MIT: Climate tipping point busted – globe needs to reach 152°F before runaway greenhouse effect kicks in

Current trend of “global warming” isn’t enough to get there, says MIT scientist.


How Earth sheds heat into space

New insights into the role of water vapor may help researchers predict how the planet will respond to warming.

Just as an oven gives off more heat to the surrounding kitchen as its internal temperature rises, the Earth sheds more heat into space as its surface warms up. Since the 1950s, scientists have observed a surprisingly straightforward, linear relationship between the Earth’s surface temperature and its outgoing heat.

But the Earth is an incredibly messy system, with many complicated, interacting parts that can affect this process. Scientists have thus found it difficult to explain why this relationship between surface temperature and outgoing heat is so simple and linear. Finding an explanation could help climate scientists model the effects of climate change.

Now scientists from MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) have found the answer, along with a prediction for when this linear relationship will break down.

They observed that Earth emits heat to space from the planet’s surface as well as from the atmosphere. As both heat up, say by the addition of carbon dioxide, the air holds more water vapor, which in turn acts to trap more heat in the atmosphere. This strengthening of Earth’s greenhouse effect is known as water vapor feedback. Crucially, the team found that the water vapor feedback is just sufficient to cancel out the rate at which the warmer atmosphere emits more heat into space.

The overall change in Earth’s emitted heat thus only depends on the surface. In turn, the emission of heat from Earth’s surface to space is a simple function of temperature, leading to to the observed linear relationship.

Their findings, which appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may also help to explain how extreme, hothouse climates in Earth’s ancient past unfolded. The paper’s co-authors are EAPS postdoc Daniel Koll and Tim Cronin, the Kerr-McGee Career Development Assistant Professor in EAPS.

A window for heat

In their search for an explanation, the team built a radiation code — essentially, a model of the Earth and how it emits heat, or infrared radiation, into space. The code simulates the Earth as a vertical column, starting from the ground, up through the atmosphere, and finally into space. Koll can input a surface temperature into the column, and the code calculates the amount of radiation that escapes through the entire column and into space.

The team can then turn the temperature knob up and down to see how different surface temperatures would affect the outgoing heat. When they plotted their data, they observed a straight line — a linear relationship between surface temperature and outgoing heat, in line with many previous works, and over a range of 60 kelvins, or 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

“So the radiation code gave us what Earth actually does,” Koll says. “Then I started digging into this code, which is a lump of physics smashed together, to see which of these physics is actually responsible for this relationship.”

To do this, the team programmed into their code various effects in the atmosphere, such as convection, and humidity, or water vapor, and turned these knobs up and down to see how they in turn would affect the Earth’s outgoing infrared radiation.

“We needed to break up the whole spectrum of infrared radiation into about 350,000 spectral intervals, because not all infrared is equal,” Koll says.

He explains that, while water vapor does absorb heat, or infrared radiation, it doesn’t absorb it indiscriminately, but at wavelengths that are incredibly specific, so much so that the team had to split the infrared spectrum into 350,000 wavelengths just to see exactly which wavelengths were absorbed by water vapor.

In the end, the researchers observed that as the Earth’s surface temperature gets hotter, it essentially wants to shed more heat into space. But at the same time, water vapor builds up, and acts to absorb and trap heat at certain wavelengths, creating a greenhouse effect that prevents a fraction of heat from escaping.

It’s like there’s a window, through which a river of radiation can flow to space,” Koll says. “The river flows faster and faster as you make things hotter, but the window gets smaller, because the greenhouse effect is trapping a lot of that radiation and preventing it from escaping.”

Koll says this greenhouse effect explains why the heat that does escape into space is directly related to the surface temperature, as the increase in heat emitted by the atmosphere is cancelled out by the increased absorption from water vapor.

Tipping towards Venus

The team found this linear relationship breaks down when Earth’s global average surface temperatures go much beyond 300 K, or 80 F. In such a scenario, it would be much more difficult for the Earth to shed heat at roughly the same rate as its surface warms. For now, that number is hovering around 285 K, or 53 F.

“It means we’re still good now, but if the Earth becomes much hotter, then we could be in for a nonlinear world, where stuff could get much more complicated,” Koll says.

To give an idea of what such a nonlinear world might look like, he invokes Venus — a planet that many scientists believe started out as a world similar to Earth, though much closer to the sun.

“Some time in the past, we think its atmosphere had a lot of water vapor, and the greenhouse effect would’ve become so strong that this window region closed off, and nothing could get out anymore, and then you get runaway heating,” Koll says.

“In which case the whole planet gets so hot that oceans start to boil off, nasty things start to happen, and you transform from an Earth-like world to what Venus is today.”

For Earth, Koll calculates that such a runaway effect wouldn’t kick in until global average temperatures reach about 340 K, or 152 F.

Global warming alone is insufficient to cause such warming, but other climatic changes, such as Earth’s warming over billions of years due to the sun’s natural evolution, could push Earth towards this limit, “at which point, we would turn into Venus.”

Koll says the team’s results may help to improve climate model predictions. They also may be useful in understanding how ancient hot climates on Earth unfolded.

“If you were living on Earth 60 million years ago, it was a much hotter, wacky world, with no ice at the pole caps, and palm trees and crocodiles in what’s now Wyoming,” Koll says. “One of the things we show is, once you push to really hot climates like that, which we know happened in the past, things get much more complicated.”

This research was funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation.


NOTE: Try as I might, I could not locate the paper by press time. In its press release, MIT failed to include a link to the paper, DOI, or title of paper….anything that could possibly help find it at PNAS. Journalism 101 failure.

The PNAS search engine is pretty lame, so author names, parts of the title…etc. don’t find it, and I’ve invested a half hour in searching for it. I’ve sent an email to the MIT press office, and if/when they respond, I’ll add a link to the paper. -Anthony
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229 thoughts on “MIT: Climate tipping point busted – globe needs to reach 152°F before runaway greenhouse effect kicks in

  1. At a world average surface temperature of 152 °F we wouldn’t need to worry about life as most of it will have died. That’s 152 °F average temperature.

    • My take is they are saying there cannot be runaway warming until the Earth’s average temperature rises above 152 degrees F., not that we are headed there.

      Everything else they said and everything we already know means it would be impossible for the Earth’s average temp to rise to anything even close to that temperature.

      So, that’s one less thing (runaway warming) we have to worry about.

      SR

      • Which is why we call it the ‘Goldilocks Zone’… just nice and stable enough.

        PS I really dislike needing to renter my name 🙁
        As you can see above my fingers are too fat.

        • I was wondering if it was only me or if it was my browser settings or what. Yes, very annoying. The same thing has occurred at Tony Heller’s site…I have to re-enter my name and email every time I make a new comment. This was never the case for all of the years I have been visiting these sites.
          It is very annoying.

          • It is also infuriating how one time you can direct link images and videos and the next time you cannot. The previous version of WordPress actually worked properly all the time. Now you have numerous faults and glitches which remain unfixed after months. This constant demand to keep entering your details before every post is the least of it.

          • menicholas,for those from the uk could this be something to do with the gdpr legislation ? there is a whole host of stuff from the states i seem to be no longer able to access.

        • So with no CAGW possible what do we have to worry about? I am sure Mann is organizing his team right now to trash the study.

          • I don’t see any reason why to take this model any more seriously than any other one.

            From the lame description in the PR written by someone who does not understand it, this appears to be a one dimensional model , so how did they include convention in the model. They must have just added an ad hoc parameter for convective heat flow because you can not model convection is 1D. Neither can they model tropical to pole heat transfers or ocean circulation. This kind of model will tell you nothing about how a spherical climate system works.

            What kind of air column were they modelling ? A tropical one, temperate or polar. They are very different and will respond differently to changes in surface temps.

            The idea of a 1D earth model’s single temp of the Earth surface layer having any relation to the real temperatures of different media ( sea and land ) averaged around the globe is stupid.

            Since they are too stupid to even link to the paper they are supposed to be promoting, I don’t have much hope of this being any use to anyone.

          • The wide range of comments on this thread mean that it is going to be a keeper for me and this is before most of us have read the published paper!
            Interesting issue raised by Greg:-

            “this appears to be a one dimensional model” & “you can not model convection (in) 1D”. (Greg; Sep24 10:47pm). I totally agree, in my opinion the minimum model possible has to be two dimensional. All planets are globes and in a solar system like ours with only one sun, planets, moons, comets, rocks, dust etc. will all have a lit side and an unlit side. Two separate states of external illumination always exist; therefore two dimensional models are required.

            The argument that outgoing thermal radiation can be modelled one dimensionally because the radiation is being averaged over the surface of the whole planet fails because that averaging implicitly includes planetary rotation. This factor then brings up the issue of the rate of planetary rotation and the impact this rate has on mobile fluid motions (both atmosphere and hydrosphere) with the formation of rotationally induced cells of planetary circulation. Forced air circulation, whether it is separated by location with an ascending limb and a descending limb linked by advection at the TOA and a return flow at the surface or even if the circulation processes occur at the same location, then because the two motions (ascent and descent) must be time and/or space separated, a 2D model is an absolute requirement for this type of modelling study.

            Atmospheric circulation modelling studies by planetary scientists have shown that the rate of planetary rotation governs the latitudinal reach of the Hadley cell. On slowly rotating planets, such as Venus, which has no equatorial bulge, the Hadley cell reaches to both poles. However on fast rotating planets, such as Earth, the Hadley cell is constrained to descend in the mid-latitudes. On Earth it is the convection from the cold cored cyclones in the temperate latitude Ferrel cell that lifts air back to the tropopause and feeds the descending air in the polar vortex of the Earth’s Polar cell.

            The process of Earth’s rapid planetary rotation in governing the latitudinal reach of the Hadley cell is a component in the explanation for the geological process of planetary warmth in the Cretaceous period compared with the process of planetary cooling during the Tertiary leading to the ice ages of the modern Quaternary period. Plate tectonics allows us to understand how continental surfaces can be transported across climatic zones throughout geologic time and how mid-latitude oceans such as the Tethys Ocean, were first created and then subsequently destroyed.

            In the Cretaceous the Tethys, a mid-latitude “zonal” ocean and its surrounding shallow seas, all located under the descending limb of the Hadley cell, acted as a solar energy collector and maintained a deep ocean temperature of at least 16C (c.f. the modern Red Sea). The break-up of the former southern continent of Gondwana led to the destruction of the Tethys Ocean at the end of the Mesozoic as the continental island of India moved north and created the Himalayas with the consequent replacement of the mid-latitude Tethys by the modern high-latitude Southern Ocean.

            The final separation of Australia from Antarctica in the Late Oligocene completed the formation of the modern world’s island continents and also completed the formation of the Southern Ocean and accounts for the progressive cooling of the world’s ocean throughout the Cenozoic era. The Southern Ocean surrounds the island continent of Antarctica and lies beneath the meteorological zone of the Roaring Forties which is part of the southern hemisphere Ferrel cell. This modern temperate latitude “zonal” ocean is a cold water ocean that feeds and maintains the ice continent of Antarctica in a linked process of planetary meteorology and plate tectonics that has created and maintains our modern cold ice age world.

