By Rud Istvan

This post was motivated by May’s second here on paleoclimate, by comments to  Bradley Jr’s  climate models repost from AIER, and my previous posts and comments about climate models and equivalent (observational) or equilibrium (modeled) climate sensitivity (aka ECS). All are hyperlinked below. This post summarizes some of the most important climate basics at a simple high level, while pulling together the myriad underlying specifics via linked references to a lot of stuff posted at WUWT over the years. Hopefully this is helpful at both levels for the many newer WUWT commenters. It also indirectly takes scientific aim at some of the extreme skeptics who also comment here, like those who deny that the greenhouse effect exists, or that ECS cannot be significantly positive.

First, the green house effect (GHE) is real although often misunderstood. Unlike a real greenhouse (which works by inhibiting surface convective cooling), the GHE works by inhibiting radiative cooling in the troposphere. “Greenhouse” gases (GHG) absorb and omni-directionally re-emit infrared radiation (IR), inhibiting (retarding) cooling IR escape to space. Greenhouse gasses (so also their ‘backradiation’) cannot warm—incoming insolation is solely responsible for that. But as first shown experimentally by Tyndall in 1859, GHG can inhibit radiative cooling. The level in the troposphere where the GHE ceases to be a factor is called the effective radiating level (ERL). The ERL is also why the GHE can never saturate. More GHG just raises ERL, meaning the ERL emission temperature is cooler so less efficient thanks to the troposphere temperature lapse rate. Which is why Guy Callendar realized in his 1938 paper that increasing CO2 has a decreasing logarithmic effect. For what follows, that also means that whatever the ECS per CO2 doubling might be, it remains about constant over a much broader concentration range.

Second, the notion that there must be some positive ECS to doubled CO2 is logically valid. Given steady insolation heating but reduced offsetting radiative cooling, Earth’s surface temperature must rise until the resulting increase in IR offsets the GHE so that TOA radiation ‘equilibrium’ is re-established. ECS can be established two basic ways. First is by problematic climate models that predicted about 3C in AR4 (CMIP3), about 3.4C in AR5 (CMIP5), and now about 3.7-4.5C in upcoming AR6 (CMIP6, specifics follow). Second is via various observational methods all suggesting about 1.7C. This 2x discrepancy was so great that AR5 explicitly declined to provide a central ECS estimate because of it.

Third, the climate models ARE problematic for an inescapable reason. Thanks to computational intractability of important climate phenomena size scales (e.g. Willis Eschenbach’s many TStorm posts here), they are forced to parameterize. Parameterization drags in the attribution problem, both on long time scales as Andy May just showed, and on short time scales of just the past century. Attribution very simply is how much of the observed past temperature change was natural, and how much was CO2 ‘forcing’. IPCC assumes (by charter!) all forcing, ignoring natural variability. MBH 1999 attempted to remove millennial time scale natural variability (erroneously) via its infamous hockey stick handle—erasing the historically well documented but only natural MWP.

Now we have coming soon for AR6 the newest and ‘best’ CMIP6 climate models. While their results are not yet finalized, it is already apparent that the climatariat and reality continue to diverge. The interim CMIIP6 ECS results are as follows.


The high ECS from the 40 reported models is 5.6C, the low is 1.8C (INM CM5, the Russian model close to observational methods). The mean is now 4.5 (yellow/blue), very far from observational methods. The median has risen to 3.7C. So, CMIP6 has significantly INCREASED ECS uncertainty (the opposite of what ongoing science is supposed to do), while further raising its modeled central tendencies ( now at greater variance from the observations that caused AR5 heartburn). As the text around the linked graphic above shows, the warmunists there find this both plausible, and cause for mild celebration!?!

It is apparent that those who believe in anthropogenic global warming do not understand the intractable fundamental problem with their climate model approach. They are digging themselves a deeper hole. The Army’s first rule of holes is, when in one and wanting out, first stop digging.

Or to paraphrase a very famous Feynman lecture summation:

‘It does not matter how beautiful your theory is. If it disagrees with observations (experiments based on the theory), IT IS WRONG.’

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June 25, 2021 6:15 am

IPCC assumes (by charter!) all forcing, ignoring natural variability.

I don’t think that’s the case. Changes in solar irradiance were considered and quantified in AR5 IPCC report. See fig. SPM5

Last edited 1 year ago by TheFinalNail
Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 25, 2021 8:57 am

TSI is far from the only source of variability.
Even within TSI, you also have to consider changes to the ratio of frequencies.

Finally, nobody outside the alarmist inner circles considers AR% IPCC to be the final word on anything.

Reply to  MarkW
June 25, 2021 11:46 am

Agreed, but the report clarifies why the chart doesn’t use volcanoes (not predictable) and orbital cycles (too long a time frame). Ocean cycles are, well, ‘cycles’; i.e. they even out, hot and cold, over various time scales. In any case, it’s clear that the IPCC does consider natural variability; there is no “charter” to ignore it, contrary to what Rud states.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 25, 2021 9:20 am

FNail, with regards to that often seen chart…..

The effect of aerosols on Climate Sensitivity since the industrial age began, in my opinion, is mostly interpretive bias. It is based on human emissions mostly by industrial smokestacks, corroborated supposedly by Pinatubo and like volcanic eruptions putting SO2 into the stratosphere. Yet huge forest and grass fires ravaged the world prior to the industrial age, pine forests emitted turpenes, ocean spray chlorides remain huge. Cities with industrialization cover only a fraction of a percent of the land area and don’t put S compounds into the stratosphere. Leaving aerosols out of the present IPCC calculation would show how much further from actual measurements that the models are. So there is an impetus amongst modellers to have that cooling effect as large as possible to justify their model results. And with no pre-1850 baseline, they can state whatever number seems appropriate…notice the error bar placement….

Reply to  DMacKenzie,
June 25, 2021 11:51 am


That may well be the case, but the point in question is the suggestion that the IPCC ignores natural variabilities impact on the climate. Clearly it doesn’t. The reports spell it out. Natural variability seems to be the main thing that influences the IPCC’s stated confidence levels, in many cases.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 26, 2021 4:54 am

Irony? They ignore unpredictability in their predictions?


Writing Observer
Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 25, 2021 6:07 pm

The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Emphasis added.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Writing Observer
June 25, 2021 9:24 pm

Yes, they start out assuming humans are causing the climate to change and then they go look for anything that can confirm their assumptions.

So far, they haven’t found any evidence for human-caused climate change, even though they have been looking hard for many decades.

And now their ECS estimates are getting even further off the mark. It’s getting to the point where someone ought to be embarrassed that after all these years, they still cannot make a valid case for human-caused climate change.

I’ve been watching the climate change claims for decades and they haven’t gotten any closer to being right in all that time. They just keep making unsubstantiated claims they can’t back up with facts. And they expect us to believe them.

Hartmut Hufenbach
Reply to  Tom Abbott
June 26, 2021 12:56 am

 “..they start out assuming humans are causing the climate to change and then they go look for anything that can confirm their assumptions.”

Of course, you made the point.

In my opinion it reflects false scientific bias.

In other words if you would like to find out if you are right or wrong, it is better looking for the black swan instead looking for anything that confirm your assumptions.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 26, 2021 8:58 am

They only considered the portion of the literature on solar irradiance variability that they wanted to consider. They totally ignored a large number of models that show considerable solar variability. See here:

In the attached figure, they used the models on the right and ignored those on the left. All are peer reviewed all are still valid. Rud is correct, they chose the low variability models, they did not “consider” the higher ones.

Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 26, 2021 5:02 pm

There are at least a dozen papers that have quantified the increase in short wave energy during the modern warm period due to fewer clouds. They all show far larger increases than the human forcing the IPCC claims at 1.9 W/m-2. Papers I’ve looked at range from 2.7 W/m-2 to 11 W/m-2.

This paper has the average increase paper’s found.

“The reduction in total cloud cover is significant in the context of the energy budget described by Trenberth et al. [34] , which indicates that cloud reflect 23% of the 341 Wm−2 (i.e. 79 Wm−2) of incoming solar radiation. The reduction in total cloud cover of 6.8% means that 5.4 Wm−2 (6.8% of 79) is no longer being reflected but acts instead as an extra forcing into the atmosphere,”

“According to the energy balance described by Trenberth et al. (2009) [34] , the reduction in total cloud cover accounts for the increase in temperature since 1987, leaving little, if any, of the temperature change to be attributed to other forcings.”

Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 6:19 am

First, the green house effect (GHE) is real although often misunderstood. Unlike a real greenhouse (which works by inhibiting surface convective cooling), the GHE works by inhibiting radiative cooling in the troposphere.

Dear Rud,

One day, maybe at the end of time, you will realise that planetary atmospheres are bound by gravity, have mass and as such they store potential energy.

I live in hope.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 6:50 am

Planetary atmospheres are energy distribution systems that cool the surface at the solar zenith energy collection point and transport this collected energy to warm the planet’s surface both at the poles and during the night.
The climate functions as a heat engine with a working fluid; the surface temperature of which is solely determined by atmospheric mass for a given radiation loading. The radiant opacity properties of the constituent gases are irrelevant. It is the phase change and latent heat of the relevant condensing volatiles that powers the engine.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 8:09 am

If gravity alone explains atmospheric density and heat retention, please explain Venus which has 90% of the gravity of Earth but 92 times the atmospheric pressure at the surface, approximately equivalent to the pressure 910 meters below the surface of our oceans, well below the depth where most navy submarines would be crushed, and has surface temperatures greater than Mercury, which is far closer to the sun.

Reply to  stinkerp
June 25, 2021 10:34 am

You kinda ignored the part about mass, oh well.

Reply to  stinkerp
June 25, 2021 10:58 am

CO2 has a greater density than Earth’s combined atmospheric gases. Perhaps that plays some part.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  stinkerp
June 25, 2021 11:42 am

The precipitated carbonate rocks that are present in the Earth’s crust have sequestered more carbon dioxide gas by mass than that found in the atmosphere of Venus.

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  stinkerp
June 25, 2021 1:12 pm

It’s because Venus has so much more atmosphere than Earth. If the Venusian atmosphere could be reduced to have the same gas mix as Earth’s, and have the same surface pressure, then the temperature difference would be down to just Venus being closer to the Sun.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 8:20 am

And as Einstein in 1917 wrote photons have momentum, and that the particular gas composition or spectra were not relevant.
Is it possible the models are pre – photon?
And a niggling point – Dr. Penrose mentions the entropy of radiated IR photons is far higher than that of the incoming photons. The biosphere uses that, but I wonder if this is neglected in atmospherics?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bonbon
June 26, 2021 7:08 am

I have always had a problem with the concept of photon “bullets” carrying momentum.

Radiation is an electromagnetic wave of a certain amplitude based on the energy level of the radiating element. E.g. a 1 watt radio transmitter puts out an EM wave of a much smaller amplitude than a 10 kilowatt radio transmitter. As that wave expands the energy per unit area goes down by the inverse square law. At some point the EM wave emitted by the 1 watt transmitter becomes too small to excite the electrons in the receiving media while the EM wave from the 10 kilowatt transmitter still contains plenty of energy to excite the receiving media, i.e. the amplitude of the EM wave remains higher. This occurs even in a vacuum.

If this radiation consisted of photon “bullets” not affected by the transiting media, i.e. in a vacuum, you wouldn’t see an inverse square law, the photons from a 1 watt radio transmitter would excite a receiving media just as much as a photon from a 1 kilowatt radio transmitter regardless of distance.

