Willis and I are presenting at AGU’s fall meeting – assistance requested from WUWT readers

The 2016 AGU Fall Meeting is coming up in December. With nearly 24,000 attendees, AGU Fall Meeting is the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world. I hope to attend so that I can cover what is being presented in the world of climate science, while keeping tabs on the antics of people like Michael Mann, John Cook, Peter Gleick, and some of the other players. As some people may or may not know, I am a full member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in good standing. For the last three years when I attended, I produced several reports and videos in 2013, 2014,and 2015 plus many, many, live Twitter entries that kept tabs on the politics and the science. This year I hope to do the same. But this year, I’m going to be more than that – Willis and I will be the only climate skeptics invited to give a scientific presentation. 

Last year, my presentation was well received, and even made the AGU press release feed. You can view it here.

The presentation this year came right out of the pages of WUWT, inspired by these two blog posts.

Precipitable Water and Precipitable Water Redux  I expect it will be contentious to some.

It will be at AGU on Wednesday, Dec14th.


Abstract ID: 190899

Final Paper Number: A33B-0226

Abstract Title: Observational Quantification of Water Vapor Radiation Forcing

Session Date and Time: Wednesday, December 14th; 1:40 PM – 6:00 PM

Presentation Length: 19:10 – 19:25

Session Number and Title: A33B: Climate Sensitivity and Feedbacks: Advances and New Paradigms I Posters

Observational Quantification of Water Vapor Radiation Forcing

Anthony W. Watts, Willis Eschenbach



An investigation was conducted utilizing the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) 1°x1° gridded total precipitable water (TPW) dataset to determine the magnitude of upwelling long-wave infrared radiation from Earth’s surface since 1988. TPW represents the mass of water vapor in a 1 meter by 1 meter column from the surface to the top of the atmosphere. As referenced in IPCC AR5 WGI Box 8.1, the radiative effect of absorption by water vapor is roughly proportional to the logarithm of its concentration. Therefore it is the fractional change in water vapor concentration, not the absolute change, that governs its strength as a climate forcing mechanism. A time-series analysis utilizing a Loess decomposition filter indicated there is a clear upward trend in the RSS TPW data since 1988. The observed total change over the period is ~ 1.5 kg/m^2, centered around the long-term mean of 28.7 kg/m^2. Utilizing the observed relationship between water content and atmospheric absorption, the RSS TPW data indicates an increase in downwelling longwave radiation of 3.3 W/m2 over the period 1988 – 2015.

As in years past, here’s the problem. It is VERY expensive to attend, and more so in previous years due to my dual role as news media as well as presenting AGU member. The reason is that I’m told that while in previous years I could register for free as a member of the news media, this year (and last year) due to the fact that I’m presenting, I’m also required to register like any other attending member. I also have to register Willis.

The cost of registration is $480, and the deadline is November 3rd at 1159PM EDT to get that rate. That’s TONIGHT.

Add a hotel for 5-6 days at the typical $150-250 per night rate in SFO, plus incidentals, printing/publication costs, parking, etc. and the cost to attend easily tops $3000.

While many attendees get the taxpayers (via their Universities) or their NGO’s via donors to pay for such things, WUWT has no such resources, and despite the claims common from detractors, like the last few years, we are still waiting for that “big oil check” to arrive. I’ll drive down to save money rather than take a plane. Willis will drive (and maybe take BART) too.

So, like I have done before (and many of you graciously responded), I thought I’d ask the readership if they can help out so that there will be somebody at AGU to report on climate science that can do so from the skeptic side. It is very important that at least one climate skeptic reporter attend. Otherwise, the media coverage will be completely one-sided. As they have before, AGU approved my media pass for 2016, so now I’m set to attend for that at least, but in order to present, I need to pay the member registration fee (for myself and for Willis) and hotel in advance.

Due to the fact that water vapor seems to be generally ignored in favor of CO2 as a climate driver, I suspect this presentation won’t be all that well received, and may raise some eyebrows. If we are lucky, some people might actually leave their comfort zone and pay attention.

Willis and I need your help to get it done.. Thanks for your consideration, and most of all thanks for reading WUWT.

