A factual comment on Willlis Eschenbach’s and Christopher Monckton’s most recent posts, concerning clouds and ECS, respectively.

Guest opinion by Rud Istvan

I have but little scientifically to contribute, since they have been mostly factually correct.

But here I provide a little more scientific evidence, visual observational evidence supporting both.

The occasion arose from cooking two pork chops with BBQ on our George Forman Thrilin Grillin..

My data arises from a simple single climate incident off my west balcony (building being on the Atlantic beach east of the intercoastal in north Fort Lauderdale) so looking due west towards the Everglades.

Date was 4.4.18, intermediate between the winter dry and summer wet seasons in South Florida. Closest Wunderground data for this date PM was their Coral Ridge station, on the original Robert Trent Jones personally owned golf course, about a mile away from my balcony, a bit to the NW right of the photos).

Data:  79F, winds SSE 4, P 29.96. clouds SSW ~10000 feet, RH 66%, dew point 69F, rainfall zero.

Right. Now note even Wunderground cannot accurately report any local convection cell precipitation, from this visible mild convection cell viewed from a condo a mile from that golf course reporting site.

Figure 1. is off my western balcony about 1800 (due west toward the Everglades, using an obsolete Apple IPhone 3 camera: local precip from a definitely non T Storm small cumulonimbus. Note how small the precipitating convection cell actually is. Note also the convective radius is maybe 3-4km. Note also that the EW major street is Oakland Park Blvd, which Google earth can provide in detail anywhere along this longitudinal view.


Figure 2 is about a half hour later. Rain had progressed slowly to NW given SSE light winds, but had not stopped. Note from sunshade angle this was still not a full cumulonimbus, although had grown. And from Oakland Park Avenue, (the straight EW street) was progressing very slowly (and narrowly) NNW.


Fig 3. After another half hour, rain had ALMOST stopped DRIVEN BY SSE wind. None of this is other than a single climate incident. But has rather substantial probative climate model power.

Proof per guest post “the trouble with climate models” as this micro-stuff stops…When it stops convection raining, as happened here after just an hour, you cannot get from there to here in Climate model water vapor feedback. Willis and Monckton are correct. Visual observational example here just provided.

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April 5, 2018 8:10 am

How many climate modelers live in South Florida?

Tom Halla
April 5, 2018 8:11 am

Thunderstorms are usually smaller than the cell size in climate models, so modeling them is a pain. Nice pictures, Rud.

Reply to  Tom Halla
April 5, 2018 9:13 am

Not a pain. Impossible.

John harmsworth
Reply to  MarkW
April 5, 2018 9:52 am

Or, on the other (AGW) hand, easy-peasy to ignore!

Reply to  MarkW
April 5, 2018 7:02 pm

It is not impossible to model:

It’s just impossible to incorporate modelling of this resolution into GCMs.

Reply to  MarkW
April 5, 2018 10:50 pm

That’s pretty cool. Is that climate alarmists blowing smoke?

Ron Long
April 5, 2018 8:16 am

Interesting post JUD, but the AGW crowd will dismiss your observed non-detectable weather event as a popcorn fart level event. I also agree that Willis and Lord Moncton are basically right. George Foreman Thrilin Grilin?

Walter Sobchak
April 5, 2018 8:24 am

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it’s cloud illusions I recall,
I really don’t know clouds at all

Sorry, I just had to.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 5, 2018 10:55 am

Sounds like a good theme song for the climate realists.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 5, 2018 11:28 am

And ice-cream castles in the air – can they model those as well as clouds?

April 5, 2018 8:27 am

Rud, did you happen to look at the radar at the same time? I got caught in that yesterday downtown Miami….it was pouring and nothing on radar

Reply to  Latitude
April 5, 2018 9:17 am

Didn’t think to check.

Reply to  Latitude
April 5, 2018 9:45 am

Today’s digital radars have a lot of “different” modes and beam angles. Additionally the terminal radars are tuned to detect precipitation and wind shear around the major airports. Ft Lauderdale has a terminal radar (TFLL) and I guarantee you it was displayed on it (assuming of course it was active).
The main radar in that area is KAMX. If it was operational the cell would be on it. If not the image you get would be from another radar farther away which would be KMLB or KBYX. Due to the distance away and the curvature of the earth, the beam may not detect the rain shaft as it would be scanning the cloud much higher up.

