#AGU16 Researchers dial in to ‘thermostat’ in Earth’s upper atmosphere

From the UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER

Coronal mass ejections from the sun heat Earth's upper atmosphere, then cool it dramatically, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study. CREDIT NASA

Coronal mass ejections from the sun heat Earth’s upper atmosphere, then cool it dramatically, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study. CREDIT NASA

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has found the mechanism behind the sudden onset of a “natural thermostat” in Earth’s upper atmosphere that dramatically cools the air after it has been heated by violent solar activity.

Scientists have known that solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — which release electrically charged plasma from the sun — can damage satellites, cause power outages on Earth and disrupt GPS service. CMEs are powerful enough to send billions of tons of solar particles screaming toward Earth at more than 1 million miles per hour, said CU Boulder Professor Delores Knipp of the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

Now, Knipp and her team have determined that when such powerful CMEs come off the sun and speed toward Earth, they create shock waves much like supersonic aircraft create sonic booms. While the shock waves from CMEs pour energy into Earth’s upper atmosphere, puffing it up and heating it, they also cause the formation of the trace chemical nitric oxide, which then rapidly cools and shrinks it, she said.

“What’s new is that we have determined the circumstances under which the upper atmosphere goes into this almost overcooling mode following significant heating,” said Knipp, also a member of CU Boulder’s Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research. “It’s a bit like having a stuck thermostat — it’s really a case of nature reining itself in.”

Knipp gave a presentation at the 2016 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union being held in San Francisco Dec. 12 through Dec. 16. The presentation was tied to an upcoming paper that is slated to be published in the journal Space Weather.

Solar storms can cause dramatic change in the temperatures of the upper atmosphere, including the ionosphere, which ranges from about 30 miles in altitude to about 600 miles high — the edge of space. While CME material slamming into Earth’s atmosphere can cause temperature spikes of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the nitric oxide created by the energy infusion can subsequently cool it by about 930 F, said Knipp.

The key to solving the mystery came when Knipp was reviewing satellite data from a severe solar storm that pounded Earth in 1967. “I found a graphic buried deep in a long forgotten manuscript,” she said. “It finally suggested to me what was really happening.”

Because the upper atmosphere expands during CMEs, satellites in low-Earth orbit are forced to move through additional gaseous particles, causing them to experience more drag. Satellite drag — a huge concern of government and aerospace companies — causes decays in the orbits of spacecraft, which subsequently burn up in the atmosphere.

As part of the new study, Knipp and her colleagues compared two 15-year-long satellite datasets. One was from the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument riding on NASA’s TIMED satellite. The other was from data collected by U.S. Department of Defense satellites.

“We found that the fastest material streaming off the sun was triggering these shockwaves, causing the atmosphere to heave up and heat up,” she said. “But it became very clear that these shock waves were at the root of creating the nitric oxide, which caused the atmosphere to shed energy and cool.”

SABER has been collecting data on nitric oxide in the atmosphere since its launch in 2001, following on the heels of another nitric oxide-measuring satellite known as the Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE). Launched in 1998, SNOE involved more than 100 CU Boulder students, primarily undergraduates, in its design and construction. Once in orbit, SNOE was controlled by students on campus 24 hours a day for nearly six years.

Geomagnetic storms have had severe impacts on Earth. A 1989 storm caused by a CME resulted in the collapse of the Hydro-Quebec’s electricity transmission system, causing six million Canadians to lose power. In 1859 a solar storm called the Carrington Event produced auroras from the North Pole to Central America and disrupted telegraph communications, even sparking fires at telegraph offices that caused several deaths.

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145 thoughts on “#AGU16 Researchers dial in to ‘thermostat’ in Earth’s upper atmosphere

  1. If I read this right, it points to the “Fluxes of Nature” being vastly more powerful than a trace of AGW.

      • actually, there is something else that is very ironic.
        We spent billions of $ wasting on so called man made GW trying to prevent a change in the atmosphere caused by the increase in CO2 by 0.01% which compares to almost nothing anyway if you consider the normal variation of water vapor in the atmosphere of between 0.4 and 0.5%.
        It is alleged that the extra CO2 traps some heat at 14-15 um emitted by earth.
        My findings are that there is no AGW, at least not measureable in the atmosphere. All curves found by me follow natural AC sine waves with a wavelength of 87 years.

        Now we are finding that there are trace gases formed TOA, from N2, O2 , and OH radikals by the sun’s most energetic particles, creating NxOx , ozone and HxOx. I am sure we all knew this? [OT: It is really to protect us from the sun’s most harmful radiation. It is useless going to Mars, without first creating an atmosphere?]
        Anyway, once formed, these terribly oxidizing substances TOA, in turn, back radiate a lot of the sun’s emission 0-200nm. Although this type of radiation is not good for us [so you perhaps thought: good riddance], nature does not work like that. By my thinking it is mainly the UV going into the oceans that is responsible for most of the heat TOO and the weather as we know it. More ozone, more HxOx, and more NxOx actually means less UV into the oceans. Hence we are cooling.
        the irony?
        go figure.

        don’t worry. the cooling is not so much….Probably won’t be more then a couple of tenth of a degree C

        however it might change some weather patterns.

  2. THIS CANNOT BE TRUE!!!!! GOREBUL WARMING!!!! CO2 EVIL!!!!! SETTLED SCIENCE!!!!! WE’RE ALL DOOMED!!!!!

    ah so many new mechanisms for such a settled science.

