Wandering Water

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I see in a most recent post here at WUWT that UC Irvine researchers have used “27 state-of-the-art climate models” to predict what will happen by the year 2100 to the “tropical rain belt”. They describe this as “a narrow band of heavy precipitation near the equator”.

By coincidence, I’d just downloaded the ECMWF reanalysis results for what is called the “TPW”, the total precipitable water vapor in the atmosphere. This is how many kilos of water there are in the column of air above each square metre of surface. The results cover 1979 to mid 2019.

So to start with, here’s the long-term average of the precipitable water in the atmosphere.

Looks simple, right? You can see the tropical rain belt above the equator. As you might imagine, it’s where the total precipitable water is at its highest, because you can’t get precipitation without precipitable water. So we just need to measure how far that rain belt moves …

But how stable is the tropical rain belt? Well … not very. Here’s a movie of the month-by-month averages in the rain patterns.

As you can see, the rain belt is quite mobile, and that’s just with monthly averages. It still seems like it might be kinda predictable … but those are still averages.

The individual months, however, are all over the map. Here are a couple of years worth of individual monthly changes.

So despite the fact that they’ve used 27 climate models, and despite the fact that each and every one of the models was “state-of-the-art”, despite the fact that there were no “average” or “good” models, despite the fact that not even one of the models used yesterday’s technology much less that of the day before yesterday, and despite the fact that all 27 of the climate models talked it all over and they all came to one conclusion … I fear I’m gonna put zero confidence in their results. I’m sorry, but that is a seriously chaotic system, and the idea that we can project it out until the year 2100 is a joke.

Now, I actually got the TPW data for a different purpose, so I’m gonna leave this there. I just couldn’t let the ludicrous claims of the UCI researchers to stand unchallenged. I do not think that such chaotic systems as the global rainfall distribution can be modeled out eighty years into the future. We can enjoy the glorious might of the thunderstorms, we can wonder in awe at the complexity of this monumental heat engine that we call the “climate” … but predict the details of it out to the year 2100?

The word that comes to my mind for the idea we can foretell the future of the rain belt in the year 2100 is not “science” … it is “hubris”.

I’ll be back at some later date to discuss my further meanderings in this realm.

And in the meantime, I could do with some rain, it’s another dry year here in Northern California. So my best of the sunshine to all, stay well, stay healthy.


PS—Some may say “That’s total precipitable water, not rainfall”. And that’s true. However, you don’t get precipitation without precipitable water, so their distributions are tightly correlated … and I don’t have a global rainfall dataset. I do, however, have a movie I made of rainfall, so you can compare the rain and the precipitable water for yourself. It’s from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission, so it only covers the tropics plus a bit. Here you go.

What a planet! …

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John Tillman
January 19, 2021 10:09 am

The monsoons show up vividly in those monthly average animations.

Reply to  John Tillman
January 20, 2021 5:53 am

As a kid I lived in Korea, and vividly remember the monsoon season. Later I wondered how a monsoon was so far north. Now I see it, and it is there.

January 19, 2021 10:10 am

What a man!

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
January 19, 2021 10:23 am

It shows the Earth ‘breathing’.
The Lungs of Gaia ?


That rhythmical shifting is the convective control system in action, neutralising all destabilising influences so as to maintain hydrostatic equilibrium for the Atmosphere as a whole.

Water vapour with associated rainfall is just along for the ride. The basic mechanism is that the shifting varies the rate at which energy is returned to the surface by adiabatic compression at the end of the convective overturning cycle. That variability is what neutralises all potential imbalances including those anticipated from radiative gases.
The models fail to incorporate that essential mechanism.

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
January 19, 2021 3:52 pm

Water vapour is the key control for the upper thermostat. Cloudburst can exist when the TPW reaches 30mm as that level of water vapour will create a level of free convection. Once above 38mm, a repetitive cloudburst cycle can begin. Once TPW reaches 60mm the persistent cloud that results from cyclic cloudburst takes the surface heat input negative. The SST will never exceed 30C providing the cloudburst cycle is not disrupted. Cyclic cloudburst is a regular feature of the intertropical convergence zone where convective conditions prevail.

The precipitation during cloudburst is the result of rapid cooling as moist air is catapulted by its expansion and buoyancy into the denser dry zone above the level of free convection. So it is actually adiabatic expansion of the water vapour that plays the dominant role. It saturates the air column above the cloud base to form cloud. The persistency of the cloud is a function of the surface temperature. Higher temperature means the cloud is more persistent because more moisture gets transported above the cloud base level.

If the sea surface was internally warmed to 34C then there would be no clear sky. The cloudburst cycle would continue without ever forming clear sky. The only sea surface that regularly exceeds 32C is the Persian Gulf because the cloudburst cannot form due to the dry air at altitude preventing the development of convective potential.

Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2021 4:32 pm

So it is actually adiabatic expansion of the water vapour that plays the dominant role.

Yes, that’s visually evident in satellite imagery as well.

Reply to  WXcycles
January 20, 2021 2:46 am

I agree, but the rate of temperature decline with height is related to the distribution of atmospheric mass (density declining exponentially with height) suspended within the gravitational field.
It is that rate of temperature decline due to adiabatic expansion that puts limits on the behaviour of the water cycle.
That is why I say that water vapour and rainfall is just along for the ride.

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
January 20, 2021 3:45 am

Cloudburst creates high level, persistent cloud that is capable of blocking out surface level sunlight for long periods. Reflected short wave rises rapidly as surface temperature increases. The shutters go up and stay closed sufficiently by 30C that the net energy uptake drops to zero.

It is all to do with the water cycle; moist air buoyancy in dry air and condensing of water above the level of free convection to create convective potential plus depositing of ice above the cloud base to provide the persistent cloud. Cyclic cloudburst is possible above 40mm TPW and TPW does not get much above 60mm because the surface simply cannot get hotter than 30C uniess the cloudburst cycle is disrupted.

If the surface was internally heated to 34C there would never be clear sky because the level of free convection meets the cloud base. The cyclic cloudburst would just cycle always with persistent cloud.

Screen Shot 2020-12-21 at 3.15.31 pm.png
January 19, 2021 10:19 am

State of the art press release writing is more accurate.

Curious George
Reply to  ResourceGuy
January 19, 2021 4:29 pm

The notion of “27 state-of-the-art climate models” strongly suggest that there is not a single one good model.

January 19, 2021 10:24 am

Not to mention the fact this based on precession the belt makes significant moves on 25K year basis taking the Sahara from it current state to a well watered Savanah.

Jean Meeus
Reply to  Scott
January 19, 2021 10:53 am

The precession has nothing to do with this.

Reply to  Scott
January 20, 2021 3:54 am

I think you mean earth’s axial tilt, which varies over 41,000 years between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees, causing the Sahara to oscillate between wet, green periods, and dry periods like the present. It’s obvious from the monthly animations that the rain belt follows the sun’s changes in latitude. fyi, we”re at 23.44 degrees and decreasing The Sahara is predicted to green again in 15,000 years.

Jean Meeus
Reply to  stinkerp
January 20, 2021 8:05 am

No, the variation of the axial tilt is not the precession. The latter has a period of about 25,800 years, and is the motion of the vernal equinox with respect to the stars. Nothing to do with the axial tilt.

Arjan Duiker
January 19, 2021 10:30 am

Very interesting post, thank you! And indeed, a seriously chaotic system that can’t be modelled to any detailed level for exactly that reason.

Michael E McHenry
January 19, 2021 10:48 am

27 state-of-the-art climate models” What makes them think they are any better than the previous models? Or did one the researches jump in the DeLorean with Doc Brown and Marty McFly?

Reply to  Michael E McHenry
January 19, 2021 11:09 am

I’ve got 2 state-of-the-art climate models,
one out of Lego the other Plasticine,

both as accurate as the other 27 !!

Reply to  saveenergy
January 19, 2021 2:42 pm

The real point is, if even one of the models is correct, then ALL the other 26 are WRONG

26 out of 27 is approx 96.3%

…. let’s round a bit and pick a common sounding number…

We can then say that AT LEAST 97% of models are WRONG

Reply to  fred250
January 19, 2021 4:17 pm

But we have 97% wrong, multiplied by a 97% consensus … the product of two negatives is positive … therefore two wrongs make a right.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Lil-Mike
January 19, 2021 8:41 pm

No, but three lefts do make a right.

M Courtney
Reply to  Michael E McHenry
January 19, 2021 12:18 pm

Why 27 models anyway? Why not just use the best model and vary the input parameters.

Reply to  M Courtney
January 19, 2021 1:11 pm

They don’t have a clue which is the “best” model.

They are forced to use 27 crappy, meaningless and WRONG models

Reply to  fred250
January 19, 2021 4:51 pm

Their belief, their faith tells them that the crappitude is additive and the precisiosity is multiplicative among models, thus ensembles stink less than any member thereof. These people can be recognized at any scientific conference by their “ghost sticks,” their sharks’ tooth and mammoth bone necklaces,and their loin-cloths.

Reply to  fred250
January 20, 2021 8:48 am

Models are used to design aircraft wings. Would you fly in an aircraft if you new the wing had only been tested as a model?

Reply to  alf
January 20, 2021 12:16 pm

That is what test pilots are for !

No thanks.

And those are engineering models that have been tested against reality many thousands of time.

