Crisis looms in alarmist climate science

Reposted from CFACT

By David Wojick |October 20th, 2020|Climate

Climate science is dominated by alarmists addicted to the idea that increasing carbon dioxide will cause dangerous global warming. How much warming is thus the central scientific question.

This question has been surprisingly difficult to answer despite 40 years of research, costing tens of billions of dollars. Now the issue is exploding because two different answers are emerging, one harmlessly low and the other dangerously high. This divergence is a crisis for the alarmist community. How they handle it remains to be seen.

What follows is a slightly technical explanation of the situation.

The issue centers on a benchmark estimate of the impact of increasing CO2 on global temperature. This is called the “equilibrium climate sensitivity” or ECS. The basic question is what will the global average temperature be when the CO2 level is double the supposedly original level of 280 ppm? That is, what will it be when we hit 560 ppm.

However, since it may take the climate system some time to adjust to this new high level, the question is what the temperature will be when the system equilibrates to this doubling, which may be some time after we hit 560. Also, this is about sensitivity, so ECS is not the new high temperature. It is the number of degrees C higher than the original temperature that this new high temperature will be.

So if the new high temperature is, say, 2.2 degrees C higher then ECS = 2.2 degrees.

Technically ECS is often an abstraction, something that only happens in climate models, but model ECS is taken as an important estimate of real ECS. In the models ECS is often estimated by simply doubling the CO2 instantaneously, whereas in reality this takes centuries.

All this said, I can now explain the emerging crisis.

For many decades the accepted model estimates of ECS have ranged from 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C. Different models give different values, but the acceptable range has not changed. That the range is so big has been a policy problem. Warming as little as 1.5 degrees might be harmless, while 4.5 might be dangerous. But the ECS range has been stubbornly persistent, refusing to narrow to a specific value.

Now, suddenly, there is a huge new problem. ECS has exploded! It is not that it is higher, or lower — it is both. Two new lines of research have diverged sharply on the estimated value of ECS.

The first line of research takes a new approach called observational ECS. The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling we should be able to derive ECS empirically from the observed relationship between CO2 increase and temperature increase.

There have been a number of observational studies and many are getting ECS values well below 1.5, which are harmless indeed. Values of 1.2 and 1.3 are common.

But at the same time there has been a new wave of modeling studies and these are getting ECS values way above 4.5, which would be truly dangerous. Here values of 5.2 and 5.3 are to be found.

Note that the modeling community is divided over accepting these new hot model numbers. After all, they imply that the modeling done over the last forty years or so has been wrong, including a lot of the recent modeling which is still within the old range.

The upshot of all this is that the science of ECS is in a shambles. Given that ECS addresses the core science of climate alarmism, this is truly a crisis. Has the modeling been wrong for 40 years? Is it wrong now? What about observation, which is supposed to rule in science? The scientific method says observation trumps theoretical modeling.

This is also a policy crisis. If we have no idea how sensitive the climate system will be to increasing CO2 levels then we have no basis for making climate change policy. If the observation values are right then there simply is no climate emergency.

How will this huge new uncertainty play out? Fortunately we will get at least a glimpse fairly soon. The latest IPCC assessment report (AR6) is presently under review and should be out in the next year or so. This report is supposed to review the state of climate change science, albeit from an alarmist point of view.

How the IPCC handles the exploding ECS range will be interesting to see, at the very least. They may choose to ignore it because it has to hurt alarmism. They may simply drop mention of the ECS altogether, it now being very inconvenient. But this glaring omission will be easy to call out.

Or they may only acknowledge the hot higher values, which favor alarmism. Here they risk making modeling look stupid (which it is). Plus this omission of critical evidence will also be easy to call out.

With the ECS range exploding the IPCC is caught between a hot rock and a cold hard place. So is alarmism. Stay tuned.


David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see

For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see

Available for confidential research and consulting.

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October 20, 2020 6:34 pm

“The basic question is what will the global average temperature be when the CO2 level is double the supposedly original level of 280 ppm? That is, what will it be when we hit 560 ppm.” No. The basic question is How does CO2 affect the temperature of the planet, if at all? As there is not one empirical study which shows that CO2 is causing the current slow apparent warming, what is all the fuss about??

Reply to  Derek Wood
October 21, 2020 5:54 am

You’re talking about the potential of losing all those juicy climate alarmist paychecks! That’s reason enough for the entire climate scientist community to be up in arms. There’ll be blood in the streets for this.

M Seward
Reply to  Spetzer86
October 21, 2020 12:32 pm

Spot on there S86. Think big tech fighting to protect their monopolies, big pharma fighting to protect its product reputation, Wall St fighting to retain its influence, Boeing doing dodgy software fixes to offset engineering modifications and never mind hundreds of lives are at risk, think ‘The Swamp” and massive, soulless self interest is the common thread. Climate science has become the Thalidomide of science, estroying its reputation for objectiveity and humility.

Robert W. Turner
Reply to  Derek Wood
October 21, 2020 5:54 am

Considering that temperatures increased at about the same rate from 1650-1850 than it has from 1850-2020, I’d say that it has about 0.0 effect on temperature. Because what absorbs also emits, CO2 increases emissivity of the atmosphere and absorption is not the only way the atmosphere is heated. If the Modern Maximum of the sun is over, so too is climate alarmism – until they switch back to the Ice Age (glacial period) scare, which is the only one we should give any concern about.

Reply to  Robert W. Turner
October 21, 2020 12:27 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in the climate “crisis” scam, but the temperature didn’t increase at the same rate from 1650 – 1850 as it has in the last ~century. The longest continuous temperature record, the Central England Temperature, shows a slight uptick in the last ~century. Consistent with expectations, winter temperatures have slightly warmed in the last century, summer temps haven’t. Fall has also slightly warmed, not so much for spring. For climates at England’s latitude, that’s actually a good thing – certainly nothing to get your panties all in a bunch over.
I do agree that solar irradiance has likely been slightly increasing, – just look at Be-10 concentrations, but CO2 probably does has a small effect too (it’s a little like putting insulation in your attic – warms in the winter – cools in the summer) but it’s known to be logarithmic so future temperature increases will be well bounded.

comment image

mike macray
Reply to  Meab
October 22, 2020 6:35 am


..temperature didn’t increase at the same rate from 1650 – 1850..

Proxies not withstanding, I have a problem with such staements as above. Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented his thermometer as I recall in 1729 and refused to share it for many years lest someone copy it. Given also that the basis of his absurd scale were, as he believed, three immutable absolutes namely melting ice, body temperature, and boiling water which all had to be divisible by four.
Since all three happen to be variables, and the calibration/manufacture of his thermometer was dubious at best, I remain puzzled as to how we can assert that such small temperature variations, fractions of a degree, have any meaning.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Derek Wood
October 21, 2020 5:55 am

Quite. Stromatolites started pumping Oxygen out when CO2 was 80% of the atmosphere and the atmosphere was anoxic. This level of CO2 is way way beyond any ‘tipping point’ that some have asserted we cannot pass or all life dies. If my maths is correct then when the CO2 was at 80% that is 200,000 times the current level, and life as we now it took off.

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
October 21, 2020 9:40 am

What’s interesting is that all the life-giving atmospheric O2 has come from CO2 via photosynthesis.

John Tillman
Reply to  beng135
October 21, 2020 11:40 am

The O2 given off by plants and other photosynthesizers comes from water, not CO2. Hydrogen (actually protons) from water attaches to CO2 in the dark reactions to form sugar. The oxygen atoms separated from hydrogen in the light reactions is emitted as a waste product, although land plant roots need oxygen, since their cells can’t photosynthesize, not being exposed to sunlight.

Reply to  John Tillman
October 22, 2020 7:30 am

OK. My bottom line was that all O2 in the atmosphere came from the photosynthetic cycle, which depends on CO2, not which specific molecule it came from.

John Tillman
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
October 21, 2020 12:02 pm

Penn State researchers found that pre-Oxygen Catastrophe air was 25 to 50% CO2, but take that with a grain of micrometeorite:,carbon%20dioxide%20of%20around%200.04%25.

Reply to  Derek Wood
October 21, 2020 8:18 am

I dunno. Ask Prince Charles…he wants to get the military involved to solve this case.

Reply to  T. C. Clark
October 21, 2020 11:52 am

God please let Elizabeth outlive Charles!

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
October 21, 2020 3:45 pm

God save Princess Anne, please.

October 20, 2020 6:34 pm

“Has the modeling been wrong for 40 years? Is it wrong now? ”

The modeling has always been and always will be wrong until the IPCC is disbanded. They are the ones pushing the 3C nominal increase because they need it that large to justify their existence while the IPCC has become the arbiter of deciding what defines what the ‘consensus’ believes by what they choose to put in their reports.

The best estimate is closer to 0.3C per W/m^2, which puts the increase from the stated equivalent forcing from doubling CO2 at about 1.1C. The average W/m^2 of solar forcing contributes about 1.62 W/m^2 to the surface emissions. Each W/m^2 must contribute equally to the work done to maintain the average temperature which is proportional to T^4. The next W/m^2 will be no more powerful than any other and will also contribute 1.62 W/m^2. Increasing the current average temperature by 0.3C will increase the average emissions by about 1.62 W/m^2.

If someone can explain how the Earth can tell the next Joule of forcing from the average Joule so that the next one can do so much more work than the average one would be deserving of a Noble prize for finding a way to circumvent Conservation Of Energy.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 20, 2020 7:12 pm

The average W/m^2 of solar forcing contributes about 1.62 W/m^2 to the surface emissions. Each W/m^2 must contribute equally to the work done to maintain the average temperature which is proportional to T^4.
Define ‘solar forcing’.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 20, 2020 7:27 pm

Net solar input of about 240 W/m^2.

Only W/m^2 from the Sun actually forces the system, regardless of what initially intercepts those W/m^2. The test is whether or not something would heat the surface in the absense of any other W/m^2 that also actually heats the surface. Without solar power, CO2 ‘forcing’ would have no effect on the steady state average temperature.

Forcing said to be a consequence of CO2 is more properly characterized as the equivalent amount of solar forcing that would have the same same temperature effect on the surface while holding CO2 concentrations constant.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 20, 2020 8:40 pm

Only W/m^2 from the Sun actually forces the system
Don’t carry on about CO2. Define solar forcing.
How do you get 1.62 W/m^2?

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 5:42 am

Take the average SB emissions of the surface and divide by the net solar input.

The state of the system is its temperature and its SB emissions equivalently represents the same thing. Whatever effect non radiant energy entering the atmosphere (for example, latent heat) has on the temperature has already been accounted for by the state, i.e. the temperature.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 6:22 am

Take the average SB emissions of the surface and divide by the net solar input.
Show the numbers. And in the ratio the units [W/m^2] cancel, so no W/m^2 on the result.
Try again.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 6:56 am

Take the average SB emissions of the surface and divide by the net solar input.
So, you say that 1.62= SB emission / net solar input.
I.e. SB emission is 62% higher than solar input (clearly wrong).
Try again. Define solar forcing correctly.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 7:21 am


“.. .and in the ratio the units [W/m^2] cancel, ”

As they must. Each W/m^2 of solar forcing must have the same influence on each W/m^2 of surface emissions. This ratio is properly dimensionless, otherwise COE would be violated as it would require different Joules of input to perform a different amount of work relative to the output, and as I presume you already know, the units of work are Joules and the work required to maintain a specific surface temperature in the steady state is proportional to T^4.

Relative to feedback analysis, a DIMENSIONLESS ratio between the output and input is called the gain and a DIMENSIONLESS fraction of the output is returned to the input is the feedback fraction. If g is the closed loop gain, G is the open loop gain and f is the fraction of feedback, g = 1/(1/G – f) and f, g and G MUST all be dimensionless values. The fact that climate science has bastardized the concept of gain to have the units of degrees per W/m^2 while assuming G is a dimensionless 1 and that changing CO2 forces the system is the origin of the broken science as it purposefully hides the T^4 dependence of W/m^2 and the intrinsic linearity of W/m^2 of actual forcing to W/m^2 of surface emissions. Th W/m^2 of equivalent forcing from CO2 are not new Joules entering the system!

