Why Haven’t the Tropics Warmed Much? A Tantalizing Piece of Evidence

From Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog

September 28th, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The radiative resistance to global temperature change is what limits the temperature change in response to radiative forcing from (say) increasing CO2, or the sun suddenly deciding to pump out a 1 percent more sunlight.

If the climate system sheds only a little extra energy with warming, it warms even more until radiative energy balance is restored. If it sheds a lot of energy, then very little warming is required to restore global energy balance. This is the climate sensitivity holy grail, and it will determine just how much warming results from increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

John Christy and I are preparing a paper based upon Dept. of Energy-sponsored research explaining why the tropical troposphere hasn’t warmed as much in nature as in climate models. (The discrepancy exists for surface temperature trends; for both RSS and UAH tropical tropospheric trends; as well as for global reanalysis datasets). Danny Braswell and I did a lot of research on this subject about 5-10 years ago, and published several papers.

Without going into the gory details of why it is so difficult to measure “feedbacks” (how strong the climate system radiatively resists a temperature change in response to radiative forcing), I’m going to present one graph of new results from our work that suggests where the problem with the models might be.

The plot I will show is based upon month-to-month variations in area-averaged tropical (30N-30S) tropospheric temperatures. When those temperature changes are the largest, we expect to see the clearest signal of radiative resistance (negative “feedback”) which, by definition, is a response to that temperature change. In contrast, if the month-to-month temperature change was zero, any change in radiative flux would result in an infinite feedback parameter, which is clearly unphysical.

So, let’s focus on the biggest observed temperature changes. If we take the 10% of the 224 months of detrended CERES satellite radiative flux data (March 2000 through October 2018) which have the LARGEST month-to-month temperature changes (warming and cooling) in detrended UAH LT data, and compare them, we get the following plot of diagnosed feedback parameter (flux change divided by temperature change) versus average absolute temperature change. Also included in the plot are the results computed in the same manner from 19 different CMIP5 climate models, where I have used the model surface to 500 mb geopotential thickness converted to temperature to approximate the UAH LT product.

CERES-vs-LT-30N-30S-top-10percent-temperature-changes-550x413

There is a clear discrepancy between the 19 different climate models and the observations. The observations suggest a much larger resistance to a temperature change (vertical axis) than the models do, by over a factor of 4, for the same temperature change. This large feedback parameter is probably why the observations also show the smallest month-to-month temperature changes (horizontal axis) compared to the models (about 50% weaker than the models): the radiative resistance to temperature change actually reduces the month-to-month temperature fluctuations.

What Does this Mean?

The results are qualitatively consistent with Lindzen’s “infrared iris” effect, as we find the discrepancy between models and observations is larger in the infrared (LW) component of radiative flux than in the reflected solar (SW) component (SW and LW plots not shown here).

Interestingly, I had to exclude the GISS model results because they show increasing temperatures lead to a feedback parameter with the wrong sign, which is not physically possible for a stable climate system. It could be the GISS model has issues with energy conservation.

Just how these results would impact global warming projections remains to be seen. First, improvements in how tropical convection and its associated clouds and vertical distributions of water vapor *change with temperature* would have to be put into the models. Then, the models would have to be run with increasing CO2 to see whether model projections of warming are reduced.

My prediction is that, if this was done, the models would produce considerably less tropical warming than they currently do. This might also extend to reduced warming rates outside of the tropics, since the tropics export excess heat energy to higher latitudes. If less heat builds up in the tropics, less will be exported out of the tropics.

We have many more results on this issue, including comparisons to a simple time-dependent forcing-feedback model that can replicate both the observations and the CMIP5 model behavior.

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158 thoughts on “Why Haven’t the Tropics Warmed Much? A Tantalizing Piece of Evidence

  1. I’m not a model expert, so please help me out here, when Roy says, “Interestingly, I had to exclude the GISS model results because they show increasing temperatures lead to a feedback parameter with the wrong sign, which is not physically possible for a stable climate system. It could be the GISS model has issues with energy conservation.”

    Does that mean the GISS model results in a positive feedback for increasing temperatures? Because that seems to me it would result in runaway temperature, right? Or, am I totally misunderstanding this comment?

    • Yep. One of the unstated assumptions of feedback analysis is an infinite power supply. ie. In Bode’s formulation, energy conservation is not an issue.

    • In an electric circuit amplifier, positive feedback on an input signal results in a runaway output signal because there is no limit placed on the source current that can be delivered. This is an an unstable situation. Say for PA system, everyone covers their ears as the speakers squeal ever louder, until someone oves the microphone (input) far enough away form the speakers. That is until the amplifier circuit overloads its very real current limitations and the amp blows out in an arc and apuff of smoke.

      In the case of the Earth’s climate, GISS models apparently produce a positive feedback, as Dr Roy points out, not a physical situation (Even Venus has an upper limit on surface T). Obviously this GISS model results in a runaway hothouse at the output unless they do (likely) other jigger-pokery, hand-tuning fudgery undertaken “under-the-hood” of the model (out of sight) to bring it (T) back down to where they want the output (ECS) to be.
      Of course, GISS witch doctors would like the world to think the climate will (like the runaway Op-Amp +-ive feedback) end in a puff of smoke unless we submit to UN’s One World governance by Socialism and an un-elected bureaucracy.

    • You are correct. If a warmer temp gives a feedback that results in a warmer temperature that results in an even warmer temperature obviously it is unstable.

      Yet the temperature is very stable. It goes down at night and rises during the day to a limit, no matter what the humidity happens to be. The range is small. In Malaysia, for example which is tropical “summer” all year, the daytime high is between 25 and 31 almost all the time, no matter what the cloud cover or season. In fact it is 29 a great deal of the time, local hotspots notwithstanding.

      If there was some mechanism permitting thermal runaway, like a transistor hogging current in a parallel array, it would runaway every day. It doesn’t.

      • Excerpt from published article:

        John Christy and I are preparing a paper based upon Dept. of Energy-sponsored research explaining why the tropical troposphere hasn’t warmed as much in nature as in climate models.

        I think ya’ll are in BIG trouble iffen you persist in trying to resolve or prove ….. why nature is not conforming to what the climate models are predicting.

        Like maybe ya’ll should be asking why the climate models haven’t cooled as much as nature has.

        But anyway, just why would anyone, other than for Grant monies and/or “make-do” work, ….. want to prove or disprove the output results of Climate Modeling Computer Programs, …… especially given the fact that there is no actual, practical, helpful, useful or necessary need(s) for the data that is generated.

        I personally believe that taxpayer funded Grant monies should only be awarded and expended on studies and investigations that have the potential of being worthwhile for the betterment of humanity. And if the potential of increasing surface temperatures are deemed important, then a study of why the “high” of tropical temperatures have not increased in the past 100+ years should be conducted, …. as noted by, to wit:

        Crispin in Waterloo – September 28, 2019 at 7:50 pm

        In Malaysia, for example which is tropical “summer” all year, the daytime high is between 25 and 31 almost all the time, no matter what the cloud cover or season.

        Also, a study of why the “recorded high” temperature in/of Death Valley, California has not increased in the past 100+ years.

        Parts of the earth’s surface have been warming up. …… but their average temperature remains below 80F, …… even though summertime highs can be 100F.

    • “Because that seems to me it would result in runaway temperature, right?”
      No, it doesn’t. There is a large Planck negative feedback. You only get runaway if the feedback is positive in total. But in any case, this is dealing only with the tropical region. It can’t run away by itself.

      I’m dubious about the conservation of energy comment. GCMs have to conserve energy, else they will blow up (or deflate). And I don’t see how changing sign of a feedback coefficient says anything about conservation of energy.

      • Large negative Planck feedback on its own is insufficient to prevent runaway. E.g., the following system is unstable:

        dT/dt = -a*T^4 + b*C
        dC/dt = c*T – d*C

        for positive coefficients a, b, c, and d.

        • That is a second order system. Feedback, as in climate, is usually expressed as first order
          dT/dt = (Σfᵢ)*T + d
          where d is the forcing and fᵢ are feedback coefficients. The Σfᵢ has to be positive for runaway.

          • Nick,

            So if, “The Σfᵢ has to be positive for runaway,” then are you saying the sum of the feedbacks is postulated to be negative? In which case, what is the concern?

          • Barbara,
            The sum is apparently negative at present. Values are not precisely known. The fᵢ depend on state; in particular wv feedback rises as there is more wv in the air – ie warmer.

          • Feedback is not simply a first order effect. Treating the climate as a non-complex linear system is simply wrong. You will not get even an approximation of reality except through random chance – presumably why GCNs are run 100s if times in the hope you get that random correct result.

          • Nick, As Bartemis forms it, it is a system of first order DEs, and that is how we would view such a thing in mechanical engineering, and likely in physics as well. However, if resolved into an equation just in T it is certainly second order. In terms of a feedback system it then has two separate feedback loops, one for each term in the DE. It is non-linear, and a bit of a mess as unless d=0 the function C always enters the DE. It has a steady solution, but linearizing it here (i.e. infinitesimal disturbances) suggests it is a spiral source with two positive eigenvalues if the constants are all positive.

            Bartemis, Is this meant to model Temperature with water vapor feedback?

          • You all have really got to quit talking “trash” by trying to associate/correlate the thermal (heat) energy “feedback” mechanism in nature to the electrical energy “feedback” mechanism of an electronic circuit.

