.5 assuming 2x CO2 is ~1.2C. Now, AR4 asserted the central ECS was 3.0, so net Bode ~0.65. (Notice this post is simply translating from amplification to feedback using Bode logic, nothing more, per the following Lindzen Bode curve with f0=1.2:

So modeled AR4 clouds must implicitly have a strongly positive Bode feedback of f=(~0.65-0.5)=~0.15, since all other forcings in both AR4 and AR5 roughly cancel to zero. (This is a conceptually qualitative rather than precisely quantitative argument, with which there is perhaps much to quibble about on the data margins—but not concerning the core logic.)

Lets translate all that back to ‘reality’ using simple Bode concepts with observed climate feedbacks in a general physical reconciliation to observational ECS. Clouds, ~f=0 per Eschenbach analysis of CERES. We also know that CMIP3 and CMIP5 understate precipitation by about half, especially in the tropics.[1], [2] So climate models should overstate WVF since they don’t get the precipitation water vapor reduction right. And these faulty precipitation models do not incorporate either the Linden adaptive infrared iris hypothesis (BAMS 2001), nor the closely related Eschenbach tropical Tstorm regulatory hypothesis posted many times previously here (both relate to lowering the net water vapor feedback). So, if WVF is approximately half of the IPCC 0.5 f based just on mis-modeled precipitation, then the total ECS per Bode f ~ 0.25 is ECS about 1.65 per the above curve. That is exactly what Monckton has computed separately, and what several other unrelated observational studies have estimated independently as cited above. A nice conceptual closure.

Summary

Feedbacks are properly understood as ‘first derivatives’ of basic climate properties, not those properties themselves. Since the climate according to warmunists was in proximate ‘property equilibrium’ circa 1880 per their basic CAGW theory, we can infer that the system was reasonably stable then with ISR equaling OLR given WVF, damped by clouds in two logical ways, albedo and precipitation (negative primary system response, a damped system that cannot undergo ‘tipping point excursions’). There is a likely small net positive ‘first derivative’ net feedback on the order of Bode f~0.25, which results in a still stable climate system (absent natural variations) with an ECS of about 1.65. No CAGW, and only a little AGW.

And that little AGW is still not provable since the difference between the warming from ~1920-1945 is not distinguishable from the warming of 1975-2000. Even IPCC AR4 SPM figure 4 could not attribute the earlier warming cycle to AGW, only to natural variation. Natural variation surely has not ceased to exist afterwards, since the world cooled in the interim period 1945-1975 despite rising CO2, and since it has not warmed since 2000 except for a now rapidly cooling 2015 El Nino—despite the fact that about 35% of all additional atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured since 1958 (Keeling Curve) came during the same post ~1999 period that did not meaningfully warm according to 4 different balloon radiosonde and 3 different satellite datasets. The final inconvenient fact:

[1] Stephens, GeWex WCRP 20: 5-7 (2010)

[2] Dai, J. Clim. 19:4605-4630 (2006)

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## 268 thoughts on “Feedback on Feedbacks”

1. Don B says:

Rud, thanks for this post and all of your comments on various sites these past few years.

• I shall not respond in detail here, but shall provide a detailed consideration of feedback errors in the models in a future episode if Feet of Clay.

However, Mr Istvan, here as elsewhere, has misrepresented what I have said so far.

First, he says I calculated pre-feedback sensitivity to be 1.166 K against IPCC’s 1.159 K. No: my value is 0.985 K, ant that makes a big difference to final sensitivity.

Secondly, I have at no point stated that an electronic system containing feedback factors >1 Is necessarily unstable. I have, however, stated that process engineers designing electronic systems intended to operate stably where there are uncertainties as to the quality of components or the consistency of operating conditions – a situation that obtains in the climate – tend to avoid positive feedback if possible and, in any event, to limit it to 0.1, or if possible 0.01.

I have now had the opportunity to present the full argument, with all relevant equations, at the London climate conference, there were numerous experts in signal processing and electronic circuit design present, and they found no fault with my argument, and specifically found no fault with my mention of the process engineers’ design limit.

And, as I have repeatedly attempted to explain, I do not draw any conclusion from the process engineers’ limit. Indeed, when I first published reviewed papers mentioning that limit, without any objection from the reviewers on four separate occasions, I merely stated that in the light of that limit the formidable near-thermostasis over the past 810,000 years in a climate system subject to numerous destabilising influences seemed to indicate something wrong with the determination of feedbacks in the models, though I did not at that time know what it was. I know now.

There is indeed something gravely wrong, but I have not yet said what it is. And it will become all too apparent, once I have explained it, that the process engineers’ limit is not in fact breached by feedbacks operating in the climate system. I

I hope, therefore, that readers will not allow themselves to be misled by Mr Istvan’s mischaracterization of what I have said – a mischaracterization in which he vexingly persists even after being told of it.

Thirdly, I should make it clear that the 1.7 K final sensitivity I have reached at this point in the Feet of Clay series does not assume a lesser water vapor or cloud feedback than the official values. I shall be modelling Mr Istvan’s halving of the water vapor feedback and his zeroing of the cloud feedback, both of them justifiable and necessary reductions, in a future episode of Feet of Clay.

Finally, it matters not how the models determine or account for feedbacks, since the black-box approach I am taking requires only a knowledge of the officially-deduced inputs to the models, including the feedbacks, and of the officially published sensitivities, together with the well calibrated official sensitivity equation that serves as a test meter.

In short, Mr Istvan has unwisely and unscientifically attempted tepeatedly to misstate what little I have said about feedback so that he can attack it, and thus to criticize my argument before I have completed it.

I had hoped for better from him than this.

• You say so. Now prove it. You have already been undone by an EE who made your circuit and ran it for two days on his bench. See previous FoC comments formthe circuit and details. I call you wrong on Bode details about instability above 0.1. Not on the rest of your magnificent FoC posts, which are mostly right and whichnI have mostly supported for years.

• ristvan: I call you wrong on Bode details about instability above 0.1. Not on the rest of your magnificent FoC posts, which are mostly right and whichnI have mostly supported for years.

Indeed, Monckton’s work is not “beyond all repair”, as you note here: you wrote a technical modification to his peer reviewed published paper (with others) on the simplified model. Most of it is pretty good. As to his details about “instability above 0.1”, he has clearly written that with proper care in design, “above 0.1” does not necessarily lead to instability.

• Monckton of Brenchley said in part at September 12, 2016 at 2:49 am:

“Secondly, I have at no point stated that an electronic system containing feedback factors >1 Is necessarily unstable.”

What is he suggesting – that its not unstable! Or is this another instance of tripping over tongue? Is it the case that he intended to say “feedback factors >0.1” or does the actual confusion here lie deeper! He may again consider this “quibbling”. (Recently he has conflated stable/unstable and exponential/power and called it semantics!) Or he might appreciate the opportunity to clarify. I hope so.

• JohnKnight says:

ristvan,

“You say so. Now prove it.”

Prove what? I’ve read his recent posts and thought he was arguing that a high feedback rate/effect was contraindicated by apparent long term (relative) temperature stability, not that it was disproved by it . . I don’t see how he could prove the long term stability, let alone the low feedback he feels is implied by it.

• JohnKnight says:

PS~

It seems to me he is (with regard to feedback) essentially counter-arguing the idea that “natural variation” is so low that recent warming must be indicative of a high response to increased CO2 concentration. As in, the attempts to minimize long assumed past warming periods (i.e. the infamous “hockey-stick” graph) entail an inductive logical contradiction of sorts; High feedback effects would logically tend to cause high natural variability, not long term flat-lining of temps, right?

2. SMC says:

Huh… Interesting… Cool… Got to ruminate on this for a little bit…

• Greg says:

careful, one of the main products of rumination is methane and that thousands of times more powerful that CO2 !!

• SMC says:

Fine, how about I cogitate for a little bit. Would that be more environmentally friendly? :))

• Greg says:

Sorry, thinking for yourself is totally out of the question !! Not at all environmentally acceptable.

• SMC says:

Fine, I’ll mull it over for a little bit… A word of warning, if you’re not careful, I’m going to pull out my thesaurus and start flinging \$5 words around. :))

3. Maxbert says:

Excellent and most informative post. Thank you, Rud.

• Greg says:

informative but wrong. Don’t believe all you read even if the result confirms your biases ;)

• ClimateOtter says:

I’d love to take your sentence and turn it into a nice infinity loop but I only have seconds to type th-

• David Jay says:

Over the past few years, I have found Rud to be a competent logician. On the other hand, I have not evaluated Greg.

• Paul Penrose says:

I believe I will just as flippantly, and expertly dismiss you as have Mr. Istvan. (Waving my hand) You are wrong – away with you.

4. ulriclyons says:

“In fact, absent the Earth’s specific humidity, the planet would have been about -18C rather than +14C in 1880.”

I don’t reckon 0.3 albedo is possible without humidity.

• Absolutely correct. In the absence of water in the atmosphere, the 240 becomes a much greater number. All that cooling is due solely to water in the atmosphere.

• Bill Illis says:

Clouds are over half of the albedo.

Clouds are a net negative forcing of -21 W/m2.

But this made up of: reflected solar shortwave forcing -52 W/m2 (or 52 of the 101 W/m2 of Albedo).

Longwave GHE forcing of +31 W/m2.

The combination is -21 W/m2 and clouds are 52% of the 0.2983 albedo fraction.

• In the absence of an interacting atmosphere the albedo is 0.0. The word water means three phases of water; solid, liquid, and vapor.

• george e. smith says:

In the absence of an interacting atmosphere (whatever that is) earth’s albedo is not zero; or even 0.0 .

Oceanic water is at least 0.03 diffuse reflectance and being 70% of the surface would mean perhaps 0.02 for minimum albedo.

But grass and trees and rocks have much higher reflectances than water, so absent an atmosphere (meaning also no clouds) albedo is not zero.

Of course; in reality, absent an atmosphere would also imply no oceans anyway.

So the conjecture is meaningless.

And for the record; ALL of the known rocky planets etc, have non zero albedos.

G

• That would be an atmosphere that is transparent to radiative energy at all wave lengths.

What do you calculate the surface temperature of an such an idealized Earth to be for (1) a black surface, and (2) a surface that is not assumed to be black?

5. Walt D. says:

And ‘truth’ cannot ever be proven (Gödel’s theorems);.
Gödel’s theorems – you need to specify Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. Gödel did develop a completeness theorem for first order logic. In other words, every syntactically correct expression in a first order logic system evaluate to either true or false, but never to both true and false (contradiction).
Gödel’s theorems apply to formal systems deduced from axioms.
Physics is not axiomatically based. (One of the Hilbert’s problems,)

6. ulriclyons says:

“The delta T to doubled CO2 in the absence of feedbacks is 1.1-1.2C. Monckton calculated 1.166C”

Just under 1 °C at the ERL, and after prompting, around 0.67 (0.68) °C at the surface for an increase of 3.7W/m2.

• I noticed the same thing. Rud Istvan assumes that the climate sensitivity without feedbacks is 1.1 – 1.2 C. According to the Earth’s energy balance equation, the right value is about 0.6C. This is the results of very simple calcuation.

7. Interesting review article, Mr Istvan. I do wonder if the trolls will go after you for eliminating CAGW.

• Of course they will. Including here. And will thereby expose yet more of their poor ‘climate science’.

8. John Harmsworth says:

Clear and concise and yet still sufficiently thorough, A fantastic counterpoint to the ever ongoing work of the IPCC which had sensitivity “settled” at 1.5-4.5C 40 years ago and then spent 40 years and billions of dollars to narrow it down to…1.5-4.5C. They know it’s wrong, they know they deceive, they know what they do is not about science. We’re waiting for real science to wake up to this travesty that is being foisted on the world. The efforts of Istvan, Monckton, Eschenbach, Dr. Ball and others here is invaluable and will some day be accepted as great truth spoken at a time of need!

9. Greg says:

“Properly defined feedbacks are the first derivatives of these primary mechanisms.”

No, the first derivatives you are talking about are equilibrium sensitivities, NOT feedbacks. Not a good start for “properly defined”.

10. Greg says:

“So clouds cool by reflecting ISR and by removing warming water vapor. That is the primary negative Earth damping. No thermal runaway is possible in such a damped system.”

You are using ‘damped’ in a different way to that usual in control theory. You are using it here in a way which seems to be synonymous with a negative feedback. Damping is usually used to represent a frictional or dispersive process which consumes energy and reduces the possibility of oscillation. This is conceptually very different from a feedback.

• Mike the Morlock says:

Greg September 11, 2016 at 2:12 pm

“You are using ‘damped’ in a different way to that usual in control theory.” Ahem, usual does not mean etched in stone on “Mose”s” tablets. Rules of thumb are just that. Oh yeah “Control Theory” not physical law.

Does it work? That is the sole basis of judgement.

michael

• Greg says:

The point I’m making is that if you are setting out to explain things, it is best not to start redefining everything so that what you write does not tie in with most other writing on the subject at the same time as claiming to “properly define” things.

This is not just control theory, in most branches of engineering a damper is not a neg. feedback, it’s a dissipative device.

• Mike the Morlock says:

Greg September 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Hello Greg. Basics. I am a a tool/mold maker machinist. We have something called the “Machinist’s Handbook.” Any time there is a disagreement the two sides grab their “Bible”. Then they compare editions.
Climate science has no “Hand book”. Oh there are a few bits and pieces of popular formulas and rule of thumb reference values. But nothing like the Machinist Handbook which can turn two fire breathing monsters into kitty cats upon reading.
Think I am wrong? Want to know the drill size for a tap Hmm GH3 or GH5? or a roll tap, How about calculating sine\cosine?

I know not on the same scale. Wrong a high school dropout who can at least read can take this tome and answer 99% of any technical or engineering questions. The problem with Climate science is there is no firm foundation; we are still arguing over what are the properties of a GHG. This is basic Physics. How you express it in a conversation is so rudimentary that the meaning is impossible to lose. Digressing into nitpicking because of the vast utility of the English language is counterproductive.

michael

• mkelly says:

Mike the Morlock says: Want to know the drill size for a tap Hmm GH3 or GH5? or a roll tap, How about calculating sine\cosine?

Prior to retiring I was a cutting tool design engineer. The Machinist Handbook was my “bible” used daily. I used the large print edition. Thanks for the reminder of GH levels, roll taps, etc.

For those interested each GH level in tapping is .0005 of an inch.

• george e. smith says:

Dissipative, is the word you were seeking Greg. Damping is a lossy and non energy storing proposition.

G

• Paul Penrose says:

No, Greg you are wrong (but I will do you the courtesy of telling you why). Clouds prevent some of the incoming radiation from even hitting the ground and warming it. Since they directly prevent OLR from even being created, they are first order effects on the input to the system and can’t be feedbacks. In an electronic circuit they are more like a resistor (or pad) on the input signal.

11. Pouncer says:

Walt sez.” Physics is not axiomatically based. “.

What is uniformitarianism? ” As it was in the beginning; it is now and ever shall be”. I mean, I believe that. That the speed of light was the same at the first nanosecond after the Big Bang, for instance, as today and as it will be another ten billion years. But I assume it so without scientific evidence. Axiomatic, or theological, or what?

12. Greg says:

“….must lie in correctly defined ‘first derivative’ feedback differences. There are only two significant ones, as all the other minor feedbacks roughly cancel to zero per both AR4 and AR5.”

No, the principal negative feedback is the Planck feedback. Here you are falling for the error the IPCC is trying to propagate in not presenting the main feedback which is the one which ensures climate stability as a feedback at all.

The whole question of “positive” feedbacks is a false one which starts by pretending that the Planck feedback is not a feedback. The real question of whether net feedbacks are +ve or -ve is ONLY a question of whether they make the Planck feedback less negative or more negative. Not even the IPCC is foolish enough to suggest that ALL f/b including Planck could be positive, since as you rightly say this would lead to the obviosly wrong conclusion that climate could be unstable and it isn’t.