    Cheers!

    Joe

    P.S. – sorry for the all caps just seemed appropriately hysterical for such blasphemy. :-)

  3. Everybody please note that the post is about the very upper reaches of the atmosphere and not about the temperature or processes that take place in the troposphere. Thus nothing to do with AGW.

    • No?
      “We found that the fastest material streaming off the sun was triggering these shockwaves, causing the atmosphere to heave up and heat up,” she said. “But it became very clear that these shock waves were at the root of creating the nitric oxide, which caused the atmosphere to shed energy and cool.”
      No?

      • Solar storms can cause dramatic change in the temperatures of the upper atmosphere, including the ionosphere, which ranges from about 30 miles in altitude to about 600 miles high — the edge of space. While CME material slamming into Earth’s atmosphere can cause temperature spikes of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the nitric oxide created by the energy infusion can subsequently cool it by about 930 F, said Knipp.

        Troposphere height is 4 to 12 miles

        http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/troposphere.html

        So, “no”.

      • This is talking about a region of the atmosphere that is that has a lot of rarified charged particles. It’s well above the troposphere where most of our weather really happens. Note lines like

        While CME material slamming into Earth’s atmosphere can cause temperature spikes of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the nitric oxide created by the energy infusion can subsequently cool it by about 930 F, said Knipp.

        I think what’s happening, though unstated in this excerpt is that at hi temperatures some diatomic molecules become significant “greenhouse gases” but the air is so rarified that anything they radiate upwards is not impeded by other molecules. (Leif, please straighten me out if I’m in outer space.)

        Basically, this is not the atmosphere we deal with much here and this presentation probably doesn’t look into mechanisms that might affect the lower atmosphere. Besides, other events like years of high UV flux probably dump a lot more energy into the atmosphere and into the stratosphere, which is a lot closer to the surface than the region affected by these CMEs.

    • Wait a second there lsvalgaard. We’ve been told by the Hansen-ites for decades that there is a DEFICIT between the amount of energy coming into our atmosphere from the Sun and the energy leaving it at the TOA. That deficit is responsible for all the postulating and screaming that Earth is storing all this additional heat/energy somewhere, that we cannot find, but that MUST be missing because more is coming in than is going out.

      The ENTIRE argument that Earth’s climate is out of balance is based upon what has been “measured/calculated” in the “very upper reaches of the atmosphere”…which has then been tied DIRECTLY to the “temperature or processes that take place in the troposphere”!!! (which have then been almost exclusively been blamed on man kind since 1950 at least)

      • References:

        Trenberth et al 2011jcli24 Figure 10

        This popular balance graphic and assorted variations are based on a power flux, W/m^2. A W is not energy, but energy over time, i.e. 3.4 Btu/eng h or 3.6 kJ/SI h. The 342 W/m^2 ISR is determined by spreading the average 1,368 W/m^2 solar irradiance/constant over the spherical ToA surface area. (1,368/4 =342) There is no consideration of the elliptical orbit (perihelion = 1,416 W/m^2 to aphelion = 1,323 W/m^2) or day or night or seasons or tropospheric thickness or energy diffusion due to oblique incidence, etc. This popular balance models the earth as a ball suspended in a hot fluid with heat/energy/power entering evenly over the entire ToA spherical surface. This is not even close to how the real earth energy balance works. Everybody uses it. Everybody should know better. The balance also shows more leaving than entering or atmospheric cooling.

        An example of a real heat balance based on Btu/h follows. Basically (Incoming Solar Radiation spread over the cross sectional area) = (U*A*dT et. al. leaving the lit side perpendicular to the spherical surface ToA) + (U*A*dT et. al. leaving the dark side perpendicular to spherical surface area ToA) The atmosphere is just a simple HVAC heat balance problem.

      • Precisely so Aphan. Energy from the sun entering the troposphere must pass through the upper atmosphere and energy leaving the troposphere for space must pass through the upper atmosphere as well.

        Strange that Leif would say what he did without presenting the numbers.

    • This post has nothing to do with the troposphere but the real question is whether the process described might have any effect upon lower atmosphere and ultimately ocean and surface temperatures. Not adressed in this post but that question remains. Also, what other mechanisms, as yet undiscovered,may be at work keeping our climate in the relatively narrow range of temperature that it has experienced for tens of thousands of years? But then, I forgot, the science is settled so, never mind.

    • “Scientists have known that solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — which release electrically charged plasma from the sun ……

      Most of the energy is directed towards polar regions.

      Polar vortex is another major feature of the polar areas. Couple of winters ago, “polar vortex” was the America’s meteorologists’ phrase of the year.

      “ “Solar storms can cause dramatic change in the temperatures of the upper atmosphere, including the ionosphere, which ranges from about 30 miles in altitude (upwards)…..

      Arctic polar vortex starts at about 10 miles (16 kilometres) altitude above the surface and rises through the stratosphere and the mesosphere up to about 50 miles (80 kilometres).

      It is within the range of altitudes involved.

    • I remain unconvinced that changes in the ionosphere can’t possibly affect the black body temperature of the sky.

    • “Everybody please note that the post is about the very upper reaches of the atmosphere and not about the temperature or processes that take place in the troposphere. Thus nothing to do with AGW.”