          • Thank you, Greg and Philip Mulholland.

            It’s occasionally finding nuggets like these that makes wading through the other stuff worth it.

          • Thanks Joe. I have been banging on about this for some time now.
            The key papers that show that the latitudinal reach of the Hadley cell is determined by planetary rotation rate (and not by the canonical process of TOA radiation cooling to space that I was taught in the 1970s) are as follows:-
            Hunt, B.G. 1979 The Influence of the Earth’s Rotation Rate on the General Circulation of the Atmosphere
            Del Genio, A.D. & R. J. Suozzo 1987 A Comparative Study of Rapidly and Slowly Rotating Dynamical Regimes in a Terrestrial General Circulation Model

            The other feature of the story is the realisation that deep warm temperature high salinity (and therefore high density) bottom water exits the Persian Gulf into the modern Indian Ocean. Although the rate of flow is low (because the Persian Gulf is small) this bottom water is denser than the coldest bottom water produced by the Weddell Sea. The warm dense saline bottom water of the Persian Gulf is produced by the modern world’s tropical meteorological environment acting despite the existence of a low carbon dioxide content atmosphere.

        • The current comment posting system is not easily workable.
          I truly hope it can be improved and soon.
          The previous system, with navigation and rating, as well as the comment window high, was the best.

        • PS I really dislike needing to renter my name

          Click in the box where it says “E-MAIL” ….. and if your name “appears” …. then “click it”.

    • Only thermophiles at Yellowstone National Park and other sites will need to worry about the runaway greenhouse effect.

    • Yes. There’s little difference between this and all the other models we’ve seen. But it’s nice to see one that’s hot, like an unexpected photo of Elle Macpherson among mug shots of meth addicts.

    • “When they plotted their data….”
      Yes, and yet again these “scientists” refer to the output of their models as “data”.

      Also, I seem to recall that, in a paper by Lindzen, the data does indeed show an increase of outgoing IR radiation. Problem is, this completely contradicts the climate models. According to them and AGW theory, the radiation should have been *falling* due to the effect of increased CO2. Yet another AGW prediction that is completely wrong….
      Chris

    • Yes – more model porn.

      When the models actually reflect what we KNOW* is happening in the ocean/atmosphere system, then I will examine the outputs with interest.

      Increasing atmospheric CO2 is clearly a minor bit player in this huge equation, if it is significant or relevant at all. It is clearly NOT the control knob of global temperature – that claim is false.

      Have these modeleers actually hindcast their models to verify if the actually work? Over what period? How many adjustments to the historic data were required to make a fit, if one exists?

      Notes:

      The correct mechanism is described as follows (approx.):

      Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperature up –> Equatorial Atmospheric Water Vapor up 3 months later –> Equatorial Temperature up -> Global Temperature up one month later -> Global Atmospheric dCO2/dt up (contemporaneous with Global Temperature) -> Atmospheric CO2 trends up 9 months later

      What drives Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperature? In sub-decadal timeframes, El Nino and La Nina (ENSO); longer term, probably the Integral of Solar Activity.

      The base CO2 increase of ~2ppm/year could have many causes, including fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc, but it has a minor or insignificant impact on global temperatures.

      Increasing atmospheric CO2 may cause some minor global warming and will certainly cause greatly increased plant and crop yields, both of which are highly beneficial to humanity and the environment.

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1556510707759819&set=pob.100002027142240&type=3&theater

  2. “As both heat up, say by the addition of carbon dioxide, the air holds more water vapor, which in turn acts to trap more heat in the atmosphere. This strengthening of Earth’s greenhouse effect is known as water vapor feedback. ”

    as long as you assume CO2 is the kick starter…..

      • Not only that, but the atmosphere would expand as it gets hotter, which would increase the total outgoing radiation from the larger surface area.

        • The atmosphere is ~60 miles thick compared with a 8000mile diameter the increase in surface area is negligible.

          • Not so sure.

            A 10-mile increase (from 60 to 70 miles) in the atmosphere’s thickness is about 0.5% change in surface area.

            Hypothetically, as earth’s average temp increased to 152, the atmosphere would increase (unknown how much – I picked 10-miles out of a hat).

            I’d like to see a little more discussion before calling a 0.5% increase “negligible”

          • Javert the whole cycle/heat flow from hot to cold would speed up wouldn’t it.

            Expansion isn’t only at the top, the extra moisture will end up at the 2 most cold arid places the poles in solid form.

            It all balances, and rebalances,………

            An eternal struggle to balance is what our environment is always in 24/7, due to eternally changing forces 24/7,….
            Eternal choas, ruled over by our star.

      • Paul,

        But clouds are only part of the water vapor, and they lose their water to precipitation. This is why wet regions are projected to get wetter, as I understand it.

        • Is it possible for anyone to understand it? No, it is not and if someone tells you they do, they are not being truthful.

        • Clouds are not water vapor.
          They are liquid or ice.
          Not dealing with that fact is a huge hole in the article/study.

      • Water vapor does contain extra (phase change) energy without necessarily being at a higher temperature. As it loses that energy, by either conduction, convection, or, ultimately, radiation, it condenses into water particles to form clouds as you say, with high albedo to reflect solar energy. It is generally thought that increased water vapor increases the likelihood of cloud formation; overall a negative feedback effect. I wonder if the “model” created in the study appropriately handled this factor. They mention only that “water vapor absorbs more outgoing radiation” which does increase its temperature, but also increases its radiative energy loss rate much more than its temperature rise (by the forth power of the change). I also wonder if their “model” handled this factor appropriately.

    • And it can’t happen on Earth unless you increase the amount of air equivalent to what Venus has. Venus temperature can be completely explained by how much atmosphere it has and how close it is to the sun. At 1000mb, the equivalent to 900’MSL on Earth, Venus is only 25degC warmer than Earth, what you would expect from it’s proximity to the Sun. The surface pressure on Venus is 93,000mb (pressure on Earth at MSL is 1012.25mb) If the surface pressure on the Earth were the same as on Venus our surface temperature would be in excess of 800F just due to the dry adiabatic lapse rate alone (Venus is closer to 900F)

      • The ocean is ~50 the mass of the atmosphere or about 100 times more molecules if all that evaporates the pressure would be about that of Venus.

        • But that evaporation would result in cooling at the surface and increased precipitation in the atmosphere, would it not?

          • Yes it would. The water vapor is transported to the colder regions aloft and nearer to the poles, resulting in increased precipitation, which cools the atmosphere by released latent heat at altitude, and by cooling precipitation falling through the atmospheric column.
            The hundreds of millions of years of stability of the Earth in a range suitable for life attests to the impossibility of the scenario that they speculate upon.
            This zone of stable habitability was made larger and more habitable when the Earth was warmer and more humid. It was not a furnace at the equator when the poles where temperate to semi-tropical…it was more of less the same.
            Just look at what we see in the places where we have the greatest influx of solar energy coupled with high humidity: It is not as extreme. We do not have hotter conditions, in fact it never gets as hot as in places with low humidity with even lower influx of solar energy. Temperature is in a tight and very habitable range, 24/7/365.
            Note that after huge cataclysms of asteroid strikes and massive igneous extrusions, the Earth quickly returned to the stability which had previously existed.

          • Menicholas,

            If the Earth’s climate is so stable, how do you account for periods of mass extinctions? Don’t you think it would change things a bit if the Earth were 25C warmer than it is today, as it was during the Eocene?

            “Note that after huge cataclysms of asteroid strikes and massive igneous extrusions, the Earth quickly returned to the stability which had previously existed.” “Stability” and “quickly” are relative.

            It’s not just temperature, but humidity, precipitation and variability that determine whether regions are habitable without loss of life. A few degrees, (from maximum of 103 F to maximum of 108 F, for instance), combined with high humidity can lead to enormous stress on the body, especially when doing manual labor. Then there are crops to consider, and the huge expense of energy to keep buildings air conditioned. And the effects on non-human organisms.

            Humans very adaptable, but it can come at a cost. Other life forms are adaptable to varying degrees. Some species are pests, and already some of them have become more abundant and widespread due to AGW.

            There are many factors to take into account when thinking about the effects of global warming.

            “This zone of stable habitability was made larger and more habitable when the Earth was warmer and more humid. It was not a furnace at the equator when the poles where temperate to semi-tropical…it was more of less the same.”

            This isn’t a direct comparison, since the position of the continents was different, creating very different weather patterns, and the sun was not as strong. (I’d like to see evidence this was the case, anyway)

          • Kristi, if the world warms up even to 300K which is at least 12 degrees hotter than now, then we would get to the point of a non linear increase after that according to the study. The world wouldnt get to CAGW until 340K according to the authors. However I will give you the benefit of the doubt, Kristi. I will agree that if we get to 300K then because the process wont be linear anymore, I will agree that that level would be a slow runaway warming until 340K which of course no one wants. So that means the world average temperature has to increase from its present level of 15C to 27C. That is an increase of 12C. Not even in the wildest dreams of armageddon scenarios do the computer models ever project an increase of 12 C. Dont forget that at even 12 degrees increase ; most of Greenland and Antarctica will not melt.

            So unless you are willing to say that this study is junk I ask you Kristi. WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT?

          • 27C temperature above sea level is exactly threshold temperature found also by Willis, where self regulation of atmosphere starts. Willis is observing creation of storms in Earth equatorial area, where cooling mechanism is most visible. This cooling mechanism is transporting heat and latent heat to higher latitudes where it is warming environment.
            This is one really big heat pipe in work on Earth.
            So basically with increasing energy balance of Earth, maximum temperature is not going
            up, just equatorial belt of 27C is widening.
            Tipping point is when 27C temperature reaches poles. In this moment we are losing possibility to regulate temperature and it is going up with incoming energy.

          • “If the Earth’s climate is so stable, how do you account for periods of mass extinctions?”

            Mass extinctions are not definitely due to climate change. The K/Pg one definitely wasn’t. The end-Ordovician one coincided with a glaciation and the P/Tr and Tr/J ones with massive LIP eruptions, but the actual causal mechanisms are quite obscure. The Frasnian/Famennian event is pretty much a mystery.

            The only “short sharp” temperature rise we have definite information about (the PETM) is notable because it wasn’t connected with a mass extinction, but rather with a quite remarkable diversification event.
            The nearest thing to a Cenozoic mass extinction, the “Grande Coupure” at the end of the Eocene on the other hand does coincide with the shift from a hothouse to an icehouse climate.

          • Kristi Silber said:
            “Some species are pests, and already some of them have become more abundant and widespread due to AGW.”

            You say this as though it is fact. Please provide links to conclusive scientific proof that AGW has caused more abundant species, pest or otherwise. Oh…wait…I guess polar bears could be considered pests I susppose, and their numbers are increasing.

          • PBWeather her false premise was AGW.

            She could not prove it a reality if her life depended on doing so.
            The whole quote is pure sophistry.

      • It is also most unlikely that even if Earth heated appreciably, its atmosphere would become like that on Venus. Earth has a strong magnetic field; Venus does not. The lack of such a field on Venus means gases in the upper atmosphere have no protection against energetic charged particles from the Sun. These dissociate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen is lost from Venus. The oxygen reacts with surface rocks. A similar process occurs on Mars. It does not on Earth.