I find most of your comments here on WUWT to be well informed but this presentation is full of confusing and mis-use of terms you are improperly presenting as “properly defined”.

You have fallen for the IPCC’s trick.

• AndyL says:

Greg,
Can you clarify your objection here. Rud explained that temp increases caused by increase in GHG are limited by increases in outgoing IR radiation. According to my (admittedly rapid) googling of Planck feedback, that matches the definition – in other words it appears that Rud’s only failing was not to label the outgoing IR as Planck Feedback.

What is it that I’m missing?

• Greg says:

Thanks Andy.

incoming radiation increases surface temperature; increased temperature increases outgoing IR. That is a negative feedback. Rud is trying to redefine the word feedback to be what would usually be called an equilibrium climate sensitivity.

Notice that in 1880 (pre AGW), these three primary factors were in ‘equilibrium’ according to warmunist AR4 SPM figure 4. Logically parse that seminal AGW attribution figure. There are two primary warming properties offset by one negative property, but no thermal runaway is evident according to IPCC.

None of his three items include the most important feedback in the system. You can’t rebut the possibility of thermal runaway by excluding the primary feedback. The net effect of the three he discusses could be positive and that is what IPCC calls ‘net positive’ and usage leads to the idea of instability. But IPCC “net positive’ is still really net negative and thus stable. So Rud is unnecessarily trying to disprove instability with a position that the IPCC are not taking. He also has to make up his own numbers to do so.

Whether “net” feedbacks ( excluding Planck ) are slightly +ve or slightly -ve is not established one way or the other. “Net +ve ” is what leads to a more sensitive climate, not to thermal runaway; “net negative” leads towards Lindzen’s range of CS.

Rud also makes unfounded claims that cloud is negative. This not established for all types of cloud, some of which are both positive and negative since they affect both incoming and outgoing and different altitude clouds act differently. You cannot just dump everything into one word: clouds.

13. Algore says:

‘And we know that the primary effect of each doubling [of CO2] absent other feedbacks is a bit less than 1.2C.’

How do we know this? The atmosphere is not dry. Given that the temperature has “flat-lined” for the last 18 years, why should I believe that the climate sensitivity is > 0?

• Greg says:

quite right. The only thing which is fairly uncontroversial is the 2xCO2 forcing, not the climate sensitivity to that forcing.

• siamiam says:

“fairly uncontroversial is the 2xC02 forcing”
A duh moment for me. Never have understood how 280ppm to 560ppm and 560ppm to 1120 can have the same temp. effect.
Apparently, a 35% increase in C02 post 1999 has no temp effect. So, at what point does the measurable warmer kick in?

• richard verney says:

How much warmer is it today than it was in the late 1930s/1940s.

Unfortunately, we cannot answer that question due to the endless bastardisation of the thermometer temperature data sets. However, as far as the US is concerned, it is almost certainly cooler today than it was in the late 1930s/1940s. Greenland temperatures also suggest that Greenland was warmer in the late 1930s/1940s, and the Antarctic data suggests no warming at all. Further the tree ring data, that Mann had to ignore when using his nature trick) also suggest that it may not be warmer today than it was in the late 1930s/1940s.

There is no good quality data capable of withstanding the full rigours of scientific investigation that (once realistic and proper errors of measurement are taken into account) clearly establish that it was warmer today than it was in the 1930s/1940s.

I question whether there has trully been any warming (statistically significant warming) since the late 1930s/1940s. Of course there has been some warming since the deep throes of the LIA, but the amount of warming post 1940s may well be over hyped, and any such warming probably a continuation of natural process that took the planet out of the deep throes of the LIA.

The fact that there is no correlation with CO2 in any data set is a severe problem. The 600 to 1000 year lag in the ice core data is more than inconvenient to those who claim that CO2 leads and induces warming as opposed to simply being a response to temperature trends.

14. Greg says:

“Since the climate according to warmunists…”

If you are trying to present a factual, scientific argument, you would do better to leave out such obviously politically motivated slurs. Getting the facts and the science right would be a bonus too.

• S. Geiger says:

I agree. Instantly loses credibility plus, conveniently, likely has the impact of discouraging any real discourse by those (apparently the majority of folks that study this stuff) that disagree.

15. Leonard Weinstein says:

This is a good discussion except for one major problem. The temperature in the more distant past is less certain, but best results indicate that the temperature over much of the last several inter-glacial periods was significantly higher than present. In addition, the temperature (as best determined) was higher over much of the present (Holocene) inter-glacial period. In fact, the increase over the last couple of hundred years, to the present, is a rise from an unusually low temperature period that lasted several hundred years (LIA). What evidence is present that the recent rise is not just a recovery from an unusual low, rather than a human driven increase? If a large part or even most of the rise is a natural variation as often seen in the past, the value of the feedback is not valid.

• richard verney says:

Proxy data should always be viewed with caution. Noting that, but for the sake of argument assuming our proxy data to be be reasonably good and useful, strongly suggest that CO2 plays an insignificant role in warming and that there is little, if any, Climate Sensitivity to CO2.

Quite simply the temperature profile of the Holocene cannot be explained by changes in CO2. Ditto the longer period covered by the ice core data.

The fact that (it appears) changes in concentration of CO2 lags temperature change by about 600 to 1000 years is (on paper) a killer to the argument that CO2 induces warming (or cooling when CO2 levels fall) and that there is a Climate Sensitivity to CO2 in the order of say 1 degC to 4.5 degC.

As I often remark Climate Sensitivity is something that can only be determined by observation, not by some theoretical approach. Irrespective of how CO2 may behave in the laboratory, the issue is how it behaves and what it does not in laboratory conditions but in the real world conditions of planet Earth’s atmosphere. that is a question that can only be answered by observation.

Unfortunately the observational data sets are not fit for purpose, but to the extent that they can be relied upon they suggest that Climate Sensitivity is so small that the signal to it cannot be eeked out from the noise of natural variation within the limitations and restrictions of our best measuring equipment.

Unfortunately, I envisage that the measuring errors and limitations of our best measuring equipment is not insignificant and could be large (in the context of what we are discussing) such that the possibility that there is some Climate Sensitivity cannot be ruled out altogether and could be in the region of about 1 degC although I suspect that, if there is such a thing as Climate Sensitivity, it is nearer to zero than it is to 1 degC .

• When CO2 lagged temperature, it was a feedback to and not a root cause of temperature change, since the amount of carbon in the sum of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere was essentially constant. But now we are burning fossil fuels and getting a CO2 increase not caused by a temperature increase – nature has been removing CO2 from the atmosphere during the period covered by the Mauna Loa record, not adding it.

16. Just to clarify a very good post and keep the EEs and EE wannabes at bay I want to emphasize the following:

The word derivative in this post applies to changes in real values with respect to other real values, there is no d/dT in an equilibrium discussion. For that reason there will be no poles or zeros in the feedback except in the case of when the denominator itself is zero, f=1. The PA system analogy is irrelevant, again equilibrium.

When f=1 the gain is undefined, when f>1 we are not looking at a possible system. The only unstable condition is f exactly 1 per Bode, realizability may imply other constraints.

• “there is no d/dT in an equilibrium discussion”
An important point, though I think it should be d/dt. And yes, I think the PA example is best avoided, as it brings in irrelevant phase issues.

• Correct, and this should be pointed out as needed. T=temperature t=time.

• Greg says:

That is fairly standard nomenclature and would not usually need explanation unless someone were to want to use T to mean time. ;)

17. Kip Hansen says:

Istvan ==> Yes — this all seems right and proper — it is a misapplication of Bode that results in the idea that Feedbackclimate is identical in practice to Feedbackelectronics — particular in the conception that like the microphone/amplifier/speaker sound system, the climate might suddenly shift into a screeching disaster.

For years I was a stage/sound man, traveling the cities of Southern Europe, the Azores, the Canaries, and then the Caribbean, with several bands including an all-electric 11 man jazz band with the old Wall of Sound (stacked speakers) and individual amplifiers for each instrument. Great fun — and with all those stage mics for the brass, reeds, and voices — in venues of huge variety, I dealt daily with feedback problems and solutions.

We will not have those types of problems in the climate system.

• Greg says:

It is worth noting that even the screeching speaker scenario is bounded by a negative feedback and does not explode the amp or shut down the local power supply.

The positive feedback is bounded by the limitations of the amplifier to supply power, if it was not convert the whole power of local power station into sound energy before anyone could react to cut the volume. This would probably kill anyone within a few miles.

• ClimateOtter says:

You just described a scene from Atlas Shrugged!

18. whiten says:

Hello Rud.

“The purpose of this guest post is simply to clarify the general subject matter so that WUWT denizens do not mindlessly repeat apparently erroneous misconceptions.”
——————-
Sorry Istvan.
It seems that your whole post is based in “erroneous misconceptions” too, as far as I can tell..

The bigger ever misconception:
“Earth is cooled by outgoing longwave radiation”
In the context of your argument, Earth does not really cool or warm, it’s mean temperature is always the same for long time periods. To claim such as you do, you have to show evidence that it does change.

Even M.Mann when says “glob’s warming” is not as specific as you in your claim.
Only an attempt at 100% explanation of climate change solely by radiation physics, which actually leads and supports AGW, has to claim such as, as otherwise it will fail to explain climate change.

It is amazing how much the AGW science depends in the “Earth cooling”, without even providing a mechanism as how.
Relation of radiation with the atmosphere is very simple in principle, a positive radiation imbalance, no cooling from radiation. That is what about the GHE or radiative forcing.
No one can change that, regardless of innuendos that one may start his argument with……

The other thing you start from, with your argument:

“For purposes of this mostly conceptual post, lets stipulate surface averages ~287K, or ~14C in 1880, with a 0.8C ‘anomaly’ increase toward ~15C since 1880 as CO2 went from ~280ppm to ~400ppm now. Those are the IPCC norms. See several previous Bob Tisdale guest posts for referenced fact details. The specifics do not matter too much for the conceptual big picture here.”
—————-

Again you do offer another erroneous misconception.
In that 0.8C anomaly only the last 0.4C of warming can be attributed to CO2 concentration increase.
And it, the 0.8C anomaly is the part of a ~1.2 C warming trend starting from the nadir of LIA, which means that the first 0.8C in that warming trend can not be attributed to the CO2 concentration increase.
Also according to the hiatus period,, which is defined as a period of no warming, the ppm increase that can be considered as an attribution for the last “stage” warming, seems as an increase more like from 280ppm to 380ppm at most.

Also, the use of the ~14C to a move towards ~15C, in the context of your argument is like comparing apples to oranges.

That argument can be applied to any other period of warming during the last 7k years of the cooling trend, when there actually is no any ppm increase of CO2, and it will mean nothing at all, as what in consideration is a very short term spikes compared with the long term changes in climate, anomalies compared with no any care or regard with long steady change, an AGW erroneous misconception.

Also, you mention:
“(Borehole temperature reconstructions show how little heat is coming up from Earth’s core to the surface”
—————–
Why you go so “deep in the abyss”, Rud, if I may ask!
There is a lot of energy in the Earth’s mantle, which is known to exist and be there, contrary to the core that you offer.
Why would you do that ?
In climate science the atmosphere – ocean coupling is considered a lot,,,,,how can you get from the ocean to the core without considering the mantle and its energy!
There is no direct coupling between the core and the oceans, as far as energy and it’s fluctuation is concerned, provided that somehow the core you mention really exists………

So how come that you use obscure “concepts”?

That is where you basically start from with your argument in this post……
Sorry for being a bit over critical……….

If I am wrong I hope you can show me.

cheers

• Greg says:

“(Borehole temperature reconstructions show how little heat is coming up from Earth’s core to the surface”

Borehole studies do not tell us how much heat is coming into the climate system through underwater volcanic activity. One of the joker cards in the climatology pack.

We know more about the surface of Pluto than we do about the oceanic seabed.

• SMC says:

Speaking of underwater volcanoes… wasn’t an eruption on the Juan de Fuca plate one of the possible explanations for ‘The Blob’?

• Greg says:

A possible idea, maybe. Do you have anything more specific, like some record of increased activity?

I recently met a french “ex-director of research” from the CNRS who was proposing underwater volcanoes as “the real cause of GW”. Unfortunately he was very aged and only gave me a ref to totally lightweight “paper” he had got published in a predatory journal. In the end I did not even bother attending his presentation.

However, the chance meeting did bring this issue back to mind as one of the neglected sources of ocean heat.

• “wasn’t an eruption on the Juan de Fuca plate one of the possible explanations for ‘The Blob’?”
No.

• gbaikie says:

Greg the amount of heat coming to surface of ocean floor, could about the same as heat coming to the surface on the land [per average square km- obviously there is more area of ocean floor than land surfaces- plus far more volcanic activity under the ocean].
So not saying it equal, but even if it is, after heat arrives at the surface it’s quite different effect under the ocean- as the heat could remain in ocean for centuries..

• Kevin Kilty says:

Mr. Stokes said simply “No.”, which is correct, but it might be worthwhile to demonstrate why “no” is correct, and perhaps put this matter to bed.

The mid-ocean ridge system is 80,000 km long, and the portion less than a million years old, which has the highest heat flow by far is probably not much more than 10km. Thus the area of very high heat flow is 800,000 square kilometers. Models of the thermal vents, conductive heat flow and volcanic activity suggest a heat flow of 1 watt per square meter in this region, but actual measurements do not indicate an average heat flow more than one-fourth this value. Let’s take 1 watt per square meter. Thus the power dissipated in the ridge system is about 800 million kilowatts (kilojoules per sec). Total mass in the world’s oceans is 1.4 times ten to the twenty-first kilograms (i.e. 1.4 yottagrams). With a water specific heat of 4.2 kilojoules per kilogram per centigrade degree, the heat capacity of the oceans is about 6 Yottajoules per centigrade degree.

Dividing one by the other suggests some 7 times 10 to the twelfth seconds (2 million years) to increase ocean temperature by one centigrade degree.

Now, it is true that the vents and undersea volcanoes are important locally. And they have a large impact on local chemistry, being the source of massive sulfides, helping to maintain ocean pH. I have even seen photographs of pools of mercury near these vents. But as a source of global energy balance they amount to very little.

• Kevin Kilty says:

Darn it. 200,000 years rather than 2 million, but the argument still stands.

• Whiten, I already did with one sentence discussing borehole temps. That was the point of that sentence in this post. Engaging other incorrect opinions also invokes the null hypothesis. I do not have to to engage you; you have to engage me and show that my simple null is wrong. Else you force my type to play endless mindless stupid skeptical whack-a-mole. Exactly what warmunists want us to play.

19. “Properly defined, a feedback is a change in some climate property given a change in some other climate property. Conceptually, it is a first derivative of the property; a change in one with respect to a change in another.”

Yes, but you need a bit more to make a loop. Here’s how the calculus goes (I wrote about this here):
Start with the problem, find the equilibrium change ΔTₛ (surface) induced by a sustained change of forcing ΔF :
ΔTₛ = S ΔF
S is a derivative, and there is a notion of causality. But then suppose that ΔF is not just the imposed GHG component ΔF₀ but extra changes due to factors a and b. Then differentiation says
ΔTₛ = S ΔF = ΔF₀ + ∂F/∂a Δa + ∂F/∂b Δb
and if a and b co-vary with Tₛ
ΔTₛ = S ΔF = ΔF₀ + ∂F/∂a da/dTₛ ΔTₛ + ∂F/∂b db/dTₛ ΔTₛ
or ΔTₛ ( 1 – ∂F/∂a da/dTₛ – ∂F/∂b db/dTₛ) = ΔF₀ = (dF₀/dF) ΔF
(dF₀/dF) is λ₀. It’s that back-dependence on Tₛ that closes the loop.

