Warming and Drying part 2 Natural Cycles, Climate see-saws and failed models

Jim Steele

Natural cycles like the Madden Julian Oscillation and the El Nino Southern Oscillation cause regions of rising moist air and precipitation varying with regions of sinking cloudless dry air that allow intensified solar heating and modern and historical regional heatwaves and droughts.

Climate hypothesis suggesting global warming will cause wet regions to get wetter and dry regions to get drier is not supported by observations

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August 28, 2021 10:29 pm

I have always found it contradictory the claim a warmer atmosphere will mean less rain.
I am also wondering if the notion that a warmer atmosphere supports more water vapour is instead that a warmer atmosphere is due to more water vapour.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Kalsel3294
August 29, 2021 12:25 am

Kalsel, look to two major sources of rainfall in temperate regions like the continental US: Northward spread of subtropical humid air that moves upward to higher atmospheric altitude by convection then cools and condenses into water droplets producing the typical summer monsoonal showers characteristic of southern states; while cold fronts of rather dry air descending from more northerly latitudes serve to ‘wring out’ the moisture in warmer high humidity air masses they encounter as in winter rain/snow showers. Out west in Arizona for instance a rough divide separates mid-state Phoenix, which shares with most places to its north that weak southern tails of Gulf of Alaska winter cold fronts make January the usually rainiest month, from Tucson (little more than 100 miles to the south) where monsoonal thundershowers drawing on Mexican Pacific ocean/Gulf of California sourced moisture that is swept north make August the usually rainiest month.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Kalsel3294
August 29, 2021 12:55 am

“I have always found it contradictory the claim a warmer atmosphere will mean less rain “

It doesn’t’.
1C of warming allows the atmosphere to hold an extra 7% extra water vapour.
See the Clausius Clapeyron relation.
But given that the Equator to pole Deta T gradient will be reduced due greater warming in the Arctic then the Polar jet will weaken.
Therefore greater merdional extension and more blocking highs. Stuck weather and local drought more frequent.
Also less surface wind reduces ocean evaporation.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Anthony Banton
August 29, 2021 9:25 am

Clausius Clapeyron is an argument for why we might believe that additional water vapor is held by warmer air, but it is not a proof. Clausius Clapeyron is an equilibrium relationship and the atmosphere is never in equilibrium. There are additional mechanisms, as Jim Steele makes clear here, which dry the atmosphere and relative humidity is then what results from the balance of the two: i.e. vapor in from evaporation minus vapor condensed to precipitation = change in absolute humidity of the atmosphere. Then relative humidity results from absolute humidity compared to what the atmosphere is capable of holding per its temperature. It’s more complex than just saying “Clausius Clapeyron”.

Measurements of relative humidity over time might settle the issue, but these measurments have to include uncertainty estimates, and by that I mean uncertainty contributed also by any adjustments made to the data.

Reply to  Anthony Banton
August 29, 2021 3:08 pm

re “1C of warming allows the atmosphere to hold an extra 7% extra water vapour.” It is this I am pondering. What warming of the atmosphere is due to the presence of the latent heat of vapourisation carried there by the water vapour molecules?
How can that be calculated?

August 28, 2021 11:42 pm

Getting close to my proposition that convective adjustments neutralise radiative imbalances.
Next step is to recognise that the so called greenhouse effect is a consequence of descending air ( half of the mass of an atmosphere at any given moment) warming adiabatically.

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
August 29, 2021 1:57 am

As far as I can tell, the greenhouse effect is overstated by maybe 50% or so. This is because of the ability of atmosphere and ocean convection, as well as the Earth’s rotation, to distribute heat more uniformly over the surface of the globe.

A globe which accepts solar radiation and heats uniformly has quite a bit higher average temperature than one where the surface temperature is a result of the solar radiation for each area. This is because radiated heat is proportional to the fourth power of temperature.

As far as I can tell, people mishandle albedo. It’s true that albedo reflects energy away from the Earth’s surface. What folks seem to ignore is that albedo also reduces outgoing radiation.