Climate models FAIL against reality…. EVERY time.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  M Courtney
January 19, 2021 5:43 pm

A model is not evidence; it’s a theory, and a falsifiable theory at that. When a model is wrong, it means the theory is wrong — it has been shown to be false.

Climate models are notoriously wrong. Therefore, they have been falsified. They are no better than cold fusion theories.

Scientists who rely on falsified theories are making worthless efforts. They are spinning their gears. They are not even doing “normal science”. Climate models are modern day alchemy. The dog won’t hunt. The chicken won’t roost. It’s all hand waving without substance.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
January 20, 2021 8:05 am

In 1988 Jim Hansen showed that pseudo-science video-gaming could get one accolades and recompense. The whole field immediately descended into that slough en masse and has been wallowing there ever since.

Peta of Newark
January 19, 2021 11:06 am

I see that it follows the sun over the course of the year.
Up Down North South

And plants, trees especially as they can move huge amounts of water, will respond to the strength of the sun. **
Is the general starting-point figure= 100 gallons per day? ##

Trees and plants are creating that TPW up in the sky.
Confirms, at first sight, exactly what I said in the thread mentioned.
The trees & plants did it.
The trees, plants and greenery control the climate.

** In commercial greenhouses where they add CO2, they stop adding at about 1,000ppm
Because at that point, light becomes the Liebig Limiter – but certainly depends on the latitude of your greenhouse.
Also affect us and our Vitamin D production

But, they need nutritious dirt to dig their roots into – and exactly where volcanoes come in. They supply the fresh, un-weathered nutritious dirt.
As is also plain-as-day in the videos of the Java volcano
Epic, dense, green forests, grasslands and farms.

Don’t need no stinking State-of-the-Art computers – a walk in the park will suffice.
(Take your shoes & socks off the get a proper feel for it. Seriously)

Unless this dawns on some considerable number of people……
don’t even think about it

Anyway, thanks Willis. Nice one 🙂

## How much energy does it take to evaporate 100 gallons of water….
How much ground area does an ‘average 100 gallon tree’ cover?
What does that translate into as Watts per square metre?
…..of cooling….

If some number of trees were to ‘disappear’, i.e. slashed, burned, logged, removed so as not to burn a-la Californ-i-a wildfire prevention and/or stuffed into Drax Power Station, what might that do the Average Surface Temperatures.

Considering just Drax, there are many more wood burning stations now online, and that Drax consumes 20,000 tonnes per day …
How heavy is the average ‘Drax’ tree?
In toto, per day, how much water were they evaporating while still alive?
How much solar energy is thus available to cause a heating effect in places where the trees used to be?
How many Hiroshima might that be?
questions questions questions…..

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 19, 2021 1:10 pm

<blockquote>The trees, plants and greenery control the climate…</blockquote>

This planet would have rainfall and seasons even in the absence of any life. The tilt of the axis gives us the seasons. Sunlight provides the energy input into that heat engine that is the atmosphere. The energy evaporates water and warms the atmosphere, the warm air rises until it gets high enough to give off the heat, condensing the water into precipitation to fall on the ground or ocean below. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And that’s why CO2 has almost nothing to do with the overall temperature of the planet.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 19, 2021 1:39 pm

TPW is higher over the ocean than land. There”s incomparably more ocean than land in the tropics thus far more TPW comes from the ocean, not trees. Most forests grow where volcanoes do not provide very much “nutritious dirt” at the level of tree roots. The fact is that forests naturally recycle most minerals and have done so for hundreds of millions of years with no help from humans. Move on.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 19, 2021 3:40 pm

On land, plants indeed play an important role. They improve the soil so that it can keep much more water. A lot of water vapor of the ocean ends up within 300 km from the sea. The storage by trees and their evaporation enables the water to make one further step to the interior. Etc. Etc.

Richard G.
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 20, 2021 11:51 am

“The trees, plants and greenery control the climate.”

I think an important clarification is needed here to help people’s understanding.
Trees, plants and greenery are used as DESCRIPTORS of climate.
The Köppen Climate Classification is a widely-used classification system that divides the global climate into five climate zones primarily based on vegetation.
There fore it follows that:
“Earth’s tropical rain belt is expected to shift irregularly in large hemispheric zones as a resulting of in future climate change.”- There, fixed it for them.

January 19, 2021 11:48 am

not even one of the models used yesterday’s technology much less that of the day before yesterday”

Great turn of phrase. Thanks for all the work you do and the entertaining presentation.

January 19, 2021 12:07 pm

Thanks once again Willis for water-blasting another pile of bullshit off the pathway of rational science.

Joel O'Bryan
January 19, 2021 12:22 pm

Willis wrote, “I fear I’m gonna put zero confidence in their results.”

