New CERES Data

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Every fall, there’s good news in the world of satellite information, because the CERES satellite folks add one more year’s worth of data to their full dataset. So I went and downloaded the whole 18 years worth, which is close to a full gigabyte of data …

The other good news is that even though I live out in the country, the neighbors all got together a year ago and got a grant from the state to install fiber-optic lines to all of our houses. Last year I was on satellite internet, with a ping time of ~800 msec and about 10 Mbps upload and download. Here’s where I am today, one happy data junkie … go figure.

But I digress … I decided to take a look at the relationship between the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) total radiation imbalance and the surface temperature. Figure 1 shows how the Northern Hemisphere temperature varies with respect to the TOA imbalance.

Figure 1. Scatterplot, monthly Northern Hemisphere surface temperature versus the monthly TOA imbalance. Temperature is in degrees Celsius (°C), and TOA imbalance is in watts per square metre (W/m2).

The oval shape of the relationship indicates that there is a lag between the change in the TOA radiation and the temperature, as we’d expect. Figure 2 shows the same scatterplot after lagging the relationship by one month.

Figure 2. Scatterplot, monthly Northern Hemisphere surface temperature versus the monthly TOA imbalance lagged by one month.

I’ve indicated in the top left the “Instantaneous Climate Sensitivity”. This is the immediate system response to a change in the TOA radiation.

Now, in a post from three years ago called “Lags and Leads” I discussed how to determine the true size of the response if there were no lag between the forcing and the response. A more detailed calculation of the data in Figure 2 shows a lag of 34°. Using the equations given in that post, it gives us the no-lag climate sensitivity shown in the lower right of Figure 2, which is about a tenth of a degree for each additional watt per square meter (W/m2) of TOA radiation.

So far, so good. Here’s where it gets interesting. Suppose we remove the average repeating monthly variations (called the “climatology”) in both datasets, leaving just the anomalies. What would we expect to find?

Well, we’d expect to find that the temperature anomalies would vary as a linear function of the TOA radiation anomaly. In a perfect world, it would look like Figure 3.

Figure 3. Scatterplot, expected value of the Northern Hemisphere temperature anomaly versus the NH TOA imbalance anomaly in a perfect world. The slope is the slope of the data shown in Figure 2.

Of course, however, things are not perfect. So let me add some errors to the expected perfection. I’ve used random normal errors with a standard deviation equal to that of the actual temperature anomaly. Figure 4 shows the result in Figure 3 plus a random error applied to each data point.

Figure 4. Scatterplot, expected value of the NH temperature anomaly versus the NH TOA imbalance anomaly plus random errors.

Note that the addition of the errors doesn’t remove the statistical significance. The p-value is vanishingly small. Nor does adding the errors significantly change the calculated slope of the relationship between the temperature anomaly and the TOA imbalance anomaly.

So … what do we find when we look at the actual data? Curiously, we find no relationship at all between the temperature and the TOA anomaly.

Figure 5. Scatterplot, expected value of the NH temperature anomaly versus the one-month lagged NH TOA imbalance anomaly.

As you can see, there is no relationship between the temperature anomaly and the TOA radiation anomaly.

So … why is there no relationship as we might expect? It’s because of the thermostatic action of the emergent phenomena. Let me explain using a familiar example of a thermostatically regulated system—a house with a thermostat controlling a furnace.

Let’s suppose that it’s cold outside. We go out for a while, so we turn the thermostat down to say 50°F (10°C). After a while, the house cools to that temperature and then remains there. When it gets cooler, the furnace kicks in and heats it up to slightly above the thermostat setting. Then it turns off.

Now, let’s suppose we come home, walk in the door, and kick the thermostat up to say 70°F (21°C). The furnace comes on, and the house starts to heat.

As the house is heating up to the 70°F setting, we can calculate the incoming energy as the amount of heat put out by the furnace per minute. Then we can compare it to the change in temperature per minute. This is the equivalent of comparing the change in global surface temperature to the change in the TOA radiation imbalance. We get an answer showing the amount of temperature change in the house versus a given change in incoming energy.

But once the temperature of the house reaches 70°F, a funny thing happens. The temperature of the house totally decouples from the amount of incoming energy. If the day is cold, the furnace will run a lot to keep the house at that temperature setting … but if the day is warm, the furnace will hardly run at all to keep the temperature at the setting. And as a result, there is no longer a fixed relationship between temperature and incoming energy.

So in the same system, we have some situations where the temperature is related to the incoming energy, and other situations where the temperature is totally decoupled from the incoming energy.

Similarly, when the Northern Hemisphere goes from say the August temperature setting to the September setting, we get a clear, albeit small, relationship between temperature and TOA energy input.

But when we look at what happens when we isolate and just look at say the September setting, we find that there is no relationship between temperature anomaly and TOA energy input anomaly.

Anyhow, that’s what I noticed while looking at the latest CERES data …

Here, we’ve had about four inches (10 cm) of rain in the last two days. This has washed all of the forest fire smoke out of the atmosphere. And last night, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner chez nous, featuring the usual cast of inlaws and outlaws, seventeen in total. No, we didn’t discuss politics, although I’m sure if we had I could have saved big money on Christmas presents … instead, we laughed and told family stories and caught up on what we’ve been doing since last year at this time.

And just like every Thanksgiving,

But what’s a poor boy to do, the food was amazing.

My very best Thanksgiving wishes to all,


My Normal Request: When you comment, please quote the exact words you are discussing so we can all be clear who and what you are referring to.

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Bob Davis
November 23, 2018 4:06 pm

Thank you Willis for giving thermodynamics it’s do. Glad it’s getting better out west. Getting cold here on Florida’s west coast. In the 50’s at night!

November 23, 2018 4:31 pm

You overate, and you’re bloated with bandwidth. I’m jealous on both counts.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
November 23, 2018 6:56 pm

error —–> overate ===== fat, dumb, and happy and time for a nap

Reply to  eyesonu
November 23, 2018 8:18 pm

Took me a minute because electronics uses j for imaginary numbers and j overate did not compute.

[But klmn ate enough and op’ed. .mod]

Reply to  eyesonu
November 23, 2018 8:26 pm

√-1 2³ ∑ π 2

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
November 24, 2018 9:00 am


Stephen Richards
Reply to  Anthony Watts
November 24, 2018 1:17 am

Me too. I live 13 Kms from the nearest major town, 22 kms from another and 18kms from another. Until this week I was getting 5kb/sec. Today, after complaining for years, it has reach 256Kb/s. And yes that’s bits.

The french think that’s wonderful and so do I after years of rubbish

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Stephen Richards
November 24, 2018 2:11 am

I got myself a 4G box from Bouygues Telecom, once 4G got to the nearest village, now I average between 5 and 10 Mbps from 1Mbps on a good day from my copper connection. The only disadvantage is the 4G signal gets taken out by thunderstorms fairly frequently.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 23, 2018 6:05 pm

Good grief, 940Mbps download!
That’s pushing it on a gigabit ethernet connection, but Wi-Fi should have no problem.