Donations toward this effort will be gratefully accepted: here

See update below.

P.S. This year, with all the activists trying to get AGU to boot out the oil and gas sponsors – unsuccessfully, one wonders if we will see this poster on display again:



UPDATE: The funding goal has been reached and actually exceeded. I offer my sincerest thanks to everyone who contributed ! It is amazing how those $10 and $20 donations add up quickly. Bothe Willis and me thank you. I’m reminded of a quote from an old movie:
“Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence.”
I offer my humble thanks on behalf of myself and Willis -Anthony

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Due to the fact that water vapor seems to be generally ignored in favor of CO2 as a climate driver, I suspect this presentation won’t be all that well received, and may raise some eyebrows.

I thought CAGW required a positive feedback due to increased H2O. Doesn’t the whole alarmist schtick rely on water vapor?

ralph ellis

Yes, it is strange that H20 is often not taken into account. But if you look at IPCC AR5 chapter 9, table 9.5, the majority of models listed there do not take water vapour or clouds into account when calculating climate sensitivity. Although how an accurate model can omit two of the largest feedbacks, and still be considered valid, I don’t know.comment image


The game isn’t to prevent warming by understanding feedbacks and forcings, but rather to control the populace through draconian energy restrictions. To that end, it is easier to implement controls on carbon dioxide than water vapor since 2/3 of the planet is covered with oceans, hence the models ignoring the supposed primary greenhouse gas.

considered valid?


Per their mission statement, the IPCC isn’t allowed to look for causes outside of CO2

IPCC’s clearly stated mandate is what does mankind do to the climate. That excludes water vapor.

You are misreading the chart.
read harder


Commie Bob, I thought exactly the same. Far from ignoring water vapor the climate sensitivity claimed requires it. The difference is that water vapor is not a driver, but a response. Is there something in the presentation that shows that water vapor increasing is a driver rather than a response?
I am also unsure how this finding is reconciled with the finding that relative humidity has declined against predictions that it would stay the same. That is, there is not enough water vapor in the atmosphere to give the IPCC climate sensitivity. It appears that the presentation is providing data that there is sufficient water vapor after all, confirming the IPCC climate sensitivty.
Perhaps someone could explain?


Utilizing the observed relationship between water content and atmospheric absorption, the RSS TPW data indicates an increase in downwelling longwave radiation of 3.3 W/m2 over the period 1988 – 2015.

The description presented here in the abstract is very short so I may not be getting what the content of this paper is saying but this figure is similar to the simple radiative forcing from CO2. I would think most mainstream climatologists would see this as confirmation of a 2x positive WV feedback “exactly as models have predicted”. Indeed Willis” last post showed that it is far strong again in the tropics: up to about 15 W/m^2.

There is clearly something countering that and it has to be the poorly understood evaporation/precipitation cycle.

Robert from oz

Can’t help with the scientific but wish you both the best and if WUWT is any guide you will slayem.
Failing that bamboozle them with bullshit . After all it’s the only language they know .


Done. 20 bucks from Switzerland.


Same here from Greece, sorry it’s not more but as you probably know we’re having a bit of a rough time here financially.


Contributed. Thanks.

Larry Neufeld

I appreciate this site and all you do


Long time lurker and appreciator of this site, was time for me to actually contribute in a small small way.
Many thanks for your continued effort.

Heather Brown (aka Dartmoor Resident

Also just made a contribution – good luck and keep up the excellent work.

Donation in. Have fun.

Go with our best wishes! Come back with your shield or on it! 🙂


Donated, looking forward to reading all about it


Not much, but hope it helps.

Donated. Best of luck with it.


Done; but use a little of it for beer.
Or better, malt whisky.


Or G&T for Willis.

My contribution sent…a small price to pay for a great educational website…keep up the good work. Enjoy the buzz of the meeting.

Gordon Ford

I second that motion


Done, good luck with the presentation.


happy to have donated –but later on could you explain the significance of your findings in the grand scheme of global warming please

Frederick Davies

$100 (in pounds) on their way.
Frederick Davies

John Bennett

Donated. Now go do that voodoo that you do so well :).