But apparently Willis you missed how the UCI researcher and lead author Antonios Mamalakis found this results that everyone else missed, “Mamalakis said the sweeping shift detected in his work was disguised in previous modelling studies that provided a global average of the influence of climate change on the tropical rain belt.

So it’s there somewhere in those plots of TPW, it’s just “disguised.”

Now I made the mistake of going to their Supplemental Material since the main manuscript is paywalled and I’m not about to waste $8 on garbage.

They used CMIP6, which just like CMIP3 and 5, has the double ITCZ problem, as in the models produce something not observed. And it is of course the ITCZ that we are talking about here with the bands of TPW matching the ITCZ and seasonal monsoon precip patterns across the tropics north and south of the equator.

In their SM they write,

Although CMIP6 models are mostly consistent in simulating the location of the ITCZ during May-Oct, they exhibit important biases in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans during Nov-Apr (see Supplementary Figures 5-6). Particularly, models tend to overestimate the probability of the ITCZ migrating to the southern hemisphere over the eastern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. These biases have been well documented in the literature (the so-called “double-ITCZ biases”, see Mechoso et al., 1995; Oueslati and Bellon, 2015) and explored as to their linkage with other systematic biases in simulated equatorial sea surface temperatures and the atmospheric energy input/transport (Hwang and Frierson, 2013; Li and Xie, 2014; Oueslati and Bellon, 2015; Adam et al., 2016a; Adam et al., 2018; Tian and Dong, 2020).
Due to these biases, projections of future ITCZ shifts, which are usually obtained as the difference between the simulated future and baseline averages, need to be cautiously interpreted and analyzed. Particularly, including information about the present-day ITCZ model biases in the analysis may lead to a better understanding of future ITCZ shifts, as recent literature suggests (Dutheil et al., 2019; Samanta et al., 2019). In order to assess the impact of these present-day model biases on our interpretation of the future ITCZ trends more quantitatively, we calculated the average difference in the (Nov-Apr) probability distribution of the ITCZ location between models and observations over specific boxes (see Supplementary Figure 6a and section Methods for more information). Our results indicated that CMIP6 models simulate a more frequent southward migration of the Atlantic ITCZ than what is observed, by ΔP = 57 ± 17.8% (that is the spatially-averaged difference in probability between models and observations over tropical Atlantic), and likewise in the Pacific toward the southeastern sector of the basin, by ΔP = 34 ± 11.3% (see Supplementary Figure 6b and Supplementary Table 1). These numbers show that the Atlantic bias is more severe, and as such, the signature of the seasonal double-ITCZ biases on annual scales is apparent mainly over the Atlantic and not so much over the eastern Pacific basin (see Supplementary Figure 5f). Note that when we used the average tropical precipitation and/or OLR difference between models and observations to assess the systematic double-ITCZ biases (i.e. not the probabilistic method), we obtain similar results (see Supplementary Figure 2). Moreover, our analysis shows that there is a statistically significant (p < 0.05) positive correlation of eastern Pacific and Atlantic biases across the CMIP6 models on the order of 0.42, which indicates that it may be unlikely for a model to exhibit relatively important biases only in one of the two basins. Apart from the double-ITCZ bias, climate models from both projects are also shown to produce a more zonally oriented SPCZ than what observations suggest (see also Oueslati and Bellon, 2015).”

They don’t follow their own advice and interpret the CMIP model junk cautiously even though they admit the models’ simulations of the ITCZ both historical and future are crap.

Last edited 1 month ago by joelobryan
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 19, 2021 1:03 pm

Nice work, spotting this in the SM.
Even funnier, the double ITCZ is a known problem that modelers have tried unsuccessfully to solve via parameterization. It was a specific example (with references) in my 2015? Guest post, ‘The trouble with global climate models.’

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 19, 2021 1:52 pm

Observations ‘show’ the models are wrong, not ‘suggest.’

I love it when CliSci admits they have known for some time about the deficiencies of the models, but spend no time discussing how they are trying to fix it. Decades of erroneous tropospheric hot spots and its getting worse, not better in CMIP6!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Dave Fair
January 19, 2021 7:59 pm

If you go to the authors’ SM and look at their SuppFigure 2, where they compare historical observation versus CMIP6 simulation of rainfall and outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR), you’ll see that the CMIP simulations have much higher rates of precip and thus higher OLR.
This is unrealistic hostorical precip is one of two ways the modellers “cooled” their too-hot running models to get close to historical (observed) temperatures. The first way the modellers tuned their models to match past temperatures is with higher aerosols, higher than observed because satellite monotirng was not as good going back into the 20th Century. The second way, and the result of what we see here in SuppFig 2 of unrealistic precip, is they hand-tuned in higher precipitation rates in the tropics to cool their too-hot running models. The higher precip rates cools the surface (transports heat via convection which is parematerized) and this also creates much of the non-observed mid-tropospheric “hot-spot” in the models.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 20, 2021 10:14 am

In the models, what do you think drives higher precipitation?