Thought I was on the road to heaven when my speeds hit 120+, but my son just 18 miles away, pulls 300+. Now, if the local ISP would just get it in gear!

I’m still digesting the article, (and another turkey sandwich,) but so far it all looks good, as per your usual style.

November 23, 2018 5:02 pm

As is typically the case Willis does a half-assed analysis. Nothing about the Southern hemisphere, which last time I checked was about 50% of the planet.

John Tillman
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 23, 2018 5:20 pm

Being at this moment in the subtropics of the SH, I must concur that I’d like to see this hemisphere included.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 23, 2018 6:04 pm

I get it, you did a half-assed job because of people’s attention span. Then you state “the results for the SH are the same……except the ICS is slightly different.”

We all know the SH and NH are very different, and your assertion that the results of are the same is suspect. Oceans and land behave differently.

PS, please don’t call Santa Clause an arrogant jerkwagon, you’ll end up with a lump of coal in your stocking.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 23, 2018 6:10 pm

Your tone is rude imo.

Reply to  EdB
November 23, 2018 6:22 pm

Too bad, but only analyzing data from half the planet to make any kind of assertion regarding the global climate system is pretty dumb. Nobody every claimed doing science is “polite.”

Reply to  EdB
November 23, 2018 6:36 pm

J Phillip,

The other hemisphere shows the same thing, except that it has less variability in the output flux of the planet due to to a higher time constant owing to a larger fraction of water than in the N hemisphere. The hemispheres are for the most part thermodynamically independent systems, as the flux crossing the equator is insignificant compared to the solar input and besides, it averages out to be about zero over a year (actually, over every 6 months).

Reply to  EdB
November 23, 2018 6:43 pm

” The hemispheres are for the most part thermodynamically independent systems”

This is even funnier than Willis’ defective analysis.

The Pacific Ocean proves you wrong.

Reply to  EdB
November 23, 2018 8:40 pm

J Phillip

Even the peak energy transferred from one hemisphere to the other is a tiny fraction of a percent of the total energy received from the Sun. You should also look how ocean circulation currents mostly move parallel to each along the equator. There’s little peak transport across the equator and almost zero net energy transport.

The Sun provides each hemisphere with over 10E17 Joules per second. What mechanism transports anywhere close to this much energy between hemispheres? Besides, the net energy transport goes from the equator to the poles in both hemispheres and in every month of the year. What mechanism transports enough energy between hemispheres to have any relevant effect on the response of each hemisphere to incident solar energy?

Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 7:24 am

“almost zero net energy transport” means the transport is non-zero, therefore the two hemispheres are NOT thermodynamically independent.

Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 9:23 am

J Phillip,

As expected, you didn’t answer my question, nor do you seem to understand that “are for the most part thermodynamically independent” isn’t an absolute. The point is that whatever net transport of energy between hemispheres exists, it’s so small relative to the solar input that it can be safely ignored.

What makes this so hard to understand? Is it because once you start to understand, the behavior of the planet becomes far more comprehensible and that understanding how the climate behaves is fatal to the CAGW cause?

But then again, warmists always take insignificant effects and blow them way out of proportion in order to fit a narrative that otherwise defies the laws of physics.

Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 9:42 am

Your problem Mr. CO2isnotevil is that the line that separates the northern from the southern hemisphere is not fixed at the equator, but bounces up to the north, and down to the south depending on the season.

Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 10:05 am

J Phillip,

The equator remains geometrically fixed and while where the Sun is perpendicular to the surface varies seasonally, it doesn’t change where the equator is, nor do the boundaries of Hadley cells vary much over the year which forms the physical barrier between hemispheres. Besides, we’re talking about averages anyway.

Yes, the hemispheres are different, but the only significant difference is the response is the time constant, which is longer for water than for land and the S hemisphere has a larger fraction of ocean, but this primarily affects the speed of the achieving equilibrium and not what that equilibrium will be. Another complication is that in the S hemisphere, the snow belt is over water, rather than land, so winter demonstrates a smaller increase in surface reflectivity as snow has trouble accumulating over open ocean.

Despite the differences, the basic form of the response is the same and in fact, it must be, and is no different than it is for any matter that’s absorbing and emitting solar energy. The simple fact that the hemispheres don’t respond exactly the same is unambiguous evidence that they are mostly independent thermodynamic systems.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 24, 2018 11:12 am

co2isnotevil, speaking to J Phillip

Another complication is that in the S hemisphere, the snow belt is over water, rather than land, so winter demonstrates a smaller increase in surface reflectivity as snow has trouble accumulating over open ocean.

To illustrate, at its mid-September maximum extent, the total area of the sea ice around the Antarctic continent (14 Mkm^ of land ice and ice cap, 1.5 Mkm^ of fixed ice around the continent, and 18-20 Mkm^2 of sea ice) is greater than the land area of all the rest of the southern hemisphere. Put together.

Now, at its late February-mid-March minimum, the same ice area (14 Mkm^2 + 1.5 Mkm^2 + 3 Mkm^2 of sea ice) is much smaller – and the sun is shining more brilliantly each day, but the point remains: The southern hemisphere has very little “land area” compared to the Northern hemisphere.

Look at the thin “peninsula” of southern Chile and Argentina aside – their land starts at -56 south latitude but are only a few hundred kilometers across even at -40 latitude. Next is the very thin New Zealand islands at -40 latitude, the southern tip of Victoria AU, and the “tip” of South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope at -34 latitude. Few will claim southern Australia is “ice-covered” in winter!

Compare this to the northern hemisphere: +34 north latitude crosses southern California, NM, OK, AR, TN, North Carolina, hits Africa at Morocco, Algeria, crosses the Med to hit Israel, Syria, Iran, mid-China ….

Richard G.
Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 11:38 am

JPP says: “only analyzing data from half the planet to make any kind of assertion regarding the global climate system is pretty dumb. ”

Welcome to NCDC/NOAA:
comment image

Richard G.
Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 11:46 am

A post script for Willis, Illegitimi Non Carborundum Est.

Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 12:42 pm

And yet despite all these differences, the shape of the response is identical between hemispheres. That is, there’s a sinusoidal response in the surface temperature and in the planets emissions. Both of these are in phase with each other and are a delayed response to the variability in solar forcing. The equations quantifying the response are the same, only the coefficients are different.

If you look at the global seasonal response to change, it makes absolutely no sense until you consider it the algebraic sum of independent and asymmetric responses by each hemisphere. The sine wave responses are 180 degrees out of phase, but their magnitudes don’t cancel leaving about a third of the N hemisphere’s response as the signature of the global response.

This is unambiguous evidence that the planet responds far faster to change than is required to support CAGW which is why alarmists have a hard time accepting that the hemispheres respond independently. Time constants are on the order of a year and not the decades to centuries they need to claim unavoidable CO2 warming effects already in the CAGW pipeline.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 1:22 am

So JPP is incapable of doing it himself.

Spoon and pusher needed for JPP ?