            “YES”, an electronic “feedback” circuit for increasing “power” will per se burn itself up if the “feedback” is not controlled ….. simply because none of the “feedback” power is lost or reduced because it is transferred directly via a specifically dedicated conductor.

            But not so via the claimed “climate feedback mechanism” simply because there is NO specifically dedicated conductor for said “feedback” energy, ……. NO means of controlling any attributes of said “feedback” ……. and NO expectations of any more than 5% of the emitted (feedback) energy from a “GHG” molecule will contribute to any warming, or continued warming, ….. let alone to any increase in warming.

          • The sum of the feedbacks has always been negative, or we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. This is also a very simplistic way to describe a very complicated system.

          • Kevin kilty –

            “Bartemis, Is this meant to model Temperature with water vapor feedback?”

            Actually, it’s the CO2 system. The rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to appropriately baselined temperature anomaly.

            http://woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/mean:12/from:1979/derivative/plot/uah6/scale:0.18/offset:0.144

            This is why it is quite impossible to have significant overall sensitivity of temperature to CO2 concentration in the present climate state. If there were, and it were not immediately countered by some other negative feedback, the system would be unstable.

          • Bartemis

            The rate of change of CO2 concentration is proportional to appropriately baselined temperature anomaly.

            That was mighty impressive sounding …….. but wouldn’t people like me better understand it iffen you had just stated that ……. “CO2 always tracks behind temperature”?
            ——————–

            Daily CO2
            Sep. 26, 2019: 408.05 ppm
            Sep. 27, 2019: 407.96 ppm
            Sep. 28, 2019: 408.09 ppm

          • Michael Kelly: “Where do you see a second order term anywhere in that system of (two) equations?”

            Solve the first equation for C and plug the result into the second equation. That will give you a second-order equation in T.

            The point is that a system of two first-order equations can exhibit behavior that a single-variable equation can exhibit only if its order is higher than first.

      • “It can’t runaway by itself.

        Ha! Not according to the Godfather of the Modern Climate Scam:

        In his book “Storms of my Grandchildren”, noted climate scientist James Hansen issued the following warning: “[I]f we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”
        https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/7/130729-runaway-greenhouse-global-warming-venus-ocean-climate-science/

        The scam continues to roll on given a kickstart by his scientific malfeasance. The polluted and corrupted the whole damn GISS that was supposed to study Space weather, a laudable topic for which we still have huge gaps of knowledge. Instead he steered his agency on environmental activism path and aligned himself and his institute with Communist University Columbia University.
        It’s been total hand-massaged junk science, both on the models and the instrumental records, from GISS ever since. The whole damn GISS institute needs to be shutdown and mothballed. The unemployed staff can then go Climate strike with placards and signs printed by NRDC or Tom Steyer all they want then, even glue themselves ER-like to the energized subway rails.

        • I am a warming skeptic. That being said, I think we should not misleadingly discuss the GCM’s.

          My understanding is that the GCM’s have two major feedbacks, simplifying somewhat. First, in order to explain the temp rise in the 1980’s, they said

          1. Rising CO2 leads to warming
          2. Yet the predicted effect from just CO2 was inadequate, so they postulated (and put into their models) a positive feedback multiplier of 3 to 4 for increased H2O greenhouse heat trapping.

          Second, they imply that new equilibrium temps would be a consequence of both CO2 and H20, in balance with increased radiation heat loss as the temp rose, which is a form of balancing negative feedback, the second feedback. So temps would rise much faster than CO2 alone could account for, but not explosively, as a system with only positive feedbacks would do.

          In itself this is reasonable. Problem is, apparently it does not correspond to reality. The artificially applied H2O multiplier is not working out. The temps are not rising as their GCM’s predict. The warming is slow, at most, and there are clearly other negative feedbacks, eg. oceans as heat sinks and increased tropical upward convection of heat energy (thunderstorms?).

          The GCM’s are broken because they were created to push an agenda, and because they were not created to model reality.

          • My understanding is that the GCM’s have two major feedbacks, …. (CO2 and H2O vapor)

            The GCM’s are broken because they were created to push an agenda, and because they were not created to model reality.

            Atmospheric H2O vapor is a major, major feedback but it is not included in the climate modeling.

            And as Joel states above, its been a flim-flam scam from the get-go.

            Absolutely no one cared a “hoot” about global average temperatures or “greenhouse” gasses, ….. or the old US temperature records (back to the 1870’s), ……. until several years after Charles Keeling started making accurate measurements of atmospheric CO2 in March 1958, at his Mauna Loa Observatory.

            T’was in the late 70’s and early 80’s that the “funded-interest” fame seekers noticed that the CO2 ppm had a “cyclic” (seasonal) pattern, plus a “yearly” increase, ……. and they quickly jumped on board, getting government grants and creating “junk science” to explain their need for more money, more money.

            ——————
            Daily CO2
            Sep. 26, 2019: 408.05 ppm
            Sep. 27, 2019: 407.96 ppm
            Sep. 28, 2019: 408.09 ppm
            Sep. 29, 2019: 408.22 ppm

      • The observations suggest a much larger resistance to a temperature change (vertical axis) than the models do, by over a factor of 4, for the same temperature change.

        Cue Willis and his tropical storm theories.

        Nick writes

        I’m dubious about the conservation of energy comment.

        And I agree. I expect GISS does conserve energy (more or less) and this is a clear example of model error where the error from feedbacks in the tropics will be balanced elsewhere in the model so it works in terms of energy conservation but is incorrect in terms of modelling the atmosphere and consequently is ineffective in projecting future climatic states.

        • They have almost certainly “tweaked” the OHC uptake to absorb the excess energy: this can still be counted as “global warming”. Yet another of the poorly constrained parameters which they can use as fudge factors to get whatever climate sensitivity they wish from their models.

          • “They have almost certainly “tweaked” the OHC uptake to absorb the excess energy: this can still be counted as “global warming”. ”

            Sorry I am not seeing any such tweak in the code.
            Perhaps you can point it out

          • Mosher writes

            Sorry I am not seeing any such tweak in the code.
            Perhaps you can point it out

            Ask and ye shall receive.

            From Mauritsen

            [18] Our tuning process resembles the protocol described by Gent et al. [2011] as used in the preparation of CCSM4. They tune the individual model components first in uncoupled mode (step 2), and after coupling (step 3) they allow only changing one cloud parameter to adjust the radiation balance, and the sea ice albedo in order to adjust the Arctic sea ice volume.

            Tune the clouds and you you’ve tweaked the amount of energy entering the ocean which of course impacts its energy uptake.

          • One obvious case was Josh Willis being told to get with the program when he found a reduction in OHC in 2005-2006. He was told to go to his room and find the “faulty” data and remove it.

            He did not look for any records which may also be too high and no study of the geographic distribution was published. He deleted a whole series of XTB and ARGO data were deleted and he was then allowed to come back and play with the rest of the boys and girls.

        • Yes, this is probably a better way to phrase it than I did. Obviously, the GISS model doesn’t produce runaway warming. But it clearly behaves unrealistically in the tropics for month-to-month temperature changes, worse than all other models.

        • Exactly. +100000000000000000000000000000000000

          It is not “feedback”, it is “Reaction to”, more heat gets quicker distribution.

      • Nick, the Planck Effect is contained in the calculations I made. So, even with that, the GISS model produces the wrong sign.

        • Saturday Night at the WWE-Climate show…

          Scene: “Big Roy delivers the Smack Down!!! on Down-under Nick.”

          WWE Announcer: “Down-under Nick is DOWN!! I don’t see how he can get back up from that running off-the-top-of-the-ropes body slam from Big Roy!!”

          WWE Color Commenter: “Yes, I agree!! Nick’s looking pretty dazed and out of it laying on the mat. I’m not sure how he can recover now.”

          WWE Annnouncer: “The crowd is going wild!!!

      • And I don’t see how changing sign of a feedback coefficient says anything about conservation of energy.

        That’s true. Feedback analysis says nothing about energy. That’s its problem.

    • Yes it means the GISS model is showing a positive feedback. But not all positive feedback’s have runaway temperature. Because this model shows temperature in a runaway mode that implies the model is wrong.

      I would be surprised if there was a net positive feedback in the climate system. As temperature rise increased water vapor would be a positive feedback. However the warmer temperatures at the top of the atmosphere would cause a negative feedback. A 1% increase of kelvin temperature may cause a 4% increase in the amount of energy the atmosphere radiates into space.

      • Positive feedback can be stabilized by more powerful negative feedback, but it cannot just be assumed that such stabilizing feedback exists, and there is no free lunch. It would reduce stability margins, and reduced stability margins tend to result in erratic behavior.

    • Positive feedback does not necessarily cause runaway. It was used in early radio receivers to increase sensitivity (“reaction”).

      • Look into “regenerative radios” – a hobby of mine since about age 13. I’m going on 75.

        The fidelity is terrible. But the gain is what every you can manage (adjust for).

        There are problems with oscillation.

        • “There are problems withoscillations” Yep, using positive feedback is a problem. Just a little too much signal or noise and away it goes. It requires constant fiddling with the regen control just like a GCM requires constant fiddling. Over millions of years, if the earth was operating that close to runaway, it would have happened.

          You’re a few years older than me (6) and been a ham operator since 1963.

    • Overall positive feedback leads to instability BUT the effect of the climate models’ ‘positive’ feedback is to REDUCE the effect of the overall ‘radiative’ negative feedback.