At an average temperature of 288K, the surface emits an average of about 390 W/m^2 which when divided by 240 W/m^2 is about 1.6 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing. A dimensionless ratio like this is already linear just as feedback analysis REQUIRES, so there’s no need to incorrectly assume that approximate linearity around the mean is sufficient to satisfy one of the preconditions for applying the analysis (the implicit power supply requirement is not satisfied in either case). A dimensionless sensitivity expressed as W/m^2 of surface missions per W/m^2 of forcing is the proper form of the gain. BTW, per Bode, the definition of sensitivity actually applies to something completely different and is also dimensionless. What climate science calls the sensitivity is really the closed loop gain.

If you want a T output, convert W/m^2 of output to T using the SB Law. Incremental or absolute W/m^2 results in the same ratio precluding the need for incremental analysis which is only done to obfuscate the non linearity between T and W/m^2. When you add about 1.62 W/m^2 to the 390 W/m^2 of surface emissions at 288k and convert back to a temperature, it’s 0.3C higher than it was.

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 9:37 am

This ratio is properly dimensionless
Yet you quote it as 1.62 W/m^2…

At an average temperature of 288K, the surface emits an average of about 390 W/m^2 which when divided by 240 W/m^2 is about 1.6 W/m^2
No it is 1.6 with no units. no W/m^2…

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 10:31 am

Solar forcing:
“For solar irradiance (i.e. “solar forcing”), the radiative forcing is simply the change in the average amount of solar energy absorbed per square meter of the Earth’s area. ”
The ‘change’ is usually considered relative to the year 1750 (pre-industrial)
Everything else equal that is simply the relative change of TSI (minus what is reflected and corrected for the Earth being a sphere).
Here is an image for comparison with other forcings
comment image

Reply to  Leif Svalgaard
October 21, 2020 10:02 pm


The 1.62 ratio is what the data converges to, the 240 W/m^2 of input and 390 W/m^3 of output are only approximations. I usually quote it as a dimensionless gain of 1.62 or a sensitivity of 1.62 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of forcing. Both mean the same thing.

Note that the reciprocal of 1.62 is about 0.62 and is the equivalent emissivity of a gray body whose temperature is that of the surface and whose emissions are that of the planet. Maintaining constant EQUIVALENT emissivity is the goal of chaotic self organization by clouds as this is the condition that minimizes changes in entropy as the system changes state. This math shows how 1.62 is the only possible gain and 0.62 is the only possible effective emissivity and is why I specified it as 1.62 (it’s actually 1.6180…).

Most of what Wikipedia says about climate science is wrong, largely because they simply echo what the IPCC says who has very little right and a whole lot wrong. It’s also been horribly biased by people like W. Connolly who seems to have a very weak grasp of fundamentals.

The proper definition of forcing is all of the NEW energy entering the system. Anything else is just redistributing existing energy. The Wikipedia definition of radiant forcing is incorrect and also contributes to why climate science per the IPCC is so wrong. Proper forcing is not just the change in solar power, but all of the solar power. A change just makes all of the solar power larger. Making the analysis incremental is a red herring designed to obfuscate the intrinsic linearity between W/m^2 of forcing and W/m^2 of surface emissions by inferring fake linearity between W/m^2 and temperature. This also enables improperly considering changes in CO2 concentrations as forcing, while the reality is that the W/m^2 of forcing attributed to doubling CO2 is really the amount of new W/m^2 from the Sun that are required to have the same temperature effect as doubling CO2 while holding CO2 concentrations constant. Changing CO2 concentrations is a change to the system and does not add new energy to the system, but any change to a forced system is always properly characterized as an equivalent change in forcing while keeping the system constant.

I suggest you read and understand Bode. He properly defines forcing, sensitivity, gain and feedback, rather than how climate science has bastardized the concepts even as they claim their nonsense conforms to Bode.

Consider an ideal BB, you must agree that the emissions sensitivity of a BB is 1 W/m^2 of surface emissions per W/m^2 of solar input. What about a gray body whose emissivity is 0.62. How can this be anything other than 1.62 W/m^2 of BB emissions at its temperature per W/m^2 actually emitted? An emissivity is simply a linear attenuation factor applied to the emissions of an ideal BB.

If the Earth is not equivalent to a gray body radiator, what kind of radiator is it? Are you trying to claim that the T^4 dependence of emissions doesn’t apply to the Earth’s surface? Even Trenbreth agrees that it does and as long as the T^4 dependence is present, there’s no possibility other than an ideal black or it’s non ideal cousin the gray body. The Stefan-Boltzmann Law is a law of physics, not just a suggestion that can be ignored to satisfy a narrative.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 20, 2020 11:05 pm

Smirnov, in 2018 calculated:

The line-by-line method gives the change of the global temperature (0.4 ±0.1) K as a result of doubling the carbon dioxide concentration

That was using the standard GHGE model, which is pseudoscience anyhow; since it’s falsified. I can’t see the point to what people like Monckton are doing. The standard GHGE model is falsified by reality – by the tests it fails. Why reanimate this GHGE zombie?

Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 21, 2020 12:00 am

It’s also falsified by the Vostok ice-core record, which shows that temperatures always change before CO2.

Tim Gorman
October 20, 2020 6:39 pm

This all begs the question of “exactly what does the term ‘global average temperature’ mean anyway?

Climate is the totality of the temperature profile at any one location. There is *no* global average location anywhere on the earth so what does a global average temperature tell you? It can’t tell you what the maximum temperatures are going to be at any location. It can’t tell you what the minimum temperature is going to be at any location. If you don’t know these two things then you don’t know the actual climate at any location either!

Concocting a global average temperature by averaging together hundreds or thousands of independent measurements gives you an uncertainty interval so large that you really can’t tell what the average actually is anyway. The uncertainty interval becomes larger than what you are trying to calculate.

It’s all a lot of time and money spent on something useless in the reality where we live.

Tom Foley
Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 20, 2020 7:23 pm

@Tim Gorman. I’ve always considered the use of a ‘global average temperature’ a major stumbling block in the debate, regardless of what opinion one has of the effect of CO2. But I think it’s even more problematic than you state. Even if you do know the maximum and minimum temperatures in any locality, that alone is not going to tell you the climate, you also need to know rainfall and seasonality. Suggestions that increased CO2 would be beneficial by increasing plant growth also fall into this trap of false global averaging: more CO2 won’t produce more plants in areas with inadequate water.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Tom Foley
October 20, 2020 8:24 pm

Surely average temperature is useless without a corresponding measure of humidity? Humid air (I’m assuming air is being measured) carries a lot more kinetic energy than dry air at the same temperature.

If so, then surely the idea of an average temperature is ludicrous. We nead heat (kinetic) energy measurements.

Reply to  Tom Foley
October 20, 2020 9:17 pm

Actually, if you average longitudes (based on the purely arbitrary zero line set by the Greenwich meridian, you get a point located in international waters in the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) just off the west African coast.

Very meaningful.. NOT !

Reply to  fred250
October 21, 2020 12:54 am

The Greenwich meridian being zero degrees is not arbitrary – its British!

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 21, 2020 3:13 am

And are you saying the British aren’t arbitrary 😉

Just look at their parliament !

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 21, 2020 4:26 am

A common definition of zero degrees was needed to make map-making and navigation more trustworthy and economic. The Greenwich Meridian was agreed at an international convention, of which the French were the only dissenting voice. They continued to use Paris as the zero mark on their maps.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 21, 2020 6:01 am

The Greenwich Meridian passes through France and Spain but not much of the UK as most of the UK lies to the West of the Prime Meridian. Which means that the Outer Hebrides are about 7’30 west About 30 minutes “behind” London, some would say it’s actually about 100 years.

There is some discussion in the UK and EU about having year round summer time, not popular in the parts of Britain North and west of London. Does make you wonder why there was such a fuss about the choice in first place.

M Courtney
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 21, 2020 7:58 am

In Thor 2, when the evil dark elf is attacking the union of all space and time, the battle takes place at Greenwich.
Thus proving that the choice of Greenwich is not arbitrary.
It has divine sanction.

Reply to  Tom Foley
October 21, 2020 1:41 am

more CO2 won’t produce more plants in areas with inadequate water.

Actually it will, since water loss is less in a CO2 rich atmosphere.

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 21, 2020 9:23 am

Because leaf stomata don’t have to open as much to get sufficient CO2, so there is less water loss from plant to atmosphere (transpiration).

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Foley
October 21, 2020 12:13 pm

Yes, more CO2 can and does produce more plants in dry areas, such as the Sahel. Greening of arid regions has been observed, for good reason.

With more plant food in the air, leaf stomata need stay open for less time to take in the gas essential for photosynthesis to make sugar. Thus they retain more water, with less time for it to transpire.

Reply to  Tom Foley
October 22, 2020 8:09 am

“more CO2 won’t produce more plants in areas with inadequate water.” Plant respond to a lack of water by reducing the stomata openings. Smaller stomata reduce water evaporation and allow more energy to maintain plant growth. Or possibly, nearby areas produce more plants, having a similar effect if the moisture is uniformly distributed.

On the other hand, the climate models erroneously treat the earth’s surface as a flat disk with an adjusted uniform absorption of solar energy. Unfortunately, plants don’t respond linearly to insolation. Plants going into the dark or coming into the light during rotation don’t have uniform responses. I’ve never seen anyone claiming an “average” response back it up with actual data about plant respiration or any other climate process.

Looking at all the climate processes none of them have strictly linear averaged responses. Thunder storms anyone? The result of heavy insolation an water at ground level, more or less automatically produces thunderstorms that limit the temperature increase during the day to ~30degC(Thanks Mr. Eschenbach). Deserts without excess moisture have MUCH higher temperature swings, especially around the equator.

Ian Coleman
Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 20, 2020 7:41 pm

Well argued, Tim. The average global temperature has no practical significance to anyone on the planet. If you live in Edmonton it makes no difference what the temperature is in Kuala Lumpur. Even the annual average temperature in the my hometown is essentially useless, because I have to live my life today. If it’s cold I have to dress for the cold, even if the average annual temperature is much warmer.

And, as you point out, it is probably prohibitively difficult to determine the global average temperature anyway. Climate catastrophists talk about the effects of a temperature change of half a degree. Is it possible to calculate the global average temperature to that precision? I doubt it.

Reply to  Ian Coleman
October 21, 2020 9:49 am

With weather, average is not normal. The actual temperature at any place at any moment in time is equal to the average annual temperature for that place for only for a a minute or two, twice per day in the spring and fall, and maybe occasionally in the winter and summer (in a mild climate).

If you take the average hight of a population of 100 people, it’s possible, even probable, that no individual in that population will have exactly the average hight. Lots of averages are not normal, some don’t even exist.

Mark A Luhman
Reply to  Ian Coleman
October 21, 2020 8:07 pm

I increased my daily average temperature by 40 F by moving from North Dakota to Arizona, somehow these old bones are a lot happier in Arizona. My Canadian winter neighbors will have to forgo their winter warmup this year, it really to bad. I am thinking they would like a lot of global warming right now.

John Adams
Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 20, 2020 7:46 pm


Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 20, 2020 9:14 pm

In theory,. the global average location, would be around the whole equator.

