Timing Is Everything

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

My theory about the climate is that the global temperature is regulated in large part by the timing and strength of the daily appearance of tropical clouds and thunderstorms. I hold that when the tropical temperatures are higher, that the cumulus cloud field and associated thunderstorms forms both earlier and more strongly. This cools the surface by reflecting sunshine back into space and thus capping the possible temperature increase.

In my last post, TAO Sea and Air Temperature Differences, I discussed an oddity. The oddity is that the daily cycle of sea-air temperature differences is virtually identical for some 7,000 miles (11,000 km) along the Equator all across the Pacific. Here’s the main graph from that post.

temp diff anomaly sst minus air TAO buoys

Figure 1. Daily cycle of anomalies of differences between sea temperatures and air temperatures at eight equatorial TAO buoys.

I found this quite surprising, and I said so in the post. In response, a commenter claimed that the reason for this Pacific-wide equality was obvious, viz (emphasis mine):

The answer is quite simple! It’s been well-known for many decades among geophysical professionals that the heat capacity of water is much greater than that of air, resulting in generally negative air-sea temperature differences. The shape of the diurnal cycle of those differences is governed by the rate of heat transfer between ocean and atmosphere, modulated In the tropics by a characteristic diurnal pattern of cloud cover. PhD theses require more than a rehash of known processes. … Since the diurnal cycle of solar radiance is uniform throughout the narrow tropical zone and since the specific heat of water and air is virtually constant, that the diurnal cycle of air-sea temperature differences varies uniformly with longitude is not particularly noteworthy scientifically.

I always get a laugh out of the passion and certitude with which some anonymous commenters express their unsupported opinions. In this case, I thought “Say what? The diurnal cycle of solar radiation in the tropics is NOT uniform, not even near to it.” How do I know this? Well, because I’ve invested lots and lots of hours studying things like the TAO buoy dataset, including the downwelling solar data … plus, of course, I lived for twenty years in the tropics. Nothing like having experience as a foundation to build on and improve with endless study …

In any case, I have to thank the commenter. He spurred me to look further at the question of the differences in the surface solar radiation at the various locations. And as always, natural data contains surprises.

To begin with, on a 24/7 average, the amount of solar energy striking this group of equatorial buoys varies from lows of about 248 W/m2 at the two lowest buoys, up to the highest buoy reading of about 284 W/m2. Thus, the buoy with the most sunlight has about 15% more sunlight than the two buoys getting the least sunlight. Not uniform at all.

Here’s the next oddity. The two buoys with the least sunlight striking the surface are at the opposite edges of the Pacific, and thus at opposite temperature extremes. One is the TAO buoy at 95°W off of Ecuador (Spanish for “Equator”), in the coolest Pacific equatorial water. The other is the TAO buoy at 165°E, near Papua New Guinea in the warmest Pacific water. One averages 248.4 W/m2 of sunshine at the surface; the other averages 248.8 W/m2 of sunshine … virtually identical. Hmmm … Figure 2 shows the situation:

downwelling solar energy at the surface.png

Figure 2. Downwelling solar energy flux at the surface, in watts per square metre (W/m2).

The small red squares on the Equator at the east and west edges of the Pacific are the location of the buoys with the least surface sunlight. Figure 2 shows CERES data. Note the good agreement between the CERES derived surface dataset and the TAO buoy data, with the gray-colored lines showing the recorded value from the TAO buoys of 248 W/m2.

So where is the difference between the warm and cold buoy sunshine? Well, as I’ve said from my first explanation of tropical thermal regulation, it’s in the timing and strength of the emergence of the daily cloud cover. To illustrate this I’ve subtracted the downwelling solar energy flux at the coolest-water buoy from that at the warmest-water buoy. Figure 3 below shows that result. Positive values mean more sun at the warmer location.

differences in solar at 95W and 165E.png

Figure 3. Daily cycle of the differences between 24/7 average downwelling solar energy at the cool and warm edges of the equatorial Pacific. Both buoys are on the Equator. The buoy at 95°W is in the cool area off of South America. The buoy at 165°E is in the Pacific Warm Pool off of Papua New Guinea north of Australia. Positive values mean more sunshine at the warm buoy. Solar data taken at ten minute intervals.

Figure 3 reveals that in the warm area, there’s more sunshine in the early morning. But then around nine or ten in the morning, the clouds and the thunderstorms start to come on strong at the warmer buoy. This cuts down both the noon and the afternoon sunlight in the warmer regions.

Nor are these small swings. They are plus or minus about forty watts per square metre, which is a lot of energy.

There are several interesting aspects of this. The first is that although the total solar energy reaching the surface is the same in both locations, they are at very different temperatures. Curious.