I just look at a photon as a unit of energy. If the impinging EM wave doesn’t have enough energy to incite a quantum jump in energy in the receiving media then it will just pass by unnoticed. A stronger EM wave will have enough energy to stimulate the receiving media.


This velocity is so nearly that of light, that it seems we have strong reasons to conclude that light itself (including radiant heat, and other radiations if any) is an electromagnetic disturbance in the form of waves propagated through the electromagnetic field according to electromagnetic laws.

James Clerk Maxwell, 1865


I have never seen any discussion on radiation and the Earth even attempt to incorporate the inverse square law. Not even an assumption that the distance is too small to be significant. Unbelievable.

Mark L. Gilbert
Reply to  Tim Gorman
June 29, 2021 4:59 am

If this radiation consisted of photon “bullets” not affected by the transiting media, i.e. in a vacuum, you wouldn’t see an inverse square law, the photons from a 1 watt radio transmitter would excite a receiving media just as much as a photon from a 1 kilowatt radio transmitter regardless of distance.”

The “regardless of distance” is where you fell down, seems to me. The distance from the transmitter could be solely responsible for the Inverse square.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 8:23 am

Maximum atmospheric potential energy is at the surface. Throw in some light water vapor and you convert it to kinetic energy.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  JamesD
June 25, 2021 8:52 am

Not if that “potential energy” is equivalent to the work energy available by a given mass falling downward along the gravity vector. In simply physics: PE = mgh, where PE = potential energy (available), m=mass, g=gravitational acceleration constant, and h=height vertically above a reference plane.

So for Earth’s surface as the reference plane, maximum potential energy is at maximum height ABOVE the surface, not at the surface.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 9:27 am

“So, maximum potential energy at the maximum height Above the surface, not at the surface…”

as for;
In the proposition of radiation potential, aka manly sunshine…
as the result of the atmosphere’s phyisical size, volume and surface.
Which in reality is variable, in accordance with atmospheric thermal variation.

Not sure if GCM simulations actually do any size expansion at all of the atmosphere, even when actually doing an acceleration of thermal expansion of the atmosphere.
Very unlikely I think.


Last edited 1 year ago by whiten
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 10:27 am


Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 11:22 am

Radiation potential in GCMs is pretty constant,
still the thermal atmospheric expansion is accelerative.

And still GCM simulations seem like producing a RF variation.

GHE part there of CO2 non potential… only as a first stage booster for the Radiative potential.

No any meaningful potential at all once the simulation gets to thermal acceleration of atmosphere.

Remove it and no much happens.

But removing the radiative potential of the sunshine at the same point, it will decelerate the thermal expansion and result in a stop and settling down of the simulation at that given point, with the new given condition that the simulation could keep running there like for ever
with very little fluctuations around that point.

Main GHG the H2O does not vary much there, completely outside acceleration clause.

But still strangely the warming there is accelerative.

So in all this I am trying to answer your question, in proposition of sunshine radiation potential as a considerable energy potential far above the surface…
but still not with a considerable impact or effect in climate,
Where GHE far more meaningless there.


Last edited 1 year ago by whiten
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 11:53 am

Again, and for the last time: ?

BTW, as regards this comment thread, I never asked a question, only indicated that I could not understand anything that you posted.

B Clarke
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 12:13 pm

Haven’t you got it yet whiten has no idea what he’s talking about, he googles certain phrases,,to get a understanding then takes a warmests interpretation.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 12:42 pm

You had a brilliant reply to me, the most in depth ever I have come across.

A question mark.

When it comes to the main radiation energy, yes the top of atmosphere it is the surface of the Earth.
Far above the “hard” surface.

GCM simulations do not disagree with it as a given potential, but still do not consider it as the main power of climate.

Still surface atmosphere coupling, aka ocean atmosphere thermo dynamic coupling dictates, regardless of the radiative energy potential far far above the surface.

Hopefully this may clarify my point attempted in our conversation.

I consider that I still could be wrong, but that what my attempt was.

Maybe I just enterily misunderstood your comment and your point there.



Philip Mulholland
Reply to  JamesD
June 25, 2021 11:46 am

The potential energy equation is PE = mgh
When the height above the datum surface h is zero then PE is zero.
Your math may vary.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 8:58 am

Potential energy is not heat.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  MarkW
June 25, 2021 11:35 am

Heat is difference in temperature

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 11:56 am

Sorry Philip, not so. Heat is expressed in units that are totally different than absolute temperature or temperature-difference units . . . ergo, they cannot possibly be equivalent.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 1:29 pm

GAD, you are another one who does not read what PM said. PM did not say what units heat is expressed in.

PM made a simple statement. “Heat is difference in temperature”.

No difference in temperature, no heat.

Heat is the transfer of internal energy from a warmer object to a cooler object.

If you want to know what units that transfer of energy is measured in, its Joules.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 5:34 pm


Reading EXACTLY what you stated: “No difference in temperature, no heat”, please explain how water absorbs a massive amount of heat (known as the enthalpy of vaporization) as it changes from liquid to vapor at the constant pressure of 14.7 psia and at a CONSTANT TEMPERATURE of 212 °F.

You see, that is a case of heat flow without a difference in temperature.

And, no matter how you try to spin it, heat is NOT a difference in temperature . . . just look at the simplified equation for steady-state uniaxial heat flow via conduction between two infinite reservoirs: E = k*(A/L)*(T1-T2)*t, where:
— “E” is the energy(aka “heat”) flow for the time interval “t”,
— “k” is the thermal conductivity of the conductor between reservoir “1” and reservoir “2” at the average temperature of T1 and T2,
— “A” is the conductor’s cross-sectional area normal to the energy flow direction
— “L” is the length of the conductor between reservoir 1 and reservoir 2,
— “T1” is the absolute temperature of reservoir 1, and
— “T2” is the absolute temperature of reservoir 2.

Perhaps you can see that the the total energy flowed per unit time is seen to be (E/t) = C * delta-T, where C is a factor dependent on both a fundamental physical material property (k) and a geometrical relationship (A/L) and is not required to equal 1 for metric or English units used in the equation.

Physics of heat transfer 101.

P.S. Thanks for pointing out that energy is expressed in joules . . . you now have the problem of showing how joules are equivalent to degrees Centigrade temperature difference, since you parroted the phrase “Heat is difference in temperature” . . . or perhaps you’ll just appeal to Bill Clinton’s defense of “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2021 3:06 am

You know what PM meant. You know what I meant. GAD, what is your opinion on the number of unicorns in existence?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 26, 2021 3:23 am

Btw, GAD, heat is not a state that is applied to something, it is a process of energy transfer. And stop using fancy words to describe latent heat.

You see, that is a case of heat flow without a difference in temperature.”

So the water absorbs a massive amount of energy (not heat) from something at the same temperature? I don’t think so.

“you now have the problem of showing how joules are equivalent to degrees”

No I don’t. Neither PM nor myself said heat and temperature are the same thing or measured in the same units.

Read it again.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  leitmotif
June 26, 2021 5:28 am

You see, that is a case of heat flow without a difference in temperature.

Here is a little experiment for you to try:
A mixture of 100 ml of water at zero Celsius and 100 g of ice, also at zero Celsius, when maintained at a constant temperature of zero Celsius will not change state. There will always be 100 ml of water and 100 g of ice in the mixture.

Last edited 1 year ago by Philip Mulholland
Reply to  MarkW
June 25, 2021 1:20 pm

PM did not say potential energy is heat.

Get out of your mother’s basement for an hour, MarkW, return and re-read what he said.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 25, 2021 12:02 pm

Of course atmospheres have mass and store potential energy. I haven’t noticed the atmosphere falling to earth and releasing its potential energy as any other kind of energy though.

You might as well say that mountains store potential energy.

You could also say that the atmosphere has a store of kinetic energy from the rotation of the earth. So what?

Talk about red herrings and pet theories.

Reply to  Smart Rock
June 25, 2021 1:40 pm

Dumb Rock.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Smart Rock
June 25, 2021 2:46 pm

You might as well say that mountains store potential energy.

Lots of energy coming down this mountain side.

June 25, 2021 6:26 am

Rud says, “Greenhouse gasses (so also their ‘backradiation’) cannot warm—incoming insolation is solely responsible for that. But as first shown experimentally by Tyndall in 1859, GHG can inhibit radiative cooling.”

While technically true, this phrasing tends to cause confusion and is the sort latched onto by those who deny the effect of CO2 on global temperatures. Would it not be better to say something like, Greenhouse gasses (so also their ‘backradiation’) cannot add new heat to our atmosphere—incoming insolation is solely responsible for that. But as first shown experimentally by Tyndall in 1859, GHG can inhibit radiative cooling.”

The analogy between the “greenhouse” gas effect and a real greenhouse is not a bad one in that real greenhouses cause the temperature within to be higher than it would other wise be due to the prevention of heat escape via their glass. CO2 cause the temperature within the atmosphere to be higher than it would be because it causes radiation to “bounce back” into the atmosphere and be thermalized through its interactions, whereas that radiation would have otherwise escaped directly to space with no thermalization on the way out. Therefore, the difference is reduced convection through greenhouse glass versus reduced radiation escape through CO2 absorption/ re-emission.

One last point about your statement, Rud, relates to the timeframe about insolation being solely responsible for warming our atmosphere. That is true only in the very long run (>1,000 years if we are to believe ocean circulation models), but possibly not true over time-frames relevant to most human activity. If there is water warmer than current surface waters trapped in our oceans below current surface waters, then that trapped heat if it circulates to the surface could get added to the atmosphere and would cause atmospheric temperatures to rise if they were to circulate to the surface. So, on time scales less than ~1,000 years insolation might not be the only source for added atmospheric heat and increased global temperatures.

Reply to  Meisha
June 25, 2021 6:56 am

Tyndall use a gas flame to identify a spectral response. Nowhere on earth is it that hot. Tyndall failed to identify H2O as a greenhouse gas.
Go figure.

Reply to  Jim
June 25, 2021 8:17 am

Jim, you haven’t read Tyndall’s report well enough to know he used boiling water as his constant IR source not a flame. He used an air dryer mechanism to eliminate water vapor contamination from gas samples. He also did not fail to ID H2O as an IR active gas. 

Reply to  Trick
June 25, 2021 8:41 am

GCMs are far far much better and potential experiments than Tyndall’s… in proposition of GHE and GHGs.


Dave Fair
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 10:01 am

GCMs are not ‘experiments.’ They reflect only the assumptions and biases of their creators. Given the 1.8 – 5.6 ECS spread, as well as each model having its own average global temperature, one may be certain that the UN IPCC CliSciFi GCMs are not sufficient proof so as to fundamentally alter our society, economy and energy systems. Their use with extreme future ‘scenarios’ of global CO2 emissions is meant to scare people into adopting neo-Marxist governmental and economic systems.

Reply to  Dave Fair
June 25, 2021 10:20 am

Dave, thanks for your reply.

But completely disagree with your claim that GCMs are not experiment.

Sorry, but that how it is for me.

And at that point GCMs are a far much superior and potential experiment than Tyndall’s one when it comes to GHE and GHGs potential.
Far much more enlightening at that point.

Sorry we disagree in this one… but that how it is.