Reply to  fred250
November 24, 2018 5:06 am

and spanner

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 23, 2018 10:12 pm

Willis: What latitudes do you consider the Tropics, Extratropics, and Arctic/Antarctic?

If we use “sun directly overhead” as the criteria, then it is the classic 0 -> 23.5, 23.5 -> 67.3, 67.5 – 90.
But the effect of the sun remains near-identical for several degrees: Is 0 -> 30, 30 -> 60, 60 -> 90 more correct?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 1:06 pm

This kind of analysis is relatively insensitive to what’s called polar and what is called tropical. I’ve done similar analysis for slices of latitude between 2.5 degrees up to the entire globe at once . The slice behavior is consistent and predictable for slice organizations from 72 2.5 degrees slices up to 2 90 degrees with modelling coefficients predictably varying from pole to equator. The data seems incoherent to the model when trying to map global behavior into the response of a single system, but the results become clear when the hemispheres are considered independently and the global result is their geometrically sum. As you would expect, the global behavior can be calculated by geometrically summing the behavior of individual 2.5 degrees.

paul marchand
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 23, 2018 11:48 pm

Yes inDEED !

Robert Austin
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 23, 2018 6:26 pm

J. Phil,
A half-assed criticism by someone straining to find fault. You want southern hemisphere, do your own analysis and submit an article.

Reply to  Robert Austin
November 23, 2018 6:47 pm

No strain at all, the analysis is faulty because it only encompasses half the planet. Which if you get the “pun” is why it deserves the label “half-assed.”

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 23, 2018 9:12 pm

Well, how ’bout you do the analysis for your soggy half and give us some RESULTS we can find more palatable than your mitching and boning, Mr. Peterson.

Willis isn’t your employee!

And yes, science can be done in a gentlemanly way–if you are a gentleman.


Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 5:15 am

Just turn the graphs upside down to get the SH.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 6:52 am

Stop feeding the effing troll.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 6:55 am

I’ve been doing similar analysis as Willis for years and have observed similar results. Yes, the poles are drastically different, but the physical laws of thermodynamics and kinetics that control the processes such as radiation, evaporation, condensation, absorption, and emission are the same. One important fact to consider is that radiation is “fast as light and line of sight”. I have found it useful to do mass and energy balances and flow rates on square meter columns of air and sum up the different areas. Tropical thunder clouds are the big “resisters” to radiation to space as measured as TOA.

Reply to  Fred Haynie
November 24, 2018 9:45 am

I’ve also done the same kinds of analysis on different data and have seen the same kinds of behaviors. For the alarmists out there, this is what is meant by repeatable science.

The poles do get a little funky, but it hardly matters as such a small fraction of the energy emitted by the planet comes from the poles. Most of the energy emitted by the planet is from the tropics and there’s a significant transfer of energy from the equator to the poles which must be properly accounted for.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 7:26 am

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, criticise.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 6:46 pm

To sum up his conclusion, temperature does not correlate to energy input. Are you saying that somehow is different in the southern hemisphere? That physics change south of the equator? And, he is correct about length I personally like the form of overview, body, conclusion writing as I often read and ok I ask myself what conclusion are you drawing from this and is there a point in here somewhere. I am willing to suffer through some mediocre written articles to get the information. But, I do prefer short and to the point. So inconclusion Willis is right and you are wrong.

Reply to  ironargonaut
November 26, 2018 12:36 pm

I see it as the temperature anomalies don’t correlate to the energy input, However; the average which was subtracted from the data to arrive at the anomalies is exclusively dependent on the energy input. All you’re left with is uncorrelated noise.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 23, 2018 7:49 pm

Please, just apologize for the rudeness and more on… I for one like his (Willis) submissions.

You could actually contribute instead of just being rude and wasting people’s time.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2018 8:15 am

You gotta watch out for these people who go by First Initial and Middle Name.

November 23, 2018 5:37 pm

Great work! Spencer calls the determination of climate sensitivity from this real world data to be the “Holy Grail” that will put to rest whether or not our CO2 is a problem.

“As you can see, there is no relationship between the temperature anomaly and the TOA radiation anomaly”

Would the relationship be seen if each data point had a line to link to the next data point in time sequence?

Reply to  EdB
November 24, 2018 6:54 pm

Temperature is not a unit of energy which is the first and foremost failing of CAGW. They DO NOT even correlate. think ice water over a bunsen burner. So making a climate sensitivity that tries to couple only T and J is fundamentally flawed. Period.

November 23, 2018 5:40 pm

So, 19 years of monthly data is 228 dots. 12 groups of 19 dots.
The groups separate into two clumps showing 6 have negative TOA and 5 have positive TOA, one is neutral.
The groups separate into two clumps showing 6 BELOW 16 c and 6 above 16C.
[16C seems higher than what I thought our current global average temp is].
The TOA clumps are slightly different to the Temperature clumps.
One presumes there is a monthly progression around the circle, not a monthly advance March to February, hard to put on this graph I guess but should be explained a la Resplandy.
The sun is furthest from the earth when it is hottest on the earth due to it being over the NH when it is further away from the earth which has more land so heats the atmosphere up more.
Hence the hottest temperatures should occur in June/July/August and surprisingly September?
Which should be when the GHG effect is greatest?
Hence the more retention of energy, negative TOA at this time?
Note September highest neg TOA.

Now the GHG effect should cause a negative TOA all year round if uniform insolation.
Here you have positive TOA when the sun reaches the SH. Extra available retained heat from NH warming trying to escape while the sun gets closer but less heat is retained . In the SH there is more ocean leading to more heat escaping straight back to space [not enough land to build up day temperatures and increase the amount of IR retardation [trapping is not quite the right word].
-There is a continual cycle suggesting if energy in equals energy out each year in the case with no GHG increase the whole graph would shift back to the left.

David A
Reply to  angech
November 25, 2018 3:42 am

“The sun is furthest from the earth when it is hottest on the earth due to it being over the NH when it is further away from the earth which has more land so heats the atmosphere up more.

Not necessarily and sort a. First one must calculate how much energy is absorbed by the oceans, and thus, just like the energy reflected to space is lost to the atmosphere, so the energy absorbed below the surface is lost to the atmosphere as well.

However the energy absorbed by the oceans is still in the earth. ( So did The earth gain energy in the SH summer even though the atmosphere cooled?) The residence time of said energy varies from very short, to 1500 years before it enters the atmosphere again. How much energy is lost to the oceans for how long is determined by the incoming solar TSI and the disparate solar w/l, which varies from solar cycle to solar cycle, and of course cloud cover.

Thus a long term ( multiple decadal) variation in solar TSI and incoming solar wave length can have a multiple decadal influence on total energy into the oceans due to the long residence time of some of the energy entering the oceans.

As a side note remember that the NH in winter has far greater albedo. Does this off set the plus 90 watts per sq’ meter insolation entering the S.H. oceans? I do not know. Just more examples of positive and negative feedbacks.