The next is the large difference in the amount and timing of the clouds. At the warm buoy, there is much greater cloud coverage starting about 9 AM, as evidenced by the much smaller amount of sunshine being allowed in compared to surface sunshine at the cool buoy. This agrees with my theory regarding thermal regulation via cloud cover.

Next, think about how this relates to Figure 1 above. Figure 1 shows that all the buoys have nearly identical daily changes in sea-air temperature differences (∆T). Whatever physical processes might explain those identical cycles, clearly it is NOT from some imaginary “uniform diurnal cycle of solar radiance”. Solar radiance at the different buoys shows a large inter-buoy variation, both in the total amount of incident sunshine and in the timing of the sunshine.

Finally, remember that this is the average timing. On warmer days, the clouds form earlier and more densely, and the reduction in sunshine is greater. On cooler days, the clouds form later and more scattered, and more sunshine comes in. This process cools the warm days and warms the cool days … what’s not to like?

TAO average warm and cool days warmest buoy

Figure 4. Average surface air temperature changes on warmer and colder days at the TAO buoy at 165°E on the Equator.

Always more to learn …

Regards to everyone,

w.

THE USUAL REQUEST:  When you comment, please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS THAT YOU ARE DISCUSSING. I can defend my own statements. I can’t defend your memory of some statement you think I made at some unknown time and place. Please quote what you are talking about—it makes conversations possible and prevents misunderstandings.

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TG

Willis you’re the best!

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Rt = k x [1.0 + 0.8 x (n/N)] x [1.0 -0.2 x t]/0.1 x (RH)1/2
Rt = global solar radiation
n/N = observed — sunshine hours– (n) and day length (N) in hours
k = latitude & season factor
t = observed/average, rainy days
RH = Relative Humidity, %
S = n/N =1 – f1 – f2
F1 = a x Exp [-0.25 x (a)1/2]
A = [Cl + Cm + Ch]/8 – low (Cl), medium (Cm) & high (Ch) clouds in Octas
F2 = 0.02 +0.08 x Cos 4φ up to 45o latitude and -0.08 for beyond 45o latitude
Rt = a + b x Lo + c x L + d x h + c x R1/3
Lo = longitude, L = latitude & h = height of a place; R = Rainfall, mm [used in northeast Brazil]
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Chris Norman

If you wish to educate people this is not the way to do it. By all means write the maths but an explanation would be nice.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Chris Norman — Thank you
The presentation is self explanatory — how relative humidity, cloud cover, rainfall and global solar radiation and bright sunshine hours relate.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Alan Tomalty

What are F1 and F2. Im afraid we are not all phds here and the explanation given escapes me.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Alan Tomalty — F1 is the total cloud factor and F2 is the latitude correction factor.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Samuel C Cogar

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy – January 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm

The presentation is self explanatory — how relative humidity, cloud cover, rainfall and global solar radiation and bright sunshine hours relate.

Even if your equation “parameters” are “self-explanatory” to a very limited number of individuals, …… what good are they?
The “cell size” for any calculation would be extremely small, like a few acres or less, and therefore of no practical use in composing a local or regional “picture”.
Yours is an even more complex problem than what the …… local/regional Average Temperature calculating “expert” climate scientists have been “spinning-their-wheels” at attempting to solve.
One can calculate a “snapshot” of a dynamic process, …… but by the time one finishes their calculations, many of the parameters “driving” said dynamic process have changed, (and most probably never to repeat in concert again), …… thus relegation one’s “calculations” to the equivalent of ………. last week’s News story.

charles nelson

Not only do storm cells reflect incoming radiation and shade the surface. The convective uplift physically transports heat laden water vapour to high altitudes where radiative heat loses are large and rapid.
CIMSS has amazing satellite footage of this process happening in real time.
http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic.php

“…to high altitudes where radiative heat loses are large and rapid.”
No, what you are seeing is heat loss due to the adiabatic process (air rising and cooling adiabaticly). Radiative heat loss at the top of the cloud is basically constant (and minor) regardless of the cloud top height. This is proved because, if you notice the cloud top temperature, it is colder at the center of the cloud than at the edge. The convection rises (tallest/coldest) at the center and spreads out to the edge…and sinks (warms) due to the adiabatic process as well.

John Harmsworth

Radiative heat loss at altitude for these moisture laden air masses occur subsequent to condensation.

menicholas

Condensation releases a huge amount of energy, but in spite of this, the falling rain is cool to cold, and the air of the downdrafts is likewise very cool compared to the temp of the air that formed the storm to begin with.
T-storms cause a huge amount of heat to be transported aloft to where it can radiate away to space.

menicholas

IN Florida, we have daily thunderstorms in the rainy season.
And every day, the coldest temps for the 24 hour period occur during the storms, or nearby where downdrafts are occurring.
And stronger storms cause the temp to be lower at the surface.
Every record low temp in Florida during this part of the year occurred during a severe thunderstorm.

charles nelson

JKrob. I don’t think you quite understand what ‘adiabatic process’ means. Go back and check your basic physics!