Rory Forbes
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 10:45 am

Models cannot be described as experiments because they do not make predictions. A projection is a range of possible outcomes, none of which can be falsified. Models merely offer a selection of possibilities to look at, nothing more.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
June 25, 2021 11:37 am

Man, what age you live in, I am not interested…

But I can tell you that I am pretty certain, that I do not live in the stone age.
At least up to this point in time.

Thanks for the invitation…
sorry, but got to decline it… for now at least.


Last edited 1 year ago by whiten
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 11:19 am

Sorry, but “how it is for you” does not make it so. A computer model tells us only what its creator told it to tell us. The parameters and the input data are set by the modeller. The output is not evidence of anything except the modeller’s choice of inputs.
And given the number of modellers who aren’t even competent programmers it’s hardly surprising that there are 40 models showing ECS ranging from 1.8° to 5.6°. That is proof in itself that the models are not capable of providing anything, least of all “evidence”, on which to determine the likely future of the climate, still less what, if anything, needs to be “done” about it.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Meisha
June 25, 2021 1:41 pm

Not to be picky, but “the surface really needs defining in much better terms. Most radiation budget diagrams show the surface as the ocean and land surface that is exposed to the atmosphere. The atmosphere consists of gases. I envision this as a simple insulator problem. The surface of the insulator will warm if it is cooler than the surface being insulated. In fact it can rise to the same temperature as the surface being insulated. The temperature it rises to is pretty much determined by the conductivity of the insulator.

I see people mixing land and sea surface temps with bottom of the atmosphere all the time. Certainly the bottom of the atmosphere will will warm as any insulator warms, it acts just like an electrical resistance. This is not a greenhouse effect at all. The 33 degree warming of the lower atmosphere is not from “back radiation” is it from the natural heating of a substance offering resistance to heat flow.

Phil Rae
June 25, 2021 6:36 am

The dishonesty of the whole enterprise and the now-widespread corruption of science in the name of “climate change” is what always astounds me about this whole sorry mess. We know this is a complex problem but, when the facts in the real world consistently disagree with all the projections and prognostications of doom from climate “scientists” and their models, that should be a cause for major soul searching by those same individuals.

Instead, we just get more hysteria from the mainstream media and ever-more strident calls for action to address the fictitious “climate emergency”. The world is sleepwalking into disaster by dismantling the robust and reliable infrastructure we have built up over the past 100 years or so and replacing it with all manner of inefficient, distributed power generation. And all this in the name of a completely bogus problem.

How can so many scientists ignore the facts and just stand on the sidelines while this nonsense becomes ever more dangerous?

John Larson
Reply to  Phil Rae
June 25, 2021 10:46 am

How can so many scientists ignore the facts and just stand on the sidelines while this nonsense becomes ever more dangerous?”

I believe the answer is rather mundane; self interest.

“… should be a cause for major soul searching …”

Soul searching?

soul – noun:
1. the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Phil Rae
June 25, 2021 1:12 pm

Another factor in the deterioration of science is that in the last 30yrs, they threw university doors open to people who have no business being in such a place. They tried to give English, math and other enhancement courses to little avail and ended up having to create fluff navel gazing courses for more than half of them because they were ineducable.

Now we are filling the world up with asterisked PhDs that in earlier generations would have flunked out of second year bacheloriate programs. Climate science is the perfect depository for this mediocre crowd, as is social psychology. Even the already compromised sociology has been dumbed out of touch with reality.

June 25, 2021 6:37 am

I’m still waiting for the reasoning behind this fear of a warm, life-friendly planet (with so MUCH good stuff on it included) as opposed to a cold, ice-bound snowball where nothing will grow (like Pluto, for instance).

Is it too much to ask for a REAL answer to that question?

I prefer warm (and maybe rainy) weather over cold and snow and ice, because I like getting out on the local forest preserve trails with camera. This spring, the Mayapples and the purple trilliums (a WIDE variety of species) were abundant. Got lots of shots of them. Now it’s chicory, which may have tiny lavender flying bugs sitting on the blossoms, as well as several different species of vetches and before long, the blazing star (Listaria) will be blossoming.

In addition, the gosling groups near me are starting to fledge out, which means that they’ll start training flights before long, along with the various species of ducks around here (buffleheads, mallards, teals, mergansers), and never mind the fish that can be caught in the local lakes.

So with all that in mind, just what IS IT about a warm, habitable planet which puts these ecohippies in such a tizzy that they can’t see the bounty right under their silly noses???

Steve Case
Reply to  Sara
June 25, 2021 7:24 am

Yes, the notion that a warmer greener world with more rain, longer growing seasons and more arable land could be sold as the existential crisis of our time is testimony to the greatest propaganda triumph the world has ever seen.

Reply to  Steve Case
June 26, 2021 6:53 am

It’s one of the biggest ironies in history that the same group of people is celebrating change as good but gets scared to death if that is supposed to happen to the climate.

Reply to  Sara
June 25, 2021 7:41 am

Ditto. Warm is much better. Plus glaciers inhibit population and farming growth. Humanity once killed 50,000+ witches to stop the glaciers — and now some want them to come back …

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Sara
June 25, 2021 10:53 am

We are now enjoying possibly the most equitable climate, combined with humanity’s highest levels of achievement in history. Empirically the livability of this planet, climate wise, has been improving steadily. The ONLY likely natural disaster we are facing is a resumption of the present ice age. General warming isn’t even on the menu, historically.

Reply to  Sara
June 25, 2021 6:26 pm

Well, I will continue with my inquiries into the nonsense that is climate phobia and continue to point out the obvious: warm is the road to plenty and is, therefore, good; whereas cold is the road to hunger and is not favorable to the majority of species, including insects, and is therefore BAD.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Carlo, Monte
June 25, 2021 6:38 am

Where do the values in the chart come from?

Examining this range chart and the corresponding histogram leads one to suspect that ECS is not a value that drops out of the climate model outputs.The histogram shows a strong bimodal behavior, possibly even trimodal. Otherwise it might be expected that the values would have a normal distribution due to random sampling.

That the distribution is highly non-normal provides evidence that ECS is in fact an input to the models, selected by the programmers/operators, rather than an output (yes, this could vary from model-to-model, but this would only reinforce the artificiality plus there is apparently no information for any individual model).

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 25, 2021 7:19 am

just sharing a though in the line of your point.

My understanding is that a GCM simulation will produce end results that may be claimed as ECS only at ~3C with a CO2 doubling output
at ~420-440ppm.
(with a starting point of ~200-220ppm)
Non realistic.

The ‘realistic’ simulations do not do doubling.
Starting at ~270-290ppm do not reach doubling and still will do ~3C.

The claimed ECS values above 3.5C are extrapolations beyond the actual GCM simulation results, especially based on results from simulations with a starting point higher or a lot higher than 300ppm.

GCM simulations with à start above 250ppm do not do doubling of CO2.
ECS derived in such as, is only an extrapolation.
Intentionally deceptive I will say, and non realistic nevertheless.


Rory Forbes
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 10:55 am

Please forgive me for asking, but what language was that translated from?

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 25, 2021 10:56 am

“That the distribution is highly non-normal provides evidence that ECS is in fact an input to the models”
There is no such evidence, and it just isn’t true. Anyone who actually understands how GCMs work would know that you just can’t supply ECS as an input. There isn’t anywhere to put it. There isn’t any way to enforce it.

But the “distribution” shown can’t be expected to have any statistical properties. It is an artefact of whoever selected entities to put in the sequence. For example, if you look at the high end, the second and third are variants of HadGEM. At the other end, the two extremes are variants of INM. Any “distribution” is the product of a sequence of these arbitrary decisions.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 25, 2021 11:35 am

But the “distribution” shown can’t be expected to have any statistical properties. It is an artefact[sic] of whoever selected entities to put in the sequence.

Which is exactly my point, Nitpick Nick, these values are totally artificial. You chose to focus on my musings about them being inputs instead of outputs, as per usual.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 25, 2021 12:01 pm

yes you are right.
The values are artificial,
but not because of GCM simulations.

More to do with molesters in charge of GCM simulations.

These values are to be considered fictional and intentionally deceptive.


Richard Page
Reply to  whiten
June 25, 2021 1:11 pm

No, it’s to do with the models as well as the modeller. How can you attempt to model a system when you know so little about it? Three quarters of the modelled system is sheer guesswork and poor assumptions based on very little information. The fact that actual research into some of the unknowns has stalled while these clowns play computer games is totally ridiculous – if man-made climate change is such an existential threat to humanity then why isn’t more being done to fill in the blanks and why have those responsible for stalling the research not been held to account?

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 25, 2021 4:24 pm

these values are totally artificial”
The issue you are making is not about the values, but about a supposed ‘distribution’ that was created when someone at Carbon Brief selected a group of them to arrange in a sequence. Any ‘distribution’ properties are due to the person who made that selection, and the arbitrariness is seen by the fact that some models are entered more than once.

You chose to focus on my musings about them being inputs instead of outputs, as per usual.”
Well, I’m hoping that you might muse so a little less often. A lot of other people here are bemused by that, so it is important to correct it.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 25, 2021 8:57 pm

Another Stokes dodge and weave—the highly non-normal distribution is the evidence they are artificial, plus then you go on to explain that they are in fact artificial. Duh!

And your request is DENIED.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 25, 2021 1:48 pm

My guess is that while there is not an input variable labeled “ECS” the programmers and scientists who do the parameters a probably pretty darn knowledgeable about what parameter changes will do. If I was supervising the folks, you had better bet I would expect them to know the system well enough to know how to change any variety of parameters to get certain responses.

Mark BLR
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 26, 2021 5:39 am

Examining this range chart and the corresponding histogram leads one to suspect that ECS is not a value that drops out of the climate model outputs.

Then “one” would “suspect” incorrectly.

AR5, section 9.7.1, page 817 :

The method of diagnosing climate sensitivity in CMIP5 differs fundamentally from the method employed in CMIP3 and assessed in the AR4 (Randall et al., 2007). In CMIP3, an AGCM was coupled to a non-dynamic mixed-layer (slab) ocean model with prescribed ocean heat transport convergence. CO2 concentration was then instantaneously doubled, and the model was integrated to a new equilibrium with unchanged implied ocean heat transport. While computationally efficient, this method had the disadvantage of employing a different model from that used for the historical simulations and climate projections. However, in the few comparisons that were made, the resulting disagreement in ECS was less than about 10% (Boer and Yu, 2003; Williams et al., 2008; Danabasoglu and Gent, 2009; Li et al., 2013a). In CMIP5, climate sensitivity is diagnosed directly from the AOGCMs following the approach of Gregory et al. (2004). In this case the CO2 concentration is instantaneously quadrupled and kept constant for 150 years of simulation, and both equilibrium climate sensitivity and RF are diagnosed from a linear fit of perturbations in global mean surface temperature to the instantaneous radiative imbalance at the TOA.

The transient climate response (TCR) is the change in global and annual mean surface temperature from an experiment in which the CO2 concentration is increased by 1% yr –1 , and calculated using the difference between the start of the experiment and a 20-year period centred on the time of CO2 doubling. TCR is smaller than ECS because ocean heat uptake delays surface warming. TCR is linearly correlated with ECS in the CMIP5 ensemble (Figure 9.42), although the relationship may be nonlinear outside the range spanned in Table 9.5 (Knutti et al., 2005).

Based on the methods outlined above and explained in Section 9.7.2 below, Table 9.5 shows effective ERF, ECS, TCR and feedback strengths for the CMIP5 ensemble.