The feedback variables a and b (and maybe more) are things like water and albebo (ice etc) but also include temperature, through its enhancement of radiation.

ps I think the warmunist stuff is juvenile, and makes it harder to take the post seriously.

• Greg says:

thanks Nick, so S = (dF₀/dF) is λ₀ , it is a sensitivity not a “feedback”. Rud has got this all badly wrong.

“ps I think the warmunist stuff is juvenile, and makes it harder to take the post seriously.”

Yes, a point I made above. It’s good sign that this should not be taken seriously at all. It’s basically a political rant dressed up in some dodgy physics. Very disappointing.

The purpose of this guest post is simply to clarify the general subject matter so that WUWT denizens do not mindlessly repeat apparently erroneous misconceptions.

Well I hope no one mindlessly repeats what Rud says without checking it out. Definitely missed the target there.

• thanks Nick, so S = (dF₀/dF) is λ₀ ,

Oops, no, I left out an S. With S restored:
ΔTₛ = S ΔF = S ΔF₀ + S ∂F/∂a Δa + S ∂F/∂b Δb
and if a and b co-vary with Tₛ
ΔTₛ = S ΔF = S (ΔF₀ + ∂F/∂a da/dTₛ ΔTₛ + ∂F/∂b db/dTₛ ΔTₛ)
or ΔTₛ ( 1 – S ∂F/∂a da/dTₛ – S ∂F/∂b db/dTₛ) = S ΔF₀ = S(dF₀/dF) ΔF
S (dF₀/dF) is λ₀. It’s that back-dependence on Tₛ that closes the loop.

• Greg says:

Thanks for the correction but S still a sensitivity and not a feedback.

• Good. Now S in the EE/Bode feedback world is derivative with respect to time. So which T is temperature and which T is time? I myself messed this up by not making this clear earlier.

• Greg says:

There is no time in this presentation all these “feedbacks” as Rud is calling them are equilibrium sensitivities. This is why all the non standard use of Bode is more confusing than anything else since it is usually related to time, frequency and phase. A point made by Nick when CoB started wading around with his feet of clay.

20. If there were strong positive feedbacks, then we wouldn’t see the “hard stop” in temperature rise when we come out of a glacial period. Almost anyone who has ever played with an amp and turned up the volume till you get distortion will have seen this effect – as you hit the “hard stop” – the gain reduces to zero. This effect is clearly and obviously present in the climate and shown by the way the interglacial temperatures are all very close in the ice-core record.

From this I can say It is beyond any real doubt that there are strong negative feedbacks rather than positive feedbacks for any rise in temperature during an interglacial.

And not once has any of those falsely claiming positive feedbacks even once addressed this simple and obvious effect which means all the claims of massive “runaway” global warming are hilarious.

• Sun Spot says:

Bingo+++1

21. Don K says:

Excellent. Really Excellent. No substantive comments and only two editorial comments.

1. You discuss Bode a lot, but don’t define or describe it. That’s likely to be utterly opaque to anyone who is not somewhat familiar with Electrical Engineering. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bode_plot

2. “CO2 is the same, except since reasonably well-mixed deserts won’t show the same desert night cooling effect.” At the least there is probably a comma missing after well-mixed. Without it, the sentence is a bit baffling. But I’m not sure much is lost if the whole sentence is removed.

Again. Excellent

22. If one believes the GHG effect is the result of the climate rather then the cause then the feedbacks proposed from CO2 as far as having a climatic impact are irrelevant.

23. James Davidson says:

The Earth is warmed by sunlight energy, ( aka incoming shortwave radiation.) I read that 50% of solar radiation is long wave infrared radiation, 40% is visible light and 10% is short wavelength ultraviolet. 70% of the shortest wavelength UV is absorbed by ozone, ( providentially made by UV radiation by photodissociation of O2,) The incoming solar infrared radiation must also be absorbed ( and re-emitted) by greenhouse gases, but no-one ever mentions this.

• Macha says:

Glad to see a reference to ozone. Its presence or absence changes pressure which drives winds. check out https:\\wordpress348.com. Extensive chapters showing CO2 is irrelevant to what temperature we experience.

• You are right. The incoming SW radiation flux is about 240 W/m2 warming the Earth, About 70 W/m2 is absorbed by the atmosphere. This is caused by the water (about 77 %) and by ozone (about 20 %). By the same token somebody wrote that there is no cooling of the Earth. Because the is the warming input of 240 W/m2, it is a physical fact that the Earth mus be cooling by the same rate , no question about that.

24. commieBob says:

Why do we talk about feedback? We learned about feedback in electronics or control systems. Someone thought the concept would be useful for analyzing the climate.

We have to remember that all this business is our attempt to simplify the analysis enough that we stand a chance of success.

Climate change to me seems to be the mother of all messy super wicked problems. Judith Curry

Our attempts at applying simplifications are probably doomed. We don’t understand the system well enough to get away with that.

If the warmists invoke feedbacks it is fair game to figure out what they are talking about and refute them on that. Under those circumstances we may note that positive feedbacks lead to the kind of instability that we have never observed on this planet.

Spending a lot of time, trying to stuff the Earth’s climate into some paradigm that we already understand, is mostly a waste of effort.

• Greg says:

“Under those circumstances we may note that positive feedbacks lead to the kind of instability that we have never observed on this planet.”

No, as long as the overall, net feedback is negative there is no reason why there can not be positive f/b present.

The Planck f/b is strongly negative and ensures that new f/b is always negative. Oddly Run does not even mention it.

• commieBob says:

Remember that I was talking about a case where a warmist invokes positive feedbacks to hypothesize runaway global warming. In that case they are referring to positive feedback due to increased water vapor, and it’s the only feedback they consider.

I’m not sure feedback is even the best way to think about what’s happening. When we’re analyzing electric circuits we talk about back EMF. I suppose we could refer to back EMF as feedback but we don’t because we don’t need to. The climate is about a zillion times as messy to analyze but I suspect the same applies.

25. Greg says:

1. CO2 being a GHG will warm ceterus paribus.

How do you warm ceterus paribus? Best to leave the pretentious latin stuff to CoB.

• It simply means CO2 being a GHG will warm the surface, all other things being equal. Not only is this correct, but anyone with google at their finger tips can figure out what it means in a matter of seconds even if they know zero about latin. But you’ve littered this thread with similarly less than useful comments, so I guess you are just staying in character.

• Greg says:

I’ve littered this thread with relevant criticisms of the many mistakes that Rud has made here while trying to explain to everyone what he does not understand himself. If you have a counter argument to any of those points feel free.

• If you have a counter argument to any of those points feel free.

I’d quibble with his feedback definition also, but other than that, he’s got it right. He crammed a whole lot of concepts and complexity into an explanation with no diagrams or math meant for a lay person. It is impossible to do so without some ambiguity and generalization that can be picked apart.

I’ll not engage in counter argument with you. Instead I shall challenge you. Instead if sniping from the sidelines, provide alternative explanations that you think are correct using the same constraints as Rud. Simple language, no math, no diagrams.

Let’s see what you’ve got.

• Sun Spot says:

I’m hearing crickets Greg, davidmhoffer evaluation is correct.

• CoB generally gets his grammar right. It is ceteris paribus.

• Greg says:

Indeed he does, it’s still a bit of a distraction unless the Latin is sufficiently well known that most people don’t have to stop reading and scrabble for google to find out what the rest of the sentence means.

If you get the spelling wrong you are definitely being pretentious, and failing.

• richard verney says:

As I observed in an earlier article, I find this caveat “all things remaining equal” to be caveat without substance if not outright disingenuous since we know as fact that the way in which man adds CO2 to the atmosphere means that all other things do not remain equal.

For example, we know as fact that when we burn hydro carbons, it produces water vapour and this alters the ongoing water cycle since burning hydrocarbons is a 24/7 365 day event.

We know that we are consuming oxygen and replacing it with CO2 (and other miscellaneous gases)

it greens the planet, again leading to alterations in the water cycle.

Given that it greens the planet and given that it creates water vapour it alters the albedo.

It mystifies me why anyone places a caveat when we know as fact that the very caveat mentioned is not met.

Let us get into the real world.

26. don penman says:

A negative feedback not mentioned is that the atmosphere being a gas could expand outwards rather than re-radiate the infra red radiation it gets from the surface of the Earth ,the surface of the Earth could not then warm as much and the top of the troposphere is higher in summer than it is in winter.

• Greg says:

Even if the surface warms , there will always be one atmosphere of pressure at the surface ( almost by definition ). The lapse rate will mean that the altitude at which the temperature gradient is zero ( the tropopause ) will be higher, unless the lapse rate changes due to change in humidity.

So some of the incoming energy get converted into gravitational potential energy of the atmosphere. Maybe that’s where all the “missing heat” went ;)

27. gnomish says:

rud- when you start off with
” And ‘truth’ cannot ever be proven (Gödel’s theorems);”
how can the rest not be equally pure balderdash?

any truth can be proven. if you don’t know how- that’s a serious defect in your epistemology. don’t try to fake it when you haven’t got it. so if you don’t think a truth can be proven stop pretending to utter them, right?

godel’s theorem says nothing whatsoever like what you characterize it.
it states that there are things which require you to enlarge the context in order to prove them

you’re pretending to know things you have no freakin clue about
whatever you may have got right- it doesn’t matter – you’re doing macgregor’s goat.

you are fraud. i’m calling you out for fraud. faker.

• Leo Smith says:

any truth can be proven

Only in terms of it being a deductive relationship from axiomatic assumptions

Truth is always relative to a metaphysical framework. That framework we simply have to agree on, – we cannot prove it to be true.

i.e. we can make true statements of the order of

if A then B.

Provided we have established (arbitrarily?) what A and B mean, and the rules of our logic etc etc.

But those things must come first, or else that phrase is just squiggles of black on white with no meaning at all.

The whole point about science is that it tests a metaphysical or physical framework against human perception, and denies its truth if it fails to match, but the key point of Popper is that its truth is not established if it fails to be refuted.

In short we can prove falsehood, but we can never prove truth. If all the suspects bar one have alibis, that doesn’t mean the last suspect is guilty.

• gnomish says:

is what you say true?
are you bewailing the requirement to define your terms? do you have a problem with definitions per se?
people who want to utter undefined noises are not using words – because words have definitions.
you are grunting, then – nobody should wonder how come you can’t define a truth if you won’t use the cognitive tools required.
you want semiotics? dogs do that.
do you wonder where the ‘sapiens’ went?
so you understand that logic is how to prove a statement but you don’t get it that the context must be defined.
you think axioms are the only way to prove something? here’s the news: only definitions are.

do you think what you are saying is true and then expect it to be taken on faith? what kind of lame-ass guru is that?

no, kiddo- truth is that which, in the defined context, can not be contradicted.
that’s the truth about truth. get some.
and notice that you can not disprove my statement but it is self evident – tha’ts not an axiom, it’s just tautology.
there is this thing called ‘the law of identity’ . it’s creeping up behind you right now- don’t turn around.

28. RBom says:

If climate “is the statistics of weather, usually over a 30-year period” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate) then I would hazard that “feedback” is akin to numerical advection, i.e. the propagation of error where the output becomes the input in a conditional (psychological construct) loop with sloppy code.

Therefore statics (removed from the psychological construct) have no feedback and do not have any “sensitivity” to any physical entity or even any supra natural entity.

Additionally, if climate change is the statistics of weather over a period in excess of 30-years, then climate change is the propagation of error by compound interest over the period in excess of 30-years.

Therefore, no need to worry about feedback, sensitivity or the IPCC as they are all psychological constructs. Of course people like Bon Ki Moon, Barak Obama, John Kerry and Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen and others need victims to live and support their habits. I would hazard there will always be human predators in the powers of national and supra national governments who require the flesh of other humans for day-to-day dietary survival.

Even nightmares end once the human (and plural) wakes up. After all, the surviving peoples of Germany started to wake up after April 30, 1945. And that was a very good thing indeed.

29. Greg says:

1. Feedback cannot be positive since conservation of energy (COE) would be violated.

Bold assertion but incorrect.

eg sea ice melts ; lowers albedo; leads to more absorption of solar energy; more melting. Positive f/b , not violation of CoE.

I should add that I don’t think that is an adequate description of what happens when sea ice melts but it is an illustration of a +ve f/b and there is no violation of CoE.

• Who made that assertion? Not Rud. He said that was one of the assertions he was going to debunk.

30. gnomish says:

Rud – you said:
” And ‘truth’ cannot ever be proven (Gödel’s theorems)”

this is not true. it is a lie.

if what you say is true, i very much expect you to prove it.
prove it.

or stop with the lies.

• Leo Smith says:

NO, its perfectly true to say that truth can never be established! :-)

In fact it is the only true statement one can make!!!

Everything you experience, is, in terms of conscious thought and logical inferences, all mere supposition.

Cf the Matrix.

• gnomish says:

ah, the supreme consolence of sublime ignorance… the bliss is strong in you
you don’t even recognize the self contradiction of your utterance.
let me parse that for you, since you can’t”:
‘everything i say is false – except for what i just said’
you don’t get it, do you? that is a self contradiction and therefore a lie.
everything YOU experience may therefore be mere.
i’m an engineer. i know better.
you should never have got out of the house on your own so woefully ill-equipped.

a bird that struggled to rip off its wings – anybody would recognize that as a metaphysical monstroslty.
a tree that strove to mangle its own roots – anybody would understand that its survival is doomed.
a man who struggles to muck up his onw mind – what’s up with that?

• JohnKnight says:

Leo,

Do you see this as a true statement?

*Everything you experience, in terms of conscious thought and logical inferences, might be mere supposition.*

31. gbaikie says:

“The quantum reason both gas molecules have this ‘OLR obstructing’ property relates to their physical molecular shapes. But that is another digression into interesting physics details unnecessary for this conceptual post. Suffice it to say it is also how microwave ovens work (on H2O).”

Microwave oven do not warm H20 gas, they warm liquid water.
Put dry paper towel and wet paper towel in microwave- wet towel heat and dry one doesn’t heat.

• Jeff Hayes says:

“Microwave oven do not warm H20 gas, they warm liquid water.”

This is not correct. The state of the H2O (liquid, gaseous or solid) does not matter. H2O will vibrate and produce heat when exposed to microwave energy. In your experiment both paper towels will heat, but because there is more H2O on the wet towel it will become hotter. The “dry” towel will heat at the same rate as the air in the microwave, having the same moisture content, and no difference will be discernible.

Try this: Exhale into a sandwich-size ziplock storage bag and inflate it as much as possible before closing. Place in microwave oven and irradiate for one minute. You will be able to feel a slight heating. Irradiate for two more minutes and you will feel a more noticeable heating (I did). The water vapor (gaseous H2O) absorbed energy from the microwaves. If you heat the bag for long enough it would eventually burst, but I did not bother to do this as the point was already proved.

An observation: There is far more water vapor in your breath (and the air) than CO2, and it takes a while to heat that H2O, even exposed to 1000 watts in a microwave oven. By comparison, the relatively tiny amount of atmospheric CO2, exposed to far less energy as LWIR, has a miniscule effect on our heat budget.

The question of whether LWIR affects liquid or solid CO2 (it would) does not arise because neither exists in the environments of earth, afik. Does antarctica get cold enough for CO2 to condense out?

• richard verney says:

I do not know the correctness of the comment

“Microwave oven do not warm H20 gas, they warm liquid water.”

But the fact that one can put one’s hand in the microwave oven to retrieve hot food without burning it suggest that it has little heating impact upon whatever water content there may be in the air inside the microwave.

Put your hand in a conventional cooker and the difference is stark.

Just an observation, not put forward as scientific proof.