“JKrob. I don’t think you quite understand what ‘adiabatic process’ means. Go back and check your basic physics!”
HAH! Now that is funny right there. Since I’m so misinformed about the adiabatic process (rising air cools, descending air warms), please, teach us all the ‘proper’ mechanics of the adiabatic process…with references of course.

Paul Blase

” Since I’m so misinformed about the adiabatic process (rising air cools, descending air warms)”
But that’s not what “adiabatic” means! In fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite.
http://www.definitions.net/definition/adiabatic+process
“An adiabatic process is a process occurring without exchange of heat of a system with its environment. ”
Generally, one would say of an adiabatic process that “expanding air cools” and “compressed air heats”. The classical example being compressed air being pumped into or out of a tank.

Loren Wilson

Following this line of thought, do we have measurements over large thunderheads or supercells quantifying the amount of energy transfer via long-wave radiation? As I see it, a parcel of air rising in a thunderhead is cooling due to the drop in pressure, but this cooling is less than a dry parcel of air due to the latent heat as water vapor condenses into microscopic droplets. Heat can be removed to surrounding air via mixing, but I don’t see that as the primary mode, since these clouds have very well-defined margins. If there was substantial mixing of air, the edges of the clouds would be less defined. That leaves radiation as the primary mode of heat transfer.

“Following this line of thought, do we have measurements over large thunderheads or supercells quantifying the amount of energy transfer via long-wave radiation?”
Google Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR). This is measured from space on satellite platforms. It is always greater under clear skies and least at the tops of deep convection. This is obvious because the tops of deep convection are cold due to the adiabatic cooling process and clear skies are nearly transparent to LWIR. therefor, it is *not* deep convection that ‘dumps heat into space’ but clear skies.

Paul Blase

“This is obvious because the tops of deep convection are cold due to the adiabatic cooling process and clear skies are nearly transparent to LWIR. therefor, it is *not* deep convection that ‘dumps heat into space’ but clear skies.”
Adiabatic cooling is due to the lower pressure and greater volume, and doesn’t actually get rid of any energy. The only way to remove energy from the atmosphere is to radiate it into space. The deep convection moves the energy up to the higher altitudes where it _can_ get an unblocked view of space and radiate into that nice 4K heatsink. It also removes the various other atmospheric components which will absorb and re-radiate the energy, some of it back down.

kaliforniakook

Willis – any thing you want to add to Mr. Nelson’s comment and its subs? As a pilot who has flown through storm cells (too often), this makes a lot of sense, but I don’t have the resources to study it.

Willis – – to relate this to to a time scale we can observe, forget fihures 1 and 3 and and animate figure 2.

Auto

Willis,
Forgive me if I have missed it, but Figure three –comment image?w=601&h=596
raises one question with me.
Are the figures for solar for the buoys – which lead to the displayed differences – in Local Time, or in Greenwich time?
A ‘Zero’ difference for twelve hours suggests – to me – local time, but can you confirm, please?
Thanks.
Auto

Auto

Willis
Noted and appreciated.
Thanks.
Auto

Bernard

From my gliding experience I know that the time of initiation of thermal activity and subsequent cloud formation is strongly dependent on the atmospheric lapse rate at the time and location and also the existence and height of any temperature inversions.
Maybe there are some consistent differences in the atmospheric conditions along the equator that are responsible for the difference in cloud formation times.

Intelligent Dasein

So, it seems as if there is some force or process acting to harmonize atmosphere/sea-surface temperature differences across a vast swath of ocean.
I wonder if, given the fact that the fluid boundary between the two should be pretty efficient at transferring heat from the ocean to the atmosphere, whether the instantaneous rate of that heat transfer is kept constant over a broad area by continuous micro-advections. Perhaps the turbulent air layer nearest the sea surface acts to redistribute air so that each air parcel absorbs heat, on average, no quicker than the surrounding parcels. This would mean that the ocean does not simply leak heat to the atmosphere through pinholes but can only disgorge it en masse in quasi-quantized bursts, thus helping to form the convection cells that give rise to Willis’ cloud model.

TonyN

That turbulent air layer you mention… could the turbulence be caused by waves?
And, as the surface area of the interface between the air and sea increased rapidly with wave-height … could this be a further cause of changes in sea/air thermal conductivity across that boundary?
Could the effect of lensing of the sea surface by waves, where patches just below the surface receive pulses of concentrated sunlight, thus heating the water above ambient and increasing evaporation?