It is however fascinating that a plus 90 watts per sq’ meter input results in a cooler atmosphere! Makes one wonder how alarmists think they know the end result of a CO2 change of less then 2 watts per sq meter to the atmosphere only. And that atmosphere, a thin membrane between over 1300 watts per sq’ M. at the top of the atmosphere, and the earth’s oceans, containing 1000 times more energy then the atmosphere, may be a small tail that does not wag the dog much.

November 23, 2018 5:48 pm

Hmm, missed that the global temperature would be lower than the NH temperature so would be closer to around 15C.
[The groups separate into two clumps showing 6 BELOW 16 c and 6 above 16C.
[16C seems higher than what I thought our current global average temp is].]
Interesting that it feels so much hotter in Australia. I guess on land with the closer sun we do more more sunburn in summer even if the SH is cooler by 2 degrees on the whole.

A C Osborn
Reply to  angech
November 24, 2018 2:31 am

Australia is on the -25 degree (South) line, take a look at the Northern Hemisphere +25 degree (North) line for comparative temperatures, North Africa or Mexico as examples.
At the moment spring in Aus is about 5-10C warmer than the Fall in the North.

November 23, 2018 5:55 pm

“[16C seems higher than what I thought our current global average temp is].”
My fault, only NH which is hotter, Global is more 15C as has cooler SH.
Good post Willis.

November 23, 2018 6:21 pm

“why is there no relationship as we might expect?”
Why would you expect it? Look at the size of the TOA imbalance anomalies. All within about ±2 W/m2, but on monthly timescales. Now the current forcing imbalance attributed to CO₂ is about 2 W/m2. That is imbalance relative to pre-industrial. And that is expected to produce warming of about 0.2°C/decade. Imagine what it could do in a month! And this has the steady component (18 yr average) removed. We’re looking the response to transient fluctuations with varying sign.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 24, 2018 2:11 am


Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 24, 2018 2:49 am

I heard a meteorologist say earlier this week that Mpls / St Paul is experiencing the 23rd coldest November in a 150 years. If it keeps warming .2 per decade, then how is this possible?

Reply to  Derg
November 24, 2018 6:24 am

Consider the standard deviation of the temperature of Novembers in Minneapolis, even after removing any long term trends. I expect that to be around 2-2.5 degrees C, probably more than the November temperature in Minneapolis has warmed. This means Minneapolis can still get Novembers that are colder than than the pre-1980 average of Minneapolis Novembers.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 24, 2018 7:12 am

That also implies that there is little basis for a statistically significant warming. A previous post showed that Northern California has not warmed in a century, contrary to the current governor’s claims. (I lived there during his first reign – he has not improved with time). It would be beneficial for all papers and posts to show the data along with the least-squares fit and the standard deviation of the least squares fit stated in the tables and shown in the plots. This gives the reader an idea of how reliable the line is.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
November 24, 2018 7:07 pm

And yet global T can vary over 1C from year to year.
Since, Watts and C are different units that don’t even correlate why would you expect a change in any source of energy to result in predictable change in T?

November 23, 2018 6:26 pm

Here’s another way to look at the same N hemisphere data, albeit from a different data set. The blue line is incident solar energy to the hemisphere, after reflection. The brown line is the emissions of the hemisphere, the dotted red line is the SB emissions at its reported temperature and the dash-dotted line is the difference between the solar input and planet output, Pi-Po. The lag is quite evident at about 1.5 months, as is the fact that the planet exhibits a sinusoidal response to sinusoidal forcing. It’s unfortunate that this gets cancelled out by anomaly plots as it’s far more representative of the actual behavior.

This is a plot of the N hemisphere averages for each month averaged over 3 decades of ISCCP satellite data. To make the relationships and alignment clear, each variable is plotted at a different scale with the Y-axis average and limits per the table in the diagram. Notice that the power emitted by the planet (Po) is in lock step with the power leaving the surface (Psurf). Average Pi/Ps is about 60%, while the absolute deltaPi/deltaPs is about 16%. You can calculate the time constant from the 16% delta ratio and the delay. The S hemisphere is similar, except 180 degrees out of phase, average Pi/Ps is about 62% and deltaPi/deltaPo is only about 5% owing to a larger fraction of water and longer time constant. Most importantly, the hemispheric seasonal variability does not cancel by a wide margin and the Po variability of the planet as a whole exhibits the seasonal signature of the N hemisphere.

Nick Schroeder
November 23, 2018 6:33 pm

Do you mean Q = U A dT? Where have I seen that before?

Leif Svalgaard sent me a link to a Dutton/Brune Penn State METEO 300 chapter.

They quite clearly assume that the 0.3 albedo would remain even if the atmosphere were gone or if the atmosphere were 100 % nitrogen.

This is just flat ridiculous.

Without the atmosphere or with 100% nitrogen there would be no liquid water or water vapor, no vegetation, no clouds, no snow, no ice, no oceans and no longer a 0.3 albedo.

The sans atmosphere albedo would be much as Nikolov and Kramm suggest, a lunarific 0.12.

And the w/o atmosphere earth would be hotter not colder, a direct refutation of the greenhouse effect theory.

Nick S.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
November 23, 2018 8:27 pm

Exactly. The 33C of ‘warming’ by GHG’s and clouds can not be achieved without about 17C of unavoidable cooling. The average temperature would still be less then 0C, even with 1 ATM of N2 and O2.

The reason the Moon can get so much hotter is that the day is much longer. The average is still less than 0C because the nights are much longer and colder as well having more time to radiate that heat away. If the Earth rotated as slow as the Moon, the temperature extremes would be about the same as we see on the Moon, but the average would remain the same!

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 24, 2018 6:48 am

The 33-or-whatever degrees C of warming from GHGs/clouds and the 17-plus degree C cooling (from solar absorption being less than emissivity due to reflection by clouds, air, ice/snow) are from 278 degrees K, the 4th root of 1/4 of the solar constant divided by the Stefan-Boltzmann constant.

Another thing: When surface temperature is not uniform, its average temperature is not what matters for global radiation balance. The average 4th root of T^4 is the global figure that counts. The “root mean 4th” temperature is higher than the average temperature. For the Earth, the “root mean 4th” temperature will be only a little higher than the average. For the moon, the difference will be quite a few degrees K.

Nick Schroeder
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 24, 2018 3:03 pm

The peak moon temp lit side is 389 K.
The nadir moon temp dark side is 93 K.
Average of those two is 241 K.
So what.
Nikolov and Kramm say the rotation doesn’t matter much.
Without an atmosphere and the 0.3 albedo earth gets 25% to 40% more Btu/h from the sun.
No way is that going to be cooler.
The earth with atmosphere is obviously cooler not warmer. i.e. NO RGHE!!

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
November 25, 2018 8:36 am

Rotation doesn’t matter for the average, but definitely matters for the peak temperatures. For the Moon, its average radiant temperature is about 271K which is the temperature of it’s average incident solar radiation which is about 90% of 341.5 W/m^2. No other possible way to calculate the average temperature of the Moon that has more relevance to the physics constraining that average.