• Jeff Hayes says:

gnomish

“uWave doesn’t affect crystalline water”

Again, incorrect. The demonstration at the link you provided is a very poor one, a fine example of today’s education which is designed more for rote memorization of approved information instead of critical thinking. If uWaves (thanks for the abbreviation) did not affect crystalline water the defrost function of a uWave oven would not work at all. So, if the H2O molecules are not free to rotate what happens? The “educational” demonstration fails to mention the vibrational motions possible in a molecule of H2O:

A short video:

The vibrational mode of heating of the H2O molecule is far less efficient than the rotational mode, which is the real reason the food can burn (over-cook) on the outside and remain frozen inside.

• gnomish says:

dude- just try it mmk?
find out for real.

• Jeff Hayes says:

gnomish September 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

“dude- just try it mmk?
find out for real”

SMH
I already did. Reread my first post re water vapor. As for ice crystals read your own link. So much for critical thinking.

• gnomish says:

you are telling me to read my link when you didn’t?

because you submit as proof of your contentions ” If uWaves (thanks for the abbreviation) did not affect crystalline water the defrost function of a uWave oven would not work at all. ”
do you remember typing that?

and in the link i provided you should find:
“With the ice, the water molecules are locked into position. Since they can’t rotate back and forth, they do not convert the microwaves into heat. Then how can the microwave oven defrost food?…
On the surface of the frozen food, some of the ice will begin to melt at room temperature. The microwaves will cause this tiny bit of water to get hot. Then the oven’s defrost setting turns the power off for a few seconds, giving that heat time to be absorbed into the surrounding food. That heat melts a bit more of the ice, so when the oven cycles back on, there will be more water available to heat.”

do you remember reading that in the link you wanted me to read? i do, because i read it. see the proof of who read what there?

of course the content substatively disputes your notion of uWaves heating crystalline water.
this bit of trivial is so common knowledge, it leads one to wonder how you have avoided finding it out.
scrupulous avoidance of research and experiment, maybe?

• Jeff Hayes says:

gnomish>

As I also said, “so much for critical thinking.” Read it again, but this time after you read Barret and watch the video a few times. After those clues you might figure out that you could put a piece of frozen food in a container, freeze it, then place the frozen food in the container in the uWave so the outside of the food cannot begin to melt before you turn on the oven. You might have been able to figure this out on your own, though I have my doubts, but now we’ll never know. Do tell us what you discover, unless of course you suddenly remember warming frozen leftovers many times in the past.

32. Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy says:

All these exercises are made on false foundations. Firstly, the global average curve[surface + ocean] is adjusted data set. Even if assume the curve is correct, according to IPCC, the increase in temperature anomaly since 1951 [global warming starting year], more than half is due to greenhouse affect and less than half is due to non-greenhouse effect. This is a qualitative statement. The third most important point is that the energy available to translate in to temperature by greenhouse effect is limited — but not infinity. This has intra-seasonal and intra-annual variability. After taking these in to account, then what will be CO2 change from 280 to 400 ppm and there on wards on temperature? All those papers discussed here rarely looked in to this scenario. Without this, it all will be a futile exercise with assumed constants in the basic equation. My basic perception is: is CO2 increase really raising the temperature to get positive increase at global scale?

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

• richard verney says:

Has there truly been any real warming post the late 1930s/1940s?

If so, what part of this warming has been brought about by the natural process that took the globe out of the deep throes of the LIA?

I frequently observe that non of the data sets are fit for purpose, and that is why we do not know what is going on, still less why.

If the data sets were fit for purpose, we would almost certainly know the answer to the fundamental questions, and none of us would be engaged on this site arguing about the science and GW, AGW, and CAGW.

33. toncul says:

So few years ago, you were defending Lindzen ECS of 0.5 K and now, it’s 1.6 K (this is in the Charney range). A factor 3.

And obviously a TCR of 1.3 K is the most likely for wuwt (found in the same paper cited here), even more, if we correct these numbers with updated values, but keeping same (limited) assumptions.

So are you still “skeptics” ?

• Greg says:

So few years ago, you were defending Lindzen ECS of 0.5 K and now, it’s 1.6 K

Is that supposed to be a collective “you” like we all speack with one voice and jointly responsible for what anyone individual writes?

So if a second person posts something different we are all also collectively responsible and therefore self contradictory and no longer skeptics.

Mon cul !

• toncul says:

Well, no, it’s not supposed to be a collective “you”.

• Greg says:

“So are you still “skeptics” ?”

So you comment is directed at whom? Rud? Yet you use the plural “skeptics” and the plural form of the verb “are you”. Sure sounds like you are adressing more than one person, though we still don’t know whom that may be.

Mon cul !

• gbaikie says:

That the science is settled is not scientific.
This article doesn’t claim to be scientific, rather it’s philosophical.
And it’s not philosophical in a particularly good way.

• Sun Spot says:

+ 100

34. Anne Ominous says:

I think the author took a bit too long to bring up attenuating factors.

As I see it, the main problem with comparing to the Bode feedback model, as Istvan eventually gets around to mentioning, is that it is only a model of the feedback itself. It omits any factors that could attenuate the feedback signal or which might act as negative feedbacks.

That a feedback, given free rein (ceteris paribus as the author puts it) does not model the real world very well is not very surprising.

The real issue is that in the real world, “ceteris paribus” seldom if ever actually exists. And in a coupled chaotic system like the climate one might say it pushes the boundary of “if ever”. It always seems to come back to simultaneous combinations of factors, constantly varying at multiple scales.

It is essentially the partial differential equation problem all over again. They may be necessary for models, given our current understanding and technology, but again that simply means the models do not very well represent the real world.

• Greg says:

“ceteris paribus” is latin for partial differential ;)

• Mike the Morlock says:

Greg September 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm
“ceteris paribus” is latin for partial differential ;)

Please cite a 17 century Latin grammar, which would pre-date most modern re-interpretation.

michael ;-(

• Anne Ominous says:

Pretty sure Greg was joking.

• Greg says:

Thanks Anne, at least the humour was not totally lost.

Mike: you use ;-( , notice I used ;)

Although a joke about the latin, ceteris paribus, “all else being equal” is essentially what partial differential means.

• Phil R says:

Greg,

I don’t know latin (except for isolated words and phrases, like this, that I look up) and I s*cked at calculus, but even I got it.

• richard verney says:

The real issue is that in the real world, “ceteris paribus” seldom if ever actually exists.,/blockquote>

Ignoring the error in Latin, I have been pointing out for years that this caveat is a meaningless one since we know as fact that the manner in which man adds CO2 to the atmosphere all other matters do not remain equal

As you note, all other matters rarely remain equal in real world conditions (where there is no laboratory control of individual factors) and in the present case we know as fact that all other matters DO NOT remain equal. Accordingly it is absurd to place such a caveat.

We need to address the real world. This is why whether there is such a thing as Climate Sensitivity to CO2 and if so what it is can only be answered by real world observation, not by some theoretical approach based upon mathematics.

• richard verney says:

Formatting error: Should have read:

The real issue is that in the real world, “ceteris paribus” seldom if ever actually exists.

Ignoring the error in Latin, I have been pointing out for years that this caveat is a meaningless one since we know as fact that the manner in which man adds CO2 to the atmosphere all other matters do not remain equal

As you note, all other matters rarely remain equal in real world conditions (where there is no laboratory control of individual factors) and in the present case we know as fact that all other matters DO NOT remain equal. Accordingly it is absurd to place such a caveat.

We need to address the real world. This is why whether there is such a thing as Climate Sensitivity to CO2 and if so what it is can only be answered by real world observation, not by some theoretical approach based upon mathematics.

35. I think part of the problem is that feedback comes in multiple flavours. Trying to lump them altogether with a single definition clouds the matter.

To raise the temperature of something at -40 C by 1 degree (assuming equilibrium before and after) takes about 3.3 w/m2. Raising the temperature of something at +40 C by 1 degree takes about 7.0 w/m2. Kinda like blowing up a balloon. The more air you blow into it, the harder it is to blow more air into it.

This is entirely different from water vapour. Warmer air can absorb more water vapour than cold air, so as CO2 warms the air, it absorbs more water vapour, which is a GHG, so warms even more. Not enough to create a runaway effect or we wouldn’t be here to have the discussion.

Two entirely different processes. Clouds, another process. Wind another. Lots and lots of them. Trying to reduce the whole thing to a single definition (or a single equation) is, I think, and over simplification.

36. My client declines to comment on the grounds that he might incinerate himself.

37. 1. Climate sensitivity is a relationship between the CO2 fraction of the atmosphere and the rate of warming. 2. Climate action is the proposition that warming can be attenuated by reducing fossil fuel emissions.
3. For climate sensitivity to be relevant to climate action it must be shown that the CO2 fraction of the atmosphere is related to fossil fuel emissions.
4. No empirical evidence exists to attribute changes in atmospheric CO2 to the rate of fossil fuel emissions.
5. Without that evidence climate sensitivity can’t be used to support climate action
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2642639
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2827927
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2725743
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2662870

38. MfK says:

Thanks to Rud Istvan (RI) for Contributing This Post (CTP). It Was Most Enlightening (IWME). In fact (IF), it was probably The Most Enlightening (TME) post in a Very Long Time (VLT). Feel Free to Quote Me (FFQM).

39. Ian Bryce says:

Where does the Urban Heat Island effect fit into all this theory?

• richard verney says:

It distorts the land based thermometer record, and does not appear to have been properly accounted for in the endless adjustments made to that data set including the impact of station drop outs.

40. gbaikie says:

Generally I think the problem with article is assuming Earth would be -18 C without greenhouse gases.
After all this the starting point of the GHE theory.
But in spirit of being philosophical I think there some merit to dwelling upon the idea of -18 C world.
So what does this world look like?
Should we imagine temperature around -10 C at the equator in mid day with cloudless sky at sea level?
Or do we mean a relatively warm equator under the tropical sun, and instead imagine a very cold polar
region. How cold could it be? Or at sea level could be as cold as polar regions of Mars- where CO2 freezes out [and thereby warms]? Or there certainly seems there should be a limit to how cold the polar region gets- if there is atmosphere.
But the polar region are small part of the planet, even if in winter they became colder the -100 C on average, it’s does little to lower the global average temperature.
Now during glacial period the oceans near UK could be frozen at winter, and in this -18 C should we expect that sea ice does not melt in the summer.
If yes of course, then should assume the entire arctic ocean frozen solid?
If so then one could stack a lot ice in the polar region.
So it this -18 C a world with vast mountains of ice in the polar regions, creating shallower ocean in the tropics.
OR are suppose to imagine Earth without oceans. Or water evaporate at below -100 C, or need a world much colder than -18 C to have world without Greenhouse gas of water vapor. Mars is average temperature of -60 C and Mars has water vapor.
Now there is simple way to make a world at earth distance from the Sun be -18 C or colder. And clue to that is our Moon. The rotates every 28 days. The long night should be cold enough to draw a lot of moisture out the atmosphere.
If our sun disappeared, our atmosphere would freeze out in few days, so starting a week into night- far from any sunlight warmed region, this 14 day night would have atmosphere freeze out. Atmosphere drops
and mountains rise up into the space environment, giving very dense and very cold and lacking any moisture. A on daylight side warm and thin and much higher atmosphere than nighside- again atmosphere which can not hold much water vapor. So roughly daylight side average temperature of
say 0 C and nightside of -36 C [or colder- or if colder, increase rotational speed until it’s -36 C].

• richard verney says:

In my opinion, some very good points upon which to ponder.

I have for years been arguing with Willlis that even absent DWLWIR, the oceans would not freeze, since there is so much solar going into the equatorial and tropical ocean that these would not freeze over.

Perhaps one should consider this the reverse way round, and ask two questions

1. Given that over 70% of all DWLWIR (which is omnidirrectional in nature) is fully absorbed in the top 3 microns of the oceans, and that the only processes said to be mixing this energy to depth and thereby dissipating the energy before it can drive extreme evaporation of the top microns of the oceans, are slow mechanical processes (eg the action of wind, waves,swell, diurnal ocean overturning), why have the oceans not burnt off from the top down these past 4 or so billion years?

2. IF the oceans are absorbing all this solar plus DWLWIR and IF all this energy is being absorbed by the oceans and mixed into them, why are the oceans so very cold after having received all this energy these past 4 or so billion years?

Personally, I consider it wrong to consider the planet as having a temperature of circa 288K. I consider that account should be taken of the average temperature of the oceans, not just the surface. It is only by chance that we see the surface temperature at the level we measure today, and in the future the coldness of the oceans will be important when the planet descends into the deep throes of the ice age it is presently in. At this stage the coldness of the mid/deep ocean will come back to haunt.

If the oceans had throughout a universal temperature the same as that of the surface, the planet might never experience ice ages, or if so, they would be very different. .

• Warming only the top 3 microns of the ocean would cause a very steep temperature gradient immediately below the top 3 microns that results in extremely rapid heat conduction to below the top 3 microns. This process would spread downward until the temperature gradient gets spread over enough depth for mechanical mixing to transfer heat downward more than heat conduction.

• gbaikie says:

–Personally, I consider it wrong to consider the planet as having a temperature of circa 288K. I consider that account should be taken of the average temperature of the oceans, not just the surface. It is only by chance that we see the surface temperature at the level we measure today, and in the future the coldness of the oceans will be important when the planet descends into the deep throes of the ice age it is presently in. At this stage the coldness of the mid/deep ocean will come back to haunt.–

Yes, If count entire ocean temperature we are below 5 C average.
In Earth history the entire ocean has been a lot warmer- +10 C or more. And with warm ocean we much higher average air temperature. But it not a hot tropics, rather it’s tropics similar to our tropics, instead it’s warmer pole ward, and earth’s temperature is more uniform. But fear not skiers, one still gets snow on the mountains- though one might need higher elevation for your powder snow, and ski seasons could be on average shorter.
Of course it would take thousands of years to warm the entire ocean but this is not reason to have world government controlling everyone’s CO2 emissions

• “why have the oceans not burnt off from the top down these past 4 or so billion years?”
There just isn’t a problem there. The oceans are warmer than the source of DWLWIR. They radiate more than they receive. DWLWIR doesn’t “warm” the oceans. It helps stop them from freezing, by making up the heat balance at the surface. It doesn’t need to penetrate (though it could). What completes the supply of warmth to the surface is the absorbed solar heat coming to the surface. Sunlight takes heat to depth, and thereafter the net flux of sensible and IR heat is upward. Do a flux balance.

41. Kurt says:

“Properly defined, a feedback is a change in some climate property given a change in some other climate property. Conceptually, it is a first derivative of the property; a change in one with respect to a change in another. This simple calculus idea (first articulated by Newton and Leibnitz . . . ”

This is incorrect. A feedback is a structural property of a system where the output is routed back to either add to (positive feedback) or subtract from (negative feedback) the input. A first partial derivative of one property of a system with respect to another property only determines the rate of change of one property with respect to another, whether or not the system has feedback. Even if you have a system where an output is a function of two variables, say T is a function of x multiplied by y, where x is also a function of y and y is a function of x, this simply means that the partial derivative of T with respect to x or y is non-linear. That doesn’t imply feedback.

• “Photons DO NOT act as water molecules and “back up” behind a dam across a river.”
Indeed. Interpreting GHE in terms of delay is pointless. There is a much simpler concept – resistance. If you increase resistance in a current, the voltage on the upcurrent side increases. No notion of electrons piling up needed.

Resistance can take the form of back flow, or back radiation. In an electric circuit, you can see this at the input of an amplifier with positive feedback. Without fb, you put in current i, and the voltage rises v. Input impedance v/i. But if the feedback also feeds in current i, then the voltage rises 2v. Input impedance 2v/i. And just because current in sent current back. Same as when IR is emitted up, some comes back.

42. KevinK says:

“GHE is the result of certain gas molecules, most importantly water vapor and CO2, ‘absorbing’ and then ‘scattering’ by omnidirectional re-emission, OLR photons. That is, those atmospheric molecules hinder OLR radiative cooling from Earth’s surface to space.”