Or maybe the very center of the Earth…

That doesn’t help much.. does it 😉

Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 20, 2020 9:47 pm

Your explanation accords precisely with that given by the late Professor Robert Carter in his useful book, “ Taxing Air” –
“ Is there such a thing as a global average temperature?”
“ Yes, but it is difficult to assess and its usefulness is not established.
….Such averages are difficult to assess and have no physical existence, but represent instead convenient statistics that are generated from many separate pieces of data gathered from disparate places.In the case of temperature it is not the measured values that are compared but instead globally averaged anomalies of temperature. Thus the commonly referred to nominal 0.8C surface temperature increase during the 20th century actually represents the change in globally averaged annual anomalies over the century.
….Accepting that, nonetheless a global average temperature statistic can obviously be calculated using results from many individual weather stations.
Some scientists argue that such a number can have no more meaning than does a global average telephone number. The fact you can calculate such numbers does not, per se, confer any deep meaning or usefulness upon them.
Importantly, while changes in regional temperature contribute towards changes in global average temperature, a change in global average temperature tells us nothing about the regional patterns and differences in temperature that have led to the changed average. This is important when we consider the potential impact of changing global average temperature on regional climate.
….In any case, real world environmental effects are not imposed by changes in global average conditions but by changes in specific local conditions. What is of concern to citizens of different cities and farmers around the globe is whether their own local temperature, rainfall or sea level are going up or down, not what conceptual global averages might be doing.”

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Herbert
October 20, 2020 10:26 pm

Exactly, and as I’ve said before, no living thing on Earth can sense, or respond to, the “average global temperature.” As it has been said about politics, all climate is local.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Herbert
October 21, 2020 7:12 am

The earth has a temperature gradient from the equator to the poles. What does a Global Average Temperature (GAT) tell you about the gradient? Not much. If I show you a block of matter and tell you what the average temperature is can you tell me the temps at the two opposite ends? No, you can’t. Can you tell me what the gradient looks like? Nope. If the average temperature changes was it the hot end, the cold end, or the gradient shape? Who knows!

If you start at the Arizona desert the diurnal temp range is large. Just a few hundred miles north it isn’t near as large. Why? Water Vapor. Land usage. Lots of things.

A basic model requires a hot spot in around the equator so as to raise the gradient. We are about halfway to doubling CO2. If the ECS is 4 degrees, then the tropics should have a hot spot 4 degrees higher. Since most of the change is in the first half, then we should see 2.5+ degrees of change. Nope, can’t find any regions in the tropics that have that amount of warming. The models are simply not right!

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Herbert
October 21, 2020 1:20 pm

“In the case of temperature it is not the measured values that are compared but instead globally averaged anomalies of temperature. Thus the commonly referred to nominal 0.8C surface temperature increase during the 20th century actually represents the change in globally averaged annual anomalies over the century.

Thermometers don’t measure in anomalies. They measure in temperature and the readings have an uncertainty interval associated with them. And when individual measuring devices can have +/- 0.5degC uncertainty (a one degree interval) what does a 0.8C anomaly actually mean? Especially when the uncertainty grows by root square sum when they are averaged together.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 21, 2020 2:23 am

And I seem to recall that even Hansen has described global average temperature as “not a useful metric”.

But the argument is a futile one anyway. As Graeme says, evidence is that temperature changes precede CO2 changes and the only justification the eco-liars have for demonising the stuff is that they want to put an end to modern life. If their claimed objective were the true one they would be enthusiastic supporters if nuclear power generation, not pointless, intermittent, anti-environmental windmills and solar panels.

(The big puzzle in this farce is why so many apparently sane politicians have fallen for this hypocritical mendacity!)

steven c lohr
Reply to  Newminster
October 21, 2020 1:12 pm

They haven’t fallen for it, they are using it. Makes a difference.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 21, 2020 9:35 am

I have been meaning to bring this point up to the very bright people who post here! I am not even close to being a scientist but my common sense has always questioned the concept of a “global climate”. Now I know I’m not alone!

John Tillman
Reply to  Tim Gorman
October 21, 2020 12:04 pm

Please, “raises the question”. “Begging the question” is the name of a logical fallacy. It doesn’t mean “raising the question”.

October 20, 2020 6:47 pm

Then there are physicists who put sensitivity way lower.

Collision and radiative processes in emission of atmospheric carbon dioxide

“The line-by-line method gives the change of the global temperature (0.4+-0.1) K as a result of doubling the carbon dioxide concentration. The contribution to the global temperature change due to anthropogenic injection of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, i.e. resulted from combustion of fossil fuels, is approximately 0.02 K now.“

October 20, 2020 6:50 pm

“Here values of 5.2 and 5.3 are to be found.”

Getting the earth’s temperature back to levels found during the Holocen Optimum are by definition dangerous?

Please defend that assertion.

Reply to  MarkW
October 21, 2020 2:06 am

Thank you, MarkW. I too found the assertion of “dangerous” elevated temperatures to be questionable.


October 20, 2020 6:58 pm

”How they handle it remains to be seen.”
I can guess…. ”Modelling shows that temperatures will continue to rise dangerously while potentially masked by natural factors not yet fully understood”…

Reply to  Mike
October 21, 2020 2:44 am

This gets the prize!

I’m sure that is exactly what will happen (and already has happened regarding The Pause)

October 20, 2020 7:05 pm

Models are just calculations. Usually in science, calculations must be confirmed by observations, if the conclusion is to be drawn that the calculations are correct.

Reply to  peterg
October 21, 2020 4:28 am

That isn’t how climate “science” works. First you decide what answer you want, then you program a computer to give you that answer. Then, you hunt down any dissenting data and change it to match the answer you wanted.

Clyde Spencer
October 20, 2020 7:06 pm

The concept of a given temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 is based on the assumption that CO2 is the only absorber. However, it is well established that water vapor (H2O) not only plays a role, but is probably the dominant absorber. H2O is relatively constant, albeit perhaps increasing slightly with increasing temperatures. It seems to me that the correct approach is to add the absorbance of both H2O and CO2 (which have overlapping absorption features) and estimate when the addition of CO2 to the H2O results in a doubling of the absorption. That should be the basis of the ECS, not a doubling of CO2 alone.

October 20, 2020 7:07 pm

Judith Curry makes a strong case that an ECS > 4.5C is borderline impossible and one > 6C is flat out impossible. link

When discussing the goodness of a computer model, we talk about verification and validation. link The most obvious criterion is to compare the model output with real world data.

Since the usual climate models make incorrect predictions, the obvious way to validate models runs counter to the needs and desires of the alarmists. They, therefore, invent different criteria for validation. ie. they will claim that their models are verified and validated.

Since the model predictions run hot when compared with real world data, that should be prima facie proof that they are invalid.

When we look at the inner workings of climate models it becomes obvious that they are neither verified nor validated.

To make things worse, many of the kludges they use to mask their ignorance introduce unphysical effects into the solution, for example, the models end up violating the second principle of thermodynamics. link

Geoff Sherrington
October 20, 2020 7:11 pm

It is easily shown in the lab that incoming IR of appropriate wavelength will heat a gas mixture containing CO2. There is fundamental physics to support this.
But this is not enough.
If CO2 in the air is warmed, it will try to cool. Any object warmed above ambient tries to cool. Laws of Thermodynamics.
The wide range of ECS numbers comes from a lack of observation about natural cooling – where it happens, how fast it is, if there is a feedback involved, what the numbers are and so on.
The alarmism around us comes from those who accept the physics of the warming but say next to nothing about the physics of the cooling. Half a process does not describe a complete process.
Here is a thought. Suppose that there is a concentrated source like a chimney emitting CO2. What if a part of it is reacted away, like taken up by tree growth for example, before it moves far enough to register miles away at Mauna Loa and similar as part of the well-mixed atmospheric gas. That is a mechanism that could affect our understanding, but I have never seen it tested to give numbers. Such point sources do not seem to show up in data from satellites that detect CO2. The mechanism might explain the many, many historical chemical analyses of many hundreds of ppm CO2 that are simply ignored by mainstream activism. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 20, 2020 8:39 pm

Show me the paper about your first paragraph. I’ve been looking for years and never seen one.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Alex
October 20, 2020 11:52 pm

You have a microwave oven?
Apart from that, Guy Callendar (1938+) and Svante Arrhenius (1896) were among the first to give crude papers about lab results. They did other work on climate that has since been refined. Follow the paper trail.
Note how quiet the Establishment has been, after an estimated 8% reduction in measured CO2 emissions by Man have not shown any lower measured CO2 put in the air by Man and Nature, in the first 6 mnths of 2020 with Covid.
There is a point where the physics of CO2 in the lab cannot be easily extended to CO2 in the air. Arrhenius and Callendar did not deliver the final answers. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 21, 2020 3:30 am

Hi Geoff,
Sorry for the dumb question, but what do ~12cm long microwaves heating the water and fat in one’s food have to do with 2.7, 4.3 and 15 micron infra-red waves being absorbed by CO2 in a test gas mixture?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Erny72
October 21, 2020 7:22 am

I think the question is, that after absorbing EM radiation, do the molecules cool or do they trap the heat like so many say CO2 does ? Heating is only part of the process. Explaining the cooling process properly is also necessary.

Reply to  Erny72
October 21, 2020 8:44 pm

They do ‘cool’ after absorbing. After absorbing they gain mass (E=mC^2). Conservation of momentum tells me that they must slow down after absorbing and speed up after emitting.

Reply to  Alex
October 21, 2020 8:56 am

You have to put 2+2 together. The field of microwave spectroscopy is well studied. Gas molecules absorb energy at wavelengths which are determined by the physical properties of those molecules. Off the top of my head, I’d say that Hertzberg’s work would be a good place to start.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 21, 2020 10:42 am

Geoff, I say your first paragraph is wrong.

Thermodynamics says in the subject of specific heat that the energy required to cause a temperature increase can be of “any form”. If I use specific heat tables there is no mention if Q has any IR involved. The Shomate equation has no mention of adding in an IR function when calculating a mixed gas Cp with CO2 as a component.

Besides no one has yet explained how IR, which causes vibration not translation, makes nitrogen or oxygen increase in velocity. Every interaction cannot be additive. More like 50/50.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  mkelly
October 21, 2020 11:20 am

And the whole thing goes tipsy turvy when water is present as the IR disappears apparently into Latent Heat without temperature change.

October 20, 2020 7:15 pm

It’s worse than we thought.

October 20, 2020 7:28 pm

“How much warming is thus the central scientific question.”

Maybe, and doubling of Co2 will cause at most .5 C of global warming.
But a important question is how much warming would be bad?

And that question includes, when will such warming occur?

And start with we had some warming, and was that, bad?
Answer is, it was good.

And one should be smart enough to know that we are currently in Ice Age, and no one is seriously claiming any possible warming would actually cause us to leave the Ice Age we
are in.
Some make wild claims that Man made global warming could delay returning our future glaciation period by tens of thousands of years. {And somehow that is bad??}.

So, how much increase in global surface air temperature would be bad?
If we were not in an Ice Age, the global surface temperature would be MUCH warming- like it could be 25 C rather than the cold 15 C we having at the present point in our interglacial
Maybe one could ask, why are in an Ice Age with it’s extremely low CO2 levels of 400 ppm?

Everyone knows why. The reason is we have a cold ocean.
Our average temperature of our liquid ocean is about 3.5 C.
For you not to be in an Ice Age, the our ocean has to be at least 5 C
For global air temperature in be around 25 C, our ocean must be at least 10 C.
And during the last million year of our Ice Age, the ocean has remained within range
of 1 to 5 C.
One might ask what have been highest average global temperature while we have been
in our Ice Age. Probably, as warm as 18 C or more. And when it has been warmer, our ocean has been warmer.
During last time we were in an interglacial period, Eemian, our ocean warmed to about 4 C {or more}. And seems as low estimate global average air temperature was about 17 C.
Now for about last hundred year we have been say our global air temperature has been about 15, and we say it’s about 15 C at the moment. And we don’t know if it’s at 15 C or cooler or warmer. Rather it’s about 15 C and so kind of unrealistic to say can know what global temperature was over 100,000 years ago. So can say about 17 C and saying it was 17.5 C would simply be a lie. As would be a lie saying our current average temperature is, say 15.25 C.
Roughly we know, the southern hemisphere is about 1 C cooler than northern hemisphere.
Roughly we know global land temperature is about 10 C, global ocean about 17 C and average of the 70% ocean and 30% land is about 15 C. Or our best guess to date is average land is about 10 C, and ocean surface temperature of 17 C is less certain.
We measure the difference rather knowing what the temperature is.
So, is a 2 C increase in our global temperature, a bad thing?
I would say if ocean temperature increase by .5 and became about 4 C, that would “cause”
increase in global temperature by about 2 C. And the thermal expansion would amount about 1 foot rise in sea level. And it’s estimated that in last 100 year the ocean thermal expansion has be about 2″, and total rise in sea level has been about 7″.
And there some claims that during Little Ice Age, sea level dropped, and we since gained back more than we lost during this cooler period, ending around 1850 AD.
And question about whether ocean will increase to being 4 C or 17 C is question about how much time will it take. Well, it’s not going to occur within 20 years, and could happen within 200 years.
And it seems to me, one should only be concerned about such change within 100 years.
And if serious, within 50 years.