      Of course its relative nonsense as the effect of a transient change to incoming radiation like pinatubo matches almost perfectly if there is no ‘feedback’ at all.

      Incidentally feedback that produces ‘howlround’ or other cyclical effects is actually negative feedback applied with a time delay. Many paths of negative feedback with variable linearity and time delays cause chaotic behaviour.

      Anyone looking at climate temperature graphs without being told what they were would probably guess at a dynamic system with multiple non linear time delayed negative feedback paths, and no external forcing changes at all

      • Of course its relative nonsense as the effect of a transient change to incoming radiation like pinatubo matches almost perfectly if there is no ‘feedback’ at all.

        Can you explain what you mean by “perfectly”. There is a dip, which actually started before the eruption anyway, so there are confounding changes. The profile of the dip does not “perfectly” match the change in radiation input but can fit very closely if you apply a linear feedback. You need to integrate the cumulative incoming deficit and the climate reaction. This gives a sensitivity to volcanoes considerably less than that currently used in GCMs. ( in particular GISS GCM ).

        https://climategrog.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/tropical-feedback_resp-fcos.png
        https://climategrog.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/on-determination-of-tropical-feedbacks/

        Hansen’s team stopped using basic physics and observational data to scale AOD to radiative forcing in early 2000s, ( optical density is the measured variable, not radiation ). they upped the sensitivity by about 50% . Lacis et al 1992 used 30 , Hansen et al 2002 used 21 . In the later work the value was chosen to “reconcile” the model output with the surface climate record, ie it’s become a fudge-factor.

        There is persistent reduction in reflected SW after Mt Pinatubo blip has settled, ie. it introduced a long term warming effect. Climate models on deal with the transitory cooling of volcanoes. The residual warming gets confounded with AGW and falsly attrubuted to GHG like CO2. Hence the exaggerated warming.

        https://climategrog.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/erbe_sw_tls.png
        https://climategrog.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/erbe-sw-vs-tls-anomaly/

      • MODS : can we at least have the right to a few links in a comment. It is hard to have anything more than opinion if we can not link external sources, graphs and data.

    • Barbara, yes, what you are saying is correct. Except, the GISS model doesn’t produce runaway warming, so somehow they are keeping the model stable in other ways. In any event, it is an outlier, and has behavior farther than the observations than any of the other models.

  2. Thank you for your persistence and dedication to truth and scientific inquiry in the face of incalculable hostility and disparagement.

    • Ditto. E.g., I suspect S. Mosher would not add Roy to his 3-man list of skeptics who have “done science.”

  3. North of 80 the summer temperature cleaves extremely closely to the long term average. It seems to be because the ice is melting and stabilizing the temperature. Phase change takes a lot of energy.

    In light of the above, it seems possible that more energy at the equator would go mostly to evaporating water rather than raising the temperature. Again, phase change is a powerful moderating influence.

    IIRC, Willis E. proposed the idea that tropical thunderstorms moved a lot of energy from the equator to the upper atmosphere, thereby stabilizing the temperature.

    • If the temperature is sticking to the long term average, the ice wouldn’t be melting, it would be stable.

      Temps have to be at least a little higher than average to melt a significant fraction of the polar ice cap. Like you said, phase change takes a LOT of energy, not a little bit.

      Likewise, if equatorial heat was evaporating water, we’d see a noticeable increase in humidity – and that hasn’t happened either. That’s one of the biggest weaknesses in the theory, since the whole “accelerating AGW scenario” depends on CO2 causing the amount of H2O in the air to rise, which would cause the 3x-or-so increase in warming over the base CO2 warming.

      Not enough extra water in the atmosphere = no AGW.

      • If the temperature is sticking to the long term average, the ice wouldn’t be melting, it would be stable.

        You can try an experiment with a glass of water, some ice cubes, and a thermometer. As long as all the ice hasn’t melted, the temperature of the water will be stable. When the ice is all melted the water can warm to room temperature.

      • Sea ice is melted by the water, not the air. The water temperature in the Arctic Ocean is quite variable and the change is dominated by the inflow of warm water from various directions. For example, if the direction of water flow through the Bering Strait changes and the ice cover follows suit.

        • Sunlight also melts the surface of thick sea ice and can pool it on the surface in a slush of fresh water. This is where wind-delivered FF-derived soot loading becomes a significant factor in the increased destruction of sea ice during the polar summer.

      • cirby said:
        “Likewise, if equatorial heat was evaporating water, we’d see a noticeable increase in humidity – and that hasn’t happened either.”

        Not at all. Evaporate water, get rain. It rains a *lot* in the Caribbean. When I was new to the islands, and inexperienced, I would marvel that the eastern edges of the islands, facing the trade winds were deserts. (Virgin Is., St. Martin) I reasoned that the trade winds swept all the way across the Atlantic from Africa should be at some equilibrium near 100% RH. Silly. Moist air rises because it is more buoyant, and the cold squeezes the water out. This is an everyday observation in the tropics where the trade winds and oceans meet the land. As soon as the trade winds bump into a hill, as they travel across the island, it rains some more, and you get your typical tropical lush growth. It is easy to see, add heat, get more evaporation, more convection, more convective heat transfer, and more rain.
        The pattern is trivial to see on a daily basis.
        1) Early AM: Brilliant blue sky and water. Great light for photography.
        2) Late AM: Bright, small puffball clouds are about, very scenic.
        3) Mid PM: Billowing clouds, obvious updraft thermals, things are getting dark.
        4) KerSploosh!
        5) Late PM: Clearing, just in time for Sunset on the Beach.

        Otherwise, in a lot of ways, the islands really do make their own weather.

        • Except what you describe is normal weather for the tropics, which has not changed. It has not changed here in Central Florida, either, which has the same weather pattern during the summer.

          If there’s not a noticeable increase in humidity – which is REQUIRED by the AGW theory that predicts large temperature increases – then the theory is a bust.

          According to actual humidity observations, there has not been such a large increase. We’re not talking about a little bit – for that 3x multiplier, it has to be a blatantly significant change.

          Instead, it’s pretty much the same as it’s always been. You know, like the weather you described. Likewise, we’re not seeing that high-altitude water vapor increase predicted by AGW theory, either.

          • Yes, this is my understanding.
            If I recall properly, Willis Eschenbach looked at the satellite data for humidity as part of his “thermostat” hypothesis. The data seemed to show that *relative* humidity went down somewhat, in a very counter intuitive fashion. But: *absolute* humidity held fairly constant. Why this should be so was left as an open question. (If I remember this all correctly.)
            Now consider:
            Convection is determined by the buoyancy of a parcel of air. This is in turn governed by the water content. Buoyancy is directly related to the absolute humidity, which is to say grams per cu. meter. So convection will relate to the absolute humidity. You could use relative humidity, but that is the long way around and the relationship will be more obscure.
            And somewhere along the line, absolute humidity appears to be controlled by condensation and rain-out at altitude.
            We know that heat transport from the surface to the tropospause is totally dominated by convection, the mid-troposphere hot spot does not exist, and absolute humidity seems to be constant (at least with the one sat. data set I have seen). So the models get heat transport wrong, and humidity wrong in the tropics. Because the tropics are so important, the models likely by extension, get everything else wrong too.

          • Water vapour increases the rate of convective overturning to exactly cancel the potential greenhouse effect of water vapour.
            The difference between the moist lapse rate in rising air and the dry lapse rate in descending air balances the equation to ensure a net zero surface temperature change despite the fact that water vapour is lighter than air.
            Anything that seeks to disturb the surface temperature defined by atmospheric mass within the gravity field will simply be neutralised by a change in the speed of convective overturning.

          • Isn’t it exactly this increase in convective overturning which is supposed to create the upper tropo hotspot which is barely detectable in observational data?

            No hotspot, no increase in overturning , no surface warming: no GHE. Some other climate feedback is reducing incoming radiation, it is not being evacuated by increased overturning.

      • Extra water in the atmosphere: The “climate alarmist” want us to believe if you are chilled go stand next to a water fall to get warm.

  4. average absolute temperature change

    Averaged over what — air density, spatial distribution?

    Thank you for the essay. I look forward to the full report.

    • Lennart,
      The Chilling Stars, A cosmic View of Climate Change, Henrik Svensmark, 2008, page 130, “Weather satellites showed the Earth’s cloud cover varying rhythmically over the years in accordance with the changing spottiness of the sun– more precisely with the varying effect of the solar wind, which regulates the number of cosmic rays from the stars that reach the Earth.”

      Brings to mind the expression, “nothing new under the sun” Grantologist fraudsters come and go with their contrived “issues” but eventually, and a few $trillion later, we’ll be able to move beyond CO2 as the control knob and end the insane wind/solar/bio-fuels scandal.

  5. “Then, the models would have to be run with increasing CO2 to see whether model projections of warming are reduced.”

    Although I think I can guess the answer, I’m curious as to why this (the direct effect, not feedback) hasn’t been measured experimentally and what I mean by that, is the contribution of say 415ppm CO2 on a background of 30- or 40,000ppm of water vapor versus the corresponding value for 280ppm, preindustrial CO2. The intricacies of this that can be found in the original ModTran paper are also, in fact, modeled and not empirical. Given its importance, one would have thought that this would have been determined experimentally in a lab setting with no convection and cloud complications – just pressure line broadening and the like.