John Harmsworth

At the equator, the air temperature is generally higher than the ocean temperature. Heat is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere regardless, but it is in the form of latent heat, borne upward by water vapour.
Willis doesn’t need me to put words in his mouth but as an overview I think he is providing evidence of one of the primary forms of temperature regulation ( negative feedback ) on our planet. Ocean surface heating drives evaporation which drives convection which carries heat to altitude where clouds form. Clouds block and therefore limit the further surface warming caused by the sun and reflect a great deal of solar energy back to space. Additionally, clouds are condensed water. The latent heat of vapourisation is gone. Radiated in every direction, from the altitude of the clouds , not the surface, with a commensurately greater amount of its heat energy escaping to space.

Leo Smith

With respect, as a keen photographer back in the day of manual cameras, a cloud can reduce the amount of light hitting the subject not by an insignificant 15% but by a factor of 4!!!!!
Its obvious that cloud albedo has a massive impact and dwarfs everything else in the tropics.

richard verney

I still remember old school photography. here is the page from wikipedia
An elaborated form of the sunny 16 rule is to set shutter speed nearest to the reciprocal of the ISO film speed / setting and f-number according to this table:[3][4]
Tessina with exposure guide plate from the 1960s. At that time, DIN 21 was equivalent to ASA 80. After 1983, DIN 21 was ASA 100.[5] On this guide plate, DIN 21 uses f/16 and 1/125, consistent with Sunny 16.

Rolleiflex TLR exposure guide
Aperture Lighting conditions Shadow detail
f/22 Snow/sand Dark with sharp edges
f/16 Sunny Distinct
f/11 Slight overcast Soft around edges
f/8 Overcast Barely visible
f/5.6 Heavy overcast No shadows
f/4 Open shade/sunset No shadows
Add one stop Backlighting n/a

I shot and processed a boatload of b&w film in college as the head photographer of the school paper. I miss the days of manually adjusting exposure on the camera and darkroom. The dslr’s today and a few simple clicks of software isn’t very much of a challenge.

kaliforniakook

I rode a motorcycle through Toronto in May 2016. It got so dark during a rainstorm I did believe the sun had set. I was surprised when we rode out of the northeast of Toronto into clear skies – and saw the sun was still clear of the horizon. I refer to that leg of the trip as taking two days to duck-walk my bike through Toronto, which had road construction seemingly everywhere, and no bypasses.

gnomish
oppti

Great lesson Willis
I guess It would be helpful to have moisture measurements. At least fore a PhD investigation.

the difference in shape between the sine wave and observations is too consistent to be due to cloud cover, which varies by temp and time of day.

A C Osborn

See the comment by Bernard at January 27, 2018 at 9:21 pm

The Reverend Badger

Agreed. Much more likely to be due to some fundamental physical process taking place in the atmosphere.
I suggest an examination of the gravity related theories of Cotton, Nokolov & Zeller may prove useful.

Richard M

True, most likely it is due to rain.

Philip Mulholland

Gnomish.
Your yellow curves are a nice addition to the graph – seriously nice! Have you considered adding hysteresis?
At the equator solar insolation operates in two modes either on (from 6am to 6pm aka daytime) or off (from 6pm to 6 am aka nightime).
As I understand it Willis’s cloud regulation hypothesis is that the daytime insolation is reduced by a time dependent generation of shielding cumulus clouds leading to a local minima on his graph at 2 pm.
These same clouds dissipate at night. So the nightime local maxima at 9pm is the point at which the convective cloud engine stops working and the direct cooling effect of clearing skies takes over before the predawn recovery begins (no, I don’t know why the recovery inflection occurs before dawn).

Philip Mulholland

Willis,
You have mentioned elsewhere the dawn wind, is this an easterly or a westerly wind?

JR

Possibly because dawn is at the surface, and the sun strikes the upper atmosphere earlier?

A C Osborn

My thought also, it is a well known phenomenon with regard to frost sometimes melting in the morning.

menicholas

The moon wind?
Quick! Someone call Cat Stevens…we need a song!

Philip Mulholland

So the dawn wind is another example of a surface high density air current.
Very interesting.
Thanks Willis,

Old England

@ Gnomish – I was looking at January temperatures in Morocco the other day – the peak temperatures on land – as opposed to over water – arrive between 1.30pm and and 2.30 when they start to fall back again. I suspect your peak at 12 noon is earlier than it would actually be if there were no transfer of heat by water vapour etc.

The yellow warming curve makes sense, it should be a response to the cosine dependence of insolation, the night-time shouldn’t be a sinusoid though, it should be a monotonic decay from dawn to dusk.