    • According to Wikipedia, the methane concentration of Uranus’s atmosphere is around 23,000 ppm.Two things to note: (a) methane is regarded as an uber-greenhouse gas and (b) Uranus is really, really cold.

        • “A desert at night is warmer with clouds than without clouds.” That may be true but, being a desert, there are not many cloudy days or night and there are still warm and cold fronts regardless of clouds moving through the region.

    • They observed that Earth emits heat to space from the planet’s surface as well as from the atmosphere. As both heat up, say by the addition of carbon dioxide, the air [CAN] holds more water vapor, which in turn acts to trap more heat in the atmosphere. This strengthening of Earth’s greenhouse effect is known as water vapor feedback. Crucially, the team found that the water vapor feedback is just sufficient to cancel out the rate at which the warmer atmosphere emits more heat into space.

      And my take is, ……..

      That “magical” water vapor feedback is only about 15% effective when you’re talking “humidity” only, ……. and in actuality it is 0.0% effective when you’re talking about the tens-of-millions of square miles of the earth’s surface that is desert environment.

      And that “magical” water vapor feedback is highly questionable when you’re talking only “water droplets” in the form of clouds, fogs, mists rain, snow and/or sleet.

  3. Could it be that the Globe is more than a black body radiator that receives/radiates energy based upon its albedo at the surface? The atmosphere contains trillions and trillions of radiators helping to transfer that energy. Could it be that these atoms/molecules in the atmosphere radiate energy in 360 degrees? And since it is 360 degrees that means half of it goes into space.

  4. Not being an expert and having little data on this topic, I notice they left something out of their calculations. They say that more water vapor absorbs more escaping infrared, cancelling out the increase in infrared leaving the planet. But I’m aware of other studies that determined that increased water vapor due to warmer temperatures resulted in increased cloud cover and thus increased albedo. I think they’re ignoring inconvenient data.

    • Art,

      There is also evaporative cooling. Maybe they took the non-radiative effects of H2O into account. Or they might simply have ignored or parameterized them, like IPCC’s GIGO modeling kludge.

      • They must have parameterized them. Current GCM:s are utterly unable to handle convection numerically. It would very conservatively need computers 100,000,000 times more powerful than available today.

        • My interpretation from the article was that their model was 1 column, surface to space, not ALL columns.

          This could include convection, but would miss advection.

    • Clouds can also hold in heat at night.

      More importantly, we don’t know what they accounted for or discussed in the paper, since this is just a press release. You don’t know what they are ignoring; why make assumptions?

  5. “The team found this linear relationship breaks down when Earth’s global average surface temperatures go much beyond 300 K, or 80 F.” is this 300K based upon the average of the entire globe??? Why. Seems to me that major portions of the earth will always be well below that number and thus still be able to get rid of heat. Then there is the night/day problem where the dark side will be cool enough to still work effectively.

      • Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

        For the most part, “average” anything temperature is meaningless, else we could not grab the handle of a pot of boiling water.

  6. DOI Not Found

    10.1073/pnas.1809868115

    This DOI cannot be found in the DOI System. Possible reasons are:

    The DOI is incorrect in your source. Search for the item by name, title, or other metadata using a search engine.
    The DOI was copied incorrectly. Check to see that the string includes all the characters before and after the slash and no sentence punctuation marks.
    The DOI has not been activated yet. Please try again later, and report the problem if the error continues.

    • Probably withdrawn because of the negative effect it would have on the primary source of funding for most of the 629 Public 4-year and 1,845 Private 4-year U.S. colleges and universities. If not either withdrawn or falsified it would be the death knell of CAGW (i.e., Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming).

  7. At 156F, the peak emission will be about 8.5 microns, while at 56F it is about 10 microns. It seems like we begin moving the peak right out of the absorption spectrum for CO2 (15, 4.3, 2.7 microns ), which means we go back to a T^4 relationship in energy output.

    looking at temperature emissions, 15 microns is about -112F or -80C. Does it ever get that cold? (yes I am aware that the energy is spread into longer wavelengths and it is this tail which get absorbed. however, the hotter it gets, the less energy is in those tails in the 14.5 – 15.5 micron band and at 156F even water is in a low absorption mode over the bulk of the emitted energy -[falls off at about 10 microns.]) It looks to me like CO2 and even water are more effective at blocking high altitude atmospheric emissions than the direct from the equator to temperate surface emissions.

    • 15 microns has nothing to do with a temperature of -80ºC, the hotter the temperature the more IR gets emitted at 15 microns. At -80ºC a BB emits 2.2 W/m^2/sr (14-16 micron) whereas at 156ºF it emits 20.3 W/m^2/sr, i.e. about ten times more.

      • True, but that won’t sustain the higher temperature as the escaping W/m^2 at the unaffected wavelengths are even higher. What sustains the system at 150+ F when the majority of the radiation escapes to space, cooling the surface? Even if that entire 20.3 W/m^2 were to reradiate downward, adding it to the energy of the sun might get us to 100F for a stable temperature. I don’t see this working even on a radiative physics basis. There is just no way to sustain the elevated temps without the sun’s output changing or our orbit decaying to closer to Venus’ distance.

      • And 15 microns is the wavelength of greatest intensity at the Earth’s effective temp of 255K (temp at which Earth radiates it’s Solar absorbed SW via LWIR).
        And the Earth’s temp as seen from space at it’s effective radiating level (-18C at ~8km in the troposphere).
        Which is why CO2 is important as it is not entirely absorbed by WV.

        https://images.slideplayer.com/21/6261657/slides/slide_8.jpg

        https://www.sanjeev.sabhlokcity.com/co2/index_files/image013.gif

  8. “The code simulates the Earth as a vertical column, starting from the ground, up through the atmosphere, and finally into space.”

    Simulating the Earth’s atmosphere as a column seems like a pretty unrealistic way to simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. It would be interesting to know the diameter of the column they use in the simulation as well as how (or if) they simulate the interactions between the atmosphere outside the column and the atmosphere within the column.

    • I noticed that too. Sounds like they completely ignored advection. Nearly all the all-time record lows for various states in the lower 48 occurred when an arctic air mass advected from Siberia. (got to get that Russia is at fault Meme in there somehow 😉 )

      • “Nearly all the all-time record lows for various states in the lower 48 occurred when an arctic air mass advected from Siberia.”

        In Northern Ohio, we blame Canada for those cold “Alberta Clippers” that pass through here in the winter. 🙂

    • I think it is good way simulate it by column. We can ignore lateral movement, because it is only borrowing/lending energy between columns. Total energy content is same.
      Imagine this column like one pixel on screen. They changed inputs and checked total output of pixel. They simulated physics in column, changed temperature, content of vapors etc. and measured single output information.
      They found this linear dependency of output energy based on temperature.
      If this works for one column with all physics included, it will work for all columns e.g. whole atmosphere.

  9. This is no mere model porn, it’s tuned to fit NY politicos style of “ban it out of the abundance of caution” policy tactic. Attorney Generals armed with Surgeon General reports would rule in this pre apocalyptic scenario.

  10. There’s a very poor copy of the MIT story at http://www.todaychan.com/how-earth-sheds-heat-into-space/ that concludes with:

    Extra data:
    Daniel D. B. Koll el al., “Earth’s outgoing longwave radiation linear as a result of H2O greenhouse impact,” PNAS (2018). http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1809868115

    Journal reference:
    Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences

    Offered by:
    Massachusetts Institute of Expertise

    Expertise? How about this paragraph?

    The workforce [team!]can then flip the temperature knob up and right down [but not left?] to see how completely different floor temperatures would have an effect on the outgoing warmth. After they plotted their information, they noticed a straight line—a linear relationship between floor temperature and outgoing warmth, in keeping with many earlier works, and over a variety [range] of 60 kelvins, or 108 levels Fahrenheit.

    The URL https://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1809868115 fails. At first I thought there was a typo, but now I’m suspicious that the paper has been taken down. That would explain why it’s not findable at PNAS, not listed in their recent papers, etc.

  11. There does seem to be one tipping point. The planet currently bangs into and out of interglacials. There are lots of theories. If that is so much in doubt, how is it that CAGW theory is so certain?

    • If the climate really is a “… coupled non-linear chaotic system…” as IPCC says and the climate follows a Strange Attractor as many chaotic systems do, then there really are no tipping points as two adjacent points on the Attractor can lead to very different outcomes for the climate.

    • There cannot be just one tipping point…If there was only one, it would be a point of no return, a one way street.

  12. 152 F. .. so how would that work?

    What would the temps be in various regions of the world to average out to 152 F.? Would this even be possible for planet Earth?

    And the Venus reference, … I dunno — I’m feeling a Venus debate coming on.

    I couldn’t find the paper anywhere either, not even an abstract.

    Not much to comment on without that.

    • Evaporation in the equatorial zone caps tropical sea temps at 31C. Watervapor, is lighter than air and being heated as well, it rises quickly raising the mass of warm air as in a chimney and bypassing much of the radiation absorption activity close to the surface, it emits the heat from a higher altitude more quickly into space. Perhaps not very well phrased (a bit tired!).

      This column model would appear to be too ordered a set up for the dynamics of the atmosphere. Talking about ideal ceteris parabus emission equations in a roiling air mass. That’s just it you can’t study ‘parts’ of such a system. After hearing about radiative physics of CO2 and water vapour in the laboratory fot the 1000th time, told as if to an idiot child, I argued that they excluded all the confounding agencies that in the real system act to counter the effect. I did a thought experiment. Set up a heated globe in the lab and measure temperature at a various distances outwards in a line colinear with the centre of the globe. Wonder of wonders you discover the square of the distance relationship of temperature from the surface. Now, in the real world the difference in the distance of the earth from the sun in its orbit (aphelion to perihelion positions) is a significant ~ 4%. Now see if you can identify this regular variation in the global temperature trace. There isn’t one. So, now what do you say to your idiot sceptical child.

      • Gary,

        Local and regional SSTs can and do exceed 31 C. For example, the Red Sea in July.

        But for large open ocean areas, you might well be right. And even for most of the Persian Gulf, most of the time.

        • I personally have seen SST observations @95Deg F, back in the day before computer plotting of obs, I had 2 reports from ships in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) with SST at 95. This was in the middle of the summer and was more than like seawater injection, not true SST so the actual SST was more than likely 90F. Still quite hot, and yes it was a confined, relatively shallow body of water. As several others have posted here the oceans are a humongous thermal damper, it would take Armageddon to raise Earth’s temperature much higher than has been seen in geologic history (85F) considering how much COLD water is in the oceans.

  13. Venus is not the case of runaway GHG’s, but the case of 100% cloud coverage where the clouds are an independent thermodynamic system from the solid surface below. In the case of 100% cloud coverage on Earth, the clouds are still connected to the surface by the hydro cycle. It’s not until liquid water can’t exist on the surface that Earth has a chance to be like Venus and that’s closer to 212F. Instead of 90 bars of CO2, there would be 90+ bars of water vapor and whose temperature profile from the clouds in equilibrium with the Sun down to the solid surface below will follow that of a gas under compression which is independent of GHG effects.