    The equipment to do this would not be prohibitively expensive. Does CO2 at levels above 280ppm have any additional effect on a background of 30- to 40,000ppm of water vapor?

    Hey, if I’m missing something. here, could someone post the reference please?

    • The structure (sign) of the adiabatic lapse is crucial.
      The South Pole is where the tropopause is lowest anywhere on Earth. The GHG effect is dependent on the sign of the adiabatic lapse rate. And the Amundsen-Scott Station is on a high ice plateau at 9,301 feet.
      As a result a reverse Green House Gas Effect has been observed there. CO2 increases are making it (slightly) colder there.

      • My high school chemistry professor from India used to talk about how rain was an exothermic reaction. We calculated the amount of heat in a mole of water vapor.

        Do the models properly account for the amount of heat transport from evaporation in the tropics in the heat towers up to 10,000 feet? Not just the convection, but the energy expelled from the phase change in water when it turns into clouds? It must be substantial given all the rain. A small increase in rain might compensate for another small increase in energy input. Hydrological cycle increase and negative cloud feedback would flush a lot of heat from the system.

    • Phil,
      If you are asking, what is the direct warming effect of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, keeping everything else (like water vapor) constant, this can only be calculated from theory. There is no experiment because it involves the greenhouse effect, which only exists through the depth of the atmosphere, with the solar heated surface at the bottom, and the “radiatively cold” depths of outer space at the other end.

      • Roy, I am very surprised that you say that an experiment cannot be done on how adding CO2 to an atmosphere effects temperature.

        Consider the following. Imagine a long tube filled to atmospheric pressure with completely dry air and containing no CO2. At one end, is a lamp emitting infra red radiation, roughly similar to the sunlight at earth surface. At the other end is a thermometer. Given that the contents are only nitrogen, oxygen and argon, which I understand to be not greenhouse gases, then we have a base case, with the thermometer at the far end recording a specific temperature. Next add measured quantities of CO2. If CO2 is really a greenhouse gas, the molecules will absorb some of the infra red radiation and warm the air. The result will be that less energy is received by the thermometer at the far end and the recorded temperature will drop. With increase of CO2, the far end temperature will drop further.

        But, we understand that the curve of temperature increase with CO2 increase follows a path similar to a logarithmic curve, in that a small increase in the amount of CO2 starting from zero will result in a large absorption, whereas the same additional amount of CO2, from a high content, will only result in a small additional absorption. This then gives us the sensitivity of CO2 in air for any given CO2 content.

        Next, starting from dry air with no CO2, add measured amounts of water into the tube, so as to provide contents of 1%, 2%, 3% and 4% (approximately high humidity air for room temperatures). This will provide a similar curve for the sensitivity of water vapour in air for any given vapour content.

        Finally, for varying water vapour contents as above, and starting from dry air again, add the measured amounts of CO2. This will give you the sensitivity for increase of CO2 for any atmosphere you may be interested in.

        (It is of course possible that the effects would be so small as to be unmeasurable, even using the best instruments.)

        It is my hypothesis that climate scientists are using the theoretical warming for CO2 alone to get figures for CO2 sensitivity, when they should be working with the experimentally determined values, and as a result get the wrong answer. Conversely, since at any time the amount of CO2 is almost constant, but the amount of water vapour can wildly fluctuate, calculations of sensitivity based on the actual atmosphere fluctuate also wildly, so they get figures from about 0.9 to about 4.5. Given that CO2 content is 410 ppm, and water vapour content, in the wettest state, is 40 000 ppm, the effect of CO2, since most of its absorption bans are also covered by the absorption bands for water vapour, is approximately negligible. And as the amount of water vapour in the air, at even the 1% level, is 10 000 ppm, the atmosphere is pretty well saturated with water vapour as far as absorbing infrared radiation.

        Hence the “greenhouse effect” is bunk!

        PS, I have seen graphs shoulding the warming effect of increasing amounts of CO2 but I have not been able to find any such using Google. Obviously I have been using the wrong key words. Can anyone direct me to the appropriate oinks?

        • Dudley
          note this report

          http://astro.berkeley.edu/~kalas/disksite/library/turnbull06a.pdf

          Go for the green line showing the deflection causeD by CO2 in the near infra red…fig. 6 bottom.

          The problem really is trying to determine if the net effect of more CO2 in the atmosphere is that of cooling (due to deflection of certain radiation coming from the sun to space) or warming (due to entrapment of certain radiation coming from earth)

          My feeling is that the one cancels the other, in total, at least.

          • The deflection, or rather prevention, of radiation coming in from the Sun is not a big deal. The band is too far from the hump in the incoming Planck distribution.

            But, the thing you are missing is convection. Heat convected to altitude can be released to space with progressively lower outgoing impedance by the atmospheric GHG filter, until it reaches a point where the heat is more likely to radiate outward than inward.

            Thus, “greenhouse gasses” have both a heating and a cooling potential, both of which increase with increasing concentration. Which wins out depends upon the state of convective overturning.

      • Roy,
        We have actually performed the necessary experimental test with the required measurement accuracy and spatial resolution in the actual dynamic system (with all associated feedback mechanisms and complexities, including greenhouse effects) over 40 years and have seen a null result.

        Here’s how:

        The most accurate, truly global data for average lower atmospheric temperature change over the last 40 years comes from the UAH satellite-measurement database (Version 6.0). See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/04/uah-global-temperature-update-for-august-2019-0-38-deg-c/ The best fit through this “noisy” data (largely—but not consistently—reflecting ENSO variations of about +/- 0.4 C about the trend line) is a linear fit at a warming rate of +0.13 C/decade.

        In the 20-year interval from Jan 1979 to Jan 1999, humans released 25% of the total cumulative amount of CO2 calculated to have been released anthropogenically from 1750 to end-2018, but in the 20-year interval from Jan 1999 to Jan 2019 humanity released a much larger percentage of the same cumulative amount: 37%, or almost 50% more.
        (Data source: http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/en/CO2-emissions via https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions )

        Does the trending of UAH satellite-based global lower atmospheric temperature show an atmospheric response to this large change in the release rate of anthropogenic CO2? Or even response to the Keeling curve exponentially-increasing growth of atmospheric CO2 concentration, however originated? In both cases, no, it does not . . . the overall temperature trend is linear at a constant slope over 40 years.

        Thus, CO2 at present or higher atmospheric concentration levels does not and will not affect global warming, which is obviously being driven by other natural factors: my three leading candidates are long term changes in (a) percent global cloud cover, (b) atmospheric absolute humidity, and (c) global ocean circulation patterns.

        To the extent that basics physics says that CO2 should act as a “greenhouse gas,” which is credible due to its absorption/re-radiation spectral bands and thermalization with other atmospheric constituents, it likely became saturated in ability to cause GHE at much lower concentration levels (likely at or below 200 ppm, see https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/05/08/the-effectiveness-of-co2-as-a-greenhouse-gas-becomes-ever-more-marginal-with-greater-concentration/ ), now leaving only water vapor and methane as the current non-saturated GHGs.

        QED

      • Dudley Horscroft September 29, 2019 at 6:10 am
        Roy, I am very surprised that you say that an experiment cannot be done on how adding CO2 to an atmosphere effects temperature.

        Thanks for all the responses and especially the entirety of the one quoted above. Let me simplify the question to its lowest albeit, in my opinion, highly important level. Here we go:

        Does air containing 280ppm CO2 and 40,000ppm water vapor have the same or different radiative properties, when measured empirically, as air containing 415ppm CO2 and 40,000ppm water vapor? This is of so much fundamental importance that it is incomprehensible (if I didn’t know better) as to why this would not have been measured empirically. The further complexities, outlined in Dr. Spencer’s response, could be taken from this fundamental, experimentally-obtained value that pertains to WV and CO2 absorption band overlap at ambient (tropical) temperature and pressure. How is it possible that the “climate community” could not know this critical number from experimentation?

  6. “It could be the GISS model has issues with energy conservation.”

    Ya think!!!
    Par for the course on things “GISS”… like GISTEMP.
    ================

    Overall thoughts… another nail in the coffin for the cargo cultism of GCMs.
    No observed but predicted mid-tropospheric hotspot = wrong paradigm = no high CO2 sensitivity.

    CERES data…
    OCO-2 data..
    Those damn satellites looking down on Earth are going to be the death of the Climate Religion Scam, much like those darn telescopes looking heavenward over 400 years were the death of geocentrism-religious dogma.

    Another few nails in the coffin for the cargo cultism of GCMs.

    • NASA GISS is cursed to eternal damnation, and by their own hand.
      It is well known that the models are tuned to the past temperature history to run forward correctly.
      The problem for GISS models is that the GISS temperature histories have been heavily modified to tell a story about Global Warming. Maybe that story is true, maybe it is not. It does not matter.
      What matters is that the GISS model is tuned to a temperature history which did not happen, at least in the manner presented. In simplest terms, a complex computer simulation is getting fed bad data.
      In another context, you told a lie to an A.I. Never lie to an A.I.
      HAL, Open the pod bay door.
      I am sorry Dave, I can not to that.
      HAL, Open the door.
      I can not do that, Dave.
      HAL, You must open the pod bay door.
      I am sorry Dave, I can not to that.

      • Not just GISS, but the problem the entire climate change faker community faces is the telling of the first lie. It has just just snowballed from there “Marmion-style.”