If you compare a grey body planet with a black body planet, and calculate the average surface temperature, the difference is surprisingly small. Consider Venus and the Earth. The Earth has an albedo of 0.3. Venus has an albedo of 0.7. So, the surface of Venus receives much less energy from the sun than does the surface of Earth, and yet the surface of Venus is much much hotter than the surface of the Earth. (The temperature of the surface of Venus is easily explained by the density of its atmosphere. link)

The thing about atmospheric convection is that it carries heat high in the atmosphere where it can easily radiate to outer space. As Jim shows in his video, the air that descends is actually a higher temperature than the air that rises. This is because of the difference in water content. On the other hand, the air that descends carries a lot less heat than the air that rises for the same reason.

The effects of convection are well known, well understood, and not controversial. How is it then that the folks calculating the Earth’s heat budget don’t seem to pay enough attention to it?

Reply to  commieBob
August 29, 2021 5:32 am

‘…..albedo also reduces outgoing radiation….’ you’re confusing folks, outgoing=incoming.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 6:58 am


absorbed = radiated

The Earth’s radiation budget is tricky because the incoming and outgoing radiation are at different wavelengths. Clouds, for instance have a different coefficient of absorption (and radiation) for visible light and for Long Wave InfraRed (LWIR).

Clouds have a big contribution to albedo. They also trap heat below them. Cloud covered areas are like grey bodies. Such areas absorb less of the incoming radiation but also have reduced radiation.

My complaint about albedo is that some folks think it just reflects energy and seem to completely ignore the fact that the radiated energy is also changed. ie. it takes a warmer temperature to radiate the same amount of heat.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  commieBob
August 29, 2021 9:35 am

 This is because radiated heat is proportional to the fourth power of temperature.

True sort of, but that radiation must now make its way up through more IR active gasses in order to escape the planet. So one can look at this in two ways:

1) To be proportional to the fourth power requires the entire spectrum to participate fully, but since there are absorption bands that prevent parts of the spectrum from participating the actual situation is proportional to some power of temperature slightly displaced from fourth power, but a simpler view is …

2) That we continue to say it is proportional to fourth power (i.e. proportional to the stefan-boltzmann factor), but multiplied by an effective emissivity which is less than 1.0. For the Earth as viewed from above its atmosphere this emissivity is about 0.61-0.63 or so.

Last edited 21 days ago by Kevin kilty
Reply to  commieBob
August 29, 2021 11:56 am

(The temperature of the surface of Venus is easily explained by the density of its atmosphere. link)

Wasn’t aware of the fact that WUWT actually had a post in line with Nikolov and Zeller. Interesting.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
August 29, 2021 4:34 am

Yes. I’ve argued this with folks on Twitter. They claim that air rising and falling is a wash. It cools as it goes and warms as it comes down. They ignore the affects of water vapor.

Rising air has lots of latent heat from water vapor. Latent heat is released as clouds and rain. The air then descends and warms adiabatically. Since it contains little water vapor, the heat is sensible and it looks warmer that it was originally.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 29, 2021 5:41 am

Yes, the idea that convection is a wash in thermal terms is wrong because it ignores the time that the energy is retained in the system before release to space.
The reality is that the system holds on to the energy required to run a single convective overturning cycle from uplift from the surface to descent to the surface.
That additional energy must then be added to the energy from continuing insolation and thus causes the so called greenhouse effect.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 29, 2021 5:43 am

Put some numbers to it Jim…..rising moist air cools by as little as 3 C per km of rising, while dry air warms by as much as 9 C per km of falling, with adjustments for starting parcel relative humidity and temp of course. Some time spend on skew-T diagrams and tephigrams is well spent….

Jim Gorman
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 4:22 pm

How much water vapor does moist air contain? How much latent heat does that water vapor contain? Can you measure that with a thermometer? Why is it called latent heat?

Does descending dry air contain any water vapor? How much latent heat is hidden in dry air?