    • Atmospheric pressure of almost 100 times that on earth probably has a lot to do with venus’s temperature along with being 25% closer to the sun.

        • It’s important to distinguish gravity acting on a gas as setting what the temperature profile must be and is not the source of any heat itself. Differential gravity, for example, the tidal heating of Io, is not a source of heat either, as the source of the energy heating it originates from orbital and axial rotational energy. The only time gravity is converted into energy is as the gravity of mass disappears when converted into energy.

          • No .

            The tradeoff of gravitational and kinetic ( heat ) energy is universal , does not require convection , and very simple to understand .

            A particle moving up in a gravitational field slows down , ie: cools ; one moving down speeds up , ie: heats . Doesn’t matter if it’s in a crystal lattice or a fluid . And everything else can be worked out quantitatively from Newton’s gravitational law .

            Does that need any further explanation ? A particle above receives less energy from one below and visa versa .

            Only including gravitational energy , which it is easy to show computes as a negative , can the total energy equations be balanced .

            Convection occurs when that natural gravitational “lapse rate” is “upset” by , eg: thermalization of radiant energy at the surface .

          • You’re missing the point. The comment was about the nature of the heat in the Venusian atmosphere and it’s not gravity. The source of all the energy stored by Venus in its clouds, CO2 atmosphere and solid surface is the Sun where temperatures are a manifestation of stored energy and a temperature profile is a manifestation of an energy storage profile which in the case of Venus is a function of gravity.

            Temperature is not a property of the velocity of an individual molecule, but is a bulk property manifested by many molecules moving in all directions over a range of velocities, thus any net energy gain/loss of the kind you’re referring will be zero.

          • Sorry , again .

            There are other groups now , like Destroying the AGW Hypothesis where the gravitational thermal energy trade off is being better understood .

            I’m just interested in the computational physics , the fundamental quantitative relationships .

            If you leave gravitational energy out of the equations , you are denying conservation of energy and thus also basic thermodynamics which says that thermal energy will flow from higher density to lower .

            The Calculation of Equilibrium Temperature of a Colored Ball determines the radiative equilibrium temperature of a ball of arbitrary spectra irradiatied by arbitrary source and sink power spectra . For a planet & atmosphere . eg: the earth , that effective radiative surface is wavelength dependent and varies from the surface in the visible to somewhere in the upper atmosphere for most of the IR . ( Hansen’s 1981 claim , https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha04600x.html , is that more CO2 moves it’s effective radiative surface up to where it’s colder ( why ? ) so it radiates less trapping more heat below . Nonsensically circular ( & w/o equation ) . )

            As pointed out in my http://climateconferences.heartland.org/robert-armstrong-iccc9-panel-18/ , the 2nd year calc Divergence Theorem is one way to state the thermodynamic fact that the interior of a ball must have the same average energy as that surface . The thermal energy density at the bottom of Venus’s atmosphere is ~ 25 times that which the Sun provides to its orbit .

            The spectral GHG hypothesis , for which I have yet to see the few simple equations which would justify it despite it being my constant question , violates this . Were it true , we could immediately replicate the phenomenon and quickly make perpetual heat engines . So , once again , show us the basic enabling equations . Nothing to do with planets or atmospheres or clouds , just the basic physical law .

            The gravitational people have . And it quantitatively explains adiabatic pressure temperature profiles for all planets looked at . And as I pointed out , it is very easy to understand and work out the equations for . And it is ubiquitous applying not just to atmospheres but continuing into the bodies of planets .

            My central interest is developing 4th.CoSy as a language for implementing this sort of physics . So the essential question is what is the differential to go in a voxel because then it can rather easily be mapped over a sphere . The spectral equilibrium calculation cited above is part of it . I believe the Schwarzschild thermal differential is the complete spectral thermal differential excepting gravity . Get a handle on these equations for the static case , eg: a cat’s eye marble , then “melt” its surface and solve the dynamic case .

            But the spectral GHG paradigm from my perspective and a rapidly growing number of others is patently defective . If not , show us the fundamental testable enabling equations and explain how gravitational energy , which so conveniently computes as a negative , can be left out of the accounting .

          • Bob,
            Gravity is not a source of energy. It’s a consequence of how matter shapes space-time. Gravity certainly comes in when calculating the lapse rate, but this is a rate, not an absolute and the absolute is dictated by the energy originating from the Sun.

            The spectral evidence for GHG absorption is clear and predicted by Quantum Mechanics.
            The spectrum I predict based on absorption per HITRAN line data is the same as we observe and that the only way reduced energy in parts of the spectrum can appear is if their energy is absorbed by the atmosphere. The atmosphere is not an infinite repository of energy and in the steady state, energy leaves the atmosphere at the same rate its being absorbed, except it leaves over twice the area that it arrived.

          • I find it astounding that anybody with even a high school physics background could say “Gravity is not a source of energy.” It’s like you somehow think general relativity negated Newton rather than put his laws in a broader context . Perhaps see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_energy .

            I could go on , but the claim that distance times gravitation force , the other macroscopic force , is not energy , is nonsensical . It is virtually the canonical most classical example of the relationship of force and energy .

            Again , please show the essential equation which enables the asymmetric trapping of heat by a spectral phenomenon . Something I can program in a voxel in a planetary model .

    • Yeah, and I noticed something weird when I googled Venus lapse rates. Neither Venus’ lapse rate, nor Mars’ lapse rate had evidence of convection, i.e. no troposphere & tropopause.

      • The tropopause is due to the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere has a second heat source through the absorption of UV by ozone in the stratosphere. The tropopause is simply the point where the upward movement (mostly convection) of heat from the surface and the downward movement (mostly radiation) of heat from the stratosphere balance.

  14. “Koll says the team’s results may help to improve climate model predictions.”

    Koll obviously misspoke here as we all know that climate models don’t make predictions they make projections.

  15. More BS. The Cloverly Formation does however contain crocodilian critters. Something I did not know. Interesting though of course quite biased by their modeling assumptions. Comments like, if the earth heats up due to co2, gets them their grant.

  16. How many doublings of atmospheric CO2 to get there?

    A few trillion more coal trains of death, eh Jim ??

    • In my many years of writing computer programs, I never ran into “radiation code” but I have seen “radioactive code” which was code that was so badly written and so poorly documented that computer programmers always made sure they were busy doing something else when the “radioactive code” needed to be modified or rewritten.

    • HPTC (High Performance Technical Computing) folks tend to call their big programs “codes”. It’s a term I’ve never liked. OTOH, old codes written back in Fortran IV days before Fortran picked up vector/array math notation and several other modern concepts are often referred to as “dusty decks” for the thousands of cards that make up what are today’s ancient scrolls.

    • It is a fairly common term. Google “MODTRAN” for more information. By the way what they describe as new revolutionary science seems to be very much a pure copy of MODTRAN.

      And note that MODTRAN was developed by the need of the military for accurate data on IR transmission in the atmosphere, so it has been thoroughly validated.

  17. I’m sure the media take away will focus on the “runaway” and “Venus” portions and ignore the impossibility of the whole situation.

    • I suspect the authors had ‘modeled’ a column of atmosphere above the surface area in question. While not exactly geometrically accurate (should be a spherical sector) I’ll further suppose they simplified it to reduce coding, or perhaps they accurately modeled it.
      What they didn’t take into account has been mentioned in above comments, that of mixing between columns and energy spent to create wind and clouds.

      Without anyone being actually able to read the paper this is all speculation.

  18. Its all very interesting, but surly a good look at Earths past climate history would be a far more accuraate way to say how things actually work.

    MJE

    • It would tell us what happened, but not why. We will still need to generate a theory which will account for the observations.
      Isn’t that what we are doing?

  19. Its all very interesting, but surly a good look at Earths past climate history would be a far more accuraate way to say how things actually work.
    Remember we are a water planet, so we would have to boil off the vast ocean s b efore we got to a Venus like state.

    MJE

    • And each g of water takes 512 cal of thermal energy to evaporate **without** changing temperature. Considering that the average temperature of the oceans is (all the oceans not just the surface) is about 9deg C there ain’t no tipping point anywhere in anyone’s lifetime (nor in our great-great-great-great etc grand children’s lifetime)

  20. Didn’t Roy Spencer make a similar simple 1D radiation model and post it on his blog a couple of years or so ago?

  21. They still can’t give the simple differential by which spectral phenomenon traps higher energy density on the side away from the source .

    All these decades and NO simple testable quantitative equation for the basic phenomenon .

    • Bob Armstrong wrote, “They still can’t give the simple differential by which spectral phenomenon traps higher energy density on the side away from the source.”

      It doesn’t, Bob. The source of most LWIR in the atmosphere is the Earth.

      That surprises many people, who are used to thinking of the Sun as the source of all radiant energy. But it isn’t. The Earth emits about as much radiant energy as it absorbs from the Sun.

      The difference is that the incoming radiation and outgoing radiation are at different wavelengths. The Earth’s emitted energy is almost entirely at far Infrared (LWIR) & longer wavelengths. The Sun’s incoming radiation is in the near IR, visible light, and shorter wavelengths.

      So if there’s a dye/colorant in the atmosphere which is transparent to the incoming wavelengths (from the Sun), but absorbs some of the outgoing wavelengths (from the Earth), adding that colorant to the atmosphere has a differential effect, preventing the escape of energy which would otherwise have been lost to space, and thus warming the Earth.

      We (somewhat inaccurately) call those colorants “greenhouse gases.” That’s a poor name, because they don’t work the way that greenhouses work, but they do cause warming.

      Learn more here:
      http://sealevel.info/learnmore.html

      • Please show us your equations by which the bottom of atmosphere temperatures of planets are hotter than the radiative equilibrium determined by their absorptivityemissivity spectrum as seen from outside .

        Simply the differential which “traps” a higher energy density on the side away from the source will do .

        • Bob Armstrong wrote, “They still can’t give the simple differential by which spectral phenomenon traps higher energy density on the side away from the source.”

          I replied, “It doesn’t, Bob. The source of most LWIR in the atmosphere is the Earth.”

          And Bob replied, “Please show us… the differential which “traps” a higher energy density on the side away from the source…”

          I just told you, Bob: GHGs in the atmosphere do not trap energy “on the side away from the source.”

          Why do you keep writing that? Did you not read what I wrote?

          If you’re an object in the Earth’s atmosphere (e.g., an airplane or a GHG molecule), a majority of the LWIR photons that pass your way come from below, not above. The Earth is the original emitter of the LWIR radiation, not the Sun.

          The energy originally comes from the Sun, but it is transported to the Earth’s surface in the form of short-wavelength radiation, which the GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere do not absorb. That short-wavelength radiation (near IR and shorter) is absorbed by the surface of the planet, heating it. The surface, in turn, radiates that energy away, as long-wavelength radiation (mostly LWIR).

          If there were no GHGs (or other obstructions, like clouds) in the atmosphere, the LWIR would radiate straight from the Earth’s surface to outer space, cooling the surface. But GHGs prevent some of that LWIR from escaping. They intercept it on the way out, heating the bulk atmosphere. The warmer atmosphere, because it contains GHGs, emits LWIR in all directions. Some of that radiation escapes to outer space, but some of it is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, heating it.