M Courtney

I’ve seen your theory for years and have been impressed. It looks right and has evidence that it explains.
So I’ve thought about it and have a couple of questions.
1) I am curious as to why the effect of clouds is so uniform.
Surely there ought to be an effect relating to the colour of the clouds and the colour of the sea they obscure.
2) Choppy seas have a different angle of reflection than millponds. That seems like it should have an effect on this mechanism.
Have you looked for these complications?

Vicus

To address #2, I believe the irregular topography of seas would be nearly impractical to legitimately quantify by any means.

WTF

Willis,
Have you run your theory past some relevant scientists ?, seems like the first thing one would do.

Smart Rock

WTF – that’s what he’s doing by posting them here.

WTF

I meant in the real world, following the scientific method.
This is what scientists do all the time, they don’t hide theories in blogs.

Paul Blase

“I meant in the real world, following the scientific method.This is what scientists do all the time, they don’t hide theories in blogs.”
This is the scientific method. Where you present your work is irrelevant, so long as you show your data and methods. What is a “scientific journal” other than a paper blog with a good editor?

WTF

Paul,
Why is Willis avoiding the global scientific community by limiting himself to a discredited site in need of a “good editor” ?

AndyG55

“discredited site “
He isn’t posting on SkS, or Climate Reality…
So your comment is totally mis-guided WTF and, as always.. has no merit.

Instead of “relevant scientists”, why not just anyone that has the proper experience?

TheLastDemocrat

Sure. I will look it over. I will need $20,000 and will give you a timeline and list of deliverables.
We will need a data agreement and a written publication plan.
Develop an RFP, and I will get my contracts people to look it over, and review my proposal including budget.

Willis, doesn’t fig 1 argue against your theory? since the water temps are different at each buoy the cloud response should be different which should lead to a different pattern of heating and cooling. which we see in fig 3. but this difference is not reflected in fig 1. which is very strange. it suggests an error or an order of magnitude difference between fig 1 and 3 such that the energy in fig 3 is insignificant in fig 1. very strange in light of the shape of the curve in fig 1.

“Say what? The diurnal cycle of solar radiation in the tropics is NOT uniform, not even near to it.”
=====
agreed. huge diff at the surface depending on cloud cover which varies greatly by temp/season/longitude. so why is fig 1 so consistent independent of location?

A C Osborn

But the SI is Uniform at TOA, it is the Reaction to it that is not constant, did you see the point made by Bernard January 27, 2018 at 9:21 pm.

oebele bruinsma

As timing is everything, the overriding role of water vapour is quite obvious, and therefore the density and distribution of condensation kernels very important. I think that Eschenbach’s hypothesis is very well explaining the basics of the self regulating atmosphere which to me reminds me of a living entity.

A C Osborn

Mr Eschenbach, you say
“Here’s the next oddity. The two buoys with the least sunlight striking the surface are at the opposite edges of the Pacific, and thus at opposite temperature extremes. One is the TAO buoy at 95°W off of Ecuador (Spanish for “Equator”), in the coolest Pacific equatorial water. The other is the TAO buoy at 165°E, near Papua New Guinea in the warmest Pacific water. One averages 248.4 W/m2 of sunshine at the surface; the other averages 248.8 W/m2 of sunshine … virtually identical.
There is a major Logic problem with this statement.
If the Solar Irradiance is almost identical how is the Ocean “Hotter” at 165°E?
There must be another method of Heat transport for this to happen, do the prevailing currents bring the warmth from the where the SI is 284 W/m2?

Wim Röst

A C Osborn January 28, 2018 at 2:34 am: “If the Solar Irradiance is almost identical how is the Ocean “Hotter” at 165°E?
There must be another method of Heat transport for this to happen (…)”
WR:
(1) Trade Winds are blowing from east to west. The warmest part of the surface waters, the upper part, is blown to the West Pacific
(2) Because of (1), in the East the disappearing surface water is replenished from below: oceanic upwelling. In the deep ocean the water has a temperature just a little bit above zero degrees Celsius. The to the surface upwelling water is cold and the process as a whole is cooling the surface of the Eastern Pacific. Well visible on temperature maps.comment image?itok=N3QpZHCE

John Harmsworth

When I visited Ecuador I was told that the Humbolt current runs up the coast carrying cool water from the Southern ocean.

tty

*There must be another method of Heat transport for this to happen”
The Humboldt Current.

menicholas

It is both…the Humboldt current and the upwelling.

A C Osborn

I also asked a question on your previous post on this subject.
A C Osborn January 25, 2018 at 2:07 am
Mr Eschenbach, one thing I have noticed on the Air/Sea Difference Graph is the the lowest one actually goes Negative 4 times, ie the Air is Warmer than the Sea?
Is that correct?
If it is correct it must mean that the Air is not moving the heat away from the surface as quickly as you would expect.