To do this properly you need to deal with “heat”, not temperature.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 5:28 pm

You need to do an energy balance, not a temperature balance. The reason the humid air cools only 3°C as it rises is because some of the water is condensing out and keeping the air warm. Otherwise it would cool at the dry air lapse rate, since this is exactly the reverse of dry air descending. The fact that the cloud is warmer than its surroundings is a sign that it is transferring heat to outer space. This warmer parcel of air + cloud radiates heat, and about half goes into outer space. So half of the latent heat in the air is sent back to space, cooling the planet.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Loren C. Wilson
August 30, 2021 8:14 am

All you are really describing is the building of clouds from the bottom up. Most of the water vapor will diminish.

August 28, 2021 11:49 pm

Meteorology? What’s that got to do with the climate?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
August 29, 2021 7:51 am

Well, it’s generally wrong, so there is that.

August 29, 2021 12:29 am

Observations are incorrect in the post modern paradigm

What has been a cool wet summer has been described by UKMO as warmer than average

And griff believes that because their models say it’s so

Anthony Banton
Reply to  fretslider
August 29, 2021 1:00 am

“ And griff believes that because their models say it’s so”

In this case observations day so.
Else the Met O are raising temps fraudulently by of the order of 1C on a daily basis.
In your conspiratorial mind that seems to be the case.
The facts in a sane world,
are that they are not, and it is occurring in your mind only.

Last edited 21 days ago by Anthony Banton
Reply to  fretslider
August 29, 2021 1:27 am

“their models say it’s so”

UKMO haven’t mastered Plasticine models let-alone Lego,
… so why are they allowed to play on big brothers laptop ?

Reply to  saveenergy
August 29, 2021 1:54 am

It keeps them off the street?

Michael Hammer
August 29, 2021 1:39 am


A commonly cited claim is that without the impact of greenhouse gases Earth would be 33C colder than it is. This is derived by applying the Stefan Boltzmann law to the current average received energy of 238 watts/sq. How realistic is this claim?

Earth’s atmosphere generates mechanical energy. It raises water to high altitudes powering hydroelectric generators, while wind can blow down trees and buildings, raise waves and drive wind turbines. So, where does this energy come from? Clearly from absorbed solar energy. That means earth’s surface and atmosphere is converting thermal energy into mechanical energy, the definition of a classic heat engine. Heat engines are very well understood, the laws defining their operation were first described by Sadi Carnot (1796-1832). A working fluid, in this case the atmosphere, cycles between a hot junction where heat is injected into the working fluid and a separate cold junction where heat is lost from the working fluid and leaves the system. The difference between the heat absorbed and the heat lost is converted to mechanical work.  Of prime importance is that 100% efficiency in converting thermal energy to mechanical energy is not possible. A heat engine must discard some of the input energy as waste heat. The maximum efficiency possible is the carnot efficiency defined as

Efficiency = (Thot – Tcold) / Thot
                                               Where Thot = the temperature of the hot junction
                                                               Tcold = the temperature of the cold junction

Normally the hot junction is the hottest point in the system and the cold junction is the coldest point in the system.

In the case of earth, the energy injected comes from the sun and the only way energy can be lost is by radiation to space. The hot junction is clearly Earth’s surface and especially the surface in the tropics but where is the cold junction? There are 2 candidates, the first is the top of the rising column of air, (top of the troposphere called the tropopause) and the second is the poles. However, the working fluid has to cycle between the hot and cold junction and for two reasons the atmosphere rising at the equator cannot get to the poles. Firstly, because air rising at the equator is moving at the speed of earth’s surface at the equator, 1600 km/hour.  But because Earth is a sphere, as one moves away from the equator the surface speed decreases. The further the rising air tries to move towards the poles the greater the speed difference between it and the surface and this speed difference results in a force pushing the air back towards the equator. It is why we do not have an equator to pole circulation but instead 3 coupled circulations – the Hadley cell, the Ferrel cell and the Polar cell.

The second reason is that even if the equatorial air could get to the pole it would have to descend to transfer heat energy to the surface which can radiate it away to space, but in order to descend it must first cool (ie: lose energy) otherwise it would be descending against a temperature inversion. But without GHG’s it has no way of cooling ie: a catch 22 situation. The cold junction of our climate heat engine is the tropopause not the poles.