          That “downwelling IR” from the GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere is measurable, BTW.

          So if you’re an object or molecule in the atmosphere, most of the short-wavelength radiation you encounter will come from above, but most of the LWIR you encounter will come from below.

          If you’re very near the Earth’s surface, looking down, the radiation spectrum you see coming from the Earth’s surface will be similar to a blackbody spectrum at the temperature of the surface.

          The average temperature of the Earth’s surface is about 15 C = 59 F = 288.15 K. (In the tropics, it’s warmer than average: about 300K.)

          So if you’re in the atmosphere, looking down from just a few inches above the surface, the radiation spectrum you see will be a nice smooth graybody curve, peaking around 17 µm. But if your altitude increases, the spectrum develops “gaps” in bands where GHGs absorb, and if you look down at the atmosphere from above, from an orbital satellite, it looks something like this:

          https://sealevel.info/slide16_excerpt2_FTIR_data_from_a_satellite_tropical_western_pacific_annot6.png

          This is a quote from Prof. Robert G. Brown, a Duke U. Physics professor, from a private email conversation:

          *—–( begin excerpt )—–*
          _”…I got tired of people claiming that thermal equilibrium in an air column include the adiabatic lapse rate (a pure consequence of convective transport in a heated system that is never in equilibrium) and other stuff like that that let them claim that “gravity” is why the atmosphere is warmer at the bottom than at the top, not any form of radiation trapping. You could walk them through the really simple (well, to me:-) example of surrounding a heated sphere with a thin perfect absorber emitter layer, leading to a bone simple increase of 1.19 x its previous equilibrium/greybody temperature for the given rate of heat input and all they’d do is parrot thermodynamics that heat only flows from hot to cold (which is true, and which is exactly why the heated body in the middle of the absorbing layer has to heat up!) …half of those people wanted to claim that there has been no warming of the planet at all, that carbon dioxide is completely unimportant, that CO2 COOLS the planet… cognitive dissonance is much too strong….”_
          *—–( end excerpt )—–*

          Multi-layer insulation (“MLI”) is a nice “real world” application of the mechanism illustrated by his example of a heated sphere surrounded by a thin perfect absorber/emitter layer:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-layer_insulation

          GHGs in the atmosphere work like that, albeit only for certain LWIR wavelengths, and the GHG layer is not “thin.”

          Still, the principle is the same: the surface of the Earth is heated by sunlight, and as a result emits LWIR radiation toward outer space. If there’s a GHG in the atmosphere which absorbs LWIR radiation, preventing it from escaping, and also emitting LWIR, some of which is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, the result will be that the surface of the Earth warms.

          As the surface warms, its rate of LWIR radiation emission increases. The warming process will continue until the rate at which radiative energy escapes the Earth is as great as the rate at which radiation from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth.

          Note that Prof. Brown is not a climate alarmist. He is outspokenly skeptical of climate alarmism. That is because the best evidence is that anthropogenic greenhouse warming is modest and benign, not because it is zero.

          • Dave,

            Nice to see someone who really knows his radiation physics and furthermore bothers to demonstrate its truth with a practical example – satellite insulation, which cannot be contradicted because it actually exists and works!

            Keep up the good work…

            David

          • “The warmer atmosphere, because it contains GHGs, emits LWIR in all directions. Some of that radiation escapes to outer space, but some of it is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, heating it.”

            The warmer atmosphere got warmer, because the surface that warmed it is even warmer than the warmer atmosphere that the even warmer surface warmed. Thus, that warmer-atmosphere energy is LOWER than the even-warmer surface energy. Hence, the lower energy of the warmer atmosphere cannot possibly increase the energy of the even warmer surface, whose energy ALREADY exceeds that of the “warmer atmosphere”.

            How did the atmosphere get warmer? The higher energy of the surface increased the atmosphere’s energy. Yes, the atmosphere’s energy is now higher, but NOT AS HIGH as the energy of the surface that warmed it. Again, then, there is no way that the lower-energy atmosphere could be absorbed by the ALREADY WARMER surface to cause further heating of the surface.

          • Excellent explanation.

            Just in case providing some arithmetic will help your interlocutor understand, I’ll add here a hypothetical I’ve used before.

            Because of convection and conduction, an altitude layer in the real atmosphere can emit more or less radiation than it absorbs. To keep things simple, though, let’s imagine that there’s no convection or conduction: at equilibrium each layer has to emit all it absorbs. Also, although the real atmosphere absorbs some solar radiation directly, the atmosphere in our hypothetical is completely transparent to solar radiation; it absorbs radiation only from the surface and other layers.

            The following radiation quantities are consistent with those assumptions but show that the surface emits 2.2 W/m^2 for every 1 W/m^2 it absorbs from the sun. And only that 1 W/m^2 escapes back to space. Yet the emissions equal the absorptions: no energy is created or destroyed.

            Total
            Absorbed from: Surface L.Atm U.Atm Space Absorbed

            Absorbed by:
            Surface 0.0000 1.0500 0.1500 1.0000 || 2.2000
            Lower Atmosphere 1.6500 0.0000 0.4500 0.0000 || 2.1000
            Upper Atmosphere 0.4125 0.7875 0.0000 0.0000 || 1.2000
            Space 0.1375 0.2625 0.6000 0.0000 || 1.0000
            ————————————————
            Total Emitted: 2.2000 2.1000 1.2000 1.0000

          • Dave B’s quoting of Prof. Brown’s is troubling:

            “You could walk them through the really simple (well, to me:-) example of surrounding a heated sphere with a thin perfect absorber emitter layer, leading to a bone simple increase of 1.19 x its previous equilibrium/greybody temperature for the given rate of heat input …”

            1.19 x ? How is that possible? — I thought that the thin layer would heat up to the same temperature as the sphere it surrounds, and so the whole system would be at the same temperature, NOT one part of the system 1.19 x greater temperature.

            … and then Dave B goes on to say:

            “Multi-layer insulation (“MLI”) is a nice “real world” application of the mechanism illustrated by his example of a heated sphere surrounded by a thin perfect absorber/emitter layer:”

            From my understanding, no it is NOT, because Multi-layer Insulation is a REFLECTOR, and reflection is a different animal than emission. CO2 does NOT reflect radiation.

          • Robert Kernodle: “1.19 x ? How is that possible? — I thought that the thin layer would heat up to the same temperature as the sphere it surrounds, and so the whole system would be at the same temperature, NOT one part of the system 1.19 x greater temperature.”

            I haven’t worked out Dr. Brown’s example, but I had intended my hypothetical above to be helpful with questions like yours. (The table didn’t come out so well, so I’ll try it again below.)

            Each atmosphere layer in this (no-convection, no-conduction, lumped-parameter) hypothetical absorbs ¾ of the radiation it receives, and it emits all the radiation it absorbs. Also, 1 W/m^2 comes from space and the same amount is returned to space, but the surface emits 2.2 W/m^2. If you go through the arithmetic you can confirm this. If you so change it that each atmosphere layer absorbs all the radiation it receives, then the surface will emit 3.0 W/m^2.

            The point is that no energy is created or destroyed, yet the surface emits 2.2 times as much power as the system receives from space (the sun). Each atmospheric layer receives more, too.

            \begin{array}{lcccccc}  &&&&&&\mathrm{Total}\\  \mathrm{Absorbed\,from:}&\mathrm{Surface}&\mathrm{L.Atm}&\mathrm{U.Atm}&\mathrm{Space}&&\mathrm{Absorbed}\\  &&&&&&\\  \mathrm{Absorbed\,by:}&&&&&\\  \mathrm{Surface}&0.0000&1.0500&0.1500&1.0000&||&2.2000\\  \mathrm{Lower Atmosphere}&1.6500&0.0000&0.4500&0.0000&||&2.1000\\  \mathrm{Upper Atmosphere}&0.4125&0.7875&0.0000&0.0000&||&1.2000\\  \mathrm{Space}&0.1375&0.2625&0.6000&0.0000&||&1.0000\\  &&&&&&\\  \mathrm{Total\,Emitted:}&2.2000&2.1000&1.2000&1.0000  \end{array}

          • By your logic it is clearly trivial to build a perpetual heat engine . The more layers you divide your sequence of filters into the greater the heat “trapped” Surely it should be totally trivial to present a quantitative demonstration of it . Perhaps you should make a YouTube demo and win the first Ritchie Prize .

            I still would like to see the equation which does the trapping . A simple observation which counters the notion that ever increasing heat can be trapped between a surface and a series of spectral filters on the side away from the source is that each successively hotter layer radiating in all directions is radiating more back in the direction from which its heat came than is being radiated towards it .

            But in all these decades , you’d think you would be able to find definitive equations quantifying the trapping as simple and straightforward as those showing the balance between gravitational and thermal energy which is so ubiquitous .

          • Thank you, David Cosserat, and (especially!) thank you, Joe Born.

            Robert, you wrote, “the lower energy of the warmer atmosphere cannot possibly increase the energy of the even warmer surface, whose energy ALREADY exceeds that of the “warmer atmosphere”.”

            That’s an incorrect statement. (It’s the “slayer” error.) Cooler things do help warmer things stay or become warmer than they otherwise would be, all the time.

            Don’t you wear a coat on a chilly day? That coat makes you warmer than you otherwise would be, even if no part of the coat is as warm as your body temperature.

          • The flow of energy , which computes linearly is simpler to deal with than temperature .

            The law is real simple .

            dE%dt = E0 – E1

            where E0 and E1 are 2 energy densities . Thus the closer E0 and E1 are ( in terms of corresponding temperatures ) the slower the flow .

          • But , again , it must be pointed out that planets are heated from the outside and putting a coat on a corpse doesn’t warm the corpse any hotter than that determined by the color of the coat and the color of the heat source .

          • Bob Armstrong:

            “By your logic it is clearly trivial to build a perpetual heat engine.”

            “[E]ach successively hotter layer radiating in all directions is radiating more back in the direction from which its heat came than is being radiated towards it.”

            I’m sorry, but I don’t follow either statement.

            A perpetual heat engine has to create or destroy energy. Where in the numbers I provided is energy being created or destroyed? Again, each layer is emitting only what it is absorbing.

            As to “each successively hotter layer,” let’s take the lower atmospheric layer. It emits only 1.05 W/m^2 back in the direction of the surface (“from where its heat came”), which is less than the 2.2 W/m^2 that “is being radiated towards it” by the surface. You may object that its heat ultimately came from the other direction, i.e., from space, but that’s not the atmosphere’s point of view. In our hypothetical the atmosphere is perfectly transparent to the (call it short-wave) radiation from space. The atmospheric layer doesn’t know about the power from space; all it knows is the power it receives from the surface and the other layer.

            As to equations, I’m not sure what you mean, and anyway I doubt that my providing any would advance the discussion. My parish tutors inner-city kids, and from that experience I know that failure to master arithmetic first causes problems in comprehending algebra. So we should wait until you’ve mastered the arithmetic in the table.