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 19, 2021 4:00 pm

Any model that shows the Nino34 region warmer the 30C is a dud. Every CMIP3,5,6 I have looked at shows Nino 34 above 30C by 2050. Hence they are fundamentally flawed.

Deriving any information from the models is no different to retelling a fairytale. It is figment of someones imagination, unrelated to reality.

Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2021 4:21 pm

Interesting that Holocene T peaks are also just that, fast up, fast down again. Would like to know how it does that though.

Reply to  WXcycles
January 19, 2021 5:27 pm

The sea surface temperature is limited to 30C by the cloudburst cycle.

As SST increase, the atmospheric shutters get ever narrower. Fundamentally, the level of free convection approaches the cloud base. At 30C the LFC is only 600m below the cloud base. The cloud top after cloudburst could be 10,000m so most of the time between cloudburst is spent depositing ice above the cloud base to maintain cloud. The ice gradually finds its way down through the condensing zone and into the convective zone. There is only a short period of clear sky condensing before the next cloudburst occurs.

At 30C there is just enough sunlight reaching the ground to keep the ground level energy uptake positive. Anything above 30C results in the sea surface cooling. Hence 30C is the maximum unless the cloudburst cycle is disrupted by wind not associated with the cloudburst updraft.

The LFC and cloud base would meet if the surface temperature was internally heated to 34C. At that temperature there would never be clear sky.

There are more comprehensive details on posts further down thread.

Attached chart shows the measured net energy uptake with sea surface temperature. The reason it drops so dramatically after 29C is that there is not much surface warmer the 30C.

Screen Shot 2020-12-20 at 4.32.00 pm.png
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 7:43 pm

It is the net radiative energy at the top of the atmosphere. Essentially ToA insolation less long wave reflection less OLR.

I have summed all the energy at every temperature across the tropical oceans in a 1X1 degree grid. The data comes from the NASA Earth Obs site. The chart shows the proportion of net energy at each temperature. As it states, it is for January 2020.

The raw data produces a scatter plot similar to the attached. This is only one week in the southern hemisphere weather than the full tropics. It shows actual power rather than the proportion of the energy. The red curve in the scale plot is the curve of lowest error that I can produce. By contrast, averaging the net energy for each temperature gives a cleaner result.

Looking at the proportion of the energy gives greater insight because there is not much surface warmer than 30C.

The plot is also very close to the OLR plot in the Sabin paper I have linked to down the page. Once above 28C the loss in OLR is trumped by the reduction in surface insolation. Close to 30C the net energy goes to zero. The only way to get warmer than 30C is to disrupt the cloudburst cycle. The most notable location on Earth for that is the Persian Gulf in July-August.

Screen Shot 2021-01-20 at 2.34.20 pm.png
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 20, 2021 9:49 pm

My error – should have written short wave reflection.
So the net is ToA Insolation less reflected insolation less long wave radiation. I have them on a 1X1 degree grid and then sum the energy at each temperature.

Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2021 7:25 pm

Rick, it’s just the “CLOUD” cycle. Admittedly cloudbursts are at the maximum end of the convection phenomenon. However, most of the clouds on the planet form by “advection” which is horizontal movement of air parcels with differing temperatures and humidity pushing over or under one another. Check satellite pics. Thunderstorms don’t even show up, big weather fronts do. They are the “shutters” you look for. Driven by surface evaporation rate based on temperature…moved sideways by coriolis forces….a couple of orders of magnitude larger than cloudbursts…form all over the planet rather than just the tropics…. the shiny side of those shutters reflect much sunlight back into space due to cloud albedo of .5 to .8 compared to ocean at .06…….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 19, 2021 9:12 pm

Cloudburst is very precise from a temperature and TPW perspective. Cloudburst dominate in the ITCZ and that is where the maximum ocean temperature is controlled. Cloudburst is the thermostat.

Lateral advection of moist air from the tropics to higher latitude is significant in reducing the heat uptake in the subtropical oceans during the respective summers, particularly the austral summer, but it does not dominate where the sea surface temperature is being controlled; in the ocean warm pools.

I have given more detail in posts below.

The atmosphere changes to high gear once the TPW reaches 40mm and cloudburst cycle becomes sustained.

Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2021 10:32 pm

The attached chart shows all ocean reflected energy for January 2020.

This highlights the significance of reflective cloud in the sub-tropics over the oceans in the Southern Hemisphere from an energy rejection perspective.

However the little kink where the temperature gets to 26C shows the temperature control mechanism as the atmosphere moves into cloudburst mode. It is highly responsive to temperature and shutters close tight enough at 30C that the surface can no longer warm unless the cloudburst cycle is disturbed.