Rick C PE
October 20, 2020 7:37 pm

I don’t expect that the IPCC will have any difficulty rationalizing their way to an ever more hysterical conclusion that “it is worse than we thought” in our last 5 assessments. They have surely purged, intimidated and cancelled all competent, ethical and scientifically scrupulous authors and reviewers from their exclusive club of alarmists. They could certainly save a great deal of time and expense by just assigning the writing of the new assessment report to Micheal E. Mann and Bill Nye. Maybe get Ben Santer and Bill McKibben to write the SPM.

Splitdog Homee
Reply to  Rick C PE
October 20, 2020 8:00 pm

Exactly, this is no crisis. A crisis would require objectivity.

October 20, 2020 8:13 pm

How much? It depends on the initial value subscribed as the Average temperature in 1880 or thereabouts. Given that Phil Jones said that until more buoys were deployed the normals for between 40 – 60 South were mostly made up; how can one subscribe to an average to within 0.01ºC ?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  lee
October 21, 2020 7:27 am

That is one reason you never see measurement uncertainty propagated throughout the calculations to determine averages of temperatures. And it is not only the oceans but much of the southern hemisphere.

David S
October 20, 2020 8:27 pm

If the ECS is 2C. Then the climate of Detroit would be about the same as Indianapolis Indiana or Columbus Ohio. Is that an existential threat? Also during the Cretaceous period temperatures were much higher than today but life didn’t die out. It was prolific.

John Sandhofner
October 20, 2020 8:28 pm

To any person who has a modicum of scientific intelligence problems like this should highlight the fact that the whole modeling approach to establishing policy is bogus. Any attempt to finesse it will only further expose the whole climate change cabal as game playing.

4 Eyes
October 20, 2020 8:28 pm

“…. will be easy to call out”. Don’t bet on it – MSM haven’t called out much yet and as time goes by they, like alarmists scientists and most governments, stand to look stupid if they report that there really isn’t anything to worry about. It will take a long time to unpack the disinformation out there.

Reply to  4 Eyes
October 20, 2020 10:30 pm

Beat me to it! I had “They may simply drop mention of the ECS altogether, it now being very inconvenient. But this glaring omission will be easy to call out.” ready to paste in for exactly that comment. Like the falling tree in the forest, does an opinion even exist if it can’t be heard? While the various media fawn all over alarmists and censor others, the alarmists can get away with anything. Absolutely anything. The alarmists keep going on about tipping points – well I think the POTUS election could be a massive tipping point: a Joe Biden win would give the alarmists so much power that the return of the Laurentide ice sheet could be explained away as runaway global warming.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
October 21, 2020 11:00 am

Well, they already laid the groundwork for that claim nearly 10 years ago.

Robert of Texas
October 20, 2020 8:38 pm

There is no crisis. They are simply wrong.

This number they keep using called “The Global Temperature” is a false abstraction – it has no real meaning or relevance. So what if in Canada where the average temperature for August might be 34F degrees it rises to 40F degrees? You think the caribous are going to complain? The rise in temperature is less where it’s warm and greatest where it is cold, less in the day and greater at night… It’s called moderation. All life will be better off, unless you only consider humans living in marginal areas and they fail to adapt – which is very unlikely.

I have no idea if humans are contributing to warming because the current science is so BAD. They might be, a little, but most of this is natural and anyone who studies the historical record knows it.

People need to understand what a computer model really is…it’s just a reflection of someone’s ideas on how something works – it is NOT reality. If you do not constantly test and adjust it without prejudice, then it’s completely worthless. Climate activists are incapable of working without bias, and so they too as scientists are completely worthless.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 20, 2020 9:53 pm

See my response to Tim Gorman on this thread quoting the late Professor Robert Carter to the same effect.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
October 21, 2020 11:03 am

People need to understand what a computer model really is…it’s just a reflection of someone’s ideas on how something works – it is NOT reality
Yet we’re constantly hearing, even in the “hard” sciences, about how “models PROVE…”

Observations and reality don’t seem to matter anymore.

Reply to  TonyG
October 21, 2020 3:50 pm

Tony G great wisdom in your short comnent. A computer model is just the personal opinion of the owner and programmer. If it could make good predictions it might be a real model. Or just lucky. With bad predictios, as with all clonate “models” except one from Russia, they are just computer games used for climate alarmist propaganda. Models do not produce real data, as you could collect from observations. They are used for wild guess, nearly always wrong, predictions of the future climate, which no human has ever deminstrated the ability to predict.

ECS is a meaningless term because our planet is never on thermodynamic equilibrium. The TCS is unknown, but there is no evidence to suggest over +1.0 C. per CO2 doubling, and more evidence to suggest the right answer is NO ONE KNOWS. I only have a BS degree so am still allowed to say NO ONE KNOWS.

Reply to  TonyG
October 22, 2020 12:06 am

And also model runs are often referred to as “experiments”!

Its bollocks, not an experiment.

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
October 22, 2020 7:55 am

I suppose that’s a really easy way to “confirm” your hypothesis against “experiment” :smh

October 20, 2020 8:38 pm

“The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling”

Eh ?? Hello, it’s logarithmic dude. The first half of a logarithmic curve is steeper than the second half. We passed the half-way point of effect at 396 ppm.

Mark Pawelek
October 20, 2020 9:05 pm

The calculation of ECS depends on the atmospheric model of the greenhouse gas effect. They’ve always used the same core model; derived from Manabe and Wetherald 1967 amended by Held and Soden 2000. This is the so-called ‘simple physics’ behind man-made climate change.

The basic physics underlying this global warming, the greenhouse gas effect, is simple. An increase in gases such as CO2 makes the atmosphere more opaque at infrared wavelengths. This added opacity causes the planet’s heat radiation to space to arise from higher, colder levels in the atmosphere, thus reducing emission of heat energy to space. The temporary imbalance between the energy absorbed from the Sun and heat emission to space, causes the planet to warm until planetary energy balance is restored.

– Hansen et al.; 2011; Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 13421-13449, doi:10.5194/acp-11-13421-2011 (open access)

more CO2 in the atmosphere causes the atmosphere to be more opaque to infrared. That’s a falsifiable test. The data says:

comment image

The test fails. The optical thickness of the atmosphere to CO2 greenhouse gas is unchanged since 1950 for over 70 years since CO2 increased in the atmosphere from 315ppm to 415ppm.

So the core assumption of the greenhouse gas effect is wrong. What of the predictions? The first prediction is that man-made global warming happens because a change in CO2 is “reducing emission of heat energy to space“. We can measure that too, and have been; at least since 1985.

comment image

Far from reducing: the heat energy emitted to space increased since 1985 by a whole 1.5 W/m². The first falsifiable prediction of the core model shows the greenhouse gas effect model failing too.

In fact, OLR increases as a reflection of surface warming (notice the fall 1991-1994 due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo cooling earth’s climate).

It injected more particulate into the stratosphere than any eruption since Krakatoa in 1883. Over the following months, the aerosols formed a global layer of sulfuric acid haze. Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5 °C in the years 1991–93

– Wikipedia

So less OLR emitted to space does not a cause warming. It simply reflects warming which already happened. The climate consensus at the IPCC are clear that humanity cause 90% of modern climate change. They are clear about the mechanism by which we are supposed to warm the planet. For humanity to have – caused 90% of modern climate change – OLR to space must’ve fallen in line with the mechanics of the greenhouse gas simulation.

A core assumption and a core prediction by the climate consensus greenhouse gas model are falsified. Those claiming man-made climate change is settled science are promoting pseudoscience.

Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 20, 2020 10:11 pm

You are right but that does not stop alarmist scientists from trotting out Harries et al 2001, “ Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the earth in 1970 and 1997”,as an iconic paper and alleged evidence that LESS OLR has been shown to be emitted to space.
That paper was cited by Dr. Myles Allen in the famous tutorial to Judge Alsup in the Cal.v BP litigation.
It was again cited by the Australian CSIRO in response to Senator Malcolm Roberts’ demand for a paper showing CO2 is causing dangerous warming of the planet (WUWT passim).

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 20, 2020 10:49 pm

So less OLR emitted to space does not a cause warming. It simply reflects warming which already happened.

Ouch! Apologies.
(1) I should not use the word reflection. It has a precise scientific meaning but, above, I was using it in an everyday metaphorical sense.
(2) More OLR emitted to space is a proxy for surface warming. Obviously: since the S-B law calculates OLR increasing as the 4th power of temperature increases.
(3) What’s bizarre about this is how many dedicated warmists have tried to convince me of man-made warming based on this broken model (Ken Rice – are you listening?) They merely repeat this wrong, Platonic, model of the greenhouse gas effect and smirk – see you can’t disprove our logic so that means earth is catastrophically warming. I cannot dispute the logic. All I can do is falsify the pseudoscience. PS: One famous blogger has a reputable website dedicated to promoting this broken model. Why do so many reputable scientists promote pseudoscience?

Thanks Herbert for the tip. I will root those warmist citations of this paper out to ridicule them further!!

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 20, 2020 11:44 pm

In addition to the 2 falsifications of the standard greenhouse gas effect atmospheric model there are at least 2 more.

3) The model says that an increase in temperature due to more CO2 will cause atmospheric humidity to increase. In fact, it decreased.

comment image

The chart above was made from NOAA radiosonde data, by NOAA, at 300 mb (about 9.2 km altitude), over the tropics (30N to 30S latitude).

4) The resultant, more humid atmosphere, causes a hotspot over the tropics at altitudes of 10km to 12km). Climate consensus scientists agree the hotspot should be there but isn’t found:

Temperature trends from raw radiosonde data are also inconsistent with climate models, which project an upper tropospheric warming maximum, especially in the tropics (Santer et al. 2005; Trenberth et al. 2007; Santer et al. 2008)

the vertical trend profiles in the tropics did not show the enhanced upper tropospheric amplification as predicted by climate models

PS 1: quotes above are cited from: Haimberger, Tavolato, Sperka; J. Climate () 25(23): 8108-8131.
PS 2: They’re talking about GCM models here not the simpler, atmospheric model of the GHGE I referred to above.

Their ‘solution‘ to this missing hotspot is to homogenize the radiosonde data. A few homogenizations were done and eventually they tortured the data enough to find a hotspot (as explained in the paper above), so settled on a preferred homogenization.

October 20, 2020 9:10 pm

I’ve always thought that the debate over equilibrium climate sensitivity, and its difference from transient climate response, was silly in regards to the effect of a change in input that occurs so slowly that the word glacial doesn’t come close to being an adequate descriptor. There is no possible way that the Earth’s climate system could ever be far from a theoretical equilibrium state for any given CO2 level, simply because the increase in CO2 has been so gradual.

Look at it this way. If I crank a stove top under a pot of liquid up from low to high very quickly, I can see that it would take a while for the liquid temperature to achieve equilibrium for the new state. But if I change from low to high so slowly that it takes 20 years to get there, will there ever be a point in time where had I just stopped, the water temperature would be far off from the equilibrium temperature for the setting I stopped at? It’s hard to imagine that this would be so.