      So why promote it as a “natural thermostat” then?

      • ‘thermostat’ in Earth’s upper atmosphere
        For the UPPER atmosphere. This is important for modeling and determining the drag on satellites. Not for the weather for us down here at the surface.

    • I think the only new item here is that CMEs cause NO formation:

      “What’s new is that we have determined the circumstances under which the upper atmosphere goes into this almost overcooling mode following significant heating,” said Knipp, … While CME material slamming into Earth’s atmosphere can cause temperature spikes of up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the nitric oxide created by the energy infusion can subsequently cool it by about 930 F, said Knipp.

      So, your typical baby step to more complete knowledge.

  4. So the fastest streaming material is completely and absolutely blocked before there is any impact on the troposphere. Let’s check that to be sure.

    • CME are mostly charged particles that get trapped by the magnetosphere/ionosphere. That is effectively at/above TOA. As Leif said, nothing to do with troposphere, tropopause, and AGW.

      • That would be a bit like “Oh! Look, the earth has greened by 14% in the last 30 years whilst no catastrophic AGW event has materialised beyond a fraction of a percent.”

        “Yea but….Yea but….It’s bound to be a greening catastrophe eventually”.

        Give me effing peace, please dear Lord!

    • The study was looking at ionospheric cooling after the CME heats it. The more interesting study would be the impact as the CME hits the ionosphere/exosphere/magnetosphere. That’s probably been extensively studied, take a look when you have a chance.

      • Svensmark looked more closely at these extreme events than others and found something interesting. In fact a lot of good science is done by staying on a problem longer than most.

  5. I have been telling you all along that it is the most energetic particles from the sun causing the O3 and HxOx and N-O which once formed, back radiate a lot of UV causing less heat to reach the oceans.
    i.e. eventually, what happens TOA does influence the amount of heat reaching the oceans:
    hence we are cooling
    globally

  6. Did Knipp elaborate on how NO cooled the atmosphere?

    I can only think that it oxidised to NO2 which is readily split by sunlight to help make ozone. The latter is a GHG which might aid energy loss to space. It also absorbs the high energy UV.

    • No, the solar wind usually gets a bit stronger as we approach solar minimum.
      The number of CMEs gets smaller, and the cosmic rays get more numerous.
      But since they have no demonstrated influence on the climate your comment is irrelevant.

    • *But since they have not yet been demonstrated to have an influence on the climate your comment is potentially irrelevant.*

      That’s a more . . objective way to put it, don’t you think lsvalgaard?

      • Omit ‘potentially’, then you are correct. One goes with what is known and demonstrated, not with what might or might not be. I could ‘potentially’ win the lottery, but cannot [should not] base any action on that.

    • @ren
      December 15, 2016 at 1:12 pm
      ren
      December 15, 2016 at 1:21 pm : maybe the cold stormy first week of SH ‘summer’ we are having, is from ‘your’ late-November SSW?
      Okay, ls, just weather….

      • “Omit ‘potentially’, then you are correct. One goes with what is known and demonstrated, not with what might or might not be. I could ‘potentially’ win the lottery, but cannot [should not] base any action on that.”

        What? That statement, if true, renders all scientific curiosity, research, and study as idiotic and futile! What is the scientific endeavor if not to figure out the unknown? To act upon what might and might not be?

        I could “potentially” be in a car wreck, or a house fire…you’re saying I cannot, should not base any action on that. You could “potentially” live to a ripe old age, and you can and SHOULD base many actions on that “unknown”

      • What is the scientific endeavor if not to figure out the unknown?
        But using the known to extend it into the unknown. Not to base the endeavor on what is not known.

  7. Everybody please note that the post is about the very upper reaches of the atmosphere and not about the temperature or processes that take place in the troposphere. Thus nothing to do with AGW.

    Personally speaking, as a recently more active visitor of the WUWT blog, I would like to thank you for pointing this out, thereby preventing a new kid on the block from making a total fool of himself, going off on some tangent about how space weather could possibly affect terrestrial climate, rendering human CO2 influences substantially less of a concern. Since this IS a blog principally focused on AGW much of the time, such blather has no place here.

    • Hi Robert.

      This isn’t a post about “space weather”. (If you were being snarky, you should most likely indicate that. I’m treating your post as if you were actually serious.)

      You see, “Scientists have known that solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — which release electrically charged plasma from the sun — can damage satellites, cause power outages on Earth and disrupt GPS service. CMEs are powerful enough to send billions of tons of solar particles screaming toward Earth at more than 1 million miles per hour, said CU Boulder Professor Delores Knipp of the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.”

      A new kid on the block might not know that the satellites that are affected by solar flares and CME’s travel in what is called “low earth orbit”. LEO is defined as from the surface of the Earth at sea level, to 2,000 km above the earth, so it’s not a tangent at all, but a FACT, that these events are extremely relevant to “terrestrial climate”.

      And, all of the “expert” calculations that are spewed out of NASA and NOAA and other organizations that supposedly prove that Earth’s energy system is “out of balance”, and that we must be storing some missing heat/energy somewhere….take place at the TOA-Top of the Atmosphere. And apparently these CME’s and solar flares actually cause Earth to “SHED ENERGY and COOL.” Perhaps they are the cause for the energy imbalance? And if so, then human CO2 influences are off the table.