You have my money. Now, FIX ‘EM!


what, no bitcoin slot?


Done, good luck with your presentation.


I’m in.

Malcolm Chapman

Donated. Enjoy. We look forward to hearing about it.

Geoff Withnell

I kicked in my $20. Keep up the good work.

Lance Wallace

Ante’d up.
At my conferences, only one person (the presenter) on a multiauthor paper needs to register. If Willis presents and you go on your media pass, perhaps you could save the registration fee. But whatever you decide, I’m with you.

Dave Yaussy

I’m in. good luck.


Just dropped $US50.00 in the jar…

Bill Illis

Just noting that RSS water vapor (60N-60S) was down to +0.654 kg/m2 anomaly in September 2016 as the impacts of last year’s El Nino wear off. This is very large drop from the peak of +2.064 kg/m2 in December 2015. The ENSO controls these numbers far more than the basic temperature changes does.

Ethan Brand

Donated. Keep up the great work. I envy the interesting conversations you and Willis are sure to have.


When I am asked to debate a climate alarmist I often loudly state that I only debate informed people so they must answer a couple of questions to show that they can understand what they are talking about. The questions are as follows:
Q: What is by far the largest greenhouse gas in our atmosphere?
A: Water or H2O
Q: What happens to water when it gets warmer?
A: Turns to vapor
Q: What is one of the most common name for water vapor in our atmosphere?
A: Clouds
Q: What color are the tops of clouds when you look at them from an airplane?
A: White
Q: What happens to much of the sun’s energy when it hits a white surface?
A: It is reflected
Q: (the hardest scientific question) What do you call a system that naturally corrects itself?
A: A self balancing system.
I know that there are lots of other factors that go into calculating the warming / cooling effect of water vapor but this little exercise makes them look at the world in a whole different manner. They usually just grumble and walk away.

Robert Austin

Strictly speaking, clouds are an aerosol, not a vapour.

Dont mind him, he knows it all. Settled skeptic science


Clouds cannot form without removing energy from the Earth’s surface
Clouds are only up there because H2O has done its job.

to Steven Mosher: the only way a theory can be “settled” is when it is proven wrong.


Donated. Please let us know when you reach your goal. I’m looking forward to reading about your experience and sure do hope you are able to draw some “closet-skeptics” out into the open!


Donated. If you get a chance, thank AGU president Margaret Leinen for her careful handling of the Exxon-Mobil issue. She probably will be taking heat for it from some quarters at the conference.

Tom in Florida

Done. Remember folks, your donation doesn’t have to be large, every dollar counts.
Et tu regular commenters?


“Remember folks, your donation doesn’t have to be large, every dollar counts.”
sure does
regular reader, not regular commenter, just a regular commoner
just the same as every vote counts : )
Have a good Ole A & W Root Beer float , if you choose for desert, “A & W” and best wishes for success.

I trust WE will not mention his nonsense steel/glass 0.04% colander energy doubling breeder theory or his CV.


“Due to the fact that water vapor seems to be generally ignored in favor of CO2 as a climate driver, I suspect this presentation won’t be all that well received, and may raise some eyebrows. ”
Water vapour is a feedback, and therefore cannot be a driver. There is no way of causing temperatures to rise in the long term by increasing water vapour because it just precipitates out again within a matter of days. Of course this feedback is incorporated in the models, just as a feedback rather than a forcing.


Worldwide brightening can lead to increased temperatures and increased WV feedback.
So what drives the brightening?


Depends what you mean by “Worldwide brightening”, but I would take it to mean a reduction in aerosols, and again WV would be a feedback not a forcing (driver) that would be the aerosol emissions.