Every day, every patch of land/water on Earth undergoes rapid, large swings in heat flux above and below equilibrium that completely dwarf the infinitesimal incremental daily increase due to rising CO2, and every patch of land/water responds quickly to those very large and rapid changes, to try to achieve heat equilibrium via the daily swings in temperature. The idea that, say, an area of the earth surrounding a corn field in Kansas, when responding to the 1 kW or so increase in solar radiation from 4:00am to 1:00pm on a sunny mid-summer day, will be so completely flummoxed by the extra 0.00001 W/m2 that it has to squirrel that tiny increment of extra heat away on its way up to its daily maximum temperature (or down to its daily minimum), and keep doing this for a century or so, to allow these tiny increments to accumulate and wreak their holy vengeance on mankind at some distant date in the future is, well . . . . stupid.

You can quibble about what number to attach to “equilibrium climate sensitivity” for today’s CO2 concentration, but whatever it is, we’re living it now. There is no “heat in the pipeline.”

Dennis G Sandberg
October 20, 2020 9:24 pm

Much to do about nothing: The depth of the insanity of our current culture is that we spend $billions on the non-issue of CO2 induced possible warming and solving this non-issue by the unworkable $multi-trillion solution of capturing, and worse yet storing, sunshine and breezes.
…there is nothing we can do to stop the Earth’s naturally occurring climate cycles. Even the worst of the worst, even the most maniacal pushing the Global Warming Hoax admit that, at best, we can only cool the planet a couple of degrees, which will do next to nothing if the planet is determined to again warm itself by seven degrees, as we now know it did 2,999,998 years before the Bad Orange Man approved a couple of pipelines.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
October 21, 2020 9:14 am

It is not really about how much. Mann claims Trump did it in 4 years.

October 20, 2020 9:48 pm

And as the Connelly father/son duo show using data from 2 million balloon data sets….

….. the atmosphere is controlled by the molecular density.

The tropopause bounces up and down like crazy, showing it is forced by the surface temperature, not the other way around.

John F Hultquist
October 20, 2020 9:48 pm

Many important people know that CO2 is the culprit in the dangerous warming of the world, and they intend to fix it.
There may be a few rational climate researchers that anguish over the spread in estimates of ECS. What percentage of “important people” can say what this acronym stands for?
The connection between CO2 and global warming is an axiom to these “important people” and to question this makes one a heretic. The modern solution is to cancel such people.

October 20, 2020 10:24 pm

If ECS was truly 5+ and with most CO2 emissions having occurred after 1950 , the warming signal would be jumping out of the data and snarling at us like a rabid dog. Instead we’ve spent several decades trying to tease the warming signal out of the data, with prominent scientists wringing their hands over the “missing heat”.

The only way you get to 5+ degrees and still be credible is to assume natural cooling trends are cancelling a large amount of warming from CO2. In which case we’d best create as much CO2 as we can or the ice sheets will come for us.

So pick your poison alarmists. Sensitivity so high it means CO2 is the only thing between us and an ice age? Or so low that it doesn’t matter? I don’t even care which one any more, just pick one and be done with it .

October 20, 2020 10:44 pm

The major part of the ECS is the water vapor feedback. But there is good reason why it doesn’t exist. We know the “natural” greenhouse effect warms the earth by about 33 degrees. If there was no atmosphere the average global temperature would be -18 degree, but with the natural GH it’s +15. But here is the BIG problem. The science and math behind that 33 degree warming does not include any water vapor feedback. It’s purely from the stand-alone warming from CO2, H20 etc. The derivative jump in CO2 from 50ppm to 100, to 150, to 200, to 250 etc, does not have a corresponding water vapor feedback. So if there is no H20 feedback from the original GH effect, then there can NOT be a H20 feedback in the enhanced one. Physics works all of the time, not just when you need it for your agenda.

Reply to  ggm
October 20, 2020 11:38 pm

Uhm… the +33 degrees by definition is the sum of all warming both direct and feedback from all ghg’s combined. How much is portioned out to each is up for debate, but in no way is water vapour left out of the original 33 degrees.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
October 21, 2020 2:56 am

No that is not correct. The models/science/theory does not include any feedbacks in how the +33 is described. Obviously nature works how nature works (feedbacks or not), but we have our science/math that describes the theory and models it. Climate scientists have never included any feedbacks in the calculation of WHY the 33 degrees happens. My point wasn’t that there is (or is not) any actual feedback in that 33 degrees, it’s that climate science has never included any feedbacks in describing/modelling that 33 degrees. And if it wasn’t used then, then it isn’t valid now. And if they go back and re-do the science for the 33 degrees, then all of the current models will be drastically changed, because if they include feedbacks into the 33, then the original heating value of CO2 will be GREATLY reduced otherwise you couldnt get 33 degrees, you’d get 40 or 50.

Reply to  ggm
October 21, 2020 4:46 pm

ggm, I will try and explain it one more time.

Based on solar insolation hitting the earth , the calculated (via Stephan-Boltzmann Law) temp is 33 lower than the actual measured temperature. The difference is due to the total GHE effect of the atmosphere adding 33 degrees to the surface temperature.

There is NO modeling to arrive at this number. There is one calculation via Stephan-Boltzmann and a comparison to measured temps. The 33 degrees difference is the sum total of all the GHE of the atmosphere combined, part of which is water vapour.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  davidmhoffer
October 22, 2020 4:38 am

The Stephan-Boltzmann equation relies on the Ceteris Paribus principle and therefore assumes that no phase change takes place. In the presence of water this is not the case; so one needs to careful when using this equation to determine the Earth’s temperature or that of it’s atmosphere.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
October 22, 2020 8:54 am

In this case the SB equation is done with a simple no atmosphere calculation to arrive at the BB temp of earth. Since atmosphere is not included, care need not be taken. This results in a SB BB temp of 255K. Measured surface temps produce a value of 288K. That’s 33K higher, and the 33K is attributed to GHE of the atmosphere.

Not modeling , and no effects of water vapour ignored, they are simply part of the 33K . Modeling only comes in when you want to determine the portion of the 33K that belongs to water vapour.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  davidmhoffer
October 22, 2020 2:03 pm

You make fair comment here. It seems that due care has been taken. I suppose that they picked the Albedo and Emissivity figures from the moon for the zero atmosphere calculation; but am not sure how they split the two components for inclusion in the SB equation. Anyhow, I appreciate your comments and have taken them on board.
Many thanks

Reply to  davidmhoffer
October 22, 2020 10:48 pm

Hi Alasdair , a pleasure to actually have a civil discussion of the physics for a change.

Earth’s albedo was not derived from the moon’s. I know this because the common value cited for the earth’s albedo is 0.3 and for the moon .12. But you did raise a question in my own mind as to where 0.3 came from.

When I first started paying attention to the climate science debate, learned people from both the low and high sensitivity camps cited 0.3, so I never questioned where it came from , it seemed uncontroversial. A bit of googling suggests that 0.3 is the value calculated from satellite measurements , but those measurements include scattering from the atmosphere . But thinking it through, that’s still the right number to use to calculate surface BB temp sans GHE effects, and measured surface temps are 33K higher than that.

Mark Pawelek
Reply to  ggm
October 21, 2020 12:07 am

Humidity fell – certainly over the last 15 years. We’ve been measuring atmospheric humidity since 1948 with radiosondes. For example:

comment image

The chart above was made from NOAA radiosonde data, by NOAA, at 300 mb (about 9.2 km altitude), over the tropics (30N to 30S latitude). It shows a fall.

Despite the evidential fall in humidity, modelers still project rising humidity and a positive temperature feedback of 3× more warming due to the fake humidity predicted by their models.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 21, 2020 8:56 pm

Any thoughts on why the absolute humidity would be falling when the temperature is apparently increasing and the capacity for holding increasing amounts of water would therefore also be increasing?

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
October 22, 2020 2:17 pm

If the modellers had gone back to the basic thermodynamics of water they would have known that at evaporation an increase in energy input such as the GHE would result in an increase in the RATE of circulation of the Hydro Cycle but NOT an increase in the MASS of the water involved.
(The daily evidence for this is in the way our steam generating plants work.)
Essentially this means that the GHE or increase thereof would not necessarily result in an increase in the absolute humidity in the atmosphere.
Modellers, however live in a different world.

Dennis G Sandberg
October 20, 2020 11:01 pm

An evening of global warming discussion isn’t complete without hearing from Christopher Monckton:

As the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, (CFACT) has noted, “There is all pocketbook pain, and no climate gain, from any plan to eliminate fossil fuels in the US. And any talk of a ‘climate emergency’ is an absurd attempt to force an irrational debate on a complex issue.”
Lord Christopher Monckton, the former Thatcher adviser, summed up the climate “solution” debate this way in his testimony to the U.S. Congress: “The right response to the non-problem of global warming is to have the courage to do nothing.”

Moncton of Berkley, 9/2/19
They, not we, who are the true repudiators of the scientific method; They, not we, who are allowing Their totalitarian political predilections to get in the way; They, not we, who are profiteering at the expense of the jobs of working people, the existence of energy-intensive industries in the West and the very lives of the tens of millions annually who die in the world’s poorest countries because the World Bank, citing global warming, denies them access to domestic electrical power; They, not we, should be the distasteful objects of academic curiosity.

October 20, 2020 11:31 pm

The “crisis” in alarmista circles, will get even funnier if/when the measured global temperature starts to drop.

In one way I hope the temperature doesn’t start to drop, because of the problems it might cause around the world with food supply, heating etc etc.

On the other hand I really want it to drop, just to watch the antics of the alarmista and their shills. 😉

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  fred250
October 21, 2020 1:49 am

They will simply claim, as they already have, that the cooling was caused by the warming.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
October 21, 2020 9:18 am

Yes, they claim the increased energy causes bigger snowstorms!!!

Chris Hanley
October 20, 2020 11:41 pm

Estimates of the temperature increase per doubling of concentration necessarily assume all ease remain equal because the climate is “a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible” (IPCC 2001).
Instead of the familiar charts of CO2 and temperatures as a function of time, Clive Best has done an empirical study of global temperatures (HadCRUT) as a function of CO2 concentration coming up with a transient climate sensitivity of about 1.7C:
As Wiki points out ‘it may take centuries or even millennia to reach equilibrium’.

October 21, 2020 12:20 am

Crisis, what crisis?

Never mind the models, look at the observed physical effects:

Sea ice extent still at lowest for this date – Almost half a million km2 less than 2019 and more than a million km2 less versus 2012, 2016 and 2007.

BTW I’ve accessed the collected Soviet ice records from 1933 and they show that the ice is MUCH lower at minimum in the last decade in Russian/soviet seas, than at any point in the Sovier record from 1933

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 1:15 am

Show us the Soviet data then Griff. Its pretty unlikely anyone here is going to take your word for it!

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 2:48 am

So what? How does that compare with 1433? Or 33? Or 333BC? Or any other of the Warm Periods since the Holocene Optimum? The world didn’t begin with the Little Ice Age, griff.

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 3:01 am

“Crisis, what crisis? Never mind the models, look at the observed physical effects:”

March 2020, this year’s maximum extent was at 15.05 million Km² (5.81 million Mi²), that’s Australia x2, it was 640,000 Km² (247,000 Mi²), 1 whole France more than the lowest maximum of 14.41 million Km² (5.56 million Mi²).

So half a million less is a crisis in your world, but half a million more is?……… **tumbleweed**

You keep shouting “ice melting!!” as if we don’t know………… we know, thanks.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 3:21 am

“Sea ice extent still at lowest for this date”

Still with the same ignorant BS hey griff. Based on a pitifully short period from an extremme hig extent similar to those in the Little Ice Age.

Your comment is ignorant NONSENSE, and you know it.

Current levels of sea ice are in the top 10% of the last 10,000 year

They are still VERY HIGH relative to the Holocene norm.

And why to you think extreme levels of sea ice are GOOD.