Table 9.5 can be found on page 818.

NB : It is possible that the precise procedure will be modified for AR6 / the CMIP6 model ensemble, but I “suspect” that any differences will be “minor”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark BLR
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Mark BLR
June 26, 2021 11:58 am

The histogram of values of ECS reported in IPCC #5 were trimodal.

People are supposed to believe this wide range of values has any meaning in reality?

Mark BLR
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 28, 2021 2:39 am

1) There were more than 3 teams of programmers involved in the generation of the CMIP6 climate model ensemble.

2) Yes, people are supposed to just blindly “believe” that.
The problem for “the high priest(esse)s” is that more and more of us “ignorant plebs” don’t (see : The Enlightenment).

Frank from NoVA
June 25, 2021 6:41 am

No issues with the first two summaries of climate basics (GHE and ECS). However, criticizing GCM’s because they are forced to “parameterize” seems a weak argument that the Nicks of the world will just steamroller. Why not just point out that these models are invalid because they are error propagation machines, are obviously not converging over time and continue to erroneously predict a mid-tropospheric hot spot that doesn’t exist?

June 25, 2021 6:44 am

More BS from a lukewarmist on the evidence-free hypotheses of the warming effects of back radiation and ECS.

But as first shown experimentally by Tyndall in 1859, GHG can inhibit radiative cooling.”

This is the sort of stuff warmists refer to, John Tyndall, Eunice Foote and Svante Arrhenius. Do you not have any more up-to-date references?

And what the hell is an “extreme sceptic”? Someone beyond lukewarmism?

Also, quoting Feynman on top of this evidence-free BS takes the biscuit.

Show me the evidence.

Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 7:47 am

Ditto. The only reason we are having this discussion is because Obama demonized CO2. This is similar to how Hitler demonized Jews. Both were based on consensus versus data. Consensus is politics and data is science. But to be fair (as the liberals demand), I was able to find just a few examples of human-caused climate change …

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Shewchuk
June 25, 2021 10:54 am

“The only reason we are having this discussion is because Obama demonized CO2.”
Of course he didn’t have a clue- it was forced on him by the state of Massachusetts which sued the EPA in the Supreme Court- so it would declare CO2 a pollutant. Living in Massachusetts for 71 years, I can confirm that it is one seriously corrupt state- a one party state- with a fake civil service system, vastly overpaid burreacrats and constant corruption scandals – and now with a net zero bill, and thousands of acres of destroyed forests- converted to solar “farms”.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 25, 2021 11:51 am

Oh Obama knew exactly what he was doing. This happened soon after “Climategate” which caused the “green” movement to loose momentum, so Obama doubled-down and had his EPA declare CO2 (and other gases) as pollutants — knowing full well they were not dangerous. This was the critical key to achieving the new world order. As Gorbachev said, “The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order.”

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Shewchuk
June 25, 2021 1:24 pm

What I meant when I said he didn’t have a clue- was that he didn’t have a clue about the science- of course his decisions were political. I think he believes the alarmism. I doubt that most alarmists are aiming for a new world order- it’s more about promoting whatever is in their personal interest- their careers and pensions- few understand or even think about global politics. That’s a subject even more complicated than climate “science”. Of course opinions on this will vary but demonizing opponents doesn’t help. Better to consider them stupid than evil, IMHO. If they’re evil, they can’t be reformed- if stupid, they might be enlightened.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 7:55 am

An “extreme sceptic” is a sceptic on 11.



Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 9:08 am

The wavelengths of infrared radiation that are inhibited from escaping to space by certain gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor were measured by experiment long ago. See graph here:

comment image

Knowing the wavelengths of IR that pass to space through Earth’s atmosphere, 8 to 13 microns, has resulted in new passive cooling technologies that work in direct sunlight.

Last edited 1 year ago by stinkerp
Dave Fair
Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 10:07 am

You have been shown the evidence from many sources but you refuse to believe it. That is your problem, not that of science.

Reply to  Dave Fair
June 25, 2021 10:53 am

I have never been shown any evidence, Dave Fair, by you or anyone, especially Willis.

“Downwelling LWIR has been measured” is all that has ever been offered.

That is a long way from showing evidence that it causes any surface warming.

As usual, Dave Fair, you are clueless.

I thought you said you were effin’ off,anyway.

Nick Schroeder
Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 11:56 am

“Downwelling LWIR has been measured” 

Not possible.
All a downwelling IR instrument “sees” is noise.
Downwelling IR instruments are “tweaked to match/confirm the upwelling IR readings which have been “tweaked ” to assume the surface is BB.
All of that is hocus pocus by people who do not understand how thermopile IR instruments work.
They are designed, fabricated and calibrated to measure a relative, comparative temperature.
Power flux is calculated per S-B ASSUMING an emissivity.
And assuming 1.0 is wrong!
As my experiments demonstrated, the ONLY way a surface radiates BB is into a vacuum.

Rad & Exper 060221.jpg
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
June 25, 2021 5:41 pm

Funny thing Nick. I just pointed my IR thermometer at the sky. There is a cloud deck in place blasting IR at the surface. My thermometer recorded 20C. And the temperature at the LCL in my neck of the words per analyzed atmospheric soundings is…wait for it…20C!.

Reply to  Nick Schroeder
June 26, 2021 5:11 pm

Certainly radiation theory pays no respect to the complexity of the atmosphere and cannot explain the evolution of surface temperature. CO2 has nothing to do with it whatsoever.

Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 5:35 pm

A body warms as it accumulates energy in proportion to its specific heat capacity. The accumulation of energy is based on the law of conservation of energy dE = Ein – Eout. From the perspective of the surface an increase in DWIR bumps up the Ein term making dE > 0 all other things being equal. The evidence you seek is the 1st law of thermodynamics.

Nick Schroeder
June 25, 2021 6:48 am

“First, the green house effect (GHE) is real although often misunderstood.”

Well, yeah.
And NOT subject to question.

1) the 30% albedo makes the earth cooler with the atmosphere NOT warmer.
2) the GHGs require “extra” energy from someplace
3) which RGHE theory says comes from the surface radiating as an ideal BB.
4) which I have demonstrated by experiment


K-T Handout.jpg
Nick Schroeder
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
June 25, 2021 7:17 am

An interview & discussion of my 3 power point decks.
How the earth really heats and cool
Why the K-T diagram and clones are junk
Why upwelling BB is not possible and why IR instruments get it wrong.

Percentage Balance.jpg.png
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
June 25, 2021 8:50 am

Your failure to understand the arithmetic difference between “Fore” and “Back” radiation as “Heat” is unconventional and wrong. Maybe retaking one of your engineering heat transfer courses is in order. “Photons” are a useful concept that allow one to calculate how much and which direction heat will flow when photons are absorbed, emitted, or offset each other.

Nick Schroeder
Reply to  DMacKenzie,
June 25, 2021 11:48 am

“Your failure to understand the arithmetic difference between “Fore” and “Back” radiation as “Heat” is unconventional and wrong.”
I don’t know what that has to do with anythang.
Maybe it’s your failure to ‘splain something I did not say.
So, instead of changing the subject to some arcane bit of trivia how ’bout addressing my 3 specific points?

Radiation & Emissivity Explained.jpg
June 25, 2021 6:52 am

The greenhouse effect was properly given as the restriction/control of convective properites of energy transport. Then the author establishes the concept of radiation restrictions and improperly equates it to and calls it the GREENHOUSE EFFECT. BAD SCIENCE

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Jim
June 25, 2021 7:30 am

I don’t think the author coined the term GREENHOUSE EFFECT.

June 25, 2021 6:57 am

Thanks Rud. Without wishing to paint myself as an “extreme sceptic”, I still have some big doubts and I’d like to offer some comments as follows.

First, we need to remember the phrase “enhanced greenhouse effect”. This is how the FAR puts it: “An increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases is expected to raise the global-mean surface-air temperature which, for simplicity, is usually referred to as the global temperature’ Strictly this is an enhanced greenhouse effect – above that occurring due to natural greenhouse gas concentrations The word enhanced is frequently omitted, but should not be forgotten in this context.”

I take this to mean the “enhanced greenhouse effect” (EGHE) would be quantified by the slope of the GHE, for varying concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and from starting base value.

I struggle to accept the ERL concept. It is an appealing concept, but how would it be observed. If it cannot be observed, I’ll struggle to convince myself that it’s worth paying attention to.

I could also say the same for climate sensitivity (the slope of the enhanced greenhouse effect). Charney put an estimate on this some 42 years ago, and a massive research effort has failed to improve on the original estimate, as I understand things. This leads to the question of whether CS (and therefore the EGHE) is observable. There is a box waiting to be ticked, and I’ll struggle to convince myself it is worth paying attention to in the meantime.

Finally, I’d like to reason from conservation of energy. Specifically for the EGHE, imagine one additional photon comes back the surface due to the EGHE. The origin of the energy in this photon must have been the surface, according to the EGHE. At this point we have photon-for-photon, imagined a perfect, lossless mirror. But that’s not the EGHE – this is a process of energy absorption and re-emission. For every photon coming from the surface, the atmosphere may absorb the photon, but re-radiation would be divided (we could consider the flux to be upwards or downwards). Therefore, for every photon coming back down to the surface due to the EGHE, we must assume two photons emerging from the surface due to the EGHE. Where did the extra photon come from?

Reply to  Jordan
June 25, 2021 7:32 am

A couple more things I forgot to mention in my first comment above.

I would put estimates of “global warming potential” into the same unobservable category as climate sensitivity and effective radiating level. Unless somebody can come up with a way to measure it in the real climate system, it is interesting theorising. But not something to take seriously.

And with regard to climate sensitivity, we should recall that Charney suggested the highest levels of CS were associated with longer timescales. The highest levels rely on the longest climate processes to be realised, and this can be thousands of years for ice melt. So the idea that high ECS could be experience within very many generation was never within the initial reasoning. To take this to a conclusion, talking about the estimated values of CS is only half the story – the timescale needs to be provided too.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Jordan
June 25, 2021 12:53 pm

>>I struggle to accept the ERL concept<< you probably struggle to accept it because your brain is telling you that it is unadulterated horse sh1t. “natural greenhouse concentrations” which value of CO2 between the 6000 ppm of the last ice age and the paltry 250 of two hundred years ago is the “natural” concentration?

Reply to  Komerade Cube
June 25, 2021 1:43 pm

you probably struggle to accept it because your brain is telling you that it is unadulterated horse sh1t”
Nicely put Cube. It was trying to express the sentiment in more subtle terms. Consider it to be one of my faults.

Richard M
Reply to  Jordan
June 26, 2021 9:05 am

The ERL is just another way of stating the amount of energy contained in the atmosphere. More energy causes an expansion of gases. This will raise the average height of the mass of the atmosphere which is essentially all the ERL is. A side effect of this expansion is the lapse rate starts a little higher making the surface warmer.

Rud appears to believe that converting the non-radiative gas (O2) to a radiative gas (CO2) will necessarily lead to more energy contained within the atmosphere independent of what actually happens within the atmosphere. I think this assumption is debatable. It ignores many aspects of the physics that this change promotes including feedback.

One of those aspects is emittance. There’s a slightly different metric that could improve the calculation of ECS. Since the available surface IR energy is essentially completely absorbed already, the problem is one of computing how long the energy remains in the atmosphere. In order for warming to occur the same energy must remain for a longer time. This is a function of BOTH absorption and emittance. Climate science has so far focused on the former and pretty much ignored the latter.