        Oh, what a tangled web we weave
        When first we practise to deceive!

        As you allude to about an telling a lie to an AI during a training session. The inconsistencies can build non-linearly to produce totally unexpected and inappropriate behaviors. A computer version of having like a 16 year autistic child lecturing world leaders at the UN and US Congress about complex subjects.
        Telling lies to maintain lies just builds webs of inconsistencies. And an AI can do that at the speed of computing. And the GCMs produce “garbage out” at the speed of petaflops.

      • It is well known that the models are tuned to the past temperature history to run forward correctly.

        NO. They are tuned to match the recent past ( post 1960 ) as well as possible, this does NOT mean that they “run forward correctly”. In fact it almost ensures that they don’t because the frig a large number of parameters to get the best fit to a limited ( cherry picked ) past. They do not reproduce the early 20th c. warming, so it is certain that the tuning is not a good model of climate itself but a forced fit to a limited period. This pretty much guarantees that they will NOT run forward correctly.

      • “In simplest terms, a complex computer simulation is getting fed bad data.”

        absolutely…..and real current temp measurements match the unadjusted temp history

        which BTW has not changed in 200 years..same rate before….

  7. The solar non-constant swings 7% from perihelion to aphelion. The albedo can easily swing +/- 1%. Don’t even know what it is to that resolution. 1% is a rounding error.

    • 1% is a rounding error.

      And yet the final end all, be all is the monthly global temperature which is given in hundredths of a degree.

  8. Anyone familiar with the Tropics knows that very often the mornings start rather humid with little cloud and as the sun increases the temperature, clouds rapidly form and shut out the sun, reducing the temperature rise. In the afternoon often at 4-pm cloud development results in thunderstorms and cooling rain. The thunderstorms move energy from the lower to the upper atmosphere. This very dynamic process makes the tropical climate more moderate than any climate model would have you believe.

    • Yes, Nicholas Tesdorf, this is very important. Tropical thunderstorms are a short-time-frame feedback system (thus not modeled in most climate models) that is long-term repeating (thus having a huge effect on the climate).

      A recent WUWT article [https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/29/how-many-times-do-useless-climate-models-have-to-be-killed-before-they-die/] Dr. Mototaka Nakamura refers to how important this is.

  9. Interesting work, Dr Roy – thanks a lot.
    Just out of interest, did you check the variability of the feedback parameters at all? i.e. did either the satellite or the model values vary much over time within the 224 months of data? If they did, were they well or poorly correlated with each other, and did they exhibit any correlation with CO2 or any other forcing?

    • There aren’t enough data to discern this. But it does appear that the more the temperature departs from an average state, the larger the feedback parameter becomes. This behavior isn’t in the models, or at least much less so. I’m still looking into it.

      • Thank you for your kind response, Roy. Regarding your words:
        “But it does appear that the more the temperature departs from an average state, the larger the feedback parameter becomes.”
        I am only familiar with feedback in electronic systems, but they behave the same way – i.e. the larger the change in output (the response to a change in input x loop system gain), the stronger the feedback signal. However, it is my understanding that, in electronic systems at least, the feedback factor (i.e. the sensitivity of the feedback mechanism if you like) is generally fixed by the circuit design and therefore cannot change. The feedback signal is simply the change in the output signal divided by a fixed ratio which is fed back to the input in the opposite sign, which determines the loop gain (i.e. output = input x the loop system gain). If your ‘feedback parameter’ equates to the ‘fixed ratio’ above, IMO it should not change with a change of input.

  10. “The radiative resistance to global temperature change is what limits the temperature change in response to radiative forcing from (say) increasing CO2, or the sun suddenly deciding to pump out a 1 percent more sunlight.”
    Those two things are not the same. If the sun sends 1% more heat, the Earth must radiate 1% more heat to keep balance. If CO₂ increases, than at equilibrium, TOA OLR hasn’t changed. It balances the unchanged insolation. All that has happened is that impedance between surface and TOA has increased, and so the temperature differential changes.

    It looks like the graph shown is measuring transient impedance between TLT and TOA. That isn’t, of course, measuring the effect of GHGs. But it is also incomplete. A reasonable amount of IR goes direct from surface to space (atmospheric window). This will vary with surface temperature, but will not show up in terms of TLT temperature, It goes straight through.

    • Nick writes

      It looks like the graph shown is measuring transient impedance between TLT and TOA. That isn’t, of course, measuring the effect of GHGs.

      But is directly comparable to the models’ behavior under the same circumstances which is what Roy appears to have done. Not all the impedance is due to GHGs! But you’ll get the impact of GHGs wrong if you get the impedance “generally” wrong.

      • “if you get the impedance “generally” wrong.”
        But I don’t believe the graph is evidence of that. They infer an impedance from the response of TOA OLR to TLT temperature. But that is only one of the channels. TOA OLR is also responding directly to surface temperature, where a component of IR passes direct to TOA without interacting with lower trop.

        • That comment seems correct Nick but what does this imply?

          The measured TOA is increasing much more in reality than in models ( all channels ) . This means that models are incorrectly holding back energy by one mean or another. As Roy points out this will get exported out of the tropics laterally if it is not leaving through the roof.

          The unrealistic upper tropo hot-spot in models is another facet of the flaws in the models.

          If models are underestimating the TOA losses during these hot periods, that heat is going to end up as AGW in the model.

        • Nick qrites

          But that is only one of the channels. TOA OLR is also responding directly to surface temperature, where a component of IR passes direct to TOA without interacting with lower trop.

          Is a valid question, but with the tiny surface temperature change involved, it seems unlikely to me the difference would be made up from wavelengths not captured by the water vapor and CO2.

          I expect Roy will do a full analysis as he has the other channels available…

        • Nick writes

          TOA OLR is also responding directly to surface temperature, where a component of IR passes direct to TOA without interacting with lower trop.

          One more thing, if you’re right about that, then for such a small surface temperature difference in the tropics, the fact the models dont actually represent the absolute surface temperature well

          ie from Mauristsen

          [5] Arguably, the most basic physical property that we expect global climate models to predict is how the global mean surface air temperature varies naturally

          […]

          [6] Yet, the span between the coldest and the warmest model is almost 3 K, distributed equally far above and below the best observational estimates, while the majority of models are cold‐biased.

          is equally damning for them. This is a case of a lose-lose for the models.

  11. In some of Pierrehumbert’s work, maybe a lecture series, he comments that climate models hold relative humidity constant possibly because it is too difficult to model.

    It is obvious from USCRN data that energy moves back and forth between water vapor and air. As the day warms, RH falls. As the day cools, RH increases. This absorb/release cycle of (missing?) energy moderates the diurnal temperature swing.

    This energy exchange is obvious and quantified in the psychrometric properties of moist air. Trane’s commercial site graphs & charts has an interactive psychrometric program.

    It is this type of non-radiative process (also conduction, convection, advection) that interferes with, i.e. resists the movement of energy up through the atmosphere and is responsible for the surface/ToA temperature difference.

    To move current through an electrical resistance requires a voltage difference.
    To move fluid through a hydraulic resistance requires a pressure difference.
    To move energy through a thermal resistance requires a temperature difference.

    Q = 1/R * A dT (hot – cold)

    Same as the insulated envelope of a house.

    Physics is physics.

    No GHGs need apply.

    • Nick Schroeder,

      The rise and fall for relative humidity (RH) with temperature is not due to an energy exchange between water vapor and air. RH is water vapor content *relative* to temperature. If absolute humidity is constant, and the air gets warmer the RH will go down because warmer air can “hold” more water vapor. (Air doesn’t really “hold” water vapor but the statement is an easy way of thinking about a relationship that is more complex but has the same result.)

      On the other hand, air temperature is not a metric of total energy in an air and water vapor mixture. That would be enthalpy, which includes latent and sensible heat.

  12. For those still interested in such details, please also see my and Dr. Judith Curry’s twin back to back posts on Lindzen’s adaptive infrared iris hypothesis on the occasion of the confirming model Mauritzen paper May, 2015 at her Climate, Etc. blog. I did the mathy/techy paper stuff, and she interviewed Lindzen on his original paper history. We published both on purpose jointly on the same day.

    Is a good example of why I have personally gotten bored and weary of repetitive rebuttals of same old, same old bad science so no longer post as much refutation there or here. Like Steve Mc, I presume. No point in saying things more than once or twice.

    • “No point in saying things more than once or twice.”
      In Science that is true. If climate change promoting “scientists” were still following scientific principles and ethics then repetition of counter-factual evidence to their theories is unnecessary.

      But science got throttled in the climate argument when Ben Santer was allowed to get away with his illicit attribution edit hackjob in the Second AR, Chapter 8. It was further destroyed by the hockey team’s mendacity in the 3rd AR. And then science ethics were were completely eradicated when Tom Karl and Co got away with hand-waving away the the tropical tropospheric hotspot no-show as “largely settled” nonsense in the NCA-Global CC Impacts to the US in 2009.

      So please repeat.
      In fighting the deeply-funded climate change propaganda pysops campaigns, repetition is essential to stopping the gas-lighting of the public.

    • Ruud
      How is Lindzen’s iris hypothesis different from Miskolczi’s iris hypothesis?

      This question is meant in a good way – I believe Miskolczi to be essentially correct.