Mumbles McGuirck
April 5, 2018 8:42 am

The heck with individual storm cells, the global climate models have trouble resolving hurricanes! If you look at some of the papers about predicting changes in tropical cyclones due to climate shifts you will see they are just guessing since the models can’t simulate the cores of the storms. You can tell neither the central pressure nor maximum winds. Yet they inform us that tropical cyclones will be 5% stronger in a future, warmer world. Blarney!
BTW I stayed east of the showers last night.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
April 5, 2018 10:16 am

Yet they inform us that tropical cyclones will be 5% stronger in a future, warmer world.

Nah, if you read the IPCC reports, they say there’s still quite a bit of uncertainty about future hurricanes. It’s slowly firming up, but it’s gonna be slow for the reasons you mention (plus, the other uncertainties about changes to climate in ways that influences hurricanes).

Steve Richards
April 5, 2018 9:19 am

Sailing the oceans in the merchant navy you see lots of displays like this. Clear sky, horizon and calm winds, then one small cloud appears, gets larger then starts to rain. All visible from a few miles away. If the sailors are painting the deck the chief mate will steer round the down pour to keep the deck and paint dry…

April 5, 2018 9:23 am

In Florida I’ve seen it raining for a few minutes on one side of the street while the other side was dry.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Gary
April 5, 2018 2:31 pm

Local TV weather people simply warn us of the possibility of “a stray shower” or “a pop up shower”. We all know this is what they are talking about.

DeLoss McKnight
April 5, 2018 9:28 am

Is this a climate event or a weather event? Or does that matter?

Reply to  DeLoss McKnight
April 5, 2018 10:20 am

It’s entirely consistent with climate change. As is everything else that happens 🙂

April 5, 2018 9:39 am

There is one of these going on radar a few miles away. Predictions are enormously improved, but good meteorologists admit the problems. Those of us with lots of boat travel are not surprised. Been dodging them for over half a century. Try a metal boat in one with lots of lightning, rained so hard it eroded the marsh causing enough oxygen reduction to cause crabs to crawl out. Got back to dock, what rain? Tried to get it published, but they didn’t believe me. Not sure I would have either.

Reply to  HDHoese
April 5, 2018 8:45 pm

Been there, done that also.

April 5, 2018 9:42 am

Despite all of this, take a look at what we’re up against with Minister Catherine McKenna in Canada who has no time for climate change deniers.

Reply to  Sommer
April 5, 2018 10:54 am

a “price on pollution”.
However, since CO2 is not a pollutant, why put a price on it?

Joel Snider
Reply to  JohnWho
April 5, 2018 12:17 pm

I was in college when ‘Total Recall’ came out, and I remember thinking, ‘boy, if they could find a way to take it away from us, they WOULD charge us for air.’
Turns out they didn’t have to – they just did it anyway.

Reply to  JohnWho
April 5, 2018 4:21 pm

We should get paid for emitting CO2.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  JohnWho
April 5, 2018 6:57 pm

If we got paid for emitting methane, I know some folks who would be millionaires by now.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Sommer
April 5, 2018 6:54 pm

I feel ashamed at being a Canadian by having a minister such as her that knows nothing

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
April 5, 2018 8:47 pm

Yes, but she is something to look at. Just hit the mute button.

Reply to  Alan Tomalty
April 5, 2018 10:46 pm

They come with a mute button???

April 5, 2018 9:45 am

the devil is in the detail. climate models should become more stable as you increase resolution. this is the theory, because they should be moving closer to reality. but instead they become less stable. this divergence between fact and tmaheory shows a fundamental flaw in design.
mathematically there is a fundamental flaw when the more you make the model like reality, the less it behaves like reality. what it points to is the problem in mathematical solutions to non-linear problems. as you increase the resolution the error term quickly overwhelms the answer.
fundamentally, large scale computer simulations of complex systems is a dead end. it doesn’t work for reasons that have been well documented over a couple of hundred years of mathematics. today’s chaos dimensions are the n-body problem discovered years ago in celestial mechanics.
as much s the human ego hates to admit it, there are problems that are currently beyond our grasp.The best we can hope to do is to gain a rough understanding. For this purpose, simpler models are almost always better than complex models. Otherwise, the complexity hides your fundamental lack of understanding. Simplicity on the other hand makes the problem clear.