            Anyway, deriving the equations for the distributed-parameter version, where the number of layers is infinite, would require calculus. And, frankly, I can’t at the moment think of a way to do that elegantly.

          • The Sun supplies a radiant energy density to Venus’s orbit of about 2613. w%m^2 . ( I like to think in terms of energy density because it’s convertible by dividing by a lightsecond and the thermal energy at the bottom of an atmosphere has no direction . )

            Spread over the sphere that’s
            2614. 4. 2_f %f |>| 653.5 | w%m^2

            It’s bottom of atmosphere temperature is reported to be ~ 735. , an energy density of
            735. _f T>Psb |>| 16548.6 | w%m^2

            That’s a ratio of about
            16548.6 653.5 2_f %f |>| 25.3

            So where does the 25 times greater energy density at the surface come from ? you are claiming its from some stack of spectral filters . Please show us your equations because surely with our technology we can emulate such a filter stack and make our perpetual heat engine .

            ( Forgive cutting and pasting the raw 4th.CoSy which is RPN and has to convert values directly off the x86 float stack . )

            Note , TiNOX , http://cosy.com/Science/AGWpptTiNOX.jpg , comes close , but that’s with an absorptivity over the solar spectrum of about 0.95 , not Venus’s ~ 0.1 .

          • Mr. Armstrong:

            It appears that we’re destined not to join issue, so it would be a waste of your time for me to respond further.

        • “If you’re an object in the Earth’s atmosphere (e.g., an airplane or a GHG molecule), a majority of the LWIR photons that pass your way come from below, not above.”

          You suffer from the most common misunderstanding of the greenhouse effect, that it is a radiative effect. It isn’t, it is very largely convective. Your theoretical GHG molecule will indeed receive very slightly more LWIR from below than from above or sideways, but most of the heat moving upward is rising warm air and in particular latent heat in the form of rising water molecules.

  22. And what happens when the water vapor absorbs IR? It gets hotter, right? What happens to hotter water vapor? It rises in altitude and experiences an adiabatic lapse rate, right? What happens when it hits 0 degrees C? Shucks the present temperature in the ’76 std. atmosphere at 20 km is a tad over 200 degrees K, way below freezing. Well, where I come from, that implies that the water vapor dumps heat and freezes pretty hard.

    Sounds to me like these guys have a static analysis and totally ignore convection.

      • Gnomish:Add heat and watervapour rises even more quickly, bypassing the absorptive layer where we measure our daily temps and cooling and emitting it at high altitude mainly to space . Also the Team never seems to consider the enthalpy aspect of this rising water vapor. It freezes and emits the latent heat out too.

        • i did the numbers.
          water vapor carries 50,000 times more heat than co2 in any volume of atmosphere.
          and that’s without any temperature change. just the enthalpy of phase change.

  23. You know, it appears that this journalist or “science communicator” really did try to do proper job on this story. I don’t think she’s stupid, or lazy. But there’s no hiding the fact that she’s not a scientist, and doesn’t understand what she’s writing about.

    Exhibit A:

    “Crucially, the team found that the water vapor feedback is just sufficient to cancel out the rate at which the warmer atmosphere emits more heat into space.”

    Wrong. If it were true, then the Earth would never stop heating up, and we’d all be dead.

    What Koll et al presumably found was that, in their model, positive water vapor feedback was just sufficient to cancel out the difference between –T⁴ Planck feedback and linear negative feedback. But that’s completely different from what this article says.

    As Art and John Tillman point out above, even if it we assume that correction, it sounds like this paper is still very unrealistic. It sounds like they just ignored all the complicated feedbacks, like evaporative cooling / water cycle feedback, clouds, etc. Since evaporative cooling is the most important way that heat is transported away from the surface of the Earth, it’s obviously not something which you should just ignore!

    Nevertheless, Koll’s paper might be useful at shooting down the persistent fear among climate alarmists of “runaway heating.” That fear is so obviously nonsense that I’m tempted to just write off people who talk that way, as kooks, and ignore them, like I do the chemtrailers and the Guy McPherson “near-term human extinction” nuts. But I think that would be a mistake. I was shocked, earlier today, to learn that, in an interview in 2016, Dr. Stephen Hawking revealed that even he was duped by that scare!

    To the delight of the kooks at ThinkProgress Hawking said:

    “A more immediate danger is runaway climate change. A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps, and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

    At first I thought that must be a fake quote. But I located the audio track, and listened to it, and he really did say that. Sadly, I fear his ALS might have been having cognitive effects, in his last few years.

    • “If it were true, then the Earth would never stop heating up, and we’d all be dead.”

      I don’t think so. All they are saying is that water vapor feedback cancels out negative radiation (T^4) feedback. What’s left is only the original heat source. If that doesn’t increase then the heating would stop.

      This tells me that water vapor feedback is extremely small.

      • No, Richard M, if that –T⁴ radiation feedback were completely cancelled, the heating would not ever stop.

        When you “turn up the burner” and continually add increased heat to something, its temperature rises, and its temperature will continue to rise until the rate of energy loss equals the increased rate of added heat.

        The only reason its temperature ever stops rising is that the rate at which it loses energy increases with temperature.

        The reason it emits more energy as it gets hotter is the Planck feedback (proportional to –T⁴).

        That’s as true for the planet as a whole as it is for the pan on your stove.

        In fact, it is even more true for the planet as a whole than for the pan on your stove. The pan on your stove is also cooled convectively (and perhaps evaporatively, depending on what’s in the pan). But the Earth as a whole is only cooled radiatively.

        If something somehow prevented all Planck feedback, i.e., if it prevented or cancelled 100% of the “proportional to –T⁴” increase in emitted radiation, then if there was an initial radiative balance, so that the temperature was raising, the temperature would never cease rising.

        • Dave, I don’t think they are saying anything is “preventing” Planck feedback. It is still ongoing. They are saying that the water vapor feedback just happens to be of the same magnitude as the Planck feedback with the opposite sign.

          So, if you induce 1 C of warming by doubling CO2, once you subtract the Planck feedback and add the water vapor feedback you end up with 1 C of warming.

          Unless something else was added to cause more warming that would it. There wouldn’t be any run away warming.

          Also, from what I can tell this is a radiation only analysis. It does not consider such things as cloud feedback which is probably negative as well.

        • “But the Earth as a whole is only cooled radiatively.”

          But not the Earth’s surface which is mostly cooled by evaporation and convection. “Greenhouse heating” is simply the increase in surface temperature needed to drive this evaporative/convective cooling at higher levels of GHG in the atmosphere. Given the other countervailing effects of more H2O in the atmosphere (higher albedo, lower lapse rate) this effect is probably very weak.

    • “At first I thought that must be a fake quote. But I located the audio track, and listened to it, and he really did say that.”

      Well, his machine said it. Whether those were actually his thoughts, we don’t know. It sounds silly enough that it was probably his handler(s). I haven’t actually seen any video of him speaking in recent years.

  24. Is this not, at lest partial vindication for the Sky Dragon’s and Stephen Wilde’s adbaibatic lapse rate theory?

    • No, it isn’t.

      The sky dragon slayers think GHGs don’t heat the Earth at all. That’s just nuts.

      Stephen Wilde has written, “The descending column contains the blocked 15u in the form of potential energy which heats the surface and the surface then radiates at the full range of wavelengths so as to defeat the initial blocking effect… The only effect of GHGs is to distort the lapse rate slope equally and oppositely in ascent and descent.”

      That’s all wrong. The potential energy gains and losses are balanced by rising and falling air columns, but that has nothing to do with the absorption of 15µ IR by atmospheric CO2, which warms the air regardless of whether it is rising or falling, and it certainly doesn’t “defeat” the absorption of IR by GHGs in the atmosphere.

      (It also has nothing to do with the the latent heat [heat of evaporation] which is transported aloft by the water cycle. When water evaporates at ground level, it absorbs latent heat, cooling the ground. When the water vapor condenses in clouds it releases latent heat, which warms the atmosphere at that altitude.)

      When the rain or snow falls, there’s some potential energy converted to kinetic energy, but most of it is lost via friction to the air, still high in the atmosphere. You can tell that by the fact that raindrops and snow flakes fall, for most of their trips to the surface, at very near their terminal velocities.

      Have you never noticed how the temperature drops during a cloudburst? If the falling raindrops & surrounding air were carrying lots of (kinetic) energy back to the ground, then the ground would get warmer, rather than cooler, during a cloudburst.

      • Dave Burton
        The potential energy gain is not balanced during the formation of the atmosphere. It is only balanced once the atmosphere is in place. Thus the greenhouse effect energy develops during the formation of the atmosphere and remains for as long as the mass of the atmosphere remains in place.
        If greenhouse gases then try to change the balance their effect is cancelled by changes in convection and conduction.
        Any extra heating of the surface by greenhouse gases simply increases radiative emission to space so that, temporarily, energy out exceeds energy in and the surface temperatures drop back to the baseline set by the non radiative conduction/convection greenhouse effect.

        The head post is correct that radiation to space rises linearly with surface temperature but it is only adequately explained by the conduction/convection model which I have proposed here:

        https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/stephen-wilde-how-conduction-and-convection-cause-a-greenhouse-effect-arising-from-atmospheric-mass/

        • Stephen, that is completely wrong.

          You wrote, “the greenhouse effect energy develops during the formation of the atmosphere and remains for as long as the mass of the atmosphere remains in place…” and “…the non radiative conduction/convection greenhouse effect.”

          You apparently don’t know what the so-called greenhouse effect is. It is a radiative effect, and it has nothing to do with convection.

          Real greenhouses work by preventing convection, but that’s now how the (misnamed!) “greenhouse effect” from “greenhouse gases” works.

          The so-called “greenhouse effect” is warming caused by absorption of longwave IR radiation, by radiatively active gases in the atmosphere, like CO2 and water vapor. The only reason so-called “greenhouse warming” happens is that the Earth is radiating LWIR radiation, and the only reason the Earth stays warm enough to radiate LWIR is that it is constantly absorbing shorter-wavelength solar radiation, which warms the surface.

          Negative feedback mechanisms, like convective and evaporative cooling do, indeed, attenuate warming, but they cannot and do not “”cancel” it completely.

          There are some resources here that could help you understand it:
          https://sealevel.info/learnmore.html

          • Dave, I’m afraid it is you who have it wrong.

            The Greenhouse effect is simply a term for the observation that planets with atmospheres have a surface temperature higher than planets without atmospheres. The term is neutral as to causation.
            It would work even with no radiative gases as per my linked article.
            That is why we see higher surface temperatures linked to atmospheric mass and NOT the proportion of radiative gases present.
            The greenhouse analogy is perfectly apt for the conduction/convection cause because in descending columns of air (half the atmosphere at any given moment) clouds dissipate to let more sunlight through just like a greenhouse roof and descending air suppresses convection just like a greenhouse roof.
            The radiative theorists, lacking meteorological experience, have committed a huge howler and too few were knowledgeable enough to contradict them.
            I now see increasing numbers of commenters who are starting to see it and it is nothing to do with the so called Slayer position.
            It is just non radiative energy transfers operating within a gas law environment.