If the Moon was spinning very fast, the surface temperature would be relatively constant and close to the average. The limit when it’s not spinning relative to its energy source (tidally locked to the Sun) is higher since rather than divide by 4 to determine the average incident energy, you only divide by 2, since half the planet (or Moon) never sees the Sun.

Nick Schroeder
Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 24, 2018 11:02 am

The w/o atmosphere average of 255 K assumes/requires the w/ atmosphere albedo of 0.3. This assumption is patently absurd.

November 23, 2018 6:51 pm

Emergent phenomena, subversive phenomena, downright ornery material properties; the mechanisms are not yet clear. What is clear is that the greenhouse effect simply does not work as advertised. The advertisement being that human CO2 reduces LW radiation to space.

Human CO2 will warm the surface a bit, likely little more than a degree per doubling CO2. Not catastrophic, and the surface boundary layer does not control the energy balance of the planet.

Reply to  Gordon Lehman
November 23, 2018 8:56 pm

It more or less works the way they say it does. They just have the size of the effect incredibly wrong, mostly due to the flawed idea that the relatively small effect becomes massively amplified by positive feedback. If CO2 instantly doubled, LW at TOA would temporarily decrease by about 4 W/m^2, but within hours, a new equilibrium would be established and the imbalance would go away. They seem to think that the ‘forcing’ is forever like an incremental W/m^2 of forcing from the Sun would be. You would think that to notice how quickly the temperature adjusts to a cloud passing by would be a clue to how quickly the system adapts to changes in the atmosphere.

They try and claim that the average response (1.6 W/m^2 of surface emissions (0.3C) per W/m^2) is the zero feedback response, when it’s the final response after all feedback like effects, positive, negative, known and unknown have had their steady state effect. They then try and claim that nebulous positive feedback is supposed to amplify the ‘forcing’ from CO2 to have a ‘post feedback’ effect of 4.3 W/m^2 of surface emissions (0.8C) per W/m^2 of forcing, which is not only impossible, it’s absurd.

Reply to  Gordon Lehman
November 24, 2018 12:56 am

You can extend that it works the way the say it does and they get the amount wrong because it does not obey classical physics laws … it is light and radiative transfer does not play by stupid classical rules and laws. There are a very different set of forcing and feedbacks at play and they all fall under population inversion of a gas which classical laws say exactly zero about.

You can stay a way from specifics to have a greenhouse gas you must have a gas capable of AT LEAST 3 stable states on it’s own or in conjunction with other gases. You must be able to pump the gas molecule up from the lowest state to the highest that is the energy moves from the classical domain to the QM domain. From there the molecule drops to the middle level releasing that energy difference back into the classical domain. The molecule then does a quantum drop back to the lower state and releases another emission.

It’s only when you measure it from the stupidity of classical physics that the energy doesn’t add up. If you add the QM energy in you have complete conservation of the energy. The QM pumping acts like a one way transfer of the energy and it doesn’t care what the stupid classical laws say should happen it has it’s own set of rules.

What I find wrong with Willis’s argument is it is trying to use some classical law to say that is what is controlling it and that is just as wrong and silly as some of the climate science does in trying to have a classical forcing.

The question you need to ask in science, assume the greenhouse effect is real, what stops a population inversion continually growing into a thermal runaway. You don’t have to worry about what gas what the bands are you simply need to understand what stops it happening and you have your answer.

Reply to  LdB
November 24, 2018 2:09 am

If you need a helping hint I would recommend you read .. it contains hints at the answer and i am glad he added the final update part at end 🙂

Reply to  LdB
November 25, 2018 9:06 am


My background is solid state physics (applied Quantum Mechanics) and I definitely agree that many fail to understand how Quantum Mechanics applies to the GHG effect. For example, ‘thermalization’ is an example of de-quantizing Quantum Mechanics. GHG’s relax to the ground state by emitting a photon, not by converting its state energy into translational kinetic energy. They try and argue that vibrational energy is converted into a rotational mode first, but fail to acknowledge that the fine structure on EITHER side of the vibrational resonances means energy is converted equally in both directions. Furthermore, they don’t understand that once a little vibrational energy is converted into rotational energy, or visa-versa, the vibrational state is no longer stable and the probability of spontaneous emission increases dramatically, furthermore; this probability also increases as energized GHG molecules absorb more photons. It’s the resulting flux of absorption band photons going in all possible directions that confuses measurements of the atmospheric radiant flux.

None the less, the classical laws of physics must still must apply to the bulk, macroscopic behavior and for some reason, this is often ignored as well.

Scott W Bennett
November 23, 2018 6:56 pm

==>Willis Eschenbach

Willis, in other posts you have shown coloured maps of the correlation between the solar radiation at the surface, and the surface temperature calculated on a grid-cell basis. And I could see the correlation was directional, running west/east along the equator and it is a large feature, particularly laterally.

As a complete layman I’m struggling to interpret your scatterplots above because I can’t work out what each data point represents. Are they mean’t to represent the entire spatiality of the NH over the period.

I’m curious to know if you did a scatterplot of this sort on the data from your last post (Displayed here*) would it give the same result.

comment image

November 23, 2018 7:31 pm

I stopped reading when he started bragging about using other people’s money to make his life a little bit easier.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 3:15 am

Full moon? lol…Great post Willis.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 10:03 am

Verizon installed fiberoptic cables to my neighborhood at no charge. It’s a commercial advantage to them:
“We’re replacing our copper facilities with our more reliable, newer fiber-optic technology to deliver increased reliability, improved resistance to weather and faster repair times. In addition, fiber optics offers excellent voice quality and higher bandwidth potential to meet today’s digital demands and the possibilities of tomorrow.”
Not only are their maintenance costs reduced but they can charge customers more for an upgraded product. From what I can tell Willis’s supplier charges $25/mo for Basic broadband and $60/mo for 1000 Mbps download service.

November 23, 2018 7:45 pm

The amount of energy the northern (and southern) hemisphere varies between summer and winter due to the tilt of the earth. The surface temperature varies accordingly. IMHO the thermostat analogy is stretched a bit thin.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 23, 2018 10:13 pm

I agree that there seems to be some sort of regulatory mechanism at work, but I don’t think it’s temperature being regulated directly. The ratio between planet emissions and surface emissions is the most tightly regulated average I’ve seen in any of the data and seems to emerge out of the chaos. Clouds and GHG’s (mostly water vapor) chaotically vary this ratio over time and space between about 0.9 and 0.5, but the latitude specific and global averages remains remarkably constant at about 0.62. The indirect effect of regulating this ratio is to stabilize the temperature as it puts significant limitations on the ECS.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 23, 2018 10:38 pm

The simple observation is that the surface temperature outside the tropics changes when the energy reaching the surface changes. No hand waving necessary.

You can torture the data all you want but the above simple observation still stands. It sure doesn’t look like a thermostat at work.