Bob boder
Reply to  ferdberple
April 5, 2018 9:56 am


John harmsworth
Reply to  ferdberple
April 5, 2018 10:02 am

I would suspect that basically the same problem occurs when trying to implement Socialism within the complex interactions of millions of self interested human beings. It rolls out as predicted by Marx pretty much as climate follows the models.
After multiple failures and zero successes, the adherents can only respond by yelling louder and being more arbitrary and accusatory.

Bob boder
Reply to  John harmsworth
April 5, 2018 10:43 am

Not that I disagree per say but kind off topic.

Reply to  ferdberple
April 5, 2018 10:20 am

climate models should become more stable as you increase resolution. this is the theory,

Huh? No, if you’re increasing spatial resolution with a forward-stepping numerical schema, you have to also increase temporal resolution at least as fast. If you double the spatial resolution in x, y, and z, you have to also halve the timestep to maintain the same stability.
The theory says the opposite of what you say, unless I’m misunderstanding you. Increasing resolution doesn’t make a simulation more stable; it makes it more accurate.
Weather’s a fundamentally unstable phenomenon anyway, in both real life and in the models. (As opposed to climate).

Reply to  Windchaser
April 5, 2018 5:40 pm

fundamentally unstable phenomenon anyway
numerical instability refers to such things as numeric underflow, overflow, divide by zero conditions. calculation problems were the computer basically yields NAN (not a number) as the result of a calculation. Things that we don’t typically observe in nature outside of black holes.

Reply to  Windchaser
April 5, 2018 8:26 pm

Increasing resolution makes the models more precise, which shouldn’t be confused with accuracy.

Reply to  ferdberple
April 5, 2018 10:43 am

The devil’s in the feedback.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Max Photon
April 5, 2018 7:09 pm

Yes Max, and the noise! Which is which?

Reply to  Max Photon
April 5, 2018 8:27 pm


Reply to  ferdberple
April 5, 2018 10:51 am

You make a good point ferdberple.
Here is another aspect on the problem:
A thought on computer modelling 4/4/18:
3.142^10 = 93769.54465
phi^10 = 93648.04748
Difference = 121.4971705 Which is correct?
Using 22/7 as the value for phi the difference is 377.6163137. So -: take your pick.
The above is done on a calculator which operates to nine decimal points
Now if a computer is using calculations inputs to three decimal points as above, it arrives at a result that is different to that of the actual phi as used by nature which operates to an unknown number of decimal points. OK. you can increase the number of decimal points used in the computer or in the input; but there will still be a difference. If you then iterate the error many times. What is the result?
Unfortunately there are very many equations used in the physics of the atmosphere that incorporate phi. But phi is only one of many operators and defined constants etc. used in calculations, which possibly have the same problem.
So how do the Modellers cope with this, particularly where this iteration is a plank in the methods?
Also, as an aside: – Increasing resolution is only another expression for a change in the fractal level of measurement. The length of the U.K. coastline depends on the fractal level of the measurements. So if you compare a global value with a fractal value; it is an apples and oranges situation.
I don’t think these modellors know much about Chaos Theory. Come to that neither do I.
My regards.

Reply to  Alasdair
April 5, 2018 8:43 pm

Do go back to school to learn the basics. Like, it is pi, not phi. Like nobody uses 22/7 as a science value of pi. Like what you write has been known for decades. Geoff

Reply to  Alasdair
April 6, 2018 1:14 am

For a quickie estimate of Pi, I use the cube root of 31, whose error it only 63.176, better than each of the above, and calculator friendly.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
April 6, 2018 2:31 am

Why? It’s easier to memorize it to 12 digits. But any more than 5 digits is just showing off.

Reply to  Alasdair
April 8, 2018 7:34 am

Or you could use 355/113 = 3.1415929….
Accurate to 6 decimal places.

Reply to  ferdberple
April 5, 2018 12:20 pm

If the models become more unstable as grid cell size decreases, that is pretty solid evidence that they’ve got the tuning parameters wrong.