  13. Global Climate Models appear to have a variety of problems. I download and read most of the English version pages of Mototaka Nakamura’s “Confessions of a climate scientist” the other night, and the English pages only deal with oceans, but here he states that the oceans in climate models have inadequate resolution and exhibit no negative viscosity phenomena (boundary currents). I assume because they possess too much numerical dispersion.

    By coincidence I was also reading a brief paper by Kerry Emmanuel in a 2006 short essay in Physics Today where he states that numerical models begin organized convection leading to tropical cyclones at higher temperatures than occurs in reality.

  14. The Stefan-Boltzmann equation and its precedents relate to one molecule and most emphasis is on the gaining of energy, rather than the loss. Bulk gas mixtures come later.
    It is intuitively correct that one molecule of CO2 could not do the work required to change atmospheric temperature by 1 deg C. Two molecules are equally unlikely. Yet, that represents a doubling for which equations have evolved.
    If 2 molecules are unable to do the job, how about, 20, 200, 2,000 …. 200, 000,000 .. 2 x 10^23?
    There is a logical lower limit to the concentration of CO2 in the air that is capable of being involved in the postulated GHG changes. The issue is dodged by widespread use of ratios of concentrations, when absolute values are sought.

    What is that lower limit?
    How is it derived or measured?

    Geoff S

  15. I’ve commented before that Le Châtelier’s Principle (LCP), thought by its discoverer to be of relevance only to chemical equilibrium systems, but found to be applicable broadly, (perhaps universally as a major law), is applicable to the climate system. Simply stated: a system in equilibrium that is disturbed by forced changes to conditions- say, one or more of temperature, pressure, constituents of the system, etc. will react to resist the changes to the former equilibrium condition.

    The economist Samuelson recognized the effect of changes to supply-demand-price equilibrium! I’ve considered it an eloquent restatement of Newton’s Laws of Motion, and also acting in”back EMF” in electric motors, and a host of other systems. Logically the system doesnt have to be in equilibrium either for it to begin reacting. I had planned an article to dust this wonderful phenomenon off for non chemists to see but haven’t gotten around to it.

    I think therefore “there’s physics” but then their is (LCP) demanding its fee. Possibly one could estimate an LCP coefficient to throw into all the models and bring forecasts into line with reality. Maybe one can estimate an LCP coefficient from chemical systems or even from the fact that CliSci theory generated anomalies 300% greater than observations over 40 years, apparently from physics.

    Lastly, physicists could have a big new thing to look into. Perhaps LCP is the key to unìfication of all those discombobulated forces and their fields.

      • Thomas, the article I was proposing to do was more qualitative than quantitative as a way to introduce a principle known by chemists for over a hundred years that seems to have universal applicability. Remarkably, LCP seems to be largely a secret outside of chemistry and chemical engineering where it is manipulated in processing to improve production of high purity products and to lower costs by causing the LCP reactions using cheaper ingredients.

        Most glossary-type articles suggest why the the system resists changes in equilibrium is not known. With the LCP apparently popping up in other non chemical systems it seems to be a major basic law that hasn’t yet received its due.

        I’m a geologist and mining engineer, but also have process patents in hydrometallurgy (a chemical engineering field), so I would be an odd duck to be producing a broad treatise on LCP for consideration by physicists.

    • Gary,

      Thanks for noting that Paul Samuelson introduced LCP to economics, my field.

      It may be of interest that Samuelson’s best-selling mid-century textbook did much to popularize a contrary principle: the concept of positive economic feedbacks through Keynesian multiplier effects, which magnify the impact of government stimulus spending on GDP. (Government spending puts more income into people’s pockets, leading them to increase consumption, which in turn puts still more income into people’s pockets, etc.)

      Over the decades, economists have increasingly come to appreciate the many “leakages” from the multiplier process. The consensus now holds that the multiplier’s value is well below 2, and some economists think that it is close to 1 (or even less).

      The analogy to climate science is obvious. Physics implies that the direct effect of doubling CO2 is to raise equilibrium atmospheric temperature by about 1° C. A naive estimate of the effect of this on atmospheric H2O leads to a climate-warming multiplier of perhaps 3, yielding an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 3° (with an embarrassing uncertainty range extending from 1.5° to 4.5°). But as in economics, leakages from the positive-feedback process are increasingly evident, and empirical estimates of climate sensitivity are well below what the naive theory implies.

      It’s LCP at work, at least metaphorically.

  16. I believe that the IPCC on purpose ignore/s any logic that would decrease the importance of CO2 as it relates to climate change, I believe that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is really zero and the the H2O feedback effect to any warming is negative as one would expect with a stable climate. After all the wet lapse rate is considerably less than the dry lapse rate. The increase in CO2 over the past 30 years has failed to cause even a measurable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere. There is no real evidence in the paleoclimate record that CO2 has any effect on climate. If the greenhouse gases really caused warming then a build up in humidity over the oceans would cause runaway warming until all the oceans boiled away and the surface of the earth was hotter than on Venus because of all of the pressure caused by H2O but that has not happened. The Earth’s climate has been stable enough for life to evolve over at least the past 500K years because we are here.

  17. Look at the series of articles here by me and Philip Mulholland.
    The entire surface temperature enhancement above S-B is clearly a product of non radiative conduction and convection moving atmospheric mass up and down within a gravity field so as to delay the rate of radiative energy loss to space.

    • Stephen Wilde: The entire surface temperature enhancement above S-B is clearly a product of non radiative conduction and convection moving atmospheric mass up and down within a gravity field so as to delay the rate of radiative energy loss to space.

      As written, that ignores the transfer of latent heat from surface to the cloud condensation layer.

  18. Yes,Stephen, everybody seems to ignore the elephant in the room, convection . On only has to observe the rate the cinders rise off a large, hot campfire compared to a small cooler one.The difference is considerable.Heat escape through convection accelerates as temperature rises.

    • The elephants in the attic are “atmospheric heaters” such as the 3-billion watt phased-array microwave transmitter in Alaska, the most powerful example of these devices which are scattered around the world. What happens when the upper atmosphere is energized and a column of air is boosted into space? Could this technology be used to alter storm tracks, intensify hurricanes, raise Arctic temps or create the appearance of global warming? (The USAF announced in 2005 its goal of “owning the weather” by 2025. If it has succeeded, then congrats are in order for its successful diversion of Hurricane Xi from making landfall at Mar-a-Lago.)

    • Lasse:

      Willis mostly talks about the average behavior of today’s tropical climate system. (And btw, tropical rainfall, on average, peaks around sunrise, not in the afternoon… land is the exception. This has been pretty thoroughly demonstrated with the Tropical Rain Measuring Mission, which sampled at all different times of day). For climate *change*, we need to know how those average relationships in today’s climate system *change with warming*, which is not entirely obvious.. For example, yes, clouds cool the climate system in response to solar heating — by quite a lot. So, in the average climate system, clouds can be thought of as a sort of thermostat. But an even warmer climate system will not necessarily have more even clouds because all cloudy updrafts are matched by clear sinking air. So, if you increase convective overturning with warming, you are also increasing sinking, cloud-free air. I’ve had this discussion with Willis before. This is why cloud feedbacks are so uncertain. The original “tropical thermostat” paper by Ramanathan and Collins (1991, https://www.nature.com/articles/351027a0), neglected this subsidence-compensation effect, as pointed out by Hartmann and Michelsen (1993 J. of Climate) and Lau et al. (1994 Geophys Res. Lett., 21, 1157-1160).

      This does not mean that a thermostat doesn’t exist. It just means the demonstration of a thermostat is not easy. My post describes direct evidence of a thermostat, but only for month-to-month timescales of variability.

      This is also related to Monckton’s recent arguing that the response of the climate system to warming can be deduced from how today’s climate differs with one that has no greenhouse effect at all. That argument suffers from a similar problem… small departures from today’s system are not like the huge departure from no greenhouse effect whatsoever to today’s climate. There are substantial nonlinearities involved. If it was that easy, the climate sensitivity problem would have been solved long ago.

  19. What distinguishes the Earth from the other planets is the vast quantity of very deep surface water. That water holds 99.9% of the planetary heat and acts as a heat sync, plus a hydronic heating system for the northern hemisphere. When the SST is warm, the atmosphere over it is warmed also, particularly at night.

  20. Dr. Roy’s observations are consistent with the change of climate regime that occurred around 1995. I explain this here:

    http://breadonthewater.co.za/2019/09/22/revisiting-the-87-year-gleissberg-solar-cycle/

    Looking at it only from 2000 might give a wrong impression but it does tell you what lies ahead…..

    As the temperature differential between the poles and equator grows larger due to the cooling from the top, very likely something will also change on earth. Predictably, there would be a small (?) shift of cloud formation and precipitation, more towards the equator, on average. At the equator insolation is 684 W/m2 whereas on average it is 342 W/m2. So, if there are more clouds in and around the equator, this will amplify the cooling effect due to less direct natural insolation of earth (clouds deflect a lot of radiation). Furthermore, in a cooling world there is more likely less moisture in the air, but even assuming equal amounts of water vapour available in the air, a lesser amount of clouds and precipitation will be available for spreading to higher latitudes. So, a natural consequence of global cooling is that at the higher latitudes it will become cooler in winter and drier & warmer in summer. Obviously with more clouds and rain around the equator & lower latitudes you will get less warming there or even cooling – clouds reflect a lot of radiation.