Since there isn’t any more surface energy for CO2 to absorb, all that happens when you double CO2 is lower the average elevation where all the energy is absorbed and added to the atmosphere. No more energy is absorbed. At the same time you are adding more emitters which are taking energy out of the atmosphere and sending it towards space. These processes are working in opposite directions. One warms and one cools the atmosphere.

So, how do these opposite effects average out? It seems to me that the warming process is fairly small since no more energy is being added. You are slowing down the energy loss rate somewhat but again no additional energy is involved. The cooling process seems much more significant. Essentially twice the amount of energy is sent towards space.

Reply to  Richard M
June 26, 2021 2:48 pm

All good thinky stuff Richard, as you imagine how it might work. There is no shortage of that available for people who like to imagine how the climate could work. The same was true for the tropospheric hotspot, which was never observed.
That’s the basic point I was making – observation! If you cannot observe it, it cannot be tested. If you cannot test it, it’s not scientific.
So tell me how ERL is measured, and show me the measurements that it has changed to provide evidence that your thinky stuff might have some merit.
Until you can do that, I’m not buying it.

June 25, 2021 6:58 am


You say (rightly) that reality and CMIP6 diverge. But this is is just the opening act for AR6. The “warm-up”, so to speak.

WG1 in AR4 and AR5 failed to endorse most of the climate activists’ claims about current and future climate disasters. But the movement has gained power since then, and leaks suggest that WG1 of AR6 will be a doomsters’ delight.

This will undercut the foundation for most skeptical scientists’ positions. Many are already repositioning themselves to support, even lukewarmly, the Climate Emergency claims. I see this every week on Twitter.

The press will go hysterical, and political action probably will follow.

My guess is that skeptics will face intense campaigns for cancelation as enemies of the people. Website closed, business contracts terminated, ostracism, etc. There are historical examples beyond count.

People often misinterpret the “s” curve of change. That first segment only looks flattish by comparison with the steep fall that follows. When in that segment it feels like dangerous rapids. That’s where we are in the political conflict over climate change.The period of rapid change lies ahead.

Last edited 1 year ago by Larry
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Larry
June 25, 2021 8:57 am

My guess is that skeptics will face intense campaigns for cancelation as enemies of the people.

I comment regularly on SciTechDaily climate articles. I have on several occasions found that my comments either fail to appear, or go into moderation for no discernible reason, and don’t show up after several hours. When that happens, I write to the editors and politely ask why the comment was not posted. I have never had the courtesy of a reply, although the comments do show up after inquiring. I may be paranoid, but it seems that there is already an attempt to suppress dissenting views.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 25, 2021 1:20 pm


That’s just the first drops of Spring rain before the floods.

June 25, 2021 6:58 am

“It also indirectly takes scientific aim at some of the extreme skeptics who also comment here, like those who deny that the greenhouse effect exists, or that ECS cannot be significantly positive.”

Please aim “the science” on this..

And this..

It will help to understand some of the biggest blunders in the “GHE” theory. And that should help to understand, why at least on the emission side, the GHE rather looks like the figure below.

Steve Case
June 25, 2021 7:20 am

“… It also indirectly takes scientific aim at some of the extreme skeptics who also comment here, like those who deny that the greenhouse effect exists, or that ECS cannot be significantly positive.”

This was a very short & readable post and certainly deserves a thumbs up. What it and other posts here on WUWT don’t always take aim at is the current claim in the popular press that “Climate Change is the existential crisis of our time” and all the other associated claims that go with it.

A good run-down of all the claims that have been false over the last 40 years of “Global Warming” to “The Existential Crisis of our Time” could be covered more often. Mostly these claims in the popular press are outrageous exaggerations. The 5.6 degree ECS certainly is.
If the The Global Warming Potential numbers for greenhouse gases has ever been debunked on these pages, it hasn’t been often enough. An honest evaluation of sea level and its acceleration, there is some you know but it’s tiny. Posts here often say there’s none.

Well that’s enough rambling on. In the ABOUT link above it says 447 million hits. Well OK, I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this, Kip Hansen’s post about Covering Climate Now says the world is up against a propaganda machine. There was a post maybe here or not that said people in the USSR, and other similarly ruled countries routinely ignored the press, they knew it was bullshit propaganda and lies. Here in America the public hasn’t caught on to that fact yet. They sit in front of the TV slack jawed and appear to believe everything Norah O’Donnel says. Those 447 million views need a good solid honest rebuttal to Norah and the industry she works for. OK, I’ll stop there, I’m angry, frustrated and depressed.

Nelson Woodard
June 25, 2021 7:24 am

Where is convection? Convection (water vapor) is responsible for moving the majority of heat from the surface to the top of the troposphere. The tropopause is mostly of a constant temperature. THe stratosphere warms with height. I’m not sure I understand the story about the higher emission height at a cooler temperature causing surface warming.

Reply to  Nelson Woodard
June 25, 2021 7:50 am

Good question — which exposes a key objective of climate alarmism … creating confusion. CO2 is the gas of life — and without it we all perish. We are after all carbon-based life-forms.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Shewchuk
June 25, 2021 11:13 am

Why is no one talking about this planet’s ravenous hunger for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it as limestone? It has been systematically drawing down our “life giving gas” to dangerously low levels. Now that that process seems to have been reversed somewhat, isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t a greener, warmer world better than a cold dead husk?

Reply to  Rory Forbes
June 25, 2021 11:41 am

Bingo. We’ll that’s two of us. We do need more CO2 — just like Happer said — we are in a CO2 famine. I’m about ready to buy one of those “I love CO2” T-shirts. I may even make a video called “CO2 – the God Molecule” , but in the meantime this will have to do …

Rory Forbes
Reply to  John Shewchuk
June 25, 2021 12:36 pm

I do enjoy your videos. Thanks again.

That IS the elephant in the room, though … why is gaining “the God molecule” a bad thing? I’m so confused. The true believers keep saying that it’s the “speed” of these increases. So, dutifully I research the history on that point. Nope … once again, nothing new to see here.

So far, after more than four decades down the road and still I haven’t seen anything that can’t be explained by natural variation. It reminds me of communism … absolutely no correspondence between theory and practice. No wonder the Left are so enamored with AGW, they’re pathologically drawn to failed theories.

Tom Foley
Reply to  Rory Forbes
June 26, 2021 1:40 am

The planet doesn’t have a ravenous hunger for anything. Most limestones are a byproduct of life, formed from the buildup as marine sediments of the calcium carbonate shells etc of marine organisms, when they die and drift to the bottom. Other limestones form when precipitated CaCO3 in oceans drifts to the bottom. Then such limestones can be eroded and reworked into younger sediments including carbonate soils. It’s basically just chemistry not some anthropomorphic planet’s hunger.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Foley
Rory Forbes
Reply to  Tom Foley
June 26, 2021 9:43 am

I wasn’t suggesting anything “anthropomorphic”. You took a simple metaphor literally. Of course it’s “just chemistry”. So is life, but if the planet keeps sequestering CO2, life will end. Had you given any consideration to how the CO2 entered the oceans and into the food chain or why it hasn’t found its way back into the atmosphere?

To quote John Shewchuck: “We do need more CO2 — just like Happer said — we are in a CO2 famine”.

June 25, 2021 7:49 am

The models are strong evidence that the theory behind CO2 and the GHE itself are wrong because they assume “all things remaining equal”.

In the real world for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As a result, every systen resists change, often in ways that defy common sense. Heavy objects fall faster.

GHE theory requires that a non-ghg atmosphere has no convection and no lapse rate. Yet every planet with an atmosphere has a lapse rate.

The ERL is simply the point in the atmosphere where the black body temperature intersects the lapse rate.

Everywhere below the ERL is warmer than the BB temp due to the lapse rate and cooler above the ERL.

However it is convection that creates the lapse rate due the work done on air. Not GHG. The formula for lapse rate has no CO2, no radiation.

Convection results because of differential heating due to rotation and polar orientation. This results in troposphere higher on day side than night, higher at the equator than poles, which results in flow of air as air mass tries to seek lowest level.

The climate models fail to account for this effect which is why the cannot explain historical climate variability greater than modern warming.

Last edited 1 year ago by ferdberple
Reply to  Ferdberple
June 25, 2021 9:35 am

Um…heavier objects do not fall faster. A cannon ball and a ball bearing fall at the same rate. In a vacuum, a feather and a cannon ball fall at the same rate.

As for the climate models, ya, they’re all garbage. Not science.

Reply to  Cool-Engineer
June 25, 2021 10:47 am


The GCMs, are very cool.
When it comes to GHE and GHGs potential.

Regardless of what the criminals in charge and use of GCMs do or claim.
GCM simulations do confirm clearly the GHE and GHGs feature and the potential of it , but in the same time show that that potential is meaningless in climate term, far far less than the potential of the sunshine radiative potential….
almost nonexistent in comparison to the rest of radiation potential.


Tom Foley
Reply to  Cool-Engineer
June 26, 2021 1:45 am

It’s clearly all that carbon dioxide that slows the feather down.

June 25, 2021 7:53 am

The simple fact is that actual observations show a much slower warming than the vast majority of the CHIMP5 models predict. If actual science is happening in climate prediction, the inaccurate models would improve and the disparity between models and observations would lessen with the models used in CHIMP6. Isn’t happening – so the inescapable conclusion is that factors other than pure science are at play.

Steve Case
Reply to  meab
June 25, 2021 8:39 am

 … the inescapable conclusion is that factors other than pure science are at play.

Time for this one:

The IPCC’s TAR Chapter 14 Page 771 says:

     “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore
     the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Some time ago, Kip Hansen put up this example of a coupled non-linear chaotic system:

That’s only a double pendulum, only two coupled factors , imagine how many factors there are in a climate system.

Reply to  Steve Case
June 25, 2021 12:41 pm

That doesn’t explain what’s going on. If it was just the inherent difficulty of the problem, a roughly equal number of models would be low but they’re almost all predicting too much warming.

June 25, 2021 8:23 am

As for the point I saw in the headline that led me into this article, “It is apparent that those who believe in anthropogenic global warming do not understand the intractable fundamental problem with their climate model approach.”: This article does not refute anthropogenic global warming, but merely claims it is happening to an extent that is less than modeled by most climate models.

Steve Case
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
June 25, 2021 8:46 am

Temperatures are up a degree or so since 1850 and we are led to believe this is a problem. Pull my other leg. But there’s this from another site a while back:

     The fact that the media lies to 
       us isn’t as scary as the fact 
     that most people believe them.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
June 25, 2021 9:06 am

Since that is the position of the vast majority of skeptics, why is wrong for this paper to take that position?

June 25, 2021 8:30 am

Regarding “Greenhouse gasses (so also their ‘backradiation’) cannot warm—incoming insolation is solely responsible for that.”: I see this as a poor choice of words that detract from the surrounding statements, in a way that attracts the kind of deniers who say that GHGs cannot make the planet warmer because energy only goes downhill in potential. (Energy is merely required to have *net flow* between any two points being downhill in potential.) As this article says elsewhere, greenhouse gases (and increase thereof) make the planet surface warmer than it would be without them (or without increase thereof), although with points that this effect (more exactly positive feedbacks such as the water vapor positive feedback) are overstated in most climate models.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
June 25, 2021 2:12 pm

Depends on what you call the surface. The soil and ocean water or the lower atmosphere.

Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 8:41 am

I have an issue with Rud’s following statements in his article above: ” ‘Greenhouse’ gases (GHG) absorb and omni-directionally re-emit infrared radiation (IR), inhibiting (retarding) cooling IR escape to space. Greenhouse gasses (so also their ‘backradiation’) cannot warm—incoming insolation is solely responsible for that.”

First, it is absolutely true, and has been physically shown, that the common greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere—predominately water vapor and CO2, and to lesser extents methane, ozone and nitrous oxide—absorb LWIR emitted from Earth’s surface over various spectral bands associated with surface temperatures in the range of 210-310 K (-80 to +100 °F).

The energy of LWIR photons absorbed by such molecules is stored as mechanical energy (in translational and vibrational degrees of freedom) and NOT as an upward shift in the energy level of the given molecule’s electron cloud (in the limit case, ionization) because LWIR photons lack sufficient energy to do such.

Consequently, in the lower atmosphere (<10 km altitude) the time constant for molecule-molecule collisions is 4-7 orders of magnitude smaller than the “relaxation time” associated with a mechanically-excited molecule spontaneously emitting a photon of energy. Hence, greenhouse gases will overwhelmingly have molecular collisions with other atmospheric gases (99% by volume of which are the non-greenhouse gases O2 and N2), and it is by these molecular collisions—and NOT by omnidirectional re-radiation of LWIR photons—that almost all initially GHG-absorbed LWIR is then redistributed throughout the total atmosphere. Of course, any “de-energized” GHG molecule is then free to absorb another photon of LWIR, and so on and so on.

I understand that at various times the above-described process has been referred to as the “thermalization of LWIR energy throughout the lower atmosphere”. It clearly explains why there is an equilibrium temperature (actually, an equilibrium Maxwell-Boltzmann energy distribution) within a thin vertical slice at a given altitude within the lower troposphere, discounting vertical convection effects). In other words, we do not measure GHG molecules as being noticeably “hotter” (for measurements averaged over millisecond or longer time periods) than surrounding oxygen or nitrogen molecules, despite the known fact that the GHG molecules are preferentially being excited by their absorption of LWIR photons.

And for clarification, there is this:
The atmosphere thins with altitude, and at roughly 5–6 kilometres, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the overlying atmosphere is so thin that heat can escape to space.”

So, in summary, GHGs do in fact “warm” the entire atmosphere via collisional exchange of some/most of their excess energy obtained via LWIR absorption. In turn, the entire atmosphere, including LWIR-transparent nitrogen and oxygen, does radiate thermal energy that originated from Earth’s surface back towards Earth’s surface as well as out towards space (i.e., omni-directionally). As a result, GHGs directly and indirectly “warm” Earth’s surface wherever lower tropospheric air temperatures are hotter than the underlying surface temperatures . . . a situation that can arise at night time, and a common daylight circumstance during seasonal winter time in Earth’s polar and temperature zones associated with the horizontal movement of atmospheric warm fronts.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 9:59 am

Gordon says:”…and it is by these molecular collisions—and NOT by omnidirectional re-radiation of LWIR photons—that almost all initially GHG-absorbed LWIR is then redistributed throughout the total atmosphere. ”

If what you say is true in the atmosphere it must also be true in laboratory experiments. However, the specific heat of air does not bear this out. The values given in tables are for “any form” of energy. It does not matter if IR is involved or not. Please note quotation marks.

The Shomate equation has no place to enter IR into equation.

Rud and others want to use the ERL explanation but have provided no historic measurements of where this level is, how precise and accurate we can be in determining it nor an updated specific heat of air given lapse rate is determined by Cp.

Rud paraphrased Feynman about experiments so:

The attached is results of replicated experiments done in 3 different decades by different people show CO2 has an emissivity of almost zero. Hottel says near zero below 33 C. So I think the sensitivity to CO2 is essentially zero.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  mkelly
June 25, 2021 10:46 am

Re: your statement “However, the specific heat of air does not bear this out.”

Measurements of the specific heat of air are NOT performed with said air being under bombarded by LWIR from a source having a peak temperature in the range of 210-310 K and that source having a spectral emissivity over that range simulating the average emissivity of Earth’s land, water and ice surfaces.

Likewise, the standard emissivity of CO2 vs absolute temperature that you posted has no relevance when that CO2 is being bombarded by, and moreover absorbing and exchanging, LWIR energy.

You need to understand the boundary conditions that are associated with published values of any given parameter measurement. 

Feynman is still right on . . . with the caveat that disagreement with observation/experiment must be based on accurate knowledge of conditions under which such data is obtained and the conditions of the experimental setup.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  mkelly
June 25, 2021 11:13 am


It also appears that you do not understand the use and meaning of the Shomate equation.

The Shomate equation is but one, among many, equations used to estimate thermochemical data using polynomial equations. It does NOT derive such estimates from first principles (such as molecular structure or IR radiation absorption/emission).

Fundamentally, the Shomate equation is a glorified polynomial curve-fit of independently measured data for a given thermochemical parameter, nothing more.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  mkelly
June 25, 2021 2:24 pm

Why does everyone ignore Hottel?

It’s like discussing the outcome of a motor race when it has already been announced that all the engines have failed to start.

So I think the chances of starting the race is essentially zero.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  leitmotif
June 25, 2021 8:02 pm

“Why does everyone ignore Hottel?”

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Hottel measured emissivities of ~100% pure CO2 in a static sample container whereas practical climate science involves CO2 at ~400 ppm concentration in a dynamic environment with other interacting gases such as N2, O2, H2O, and CH4.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 6:42 pm

A vibrating molecule strikes another molecule and transfers vibrational energy. Non-vibrating molecule strikes a molecule and gains vibrational energy. Wouldn’t that result in a net-zero outcome?
A non-vibrating molecule gains energy (photon or collision) and the molecule slows down because it has gained mass(e=mc^2). Slower is cooler.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 25, 2021 8:08 pm

The case you describe occurs all the time in closed control volume of gases; the big difference is when one is continually adding energy into the mass of colliding molecules via bombardment of LWIR ( which is classified as an open system . . . energy transfer occurring across the defined control volume, both inward and outward).

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 28, 2021 7:12 am

Errr. . . my bad in very last sentence of my above post: “temperature zones” should be replaced by “temperate zones”.

R Taylor
June 25, 2021 8:49 am

“It also indirectly takes scientific aim at some of the extreme skeptics who also comment here, like those who deny that the greenhouse effect exists, or that ECS cannot be significantly positive”

Just because some radiation makes CO2 molecules twitch, how does that require that “ECS” is significantly positive?

Much of the earth is covered in wet carbohydrate residue, with innumerable microbes that increase their CO2 production exponentially as they are warmed. If “ECS” were significantly positive, we would have had runaway warming innumerable times during geological history. Why has it never happened? If you can explain that, I might listen to your speculation about “ECS”.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  R Taylor
June 25, 2021 7:43 pm

R Taylor asked: “Why has it never happened?”

The short answer is: “Because CO2 becomes asymptotically saturated in its ability to continue increasing global warming/ECS at around the level of its current concentration in Earth’s atmosphere (i.e., around 420 ppm).”

R Taylor
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 8:12 pm

In 800,000 years of ice core, CO2 can dwindle below 200 ppm by the end of a glacial period, but it never leads temperature into an interglacial. And having followed temperature to the peak of an interglacial, at about 300 ppm it shows no capacity for sustaining warmth. Instead, it follows temperature (by up to millennia) into the depths of the next glacial. 800,000 years of ice core says “ECS” is essentially zero at CO2 concentrations exceeding 200 ppm.

June 25, 2021 8:51 am

You build the Greenhouse by ignoring or misrepresenting inconvenient phenomena.

a) Convection
b) The Water Cycle

a) and b) together act to remove this imaginary greenhouse. The piddling effect which remains acts largely to our benefit.

June 25, 2021 8:52 am

A classic way to directly compare the spread of different sets of data is to use the unitless metric coefficient of variation CV. This is calculated as standard deviation / mean. It is often presented as a percentage.

The case of CMIP5 ECS had an ensemble mean 3.2 and standard deviation 0.7
The case of CMIP6 ECS has an ensemble mean 3.74 and standard deviation 1.11

CV CMIP5 = 0.7/3.2 = 22%
CV CMIP6 = 1.11/3.74 = 30%

It is clear to see that CMIP6 is considerably more dispersed than CMIP5. Focusing on a mean with 30% CV is bordering on practically useless from a forecasting/projection point of view. The variance around the mean is getting higher, not lower. Yet another way to illustrate that the CMIP distributions are in fact getting substantially more dispersed.

After seemingly limitless investment into science and data it should be expected that next generation consensus model intercomparisons would be converging on a particular ECS, not dispersing. This gives a clue that something is wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by JCM
Reply to  JCM
June 25, 2021 9:16 am

So, CMIP6 has significantly INCREASED ECS uncertainty…

It should be noted that the ensemble spread has nothing to do with physical ECS uncertainty. All that has been analysed is just that, the spread of model outputs. ECS uncertainty is undoubtedly substantially higher than the numbers presented here.

Last edited 1 year ago by JCM
Reply to  JCM
June 25, 2021 9:52 am

Furthermore, based on the increasing dispersion of CMIP ensemble members and unacknowledged uncertainty of ECS in any component this offers a clue that the concept of ECS (or TCR) to changing CO2 may in fact have no physical meaning or practical application. There is a likelihood that a quantifiable ECS (TCR) to changing CO2 concentration is not possible based on the evidence presented in CMIP & IPCC. There is a verifiable lack of consensus on the physical processes and projections and so the notion of ECS may be imaginary.

June 25, 2021 8:53 am

Willis Eschenbach’s many TStorm posts here

Was there supposed to be a link under the “here”?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  MarkW
June 25, 2021 9:40 am

No. Use the search bar tool.

Antero Ollila
June 25, 2021 8:57 am

I cannot believe it: “Greenhouse gasses (so also their ‘backradiation’) cannot warm—incoming insolation is solely responsible for that”. I have written this before and this story is one in the row of evidence that WUWT prefers opinions that there is no GH effect. What a shame.

To Istvan: How do you explain that the direct SW radiation to the surface is about 165 W/m2 but the surface can emit LW radiation of about 395 W/m2? By the way, 165 W/m2 is not even 240 W/m2 – the net energy absorbed by the Earth.

Climate establishment representatives can clap their hands: Climate deniers have their own physics.

June 25, 2021 8:58 am

Rud. Two obervations.

1. If there was no lapse rate, there would be no GHE. ECS would be zero.

2. Convection will create a lapse rate wirhiut any GHG.

Consider a planet scals solar powered heat pump. The low pressure cold coils are in the upper atmosphere. The high pressure hot coils are at the surface. A planet scale solat panel drives the compressor pump.

This will cool the upper atmosphere and warm the surface, creating a lapse rate. Exactly as seem on earth.

The sun drives the compressor pump through a process called convection. Gravity takes the place of thwe high low pressure orifice found in a heat pump, by restricting the flow of air from the hot side to the cold.

Captain Climate
June 25, 2021 9:08 am

You can’t attribute human causes with climate models because climate models are not physical representations of the actual climate. They’re just toys, in the same way that someone’s model of the economy is not a representation of reality.