      Oh, and one more thing. If you read the FAQ’s here at WUWT, you’ll notice that Anthony discusses AGW here, but is very skeptical about the “A” theory, and most of the posts here are related to flaws, mistakes, and questions about the theory that CO2 drives, affects, or is responsible for any changes in our planet’s atmosphere. (Or what you seem to define as “blather”)

      • Scientists have known that solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — which release electrically charged plasma from the sun
        Another misconception [even if propagated by some scientists themselves]. The CMEs are NOT electrically charged. This much was known already back in 1919 [Lindeman]. The plasma is electrically NEUTRAL as any mixture of even numbers of positive [protons] and negative [electrons] charges is. The plasma is electrically conductive [as is sea water and the solar photosphere and a piece of copper wire]. When you move a conductor [the CME ‘slamming’ into the Earth’s magnetic field] into a magnetic field, electric currents are generated locally. Such currents can heat the air [as the current in a light bulb heats the filament and makes it glow].

      • “Another misconception [even if propagated by some scientists themselves]. The CMEs are NOT electrically charged. This much was known already back in 1919 [Lindeman]. The plasma is electrically NEUTRAL as any mixture of even numbers of positive [protons] and negative [electrons] charges is.”

        Um no lsvalgaard. The person with the misconception here, is you. Plasma is ionized=non neutral.

        “Plasma is a state of matter that is often thought of as a subset of gases, but the two states behave very differently. Like gases, plasmas have no fixed shape or volume, and are less dense than solids or liquids. But unlike ordinary gases, plasmas are made up of atoms in which some or all of the electrons have been stripped away and positively charged nuclei, called ions, roam freely.

        A gas is made of neutral molecules and atoms,” said Xuedong Hu, a professor of physics at the University at Buffalo. That is, the number of negatively charged electrons equals the number of positively charged protons.

        Plasma is a charged gas, with strong Coulomb [or electrostatic] interactions,” Hu told Live Science. Atoms or molecules can acquire a positive or negative electrical charge when they gain or lose electrons. This process is called ionization.
        http://www.livescience.com/54652-plasma.html

        “A plasma is a hot ionized gas consisting of approximately equal numbers of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. The characteristics of plasmas are significantly different from those of ordinary neutral gases so that plasmas are considered a distinct “fourth state of matter.”
        http://pluto.space.swri.edu/image/glossary/plasma.html

        “This material is plasma, a gas in which positively and negatively charged particles have separated, forming a superhot mix that follows paths guided by complex magnetic forces in the sun’s atmosphere”
        https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/iris-spots-plasma-rain-on-suns-surface

      • As your own quote says: A plasma is a hot ionized gas consisting of approximately equal numbers of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. and is thus neutral. Sea water contains a mixture of ions too: sodium and chlorine ions with equal and opposite charges and is therefore also electrically neutral.

      • Hi to you too, Aphan,

        I WAS being “snarky”, because I was trying to counter balance what I detected in your tone as a mistaken notion that this topic had nothing to do with AGW, when my judgement indicated that it might have a great deal to do with AGW, in the sense of arguing against it as a valid claim.

        As for this NOT being a post about space weather, I am somewhat confused, then, since NASA would seem to say that it most certainly IS:

        http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/phenomena/coronal-mass-ejections

        Maybe we misunderstand one another (could it BE that language can lead to such disharmony?), but I feel much in tune to your last comment, finding it agreeable.

        What subjects do you consider under the heading of … “space weather”, if not coronal mass ejections? With each dumb question, I become less dumb. (^_^)

      • This isn’t a post about “space weather”.
        Yes it is. The give-away is the Journal in which the paper will be published:
        The presentation was tied to an upcoming paper that is slated to be published in the journal Space Weather.

      • Leif,

        A gas is made up of neutral atoms and neutral molecules.

        PLASMA is a gas made up of atoms in which “some or all of the electrons have been stripped away” leaving positively charged nuclei (IONS…not protons, not molecules) that roam freely. Ions have a different number of protons than electrons so they have a net POSITIVE charge.

        An equal number of IONS and electrons is NOT the same thing as an equal number of protons and electrons. Ionization makes a formerly neutral atom or molecule positive by stripping electrons away from it. You might have 100 ions and 100 individual electrons, but the number of PROTONS in the IONS out numbers both the electrons in them and the 100 individual electrons resulting in a net positive charge.

      • An equal number of IONS and electrons is NOT the same thing as an equal number of protons and electrons.
        [sigh]. The solar wind [and a CME] is basically hydrogen [with a few percent Helium] so the number of ions is the number of protons.

      • Robert, thanks for your reply. Snark tags are our friends. :)

        That said, the geomagnetic storm occurs when the solar matter hits Earth’s atmosphere, so to me…even mistakenly….that makes it OUR storm, not “space’s” storm. It originated in space, from the Sun, but if it enters our atmosphere, it becomes ours. And like you, there is simply no way that something, that powerful, that filled with energy can have ZERO affect on the some of the intermingling, connected layers of atmosphere. What is the troposphere made of if not particles both negatively, positively and neutrally charged?

      • there is simply no way that something, that powerful, that filled with energy can have ZERO affect on the some of the intermingling, connected layers of atmosphere.
        ZERO is not the issue. It is enough that the effect is small enough not to matter. Starlight from Sirius does not have ZERO effect on the Earth, but is so feeble that we don’t need to take it into account in calculating the energy flow into the system. Here is a table showing the magnitude of the various inputs of energy to the Earth:

        Solar storms account for less than a millionth of the total.
        But since the upper atmosphere also contains much less than a millionth of the atmosphere, the effect is noticeable up there [but only there].