Janice Moore

Cloud cover (driven by water cycle, winds, currents — the sun is the steady-state maintainer of climate homeostastis — Note: solar chemistry, may drive shifts in climate via changes in the UV part of the spectrum — this is plausible, but, not yet proven).
Here is an article about global brightening you may find helpful:

Janice Moore

ECB: Here is an article about how the sun may significantly affect global cloud cover (amount and or location):
From above article:

in a study based on over 25 years of satellite observations.
The solar eruptions are known to shield Earth’s atmosphere from cosmic rays. However the new study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, shows that the global cloud cover is simultaneously reduced, supporting the idea that cosmic rays are important for cloud formation. The eruptions cause a reduction in cloud fraction of about 2 percent corresponding to roughly a billion tonnes of liquid water disappearing from the atmosphere.
Since clouds are known to affect global temperatures on longer timescales, the present investigation represents an important step in the understanding of clouds and climate variability. …

And here is a good article about solar chemistry, Gray, et al.
From the abstract:

Understanding the influence of solar variability on the Earth’s climate requires knowledge of
1) solar variability;
2) solar-terrestrial interactions; and
3) mechanisms determining the response of the Earth’s climate system.
We provide a summary of our current understanding in each of these three areas. …

I hope this is helpful!


Thanks Janice. That last link does not seem to work though.
They do not know what is the biggest driver of brightening, etc, but the recent warming burst we are worrying about (1975 to 1998) is nearly identical to 1910 to 1940.(eg: Phil Jones interview 2010).
Therefore I still do not see any evidence of CO2 warming. If there is, it is very small, on the order of what Dr. Lindzen measured, ie, about 0.6 C for a doubling.
IE, nothing to worry about.

Janice Moore

In case you’d like to read Gray, et al. (2010)
Here you go (sorry that the above link did not work)
(within above link: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Gray_gr08900n.pdf )
Both the above links worked within the last 4 minutes.
They may not know which driver is BIGGEST, but, they do know the drivers for which there is good evidence.
You’re welcome. 🙂


O.K. so this is nothing to do with whether or not water vapour is a feedback rather than a forcing (and hence cannot be a driver of climate change)? If so, why post it as a reply to my comment?

Janice Moore

Guess what, Dikran?
I wasn’t talking to YOU.


It is still obfuscating the point I was making though (by separating the initial comment from any discussion of what I said with a bunch of comments on a completely unrelated topic). Funny that! ;o)

Janice Moore

Guess what, Dikran? I was writing my comment while you were posting yours (note the time stamps). I had no idea that ANY comment would appear between mine and ECB’s.
I figured that my addressing my comments to “ECB:” would be a clue….
The content of my comments might also have been a clue, for some…..


Janice, you are of course right, I had misread the nesting of posts, and I sincerely apologise for my error.


Actually ECB’s comment does appear to have been a (non-sequitur) reply to mine, in which case all the subsequent discussion was also a non-sequitur, but I shouldn’t have been grumpy about it in any case, so the apology stands anyway.

Janice Moore

Dear Dikran,
How very kind of you. I forgive you. Please forgive MY rather brusk responses.



“So what drives the brightening?”
The same thing as in the early 1980’s and up to the late 1990’s: Reduced net global SO2 aerosol emissions due to EPA-driven Clean Air efforts (and similar efforts abroad).
Warming ALWAYS occurs whenever net global SO2 aerosol emissions are reduced.
As I have posted in earlier threads, temporary periods of increases in average global temperatures occur whenever there is a a business recession, or a depression, due to .the decreased industrial activity, and fewer SO2 emissions.
Since the IPCC “Diagram of Radiative Forcings” has no component for the large amount of warming due to the REMOVAL of SO2 aerosol emissions, it is seriously misleading and should be discarded.
Considering all of the above, the,actual amount of warming due to CO2 can be proven to be ZERO.


“Water vapour is a feedback, and therefore cannot be a driver”
It is clearly a negative feedback, transporting heat from the surface to the upper troposphere to be radiated away. A troposphere hot spot is not needed, as all it takes is a few moments earlier vertical transport as described by Willis, giving a larger sum of heat transport per day, without any change to the maximum temperature for that day.

Janice Moore

Also, being a cycle, a feedback can become a driver.


IMO, the daily, hourly, minute by minute vertical transport needs energy to drive it. The driver is the surface heat, ocean heat and wind velocity. That would give the illusion of water vapor being a driver, but is it not a lagging variable.(other than daily weather, including jet streams, moving moist air around)
Is there data to show otherwise?