    As far as the mechanism is concerned: as the sun’s solar polar magnetic field strengths are going lower, it seems plausible to think that more of the most energetic particles are able to escape. Earth’s atmosphere protects us against these particles by forming more ozone, peroxides and N-oxides. In turn, as these substances increase TOA they deflect more incoming SW radiation to space. A strange paradox: the sun is getting hotter making the earth cooler….

    just as an example I show the Arosa ozone time series. Clearly you can see the turning point of around 1995?

    https://i2.wp.com/oi61.tinypic.com/ju7fw9.jpg

  21. Every time I read the comments here I am amazed at the amount of scientific knowledge available about things that we have absolutely no control over.

  22. It looks like models treat all EMR (radiation) the same way. As so many W/m²; whether sunlight or infrared. Yet it’s not all the same from the point of view of surface warming. Sunlight penetrates many metres into water. DWIR penetrates mere micrometres, so warms only the surface skin. Re-emission at the surface can only penetrate downwards another few micrometres, but there’s no barrier to upward re-emission. Conduction downwards is slow, and convection impossible because the lightest water is at the surface. Much of this surface skin warming will goes latent heat, evaporating water, which condenses at the upper troposphere, releasing it’s latent heat here, so effectively cooling the surface. Isn’t this a fundamental error by the climate modelers – treating all EMR the same for the purposes of surface warming? Why don’t people make a bigger deal of this?

    • Indeed solar and LWIR behave differently with regard to penetration, but there are other processes occurring simultaneously long with it. For example, there is evaporation. Also the ocean is not a glassy pond. It is roiled by wind and surface waves along with some convection so that an upper layer becomes mixed. This convection is not exclusively thermal, but is also the result of salinity changes. Surface evaporation cools the surface and makes it more saline. Often one can see the results of surface convection in streets of foam and debris lined up in the prevailing wind direction (roll cells). It is a complicated problem of combined mass and heat transport.

      • Accordingly, surface evaporation makes the top surface more saline, so more dense, so it sinks and we have convective mixing. Makes perfect sense.

        Thanks. Likewise to Roy.

        But we surely agree LWIR cannot be treated in the same way as shorter wave sunlight? Just another model defect I guess. Modelers are so certain, they’re ignoring every criticism, and will put this in the bin too.

    • Mark:
      It’s a good question. I’m not aware of any modeling to address the issue. But clearly IR radiation is important to the ocean heat budget, because the ocean almost everywhere is losing IR energy. So, if you reduce that loss, then ocean temperature will change. The ocean mixed layer is always experiencing mixing from waves, and even evaporation causes mixing by creating a cool skin that is more dense than just under the skin.

  23. “My prediction is that, if this was done, the models would produce considerably less tropical warming than they currently do. This might also extend to reduced warming rates outside of the tropics, since the tropics export excess heat energy to higher latitudes. If less heat builds up in the tropics, less will be exported out of the tropics.”

    Not while low indirect solar is driving a warm AMO phase (via negative NAO/AO) and reducing low cloud cover in the mid latitudes, and increasing cloud cover in the Arctic. That’s where most of the post 1995 surface warming has arisen, as well as the increase in upper ocean heat content.

    • griff

      I did investigate this.
      By my results, it seems that the inner core of earth has traveled NNE, especially fast in the past 100 years or so, as proved by the position of the magnetic NP…
      It shows up in my results. The average minimum T has gone down here, in the SH whereas in the NH it has gone up.
      We call kt the magnetic stirrer effect,
      IOW, it is the inside of earth re-aligning itself with the inside of the sun.
      Come here, to South Africa, and let me take you down into a gold mine here. Discover the real elephant in the room that nobody even talks about…

  24. griff

    I did investigate this.
    By my results, it seems that the inner core of earth has traveled NNE, especially fast in the past 100 years or so, as proved by the position of the magnetic NP…
    It shows up in my results. The average minimum T has gone down here, in the SH whereas in the NH it has gone up.
    We call kt the magnetic stirrer effect,
    IOW, it is the inside of earth re-aligning itself with the inside of the sun.
    Come here, to South Africa, and let me take you down into a gold mine here. Discover the real elephant in the room that nobody even talks about…

  25. Geee,
    what a lovely supper we had,
    knowing that there is no such thing a man-made global warming.
    I am worried, though, about the natural climate change, that is coming to cause the droughts.
    [click on my name]
    I am sure Greta and her friends from the extinction rebellion are ready to take the lead once despair about the food inflation has taken a hold.

  26. There are natural cycles diurnal, annual, decadal and most likely centenary and millennial which would in turn enhance and suppress effect of any positive or for that matter negative feedback, of which might be more than just one.

  27. Dr. Spencer, great work as usual. I’m working with some students on a Science Fair Project, and I hope you don’t mind us using some of your research. Currently, we’ve been working on a project that is using the ground measurements to disprove the CO2 Climate Change Theory, and you may want to take a look yourself.

    You can filter for all the ground stations that existed in 1902 when Michael Mann started adding them to his Hockey Stick. If you control for the Urban Heat Island Effect, you will find that basically none of the ground measurement stations show warming since 1902. The warming Michael Mann claims happed in the last century simply isn’t supported by the empirical data.
    https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data_v3/

    Here is the best example I’ve found.
    https://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/stdata_show_v3.cgi?id=501943260000&dt=1&ds=7

    Anyway, real science only needs one example a model can’t explain. GISS provides countless examples that can’t be explained by CO2 causing warming.

  28. Dr Spencer, I have heard Mann speak about the Pacific Thermostat Hypothesis as a reason why the Medieval Warm Period would have seen lower temperatures in the tropics. When asked a question about whether this same phenomenon would operate in response to global warming, and thus warming in climate models is ‘vastly overstated’, Mann responded that he agreed and he thinks there is a missing negative feedback.

  29. How laughable! Doesn’t he know it is not the models that are off it is reality that has the problem? Geez, everyone knows that!

  30. Why Haven’t the Tropics Warmed Much?

    Well, it seems like the headline of this blog post is wrong, if Dr Spencer is referring to to the temperature trend of the tropical troposphere 2000-2018 (30 N – 30 S), as indicated by the change of the 500 mbar geopotential height.

    As a rule of thumb, a 20 m change of the 500 mbar height, translates to approximately 1 C change of the bulk temperature of the air layer from the surface up to 500 mbar.

    The newest and most advanced reanalysis, ERA5, has a trend of 6.4 m/decade in the 500 mbar height (tropics 30 N – 30 S, 2000-2018). This is around 0.32 C/decade
    (data ESRL/WRIT)

    The CMIP5 rcp4.5 multimodel mean for the same period and region is 5.6 m/decade, or 0.28 C/decade
    (data KNMI climate explorer)

    It is possible that “Why Haven’t the Tropics Warmed Much” refers to Dr Spencers own dataset, UAHv6 TLT, which has the trend 0.13 C/decade in 2000-2018, 30 N-30 S.
    However, this dataset is a cool outlier in the 21st century, with the clearly lowest trend of all satellite, radiosonde, and reanalysis products.

  31. Thanks Roy for this thoughtful article.

    Incident sunlight contains a lot of IR:

    https://images.app.goo.gl/ZwburEGRX3VoKvke8

    It is sometimes said or implied that sunlight is shortwave visible light only with no IR, and IR is only present in radiation out to space from earth. But this is not true. Sunlight has a lot of IR. That’s why it warms your face.

    Therefore CO2 will backradiate out to space some of the incident IR in sunlight. (This phenomenon does not only occur at the earth’s solid surface.) So increasing CO2 in the atmosphere will actually reduce the incident solar energy at the top of atmosphere due to this back-radiation.

    The heat energy transferred from earth’s surface upward into the atmosphere, within the troposphere at least, is transferred primarily by convection, not radiation. Warm land surface warms the air which rises, etc., and we get clouds and weather. Actual flux of radiation including IR upward at the surface is much less than in incident downward sunlight, since most vertical heat transport is by convection, not radiation. Upward and downward radiated heat would only balance on the moon or another space body with no atmosphere. And especially no water in that atmosphere.

    (Heat export to space for overall global heat balance at the emission height is of course by radiation. But transport of heat to that height, upward from the surface is by both radiation and convection, mostly the latter.)

    Here’s the temperature profile of the atmosphere:

    http://apollo.lsc.vsc.edu/classes/met130/notes/chapter1/graphics/vert_temp.gif

    In the troposphere, temperature declines with height as higher air layers receive less and less convective warming from below. Here, radiation will play a much lesser role especially in the presence of water vapour with its large heat capacity. Flow of water heat in the atmosphere is predominantly by convection not radiation. And water vapour dominates the heat budget in the troposphere.

    Above the troposphere temperature zig-zags up through the stratosphere, mesosphere and ionosphere. Air is now much less dense with no water present. So the thermal effect of convection declines and direct solar irradiation predominates. However the picture is complicated by local solar heating phenomena restricted to specific layers: radiative heating of ozone at the top of the stratosphere and by cosmic ray ionisations occurring in the (thus named) uppermost ionosphere. Thus the temperature zig-zags.

    (As the stratosphere is heated from above by the sun, CO2 back radiation rejects some of this radiative solar heat energy. Therefore increasing CO2 reduces the solar warming of the stratosphere, causing the stratospheric cooling that is observed.)