John Harmsworth

Heat leaves the ocean surface constantly as latent heat.

Let’s analyze the current polar vortex pattern in the lower stratosphere. Please see that in the west the isobars from the Western Arctic reach the north of the USA. That is why the Arctic air already starts to reach to the Northen USA. The circulation in the stratosphere has an impact on the jet stream. The difference between these levels is 100 hPa. However, the high speed of wind in the polar vortex and the stability of the circulation pattern in the stratosphere force the circulation in the tropopause. In the tropopause, the influence of water vapor (warmer air) is mixed with the influence of stratospheric ozone. Ozone particles are heavier than air and they fall from the upper layers of the stratosphere near the polar circle. Water vapor as lighter than air rises to the tropopause above the equator.
http://files.tinypic.pl/i/00957/79bhpp1pc2hh.png
http://files.tinypic.pl/i/00957/xeeroe8l6tvx.png

Alasdair

Willis :
( I won’t repeat the views you express in your theory at the top of the page. Consider it read)
Totally agree. It is a view that I have held for some years now and suspect applies across the globe, not only in the tropics; but elsewhere but perhaps complicated by other factors.
I suggest that much of this can be explained by reference to the thermodynamics of the Rankine Cycle, coupled with the facts that gaseous water is lighter than dry air and that large energy levels of the latent heat are involved.
Initially the incoming radiation warms the sea surface due to the specific heat of water. Then evaporation takes place which absorbs the energy by latent heat at constant temperature with far greater energy involved.
Next the lower density of the gaseous water forces it upwards. (This being an additional factor to that of normal convection). The energy required to raise this water is provided by the latent heat which dissipates partly into the atmosphere and partly into the potential energy due to rising, with the final height determined by the energies involved.
In fact this is what is happening in a steam engine and comprises the boiler and piston part of the cycle. I will ignore the condenser/ feed pump/ heater bits as not relevant here.
So, essentially we have very large energies being transported upwards, some of which reaching the Tropopause, oblivious of CO2 etc. which balance the radiation inputs and have considerable influence on those inputs due to the Albedo and Emissivity properties involved. Making the whole system one of Chaotic complexity which currently cannot be solved with use of linear equations.
I suspect I am teaching you to suck eggs here Willis; so apologies. Maybe, however others could find it interesting.
All in all I found your article fascinating as it provided many factual jigsaw pieces which appear to fit into my overall concept.
My thanks and regards.

John Harmsworth

I agree with Willis and with your take on it. I would only add to your steam engine analogy that any additional heat input to the system, whether from the sun or derived from simplistic CO2 assumptions can only make the engine run a little faster. It cannot unbalance the system to the upside as the heat rejection capacity (space) is infinite.

RockyRoad

Is there a heat source generated by your “simplistic CO2 assumptions” that doesn’t come from the sun?

John Harmsworth

No. Any additional heat resulting from CO2 would only be by delaying heat loss from the system. I believe it is minimal and balanced quickly and efficiently by negative feedback .

Alan Tomalty

I even think that the process cannot be solved by differential equations because somebody has to do experiments on the atmosphere to get the correct constants and many variables that would be required before arriving at the correct differential equations. These experiments on the atmosphere would have to be so extensive as to risk the atmosphere itself. Obviously impossible, so I wouldnt hold my breath waiting for these differential equations. The day that weather forecasters can forecast the weather a year in advance to even 60% accuracy is the day when I will start believing in climate computer models of the globe.

Currently, there is La Niña and the wind is along the equator. Clouds upheave high above the equator. At the same time, less water vapor is at higher latitudes. This will provide high pressure in North America and Arctic frost in February .
http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/mtpw2/product.php?color_type=tpw_nrl_colors&prod=global2&timespan=24hrs&anim=html5
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat_a_f/gif_files/gfs_z100_nh_f144.png

Paul Blase

How does the solar angle, which obviously varies from +90 to 0 to -90 degrees, figure into Figure 3?
Also, do any of the bouys have actual sky-cameras to verify the cloud cover?

The Reverend Badger

I am totally in favour of each individual being free to come up with “my theory”, so well done Willis. However if you want a serious scientific examination of your theory you must also be decent enough to accord the same right to everyone else with a personal theory. I therefore respectfully suggest that the theories of Doug Cotton and Nikolov and Zeller be accorded the same respect. Otherwise you would appear to be playing politics and not genuine scientific enquiry.
Surely that is what you have accused the “enemy” of doing.
Remove the plank from your own eye first please.
I’ll be happy to debate ANY scientific theory ON ITS MERITS here (and without being rude and insulting) but you really should treat them all the same otherwise you don’t just run the risk of being hypocrites but prove you are in fact the same.