Janice Moore

Dear ECB,
As to the ultimate driver identification issue, in a coupled, non-linear, apparently chaotic, system such as “earth,” can that ever be known?
We agree on the essentials:
1) there are drivers, for which there is solid evidence, i.e., data; and
2) there is nonsensical conjecture (especially now, given the ANTI-correlation data: CO2 UP. WARMING STOPPED.) about human CO2 (re: its effect on the open system called “earth”).
Thank you for considering what I had to say with such graciousness.
I hope that someone of your level of science education attainment answers you!


Thanks for the feedback Janice.
I made a typo “That would give the illusion of water vapor being a driver, but is it not a lagging variable”
it should be ” “That would give the illusion of water vapor being a driver, but it is not, as it is a lagging variable, (other than daily weather, including jet streams, moving moist air around)”
As far as a science education, I have had mine way back in the 60’s, but Willis and AW have blown me away in their innovative thinking and attention to detail.(I could add many others, like Steve McIntyre, etc)


ECB “It is clearly a negative feedback, transporting heat from the surface to the upper troposphere to be radiated away. ”
It isn’t a negative feedback, it is a positive one. You would get convection even without water vapour and that is what drives the transfer of heat to the upper trophosphere. Again this is just avoiding the point that water vapour is not a driver of climate change.
There is a good reason why water vapour is not talked about as being a driver of climate change, which is that it clearly isn’t. However that doesn’t mean it isn’t important or that its effects are not already properly included in climate projections. Indeed, at the moment I am reading a standard textbook related to the carbon cycle (Zeebe and Wolf-Gladrow) and the second sentence on page 1 is:
“Next to water vapour it [carbon dioxide] is the second most important greenhouse gas”.
This isn’t a secret, all the climatologists know about it, and are perfectly happy to discuss it. The difference is that they know it is a feedback, not a “driver” of climate change (on any timescale greater than a few days).

Clyde Spencer

Anthropogenic water vapor can be a driver if activities such as impounding water behind dams, bringing subsurface water to the surface to water crops, and in particular pivotal irrigation in general, introduce water vapor that would not otherwise be there. Golf courses are a great source of water vapor, especially in the SW USA. Using river or lake water to cool power plants introduces water vapor that would not otherwise be present. The combustion of hydrocarbons produces water vapor as well as CO2. The anthropogenic water vapor is continually replenished, so even if it precipitates out within a few days, it still has an impact.


That seems reasonable enough. Do you have a measure of the amount? If one adds the total hydrocarbons burned per year, water used for irrigation, cooling.. is it equivalent to the many inches of yearly world wide preciipation?


Tim Ball addressed this issue:
Conclusion: ” They don’t know how much contribution human water vapour (H2O) makes because they don’t have critical information. They don’t know how much H2O humans produce, how much H2O there is in the atmosphere, or the amount H2O varies naturally”

Clyde Spencer

Clearly, the oceans and transpiration from native vegetation dominate the production of water vapor globally. However, the point is that dry land that previously provided a small amount of water vapor is now producing much more as a result of the “Aswan Dam Effect” and people now living in large numbers in desert areas (like Phoenix and Las Vegas), and marginal semi-arid lands being put into agricultural production with ground water or water brought over large distances from reservoirs.
As an example of what I’m familiar with, the Santa Clara Valley (now generally called Silicon Valley) once had Artesian wells. The water table is now about 500′ deep. The area gets about 15″ of rainfall a year, but because of the ground water and water brought in from Hetch Hetchy and other places, the urban landscape is more like areas that get twice that amount. The water from lawns, trees, and golf courses is transpired at about twice the rate it was in 1850. This has got to have an effect locally and downwind.


Clyde, the amount of water behind dams and that used for irrigation is tiny compared to the surface of the oceans, the difference this will make on a global scale is going to be entirely negligible.