Reply to  ferdberple
April 6, 2018 8:05 am

ferdberple said:
“as much s the human ego hates to admit it,
there are problems that are currently beyond our grasp.”
That statement shows great wisdom,
about real science, and human nature,
from a man whose comments are
‘must reads’.
In modern climate change junk science,
financed by governments around the world,
everything about the climate can be “explained”,
and the future climate can be “predicted”.
Bad weather is caused
by “climate change”.
Good weather is just “weather” !
In fact, there are no climate models.
Real models, of a real process,
would have some use, such as
making reasonably accurate predictions.
Real climate models do not exist,
other than those used for local weather
forecasts, for about a week into the future.
There are only failed climate model prototypes
for long term climate simulations / projections /
predictions … well .. they actually output
only the computer equivalent of a pile
of steaming farm animal digestive
waste products !
They are props, along with government
bureaucrats with science degrees,
in a morality play that is
used by smarmy leftist politicians
to demonize CO2 with junk science,
and then claim a more powerful government
is needed to prevent a (imaginary)
climate catastrophe.
The models fail because the underlying
climate physics model is wrong.
( CO2 does not “control”
the average temperature ).
By assuming CO2
is the “climate controller”,
and including, or adding,
a strong (imaginary)
water vapor positive feedback
to the model’s “projection”,
the failed models are unable
to predict the future climate
— their predictions are much worse
than merely assuming the past climate
will continue in the future, which is
closer to the the ‘correct’ answer
about the future climate:
(” No one knows ! ).
My climate change blog,
for people with common sense,
so leftists should stay away:

April 5, 2018 9:51 am

Wind Shear!!.
That’s what this sky yells out to me. So end up with large amounts of cloud but little rain to show for it.

Stephen Wilde
April 5, 2018 10:45 am

Neither Willis nor Christopher follow their theses to the logical conclusion.
Namely, that the surface temperature enhancement above S-B is a result of conduction and convection involving ALL the gases of an atmosphere and not just GHGs.
The reality is that the vast array of weather phenomena are the stabilisation process in action whereby convective adjustments neutralise radiative imbalances for a net zero effect on surface temperature set by conduction and convection.

April 5, 2018 10:50 am

Rud: I presume you know that AOGCMs have a parameter that controls when condensation/cloud formation starts. That parameter is slightly less than 100% saturation and tuned to produce the correct average cloud cover. This way a grid cell can go from partially cloud cover to 100% cloud cover. Parameters also control precipitation. The objective is produce output that ON THE AVERAGE reproduces the average behavior (heat fluxes) in the grid cell and ignore local variations of the type you describe herein.
According to a paper I read, the latest weather forecasting models using grid cells of a square kilometer or less now have the ability to forecast tomorrow’s rain and accurately predict rain in one location and no rain a few miles away (as you describe herein). If AOGCMs had this resolution, they could reproduce the phenomena you describe above. The question is: Will breaking each grid cell up into a hundred or more smaller ones produce a composite result any different from the average behavior of larger grid cells? Will it change ECS?
The other difference between weather forecasting and climate forecasting is initialization. Will even the highest resolution climate models drift so far from reality that their projections are useless? The talk today is that recent warming has been concentrated (by natural variability) in regions where feedbacks are weaker than where AOGCMs project warming. All IPCC climate model “forced” with historic rising SSTs (AMIP experiments) exhibit lower climate sensitivity (2 or less) than the same model forced with rising GHGs. Nic Lewis has been writing about this topic.
As the saying goes, all models are wrong, but some models are useful. Will AOGCMs ever produce useful results? I don’t know. Modeling seasonal change is an interesting challenge. Globally, absolute GMST (not the anomaly) rises and falls 3.5 K per year (and local changes are much bigger). AOGCMs do a bad – and mutually inconsistent – job of reproducing the global feedbacks observed from space (TOA OLR and reflected SWR from clear and cloudy skies) associated with this warming and cooling. (See Tsushima and Manabe PNAS 2013.) If models ever become good enough to accurately reproduce the global and local feedbacks associated with season temperature change, then maybe it will be worth paying attention to the ECS they project – no matter whether they can get small storms like the one you describe herein correct. (Just my opinion.)