      • 1 ) No a lot of them don’t .
        2 ) Failure to express temperatures in Kelvin obscures the fact that the total variation in temperature this fraud is over , as Richard Lindzen also emphasizes , is only 0.3% since the steam engine .

    • It’s all part of silly “dumbing down” of information on the assumption that the readers are uneducated, uninformed, idiots. Like denominating lengths and areas in “football fields”. The meta-text is “I’m really smart, but you’re not, so I have to use simple terms that dumb people like you can understand”

      How many uneducated, uninformed idiots are going to read a press release about a paper analysing the effects of CME’s on the upper atmosphere?

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4459182/ has a lot about radiational cooling by NO (note the shortwave length – we’re not talking tropopause temperatures here!

    Abstract

    Infrared radiative cooling of the thermosphere by carbon dioxide (CO2, 15 µm) and by nitric oxide (NO, 5.3 µm) has been observed for 12 years by the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument on the Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics satellite. For the first time we present a record of the two most important thermospheric infrared cooling agents over a complete solar cycle. SABER has documented dramatic variability in the radiative cooling on time scales ranging from days to the 11 year solar cycle. Deep minima in global mean vertical profiles of radiative cooling are observed in 2008–2009. Current solar maximum conditions, evidenced in the rates of radiative cooling, are substantially weaker than prior maximum conditions in 2002–2003. The observed changes in thermospheric cooling correlate well with changes in solar ultraviolet irradiance and geomagnetic activity during the prior maximum conditions. NO and CO2 combine to emit 7 × 1018 more Joules annually at solar maximum than at solar minimum.

  9. NASA defines ToA as 100 km and the location of the radiative balance. That’s 62 miles or 328,000 feet.

    The troposphere varies from 9 to 17 km depending on the source, 5.6 to 10.6 miles, 29,500 to 55,760 feet.

    According to one source 99% of the atmospheric mass is below 32 km (19.9 miles, 104,960 feet) suggesting 1% above.

    How do standard physics and thermodynamics apply in the essential absence of molecules?

    BTW the distance to the ToA of 62 miles is comparable to the distance between Colorado Springs and Denver. That’s ludicrous thin.

    • Ric
      There are satellite measurements indicating that CO2 stays around the 400 ppm by volume mark of today as high as 25 km altitude. I have not seen numbers for higher altitudes so have to assume similar proportions until it gets too dilute to measure systematically. There should be an altitude above which the molecules of C
      O2 become so sparse that their ability to participate in energy exchanges strong enough to influence atmospheric temperatures just dies out. Is there such a conceptual altitude and what is it?

  10. Is it possible that there is some mechanism whereby CMEs cause warming in the troposphere?

    Near solar maxima, the Sun produces about three CMEs every day, whereas near solar minima, there is about one CME every five days. link

    Plenty of people have studied the effect of CMEs on cosmic rays. Is it also possible that the CMEs have a direct effect on the troposphere?

  11. The next paper will be about the impact CO2 have on the cooling process and the revised temperature trends will be in 100’s of degrees F

    /sarc

  12. ristvan December 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm
    CME are mostly charged particles that get trapped by the magnetosphere/ionosphere. That is effectively at/above TOA. As Leif said, nothing to do with troposphere, tropopause, and AGW.

    Very curious – if the CME can have a significant impact on ground based utilities, does that “energy” get all the way to ground without interaction with atmospheric gases below TOA??? Seems like a lot of energy to account for.

    • The effect of a CME on e.g. power lines is due to the electric currents induced in the lines, not by ‘energy’ somehow ‘streaming’ down to Earth.

      • … and the induced electrical current never results in heat or chemical processes in the lower atmosphere? And CMEs never have any effect in the upper atmosphere on the energy from the sun which does stream down to the earth?

      • The effect of a CME on e.g. power lines is due to the electric currents induced in the lines, not by ‘energy’ somehow ‘streaming’ down to Earth.

        Induction is not magic or perpetual motion. Any energy induced in a conductor is extracted from a “stream” of energy elsewhere, specifically a changing (or moving) magnetic field. And all the energy induced in any conductor is eventually expressed as heat (P=I^2R). Granted that the total energy induced in conductors on Earth (power lines, salt water, perhaps others) from a CME is trivial compared to TSI, it is still extracted from the energy of the CME.

        Now will someone please explain induction to Mosher?

      • While correct, it is also irrelevant for the issue. The ‘streaming’ language is misleading [“CMEs are powerful enough to send billions of tons of solar particles screaming toward Earth at more than 1 million miles per hour” – actually less than 100 tons is intercepted by the Earth]. The induced current is largely controlled by dB/dt, i.e. how rapidly the magnetic field changes, not by motion as such.

      • …actually less than 100 tons is intercepted by the Earth…

        I had not heard that “100 tons” number before. Thank you for that. It puts the entire CME thing in perspective. We hear the “billions of tons” so often but 100 tons, even at 1 million mph is indeed a trivial enough amount of energy to be irrelevant in the larger picture. Although it’s plenty to burn out a few grid sub-stations or melt a few telegraph keys back in the 19th century.