Clyde Spencer

:You said, “Clyde, the amount of water behind dams and that used for irrigation is tiny compared to the surface of the oceans, the difference this will make on a global scale is going to be entirely negligible.”
I said, “Clearly, the oceans and transpiration from native vegetation dominate the production of water vapor globally.”
Aren’t we saying essentially the same thing? However, the point I was trying to make is that anthropogenic water vapor can be important on a regional scale, over land. The water vapor moves with the prevailing winds and therefore covers an area much larger than just the surface area of the reservoir water and field crops. Since most of us live on the land, and that is where most of the weather stations are located, the impact is not really “entirely negligible.” In the case of the US, most of the arid and semi-arid land is west of the Mississippi River and water vapor largely moves eastward, impacting the rest of the country Assuming that the prevailing winds average about 30 miles per hour, the water vapor-enriched air will travel about 700 miles per day; assuming it has an average residency of 3 days before precipitating, it can cover a 2,000 mile east-west swath because it is being released continuously, not just as a one-time pulse. In summary, it seems to me, that if humans are introducing water vapor that was not present over the land previously, there has to be a non-negligible effect.

Smart Rock

When you have time, perhaps you can fill us in on how your study relates to the big picture. Perhaps it’s too early in the morning, or my brain is starting to slow down due to overwork (sudden increase in investor interest in base metals and I’m all bogged down in data), but I need a hand to follow how your analysis “to determine the magnitude of upwelling long-wave infrared radiation from Earth’s surface” leads to in finding “an increase in downwelling longwave radiation”, and how that impacts the overall energy balance.

Seconded. AW, I am interested in how you see your analysis contributing to the understanding of climate. At face value, it seems to enhance the “water vapour feedback” claim of the IPCC. One important factor not examined is precipitation. Presumably the increased water vapour content would lead to increased precipitation and hence to cooling, which would offset your W/m2 finding.

Chris Nelli

Done! Give’em hell.

Janice Moore

I donated!!!! For the first time (had a little extra cash, for once!) in over 3 years of being here! And am I glad for the opportunity.

(youtube New Avengers)
You are up against the Green Slime Monster and the very powers of Hell (we all know who is the author of lies).
Praying for you both,

Glad to help. $ on the way.


You are a gentleman and a scholar, Leif.

Jack Langdon

I’m in. God Speed!

David Day

Donated what my small pension allows.
I second the interest in reading a “summary for laymen” explanation of
what you will be presenting. Perhaps Willis could knock it out quickly.
He seems the best “this subject for dummies” guy I’ve ever read.
Knock ’em dead.


Ok, I’m in.

The Old Man

Well worth the contribution. Happy to be able to do it. (d.f.)


Done. Hope the presentation goes well.


Spend my donation on a good bottle of wine or a lot of beer for you both while in attendance.

David Alexander

I am a long time lurker. I have never posted nor have contributed in any way. Glad to be able to contribute something. Good luck.

Janice Moore

Dear Mr. Alexander,
Glad you piped up!
KEEP ON POSTING — it’s fun! 🙂
@ all the “David Alexanders” out there: “You know things. Share.” (John F. Hultquist to me, upon the occasion of my hesitant first comment (“Curse you, Hultquist,” many are saying, right now, lolololol))
Take care,

John F. Hultquist

Back at you, Janice.
O/T: Nice day in the Great State of Washington — for a change!

Janice Moore

John. 🙂

CD in Wisconsin

Donated $20. Keep it up Anthony and Willis. Stand your ground against the climate gloom-and-doomers, don’t let them intimidate you.

I am encouraged to see the observation of increasing WV getting some exposure. Expanding on Willis’ work I found the NASA/RSS data on TPW and incorporated the effect into my assessment of average global temperature (98% match with measured average global temperatures 1895-2015). WV appears to be the “as yet unidentified factor” I referred to at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/12/the-hyping-of-anthropogenic-global-warming-agw-required-weather-myths/
Curious about where the increasing WV is coming from, some rough calculations show about 22% from increased average global temperature and nearly all of the rest from irrigation. Humanity’s energy use (which lots of folks are in a sweat about and are side tracked on CO2 which has no significant effect on climate) contributes only a tiny part.
The draw down of water tables world wide for irrigation looks like a looming real problem for humanity.

Donation’s done. I’m happy to help.




I’m in – have a great time and maybe open a few, previously closed, minds