Reply to  commieBob
November 24, 2018 9:11 am

Correct, it’s not temperature being regulated, otherwise, the whole planet would be the same temperature. But, there’s definitely evidence that points to some kind of regulatory processes are at work. What I find extraordinarily compelling evidence is the remarkably constant ratio between the average emissions of the surface and the average emissions of the planet, even as clouds chaotically vary this ratio over a relatively wide range as temperatures vary from pole to pole. Plotting the fraction of the surface covered by clouds vs. the surface temperature is a compelling test that points to clouds as the regulating process.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 24, 2018 4:20 pm

As far as I can tell, there are two very strong temperature regulators that work locally.

As Willis has pointed out many times, thunder storms in the tropics move huge amounts of heat up the atmosphere.

In the arctic, the melt season temperature sticks very close to the long term average. It’s probably the result of all that melting ice.

So, there are mechanisms at work that regulate temperature locally. On the other hand, in the face of seasonal temperature variation outside the tropics, Willis’ analogy of a household thermostat doesn’t work that well.

David A
Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 25, 2018 4:01 am

Why does it not work so well?
The systems are coupled to disparate degrees. If you accelerate the hydrologic cycle you are more quickly moving energy towards the poles, where it escapes the atmosphere more readily. ( It also takes energy to accelerate the hydrological cycle, which again is energy not expressed as temperature.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 25, 2018 9:40 am


“Why does it not work so well?”

As far as I can tell, the regulatory process is working very well as even the monthly average ratio of planet emissions to surface emissions is a remarkably constant 0.62 (+/- <2%) from pole to pole across all possible temperatures. Yearly averages conform to this ratio within <0.5%. I have yet to identify any other aspect of the climate system that's regulated as tightly as this ratio which is why I strongly suspect that it emerges as the reciprocal of the golden ratio (0.619035) which appears frequently in natural, chaotic systems like the climate.

It's important to understand that the regulatory process is not regulating the surface temperature, but regulating the macroscopic bulk behavior of the climate system.

Reply to  commieBob
November 25, 2018 4:48 am

David A November 25, 2018 at 4:01 am

It’s trivially true that, at equilibrium, the energy input will equal the energy output. No thermostat is required.

Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2018 10:33 pm

Yes, COE always rules. What varies is clouds, which modulate the transmission of surface energy into space. In its two theoretical limits, the effective emissivity of the planet relative to the surface can be 1, as in an ideal BB, or it can be 1/2 for the tallest, densest clouds (cloud emissions are generally more than 1/2 of the surface emissions below). It’s practical limits are between about 0.5 and 0.8. The regulatory mechanism seems to set the average effective emissivity to about 0.62. I’ve shown this data many times and even the monthly average relationships between the surface temperature and planet emissions above don’t vary from the predictions of a gray body with an emissivity of 0.62 by more than a couple of percent. The only accurate way to quantify the macroscopic average behavior of the planet is as a gray body emitter relative to the surface temperature.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 1:43 pm

Willis says: “If you think my data or my analysis is wrong, then you need to stop waving your hands and giving us your meaningless opinions, and instead point out and quote exactly where something I’ve said is incorrect. ”
Your thermostat hypothesis fails due to glaciation.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 2:41 pm

But I was under the impression that your “emergent phenomena” regulates the temperature of the earth within a tight range. If external forces (such as orbital perturbations) overwhelm the “thermostat” then the hypothesis is not adequate at explaining climate variation.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 30, 2018 12:33 pm

After a great deal of reading, I came upon this :-
‘A key feature of this method of control via clouds and thunderstorms is that the equilibrium temperature is not governed by changes in the amount of losses or changes in the forcings in the system. The equilibrium temperature is set by the response of wind and water and cloud to increasing temperature, not by the inherent efficiency of, or the inputs to, the system.’

For me, the insight it contains is to view the earth from the sun. If ‘upwards’ is the same as the north pole, then the earth’s surface moves from left to right. The visible earth is always in daylight with dawn on the left and dusk on the right. One looks down on the thunderstorm(TS) belt on the equator and it is quasi-static. As fast as TSs fade around dusk (on the right), new ones arise to compensate.

The control variable is the local time of day that the new TSs arise and that is controlled by the rising sea surface temperature(SST) after dawn. If TSs arise earlier, due to warmer water, the length of the TS belt extends leftwards and vice versa(cooler/rightwards). This changes the earth’s albedo where the sunlight is at its most intense. It also increases the number of operating TSs which increases the heat and dry air transport to the upper troposphere, bypassing the bulk of the GHGs on the way up.

As a power station engineer, I am used to control loops and their transients :
A second order differential equation with PID(Proportional, Integral and Differential) control. The set point is provided by the TH initiation temperature of the SST; it seems to be about 26C. It is an important point to note that the TSs keep operating when the SST below them drops clearly below the initiation temperature; it takes the setting sun to stop them.

Differential control deals with fast transients and is of little interest. Proportional control is the basic element that provides an immediate restoring force both ways but it cannot provide long-term precision of response; that would be the claimed AGW response of more CO2, higher temperatures. What is missing from the AGW claim is the integral response that steadily reduces the error from the set point, whatever the forcings. The integral response in Eschenbach’s hypothesis would be the number of operating TSs at any one time.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 11:21 am

Willis, you do not comprehend thermodynamics. Because the mass of the two hemispheres are not only in contact with one another, the two hemispheres exchange mass via wind and currents. Even more to the point the exchange of mass is driven by temperature differences. So they are in no way “independent.”

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 11:24 am

Tell us Willis, do both hemispheres emit the same about of isolation? The SH has a heck of a lot more ice than the NH, and reflects more into space no?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 1:47 pm

Willis uses the weasel word “MOSTLY”

Tell us all, is mostly 0.2, or is it 0.23 or might it be -0.47?

The two hemispheres are NOT independent.

The word “not” is precise, it’s not a weasel word.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 2:26 pm

Your error Willis is thinking that reflectivity equates to thermodynamic independence. Apples and oranges there buddy. You need to measure the number of joules that cross the equator in either direction to prove “nearly” independence. Do you even understand what “thermodynamic indepencence” is?…..Apparently not.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 2:29 pm

The reflected insolation does not account for the difference(s) in insolation between the two hemispheres due to apogee/perigee differences. The two hemispheres actually experience different amounts of incoming energy depending on the time of year.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 2:37 pm

Using “reflectivity” to define thermodynamic independence also fails because about 12 hours of the day there is no incoming radiation to reflect. Yet there is serious differences between the land versus ocean temperature drop offs at night when the surface emits. Because the NH and SH have different proportions of land/ocean surface areas, there is significant differences in emissions not measured by “reflectivity.”

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 3:03 pm

Don’t have to, your claims that “reflectivity” measures it is bovine excrement.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 24, 2018 3:16 pm

You cannot use the nearly equal amount(s) of reflected insolation to prove thermodynamic independence. If you think it does, please explain to the people that understand thermodynamics how this is.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 25, 2018 10:02 am


The fact that the measured output power of the planet for the N hemisphere has about 3x more p-p variability than the same measurement for the S hemisphere is obvious evidence that the two hemispheres are responding differently to the same variable solar input. If they were as tightly coupled as you seem to think, the variability would be the same, or at least the same fraction of the solar variability. The fact that both the albedo and total absorption of surface emissions are about the same is a consequence of the regulatory mechanism, but it’s not regulating the temperature, just the system itself!