With all due respect, there is no such radiative physics effect known as “hindering”. Please buy a copy of Born and Wolf (one of the seminal textbooks that covers most things related to radiation physics) and look for the “hindering” process among the reflection, transmission, scattering, diffraction and interference chapters. You may be surprised to find that there is no such concept in radiation physics as “hindering”.

The OLR photons you are so so convinced have been “hindered” in their normal travels away from the surface of the Earth have only been delayed by some few milliseconds by making a return trip to the surface via “omnidirectional re-emission”. Since they travel at nearly the speed of light this delay is insignificant and has NO EFFECT on the average temperature on the surface of the Earth.

As a degreed and experienced EE (3 decades plus) I can safely state that the climate science community has made a total mockery of “feedback” and Hansen quoting Bode in his work is a JOKE. Hansen has no idea when, how and where electronic feedback theory can be applied successfully. He found some fancy sounding terms from a successful discipline (that brought us radio, TV, radar, GPS, internet,,,,) and decided to borrow some of their fancy words to make his pitiful work seem more impressive.

If the “climate science” community was in charge of designing anything electrical we would still be stuck with knife switches………..

The other experienced EE posting here are totally correct, the “climate science” version of “feedback” is total BS.

Stop trying to be an electronics engineer, it reflects badly on you.

Cheers, KevinK

• “Since they travel at nearly the speed of light this delay is insignificant and has NO EFFECT on the average temperature on the surface of the Earth.”

That is not correct. There are 1362 W/m^2 coming in at any given instant. Every millisecond delay would cause 1.3 J/m^2 of that to pool up behind.

It’s the same principal as a dam across a river. There is a constant inflow. Building a dam delays the flow until it can top the dam. Once it tops the dam, the flow in and the flow out are restored to equilibrium, but the quantity of water that flowed in during that delay has pooled behind the dam.

• richard verney says:

That might have some merit if it were not for the fact that solar is not a 24 hour constant.

In approximate terms, the planet receives solar + DWLWIR for 12 hours, and receives only DWLWIR for 12 hours. The planet does not receive energy as per the K&T energy budget cartoon.

Of course, the planet is radiating 24/7 and the question here is whether on the darkside of the planet there is sufficient time for the photons accumulated during that half’s daylight hours to leave the planet during that half’s nighttime hours.

If the photons are being delayed merely by microns or by seconds, heck even by minutes then all that may be happening is that the coolest period of the night is being put back by micro seconds, or seconds, or heck even by minutes and nothing more than that.

• richard verney says:

My second paragraph is rather loose. One half of the planet receives solar plus DWLWIR for 12 hours and then only DWLWIR for 12 hours (during this time of course the other half of the planet receives 12 hours of only DWLWIR then 12 hours of solar plus DWLWIR). Of course upwelling LWIR is outgoing 24/7 on both sides of the planet.

K&T do not look at the way energy is packaged. In fact, it is because planet Earth is not as per the K&T energy budget cartoon that we experience climate and weather.

The point being made that there is time during the night for all the energy inputted during the day to escape back to space, if GHGs merely interrupt, redirect and delay the path of outgoing photons as KevinK is suggesting.

The Dam example is not a good example. Consider where a river feeds two dams. The output sluice of both dams is always open 24/7, but the river only feeds 1 dam for 12 hours, and then is diverted and feeds the other dam for 12 hours.

• We had a clear night last night, So this morning, I took my ir thermometer out, kiddy pool with a inch of water, on a deck 10′ in the air was 43F, air temps by thermometer was ~51F, so between the cold sky (-37F) and evaporation a isolated pool of water was 8F below air temps, my grass was a wet 51F, and my tan brick patio was 60F.

This was from down below. Just re-posting it.

But to KevinK, Radiatively, something happens late at night when air temps near dew points the cooling rate slows, The sky in 8u-14u was -37F at 8am still in the shade.

• The point I have made is that a time delay does have consequences when you are looking at a continuous flow. In the end, for balance, the TOA spectrum has to integrate to the same outward energy flux as the inward flux. IR gases, mostly water vapor, take a big divot out of the outgoing spectrum. The rest of the spectrum has to rise in order for balance to be maintained.

And so, the atmosphere with IR gases has to be warmer than it would be without them. But, and it’s a big BUT, that does not mean that a further increase in IR gases from a particular starting point necessarily has to result in a greater divot being taken out. There are confounding feedbacks from convection and evapotranspiration that can limit, or even invert, the sensitivity once the concentration has reached a particular level.

It’s like, adding sugar to your coffee makes it sweeter. But, at some level, you can’t make it any sweeter. The solution becomes saturated, and any additional sugar just settles to the bottom of the cup.

That is the weakness in the cartoon level GHE as commonly presented. The GHE is assumed to be a monotonic function of concentration that never falters. There is no basis for that assumption. It is assuredly wrong.

• In the end, for balance, the TOA spectrum has to integrate to the same outward energy flux as the inward flux

It has to, but it can’t daily because hemispherical incoming and outgoing energy levels are not equal.

• KevinK says:

Photons DO NOT act as water molecules and “back up” behind a dam across a river.

Photons do not have mass. Your Dam across a river analogy is wrong in every respect.

Let me ask you, when you turn off the lights in your house do all the photons being reflected off the walls (back radiation) stick around and keep your house illuminated ?

If the “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” can “trap” / “hinder” the flow of photons like a dam across a river why does it get dark inside your house very quickly after you turn out the lights ???

Where are the “pooling” Photons inside your house caused by the “dam” created by the reflective interior walls ???

Cheers, KevinK.

• “Photons DO NOT act as water molecules and “back up” behind a dam across a river.”

Sure, they do. You have yourself stated as much when you agree that GHGs delay emission to space. That’s what a dam does – it slows down the flow until it can overtop the dam.

“Let me ask you, when you turn off the lights in your house do all the photons being reflected off the walls (back radiation) stick around and keep your house illuminated ?”

Yes. My house is aglow with IR radiation at all hours. The walls hinder both convection and radiation of heat energy away from my home, so that I do not freeze at night. The convective effect is much greater than the radiative effect, but it is still there.

“If the “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” can “trap” / “hinder” the flow of photons like a dam across a river why does it get dark inside your house very quickly after you turn out the lights ???”

Because my eyes are not attuned to IR radiation.

“Where are the “pooling” Photons inside your house caused by the “dam” created by the reflective interior walls ???”

Everywhere. They’re all over the place. They can be seen with an IR camera.

Seriously, Kevin. The mistakes the CliSci folk are making are much subtler than this. Just because they are wrong about the whole does not mean they are wrong about all the parts. And, you are making yourself a crank that nobody listens to when you go off the deep end like this. Which would be a shame, because I have seen you make cogent points at other times.

• 1sky1 says:

Hansen has no idea when, how and where electronic feedback theory can be applied successfully.

Agreed! And that fundamental cluelessness has been entrenched in “climate science” ever since in variety of misconceptions as to what constitutes “feedback.” Sadly, a number of these appear in this post, including feedback as “the first derivative of primary mechanisms.” While arguing this interpretation before a lay audience is a successful polemical enterprise, it’s but a scientific-sounding travesty. What is truly ceterus paribus is that ignorance begets ignorance. Enough said.

43. willhaas says:

1. The initial calculations of the climate sensitivity of CO2 not including feedbacks is too high by a factor of 20 because the calculations ignore the fact that a doubling of CO2 will decrease the dry lapse rate in the troposphere enough so to virtually wipe out any warming effect that adding CO2 might have.

2, The AGW conjecture’s positive feedback comes from the idea that CO2 based warming will cause more H2O to enter the atmosphere which will cause even more warming because H2O is also a greenhouse gas. But this idea neglects the fact that H2O is a major coolant in the atmosphere moving heat energy from the earth;s surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. According to some models, more energy is moved by H2O via the heat of vaporization then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. Additional evidence of H2O’s cooling properties is that the wet lapse rate is significantly lower than the dry lapse rate.

3 If H2O did actually amplify the warming effect of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere then it would also amplify the effect of adding more H2O to the atmosphere as well. Such an amplification phenomena would cause a climate instability that has never been observed. The feedback has to be negative for the climate to have been as stable as it has been for at least the past 500 million years, enough for life to evolve.

4. In the troposphere, heat transfer via conduction and convection dominates over radiation so as to wipe our any effect that greenhouse gas LWIR absorption and radiation might have on temperature. The 33 degrees C that the Earth’s surface is warmer because of the atmosphere can all be explained by the convective greenhouse effect as derived from first principals. The insulation effects of the troposphere are all a function of the heat capacity of the atmosphere and the pressure gradient and have nothing what so ever with the LWIR absorption properties of greenhouse gases. The radiative greenhouse effect that the AGW conjecture depends upon has never been observed on Earth nor any where in the solar system.

5. If CO2 did actually affect climate then the increase over the past 30 years should have caused an increase in the natural lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. If CO2 actually operated as an insulator then one would expect there would exist some engineering application where CO2 would be used an an insulator but there is none. For example, a real greenhouse does not stay warm because of the insulation properties of greenhouse gases. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass inhibits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect and not a radiative greenhouse effect.

• I’m mostly with you up to #4. But, for a lapse rate to exist, there must be a heat sink, an avenue for energy to radiate away, at the ERL. Without it, there can be no stable gradient.

• Greg says:

Bart, lapse rate is primarily about pressure and gravitational potential energy. It is not a result of radiation.

• Bartemis says:

Not so. For conditions for a lapse rate to be sustained, you must satisfy particular boundary conditions. Otherwise, the atmosphere can either collapse into a compact shell, or its constituent particles can attain escape velocity and flow out into space, possibly a bit of both, along with phase changes of some constituents to solid state.

• willhaas says:

The convective greenhouse effect is observed on all planets in the solar system with thick atmospheres. It has nothing to do with the LWIR absorption properties of greenhouse gases. A radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed, even on Venus.

• Regarding point #1: Changing CO2 by a few hundred PPM causes negligible change in the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Changing the atmosphere from 100% diatomic molecules to 100% molecules with more than two atoms would decrease the dry adiabatic lapse rate about 9%.

Regarding point #3: The positive feedback from water vapor falls short of causing the total feedback factor to be close to or exceeding 1, and this is why the climate is stable despite water vapor having a positive feedback on things including itself.

Regarding point #4: Sr. Roy Spencer reports observations in some of his August postings in drroyspencer.com.

• “The positive feedback from water vapor falls short of causing the total feedback factor to be close to or exceeding 1…”

This is an assumption that begs the question.

• willhaas says:

The doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will change the heat capacity of the atmosphere enough to cause a slight decrease in the lapse rate, enough so to reduce the radiometric change effects by a factor of 20.

H2O in the atmosphere provides a negative feedback to changes in other greenhouse gases as I have explained. For example, the wet lapse rate is considerable less than the dry lapse rate so more H2O in the atmosphere causes a decrease in the insulation properties of the atmosphere and hence cooling, not warming.

44. Mike the Morlock says:

Rud Istvan
I stand in awe, you have caused more mayhem & emotional outbursts then I can ever hope for in one of my more melancholy moments. Do you hire these people like medieval mourners? This is basic physics. What is the problem?

michael

• That was one of the points of the post. It was to be expected that pointing out incorrect stuff might upset those who said the incorrect stuff.

• MM, and secondarily they are all also now on record in writing. Good fun. Worked as planned.

• Thomas Homer says:

” pointing out incorrect stuff might upset those who said the incorrect stuff.”

Apparently, this holds true for ristvan himself.

When asked to defend his own claim, he responds with inflammatory language from a bruised ego.

• Late thread. wonderful, TH. Now please point out any specifics to back up your accusation. You help reinforce my point. Sort of thanks.

45. Chris Hanley says:

The empirical data don’t support strong positive water vapor feedback built into the models; during the satellite/balloon the era the specific humidity throughout the troposphere was steady of falling; no ‘hot spot’ has been identified in the troposphere over the equator, the surface warming faster than the troposphere; there has been no polar amplification, the Antarctic temperature almost in stasis since 1957; but naturally all this indicates to the alarmists is that the data must be wrong.

• John says:

Chris, do you have any water for water vapour records? The only thing I was ever able to find is something that said the measurements were so inaccurate, it made little point in even publishing the data…

I’m very curious about the link between CO2 and Water Vapour, since such a correlation should be instantaneous. Also, since Water Vapour is the basis for the urgent action camp, one would think it is somehow that is being sought or is being measured and there are countless papers on it?

• Chris Hanley says:

Go to Climate4You, an excellent site full of data like this …

… and brief easily understood commentary by Prof Humlum.

• The Arctic and near-Arctic has been warming more than twice as much as the world excluding that and a same-size Antarctic and near-Antarctic region. This means that even with no Antarctic warming, the polar regions combined have warmed more than the world as a whole – we have polar amplification. Now that the AMO has shifted away from its north-warming phase, expect warming in and near the Antarctic. Note that in the past couple years, Antarctic sea ice coverage decreased from record-setting to near normal.

Even without AMO periodically having north-warming and north-cooling phases, I expect more polar amplification in the north than the south, because there is more land with variable snow cover.

46. There are at least two assumptions that are not scientifically proven to be true. The first one is the sentence “The delta T to doubled CO2 in the absence of feedbacks is 1.1-1.2C.” There are too many papers showing different results.

The second assumption is in the sentence “Since there is much more H2O gas (the global average is about 1.8-2% of the atmosphere) than the ‘trace’ 0.04% CO2, water vapor must be the predominant GHE warmer.” The water is predominant GH gas but it is not solely based on its concentration. If this would be true then the nitrogen would be the predominant GH gas. The molecule structure of a GH gas molecule is as important as its concentration. There is only one way to calculate the real warming effects of GH gases and it is spectral analysis in the real atmospheric conditions. For example ozone is a very strong absorber of SW and LW radiation in the stratosphere, because water concentration there is low.

• You are theoretically wrong on the first claim (there are no credible papers showing a different result, only Sky Dragon stuff that is largely not published, or if, thoroughly already discredited), and observationally wrong on the second claim.

47. paulinuk says:

Modtran http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/modtran/modtran.html allows you to calculate the difference in energy reaching the surface due to a change in atmospheric content, say for example a doubling of CO2.
By putting the height above ground as zero and looking up I get 1.66Wm-2 for a change in CO2 from 280ppm to 400 ppm for the standard US atmosphere with no clouds or rain; this equates to a shift in temperature of 0.44C in equilibrium using the Stefan Boltzmann equation.
Now increasing CO2 from 400ppm to 800ppm gives 3.3Wm-2 difference in IR hitting the surface or a 0.88 C temperature shift.
Just checking the above and now shifting from the CO2 concentration from 280 ppm to 800ppm gives 4.96Wm-2 difference or a 1.32 C temperature shift which is the same as adding the 0.44C and 0.88C above.

• You need to model what happens as rel humidity goes from 80% to 100%.

And what temp do you see for the sky? Or doesn’t it even consider that?

48. Bartemis says:

“Salby does not merit a credible rejoinder at all.”

It never ceases to amaze me how dilettantes think they can gainsay the guy who wrote the book on climate with merely a casual dismissal.

It’s just as spellbinding to see to what lengths people will go to rationalize away a relationship that is right in front of their eyes.

It is absolutely true that internal positive feedback does not violate CoE. The people who claim it does are usually erroneously arguing not about energy, per se, but its rate of change, power. People will say some wattage or other has to balance out some other wattage. But, it doesn’t. Watts is a measure of power, and there is no principal of conservation of power, no CoP. Joules are the measure of energy, and a watt is a joule per second. Eventually, power in has to balance power out, or you get a runaway condition. But, there is no prohibition against temporary power imbalances that can produce a long term change in the thermal state of the system.