Agreed. We are all sometimes stubborn in what we hold to be valid and should listen more. Spoken from experience.

Ed Bo

Badger:
You want the theories of Mr Natural Fiber and N&Z to be examined? Very well.
Their theories have the weight force of the atmosphere continually transferring power to the surface.
High school physics tells us that mechanical power transfer is force integrated over distance — for constant force, it is force times distance.
The weight force of the atmosphere is not moving the earth’s surface, so the distance is zero. Since the distance is zero, the power transfer is zero.
So their theories have been examined, and found to be completely invalid.
Done.

But … many people find the theory of N&Z makes sense, and your dismissal is very much like the dismissal meted out to climate skeptics.
The bottom of the Grand Canyon is significantly warmer than the rim, and this follows the lapse rate. Are we to believe that this lapse rate is due to greenhouse gases, and that greenhouse gases cause the temperature change in the Grand Canyon, with its paucity of water vapor? Pressure correlates well with temperature change and elevation at the GC; greenhouse gas presence does not.

Ed Bo

Don:
The complete refutation of “atmospheric pressure effects” is truly as simple and basic as I have explained. The APE advocates really do not understand high school physics.
You get the common negative lapse rate (temperature decreasing with altitude) when the air is (primarily) heated from the bottom and (again, primarily) cooled from the top, as in your example of the Grand Canyon, with the sun warming the surface, which transfers some of that energy to the air at the bottom.
You get a positive lapse rate, called a temperature inversion, when the air is (primarily) cooled from the bottom, as can happen at night, especially in isolated valleys when the humidity is low and the surface can radiate to a substantial height. The surface is colder than the air, so the air transfers heat from the bottom to the surface by conduction. Antarctica has a months-long temperature inversion every winter.
The pressure effect hypothesis cannot explain any of these observations, and as I have pointed out, completely fail the most basis analysis of power transfer.
Again, done.

Sorry Ed, but once again we often hear that climate skeptics don’t understand high school physics, so it seems to me there are a lot of different takes on what constitutes good physics. I don’t think the pressure theory of the lapse rate negates any of the local effects such as you describe.
So then the top of any snow-free high altitude (preferably on a flat plateau) heated by the sun would warm the surrounding air and be warmer than the valley that’s in partial shadow?
At the GC, why would the bottom be warmer than the top, unless the sun directly illuminated both sides as well as the bottom at the same time? Why wouldn’t the rim, which is flatter and receives sunlight more directly, be warmer than the bottom?
My sense is that you’re right, in a way, and that N&Z are also right. It’s my experience that we really do get caught up in paradigms and can’t see through them, and that it takes an extraordinary amount of open-mindedness to understand something that our paradigms tell us must be wrong. Isn’t that the problem with the alarmists? Maybe the skeptics are a little guilty of this too; maybe it’s just human nature.

Ed: Not to beat this off-topic horse too much, but I don’t think N&Z say that pressure transfers power to the surface– or even anything close to that.
So have you really examined their theory?

Ed Bo

Don:
I’ve spent far more time on the N&Z papers than they deserve –it’s like staring at a train wreck.
They are far vaguer than they should be about their claimed effect, but they do say it’s a pressure effect, and a “compression” effect. If that is not what they really mean, it’s even worse — they are not even proposing an actual physical mechanism.
I have taught at the university level, and I have no hesitation in saying that I would reject these outright as undergraduate papers — they are that confused. And not just in this area; their mathematical/statistical analysis is just as bad.
There are many things that knowledgeable observers can disagree on, such as the knock-on effects of slight increases in IR absorbing gases.
But the definition of mechanical work and resulting power transfer is not one of them. All of the engineering work of the last two centuries is based on the fundamental analysis I gave above. If you think that could be wrong, you should never be getting into a car or plane. N&Z really don’t understand this basic scientific concept.

Have you ever seen an autostereogram? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autostereogram They can be maddening to look at– complete gibberish– but then you learn to see them. Maybe we’re looking at N&Z all wrong?
Anyhow, thanks.

Vicus

What???

F. Leghorn

Science by actual observation? What a concept!

Dr. Deanster

Just out of curiosity Willis ….. have you considered the depth of the water at each bouy? I ask this because your data notes sameness at the bookends (possibly shallower water), both of which are different from the middle (possibly deeper water). ….. just thinking along the lines that SW rad penetrates water, and thus depth may play a role. Cheers

A C Osborn

I asked the same question on his previous post.
But the shallower water should be warmer, not cooler.

Unrepresented

Willis, Great article. Would the buoys position in their time zones be enough to impact the averages? Is the sun at the same angle at 9AM in each time zone? Along those lines, I noticed the time zone near 165 E at the equator is actually contorted to allow for the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. While 165 E physically belongs in the +11 time zone , much of the area is +12.