In fact, the smaller variability in the output emissions of the S hemisphere arises from a larger p-p variability in solar energy owing to the 80 W/m^2 difference between perihelion and aphelion and the relatively close alignment of perihelion with the N hemispheres winter solstice.

Yes, the N hemisphere is physically connected to the S, but the contact area is very small relative to the area receiving energy from the Sun. Moreover; energy moves from hot to cold when bodies are in contact and while the equator is hot, in both directions towards the poles it’s cold.

How does any amount of energy comparable to the received solar energy move from the cold water in one hemisphere to the cold water in the other when it has to cross the hotter water at the equator?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
November 25, 2018 5:11 pm

Heat crosses the equator in the oceanographic process of interhemispheric heat piracy, a lot of which happens at the equatorial Atlantic with the Caribbean current. (Heat pirates of the Caribbean 😁 .)

John F. Hultquist
November 23, 2018 11:17 pm

I enjoy scientific puns, periodically.

November 24, 2018 1:25 am

Willis: Very interesting data. You might want to look at the article below, which analyzes the whole planet and separates OLR from reflected SWR (“OSR”). Since the irradiation of the whole planet doesn’t change with the seasons, the situation is somewhat simpler. The differences are very interesting. As you might expect, there is no lag in OLR vs temperature.

Above you refer to “instantaneous climate sensitivity”. Why should “instantaneous climate sensitivity” tell us anything about what we really want to know – equilibrium climate sensitivity.

TCR is about 30% lower than ECS. In a TCR “experiment” the planet has an average of 35 years to respond to a forcing. If you consider only the last 7 years of a TCR experiment (10% of the forcing change), there is still 3.5 years for the planet to respond. In the case of your “instantaneous climate sensitivity”, you are looking at the response after only ONE MONTH to changed irradiation.

How much can the NH warm in only one month? The average change in irradiation appears to be +25 W/m2/month during winter and spring and +40 W/m2/month around the equinox. The heat capacity of the atmosphere and 50 m mixed layer of the ocean over 70% of the surface is large enough that a continuous radiative imbalance of 1 W/m2 is capable of warming at a rate of 0.2 K/yr. 12 W/m2 would produce 0.2 K/month. The NH has only about 50% ocean. 12 W/m2 would be 0.28 K/month in the NH and 25 W/m2 would be 0.58 K. The average change you observe is about 2 K/month and perhaps 3.5 K/month. So it should take about three months of 25 W/m2 imbalance to heat the mixed layer equally to a depth of 50 m (a depth you calculated in one of your posts). And possibly more than three month if you consider the energy that goes into melting ice and snow. So, when you are looking at instantaneous monthly responses, the heat from the imbalance has penetrated an average of perhaps 15 m – assuming my calculations are correct. This gives me some feeling for how far from equilibrium things are in the system you are analyzing. If I multiply your value of 0.32 K/doubling by 3, then we are in the vicinity of 1 K/doubling. Not far from Nic Lewis’s TCR of 1.3 K/doubling.

Whatever the proper interpretation may be, the data and analysis you posted is still interesting and appreciated.

Reply to  Frank
November 24, 2018 11:11 am

The irradiation of the planet does change with seasons – strictly speaking, with a changing distance from the Sun. In the perigee in January (southern summer) the Earth receives about 90 W/m2 more than in July (northern summer).

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Curious George
November 24, 2018 2:01 pm

Curious G

Correct, and this allows certain experiments to be conducted instead of waiting for decades to look for changes. Pick any spot that receives the maximum and minimum radiation – somewhere equatorial and Pacific. Measure anything you like that is said to change when a GHG forcing of 3.5 W/m^2 is applied. How does a 90 W/m^2 variation change things?

If there is no difference that is detectable when there is a change of 90 W, why should it be any different if the total radiation changes by only 3.5 W?

If there is a tropospheric hot spot at 8-16 km, then a change of 90 W/m^2 should make it very detectable. The modeled changes in the temperature of the hot spot under the two conditions should conform to observations. Papers like this

go on and on about how constant is the level of solar energy received. It is not! It varies a lot, and we do now be able to see the predicted temperature changes in the areas affected.

Let’s take the Galápagos Islands. Almost on the equator, away from everything. Average temperatures are:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
79 80.5 81.5 81.5 75.5 74.5 72.5 72.5 72.5 74.5 76 78

The January to July difference is 7.5 C for a 90 W/m^2 change in insolation. Ninety Watts is 25 doublings of CO2.

Suppose there is a delay (which makes no sense). April-October = 7.5 which is no difference from the Jan-Jul change.

It is warmer in January when the insolation is 90 W higher, and cooler in July when the Earth is farther from the sun. Makes a lot of sense, but not a lot of difference. To propose that a measly few Watts is going to tip the climate into thermal runaway is plainly ridiculous. If 90 W can’t do it, neither can 3.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
November 25, 2018 8:39 am

Crispin: 90 W/m2 is the change in solar irradiation, but spread over a sphere – like all forcings – it is only 22.5 W/m2. Reflection by clouds, that drops to 16 W/m2. And the increase in radiation reaching the surface is about 11 W/m2. Still massively bigger than the forcing for 2XCO2.

If we use ECS = 3 K/doubling (for example) to convert 22.5 W/m2 (6 doublings) into 18 K of warming, we are making a gross mistake. Watts are power. The need to be multiplied by time to get energy, which is proportional to temperature change. We treat radiative forcing as something that is fixed with time, but the radiative imbalance gradually shrinks to zero as the planet warms and emits more OLR to space. When we are talking about ECS, we are integration a decreasing radiative imbalance over time and using that energy to warm a large volume of ocean. The deeper that heat penetrates, the longer it takes to reach equilibrium, but the equilibrium warming doesn’t change.

When you are talking about monthly change in temperature in response to an imbalance, one simply calculates the energy delivered and the heat capacity of the mixed layer of ocean (plus a little atmosphere). 1 W/m2 will heat the atmosphere and a mixed layer of ocean 50 m deep at a rate of 0.2 K/yr. 11-12 W/m2 will heat 0.2 K/month and the 16 W/m2 will heat 0.25 K/month.

Maximum temperature in the Galapagos occurs in March and April well after the January closest approach to the sun. (Away from the equator, the highest SSTs occur in September about three months after maximum irradiation due to the thermal inertia of the ocean. On land away from the coast, the lag is about one month.) It appears as if the amplitude of the change is 9 degF or 5 degC. However, these are presumably the temperature over land. According to the travel website below, during the cool season SST is 71-74 degF and warm season SST is 73-78 degF, which is a 3 degF/2 degC difference on the average. This difference is still too big to be accounted for by the change in irradiation due to ellipticity if the mixed layer is anywhere near 50 m deep. However, the ITCZ moves over the Galapagos during the cool rainy season and probably increases the local albedo.