Bruce Cobb
June 25, 2021 9:16 am

Speaking of Chimps;
What did Tarzan say when he saw the Chimps eating all his chocolate chip cookies?
“Chimps ahoy”!

pat michaels
June 25, 2021 9:29 am

Hi Rud,

I think you have a typo. INM-CM5’s sensitivity is 1.9 degC. INM-CM4.8 has the lowest one at 1.8 degC.-Volodin (who heads the group) wrote a paper a few years ago that seemed to apologize for the fact that his ECS was so low, and yet somehow version 4.8 got even cooler.

The INM’s are cold because their deep ocean heat capacity is about double what’s in the other models, but I am surprised that when they sent out the “new, improved” CM4.8 and CM5 that the results were similar but slightly slower to warm than CM4.

Any ideas on what’s going on here?

Pat M.

June 25, 2021 9:54 am

Thank you for the excellent update. I have enjoyed using this graph from IPCC AR5 (2014) to illustrate how badly the CMIP models overestimate warming. I hope they include a similar one in AR6. It’s fun to use their own findings to debunk their hyperbole.

comment image

I also like pointing out that warming trends projected by their various Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) scenarios are vastly overstated and the one most used by every published study prophesying an imminent apocalypse, RCP8.5, which assumes no drastic, concerted global effort to curb CO2 emissions (which is what’s actually happening) is 2 to 3 times higher than measured temperature and sea level trends. Even more fun, the measured trends show that the least scary RCP2.6 scenario is the likeliest; the one where global CO2 emissions stop increasing (looking at you China, India, and every developing country in Asia, Africa, and Latin America) and start to decline slightly by 2040, which is improbable.

RCP8.5 warming by 2100: 2.6 to 4.8 C, mean of 3.2 C
RCP2.6 warming by 2100: 0.3 to 1.7 C, mean of 1 C
Measured trend (UAH temp): 1.4 C

RCP8.5 sea level by 2100: 0.45 to 0.82 meters, mean of 0.63 m
RCP2.6 sea level by 2100: 0.26 to 0.55 meters, mean of 0.40 m
Measured trend (satellite): 0.33 meters

Tide gauges show a lower trend than satellites for sea level rise.

The logical implication? The contribution of CO2 to warming is far lower than the climate models estimate.

Last edited 1 year ago by stinkerp
Anthony Banton
Reply to  stinkerp
June 25, 2021 11:25 am


“I have enjoyed using this graph from IPCC AR5 (2014) to illustrate how badly the CMIP models overestimate warming”

Just thought I’d bring your graph up to date …..

Reply to  stinkerp
June 25, 2021 11:57 am

To second Anthony Banton, why do you “enjoy” using data that ends in 2011? That’s 10 years ago. It’s 2021; so now we have whole-year data up to and including 2020. Ed Hawkins gets credit for updating that chart with up to date data. Enjoy!

Reply to  TheFinalNail
June 26, 2021 1:24 am

 “It’s fun to use their own findings to debunk their hyperbole.”

“Enjoying” the irony?

David Blenkinsop
June 25, 2021 10:11 am

The head post here talks about “Effective Radiating Level”, then the conclusion that “increasing CO2 has a decreasing logarithmic effect”. This is a conclusion that almost everyone seems to accept, it would be silly to question it, however if you take it quite literally it leads to a logical contradiction. If an increase of temperature is attached to every doubling of CO2, shouldn’t the same decrease be attached to every halving? If you continue on a downward trend like that, you would have to say that zero CO2 assumed should imply a *negative infinite* temperature, something fishy there!

My serious point here is that the logarithmic thing can’t actually be literally correct, it can only be some kind of approximation, or rule of thumb. Given that, who knows where the approximation really breaks down? If we really could take all the CO2 out of the atmosphere, say, maybe water vapor would pick up the slack with hardly any cooling at all — H2O is a powerful greenhouse gas, you know! In that scenario, the ability of the upper atmosphere to shed heat might even be compromised just a bit, with the result being, again, hardly any cooling?

June 25, 2021 10:24 am

It also indirectly takes scientific aim at some of the extreme skeptics who also comment here, like those who deny that the greenhouse effect exists, or that ECS cannot be significantly positive.

Rud you said your article ‘takes aim at some…”, then you basically called those of us who think otherwise extremists. Why do you think it is necessary to use such loaded language?

That is the language of consensus groupthink enforcement.

I acknowledge the GHG effect but not a climate-changing role for it simply because CO2 changes follow ocean temperature changes and the amount of atm CO2 is so small.

The proper metric instead of ‘ECS of CO2’ is sensitivity of CO2 to temperature changes.

Changes in CO2 are relative to the growth in the size and temperature of the ocean above ~25.6ºC over time, due to outgassing re Henry’s Law of Solubility of Gases.
comment image

It is simple to ascertain a positive CO2 sensitivity to temperature changes. In the following example the 12month change in Mauna Loa CO2 significantly follows HadSST3 by 10 months, with a sensitivity of 2.34ppm/ºC:
comment image

Clearly the ocean is driving the atmospheric temperature too:
comment image

It follows that the ECS of CO2 is unreal, definitely not ‘significantly positive’ because CO2 isn’t driving the ocean temperature, rather it’s the other way around.

Why should I accept any other interpretation?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bob Weber
June 25, 2021 10:54 am

Man adds CO2 to the atmosphere. Nature takes out about half of Man’s contribution. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 increases accordingly.

CO2 is a radiatively active gas (GHG). Increases in GHG in the Earth’s atmosphere will tend to warm the atmosphere. We don’t know by how much a particular increase in CO2 concentrations will warm the atmosphere because the massive energy flows throughout the atmosphere obscure the relatively small impacts of minor GHG changes.

Using historical observations and a number of assumptions, the best current estimate of CO2 ECS is about 1.7. UN IPCC CliSciFi GCMs have no valid bases for the derivation of their ECS estimates, evidence a CMIP6 range of 5.6 to 1.8.

Anybody that disagrees with the thrust of the above has their head up their ass.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Dave Fair
June 25, 2021 11:43 am

Dave Fair posted: “Increases in GHG in the Earth’s atmosphere will tend to warm the atmosphere.”

That statement is commonly made, and just as commonly is an unsubstantiated, illogical assertion.

Many physical processes (such a salt dissolving in a limited quantity of fresh water) are known to approach asymptotic limits. Such appears currently to be the case with CO2 according to W. A. van Wijngaarden and W. Happer [2020], Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases, free download available at

According to these well-respected physicists, doubling the current concentration of CO2 increases its feedback forcing by only a few percent.

The lack of inclusion of this asymptotic limit by almost all (all?) of the climate models used to establish CMIP-x ECS values and associated future projections for global warming is the fundamental reason they depart from reality in temperature projections and in their calculations of ECS values.

In addition, the van Wijngaarden and Happer CO2-is-near-total-saturation-at-420-ppm assertion gives us an excellent explanation for why Earth did not experience “runaway” greenhouse warming, and thus the extinction of all life, when Earth previously experienced CO2 levels 8 to 15 times higher than today’s level.

BTW, I can see the light clearly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 25, 2021 2:14 pm

Great link especially Fig 4 .

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
June 27, 2021 10:34 am

Layman lurker here. I believe this is a phenomenon that needs to be cited more often to counteract the intense efforts by media to scare people. Many people presume that there are positive feedback traps waiting around every corner: increase the average .5 degrees and suddenly whoops it jumps up to 3 because the Gulf Stream stopped or something. This is what allows people to believe it when they are told that in X years, it will be “too late” to reverse climate change.

Providing evidence that almost all feedback loops in nature are negative rather than positive is critically important. The science as currently argued is not adequately targeted at the probability or improbability of encountering positive feedback loops. But the simple truth that Earth has naturally moderated itself from much higher CO2 concentrations, should be evidence enough. Thank you for providing it.

Rick C
June 25, 2021 10:52 am

When my better half is weighed at the doctor’s office she removes her watch and glasses. She correctly thinks these add to her apparent weight. Of course the watch and glasses weigh less than 1 pound but could be enough to increase her recorded weight by 1 pound when recorded in whole pounds. But that does not mean that the watch and glasses cause a 1 pound change. But the data available cannot tell us just how much these items actually weigh. Even if the weighing was done twice – with and without the watch and glasses – we would not be able to determine their weight based on a scale with 1 pound resolution as the difference would be either 0 or 1 pound.

We do know that CO2 concentration increase will result in some change in atmospheric cooling rate and hence must result in some level of temperature increase. But we also know that there are many potential feed backs that would affect the amount of warming. The net feedback could well be negative and thus minimize the warming. I would submit that we simply cannot measure atmospheric temperature with anywhere near the resolution that would be required to determine the ECS.

Computer models are useless in resolving this issue. By definition they include some calculation that affects the projected temperature change based on change in CO2 concentration. The size of the change depends on the modelers choice of factors used in the calculation.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rick C
June 25, 2021 10:57 am

Thank you, Rick. A much better (and kinder) discussion than mine.

June 25, 2021 11:03 am

Unless I am mistaken ECS includes feedback from H2O. It is not clear if you are criticizing those who “deny” CO2 without-feedback has positive ECS or you are including those who “deny” CO2 with-feedback has positive ECS. Since clouds and water vapor are poorly understood, it is also not clear on what basis anyone can claim with certainty that the feedback effect of CO2 is positive or negative. My understanding is that knowing the effects of water feedback is necessary to understanding CO2 as a greenhouse gas; water vapor feedback is the missing link. 
Since CO2 is a nonlinear greenhouse gas, isn’t the effect of doubling CO2 a function of where you start? In his Hillsdale speech Dr. Happer claims that CO2 is effectively saturated as a greenhouse gas (28:55 into his speech). He says the effect is approximately 1% or 3w/m2. This appears to be without feedback.

Joseph Zorzin
June 25, 2021 11:19 am

Is any science more unsettled than climate “science”? I read a lot of science in magazines and books including college texts for courses I never took- but I buy or borrow them anyway. I see little debate and argument in other sciences. Conclusion: no need to spend trillions to attempt to solve a problem not yet proven. As for warming- it’s suppossed to be about 80 F today in central MA, but it’s barely 70, cold and damp. I wish they got it right.

Jeffery P
June 25, 2021 11:58 am

The big problem is the models are designing to show global warming. Period. Models that don’t show global warming are discarded.

Beyond that, nobody can show the climate works the way the models posit. It takes willful ignorance to keep believing the models when the results don’t match the real world.

June 25, 2021 1:15 pm

I think that those of you who believe that the accepted greenhouse gas physics are wrong simply need to go into the lab and demonstrate by experimental observation and measurement that it is wrong. Please let us know when you have done that experiment.

June 25, 2021 1:25 pm

The simple scalar solution to… reduction of what is a complex (characterization and diversity), and, in fact, chaotic, problem (i.e. energy, matter, and heat interaction, transmutation, transport, and auditing) is reminiscent of the search for the “prime” prime algorithm, and separately the calculation of how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie roll center of a Tootsie pop? One, two… crunch.

Last edited 1 year ago by n.n
Steve Z
June 25, 2021 2:07 pm

David Blenkinsop (below) has a great point in the comments.

Rud Istvan claims that “Guy Callendar realized in his 1938 paper that increasing CO2 has a decreasing logarithmic effect.”, whereby every doubling of CO2 concentration would result in the same increase in atmospheric temperature, called the “Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity”, or ECS.