Willis you recently commented at my recent post which also addresses equatorial atmospheric patterns at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/01/11/solar-cycles-and-the-equatorial-trough-an-alternate-conceptual-model/:
“I kept looking and looking for a cross-correlation analysis, or an R^2 value, or a p-value, or … well … any kind of a statistical analysis.
Instead, all I found was a lot of waffle about things sorry,…, but this is not impressive in the slightest. We invented statistics for a reason—to avoid your type of ‘but they look alike’ claims.
Nor did I find anything about the effects of autocorrelation on statistical analysis … but then given that there’s no statistical analysis, I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising.”
I did respond by pointing to a related paper in peer review which contained all of that, and in any case there was some interesting cross correlation work in that piece at Figure 3 as well. I wonder if your concerns were consistently applied, or do you hold yourself to a different standard? I looked and could not find any of those statistical features in this piece.
I think such components would be merited. Are they in a peer review journal paper in progress? I recommend you develop an actual novel theory and prove it via accurate predictions. That’s the best standard for all who practice science to strive for. If it’s not novel, as the comment you opened with by anonymous has demonstrated, and if you can’t make a prediction, it’s “not impressive in the slightest”.

Toneb

“So where is the difference between the warm and cold buoy sunshine? Well, as I’ve said from my first explanation of tropical thermal regulation, it’s in the timing and strength of the emergence of the daily cloud cover. To illustrate this I’ve subtracted the downwelling solar energy flux at the coolest-water buoy from that at the warmest-water buoy. Figure 3 below shows that result. Positive values mean more sun at the warmer location.”
Willis:
I would suggest that the answer to the above lies in the subtleties in the diurnal wind/pressure fields across the equatorial Pacific.
Complicated to say the least!
“Diurnal and Semidiurnal Variations of the Surface Wind Field over the Tropical Pacific Ocean”
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.451.1753&rep=rep1&type=pdf

gbaikie

“My theory about the climate is that the global temperature is regulated in large part by the timing and strength of the daily appearance of tropical clouds and thunderstorms. I hold that when the tropical temperatures are higher, that the cumulus cloud field and associated thunderstorms forms both earlier and more strongly. This cools the surface by reflecting sunshine back into space and thus capping the possible temperature increase.”
One has surface temperature of ocean and air surface temperature of the ocean.
And it seems surface of ocean controls clouds.
At noon and clear skies one gets most solar energy absorbed by ocean, but when sun is at say 30 degree angle you less sunlight absorbed by ocean but the top layer ocean is heated more- top layer of ocean absorbs more and less absorbed at lower depth.
I would also guess that diffused sunlight [more clouds and/or more atmosphere the sun travels thru] is more adsorbed at top layer of ocean water.

Steve Oregon

Well done Willis et al.
WUWT- Where climate science gets shaken and stirred.
How unsettling that is.

What difference do you find in the diurnal cycle during periods of calm vs. windy conditions?

DR

This reminds me of the ‘Synchronized Chaos’ hypothesis proposed by (?) Swanson et al. as discussed here
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/16/synchronized-chaos-and-climate-change/

John Runberg

What contribution does the night overturning of the upper surface layer have?

Extreme Hiatus

Willis: “Always more to learn …”
Could not agree more. Or to put it another way, the science is not settled.
Very interesting post.

Boff Doff

“My theory about the climate is that the global temperature is regulated in large part by the timing and strength of the daily appearance of tropical clouds and thunderstorms”
Isn’t this more of an “opinion”? Perhaps a “conjecture”. With a little more work and a bit of evidence it could well progress to “hypothesis”.
Not sure it gets to “theory” yet.

I am sure that it does not come close to theory. If only Willis would walk the walk. I have a dim memory of a discussion with him at another blog site half a decade ago. I was sharing why I was a skeptic and my commitment to work on a Ph.D. to advance and I suggested he do likewise. The rest is a small parcel of pHistory as my earlier comment suggests.

1sky1

In reproducing here some of my comments on his previous thread, Willis merely perpetuates his amateurish misconception that in writing “the diurnal cycle of solar radiance is uniform throughout the narrow tropical zone” I was referring to local surface insolation. This despite the fact that I had pointed out earlier that:

The shape of the diurnal cycle of those [air-sea] differences is governed by the rate of heat transfer between ocean and atmosphere, modulated In the tropics by a characteristic diurnal pattern of cloud cover.

Nothing presented here even begins to contradict my assertions. In fact, they are reinforced here by the finding that “although the total solar energy reaching the surface is the same in both locations, they are at very different temperatures.” To those with serious scientific grasp of air-sea interactions, there is nothing new or “curious” about that.