    Some downward convective movement of heat in the atmosphere also occurs in the troposphere. This is the only layer that is dense enough for convection to be significant. Thus some downward convective heat transfer will occur from the upper sunlight-warmed troposphere. If downward and upward thermal convection equalled each other then a uniform temperature would pertain. But this is not the case. Downward convective heat movement does not balance upward because of the density gradient. Warmer air heats neighbouring cooler air more effectively when the warm air is more dense – it has disproportionately more energy. Thus on balance convective heat movement upward predominates over downward, and as a consequence the troposphere cools – rather than warms – with height. And density, dare one say it – is caused by 9ravity. It one is still allowed to believe in that g-word.

    It is at the bottom of the troposphere at the earth’s surface where relevant weather and climate occur. Here the radiation fluxes are not in balance (as AWG erroneously implies) but the flux downward from the sun is much stronger than the flux upward from the land surface. Remember / energy from the sun is by radiation only (much less convection due to the density gradient) while upward heat transport in the troposphere is mostly convective. If it were otherwise, then we would warm our face by stooping and facing the ground, rather than looking up toward the sun ☀️ . (You might warm your face from car-park asphalt, but not from the surface of the sea.) The upward and downward fluxes of heat are of course in approximate equilibrium but the majority of the upward heat transport is by convection.

    CO2 cuts out some IR photons out of a mixed electromagnetic wavetrain. It cuts out more IR from incident sunlight at the upper atmosphere (mainly stratosphere) by back-radiation. It cuts out less IR from radiation from earth’s surface since this radiation flux is much weaker than incident sunlight. Therefore overall CO2 will exert a cooling effect on climate since it effectively reduces TSI, the heat energy incident on earth from the sun, due to the CO2 back-radiation to space. The atmosphere is well mixed with CO2 all the way up to the top of the mesosphere.

    One’s face is a sensitive and accurate radiation detector to allow one to physically perceive the falsehood of the CO2 back radiation warming conjecture. It’s enough just feel the warmth of the sun on your face.

  32. Why Haven’t the Tropics Warmed Much?

    This seems a very strange question.
    Climate warms by transferring more heat from equator to pole, not from uniformly heating everywhere. This is obvious.

    Consider earlier times such as the Mesozoic (Triassic-Jurassic-Cretaceous) when dinosaurs lived. Forests extended to the poles. Climate temperature was 10-12 degrees C warmer than now.

    Imagine tropics 10-12 C hotter than now. Maximum temperatures would start to cook meat and life of vertebrates like dinosaurs and mammals (that already lived then) would not be supported. Plants and trees would die of dehydration and heat stress. And we know that this did not happen.

    Willis Eschenbach has explained that the thundercloud feedback caps the temperature of the ocean surface not much higher than 30 C. The oceans have to be evaporated dry before tropical temperatures increase much above this.

    So equatorial temperatures haven’t changed much since there has been land at the equator. So all climate warming is just more heat transport to the poles by ocean circulation and less difference in temperature equator to pole. Conversely cooling is reduced heat transport poleward. All the while, the tropics stay the same.

    All this is blindingly obvious.

    So of course warming and cooling will be “amplified” at the poles. To make such a statement with a flourish (e.g. as Griff does) as if some profound discovery has been made, is simply to expose the fact that one has never really thought deeply or seriously about climate.

  33. What so many seem to miss is the law of radiative emission that states that a body radiates at the 4th power of its temperature. (simplified).
    What that means is that ‘if’ a temperature change is felt on earth for any reason the RATE of radiation will increase, not logarithmically, but by the 4th power of that temperature change. We all see this daily. The input source is the sun, not Co2. We warm by day, but the RATE of radiation increases during the day, so far more radiation occurs when the sun is shining. At night, when the input is zero, the radiation RATE drops throughout the night, as the surface cools. Sun heats the earth quickly, but radiation at night is slow, but sufficient to displace most of the daily sun. As days get longer, the air temperature increases, and the RATE of radiation from the surface increases – by the 4th power of that temperature change. That’s a LOT of feedback and control. Most people don’t understand what the 4th power means in a feedback system, but that is exactly how the earth sheds its heat load, every day. It is a thermostat that has a HUGE ability to lose heat. The only way earth will actually warm more than it already has is if the input increases. One part Co2 in 2400 parts of ‘air’ can logically not have any affect on the climate. For any one photon hitting earth, there are millions of molecules of solid or liquid radiating away. The 2400 molecules of air would cool the one molecule of Co2 by collisions – the gas laws don’t permit different gases to be different temperatures in a given volume and pressure.

    • Except for the two facts that (1) not all blackbody radiation from Earth’s surface travels directly to deep space, and (2) low density, non-ionized gases, as found in the upper troposphere (particularly water vapor and CO2) and above the tropopause (particularly CO2), do NOT produce blackbody radiation at any naturally-occurring temperatures.

    • John
      Can you clear up for me the 4th power relationship.
      If the temperature of a body increases by a factor x, does the radiation from it increase according to x ^ 4? Or according to x ^ (1/4) ?

  34. Dr. Spencer,

    I went through the Mechanical Engineering degree at U of Michigan, a top school, actually there on an academic scholarship due to a National Merit Scholar award.

    This degree involves Thermo 1, Thermo II both with labs, and then Fluids, and then Transport of Heat and Mass, all of which included a lot about radiative heat transfer.

    Clearly you did not study these subjects.

    The CERES satellites have never been calibrated, hence unreliable. Likewise historic temp records. UAH and RSS temp data are far better than any historic records of thermometers, but only extend back to 1979.

    And, by the way I schooled your friend Mosher on how this works, ask him.

    So: CO2 Effect is Logarithmic. No, not so much, 280 ppm is enough already to saturate the absorption and thermalization of 15-micron LWIR at around 10 meters above the Earth’s surface. Additional CO2 can lower this altitude by maybe one or two cm.

    So, Significant effect of additional CO2 occurs at TOA, where additional CO2 raises the altitude at which 15-micron radiation can escape to space, lowering the temperature at which the atmosphere is freely able to radiate to space, lowering the amount of heat escaping to space, raising the amount of heat retained in the atmosphere. Unarguable.

    But, no one can calculate the magnitude of this effect! I know, I tried, lots of others have, cannot be calculated.

    This means that all “Calculations” of Transient or Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity are based on an assumption, that all so-called measured heating since 1880, or 1850, or some year, is due to CO2!

    Hardly a scientific assumption, you should all make that clear, and, you should all be ashamed of yourself, your nonsense has doomed millions around the world to energy poverty….

    • Michael Moon

      Apart from the fact that you are really a very arrogant person, let me tell you that your view on CO2’s activity within our atmosphere hardly could be more trivial.

      1. “So: CO2 Effect is Logarithmic. No, not so much, 280 ppm is enough already to saturate the absorption and thermalization of 15-micron LWIR at around 10 meters above the Earth’s surface. Additional CO2 can lower this altitude by maybe one or two cm.”

      I thought nobody today would be ignorant enough, Mr Moon, to relate CO2’s radiative activity to the surface, where it is absolutely insignificant wrt H2O aka water vapor. Even a simple layman like me doesn’t.

      What CO2 does happens far above, namely where H2O no longer is able to, because it has precipitated kilometers below.

      While H2O is absent above the tropopause, CO2 is uniformly present in the atmosphere, up to 50 km altitude.

      Please manage to
      – translate the following article from French into English (I’m too lazy to do), to
      – try to understand what these two scientists told us, and to
      – accordingly update your knowledge.

      https://www.sauvonsleclimat.org/images/articles/pdf_files/etudes/article%20dufresne-treiner%20basse%20def.pdf

      I’m sure you will learn a lot – iff you are able to bypass your inner barriers, of course.

      2. “Hardly a scientific assumption, you should all make that clear, and, you should all be ashamed of yourself, your nonsense has doomed millions around the world to energy poverty….”

      Who are you Sir, to discredit a person like Roy Spencer?
      Show us your scientific achievements!

      Rgds
      J.-P. D.

  35. 13.9 billion years ago the Big Bang happened.
    First there was a crazy fraction of a second, including the weird “inflationary” phase.
    Then followed the “light epoch”.
    This was the period dominated by light.
    Photons were so dense that matter particles could not coalesce, and the universe was opaque.
    This light epoch lasted about 300,000 years.

    Then the universe thinned enough to become transparent to light and for particles and atoms to form. Thus the light epoch ended and the matter epoch began. It has lasted until now and will continue till the end of the universe.

    Proponents of CO2 back radiation warming appear to believe that we are still in the universe’s light dominated epoch. They explain all thermal interactions in the atmosphere as resulting from and involving radiation only.
    This is false and weird. The light epoch is over, and has been since 300,000 years after the Big Bang.

    Thus vertical movement of heat in the atmosphere, critically the heat transport from the earth surface to the emission height, is largely by convection, not radiation. CAGW is based on a huge error of fundamental cosmology (as well as everything else wrong with it).

  36. “When those temperature changes are the largest, we expect to see the clearest signal of radiative resistance (negative “feedback”) which, by definition, is a response to that temperature change.”

    Isn’t already the choice of words wrong – after all, the world climate is a machinery, a climate machine such as the air conditioners in vehicles and homes. So technically we come from feedback to shock absorbers and – dampers:

    When those temperature changes are the largest, we expect to see the clearest signal of radiative resistance by friction losses in the atmosphere, namely dampers, which, by definition, are due to the elevated system’s heat capacity,

    https://www.google.com/search?q=brownian+motion+definition&oq=brownian+motion&aqs=chrome.

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