      • A CME does contain billions of tons, but the Earth [and its magnetosphere] is tiny [about an arc minute in extent] compared to the up to 90 degrees of solid angle of a CME; hence the tiny amount of matter intercepted. Also, a CME is extremely tenuous, like 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 times thinner than air.

  13. No “shockwave”…. Electrical induction heating of the atmosphere and the Nitric Oxide reaction is electro chemical and endothermic.

  14. Okay, per instructions, I … “read the damn post”, and here are a few quotes from it:

    A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has found the mechanism behind the sudden onset of a “natural thermostat” in Earth’s upper atmosphere that dramatically cools the air after it has been heated by violent solar activity.

    So, when I see phrases like “Earth’s upper atmosphere”, “dramatically cools the air”, I am supposed to forget that Earth’s upper atmosphere is connected to Earth’s lower atmosphere, and I am supposed to put aside any speculation about any possible causal effects that one portion of the atmosphere might have on another.

    Knipp gave a presentation at the 2016 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union being held in San Francisco Dec. 12 through Dec. 16. The presentation was tied to an upcoming paper that is slated to be published in the journal Space Weather.

    I see here that a presentation about coronal mass ejections is tied to a paper slated to be published in the journal … Space Weather … and then understand from one commentator that this topic is NOT about space weather.

    I could go on, but, I just noted these two quotes to help me understand the reason for several blistering comments challenging my understanding of what this topic is about. Do we speak the same language? (^_^)

    • I am supposed to forget that Earth’s upper atmosphere is connected to Earth’s lower atmosphere
      No, and there is lots of energy in upwards traveling waves [the lower atmosphere has a much larger influence on the upper than the upper has on the lower]

    • Robert I too noticed the tone of the instructions about the damn post. Sometimes it must be frustrating for our scientific betters to deal with mere mortals. We are of course grateful that they do.

      As you point out the inconvenient facts suggest that sometimes they miss what others see when they read the damn post.

  15. has found the mechanism behind the sudden onset of a “natural thermostat” in Earth’s upper atmosphere that dramatically cools the air after it has been heated by violent solar activity.

    Got to come up with a reason that can be used to explain how annual temps can drop a degree at the end of an El Nino.
    If co2 is the control knob, how does an El Nino cause temps to drop? Which isn’t co2 preventing that from happening?

  16. The atmospheric global electric circuit: An overview
    http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive/SOLAR_WEATHER-CLIMATE_STUDIES/2005%20Atmospheric%20Global%20Electric%20Current%20-%20OverviewSiingh.pdf

    “Revolutions in Understanding the Ionosphere, Earth’s Interface to Space
    Scientists from NASA and three universities have presented new discoveries about the way heat and energy move and manifest in the ionosphere, a region of Earth’s atmosphere that reacts to changes from both space above and Earth below.”
    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/revolutions-in-understanding-the-ionosphere-earth-s-interface-to-space

    • From a glass half full perspective the scientific method and the body of scientific knowledge is often helpful for people who identify previously unknown unknowns and seek to make them known.

      It is difficult to learn if you pay any heed to people who urge silence about things unknown.

      • Sorry Leif, I do understand your point but you do not appear to understand mine.

        Proving and refuting things happens to be my day job (in law not science). But I’m more interested in the advancement of knowledge and in the hands of those who cannot reason properly your words can easily be exploited to encourage a lack of curiosity.

        Thank you for your ongoing contribution to this forum. I am frequently surprised by the willingness of those such as yourself with great expertise to contribute to the education of others.

      • Proving and refuting things happens to be my day job (in law not science).
        As I understand Law, the purpose of litigation is not to find the truth, but to win [regardless of the truth].

      • Leif as I explained only yesterday to a client, when I’m inside a courtroom truth is what I can prove. Legal proof is as different from empirical proof as empirical proof is different from deductive proof.

      • Leif, you are correct about the arbiter of truth, namely a judge or a jury. It comes as a surprise to some clients to learn that being sure of their recollections needs to be backed up by the arbiter assessing them as a credible witness. People can easily destroy their own credibility in the witness box. Equally a misguided cross examination can increase their credibility.

        I can also tell you how disconcerting it is to make watertight submission on a matter of law only to have a judge go against all precedent. That is of course something a scientist or mathematician does not face except when a journal rejects publication of proper science but publishes junk.

        In respect to foul means, I can’t speak for others but I jealously guard my reputation for scrupulously meeting my duty to the court. Only once that duty is met does a lawyer’s duty to their client begin. In my experience ethical conduct provides a significant advantage against a known shyster.

        Sometimes, but not often, I look back with fondness to the days when as a mathematician I could use the line that I had provided the solution but had no obligation to explain it.

        Now I think we have drifted well of track. Back to the upper atmosphere!

      • Getting back:
        In science we have an arbiter of ‘truth’ namely correspondence with experiment, usually and best via a prediction. That can establish the ‘truth’ within the confines of the current paradigm. When enough discrepancies crop up, the paradigm [agreed upon worldview] is usually replaced by a new paradigm, and so on. The paradigm is thus what is ‘known’. Claiming effects stemming from unknown causes goes outside of the paradigm and is usually frowned upon [and in the vast majority of cases – rightly so].

      • My use of the term arbiter is the dictionary definition which refers to a person. In my world a judge or jury. In your world perhaps the editor of a journal.