      • Dave Burton

        The kinetic energy in individual falling molecules is too small to be relevant to surface temperature. The issue is kinetic energy recovered from potential energy as gases become more densely packed during descent as per the gas laws.

        You are correct to say it is nothing to do with water vapour.

    • Perhaps it coincidental, but this paper seems to unify GHG and adbaibatic lapse rate theory.

      Proponents on both sides frame the argument as a binary choice. Here, they give a tacit nod to both and specify the point at which GHG’s (water vapor) will overcome high altitude heat transfer.

  25. “Some time in the past, we think its atmosphere had a lot of water vapor, and the greenhouse effect would’ve become so strong that this window region closed off, and nothing could get out anymore, and then you get runaway heating,” Koll says.

    “In which case the whole planet gets so hot that oceans start to boil off, nasty things start to happen, and you transform from an Earth-like world to what Venus is today.”

    Say what? If this runaway heating already happened some time in the Earth’s past, why didn’t the Earth become like Venus back then? What am I missing?

  26. The vast deep oceans of liquid water are of course the key to regulating Earth’s average temperature and preventing anything close to runaway icehouse or runaway hothouse in 4 Gy. Even the few ice house periods are probably due to to scrubbing of early CO2 before solar radiation increased due to a slowly brightening sun.

    Duh.

    Where’s my big grant?

    • Joel,

      You’ve said the magic word, “CO2”, so indeed should win a handsome grant.

      However, IMO, CO2 had little to do with Snowball (Slushball/Iceball) Earth episodes. IMO their initiations and terminations are satisfactorily explained by tectonic, albedo and volcanic variations.

      CO2 might provide a minor feedback effect, but in all cases, solar output was weaker than today. For the last Snowball Earth interval, it was some six percent less than now (at one percent per 110 million years). The Cryogenian Period that lasted from about 720 to 635 million years ago. There was another brief glacial advance, the Gaskiers, during the following Ediacaran Period, but that might have been more akin to the glaciations of our current Phanerozoic Eon. Indeed far shorter than the Carboniferous-Permian and our present Cenozoic glacial episode.

  27. “Crucially, the team found that the water vapor feedback is just sufficient to cancel out the rate at which the warmer atmosphere emits more heat into space.”

    Doesn’t this mean the water vapor feedback is currently maxed out? If all the feedback gets emitted to space, all that is left is the base warming. We all know the warming from CO2 alone is too small to be a concern. And, soon they will discovered a couple of negative feedbacks and even that warming will be overstated.

  28. Here’s my thought on this whole “tipping point”notion. When the dinosaurs had their terrible, awful,no good day, a big rock slammed into the earth at 20 or so miles per second. Estimates are that the temperature of the atmosphere rose to perhaps 600F or hotter within hours. Additionally, huge amounts of CO2 were released. Due to the rock hitting in shallow ocean waters and the heat from the blast, a huge volume of water was evaporated and thrown across the globe. There is no evidence that any tipping point was reached and the planet cooled off and life slowly got about its business.
    If that wasn’t enough to tip things over then I call complete and total B.S. And while I’m at it, that goes for MIT’s 152F limit also!

  29. Not one single mention of precipitation (aka water cycle, hydrological cycle, etc). Not one single mention of clouds. Is it even possible to produce lower-quality work than this?

  30. Calling Chris Monckton. Isn’t linearity of water vapor feedbacks just what is needed to make his simple scheme for estimating climate sensitivity ironclad?

    The IPCC focuses on sensitivity at the margin. For a given increase in temperature forcing the equilibrium temperature goes up by what mutiple of the forcing? That is the climate sensitivity at our present temperature.

    But if this doesn’t change with temperature we don’t need to do a marginal anslysis. Chris says forget the fidgety hard-to-estimate high-margin-of-error-marginal changes and just look at total forcing. How much must it be getting amplified by total feedbacks to create current observed equilibrium temperatures? There is your sensitivity, total and marginal.

    If feedbacks are linear that is exactly right. We don’t need general circulation models to estimate sensitivity, just some basic calculations which, as Chris has shown, yield very modest sensitivity estimates, taking alarmism off the table.

    Chris has arguments for linearity in place already but these guys think they have an explanation of the why, which is a nice addition if borne out.

    P.S. Lord Monckton, being the expert, could clarify, but I presume that for marginal sensitivity to equal total sensitivity (hopefully I am not bastardizing terms too much) feedbacks just have to be linear over the range of forcings that are in prospect (that it doesn’t matter if they are linear from the start any more than it matters if they are linear out beyond what is going to be seen).

    • If they are linear part way, then they have to be linear at the start. A chaotic system can never become linear by itself.

    • “[F]eedbacks just have to be linear over the range of forcings that are in prospect . . . it doesn’t matter if they are linear from the start any more than it matters if they are linear out beyond what is going to be seen. . . .”

      You’re right that it doesn’t matter whether they’re linear from the start. But local linearity isn’t enough, either. For Lord Monckton’s theory to work, the ratio of the with-feedback equilibrium temperature to the without-feedback equilibrium temperature (the “large-signal” slope) has to be the same as the ratio of local changes in those quantities (the “small-signal” slope).

      Unfortunately, his own numbers don’t conform to that requirement. In the last of his seven WUWT blog posts on the subject, at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/08/15/climatologys-startling-error-of-physics-answers-to-comments/, he says, “Here’s the end of the global warming scam in a single slide.” But in that slide the large-signal slope A is 1.13, while the small-signal slope is 1.43.

      He seems nonetheless to infer linearity from the fact that for a tiny change in (without-feedback temperature) R the large-signal slope A of (with-feedback temperature) E as a function of R changes less than the rounding error.

      As can be seen in the video at https://www.y https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ebokc6z82cg, though, what he really bases his linearity assumption on is his belief that the mathematics of feedback in all dynamical systems, including the climate, requires it.

      It doesn’t.

  31. The Venus story is terrible. Venus for the last 600 million years has had minimal erosion, meaning no water. There was something catastrophic about 600 million years ago, maybe a moon that well didn’t become a moon and the energy reformed and melted the surface to the planet. Since then there has been little erosion and anything really happening. The wind speed is maybe 5 km on the surface and the rotation is once every 243 days. The greenhouse gas likely has never let it Venus cool. The atmosphere reflects 90+ percent of the radiation. The greenhouse gas hasn’t allowed Venus to cool, it has likely stayed hot, never having an ocean.

  32. https://geosci.uchicago.edu/~dkoll/publications.html

    At least I found Koll’s homepage where his publications are listed. At the top of the list it gives the title of the study but of course no study because it has to appear in the climate journal before getting released.

    Koll, D.D.B. and T.W.Cronin (2018), Earth’s outgoing longwave radiation linear due to H2O greenhouse effect. In press at PNAS.

  33. If outgoing energy to space rises linearly with surface temperature then any rise in surface temperature results in outgoing exceeding incoming from the sun and the surface will cool back to the baseline temperature.
    Sounds like a rebuttal of the radiative greenhouse effect leaving the non radiative conduction/convection greenhouse effect in control.

    • It is actually reached occasionally by the ground temperature in the most extreme desert areas on Earth, probably never by air due to convection.

  34. Another model, ie, a toy.

    There is no point creating models to try to understand the physical world unless all the systems are known. Without that the result is a snapshot of the level of ignorance of current understanding, and useless.

    • Sorry but that makes little sense.
      Properly used, models can help quite a bit.
      Even if there are large unknowns.
      It is the flagrant misuse of models by climate hustlers that is the problem.

  35. “he invokes Venus — a planet that many scientists believe started out as a world similar to Earth, though much closer to the sun.”
    Many? Still?
    Anyway, how does it explain it being linear when a considerable surface area is above 300k? How convenient that SST of open oceans rarely get over 300 K.
    I get the feeling the code is written to give what the researcher wants to see.

  36. If surface warming the last 150 years follows the co2 forcing (1,2 deg C pr doubling), all feedbacks sum up to zero. A good null hypothesis. Water vapor + clouds + lapse rate = 0.

  37. Seinfeld had a TV show about nothing. This is an article about nothing. Earth’s temperature will not reach 152F for about a billion years. Plenty of time to party.

  38. To this engineer the linear relationship between global temperature and outgoing radiation is obvious. Evidence for this lies in the observation that ocean temperatures rarely go much above 30C. The explanation for this lying in the physical behaviour and thermodynamic response of water to radiation flux, mainly involving Latent Heat and buoyancy.
    There is a linear relationship between energy input and evaporation rate. This in turn being reflected in the vertical velocity of the Latent Heat due to buoyancy. Both of which occur at constant temperature, making the use of the Plank equation inappropriate since, in this instance, the coefficient is zero.
    Water arriving as ice in the Cirrus clouds nudging the Tropopause dissipates energy to space by the mere fact that the crystals are growing. The energies involved being large and in the order of 680 plus WattHrs per kilogram of water.
    The whole process being a Rankine Cycle upon the water returning to earth under gravity which varies its cycle rate in response to changes in insOlation in what I deem to be a linear relationship.
    None of this can easily be explained in purely radiative terms.
    I do wish these scientists would go back to basics rather than fiddling with statistical models with potential bugs in the assumptions.

  39. “In which case the whole planet gets so hot that oceans start to boil off, nasty things start to happen..”

    — As long as we’re talking about climate models where the oceans boil off, it does take a lot of heat to vaporize enough of the oceans such that you can have an ice age. Before the water can freeze on top of the continents, it has to be vaporized from the oceans. Just what is the mechanism that would vaporize the oceans as the each cools into an ice age?

    I once calculated how much heat it would take to vaporize enough water to form that much ice and I accidentally melted the continents. Is there any paper anywhere, or someone with a model, or a theoretical mechanism that explains the mechanism? And why would glaciers form, instead of the moisture simply falling as snow? If it were to become gradually cooler today, wouldn’t we simply expect the ice caps to extend outward from the poles?

  40. The article is deceptively written.
    One has to read deeply into it to find the barely raised conclusion that a runaway greenhouse on Earth will not happen by human created CO2.
    Additionally, it is written in a condescending deeply dumbed down style.

    • It’s a press release. That’s because they have a wide demographic. The bigger the institution, the more the press release is about self-agrandizement. That’s why we want the real paper.

  41. Update on PNAS/DOI confusion:

    Subject: Error for PNAS DOI
    From: “Rodenhizer, Kat”
    Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2018 11:26:31 +0000
    To: Undisclosed recipients:;

    Hi,
     
    CrossRef recently forwarded the non-working DOI that you reported, this article hasn’t published online yet, and that’s why this DOI does not resolve at this time. The article is expected to publish by the end of this week.
     
    Sincerely,
    Kat Rodenhizer
    PNAS

    So, the MIT press release jumped the gun a bit when they claimed “Their findings, which appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

  42. …Sorta reminds me of Arne Gunderson’s trashy lectures after Fukushima (picked up by sensational British tabloids and documentary makers) where he is claiming that every spent fuel pool in every nuclear power plant throughout the whole world is absolutely certain to come to a rolling boil until the water is gone, when it bursts into roaring flame capable of melting everything, and the spent lightly enriched uranium will somehow be drawn together as if it was somehow magnetic and its molecules will toss away the overwhelming majority of all other other molecules with evil laughter, so it can gather tightly in sufficient concentration to go ‘critical’ again without and lift itself into the air like newly-hatched spiders to cover the Earth with plumes of death that threaten all life on Earth. He made money doing this for awhile.