However, it is also not true that any positive feedback will necessarily be stabilized by other negative feedbacks, principally that from SB radiation. It is true that SB radiation is enormous, and rapidly increases with the fourth power of temperature. But, that is not enough to stabilize an integral feedback that has arbitrarily high gain at low frequency.

And, CO2 is just such a variable for feedback. The data show clearly that CO2 has an integral relationship with temperature (see 2nd link above). The positive feedback loop created by a positive temperature sensitivity coupled with that integral relationship cannot be stabilized, even with T^4 radiative feedback.

The problem with this entire essay, and the comparison with Bode amplifiers in general, is that it is implicitly assumed that we are dealing with a well-behaved, smooth linear system. It is assumed, moreover, that sensitivities are constant, and globally (in a mathematical sense) valid, across all climatic and atmospheric conditions. It is a confusion of secant lines with tangent lines.

And so, the fact that the GHE warms the planet from what it otherwise would be without IR absorbing gases is extrapolated to an assumption that every incremental addition of GHG produces an incremental increase in temperature. That assumption is unwarranted by the extent of our knowledge.

Equilibrium temperature is established by a complex radiative and convective balance across oceans, atmosphere, and land. There is no justification for assuming a linear relationship that gives a constant sensitivity across all climate states. Because of the potential for instability noted above, we know (well, I know, and maybe some others – the rest of you will learn in time) that in the present climate state, sensitivity of temperature to CO2 is necessarily negligible, effectively zero.

• Greg says:

“It never ceases to amaze me how dilettantes think they can gainsay the guy who wrote the book on climate with merely a casual dismissal.”

The guy who wrote A book about climate.

I’d be more impressed if he published the paper we could all look at in detail: which he said was on the point of being published about three or four years ago, rather than trying to flog me a book for a hundred dollars and doing video presentations.

He has a good point about orthogonality but I don’t a means to get where he goes with that argument. If he has something he should publish.

• Greg says:

The short term rate of change of CO2 does correlate well with SST:

There is still the background rise of about 2ppmv / year.

Is that the same process on a much deeper ocean volume ? Possibly.

Sadly we don’t have accurate CO2 measurements going back far enough to determine the centennial scale changes in the same way.

• richard verney says:

Is the CO2 a response to changes in SST?

We know that the amount of CO2 that is absorbed and can be entrapped in water is proportionate to the temperature of the water. there is a good physics explanation as to why atmospheric CO2 may appear to increase as SST increases, and drop when SST falls.

The question is which is the driver.

As I understand matters Bartemis claims that CO2 lags temperature changes on every time scale and is a response to temperature changes, not a driver of those changes. that is why he argues that in our present era Climate Sensitivity, if any at all, is zero or close thereto.

• Greg says:

“On every time-scale” is Salby’s position but I have not seen a proof of this rigorously presented. While I’m not against the idea, I find that he gets very fuzzy about how he presents this.

It lags on the geologic time-scale and also on the inter-annual time-scale but these are very different situations with what we are currently producing globally. So just joining the two dots and saying “on all time-scales” is not merited.

There is an element of SST producing dCO2 but this may not account for all the change, which is likely to be a combination of out-gassing and emissions. See the article I linked with the graphs.

• Greg @ September 12, 2016 at 1:51 am

“The guy who wrote A book about climate.”

He has written two books, Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics (1996), and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate (2011). The former was one of the most widely used climate texts before he ran afoul of the Inquisition.

“There is still the background rise of about 2ppmv / year.”

And, an acceleration of about 0.1 ppmv/month in about 40 years, reaching a plateau in rate coinciding with the “pause”. This also correlates well with the CO2 data, but not with the emissions data.

Greg @ September 12, 2016 at 3:51 am

“…I have not seen a proof of this rigorously presented.”

It matches very, very well, in a way the emissions data do not, since at least 1958, as the preceding graphs show. In that time, concentration increased from about 315 ppmv to greater than 400 ppmv, which is far and away the lion’s share of the increase that has been observed since the purported pre-industrial level.

It is unnecessary to speculate on other eras as far as addressing the question of anthropogenic attribution. It is very obvious that human activity is not the driving force in the modern era.

• Meant to say, “This also correlates well with the temperaturedata, but not with the emissions data.”

• “It never ceases to amaze me how dilettantes think they can gainsay the guy who wrote the book on climate with merely a casual dismissal.”

Yes, Salby wrote a text on climate. And what does it say about CO2 in the revised edition? Sec 1.2.4:

More recent records evidence a human contribution to the budget of CO2 . Since the dawn of the industrial era (late eighteenth-century), the combustion of fossilfuel has steadily increased the rate at which carbon dioxide is introduced into the atmosphere. Augmenting that source is biomass destruction, notably, in connection with the clearing of dense tropical rainforest for timber and agriculture. (This process produces CO2 either directly, through burning of vegetation, or indirectly, through its subsequent decomposition.) Interactions with the ocean and the biosphere make the budget of CO2 complex. Nevertheless, the involvement of human activities is strongly suggested by observed changes.

The proxy evidence is consistent with nearby instrumental measurements of CO2 , which became available in the twentieth century (solid). Jointly, these records describe a modern increase that has brought rCO to values in excess of 380 ppmv, about 35% higher than pre-industrial values in the proxy record.

The decrease of δ 13 C, together with the increase of rCO , reflects the addition ofCO2 that is 13 C lean. This feature is consistent with the combustion of fossil fuel,as well as biomass destruction.

The concern over increasing CO2 is supported, in part, by large-scale numerical sim ulations. Global Climate Models (GCMs) are used to study climate by including a wide array of physical processes.

That’s what “the book” says.

• The proxy evidence is consistent with nearby instrumental measurements of CO2 , which became available in the twentieth century (solid). Jointly, these records describe a modern increase that has brought rCO to values in excess of 380 ppmv, about 35% higher than pre-industrial values in the proxy record… The monotonic increase dates back to around 1850, with interruptions during the 1880’s and 1890’s and, more conspicuously, during the 1940s and 1950s. If anything, rCO2 during those intervals decreased.

The decrease of δ 13 C, together with the increase of rCO , reflects the addition of CO2 that is 13 C lean. This feature is consistent with the combustion of fossil fuel,as well as biomass destruction. It is equally consistent, however, with the decomposition of organic matter derived from vegetation. Thus, associating the decrease of δ 13 C to the combustion of fossil fuels requires the exclusion of other sources that are 13 C lean. In particular, it relies on CO2 emissions from the ocean, which overshadows other sources of CO2 (Sec. 17.3), having the same isotopic composition as the atmosphere (which would then be left unchanged). Only then can the decrease of δ 13 C be isolated to continental sources, which are weaker and, in particular, to the combustion of fossil fuel, which is an order of magnitude weaker.

The concern over increasing CO2 is supported, in part, by large-scale numerical simulations. Global Climate Models (GCMs) are used to study climate by including a wide array of physical processes. Many can be represented only crudely, with more than a few represented through ad hoc treatment.
_______________

Salby is a professional. He cites evidence both pro and con, and weighs it together to come to a conclusion. Your cherry picking of his words does not incline one to believe that you share such a professional attitude.

• “weighs it together to come to a conclusion”
So where does the book come to a conclusion contrary to what I quoted?

• Bartemis, you inspire a revision of a Salby critique written last year which JC chose not to publish, since was just too much junk science debunked for her rather s rious. We have now three rather than two youtube lectures to dissect. I will get to work on a rather thorough debunk of all three as a possible guest post here. I threatened in this guest post, you asked, it shall be granted. Salby goes down. Many thanks for the request.
Although NS has a good head start. His book isn’t his 3 youtube presentations. Just the opposite.

• Bartemis says:

NS misquoted and cherry picked Salby’s book, as I rather devastatingly showed.

Salby is a serious scientist with serious credentials. I suggest you think very carefully through your critique. You may find it is not he who has leapt to an improper conclusion.

There really is no question that temperatures are the main driver of atmospheric CO2. Or, rather, that a temperature modulated phenomenon is the main driver. This is no accident, and concentration is simply not tracking emissions.

• Bartemis says:

So was Nelson Mandela. I don’t know his current employment situation. But, he definitely has some serious enemies.

• richard@rbaguley.plus.com says:

” forced out” ??? no, Salby was fired for cause, specifically for not fulfilling his contractual requirements (teaching classes) at Macquarie, not to mention abusing the University’s credit card.

• “So was Nelson Mandela. I don’t know his current employment situation.”
He died three years ago, at the age of 95. He finished his term as President of SA at the age of 81, and decided he didn’t want to stand again.

• “Regarding Dr. Salby, his response was posted here. Readers can decide for themselves if politics was a factor in his being forced out.”

It may help to listen to the judge who heard his court case against Macquarie (not reported at JoNova or WUWT).

His employment was suspended on serious misconduct charges after he missed the start of lectures, but he later used the university’s corporate credit card for the European trip.

Justice Driver said Dr Salby had “failed to establish any of the elements of his case” and upheld Macquarie’s termination of his employment.

“Dr Salby did not articulate whether the relevant political opinions were those held by him or those held by the various people he alleges made the impugned decisions,” Justice Driver said.

“Dr Salby has not established that his disciplinary/scientific view about human effects on climate change was in fact mani­fested as a political opinion. Nor has he established that any of the relevant decision-makers had a view that was contrary to his.

“More importantly, he never put to any of the witnesses that they made any of the decisions which he attempts to impugn for the reason of, or for reasons ­including, either his alleged political opinion or theirs.”

• Nick Stokes says:

Yes, Salby wrote a text on climate.

No, he wrote two books. And what Nick cut ‘n’ pasted says what many skeptics have said all along: the rise in CO2 is at least partly caused by the use of fossil fuels. What Nick doesn’t admit to is the evidence that the rise in CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere— and that every scary, alarming prediction has failed miserably.

Nick’s problem is that he’s on the side (and no doubt on the payroll) of the purveyors of the repeatedly debunked “dangerous AGW” climate scare.

Nick is doing the equivalent of falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. He has no credible or convincing evidence that anything unusual or unprecedented is happening, but he still flogs the “carbon” scare.

To repeat: More CO2 is better for the biosphere. Fossil fuel use simply puts it back into the atmosphere, where it came from originally. Furthermore, the rise in CO2 (from ≈300 ppm to ≈400 ppm) means that CO2 is still very low: about one-fifteenth of past levels.

The rise in CO2 has been by only about one part in ten thousand. No one could tell, without using sensitive instruments—just like we can’t tell when CO2 is 800 ppm. It is still just a tiny trace gas. And the belief that rising CO2 will cause runaway global warming (or any global warming, for that matter) has been falsified by the real world.

The only credible evidence shows that the rise in CO2 has been harmless, and beneficial. All the wild-eyed predictions have been debunked by reality. So where does that leave the debate?

It leaves it here: the climate alarmist crowd is still incapable of admitting that they were wrong, even though Planet Earth demonstrates how wrong they are every day. But as long as the money fuels the scare, alarmists will continue to pretend it’s real.

Isn’t that right, Nick?

• As NS has been shown to use selective quoting to further his narrative, I see no reason to respond further. Res ipsa loquitur.

49. Urederra says:

Natural variation surely has not ceased to exist afterwards, since the world cooled in the interim period 1945-1975 despite rising CO2, and since it has not warmed since 2000 except for a now rapidly cooling 2015 El Nino

So, How (or why) does the Earth cool faster at the end of a Niño event? Does it have anything to do with CO2 or water feedbacks or is it other phenomena? which one(s)?

• How (or why) does the Earth cool faster at the end of a Niño event?

It’s warmer out, and warmer cools faster than less warm :)

• gbaikie says:

“So, How (or why) does the Earth cool faster at the end of a Niño event? Does it have anything to do with CO2 or water feedbacks or is it other phenomena? which one(s)?”
CO2 levels increase more- so can’t say it has nothing to do with CO2, but otherwise nothing to do with CO2. El Nino is ocean water near equator traveling westward and this draws up deeper, colder and water enriched with CO2- which causes good fishing off South America.
I guess you say it’s like the gulf stream not going pole ward and that stops and starts. When El Nino stops, one could get strong La Niña [or not]. And a stronger La Niña is associated with cooling phase [and other effects- and likewise El Nino does more than just increase average temperature. For instance La Niña has relationship with more Atlantic hurricanes, and El Nino associated with heavier rainfall on west coast of US].

50. Geoff Sherrington says:

Rud,
Someone a few days ago pointed to the inability to solve for A and B the equation A + B =10.
Make A = IR effect of water vapour and B = IR effect of CO2.
Back in 1880 we do not have estimates of the concentrations of water vapour and CO2 in the air, nor do we have a good global temperature. Therefore, using a rough calculation for primary sensitivity using 1880 values and values now, ‘fixes’ CO2 and H2O concentrations at both times, of necessity. What were the the concentrations of water vapour in the 1880s, known or not?
Further, there is no escape from such physical effects as IR interacting with these molecules. When processes happen it is not an option to say that we cannot measure the effect. When global temperatures fall as CO2 increases, the temperature change must follow. It does not. Maybe you can name some place where the effect is parked until it resumes normal behaviour. Then, there is the matter that there has to be a high enough concentration of CO2 to exert a measurable effect and an effect that sits in place beside water vapour , A B and 10 again?
Lastly, I have not seen a proof of the logarithmic response that you here and others rely on to make it all fit (badly). Does it follow from no more than adoption of a Beer-Lambert relation?

• Good comments Geoff. Even though we would know exactly (as we know pretty well) what are the warming effects of H2O and CO2, we do not know the concentration trends since 1880. The logarithmic response for CO2 concentration is confirmed by some research papers (at Myhre et al. and me). The CO2 concentration is so high that Beer-Lambert relation is not valid any more. N2O and CH4 are about on the higher limit of this relationship.

Here is the link to my paper about the strength of CO2: http://www.seipub.org/des/MostDownloaded.aspx

Regards, Dr. Antero Ollila

• Greg says:

Thanks for the link.

• Geoff Sherrington says:

Hi Antero,
I am a little familiar with some of your past publications. Maybe I can resolve this down to a single question:
Has anyone measured the energy generated by IR and CO2, as opposed to calculated through gas radiation physics, line by line spectral calculations, lines in the wings distorting logarithmic relationships of the central lines and so on? Measured, not calculated?
As an aside, I think I’m correct to state that the power 4 in S-B type relationships might also be unmeasured. It seems to arise from a mathematical integration of an equation carrying a power of 3 related to volume geometry of a sphere. Too many decades since I studied this, but given the importance now attached to this type of work, it does merit going right back to the foundations with a new eye.

• GS, short answer is yes. We have satellites above TOA with sophisitcated sensitive EM sensors at all relevant wavelengths. They measure incoming solar, reflected solar, and outgoing infrared based on solar heating. And they do that eventually over almost all the world, over the last 15 plus years. So those data are hardly speculative.

• So those data are hardly speculative.

But what is the uncertainty compared the the signal, and remember it’s going to rake a year before you can check the balance across both hemispheres and you have to account for all of that uncertainty.

51. richard verney says:

I am looking forward to the author’s comments upon the points raised in this commentary. There appears a number of points raised that require his comment in order to take the debate forward.

• Thomas Homer says:

I look forward to the author recanting his assertion that CO2 forcing is logarithmic. He at least admitted that he cannot apply this forcing to very high concentrations of atmospheric CO2, and I can easily show how implausible this logarithmic forcing is for very low concentrations of atmospheric CO2. (With only a single molecule of CO2 for each square meter of Earth’s surface area there would be 2^49 molecules of CO2 and by his logarithmic claim, that concentration of CO2 would be trapping over 70 degrees of heat.)

No scientist would make such a broad assertion that clearly does not hold true across all values, without providing some measure of qualification. For this reason I discount all of his reasoning and leave the contemplation of his word salad to others.