Screen Shot 2021-01-20 at 5.25.56 pm.png
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 25, 2021 10:19 am

Yes, it is the length of the jet stream tracks in the middle latitudes that matters, Mostly advection driven as you say.
The wavier the jets the more clouds. Low solar activity gives us wavier jets.

January 19, 2021 12:23 pm

“State of the art” is a marketing expression, and a overused and meaningless one at that.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Lrp
January 20, 2021 9:55 am

Along with “New and Improved”.

January 19, 2021 12:25 pm

No wonder Australia oscillates from droughts to flooding rains. Thanks for the great images.

Blue sky
Reply to  Robber
January 19, 2021 12:49 pm

I have no idea why he gets to post.  Willis Eschenbach has on Whats up.

His posts have no research, science. Just his recent thinking opinion. Watts up is awesome. Willis Eschenbach is as narcasstic has is Donald Trump.

Please stop!

Reply to  Blue sky
January 19, 2021 1:12 pm

Huh!?! What in the hecker u talkin bout buddy!?!

Reply to  Blue sky
January 19, 2021 2:12 pm

I assume you meant narcissistic. Please stop.

Reply to  Blue sky
January 19, 2021 2:23 pm


Rory Forbes
Reply to  Blue sky
January 19, 2021 2:37 pm

You need to learn the wisdom of the aphorism :- “It’s Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 6:48 pm

Great rejoinder.
And I concur and appreciate your effort to explain it such that us “non-scientist but hugely angry with all the bs” types can grasp it.
I love your posts, and especially appreciate the animated maps

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 7:38 pm

comment image

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 20, 2021 8:33 am

That’s a woman or a man non-gender-specific, non-binary individual who is interested in climate science but may not have much scientific education.”

Fixed it for you Willis. Wouldn’t want you to get de-platformed for not being woke! /sarc

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Blue sky
January 19, 2021 3:04 pm

B.S., you must have the same problem with real data as the ‘Climate Scientists.’ I would guess it is difficult maintaining a position when the only way to back it up is by fudging the data.

Brooks Hurd
Reply to  Blue sky
January 20, 2021 9:14 am

Willis presents data in a way that is clearly understandable. The very essence of science is empirical data. If one follows the scientific method, then data which contradicts a hypothesis means that the hypothesis is wrong. What Willis has shown is that the data falsifies the CIMP6 models. His conclusion that these models have minimal predictive skill is therefore reasonable.

January 19, 2021 1:01 pm

At this link:
Scroll down to the ITCZ section. The ITCZ movements on various scales correlate with various climatic phenomena (but not CO2)

January 19, 2021 1:02 pm

If ever the drizzles meander over the Sahara, what a paradise North Africa will be!

January 19, 2021 1:05 pm

When I read the headline on this I burst out laughing. Then I got into the discussion and the graphs etc. I live on the west coast of BC in of the wettest places in N.A. in the winter, yet the admittedly large scale maps show no or nearly no precipitable water in the winter???

Reply to  Terry
January 19, 2021 2:28 pm

Looking at some of the weather systems in action over these past couple of months, I think most of BC’s precipitable water is held on account for us down there in Hawaii, and sent to us when their atmospheric delivery service swings by.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Terry
January 20, 2021 8:44 am

Terry, I live between you and Seattle (Whidbey Island), assuming you live in or near Vancouver BC.

According to this link, Vancouver gets about 31″ annual precip, less than Seattle at about 37″, which gets about the same as Dallas. I get about 10″ less precip than Seattle annually. So, it’s not all that wet on the coast. Inland is a different story.

My guess is that, like me, you tend to get an all-day drizzle when it does rain, which doesn’t amount to much.

So, no, the west coast of BC is not one of the wettest places in NA in the winter.

January 19, 2021 1:15 pm

The TPW simply responds to the sea surface temperature. Once it reaches 40mm, it supports cyclic cloudburst. At a little over 60mm on average, when the SST reaches 30C, the cloud is persistent enough to knock out sufficient surface sunlight that the net energy uptake goes negative. That means 30C and 60mm to 70mm of TPW are the maximum for both. The high amount of rainfall from each cloudburst depends on the convective potential and that is also a function of temperature.

If you look at the monthly global average for TPW you will see it peaks in July when the SST reaches its maximum temperature.

Water in the atmosphere over the tropical oceans provides thermostatic control with a limit of 30C in open ocean. If the surface was internally heated to 34C then there would be continuous cloud because the cloudburst cycle would continue without any clear sky condition – Ocean stutters permanently closed.

Screen Shot 2021-01-15 at 10.10.11 am.png
Reply to  RickWill
January 19, 2021 1:49 pm

The linked paper has some very good detail on the level of rainfall associated with cloudburst:

It makes an observation that cloudburst falls off once the SST reaches 30C. That is simply because there is next to zero surface warmer than 30C and any that gets above 30C only gets there through the cloudburst cycle being disrupted usually as a result of wind from adjacent land that disrupts the cloudburst cycle.