Reply to  Frank
April 5, 2018 8:52 pm

Frank, you perhaps did not read my 2015 post. Sure, GCMs could rival current weather models—except computationally intractable by 6-7;orders of magnitude. And, although I did not check weather radar per Latitude’s suggestion, can assure you this mini shower was not forecast. Yetbit existed for me to photograph. The point of the post.

April 5, 2018 11:33 am

Find a way to control this stuff and climate problem solved, along with droughts, floods, … everything except for ocean acidification debase-ification.

Peta of Newark
April 5, 2018 11:43 am

April Showers.
Find yourself atop a hill in North Notts yesterday afternoon and you could see 3 or 4 of those.
Met Office radar showed them, like a bad case of measles.
Get hit by one and the raindrops are so cold and heavy they feel like ice while the temp sensor on the VW says the temp drop by 3 or 4 degC in as many minutes. German dirty diesel so probably cheating :-O
As many mins later, the sun comes back out.
Weather eh. Wotz it like?
Models, averages, GCHCNNCHHCNN stations and Sputnix= total bollox.
A simple numerical average produces BS when dealing with Stefan’s Law and T to the power of four.
Why doesn’t the atmosphere simply expand when it warms, nothing to stop it and a near infinite perfect vacuum to expand into.
Its what gasses do and the basis of some of THE most accurate thermometers ever built.
Expanding gasses cool. ‘Trapped heat’ is thus stored as expanded gas, not as higher temp.
(Maybe those ‘gravitational’ folks do have something?)
So energy loss goes as T to the power of 5 perchance…
But expanded gas around a sphere means greater surface area to radiate from. More energy loss
Maybe energy loss goes as T to the power 6……..
You wanna raise the temp of Earth’s atmosphere?
You have One Very Steep Hill to climb and surely only El Sol has that kind of grunt.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Potchefstroom
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 6, 2018 7:51 am

I think you are on to something here, with reference to the expansion of the atmosphere if it is heated. There is an implied assumption that if I add 1 joule of energy to a small mass of air at 2m above the ground, it warms 1 degree C from 14 to 15. In fact its first reaction is to expand by 1/287th in volume (0.35%).
There is a ‘lump’ of atmosphere on the sun side of the Earth at all times, the result of the air expanding when heated. So your analysis is correct: heated air expands freely upwards rather than rising in temperature. Five additional Watts will expand it five Watts more, not heat it five Watts warmer.
Interesting. I need to think about the implications. The missing hot spot should be discovered by locating an upwards shift in the atmosphere, but by finding a slightly higher temperature. No wonder they can’t find it – it is not the form described.

Keith J
April 5, 2018 11:56 am

This same small scale precipitation also happens in dry areas without a trace of rain hitting the ground. This virga is a powerful cooling process for lower atmosphere. Basically a heat pipe of the Perkins Tube type. Making the atmosphere quite thermally conductive.

Reply to  Keith J
April 5, 2018 1:09 pm

Very true about virga in desert regions. I’ve often wondered if there is a verb form of virga (look dear, it’s virgaing).
On the other hand, there are also times when the convection cells smash the rain down to the ground and the runoff will have the ephemeral stream channels rolling boulders.

April 5, 2018 5:28 pm

Not even sure where this post was going, but winds crossing the Great Lakes can dump enormous amounts of moisture downstream.
I actually had a thought, but Joni Mitchell took it right out of my head.

Gary Pearse
April 6, 2018 10:13 am

Rud, If meteorologists can pick this up on dop radar, couldn’t there be a feed of this information to be used in climate models?

April 6, 2018 1:21 pm

And here, I had a romantic vision of you, living close to nature in a luxurious, remote ranch somewhere in the land of the free.
Drat, another bubble burst.

Reply to  HotScot
April 6, 2018 4:06 pm

HS, I have my beloved SW Wisconsin dairy farm. Since 37 years, true. And an intermediate waypoint in a town home on a golf course in NW Chicago. That is why airplanes were invented, and why I do not care about my ‘carbon footprint’. Much nicer to be in South Florida than Chicago or Wisconsin while it still snows….

Reply to  ristvan
April 6, 2018 11:44 pm

Romantic perception restored.

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