The whole Arctic is responding to the RECOVERY in sea ice from the 1970s EXTREME HIGH.

Not only is the land surface GREENING, but the seas are also springing BACK to life after being TOO COLD and frozen over for much of the last 500 or so years (coldest period of the Holocene)

The drop in sea ice slightly toward the pre-LIA levels has opened up the food supply for the nearly extinct Bowhead Whale, and they are returning to the waters around Svalbard.–whale-food-returns/1401824

The Blue Mussel is also making a return, having been absent for a few thousand years, apart from a brief stint during the MWP.

Many other species of whale are also returning now that the sea ice extent has dropped from the extreme highs of the LIA. Whales cannot swim on ice. !

Great thing is, that because of fossil fuels and plastics, they will no longer be hunted for whale blubber for lamps and for whale bone.

Hopefully the Arctic doesn’t re-freeze too much in the next AMO cycle, and these glorious creatures get a chance to survive and multiply.

Your HATRED of Arctic sea life knows no bounds, does it,

You are disgusting, evil, little anti-life AGW apologist/cultist. !

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 4:01 am

“Sea ice extent still at lowest for this date”

This is GREAT NEWS, Thanks, griff !! 🙂

Certainly not a “crisis” .. a highly beneficial situation for Arctic sea life, and anyone that lives up there

Fishing, transport, recreation, all become SO MUCH EASIER. !

David Kamakaris
Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 4:38 am

Griff, how long is your record?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 5:42 am

grief has access to soviet records?..

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
October 21, 2020 9:00 pm

Right! Didn’t you see the link he provided to back up his claim? 🙂

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 8:33 am

meanwhile Greenland ice mass is outside the SDD range also

comment image?ssl=1

while Antarctic sea ice is the mirror image of the Arctic’s – heat piracy anyone?
(Bipolar seesaw.)

comment image?ssl=1

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Phil Salmon
October 21, 2020 2:11 pm

That’s out of date for Greenland, view latest data here. For DMI we’re in 2020/2021.

2019/2020 had a very short summer melt,with less mass loss than “normal”.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
October 23, 2020 7:26 am


Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 9:00 am

If the warming is natural, then there is nothing to worry about.
Since the warming still hasn’t gotten us back to the level of the Medieval Warm Period, much less the earlier warm periods, there is no reason to assume that the warming we are enjoying is anything but natural.
The models are the only source of the claim that the current warming must be caused by CO2.
If we ignore the models, we are back to the position that the warming is natural and something to be enjoyed, not feared.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 9:07 am

If the Soviets know that Arctic sea ice is disappearing, it’s curious that they should be making the world’s biggest fleet of nuclear ice-breakers:

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 9:29 am

griff, What? the real ice is the Antarctica and the fact that it is INCREASING is what matters, not that little dribble of Arctic ice fluctuating as the winds change.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 11:46 am

If you look at “Climate Reanalyser” you will see there is still an anomalous warm blob sitting over the top of Siberia. This is from a consistent WEATHER pattern that is dragging warm air from further south.

Over Canada is a cold blob.. again , its a WEATHER event.

An of cause , there is no evidence of any human causation…

and no evidence that the slow growth in sea ice so far this year is anything but a big plus for Arctic sea creatures.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 1:30 pm

“Crisis, what crisis?”


…. except in your feeble little mind.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 2:08 pm

Griff, I am familiar with the Soviet data. It is presumably accurate as far as it goes, but the August-September maps often only show open water areas with no data on where the actual ice-edge was because it was beyond the range of the convoys and the short-range aicraft used for ice-reconaissance. Like this for example:

And there is very little data later in the year, because navigation had already ceased. As can be seen here:

comment image

October 21, 2020 12:34 am

0.85 degrees per doubling. 0.5 error bar.

October 21, 2020 12:43 am

“are getting ECS values way above 4.5, which would be truly dangerous.” That is pure conjecture, and very likely to be untrue.

Most of the warming will be from an increase in minimum temperatures, how is this negative, exposing plants and animals to less extreme temperatures?

October 21, 2020 1:01 am

This is the problem with trying to plan based on worst case thinking. Tomorrow I could go for a walk in the neighborhood and some car could come around the corner at 100 miles an hour and jump the curb and run me down on the sidewalk. This is the worst case. By IPCC standards this means I should never leave my house, or country should ban cars or put cement barriers along every sidewalk.

Rod Evans
October 21, 2020 1:10 am

When science is being channelled to help resolve a debate, such as climate change drivers, the detail that is woven into arguments supporting and denying a position becomes ever more precise.
Despite this move towards precision of points surrounding the debate, overwhelmingly pointing clearly in one direction, still the debate goes on?
Now consider why that is the case?
Those who champion climate change being driven by human activity, mostly fossil fuel induced, have very little if any scientific training.
Greta Thunberg: no education no scientific training at all. can pull a face.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez: no scientific training at all. can pull a pint.
Prince Charles: no scientific training at all, talks to trees, can pull a rope.
Caroline Lucas: (head UK Green): no scientific training, can pull together…apparently.
David Attenborough: a talking head, no scientific training, can pull stories from thin air, or cliffs.
Michael Mann: a discredited scientist famous for ignoring the past. can pull a grant.
I could go on but you get the picture.
Now with that as the opposition against the thousands and thousands of real scientists, who know their subjects and all say the man made climate change alarm is unfounded hype. How is it possible, to still be debating this man made climate change nonsense?
If scientific argument was going to win the debate it would have been over decades ago. Clearly something else is maintaining the climate story and anxiety? It is not the science!
Those of us who are realists, know you can’t win a non scientific debate with more scientific proof. The other side are not interested in facts, even if they had any understanding of the science being thrown at them.
What we have here is a movement demanding global change, primarily the ending of capitalism. They have chosen climate concern, as their instrument to influence the masses. They have also realised is a very blunt and long winded instrument. For them something much more dynamic and immediate is needed.
Welcome to Covid world.
Note the ongoing build up of scientific argument, but also note how much more immediate the closing down of commercial activity is.
Vote wisely America.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Rod Evans
October 21, 2020 7:55 am

The powerful don’t really want to kill capitalism, they want to control it. Follow the money. There really isn’t much to be made from current electricity production. The state Public Utility Commissions have that under control. So let’s knock all the current stuff out and rebuild the infrastructure. Gobs and gobs of money will flow to the rich and powerful to create the infrastructure and then they will walk away.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 21, 2020 9:07 pm

Once one has several NYC apartments, international villas, and a stable of exotic cars, what do they do with their money? I suppose they could horde it as cash like Scrooge McDuck, but more likely they are going to invest in stocks, bonds, and developments. From that, everyone benefits. Not unlike what is called “Trickle Down.” When you get rich enough, like Bill Gates, you start being philanthropic. Again many people benefit.

October 21, 2020 2:00 am

Climate models are basically driven by the prior forcings input to them. This is basically a pre-determined low frequency model. The models themselves act as glorified pseudo-random generators. This is easily demonstrated for CMIP5 results by:

1. The “climate signal” matching historical temps only becomes apparent when multiple models are averaged, thus revealing the common input low frequency prior model
2. Subtracting the model mean from the individual models reveals…..nothing but unstructured random fluctuations with no temporal correlation or correlation to the historical temps. The physics of the models adds nothing to the understanding of the real world other than the prior assumptions that were input.
3. The final nail in the coffin is that the model mean can be trivially reconstructed from simple linear regression of the input prior. So just using anthropogenic positive forcings gives R=0.93 to the mean of the models, adding in natural forcing prior takes it to R=0.96. The correlation of the model mean with Hadcrut4 is R=0.92. The same correlation with Hadcrut4 can be obtained with a simple stepwise linear regression of the input forcings simply summarised into two groups of Anthro+ and natural, with a lag allowed for each to maximise correlation at each step.

In other words, the model mean can be almost perfectly constructed from just two linear regressions of the amalgamated inputs, and so can Hadcrut4. 92.6% of the model mean variance is explained just from the input prior model. So the mean climate model output is simply 92.6% input prior. And because the correlation to Hadcrut4 is lower it suggests the models are actually degrading the priors!

All the climate modellers are doing is tinkering with the balance of the input forcings by changing parameters. Climate models are simply:

Model output = model input low frequency prior + random noise

Carl Friis-Hansen
October 21, 2020 3:55 am

A bit OT and a bit off language, but then again…

Naomi Seibt exposing Prof. Drosten’s PCR test (German) in the German Bundestag.

I think her 18 minutes speech is extremely significant, not only to the Germans, but to the whole Western World.

You can see her speech at or

Although I understand German perfectly, I do not have the skills to make English subtitles or a transcript.
Anybody here who are in for it?

October 21, 2020 4:49 am

Now I”m truly confused. “mean global temperature” should be defined as “habitable”. That covers it much bettre than squiggly numbers and shifting positions because the seat of your desk suddenly got too hard.

I do have to add that the only time temperatures have ever been mean in my area is in winter when the snow is done flying and I have to shovel that stuff. Those are the days when I wish the temperature would stop being so mean and warm things up just a bit.

David Dibbell
October 21, 2020 4:50 am

Where is the proper place to start when proposing a value or range of values for ECS? Start at zero and admit there is no way presently to detect any condition by which a different value can be established.

Pat Frank has demonstrated formally in his paper (here ) that no model can reliably project a global air temperature response to changes in atmospheric CO2.

This reinforces to me what is intuitively apparent by looking at total energy in the atmosphere at any particular point on the planet. To illustrate, here is a link to a graph of “Vertical Integral of Total Energy” at a gridpoint not far from where I live in upstate New York. It is a time series of hourly values for all of 2019. The data is from the ERA5 reanalysis product by ECMWF. I have expressed these values on the vertical axis in Watt-hours per square meter to get the point. 3.7 W/m^2 is widely accepted as the direct static warming effect at the surface of a doubling of CO2 (i.e. from 280 ppmv to 560 ppmv.) Another way to express this same value is 3.7 Watt-hours per hour per m^2. Look at the graph. This quantity of energy stored or released per hour in the atmosphere is vanishingly thin on the vertical scale. Why? Because the rapid and large energy transformations in the atmosphere overwhelm and blur what happens if the radiative coupling of the lower atmosphere to the surface, and the effectiveness of high altitude emission to space, are each slightly adjusted by increases in CO2. The classic needle in the haystack. Other gridpoints, e.g. in the tropics or near the poles, will look a bit different but the message is the same.

comment image?dl=0

So what? Any value of ECS different from zero cannot be reliably detected or determined. What the atmosphere does with energy (kinetic, potential, sensible heat, latent heat) will not let you find it. And if a value of ECS obviously cannot be determined at any gridpoint, neither can it be reliably estimated for the planet.

Bevan Dockery
October 21, 2020 5:01 am

Equilibrium climate sensitivity is a meaningless metric. Doubling or halving the CO2 concentration merely halves or doubles the altitude at which there is complete absorption of the radiation in the CO2 absorption bands at the Earth’s surface temperature. That means that there is no more energy to be had from those bands.
for the paper by Professor Emeritus W.J. Witteman: The absorption of thermal emitted infrared radiation.

On 18 October 2020, the atmospheric CO2 concentration at the Mauna Loa Observatory was 411.17 ppm. That equates to a density of 1.143 x 10^+16 molecules of CO2 per cubic centimetre. The four main absorption bands for CO2 emit 6.929 x 10^+7 photons per cubic centimetre, that is, one photon for every 165,000,000 CO2 molecules from Planck’s law for a source temperature of 15̊C. Consequently all of the radiation from the four bands emitted from the Earth’s surface for an average temperature of 15̊C would be absorbed within a few hundred metres of the surface, leaving the vast majority of the CO2 molecules in their vibrational ground state.

Even if there was room for more absorption, how is that going to heat the Earth at an average temperature of 15 deg.C when 99.83% of the photons in the CO2 absorption bands are in the 15 micron band, equivalent to the peak emission from a source at -80 deg.C. That temperature is only experienced at the South Pole on odd occasions.