Now if he is interested in moving this debate forward, the author can provide detailed qualifications of his assertion. Of course, knowing that there is no CO2 forcing means that his qualifications will not be scientifically derived.

• TH, none is needed. Google Fu. The logarithmic nature of CO2 doubling has been well established for many decades. I do not waste time debating ignorami. Educate yourself rather than proving you have no clue about radiative physics. Then get back.
Your comment/belief allows Obama to call all of us ‘Flatearthers’. I really resent that, and your ignorance of basic physics. Learn. Stop making stupid loser arguments. Please.

• RV, won’t happen. Monckton things he is right on everything; we’ve had that go around before. Greg thinks he knows everything. And so on. The post allows others use Google Fu to learn what the world has to say on each specific point made. Or, they can read the literally hundreds of footnote references to the Lindzen reviewed climate chapter of The Arts of Truth, or to relevant essays in Blowing Smoke with a foreword from Judith Curry. Let denizens learn and then form their own judgements on how things work. Makes for better general discussion.

52. Leo Smith says:

A point about Planck and feedback

Feedback depends on where you draw the boundaries of the system.

E.g,. an amplifier has input and output and internal feedback.,

Plug a guitar in one end and a 4×12 in the other, and if you then consider that resultant mess as a diofferent system, that has feedback via and acoustic and electromechanical pathway.

Add in the neighbours banging on the walls, and we have another system with a social feedback element, and I will act as part of it and turn the volume down.

In order for global warming to happen, first of all you need to understand what is meant by the term

Shifting the same amount of heat from up high in the stratosphere to ground level is human relevant climate change for the same total heat content.

The main claim of AGW protagonists is that ex of any lag terms, CO2 will reduce heat loss at a given (surface) temperature. Thus leading to rising temperatures. That this flies in the face of Planck is covered by the fact that in the end Planck is abandoned as the earth is not considered to be a black body.

WE are then simply into the realms of effective albedo, to determine surface level incoming radiation, and the effective radiation temperature of the earth as seen from deep space, to determine the loss.

The CO2 mythology then becomes a case of postulating that night time effective radiation is in fact COLDER at the radiation ‘surface’ in the upper atmosphere, so the lower regions can get hotter, and still keep the radiation balance. This to be done by IR absorption in the atmosphere by CO2 and or water vapour.

However as far as I am aware, this increased lapse rate has been shown not to exist.

Which begs the question of whether or not the actual climate variation is in fact being determined less by loss of night time cooling, than by greater daytime heating, which implies either a change in solar output (its te sun, stupid) , or albedo (head in the clouds), or both.

IN that context spreading solar irradiance meters all over the planet, disguised as away of generating electricity, may actually prove to be of some use after all.

53. dave says:

The greatest thing that Lord Monkton can now do is to explain his views, especially how IPCC miscalculated climate sensitivity in simple plain words. This will be the only way that politicians and the media will understand. Most highly educated scientists cannot follow his advanced mathematics. What a great service Lord Monkton can do if he do this.

54. Bill Illis says:

Feedbacks can indeed be positive and not result in a substantial warming or runaway warming.

The real limiting factor is the Stefan Boltzmann equation in that temperatures only rise at the fourth power of the energy (forcings and feedbacks).

Runaway does not happen until the forcing and feedbacks results in temperatures getting to 100C somewhere on Earth so that the water boils away and enters the atmosphere.

55. This morning was a good example of what’s going on. We had low dew points yesterday, ~55F@4PM Air temp was ~76F. From about 5PM temps (75F) dropped 20F by 1AM. 2.5F/hour, from 1am to 7 am it dropped about 3F total, air temps were near dew point, rel humidity was 95%.
The day before it dropped 10F over 9 hours with 100% rel humidity it did rain some near the beginning, but it didn’t change the cooling rate.
We had a clear night last night, So this morning, I took my ir thermometer out, kiddy pool with a inch of water, on a deck 10′ in the air was 43F, air temps by thermometer was ~51F, so between the cold sky (-37F) and evaporation a isolated pool of water was 8F below air temps, my grass was a wet 51F, and my tan brick patio was 60F.

Co2 is not slowing nightly cooling.

But it’d be easy to argue my brick, and concrete, and asphalt driveway store far more heat than what Co2 does, by at least one order of magnitude (2.7W/m^2 vs ~20W/m^2).

When you examine night time cooling compared to yesterday’s temps, there is no loss of cooling at night.

56. IPCC defines ECS as Forcing/Lambda, where lambda is the sum of all feedbacks. If the feedback would be near zero [K W-1 m2], which is quite possible considering all uncertainties of the models used to estimate them, then ECS should approach ± infinity. This is sooooo absurdly wrong that nobody wants to notice.
See details: http://bit.ly/2cR9s8S

• A simple question is due here. I can see that SB can convert temperature into W/m^2 but what’s in the Gs box that can convert w/m^2 into T? Could it be that T represents stored energy in some mass? If so, it means that Gs has an integrator and the transfer function has a real pole. Static analysis goes out the window.

57. My, but what a load of rubbish from Istvan this time. I suppose he should be applauded for trying, but his Harvard Economics degree is simply far too inadequate for the task.

As a chemical process engineer of more than 40 years experience, I observe that it is a very good thing my colleagues in engineering do not ever listen to Istvan.

This is so wrong it would require weeks or more to explain it properly.

Posts like this do NOT advance the AGW skeptical cause.

• Mr. Sowell,

it is clear that you think his guest post is bad,then you insult him over it.

Since you didn’t post any examples of his claimed errors, despite your 40 years of experience as an Engineer,you are coming across as full of empty babbling words. Maybe YOU are not up to the task to address it,as it is too hard for you?

Surely you can do better than that,Roger?

• For Sunsettommy, I don’t have the weeks and weeks required to correct the Harvard Economist impersonating/posing as a scientist. His English is very bad, his definitions are wrong, but at least he has the engineers laughing.

But, just for starters, the climate system is not at steady state, and heat input from the sun is not a constant 240 W/m2. Surface solar heating varies from 1,000 W/m2 or a bit more at noon in the tropics, down to 100 W/m2 and less at the terminator line.

Those who use averages in radiant heat transfer calculations in non-steady state problems set themselves up for failure. There is a 4th power of the absolute temperature that cannot be trifled with.

Those who mis-apply definitions and principles of dynamic process control can never obtain correct results.

Like I said, I applaud the Harvard Economist for trying. It is quite amusing.

58. Regarding vapor being so present in the atmosphere that the global average is about 1.8-2% of the atmosphere: Figures that I have seen for precipitable water in the atmosphere range from 25 to 30 mm for a global average, and I consider 26 mm as most credible. Using 30 mm, this means 30 kg of water vapor over the average square meter of the earth’s surface. The atmosphere’s average mass is 5.148E18 kg, over 5.1072E14 m^2 of surface area, or 10,080 kg/m^2. 30 kg/m^2 is close to .3% of this by mass, and this is a high side figure. Wikipedia says the total atmosphere is .25% water vapor by mass.

I think an appropriate figure is percent by volume, since that is how CO2 is reported. .25% H2O by weight is about .4% vapor H2O by volume, and .3% H2O by weight is about .48% by volume, since a water molecule has about 62% of the average mass of an air molecule.

59. Dave Rutledge says:

Thanks for a great post. As an electrical engineer involved in designing and selling microwave amplifiers that use positive feedback to increase the gain by only 1db (feedback gain factor of 1.1), I am painfully aware of how hard it is to get stable linear feedback gain. I have listened to many climate talks by people who casually employ quasi-linearity and enormous feedback gain factors and that complete ignore stability issues. However, Willis Eschenbach’s posts emphasizing the critical importance of non-linear damping factors at the higher temperatures have helped me understand better both the limitations of my background and those of climate scientists in dealing with feedback. In any event it all points to climate sensitivities in the range of 1.6 rather 3.2. It looks like Guy Callendar got it right in the 30s.

• Thanks Dave. Coming from you at Caltech, that is a much appreciated complement.

60. Hell Rud,

Re your above comment on Salby

My work predates Salby by several years and make fewer claims.

I have yet to hear a credible rebuttal of my conclusions.

If you want to comment, please email me via my website.

Here is a general reference, my 2008 icecap.us paper is referenced within. See points 1. 2 and 3 below wrt Salby.

Regards, Allan

EVIDENCE SUGGESTING TEMPERATURE DRIVES ATMOSPHERIC CO2 MORE THAN CO2 DRIVES TEMPERATURE
September 4, 2015
By Allan MacRae
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/13/presentation-of-evidence-suggesting-temperature-drives-atmospheric-co2-more-than-co2-drives-temperature/

Observations and Conclusions:

1. Temperature, among other factors, drives atmospheric CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature. The rate of change dCO2/dt is closely correlated with temperature and thus atmospheric CO2 LAGS [Lower Tropospheric] temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record

2. CO2 also lags temperature by ~~800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.

3. Atmospheric CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.

4. CO2 is the feedstock for carbon-based life on Earth, and Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are clearly CO2-deficient. CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.

5. Based on the evidence, Earth’s climate is insensitive to increased atmospheric CO2 – there is no global warming crisis.

6. Recent global warming was natural and irregularly cyclical – the next climate phase following the ~20 year pause will probably be global cooling, starting by ~2020 or sooner.

7. Adaptation is clearly the best approach to deal with the moderate global warming and cooling experienced in recent centuries.

8. Cool and cold weather kills many more people than warm or hot weather, even in warm climates. There are about 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths every year in the USA and about 10,000 in Canada.

9. Green energy schemes have needlessly driven up energy costs, reduced electrical grid reliability and contributed to increased winter mortality, which especially targets the elderly and the poor.

10. Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die. That is the tragic legacy of false global warming alarmism.

• AM, I will take a look but need a couple of days. Blogging is not my full time job.
2, 8,9, 10 probably correct. At least 1, 3, 5 dubious. Have to look at your stats in light of autocorrelation problems.
IMO there are much easier ways to convincingly refute CAGW. No C except in models. Small a in aGW. Really simple incontrovertible stuff. Delta CO2 lags shorter than ice cores, sketchy. See essay Cause and Effect for a dissection of four different examples.

• Hi Rud,

RE #1 – Autocorrelation/”spurious correlation” was refuted in 2008.
The best the alarmists have come up with on the 9-month lag of CO2 after temperature is an alleged “feedback effect”, with zero supporting evidence – warmist cult nonsense, imo. See Figures 1 to 4 in my 2008 icecap.us paper or this plot:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/mean:12/derivative/plot/uah/from:1959/scale:0.22/offset:0.14

RE #I and 2 – different lags exist for different (approx.) cycle lengths. #3 is just a summary of #1 and 2.

RE #5 -” Insensitive” means ECS is less than 1C, and probably a lot less, because the only signal observable in the modern data record is as described in #1. Similar to your “small a in aGW”. I say ECS is so small it is materially irrelevant.

I am confident about #1, 3 and 5 and others – my only reservation in all 10 points is with #6 re imminent global cooling, and I hope to be wrong there – because of #8, 9 and 10.

Politicians may have brewed “the perfect storm”, damaging the electrical grid with costly and destructive green energy schemes to “fight global warming”, even as the climate cools.

Regards, Allan

• Rud you said: “IMO there are much easier ways to convincingly refute CAGW.”

I agree, but that is not my sole objective. Climate science interests me, and I suggest that both sides (warmist vs skeptic) of the global warming debate probably have “put the cart before the horse”.

Unlike some others, I do not say that temperature is the primary driver of increasing CO2, although that could be correct. Land use changes, fossil fuel combustion, etc could also contribute – but I do say that this increase in atmospheric CO2 is not harmful and is beneficial to humanity and the environment.

I am still reasonably confident that that the future cannot cause the past. :-)

See also Humlum et al, January 2013, written five years after my paper:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112001658
Highlights
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature.
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5–10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature.
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature.
– Changes in ocean temperatures explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980.
– Changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions.

Best, Allan

• WRT CO2/temperature causation, I agree with Allan MacRae based on real world observations. So far, I’ve found no credible data showing that ∆CO2 causes ∆T. It may, but when something is not capable of causing any observed changes following a particular input, then the Null Hypothesis has not been falsified even if CO2 causes some minuscule warming. In order to falsify the Null Hypothesis, it must be shown that rising CO2 causes a measurable change.

But all such observations show a one way cause-and-effect: ∆T causes ∆CO2. And while rising CO2 may cause a slight rise in global temperature, there are no corroborating, confirming observations.

Therefore, ∆CO2 can be disregarded; it is just too small to make a measurable difference.

• Hello Rud?

Rud – Come in please.

db – have you heard from Rud?

• Hello Rud,

Are you working on a response as you stated? If so, kindly notify me when and where you post it.

You can contact me through my website.

Regards, Allan

Post Script:

I discovered the close relationship between dCO2/dt as a function of temperature T in late 2007 (and the resulting ~9 month lag of CO2 after T) and posted my paper in January 2008 on Joe d’Aleo’s site icecap.us. Some of my scientist friends warned me that I would be attacked, and they were right.

I recall the baseless attacks from both sides of the fractious “mainstream” global warming debate, both sides inextricably wedded to their hypothesis that CO2 primarily drives global temperature. They continue to argue about “how much warming will result from increasing CO2”, a little or a lot – aka “My ECS is bigger than yours!”. :-)

The strong winds from all their frantic arm-waving have abated, replaced by a nervous calm, as few want to venture into the scary depths of this important question. Most just want to ignore it, play with their ECS’s and wave away Salby and Humlum or even slander them. I met Salby recently in Calgary and he seems like a decent guy, who bears all the bullying with dignity – maybe all of you should give him a break.

61. Michael Carter says:

“damped by clouds in two logical ways, albedo and precipitation (negative primary system response, a damped system that cannot undergo ‘tipping point excursions’).”

True, but I would not overlook changes in fluid circulation: atmospheric and oceanic currents. In the longer term we also have biological feedbacks

• Yes. Agree. I nodded to those in the direct c/dc comments referencing greening and coccoliths. But dunno for sure. Have better knowledge of WVF and clouds.

62. Richard Petschauer says:

Feedback should be based on changes in surface temperature caused by changes in surface temperature through some physical mechanism because we are interested in surface temperature. The common IPCC method refers all changes back to forcing at the the top of the atmosphere. Hence ignoring the large negative feedback from increased sea surface evaporation with temperature. This evaporation cooling reduces the net surface warming and also moves heat to the atmosphere when the added humidity condenses into clouds with the released heat increasing radiation to space from cloud tops. Evaporation at one place combined with condensation at another place is how home AC systems work. Nature has a similar air conditioning system powered by the climate.

By this definition, the Planck effect is not true feedback but a change in temperature due to a change in forcing such as a change in net solar energy at the surface or warming in the upper atmosphere which migrates to the surface.

Most feedback in amplifiers is negative so the final gain will vary less in percentage that the variation of the components used. And automatic gain control (AGC), a form of negative feedback, has been used for years in radios and TVs going back to vacuum tube technology to compensate for large variation in the incoming signal strength from the broadcasting stations.

• “Hence ignoring the large negative feedback from increased sea surface evaporation with temperature.”
It doesn’t ignore it – it treats it correctly. Evaporation does not cool the climate. Water evaporates, condenses and returns to the sea in the state at which it started. How could that change enthalpy. It transports heat, but the objective of the TOA definition is to capture the total upflux of heat. At lower altitudes that flux is split between IR, LH transport and convection.

• 1sky1 says:

Evaporation does not cool the climate.

Evaporation is the principal mechanism of heat transfer from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere, exceeding all other mechanisms combined. It’s effect is to sharply reduce the surface temperature from the values obtained via the Schwarzschild-Milne equation governing radiative transfer. To be sure, that is not a feedback mechanism in any rigorous sense of that word. But the persistent resort to misleading half truths by AGW disciples in pop-sci forums is dismaying.