The intertropical convergence zone has high convective instability but relatively low wind. That means the cloudburst cycle is only disturbed by adjacent cloudburst.

The other observation that I make is that the rainfall for temperature above 28C exceeds the rate of deposition/condensation in the atmosphere above that surface so there is horizontal transport of water vapour from the cooler adjacent zones. Consequently the the cooler zones produce less precipitation than they deposit/condense.

The OLR in monsoonal zones corresponds to daily deposition/condensation of about 8mm. So the only way that precipitation can exceed this is to draw moisture horizontally from adjacent zones into the dominant convective zone. Cloudburst still occurs in the cooler zones but at reduced frequency because it is disrupted by the warmer zone.

It takes 30mm of TPW to form a level of free convection above 500m irrespective of the surface temperature. It takes 38mm of TPW to support cyclic cloudburst. The attached figure shows how strongly TPW and convective instability are linked. It all starts to happen once TPW reaches 40mm.

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Wim Röst
January 19, 2021 4:04 pm

“UC Irvine researchers have used “27 state-of-the-art climate models” to predict what will happen by the year 2100 to the “tropical rain belt” “

WR: it must be easy for them to predict the next five El Nino’s and La Nina’s. Month, year, duration, intensity, etc.

But it is safer to do the guesses for the year 2100. No one of us will control any prediction.

January 19, 2021 4:05 pm

Spot on, Willis. How anyone can claim to be a ‘scientist’ and publish anything based on computer models looking ahead to 2100 for a nondeterministic system beggars belief. Was this really a paper and was it peer reviewed? Not that this means anything these days given the reviewers have no more idea about statistics than the authors.

Talk about the emperor’s new clothes. I just pray that another Richard Feynman is going to come along to blow this stuff out of the water.

Reply to  MarkW2
January 19, 2021 4:10 pm

Well, that would be treating it as science.

January 19, 2021 4:08 pm

The word that comes to my mind for the idea we can foretell the future of the rain belt in the year 2100 is not “science” … it is “hubris”.

It’s politics to obtain sustained money, the mortgage isn’t going to pay itself.

January 19, 2021 4:17 pm

For some really large amounts of water you need to travel pretty far, I think I might have read below on this site years ago:

“An international team of astronomers has discovered the largest, oldest mass of water ever detected in the universe. The newly discovered cloud of water vapor, equivalent to 140 trillion times the water in Earth’s oceans, is more than 12 billion light-years from Earth and surrounds the huge black hole of a quasar.“

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Stevek
January 20, 2021 8:58 am

That kind of detection isn’t yet possible.

Or maybe you were being sarcastic?

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 20, 2021 2:53 pm
Gerald Hanner
January 19, 2021 4:24 pm

I spent some two and a half years in Southeast Asia in the 1960s. The monsoons were pretty regular although they did vary somewhat from year to year. Most people equate monsoons with rainfall, but it is really a shift in the direction the prevailing wind blows. Unusually, when the wind blows from a northerly direction there is less rain; when the wind blows from a southerly direction this is rain, many times, lots of rain. I recall one project in which we tried to give nature a boost and cause more rain on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The objective was to slow down the flow of military supplies from North Vietnam. It worked pretty well.

Reply to  Gerald Hanner
January 19, 2021 5:19 pm

 It worked pretty well.

Right up to the time it didn’t.

Gerald Hanner
Reply to  Mr.
January 19, 2021 7:31 pm

Huh. A veteran of Southeast Asia? Tell me all about it. Please.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gerald Hanner
January 20, 2021 10:59 am

Mr. implies that the U.S. military in Southeast Asia didn’t do a very good job.

The facts are the U.S. military did its job in Southeast Asia and did it well, and then went home after the Paris Peace Agreement was signed in 1973.

When did South Vietnam fall to the North Vietnamese? It was the year 1975. That’s about two years after all American combat troops left South Vietnam.

Therefore, anything that “didn’t” go right in South Vietnam after 1973, had nothing to do with the U.S. military and everything to do with anti-war leftwing U.S. Congressional politicians who ended up throwing South Vietnam to the wolves, even though they were morally and legally obliged to go to South Vietnam’s rescue when North Vietnam violated the peace agreement and attacked South Vietnam again. The cowardly U.S. leftwing poltiicans (think Ted Kennedy) told South Vietnam to go to hell, they weren’t going to help.

Perhaps Mr. is actually putting the blame where it belongs, on cowardly, leftwing politicians who run away from every confrontation with a dictator. I’m not real sure.