        Ultimately, however, I agree with you about the extreme caution which must accompany the use of unknowns in argument. Such use is nothing better than uninformed conjecture.

        I am also quite confident that you would not support silencing anybody who seeks to investigate unknowns.

        Thanks for an interesting conversation.

      • Folks, to deny that there are cycles in nature and that these may cause climate change is putting the head in the sand.
        looking at the sun, and its radiance upon earth, we are now more or less where we were in 1930, even just looking at SSN, never mind all the other proxies I found for GB.
        That means we are 2 years away from the big [dust bowl] drought that affected the great plains of America quite badly.
        http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/drought/dust_storms.shtml
        …that drought was a disaster…..
        Counting back another 87 years of the Gleissberg brings us to 1932 – 87 = 1845
        http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/habitat/documents2/Woodhouse.pdf
        …..coincidence?
        I don\’t think so. Even if the drought were to be delayed for a few years due to differing conditions from within earth, it is good to consider the options that we have when a major drought will hit the USA with 8 billion earthly inhabitants increasingly dependent and counting on US corn….

  17. Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space and forms our electromagnetic field lines, which Earth rotates inside of these field lines protect life from the suns solar wind. If it didn’t Earth would have no life as we know it and would be as barren as our 2 closest planets.

    “The flow of heat from Earth’s interior to the surface is estimated at 47 terawatts (TW)[1] and comes from two main sources in roughly equal amounts: the radiogenic heat produced by the radioactive decay of isotopes in the mantle and crust, and the primordial heat left over from the formation of the Earth.[2]

    Earth’s internal heat powers most geological processes[3] and drives plate tectonics.[2] Despite its geological significance, this heat energy coming from Earth’s interior is actually only 0.03% of Earth’s total energy budget at the surface, which is dominated by 173,000 TW of incoming solar radiation.[4]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_internal_heat_budget

    “Earth is enclosed in its magnetosphere – the voluminous dynamically changing space around Earth filled with plasma of several different kinds – controlled at least in part by its magnetic field [4, 5] (Figure 1). As generally accepted, Earth’s magnetosphere is shaped by the impact of the solar wind, a flow of hot plasma containing free protons and electrons as well as ions of heavier elements emitted by the Sun. Earth’s magnetosphere forms an obstacle to the flow, diverting it by an average distance ~70 000 km (11 Earth radii, Re = 6371 km), producing a ‘bowshock’ 12 000 to 15 000 km further upstream.”
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Earths_Magnetized_Plasma_Shield.php

    “Oceans might not be thought of as magnetic, but they make a tiny contribution to our planet’s protective magnetic shield. Remarkably, ESA’s Swarm satellites have not only measured this extremely faint field, but have also led to new discoveries about the electrical nature of inner Earth.”

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-magnetic-oceans-electric-earth.html#jCp

    • jmorpuss says
      Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

      henry says
      true enough
      I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
      I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
      now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

    • jmorpuss says
      Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

      henry says
      true enough
      I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
      I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
      now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

    • jmorpuss says
      Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

      henry says
      true enough
      I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
      I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
      now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

    • jmorpuss says
      Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

      henry says
      true enough
      I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
      I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
      now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

    • jmorpuss says
      Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

      henry says
      true enough
      I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
      I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
      now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

    • jmorpuss says
      Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

      henry says
      true enough
      I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
      I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
      now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

  18. Yes, I get that we might argue that the lower atmosphere has a greater effect on the upper atmosphere than the upper atmosphere has on the lower atmosphere. That’s how I’m seeing it. So, wouldn’t it be ironic if we discovered that the problem with our human-CO2 belching ways was actually the COOLING of the upper atmosphere, rather than the warming of the lower atmosphere?

    And knowing that CO2 acts as a “coolant” in the upper atmosphere, might this change the tone of the whole discussion everywhere in the atmosphere? In other words, stop talking about “heat trapping” and start talking more about heat transfer.

    A question that I would have is … How do we know that it is human-caused CO2 migrating in greater quantities to the upper atmosphere? How is this measured? How is human-caused CO2 separated out at that altitude?

    • Robert says
      And knowing that CO2 acts as a “coolant” in the upper atmosphere, might this change the tone of the whole discussion everywhere in the atmosphere? In other words, stop talking about “heat trapping” and start talking more about heat transfer.
      A question that I would have is … How do we know that it is human-caused CO2 migrating in greater quantities to the upper atmosphere? How is this measured? How is human-caused CO2 separated out at that altitude

      Henry says

      there is little doubt that the burning of fossil fuels causes there to be more CO2 in the atmosphere?
      Anyway, there are some ways to determine this, e.g. by looking at the isotopes of Carbon. Apparently they can figure out which are which – i.e. which are released by the oceans, naturally, due to warming, – there giga tons of carbonates in the oceans – and which are not. [natural life does not ‘like’ the 1% carbon 14….]
      My thoughts of more CO2 in the atmosphere are also that of cooling rather than warming – nobody ever brought us a balance sheet, did they? [on the deflection of sunlight in the 1-2 and 4-5 um range by CO2 versus the entrapment of heat from earth in the 14-15 um range]
      never mind all that,

      it never even showed up in my results as a factor in my own results

      Rsquare equal to 1 means everything is just going down quite naturally…no room for any AGW whatsoever….