Climate change is driven by small changes in radiative imbalance (currently an imbalance of 0.7 W/m2, reduced from the current forcing of 2.5 W/m2 by increased OLR caused by 1 K of warming). This imbalance warms over many decades. The time involved is roughly 100 months. Energy is Power * Time and Temperature change is proportional to energy delivered. The vast difference in time a radiative imbalance exists seasonally and during climate change is explains why small forcing seem more powerful than expected.

(In doing these calculations, I have ignore the increase in OLR that occurs as the planets warms: about 1-2 W/m2/K (equivalent to ECS of 3.7 and 1.8 K/doubling).

The climate in the Galapagos is strongly influenced by the cold Humbolt Current that carries cold upwelled water from South America. Changes in this current may be as or more important to temperature in the Galapagos as solar irradiation.

Reply to  Curious George
November 25, 2018 7:28 am

Curious George: Thanks for the reminder about our elliptical orbit. 90 W/m2 is the change in solar irradiation (1365 W/m2). In terms of radiative imbalance over the entire globe, you need to divide by 4 (22.5 W/m2).

Reply to  Frank
November 25, 2018 12:24 pm

I don’t believe in Flat Earth, even though modelers love it. My planet has a day and night.

Reply to  Curious George
November 25, 2018 9:52 pm

George: The sun puts out 1367 W/m2 of SWR. It is night for half the time, so the average is 683 W/m2. When the sun is low on the horizon, the surface absorbs less radiation. Technically this is called Lambert’s cosine law. The zenith angle is reduced by both latitude and hour of the day. This reduces irradiation by another factor of two to 342 W/m2. And 30 % of this is reflected back to space without being absorbed, leaving 240 W/m2 to warm the planet. The ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit is 3.5%, but this is in a 1/r^2 term, meaning the amplitude of the change in radiation absorbed due to ellipticity is 16.8 W/m2.

One can also reach the conclusion that irradiation a spinning sphere is 1/4 the irradiation of a disk of equal diameter by comparing their relative surface areas.

I’m not aware that any of this constitutes a belief in a flat Earth.

Respectfully, Frank

November 24, 2018 1:45 am

Willis asks: “So … why is there no relationship [between TOA imbalance anomaly and temperature anomaly] as we might expect?

Another possible answer is that monthly changes in temperature are not “forced” by changes occurring at the TOA. The mixed layer of the ocean rests on a much larger mass of very cold deep ocean. Chaotic fluctuation is the currents that exchange heat between the surface and deep ocean can change surface temperature without any change in flux across the TOA. El Ninos are partially caused by a slowing down of upwelling of cold water off Equatorial South America and slowing down of subsidence of warm water in the Western Pacific Warm Pool.

Above, I calculated that an radiative imbalance of 12 W/m2 is enough to warm the mixed layer of ocean 0.2 K in one month. A monthly change in temperature anomaly of 0.2 K in one month is a is a routine event. If these changes in monthly temperature anomaly extended throughout the mixed layer, they must be caused by massive changes in radiative imbalance anomaly at the TOA. In this case, I suspect we are seeing noise from monthly chaotic fluctuations in ocean currents overwhelming the relationship we expect to see.

rhoda klapp
November 24, 2018 3:27 am

They won’t let go of that ECS concept. It isn’t valid except for comparison between climate models and real world observations. It is no good for prediction of temperature changes from large deltas of CO2. Because there is no ceteris paribus in a chaotic system.

Percy Jackson
November 24, 2018 3:41 am

Your analogy doesn’t work. The top of the atmosphere energy imbalance is the difference between
energy entering and leaving the earth but your analogy only considers the energy entering the house.
What you need to compare is the net energy loss (i.e. heat input from the furnace – heat lost to the atmosphere) and if you did that you would find that if your house’s temperature was constant then the
net energy loss was zero. Otherwise what you are asserting violates conservation of energy.

November 24, 2018 3:59 am

Nice article. What about longer lag periods, like those caused by the ocean:

Also, isn’t TOA correlated strongly with sunspots?

David A
Reply to  pykewex
November 25, 2018 4:15 am
November 24, 2018 5:45 am

Just curious.. Willis do you have last year’s download to see if any historical data has been changed in the database?

November 24, 2018 7:37 am

“As you can see, since the First US National Climate Assessment some 18 years ago, the US average temperature has gone up by … well … about zero degrees Celsius. Or for Americans, it’s gone up by … well … about zero degrees Fahrenheit.”

Sound familiar? This is from your “Fourth Froth” post.

If there were an imbalance at the TOA, the atmosphere would be warming. It is not. NASA CERES people like to talk about imbalances, because it is grist for the climate modeler’s mill.

It is simple First Law fundamentals, if there were an imbalance there would be either warming or cooling. CERES is measuring something, but it is not imbalances. The Earth’s albedo changes second by second and is very very difficult to measure. I would make an analogy to your criticism of the Argo buoys for recording ocean heat content, not enough data, not enough by ‘way more than half.

With CERES you have four satellites peering down from above, orbiting up high, but they cannot see the entire surface of the Earth all at once. They claim to cover the entire surface of the Earth once a day, but the albedo changes a whole lot more than once a day.

Reply to  Michael Moon
November 25, 2018 9:20 pm

Mosher does not answer me either, when I school him. He does seem to pick up on it later.

If there were more energy entering the atmosphere than leaving the atmosphere, the atmosphere would be warming. You showed that it is not.’

November 24, 2018 7:55 am

Free fiber optics? Apparently no one says no to free shit. We had to pay for ours in my neighborhood. Cell phones in the ghetto, free medical care and on and on. Ain’t no free lunch, someone is paying just like those climate research grants. All political ideologies converge when it comes to free stuff.

November 24, 2018 10:47 am

Willis – I vaguely remember that raw CERES data used to show an unexplained imbalance of 5 W/m2. Did they successfully homogenize it out of existence?

Crispin in Waterloo
November 24, 2018 2:07 pm

You were looking at various times for cycles and solar variations and possible connections.

See Table 2 in
Climate Forcing by Changing Solar Radiation
by Lean and Rind, respectively from NRL and GISS.

They name 15 groups of cycles, and 54 detectable ‘periods”.

November 25, 2018 3:41 am

Willis, nice to see such large datasets flipped around with apparent ease 🙂
Though I think that you have taken a bit of a wrong turning towards the end: When you did the simulation of adding some error it looks as if you only added the error to the Y term [temperature anomaly] . If random errors are added to the X term of an OLS regression then the slope and the significance declines.
I think that adding some noise to both the X and Y terms would be the right analogous situation (?)

Johann Wundersamer
December 2, 2018 8:41 am

detailed calculation of the data in Figure 2 shows a lag of 34° –>

detailed calculation of the data in Figure 2 shows a lag of 0.34°

/ or what I’m missing /

Johann Wundersamer
December 2, 2018 8:48 am

My fault – correct me wrong!

Regards – Hans

/ don’t know the book before the last page /

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