During the Vietnam war, the leftwing politicians came into power and promptly undermined the whole war, and they did the very same thing when Obama took over from Bush and undermined the whole Iraqi war and its aftermath.

Leftwing cowards will run from a fight every time. The Bad Guys know this, and will push their envelope as a result, and this could lead to war.

A strong, capable defense system led by a competent leader, deters the Bad Guys.

A weak leader, like a leftwing Democrat, emboldens the Bad Guys to do more bad things.

Traitor Biden ought to be demonstrating his stupidity in national affairs in a day or two as he lays out his agenda.

Like Biden’s former Defense Secretary said of him: Biden has been wrong on every foreign policy position for the last 40 years.

You know, when Trump took Office, he said the very first day he was in Office, his top general came to him and told him the U.S. military was *critically short* of ammunition! That’s the shape Obama and Biden left Trump and the U.S. military in.

Trump fixed that problem on his watch and ole Traitor Joe will have plenty of ammunition after the turnover. Biden will probably call for cuts in the military budget. That’s how stupid he is.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 20, 2021 12:26 pm

So there I was in 1970 all dressed up in my best green outfit with webbing accessories and my posting papers to Vung Tau, waiting for transport to the local airport, when I got a tap on my shoulder and handed a telex from squadron hq, saying ‘stand by, await new orders’

So stand by I did. For the next 9 months, languishing around the barracks, waiting for my ‘new orders’. Then my discharge papers arrived before my ‘new orders’.

Can’t say I was disappointed – I didn’t personally have a dog in that fight, and from what I heard & read via signals traffic from the forward bases, the whole show there was rolling cluster-f…

Too many unempowered young men died there. A couple were my mates.

The NVA’s success with Ho Chi Minh trail was attributable to their troops being able to adapt to & endure whatever that environment presented them with. They became part of that environment.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mr.
January 21, 2021 11:28 am

Thank you for your service. I left there about the time you got there.

Noone said the fighting was easy, but the U.S. prevailed on the battlefield.

The anti-war, Leftwing News Media used to proclaim that the North Veitnamese troops were the “toughest in the world!”. They were not They were getting beat in the field every day by the toughest troops in the world.

When Saigon fell, all the U.S. combat troops were at home in the States watching it unfold on television.

Wim Röst
January 19, 2021 5:06 pm

Another precipitation rate animation from NCEP/NCAR, reanalysis:

January 19, 2021 6:00 pm

Hi Willis,
Thank you very much for your wonderful presentation. I lived in Venezuela for 27 years. Every year the dry season ended and the rainy season started up around Easter. It rained every afternoon until November/December when the rains stopped. After December not a drop of rain fell until the week affer Easter
The slash and burn farmers would burn out a patch of land just before Easter and the rains would put out the fires. They would then plant their gardens (conucos).
I never really understood the mechanism or why this happed on such a regular basis until this afternoon. We didn’t call this the monsoon season, we called it the rainy season and the dry season.
Shazam! Now I am enlightened.

Muchas Gracias

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
January 19, 2021 7:02 pm

I was born in San Tome, an oil camp in eastern Venezuela. Later returned as an exploration geologist with PDVSA and Mobil oil. Beautiful country, wonderful people and horrible politics!

January 19, 2021 7:32 pm

I wonder if China’s weather manipulation can be seen in these data.

Reply to  RayB
January 21, 2021 5:02 pm

This is not a conspiracy theory. Why the negative votes?

China vows to beef up ‘weather modification’ capabilities | Reuters

Matthew Sykes
January 19, 2021 11:26 pm

Whats the increase in this time of TPW over land and over ocean?

Thats the key question, because thats the feed back,

sky king
January 20, 2021 3:21 am

I would have had doubts about their conclusions had they only used a few models. But 27! All “state of the art” too! Gonna be hard to refute that. /sarc

Steve Oregon
January 20, 2021 8:53 am

Riddle me this:
What’s the point of it all?
I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom and need for much of the immense, busy work measuring of all things natural and chaotic only to produce “models’ simulations of the ITCZ both historical and future are crap.”
e.g. I recall scanning the career work product of the distinguished Jane Lubchenco looking for any tangible contributions to advancing science or the human cause.
What this layperson found was reams of academic field work and studies seemingly void of any meaningful accomplishment. Worse yet her anti-science work concocting the “AGW Ocean Dead Zones” fiction and “Osteoporosis of the Sea” farce deserves consequences she’ll never face. What did we get for our investment in Jane et al?
There is lots of jargon, conjecture and lecture heaped up for history to never weigh for value.
I find it somewhat bothersome that academia and bureaucracies can expend vast amounts of resources without any requirements or assessment of purpose, need or value.
Certainly mankind must always explore, seek out and boldly go etc.
But the open-endedness of it and rewarding of those who take advantage and manipulate is simply offensive.

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