    Every stage of the process he describes involves the most egregious assumptions about material properties, errors with whole orders of magnitude, and his unlikely scenarios chained together long past infinitesimal impossibility, with droning assurance with an emotional affectation that communicates the disaster as a certainty.

    That, coupled with the propaganda principle I call ‘The animals of Bambi’s forest flee in terror’ where human beings are described as wussies who would merely cower in mute astonishment as bad things happen… it’s amazing how many parallels there are in AGW propaganda.

  43. Research that is:
    A little more honest.
    A little more focused on what happens, rather than just pulling numbers from orifices.
    Unfortunately, it is research that still leaves a lot to be desired; like an admission of fallibility.

    “To do this, the team programmed into their code various effects in the atmosphere, such as convection, and humidity, or water vapor, and turned these knobs up and down to see how they in turn would affect the Earth’s outgoing infrared radiation.

    He explains that, while water vapor does absorb heat, or infrared radiation, it doesn’t absorb it indiscriminately, but at wavelengths that are incredibly specific, so much so that the team had to split the infrared spectrum into 350,000 wavelengths just to see exactly which wavelengths were absorbed by water vapor”

    This is a charade throwing around large numbers to wow and obfuscate.
    In reality, there are many millions of IR radiation frequencies.
    Splitting them into a fixed number appears to be arbitrary and capricious.

    The fact that man applies fixed numbers to infinite concepts or constructs, e.g. time or light frequencies, is a shallow echo of real world and solar physics.

    “such as convection, and humidity, or water vapor”.
    Say what!?
    From their wording, one wonders what they mean by convection, water vapor and humidity?
    Does their model have seperate code for humidity and water vapor? Or do they run the same code twice?

    Do their calculations for convection include transportation of H₂O’s other phases? H₂O liquid and solid atmospheric transportation are major atmosphere heat movement engines.

    N.B. Their model description appears to focus on gaseous components of the atmosphere, while ignoring H₂O’s IR activity in all three Earth H₂O phases, vapor, liquid and solid.
    Atmospheric heat transport through movement and changes between H₂O’s physical phases are significant components for all atmospheric processes.

    “Crucially, the team found that the water vapor feedback is just sufficient to cancel out the rate at which the warmer atmosphere emits more heat into space.”

    Where does this belief come from, that greenhouse gases cease emitting radiation and forever hold heat? What do these researchers believe happens to atoms and molecules, cancelling energy emission?

    “water vapor feedback”
    What is this?
    Is this an increase in water vapor for every miniscule increase of CO₂?
    Is this some odd version of using GHG lapse rate for delaying emission of energy to space? Where, allegedly, larger and larger amounts of energy are forever trapped and unable to escape Earth.

    “the team built a radiation code — essentially, a model of the Earth and how it emits heat, or infrared radiation, into space. The code simulates the Earth as a vertical column, starting from the ground, up through the atmosphere, and finally into space. Koll can input a surface temperature into the column, and the code calculates the amount of radiation that escapes through the entire column and into space”

    Ah yes, the research team built an infallible omniscient model…

    “The overall change in Earth’s emitted heat thus only depends on the surface. In turn, the emission of heat from Earth’s surface to space is a simple function of temperature, leading to to the observed linear relationship”

    This smacks of using a single “Earth’s surface” to represent the globe and very narrowly defined atmosphere column absorption/emission profile.
    No polar or subpolar regions.
    No oceans.

    Just input a temperature and the whole Earth omniscient model spits out outgoing heat. Skip all of those pesky incoming radiation details.

    A) Yes, the alleged model does refute a “tipping point” nonsense; but, the article and likely the research imparts a belief that Earth’s atmosphere can easily achieve extremely high temperatures.
    – i) Which indicates that their model is narrowly defined and ignores evaporation, condensation, solidification and melt.

    B) Once again, researchers present narrowly defined and tailored program code as representative of Earth’s atmosphere.
    Confirmation bias is strong in this crowd.

    • This is a charade throwing around large numbers to wow and obfuscate.
      In reality, there are many millions of IR radiation frequencies.
      Splitting them into a fixed number appears to be arbitrary and capricious.

      Well the range of Earth’s emissions is ~2000 cm-1 so they’re quoting a resolution of ~0.006 cm-1. Water has ~52,000 lines in that range CO2 has ~190,000 lines and O3 ~300,000 lines in HITRAN. Based on their quoted 350,000 frequencies it looks like they’re calculating over a range of 1,600 cm-1

  44. Greenhouse effect is working only if greenhouse is compact without holes. Imagine greenhouse without walls, roof only. What would be temperature increase there. Close to nothing.
    Atmosphere is not compact insulator. There is hole which allows heat escape. Heat transfer by latent evaporation heat. Water is allowed to steal heat on the ground, then by quick lift skip almost all the atmosphere, go up and release condensation heat above all greenhouse gases. Moreover water is releasing its heat in its own characteristic wavelength which has poor overlap with CO2. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/carbon-dioxide-absorption-spectra.png
    Poor overlap of H2O and CO2 was propagated by AGW theory supporters as reason why greenhouse effect of CO2 works. On the end it works against them. Not overlapping wavelengths of CO2 and water are causing that evaporative heat of water taken on ground is reradiated high in the atmosphere in spectrum bands mostly avoiding CO2 absorption bands.
    This heat transfer is orders of magnitude above any greenhouse gas impact.
    This mechanism is bypass venting our Earth greenhouse.

  45. Greenhouse effect is working only if greenhouse is compact without holes. Imagine greenhouse without walls, roof only. What would be temperature increase there. Close to nothing.
    Atmosphere is not compact insulator. There is hole which allows heat escape. Heat transfer by latent evaporation heat. Water is allowed to steal heat on the ground, then by quick lift skip almost all the atmosphere, go up and release condensation heat above all greenhouse gases. Moreover water is releasing its heat in its own characteristic wavelength which has poor overlap with CO2. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/carbon-dioxide-absorption-spectra.png
    Poor overlap of H2O and CO2 was propagated by AGW theory supporters as reason why greenhouse effect of CO2 works. On the end it works against them. Not overlapping wavelengths of CO2 and water are causing that evaporative heat of water taken on ground is reradiated high in the atmosphere in spectrum bands mostly avoiding CO2 absorption bands.
    This heat transfer is orders of magnitude above any greenhouse gas impact.
    This mechanism is bypass venting our Earth greenhouse.

  46. Wacky World? So the Paleocene Epoch (66 to 56 mya) was wacky? Was it also zany, madcap, ridiculous, and krazy dude?

    Did “things” get “complicated” in Wacky World? Is that what their model showed? Did the seas boil off into outer space 60 mya? When did they return?

    Palm trees and crocodiles in Wyoming? Wacky, wacky, wacky!! Boy oh boy the Earth was for sure out of whack back then. When did we get back into whack? How did that happen? Did God do it? Gaia maybe?

    Lucky for us, scienterrificals at MIT know what is and is not wacky. Why, they’re doctors of wacky and have studied wacky extensively and intensively.

    Don’t you be wacky. Please de-wack yourself. Use MIT for a guide if you need to. They know wacky.

  47. once again “scientists” claim the greenhouse effect “traps” heat … can someone pull their scientist card for such nonsense …

  48. What about Zeller et al recent discovery which shows that all the planets temperatures can be explained by taking into consideration only two (2) things, sun distance and atmosphere pressure on the surface? Results are within 1C. This treats co2 no differently than any other gas, hence removes the GHG claims completely.

    Zeller and his crew had to do things with their names to get their study printed. LOL. The “settled science” believers remain desperate.

    • I must admit that I ignore their stuff.

      But the somewhat related view stated here: \https://motls.blogspot.com/2010/05/hyperventilating-on-venus.html seems plausible to me. That is, some greenhouse gas is needed for the surface to radiate more than it receives from the sun, but beyond a certain opacity it’s the lapse rate and size of the atmosphere that have the most effect.

      I’m not saying I’ve gotten to the bottom of this, but on a qualitative level it sounds reasonable.

  49. What about Zeller et a recent “discovery”, that all the planets’ temperatures can be determined by taking into consideration only two (2) things: Distance from sun and atmospheric pressure at the surface. Temps within 1C

    This treats co2 no differently than any other gas

  50. Almost certainly rubbish. As I understand it the GCMs all have a too-low factor for cloud cover reflectance. They have to, otherwise they can’t “validate” to the training century with the high climate sensitivity they assume.

    Consequentially in the real world as temperature rises so will cloud cover due to increased convective transport of water vapour to the troposphere. Then the clouds that form will reflect more solar radiation and thus cool the planet.

    The trouble with the models and clouds is they can’t afford to model them correctly because if they did they’d prove CAGW can’t happen and thus their budgets and salaries would be adjusted to zero.

    The real tipping point is sustained temperature above 212 F, because the increase atmospheric pressure from the evaporated oceans would cause that temperature to be maintained – as per the following from Pierre Gosselin’s blog yesterday:

    Climate Scientist Karl Zeller Sums Up The ‘Discovery’ That Pressure, Not CO2, Determines Planets’ Temps

  51. There have been tropical reptiles and palm trees in Wyoming for the last 80 million years — up until the Ice Ages. Arecaceae and Crocodylia both arose in the Cretaceous — in Wyoming! Palms and crocs are the NORMATIVE condition for Wyoming. What’s wacky is that they are not there today.

  52. If energy to space increases to the fourth power of increased temperature at the escape altitude, and the observed relationship between surface temperature and radiation to space is linear, the supposed water vapor retention/feedback must also be a fourth power function, no?

    This seems way too strong a feedback for water.

    https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/modtran-up-and-down-water-only-19-km.png

    Above we are looking up and down in a water only tropical atmosphere at about the tropopause. It can be seen that there is very little downward radiation (blue lower left), and the upward radiation peaks in intensity pretty much where CO2 does at a near surface temperature ~290K.

    https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/water-only-10-degree-surface-temperature-increase.png

    Modtran was expanded in range since the first image, but above the water only tropical tropopause upward radiation increases some 50 W/m2 when the surface temperature is increased 10 degrees.

    https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/water-only-water-vapor-doubled.png

    When water vapor is doubled and ground temperature held constant, radiation to space does not decrease, it increases some 25 W/m2.

    Modtran disagrees with this study.

  53. https://www.google.at/search?ie=UTF-8&client=ms-android-samsung&source=android-browser&q=something+is+rotten+in+the+state+of+denmark
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    When planet earth already was in a state of

    “If you were living on Earth 60 million years ago, it was a much hotter, wacky world, with no ice at the pole caps, and palm trees and crocodiles in what’s now Wyoming,” Koll says. “One of the things we show is, once you push to really hot climates like that, which we know happened in the past, things get much more complicated.”

    ___________________________________________________

    how did it make back to “normal”.

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