      • I made my own data sets taking into account
        1) sh stations = nh stations {each 27 stations}
        2) all stations balance to zero latitude
        3) looking at the average change in K per annum at each station means you don’t have to worry about longitude
        4) I chose the stations 70/30 @sea/inland
        5) otherwise the choice of stations is completely random
        from
        http://www.tutiempo.net

      • I saw, but it’s such a small subset of the data. I include everything, in this case the only criteria is that they collects at least 360 days of data. But I do a lot of other calculations, enthalpy (wet and dry), estimated solar for that location, derivative of the daily change in temp, and do the averaging as a flux, then convert back to a temp, for true averaging.

    • And knowing that CO2 acts as a “coolant” in the upper atmosphere, might this change the tone of the whole discussion everywhere in the atmosphere? In other words, stop talking about “heat trapping” and start talking more about heat transfer.

      Water vapor regulates lower atm to dew points.

  19. @micro6500
    I do applaud you on your results which, interalia,
    1) shows us the switch in Hale cycle that occurred just before 1972 and 1995 [will happen again just about now, i.e. this year 2017 or next year 2018….]
    2) shows that there has been no warming trend, really from 50 or 60years back to now .

    However, as I said, like most other data sets based on surface stations it is likely to be biased toward the NH, simply because there are many more measurements performed in the NH.

    To show you how this could affect your data sets, consider my result if I were to look only at the area where I live:

    iow
    there has never been any warming here, whatsoever…

  20. Interesting. With Venus at about .72 AU from the sun, if my math is right, that planet should suffer about twice as many CMEs as Earth. Is the Venusian atmosphere (and temperature) so strikingly different from Earth’s perhaps because of a difference in the availability of nitrogen? That is, without a strong nitric oxide feedback loop, is Venus’ comparatively high temperature the cumulative result of CMEs and not necessarily the result of CO2 trapping?

    • there is also the elephant in the room to consider
      which I only experienced when I went down 1km into a goldmine here
      what if that elephant moves around, apparently north, as evident by the movement of the magnetic north pole….

  21. jmorpuss says
    Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

    henry says
    true enough
    I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
    I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
    now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

  22. Jm says
    Earth is a rotating sphere with a hellish 6000 C core that radiates outwards in all directions to a cold space

    henry says
    true enough
    I only went down 1km here, in one of our goldmines, and suddenly, because of the increase of T, you realize the elephant in the room [from within…]
    I am pretty sure that the reason why we see more warming in the Nh and none in the Sh is because of the movement of that core more to the north as evident by the shift in the magnetic north pole.
    now, what I want to know, is, how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?

    • I know all about magnetic stirrers
      [I was a plant chemist]

      makes sense to me to think that if the big stirrer in the deep starts to move, the [coated] stirrer [inside earth] also starts to move.
      Either way, it is the sun that causes both local and global cooling/warming on earth…

  23. Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:06 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:08 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:10 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:12 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:15 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:20 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 7:17 am
    Henry December 17, 2016 at 9:23 am
    ——————————————————–
    duplicate posts wow

    I dunno the answer to;
    “”how can we predict the movement of earth’s inner core?””,
    but a clue might be found in the redistribution of mass on the surface providing clues.

    The video below is from AGU 2016 and the presentation is about “polar wander.”

    FM16 Press Conference: Tracking the reorientation of the terrestrial planets

    Published on Dec 13, 2016
    Major geological processes, like the formation of giant volcanoes or big impact basins, can redistribute large amounts of material on the surface or interior of a planet. This redistribution unbalances the planet and can cause a change in the geographic location of its north and south poles, a phenomenon called True Polar Wander. In this briefing, the researcher will present the first systemic study of True Polar Wander of the terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, the moon and Mars – and present a chronology of how each planet reoriented over time. These reorientation chronologies can help scientists better understand the geological history of the planets and have important implications for other planetary processes.
    Participant:
    James Tuttle Keane, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A

    • I don’t know what happened, with that multiple posting, I was puzzled. I think the name of the previous poster [including p…] triggered a no-go [ to a language check] so it all ended up in the waiting bin.
      Anyway, Carla, thanks.
      I listened to the presentation and one of the questions that came up at the end was about the recent pole wander. I heard they admit that this is part of us coming out of the ice age – i.e. the melting of ice causing a change of the pole…. Must say, I don’t think the pole wander is due to that. That bit of water cannot possibly change the orientation of earth’s iron inner core.
      More likely:
      we have come out of the Holocene due to the pole wander, and then it became warmer, as the [north] pole moved further north. The pole wander is still not over an has moved a lot more north during the past 50 years compared to 100 years before that. This would explain my results [i.e. little or no warming in the SH]

      • I would have appreciated a thought by anyone to ponder on this
        but it seems I am left on my own here
        my final thought on this is that it must be the sun’s center moving around a bit, pulling the inner iron cores of the planets with it, causing our poles to wander.
        The gentleman doing the presentation did not really present any measured data, did he?
        Perhaps Leif knows?
        so besides irradiation [causing global climate] we also have to consider the gravitational pull of the whole SS, causing local climate
        and that would be still be ignoring the forces I don’t know about,
        [so I don’t talk about that]

        and in my final analysis everything depends on each other –
        ie. interdependency of all forces
        that ultimately caused life to be on earth.

  24. Hey Mod
    Do you think you could post my reply to Henry. It’s been in moderation for 3 days now.

    [no such comment exists in our system, sorry -mod]

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