Computer simulation models of the Earth’s climate are always wrong because they involve this meaningless metric.

Reply to  Bevan Dockery
October 21, 2020 12:33 pm

Looking for equilibrium parameters in a far-from-equilibrium system is obviously going to be a quest for a non-existent Holy Grail.

October 21, 2020 5:35 am

To me, final equalized sensitivity goes back to the idea that Earth is 33°C warmer than it would be if the atmosphere were completely transparent, because of energy imbalance of 150 W m-2.
This means that whatever causes the imbalance, it eventually equalizes out to,
33°C/150 W m-2= .22°C per W m-2. 2XCO2 claimed imbalance of 3.71 W m-2, would equalize out to .816°C.

I noticed an interesting coincidence in playing with the numbers (and coincidences do not usually exists in science)
The total pre industrial imbalance is supposed to be 150 W m-2, with CO2 at 280 ppm,
and CO2 accounts for 20% of that 150 W m-2, or 30 W m-2.
If we look at the number of doubling s of CO2 it takes to get from 1 ppm to 280 ppm,
we get 8.09 doubling s. This makes each doubling worth, 30 W m-2/8.09= 3.708 W m-2!

Reply to  Longview
October 21, 2020 2:19 pm

It doesn’t work that way. At low concentrations absoption increases linearly, it is only when fom a few tens of ppm that the incerase becomes logarithmic. So doublings have very different effects at low concentations.

Alasdair Fairbairn
October 21, 2020 5:39 am

In my arrogant opinion I reckon I sorted this problem out some time ago; but in my humble opinion it is little more than an hypothesis ripe for discussion and challenge. Here is a summary of the logic:

For every force or influence, at equilibrium there is an equal and opposite force or influence. The GHE may be considered as an influence.
Consider the Hydro Cycle as an OPPOSING influence, being in essence a Rankine Cycle. This being the basic Hypothesis.
In a Rankine Cycle an increase in energy input (GHE?) results in an increase in the RATE of circulation of the Cycle; but NO increase in the Mass of the working fluid (water) involved. (This being the opposing influence)
In this process the pressure and temperature remain constant; as seen in our steam generating plants.
The evaporation/condensation processes occur at constant temperature thus the Sensitivity Coefficient in the Planck Equation is ZERO.
The physical forces driving this Rankine Cycle are gravity and the buoyancy of the water Vapor(a gas) due to its molecular weight being less than that of dry air. The vapor with its Latent Heat rising and the condensed liquid descending under gravity. Thus moving a large energy up through the atmosphere and beyond for dissipation. This being some 694 Watthrs./Kilogram of water evaporated. (The Latent Heat)
It is within the clouds that much of this cycle takes place where energy is moved or transformed at very low levels of Sensitivity at a micro/fractal level, providing a strong influence on the overall Global Sensitivity.
Unless the above is incorporated into the climate models, there will inevitably be an overestimate of Climate Sensitivity.
Considering clouds purely in terms of Albedo, radiation etc. being inadequate to explain or conclude on matters of feedback etc.

IMO it appears that the climate models concentrate almost entirely on matters of radiation to explain or mimic the climate at the expense of basic thermodynamics particularly of water. They need to adjust this; but it would involve thinking outside the current mindset of reliance on data collection from sophisticated measurement of radiation.

Alasdair Fairbairn
October 21, 2020 5:43 am

I am getting a 409 Error message in attempting to comment. What do I do?

October 21, 2020 5:50 am

Anyone can look @ the GHG diagram and see how little CO2 contributes:

comment image

It amazes me that anyone could look at that and say that CO2 can drive climate change.

October 21, 2020 5:58 am

Alarmists will always maintain high ECS estimates because without a temperature figure that’s high enough to scare the public the entire AGW industry collapses.

The IPCC will l** and l** about their central ECS figure to keep the show on the road. That’s just a fact.

David Roger Wells
October 21, 2020 6:23 am

Dr William Happer said if my memory serves me correctly said that if Co2 is about to cause dangerous climate change why didn’t it cause dangerous climate change during the Cambrian when atmospheric Co2 was 8,000ppm? Or when dinosaurs ruled the world when atmospheric Co2 was 2500ppm. Worst case scenario as atmosphere is mostly saturated Dr Happer said doubling from now – which is unlikely according to Dr Spencer – might warm the planet by 1C. Currently UAH shows a trend of 0.14C/decade or 1.12C by 2100.

Since 2004 the planet has spent $5 trillion on wind turbines which in 2019 generated – about – 1% of global energy demand. Turbines are at the BETZ limit and will remain 24% efficient at birth declining to 11% at 15 years just before they die at 20 years. Energy demand growth was 2.9% in 2019. Therefore to generated 1% of demand growth/year every year using turbines the planet would need to spend $20 trillion on turbines/year every year which is impossible and would make no inroads into the 85% of energy generated by fossil fuels.

It doesn’t matter how many times and how many different ways people do the calculations. Natural emissions of Co2 are 28 times those of human emissions including emissions from fossil fuels but insofar as I can understand it is the 3.4% which is causing the supposed problem not the 96.6% which doesn’t make a lot of sense. A slight rise in natural emissions would easily exceed the a slight rise in human emissions. But if we planted $20 trillion of turbines every year for 50 years turbines would cover an area the size of Russia.

There is not a snowballs chance in hell that this circle can be squared. We couldn’t build turbines and solar panels fast enough. We would most likely run out of space just before we recognised we couldn’t dig anymore holes in the environment that we were supposed to be conserving and protecting from the supposed ravages caused by Co2.

The rhetoric is absurd. The basis of the argument is that Co2 is a threat to the environment because it might cause a little more rain and a few more storms and maybe another tornado or hurricane the evidence thus far proves this to be nonsense. But in order to remove all risk we need to carpet the environment which is supposed at risk from Co2 with man made monstrosities which cannot exist with the abundance of coal oil and gas which are manufactured from stuff dug out of the environment. Cognitive dissonance. Whom ever dreamt up this idiotic exercise in Alice in Wonderland banality needs a Nobel prize for creativity.

Reply to  David Roger Wells
October 21, 2020 7:57 am

Climate change is dangerous now, because it changes the conditions our current civilisation depends on, drastically, within a very short space of time.

Steve Keohane
Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 8:45 am

Starting when?

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 9:18 am

Do you have any evidence to support that belief?
PS: A few tenths of a degree over a century or more is not something civilization can’t handle.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 9:19 am

@griff You’re just making it up as you go along.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 9:24 am

Griff, total fiction. The only thing it changes is increasing plant growth.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 11:21 am

What difference does any of that make to the planet? We’re still not even a blink of an eye.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 11:49 am

Utter RUBBISH ! from griff.

Climate has never been static

The warmer periods in the past have always been period of human progress.

The colder periods of human suffering.

You are a LIAR and FOOL, griff.

Reply to  griff
October 21, 2020 11:55 am

Answer this question griff..

or just run and hide

In what ways has the global climate changed in the last 50 years , that can be SCIENTIFICALLY proven to be of human causation?

You will have to actually back up your answer with real science, not Gruniad parrot cage paper.

You are a empty sock, griff.

Reply to  griff
October 22, 2020 12:15 am

Griff, you should take a look at the temp changes during the Younger Dryas period.

Or consider that during Dansgaard-Oeschger events the Greenland temp can swing 10+ degC in a matter of decades (30 – 50 yrs).

Finally, consider that for around 80% of the Holocene the European Alps were largely ice-free – lots of peer reviewed papers on this, discovering ancient forest remains reappearing as ice retreats now.

Reply to  David Roger Wells
October 21, 2020 8:28 am

Happer is quite right of course.
And Angstrom showed that the IR effect of CO2 saturates in a thin slice of the atmosphere back in 1900:

John Tillman
Reply to  David Roger Wells
October 21, 2020 11:58 am

During the Archean Eon, when anaerobic prokaryotes ruled, CO2 was ten to 100 times as plentiful as now, ie 4000 to 40,000 ppm. The latter figure is comparable to water vapor in the moist tropics now.

Methane was also probably much higher than now.

Tom Abbott
October 21, 2020 6:53 am

From the article: “The first line of research takes a new approach called observational ECS. The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling we should be able to derive ECS empirically from the observed relationship between CO2 increase and temperature increase.”

Temperature increase starting when? If we start in the 1930’s in the U.S. then there has been no temperature increase since that time, yet CO2 has increased. So this particular observation says CO2 has no measureable effect on atmospheric temperautures.

Smart Rock
October 21, 2020 7:58 am

The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling we should be able to derive ECS empirically from the observed relationship between CO2 increase and temperature increase

Estimating climate sensitivity from recent temperature and CO2 increases makes a logical error; it assumes that recent CO2 increase is the sole cause of recent temperature increases. It postulates that there is no “natural” process going on that affects temperature; a postulate that is extremely improbable. It’s the “natural climate change ceased in 1975” concept which is never actually stated, but is implicit in most climate science.

Therefore, not knowing the “natural” climate changes of recent decades makes it logically impossible to estimate ECS using temperature and CO2 time series.

If the alarmist cabal needs to defend itself against the argument that very high estimates of ECS don’t match observed temperature increases, they can say that there’s been a natural cooling process that offsets most of the CO2-induced warming. Of course, defending a position with argument isn’t part of climate science protocols; they just throw personal insults against anyone who points out their errors, so even that weak, post-hoc rationalization isn’t actually stated.

M Courtney
October 21, 2020 8:07 am

In Thor 2, when the evil dark elf is attacking the union of all space and time, the battle takes place at Greenwich.
Thus proving that the choice of Greenwich is not arbitrary.
It has divine sanction.

October 21, 2020 8:23 am

A very perceptive article, thanks David.

There have been a number of observational studies and many are getting ECS values well below 1.5, which are harmless indeed. Values of 1.2 and 1.3 are common.
But at the same time there has been a new wave of modeling studies and these are getting ECS values way above 4.5, which would be truly dangerous. Here values of 5.2 and 5.3 are to be found.

How the IPCC handles the exploding ECS range will be interesting to see, at the very least. They may choose to ignore it because it has to hurt alarmism.

FWIW I think the path they will choose is balefully predictable.
They are all in so they will double down on the new high modelling ECS numbers.
They have been chastened by the convergence of the empirical data-based low ECS in agreement with theoretical work by Chris Monckton, Nic Lewis, Lindzen and others. So they may well indeed try to move away from the concept of ECS. Find a modelling-only safe space.

James F. Evans
October 21, 2020 8:54 am

Question: is there a so-called “tipping point” for CO2 level in the atmosphere?

And a second question: what is the percentage contribution of Man to the natural CO2 level?

That there is a “tipping point” is a given by climate alarmists, yet the scientific basis for this conclusion is lacking. Historical levels of CO2 in the atmosphere by various observational methods suggests it can vary widely. And this variable CO2 level has not been shown to be causative of atmospheric temperature.

It’s been hard to pin down the percentage contribution of Man to the natural CO2 level. Is it 3% or 10%, somewhere in between?

There is no scientific basis to declare even a 10% contribution creates a “tipping point.”

Only an a priori assumption.

That’s not a basis for upending the world’s political-economy by imposed (read forced) Socialism.

Gerald Machnee
October 21, 2020 9:29 am

Whether ECS is 1.0 or 6.0, the numbers are calculations, NOT measurements. There are NO measurements of how much CO2 warms the atmosphere. From the logarithmic chart posted on WUWT we know that the effect of CO2 by 400 ppm is very small.
The warmists claim that positive feedbacks will cause the warming, however again there is NO way to measure them. In fact, some scientists also suggest that the feedbacks from cloud and moisture could be negative. So i will not be surprised if we cool soon. The odds now are similar for either direction.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
October 21, 2020 11:09 am

I’m definitely in the Negative feedback camp, not as a scientist but as an engineer trained in the thermodynamics of water in the days of steam propulsion in our ships. Water does not comply with IPCC assumptions in that at evaporation the Planck Sensitivity Coefficient is Zero since it occurs at constant temperature. Further a quick look at the steam tables reveals that for every Kilogram of water evaporated some 694 Watthrs. of energy is pumped up into the atmosphere and beyond to space for dissipation before returning to earth. This done totally independently of CO2 levels. The IPCC appears to ignore this reality in concluding that the feedback is positive. A gross error in my opinion.