• “But the persistent resort to misleading half truths”
So do you think evaporation does cool the climate?

I was responding to an assertion that IPCC “Hence ignoring the large negative feedback from increased sea surface evaporation with temperature.”. Do you think they should have included negative feedback from increased sea surface evaporation?

I said that LH transports heat. But the relevant thing is that no net cooling is created in the atmosphere being modelled.

• Richard Petschauer says:

Nick,

There must also be heat balance at the surface and that is the place that is more important to humans. Look at the well known Trenberth et all and similar energy balance papers . IR Radiation leaves the surface at 396 Wm-2 and increases 5.4 / C. Latent heat through evaporation is 80 Wm-2 and increases 5.4 / C (about 6% / C from basic physics). This is now being ignored regarding what happens at the surface. So to reach a balance at the surface the radiation increase drops (lower temp) because of the help from latent heat transfer. This is negative feedback referred to the surface temperature. This is somewhat offset by the warming clouds increasing the back radiation to the surface. Yes there is such a thing. It can becresad with an IR thermometer. Radiation heat transfer between a warm and cooler body is proportional to (Twarm^4 – Tcool^4). The enthalpy concept is OK at the surface.

The liquid freon in your air conditioner evaporates in your home and cools it and then condenses outside, releasing heat and returns to your home to its original state. Just like water returns. So what is your point?.

• 1sky1 says:

As RP correctly points out above, it’s the heat energy budget at the surface, not at TOA, that is the main practical concern. After all, that’s what determines the terrestrial emissions that are variously absorbed, re-emitted, scattered and transmitted by the atmosphere. Since radiation is ultimately the only ticket for energy to space, the fact that enthalpy tends to be conserved on a planetary basis regardless of evaporation is a rather trivial observation. Nor is it strictly true, because some energy is dissipated via photosynthesis and another portion is persistently converted to mechanical energy that drives winds, waves and currents. That’s what the real-world surface climate is all about.

63. Properly defined, a feedback is a change in some climate property given a change in some other climate property.

You don’t hold with the engineering definition that a “feedback” is a response that alters the input?

If an increase in surface temperature causes an increase in surface evaporation rate, that is not a “feedback”. If the increase in surface evaporation rate causes an increase in cloud cover which reduces incoming radiant energy from the sun, that is a feedback. This definitional issue has been raised many times.

Your definition does not distinguish “effects” from “feedbacks”.

64. The GHE is not an increase in heat, does not involve CO2 ‘creating’ heat, and does not violate COE. All wrong conceptualizations of AGW basics. Earth’s heat energy input is provided by solar ISR, at about a constant 240wm-2 (Monckton FoC #3 table 1, and Nick Stokes comments to Fubar). GHE is the result of certain gas molecules, most importantly water vapor and CO2, ‘absorbing’ and then ‘scattering’ by omnidirectional re-emission, OLR photons. That is, those atmospheric molecules hinder OLR radiative cooling from Earth’s surface to space. A surface warmed by ISR but not cooled by an equivalent amount of OLR will warm until the increase in resultant surface temperature produces enough additional OLR to restore the net balance.

So, “not an increase in heat” transforms somehow to an “increase in resultant surface temperature”? Obviously you meant something other than what you wrote. On the whole, your essay has more noise than signal. There is an increase in retained heat, not created by CO2, and there is no violation of COE; you got two out of three in that sentence correct, but then you added distracting stuff like a claim of Fubar; and in the end contradicted your opening clause.

I suggest you rewrite this, perhaps with the help of the poor PhD fellow who translated the Chinese paper that was put up a couple days ago. That had fewer mistakes.

65. “I suggest you rewrite this”
A minor change needed to satisfy your extravagant objection – the GHE is not an increase in heat production. Or export. All true. If you pile on blankets, you get warmer, but you don’t generate more heat.

66. Can someone please explain how the radiation model explains the lapse rate

• You can google that. Why waste time with an ignorami?

• Gabro says:

The singular is ignoramus.

67. Very good article, as were your prior article — wish you had time for more of them here.

You should mention your book each time.

I automatically liked after seeing the word “warmunists”.

But I did have brief comments on these two sentences:

(1) “Feedbacks are properly understood as ‘first derivatives’ of basic climate properties, not those properties themselves.”

MY COMMENT: Is it possible that so little is known about the exact causes of climate change, that a variable we currently are sure is a “basic climate property” … is actually a feedback?

(2) “Since the climate according to warmunists was in proximate ‘property equilibrium’ circa 1880 per their basic CAGW theory … “,

MY COMMENT: Everybody who is anybody knows Earth’s climate was perfect on June 6, 1750 at 2pm — any change from the CO2 content and average temperature at that hour, on that day *** … is a catastrophe … and the only solution is more government regulations and taxes on everything related to energy.

*** Average temperature and CO2 data are close to wild guesses for 1750, of course, but after proper “adjustments” by goobermint bureaucrats, the data morph into ultra-sccurate numbers presented to the public in hundredths of a degree C.

Climate blog for non-scientists:
Free
No ads.
No money for me
A public service
— Liberals should stay away, or risk high blood pressure!.
http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

• RG, a belated return. On your point one, Imthink we know enough romget a general outline that fits loosely together with due allowance for Curry’s uncertainty monster. On your point two, I did not say perfect. i said in rough equilibrium save the long slow march out of the LIA.
As for warmunism. I give all idea credit to Vaclav Klaus, former heead of the Czech Republic, in his book Blue Planet in Green Chains. See last paragraph of essay Climatastrosophistry in ebook Blowing Smoke.
And your link is now in my iPad bookmarks list for periodic review.
Regards.

68. KevinK says:

Richard Verney wrote;

“If the photons are being delayed merely by microns or by seconds, heck even by minutes then all that may be happening is that the coolest period of the night is being put back by micro seconds, or seconds, or heck even by minutes and nothing more than that.”

Exactly, the delay in the flow of photons merely changes the response time of the gases in the atmosphere causing them to warm up ever slightly faster at Sunrise and every slightly slower at Sunset. It also probably shifts the peak daytime temperature just slightly sooner in the 24 hour cycle.

Given the dimensions of the atmosphere (5-10 miles), the speed of light (still considered quite speedy at 186,000 miles per SECOND), and accounting for multiple passes through the system this delay is most likely on the order of a few tens (perhaps a few hundreds) of milliseconds.

For reference purposes there are about 86 MILLION milliseconds in a day.

Ironically enough the climate science community has been looking at the entire wrong end of the time scale. If you want to see the effects of additional CO2 in the atmosphere is is necessary to make temperature measurements every few milliseconds, not every day.

If the concentration of “GHE” gases was large enough AND they had sufficient thermal capacity then the delay may approach the “frequency” of the arriving daylight, In that case the “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” would be able to affect the average temperature at the surface of the Earth. In other words; some photons would be “leftover” from yesterday to make it a little warmer today.

Cheers, KevinK

69. KevinK says:

Bartemis wrote;

“Let me ask you, when you turn off the lights in your house do all the photons being reflected off the walls (back radiation) stick around and keep your house illuminated ?”

Yes. My house is aglow with IR radiation at all hours. The walls hinder both convection and radiation of heat energy away from my home, so that I do not freeze at night.”

With all due respect those IR Photons are coming from the walls/ceiling/furnishings inside your house. They are created because all those items have been heated by your furnace/heat pump/solar cell/windmiil.

They are not created by LWIR from the other furnishing inside you house.

A dam works by slowing the velocity of water flow. This can be seen with a small 1 inch high “dam”.

The “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” does not change the velocity of light.

There is a difference between a diminished velocity and a delay.

So we have discussed; solar blankets, resistors, steel greenhouses and now we have dams as the prospered analogy for the “Radiatve Greenhouse Effect”.

The correct analogy is well known and has been around for over a century. That is the optical integrating sphere (aka an Ulbricht Sphere). It exhibits what a climate scientist would call 100% radiative forcing and yet the light coming out of it is not any “brighter” than the light entering it….. Where is the “Positive Feedback” ?????

Cheers, KevinK

• Bartemis says:

If by “solar blankets” you mean MLI blankets, they definitely do work by impeding radiative egress of heat. They do exactly what you are saying cannot be done. And, they absolutely, positively, do work as designed.

• If by “solar blankets” you mean MLI blankets, they definitely do work by impeding radiative egress of heat. They do exactly what you are saying cannot be done. And, they absolutely, positively, do work as designed.

There’s a chapter in the book on that, it’s under reflection.

• KevinK says:

Yes, MLI blankets work as designed IN A VACUUM to keep objects in a vacuum more stable with respect to temperature. They can be used to keep heat “in” or to keep heat “out”. But they do not make a passive object maintain a higher temperature permanently.

The object being blanketed has to be a source of heat (something consuming electricity and producing heat like electronics for example). Or the human body.

Wrapping MLI around a passive object (a round ball of metal) and launching it into space will not cause it to reach a higher temperature.

MLI is also wrapped around sensitive space telescopes which also have electrical heaters attached to provide a source of heat. Using the MLI in combination with a source of heat helps maintain the stable temperatures needed to keep large space borne structures stable.

For reference purposes a “source of heat” consumes energy (oil, electricity, wood) and emits thermal energy without cooling off. A “reservoir of heat” emits thermal energy and loses that thermal energy. If those loses exceed thermal energy gains it cools off.

An electric heater is a “source of heat”, a rock (like the Earth) is merely a “reservoir” of heat. Very important distinction.

Cheers, KevinK.

• a rock (like the Earth) is merely a “reservoir” of heat

On average it cools slightly more at night than it warmed the day before (75 million daily samples) over a year, but it’s easy to measure warm asphalt after a night of cooling, a few days ago my driveway was still 10F warmer than air temps, and almost 20F more than my yard.

• Bartemis says:

“Yes, MLI blankets work as designed IN A VACUUM to keep objects in a vacuum more stable with respect to temperature.”

Indeed, they do. And, the way they do that is by slowing the egress of heat energy via radiation.

When in Sunlight, the MLI reflects back a lot of the incoming radiation. But, for the radiation that gets through, it keeps the satellite warmer than it otherwise would be for the same input radiant energy without the MLI.

“They can be used to keep heat “in” or to keep heat “out”. But they do not make a passive object maintain a higher temperature permanently.”

They absolutely do, which they must, if the preceding is true (which, it is).

This is cut and dried. Old news. Applied technology each and every day since the dawn of the Space Age.

• “Yes, MLI blankets work as designed IN A VACUUM to keep objects in a vacuum more stable with respect to temperature.”

It is precisely the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere is not a vacuum, and has other modes of heat transport than just radiation, that is the weak point in the AGW argument.* I suggest you redirect your energies in that direction.

*Well, it’s a weak point. The major weak point, though it is not widely recognized as such yet, is that humans have little impact on atmospheric CO2 levels in the first place.

70. KevinK says:

Opps; “prospered” should have been “proffered”. That one is on me, I can’t blame the spell checker.

Cheers, KevinK

71. KevinK says:

Oh, also, there is an effect known as “self absorption” present in an optical integrating sphere. This effect does indeed cause a light bulb to “warm” from “back radiation”. The light bulb does indeed “see” the back radiated light and it does indeed warm (as proffered (got it right that time) by the “GHE” hypothesis),

However, there is one very important consideration that applies; the light bulb is only able to stay at a “warmer” state due to the presence of an external power supply. A light bulb (incandescent filament) is merely an energy conversion device; it converts electrons to photons. It’s efficiency (aka efficacy) is dependent on it’s temperature. When it is warmed by the back radiation it becomes slightly more efficient (a few tenths of a percent). The important thing to note is that is it the presence of an electrical power supply (constant voltage, or more preferred constant current) that is able to sustain this higher temperature.

Without the amplifying (aka gain) effect provided by the power supply the light bulb would quickly cool back down. This is in fact an example of “feedback” in a radiative physics situation. It is important to note that this is only possible due to the “gain” provided by the power supply. Without this externally supplied gain there would be no “feedback”. In fact if you unplug the power supply a light bulb inside an optical integrating sphere will merely cool down to room temperature just slightly slower (probably imperceptible without expensive instrumentation) than a light bulb that is not inside an integrating sphere.

Cheers, KevinK

• Gk, one of us is wrong. i stongly, based on a century of physics, suggest it is you. Not worth wasting further time on such basic ohysics ignorance. Your links merely show how bad the blogosphere can be. For a ‘vaccination’ ‘cure’ get my ebook The Arts of Truth. Cheap, and deals with your problem extensively.

72. basicstats says:

Properly defined, a feedback is a change in some climate property given a change in some other climate property. Conceptually, it is a first derivative of the property; a change in one with respect to a change in another

This Bode stuff makes my eyes glaze over, but as a definition of feedback this just does not seem right. Apart from anything else, Monckton says feedback is unitless and derivatives are likely not. The feedback is the multiplier (as in economics) when a derivative is written in geometric series form. I think??

• Thompson David says:

First if the feedback gain is (1-gh)^1 GH must unitless, the units of g are the inverse of the units of h.
The derivitives are the values that set g and h. We posit changes to the climate to see how it changes the relationship between forcing and temperature.
Feedbacks are not in the gain equation, just the derivatives.

• Thompson David says:

1 is unitless.
Boltzmann is W/m^2 per K, what does the inverse of that mean?

73. KevinK says:

Bartemis/Tony/Steve;

“It is precisely the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere is not a vacuum, and has other modes of heat transport than just radiation, that is the weak point in the AGW argument.* I suggest you redirect your energies in that direction.”

I will direct my energies as I see fit, thank you very much. I am bored with reading old newspaper articles, surely you must be as well by now.

The “Radiative Greenhouse Effect” is an optical illusion, a mirage, a chimera…

This was shown By R. W. Wood over a century ago (and replicated again and again recently).

He also disproved the existence of “N Rays”, good thing too or the government would want to restrict our use of “N ray” producing metals…..

Cheers, KevinK.

74. KevinK says:

Bartemis;

“But, for the radiation that gets through, it keeps the satellite warmer than it otherwise would be for the same input radiant energy without the MLI.”

NO, without an internal source of heat (like the three astronauts in the Apollo capsule) the satellite WILL NOT BE warmer “than it otherwise would be” without the MLI.

Of course that assumes that there even was three astronauts in an Apollo capsule………….

Have you ever even been near a space vehicle ? I help design them for a living, I have been next to many of them on the factory floor before they get launched. I have participated in design reviews where the thermal modelling that predicts the onboard temperature when they reach orbit is “scrubbed”, have you ?

Oh and by the way everybody is thrilled if the predictions match within plus or minus 5 degrees….

Plus or minus 5 degrees is “State of the Art” in predicting temperatures resulting from received/emitted radiation. Conductive is better, convective is worse.

Cheers, KevinK

75. KevinK says:

Lets modify that last statement just a bit, satellites normally operate with one side facing the Sun and one side facing the “energy void” of space. The MLI moderates the temperature rise on the “hot” side and moderates the temperature drop on the “cold” side.

It does not cause the satellite to reach a higher “average” temperature (hot and cold side averaged) than it would without the MLI.

Just like “GHG’s do not cause the Earth to “reach a higher temperature”.

• Ben Wouters says:

Hi Kevin
You seem to talk the language I need to convey my ideas on why the average surface temperatures on Earth are over 90K higher than those on the moon.
To me the basic role of the atmosphere is to reduce the energy loss to space from ~400 W.m^2 (blackbody at ~290K) to ~240 W/m^2. (plus distribute energy, creating all kinds of interesting weather ;-) )

Only question to answer is: how did the Earth (mostly the oceans) get to their present and past temperatures. I’m confident I have a convincing answer to that question. Problem seems to be that I don’t speak the correct “language” to convey my ideas.
Would appreciate some discussion / help.
email is ben at wtrs dot nl
Can’t give a link to my posts, puts this reply in the spambin.

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