But there are several fundamental problems with this theory, sometimes known as the Arrhenius equation, used by the IPCC. If the Arrhenius equation were rigorously true, then if all the CO2 were somehow removed from the atmosphere, then the atmospheric temperature would go to negative infinity, which is physically impossible, since the minimum possible temperature for anything is zero degrees Kelvin. In reality, if all the CO2 were removed from the atmosphere, the effect of CO2 on the atmosphere would go to zero, but any warming effect due to water vapor would still be in effect, resulting in an equilibrium temperature above zero degrees Celsius.

Although Guy Callendar’s paper is behind a paywall, even the freely readable abstract contains some errors. Callendar claims that, as of 1938, three quarters of the CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels remains in the atmosphere, after 150,000 million tons were emitted in the previous 50 years. That would be an average of 3 gigatons (GT) per year.

In recent years, human CO2 emissions have increased to about 35 GT/yr. If all the CO2 remained in the atmosphere, that should cause the concentration to increase at the rate of 4.4 ppm/year (by a mass balance over the atmosphere). But actual concentrations at Mauna Loa are increasing at a rate of about 2 ppm/yr, meaning that only about 45% of human CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere, as compared to 75% claimed by Guy Callendar. If Callendar could make such a large error in the fraction of CO2 retained in the atmosphere, what other errors are in his analysis?

Rud Istvan also writes that “Greenhouse gases (GHG) absorb and omni-directionally re-emit infrared radiation (IR), inhibiting (retarding) cooling IR escape to space”.

This is not entirely true. If a CO2 or water vapor molecule absorbs an IR photon, the energy of its electrons increases. It can then either re-emit the photon “omni-directionally” (of which about half the photons are aimed toward the earth, and half toward space), OR the added energy can be transmitted as kinetic energy to a neighboring non-radiative molecule such as nitrogen or oxygen, in which case the temperature of the air increases.

By the law of conservation of energy, a GHG molecule can either re-emit the photon (in which case there is no increase in temperature) OR increase the kinetic energy and increase the air temperature, but it cannot do both. About half the absorbed and re-emitted photons can eventually reach the Earth’s surface and warm the surface (solid ground or liquid water), but only the absorbed and non-re-emitted photons can warm the atmosphere.

But solid ground and liquid water have very high specific heats per unit volume compared to air. The photons that are absorbed and re-emitted toward the earth cannot increase the surface temperature by much, compared to solar radiation. The photons that are absorbed and not re-emitted in can have a greater effect on the temperature of the atmosphere.

Rud Istvan claims that “The ERL is also why the GHE can never saturate. More GHG just raises ERL, meaning the ERL emission temperature is cooler so less efficient thanks to the troposphere temperature lapse rate.”

At a given surface temperature, there is a limited number (intensity) of IR photons in the wavelengths absorbed by CO2 emitted by the earth’s surface. Some of these photons never collide with a GHG molecule and are emitted to space. Some of them are absorbed, and a certain fraction raise the temperature of the nearby atmosphere, and of the remainder, some of them are re-emitted upward, some are re-emitted downward.

If the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere were doubled, then (according to Beer’s Law) the altitude required for the same number of photons (of wavelengths absorbed by CO2) to be absorbed would be halved, meaning that the ERL would be lower in the atmosphere (not higher), and the temperature of the ERL would increase, not decrease, and the emission toward space would increase, not decrease. The “greenhouse effect” CAN saturate, and would tend toward a limiting maximum asymptote for which all the photons of an IR-absorbing wavelength are absorbed.

Also, the “effective radiating level” (ERL) is likely fictitious, because the altitude at which IR photons are no longer absorbed varies with wavelength, and also with water vapor concentration, which is highly variable.

Even at a constant concentration (in mole fraction), the number of absorbing molecules per unit volume is proportional to P/T (absolute pressure / absolute temperature) by the ideal-gas law, and this ratio decreases rapidly with increasing altitude. This means that any IR absorption also decreases with altitude. There is no single altitude at which IR absorption suddenly becomes negligible–the IR absorption rate decreases gradually and “fades out” with increasing altitude.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Steve Z
June 25, 2021 4:02 pm

I’m not sure how to assess some of the points you raise, myself, but that last point about the rapidly decreasing density of atmosphere with height does seem to suggest that there would be fewer molecules to emit both ways, up and down, at higher altitudes. So you raise the ERL, it’s harder than you might think to keep the earth cool, this fits with standard theory then, or do conventional theories even care about the number of molecules?

David Dibbell
June 25, 2021 2:44 pm

Rud, thank you for this post and for all your contributions against the unjustified alarm over CO2. Yours is a voice of reason, clearly expressed. Still, I don’t see why ECS must logically be a significantly positive value. I don’t self-identify as extreme on this point. I appreciate Spencer, Lindzen, Curry, and others for their views and their integrity.

Still, it deserves consideration that the total energy in the atmosphere above any point on the surface is a huge quantity, and varies widely and rapidly. Perhaps you have seen this plot I have posted in comments before, but I’ll put it here again. The point being illustrated is that 3.7 Watt-hours per hour per square meter, acknowledged as the direct static warming effect of a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times, is vanishingly thin in the vertical scale. These hourly time series values are the “vertical integral of total energy” from the ECMWF’s ERA5 reanalysis product for all of 2019 for a gridpoint near where I live. I have expressed the vertical scale in Watt-hours per square meter. The large changes in total energy in both directions over short time periods will completely blur whatever happens with the 3.7 W/m^2 incremental improvement in the radiative coupling of the lower atmosphere to the surface.
comment image?dl=0

So I have commented here at WUWT several times that I don’t see how ECS can ever be reliably differentiated from 0C. Sure, the numbers work out, as you say, for the estimates of ECS derived from temperature records, assuming CO2 is the cause of the warming. But the warming could also be entirely natural, and one would never know the difference. Time will tell.

You mention Callendar in this post. I refer to the record of Sir George Simpson’s points in the “Discussion” of Callendar’s 1938 paper, at page 15 of this pdf. Those points make good sense to me.

Again, I write this with great appreciation for your posts.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  David Dibbell
June 25, 2021 5:02 pm

Thanks for the link. I just scrolled to the bottom of that PDF (Callendar’s paper), to read George Simpson’s rather concise criticisms and/or questions? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, Simpson sounds just like today’s climate skeptics, and it is far from clear whether Simpson or anyone else ever got anything like a satisfactory answer.

David Dibbell
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
June 26, 2021 4:05 am

I appreciate your reply. 83 years later, as you say, there is still the same tension. One sees the static radiative concept as dominant; another sees the dynamic motion of the atmosphere, with all its energy implications, as equally compelling and necessary to grasp. In a nearby reply, you wonder about the high-altitude aspects of radiative emission/absorption. Have you explored the online interactive Modtran website?

Reply to  David Dibbell
June 26, 2021 8:32 am

What ERA5 field has been vertically integrated here?

David Dibbell
Reply to  bdgwx
June 26, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  David Dibbell
June 26, 2021 4:17 pm

Got it, thanks. I think this puts into perspective just how much energy 3.7 W/m2 of an EEI puts into the climate system compared to the total energy in the atmosphere. The total RF from 1960 to 2020 is about 2 W/m2 with 0.8 W/m2 of an imbalance remaining. That means about 1.2 W/m2 has equilibrated with a total energy accumulation of 350e21 joules. That is 190,000 W-hours/m2. Triple that and you have 570,000 W-hours/m2. That is a significant portion of the total energy contained with the atmosphere. 3.7 W/m2 of an EEI even with a decay curve of a few decades adds up.

David Dibbell
Reply to  bdgwx
June 26, 2021 5:16 pm

Thank you for your reply. Rather than assuming the incremental static warming effect must accumulate, I see it as disappearing into the huge reservoir from which a highly active variable emitter is supplied. Please see my comment on another post recently, linked here.

In other words, if you assume the incremental warming effect must end up trapped, of course it will calculate out as you suggest. But if one puts more emphasis on how the atmosphere works as a heat engine, it need not accumulate. Additional CO2 supplies no additional energy of its own.

June 25, 2021 4:22 pm

Good article.
Rud Istvan, Willis Eschenbach and Andy May articles are always must reads for me,
along with every comment that follows.

My comments are more generic than most of the science comments here.
I will state them as questions that need answers.
The final words will be my own answers.

Two assumptions:
(1) Computer models “project” whatever their owners/programmers want projected.

(2) The average climate model projection represents a “consensus” of the scientists who own and program the computers.

My first question is:
“Do I trust those scientists?”.

My second question is:
“Does the model that makes the most accurate projections get the most attention?

My third question is:
“Does the average of model projections get more accurate over time?”

My last question is:
“Is there any indication that accurate temperature projections are the primary goal of the models?”

My own answers:
These are climate computer games, not models of climate change on this planet.

Accurate projections are not a goal.

Scaring people about an imaginary coming global warming crisis is the primary goal
(political, not scientific).

Complex computer games impress people more than just having government bureaucrat scientists waving their arms and predicting climate doom. The computer games are props to support a scary climate change fairy tale.

Concerning the CIMP6 ECS chart with the article.
– It’s often claimed climate science is settled, yet the ECS numbers have a HUGE range !
My guess is they are all too high.

– Thanks to earning a BS degree, I am skilled at detecting BS
The climate computer games are BS.

Due Diligence:
I live in Michigan, love global warming, and want a lot more!

Peter K
June 25, 2021 5:41 pm

” They are digging themselves into a deeper hole.” When you see historical temperature being altered, that’s becoming obvious. There is still no proof of correlation between CO2 and AGW. The religion is powerfully promoted by MSM, schools and universities, to keep the dream alive. I cannot envisage that teachers, after dragging students out of class, will ever go back to the students and tell them “sorry it’s all been a political hoax”.

June 25, 2021 5:43 pm

I read a left wing columnist criticizing the skeptics. She said the ‘the deniers always say that reality doesn’t match the models but the global mean temperature is ‘tracking’ (her word) the lower range of the models. She didn’t say that the lower range is the Russian model and yes it’s close to reality but it is also not scary.

June 25, 2021 8:49 pm

“like those who deny that the greenhouse effect exists”

Never proven. Not one enviromental observation.

Tyndall only proved absorption of IR.

Flame me all y’all want- just remember lots of concepts exist only in the mind or the math not reality. There’s no such thing as imaginary numbers…

Schrodinger's Cat
June 26, 2021 1:39 am

A good summary by Rud. Just two points, I was surprised that feedbacks were not mentioned and I would have appreciated a little bit more comment on ERL and GHG saturation.

I don’t know if Rud plans to respond to the general feedback at some pont.

Reply to  Schrodinger's Cat
June 26, 2021 3:11 pm

Rather than more theorising, I’d have preferred more about observation. How is ERL supposed to be measured? If it can’t be measured (observed), it can’t be tested and that means it’s not science.

June 26, 2021 8:47 am

This key point should be widely reported, but I doubt it will be:

CMIP6 has significantly INCREASED ECS uncertainty

Billions of dollars, thousands of scientists, and 42 years – yet our estimate of the effect of CO2 on global temperatures is worse than it was in 1979!

Good post Rud.

June 26, 2021 3:15 pm

Effective Radiating Level.
How do you measure “effective” Rud? This is not observable, and not testable scientific reasoning. It’s nonsense. Why would you put your name to it?

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