John Tillman
Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
October 21, 2020 11:45 am

It’s likely on a water world that net feedbacks from a fourth, fifth or sixth molecule of plant food per 10,000 dry air molecules are negative. Thus ECS should be less than the non-feedback figure of 1.1 degree C per doubling.

Without knowing how much of whatever warming has occurred since AD 1850 is from natural forces, even observational ECS derivations can’t be considered accurate or precise, except to show that there’s nothing to worry about.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Alasdair Fairbairn
October 21, 2020 12:35 pm

Most people who spread the positive feedback story do not know that it is an assumption, similarly to the Assumption that CO2 causes most warming.
News media are generally guilty of the CO2 assumption because they do not understand science, and are not willing to search for the truth.
In Canada all the media got sucked in by three of the political parties hijacking the last election by making the unfounded claim that we were in climate emergency instead of focusing on the national debt and deficit. We can see where that went now. Covid took over priority and the debt mushroomed.

October 21, 2020 9:36 am

Of course observational results have to remove other warming agents, such as nitrogen oxide from fertilizer, which is claimed to be 300 times stronger than CO2

October 21, 2020 10:27 am

The first line of research takes a new approach called observational ECS. The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling we should be able to derive ECS empirically from the observed relationship between CO2 increase and temperature increase.

There have been a number of observational studies and many are getting ECS values well below 1.5, which are harmless indeed. Values of 1.2 and 1.3 are common.

But at the same time there has been a new wave of modeling studies and these are getting ECS values way above 4.5, which would be truly dangerous. Here values of 5.2 and 5.3 are to be found.

I think those three paragraphs sum up the entire problem. If observation shows one number, how are any models showing 4-5 times that even vaguely justified?

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

Reply to  TonyG
October 21, 2020 12:01 pm

Before such a calculation you have to show that CO2 is the only thing causing warming.

If you assume it is, then the calculation gives a maximum possible, and real answer is substantially lower.

There is no real evidence that the ECS is anything but ZERO.

October 21, 2020 10:33 am

The real crisis is cyclical cooling of oceans, not warming and not warming pause. The race is on to cement and distort public policy before that becomes obvious. Biden is the Great White Hope.

October 21, 2020 11:49 am

More important is the contribution the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide makes to global foodstuff production, without which famine would be far more widespread than it is. Alarmists studiously avoid any recognition that what they decry has significant benefits that far outweigh their overblown concerns.

October 21, 2020 1:36 pm

The whole thing is totally useless. What kind of “observations” could you use to determine ECS? One could look at ice core data, which suggest huge deltas in temperature correlated with only moderate changes in CO2 concentrations. If 5K up or down go along with a delta of ~80ppm in CO2, then arguably a doubling of CO2 might mean some 15, or even 20K in ECS.

Now we know CO2 concentrations FOLLOWED temperatures, so there is nothing to take away from ice core data. You could only speculate if CO2 did enhance past climate change (serving as a feedback), but without any empiric evidence to support the claim.

The other possibility is to derive ECS from recent warming, which of course implies that warming was due to CO2. This however is largely a self fulfilling prophecy. The formula goes like: the warming is due to CO2, thus we can assess ECS, and with the ECS we explain the warming..

If we leave the box and look at the bigger picture, we easily find CO2 can not even cause significant warming, the ECS is only in the 0.1K range. But we have another far more important anthropogenic driver of climate, which are contrails. Then, all of a sudden, we have a valid explanation to why temperatures started climbing only in the 1970s. Then we also understand why Antartica has been exempt from warming, since there are no contrails.

Alan Millar
October 21, 2020 1:52 pm

The alarmists will not use the observations of how much the temperature has increased since CO2 was at 280.

We are now half way to the doubling figure of 560, so we should have had half the warming? Wrong! The CO2 forcing effect is logarithmic, so the strongest forcing has already happened. The final 140 ppm will have a significantly weaker forcing effect than the first 140.

They also know that the algorithm adjusted figures for the ‘warming’ rate that has actually taken place have been constantly adjusted, by warming the present but also cooling the past. This they cannot continue to do at anything like the rate they have done, it will eventually bring fairly recent figures into the ‘cooled’ ones making the already recorded statements about the ‘disastrous’ warming look ridiculous. ‘Hey, we have discovered it wasn’t that warm after all’ and make the model outputs and predictions look even more ridiculous than they already are.

The far sighted vocal alarmists should be toning down their rhetoric, unless they are so far gone they intend to go down with the sinking ship.

October 21, 2020 4:17 pm

After much thought and adult beverages, , after I woke up, I came to the obvious conclusion that Griff is really a fictional commenter invented by the Moderator to stir up trafficat this here website. Yes, I dreamed that I overheard Mr. Moderator sitting on his “office” bar stool discussing what he was going to post next under the Griff moniker. His travelling “secretary”, sitting on the next bar stool, asked why he published fake Griff comments. Mr. Moderator responded that publishng a “Griff” comment was like throwing a few bananas in the monkey cage at the zoo, which gets all the monkeys excited, active and vocal. He apparently does that too. Being a Moderator is a stressful job, so we should all send him some “office supplies” (scotch, bourbon and MD 20/20 — 1968 vintage is his favorite). Keep those glorious, gripping, Griff comments coming, Mr. Moderator, we love them just like lions love raw meat.

Pat Frank
October 21, 2020 4:52 pm

Don’t know if you’re still reading comments, David, but ECS has no known physical meaning because the impact of CO2 emissions on the climate, if any, remains completely unknown.

The entire notion of ECS depends strictly on the predictive reliability of climate models. And climate models have no predictive reliability, at all.

All the extrapolations from CO2 radiation physics to the climate, starting with the Charney Report, follow from the fatal assumption of ceteris paribus. But the climate is not unchanging.

Fritz Möller had that figured out in 1964, and everyone since then has tendentiously ignored him.

Reply to  Pat Frank
October 21, 2020 6:31 pm

Pat Frank
Good article at the first link.
I don’t believe the models deserve to be called climate models. A real climate model would need to be based on a detailed and correct knowledge of what causes climate change. Such a climate change physics model would be the foundation of a real global climate model … if that climate physics model existed.

So what we have, that are falsely called global climate models, are just computer games that have no predictive ability. They present the personal opinions of the owners. What they produce is not data. They predict whatever the owners want predicted. They consistently over predict global warming, showing a bias among the “owners”, because the errors are not random.

With any prototype “model”, the next iteration should make better predictions. But with the so called climate models, the global warming predictions remain consistemtly high, showing that accurate predictions are NOT a priority.

The “models” are so bad that the calculations could be done on the back of an envelope. Wild guess the TCS and the CO2 level growth rate and use a $5 calculator. Within one minute you’ll have your own wild guess of the global average temperature in the next 100 years. Make sure you present your “model” prediction with at least three decimal places, which is real science. As opposed to two or fewer decimal places, which is baloney, malarkey, banana earl (Brooklyn, USA)
and a steaming pile of farm animal digestive waste products.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 21, 2020 8:22 pm

Exactly right, Richard. Video-game science.

And thanks for the up-vote. 🙂

October 21, 2020 5:25 pm

If you want to know what people really believe watch how they act. If someone thinks a ship is sinking they will get into a lifeboat. If they don’t believe the ship is sinking they will tell you why lifeboats are unsafe. The Warmists have consistently refused to get into the nuclear life boat. They know full well the ship isn’t sinking.

William Haas
October 21, 2020 6:50 pm

AGW is a conjecture based on only partial science and is full of holes. For example, the AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. A real greenhouse does not stay warm because of so called greenhouse gases or because IR radiation is trapped inside the greenhouse. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is entirely a convective greenhouse effect that keeps a real greenhouse warm. So too on Earth where instead of glass, gravity and the heat capacity of the atmosphere limits cooling by convection. It is entirely a convective greenhouse effect that keeps the surface of the Earth on average 33 degrees C warmer than it would otherwise be. 33 degrees C is the amount of warming derived from first principals and 33 degrees C is what has been measured. Any additional warming caused by a radiant greenhouse effect has not been detected. If CO2 really affected climate one would expect that the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years would have caused at least a measurable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. A radiant greenhouse effect has not been detected in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s atmosphere, or anywhere else in the solar system. The radiant greenhouse effect is hence science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well.

But for those who still believe in the radiant greenhouse effect, initial calculations of the climate sensitivity came up with a nominal figure of 1.2 degrees C for a doubling of CO2 not including feedbacks. Christopher Monckton and associates and came up with the conclusion, based on measurements, that if all the warming since 1850 were caused by CO2 then the climate sensitivity of CO2 could not possible be more than 1.2 degrees C including feedbacks. A researcher from Japan pointed out that the original radiametric calculations forgot to include that fact that a doubling of CO2 will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect that lowers the climate sensitivity of CO2 by more than a factor of 20, from 1.2 degrees C to less than .06 degrees C which is too small to measure. So no wonder that no one has been able to measure the climate sensitivity of CO2 because there is nothing to measure.

Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. The AGW conjecture assumption is that CO2 based warming causes more H2O to enter the atmosphere which causes more warming that causes even more H2O to enter the atmosphere and so forth. Not only is H2O a greenhouse gas but molecule per molecule H2O is a stronger IR absorber than is CO2 and on average there is roughly 50 times more H2O in the atmosphere. Compared to H2O the contribution of CO2 to the overall radiant greenhouse effect must be trivial. What the AGW conjecture ignores is that besides being the primary greenhouse gas, H2O is a primary coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere. The overall cooling effect of H2O is evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate which is a cooling effect. So instead of a potentially unstable positive feedback, H2O provides a negative climate stabilizing feedback. So instead of multiplying the climate sensitivity of CO2 by a nominal 3 we should divide the climate sensitivity of CO2 by 3 yielding a climate sensitivity of CO2 os less than .02 degrees C which is too small to measure and is effectively zero.

David Lilley
October 22, 2020 6:53 am

“The first line of research takes a new approach called observational ECS. The idea is that since the CO2 level is almost half way to doubling we should be able to derive ECS empirically from the observed relationship between CO2 increase and temperature increase.”

No. This line of reasoning assumes that CO2 exclusively controls the global temperature, directly and through feedbacks, with other factors merely resulting in minor self-correcting deviations. We know that this scenario is wrong. If it were correct, the swings in temperature represented by the Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period, Dark Ages, Roman Warm Period, etc would not and could not have happened since CO2 was allegedly stable before man started burning fossil fuels.

October 24, 2020 5:54 am

Lots of interesting comments but almost none address the point of my article, which is that this is an opportunity for skeptics to take advantage of.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  David Wojick
October 25, 2020 1:48 am

Totally agree and must admit I am not good at this and merely luxuriate in contributing and reading the WUWT comments etc. I do however subscribe to Quora and attempt to calm down many of those stricken by the CAGW Virus. It is an interesting phycological exercise, particularly when I touch a nerve or two in the alarmist camp.

Frank Tinkler’s book “ Air of doubt” is now available free on Amazon which I suggest should be well supported and promulgated across the media if you have the mind.
OK It a hard read and probably incomprehensible to many; but the message is clear and well touches nerves in the alarmist camp. It does however need someone to explain it in Layman’s terms free of the maths where possible to point out the two basic flaws inherent in the complexities. Namely the omission of the geophysical aspects involved and the error in interpretation of the ice core data.
Perhaps some astute feedback ‘readers views’ on Amazon would be useful.
I commend it to your commenters.
Meanwhile I will pop it into Quora where appropriate and enjoy dealing with the flak! That is if the Quora Moderator permits.

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