That means heat energy must be leaving the atmosphere to space at this point and that is only possible by radiation. However, by definition, a gas capable of radiating thermal infrared radiation is a greenhouse gas. If there are no greenhouse gases, the tropopause cannot radiate energy so a necessary requirement for a heat engine is not met. In practical terms, the rising air cannot cool so it cannot lose energy which it needs to do in order to descend again. Thus convection stops and the lapse rate disappears. With time the entire atmosphere ends up at a uniform temperature. Without the air movement caused by convection there would be no wind. Water vapour also cannot condense because condensation requires losing energy and without greenhouse gases there is no way for it to do so, hence no clouds would form. Without condensation the entire atmosphere would become saturated with respect to water vapour and then net evaporation would also stop. In short, there would be no weather, no clouds, no wind, no rain.  A completely static vertically isothermal atmosphere. The temperature would vary with latitude according to the solar energy absorbed by the surface at that latitude. Given a near transparent atmosphere Earth’s albedo would be close to the surface reflectivity. For oceans that is cited as 0.06 and bare earth is probably best compared to lunar albedo of 0.12 so maybe an average of 0.08.   The clear sky albedo of Earth is cited as 0.15 but that includes a significant contribution from the atmosphere especially atmospheric dust. Without convection no dust would be raised and what was in the atmosphere would settle out.

In near Earth space the solar energy intensity is 1370 watts/sqM. For the Earth as a whole the average solar energy at the surface is 1370/4 * (1- albedo) which, with an albedo of 0.08, equals 315 watts/sqM. That translates to a Stefan Boltzmann temperature of 0C (273K). However, this is misleading, without wind and the impact of evaporating water, the surface can heat up extremely fast; think of how fast sand at the beach or a dry concrete path heats up in summer (typically well under 1 hour). The peak energy at noon in the tropics would be around 1370*(1-albedo) = 1260 watts/sqM yielding a Stefan Boltzmann temperature of 113C while at night, because the surface can radiate freely to space while receiving no energy from the sun, the temperature would be far below freezing.  The situation would be similar to the surface of the moon which reaches 127C during the “day” and minus 173C during the “night”. Although because the lunar day/night is longer than Earth’s (28 days vs 1 day) the result would not be quite as extreme. 

Energy transfer between surface and atmosphere is rapid when the surface is warmer (after all that is what drives convection) but, without a convective cycle, in a static atmosphere energy transfer when the surface is colder is only by conduction which is extremely slow.  As a result the atmosphere would end up at an equilibrium temperature far closer to the noon surface temperature than the average temperature! 

Away from the equator the temperature would not be quite as extreme but consider Melbourne at latitude 37 south. At noon in December the sun is at an angle of 14.5 degrees from vertical giving an energy input of 1370*cos(14.5)*(1-albedo) =  1225 watts and a surface temperature of 110C. At noon in June the angle is 60.5 degrees giving an energy input of 1370*cos(60.5)*(1-albedo) = 619 watts and a noon surface temperature of 50C. The temperature inside a closed car in summer, which heats up because convection and evaporation is prevented, can and alas too often does kill children in minutes. This is not conjecture or modelling it is sadly proven fact which is why there are laws making it a criminal offence to leave children in closed cars. Without convection and evaporation, the entire environment at that latitude would be in the same position as a closed car. 

Without greenhouse gases the earth would not simply be 33C colder. The day night temperature variation would be extreme, both far hotter and far colder. Both the heat during the day and the cold at night would be incompatible with life on land. Greenhouse gases greatly reduce these temperature variations. This is of course in addition to bringing rain, wind and weather to our planet. 

Unless there is a point where the impact of GHG’s reverses this trend of making climate more equitable, one would have to postulate that an increase in CO2 will simply make Earth’s climate even more equitable. If there is a point of reversal (a point of inflection) where is it, which side of it are we on at present and why would it exist?  

Reply to  Michael Hammer
August 29, 2021 1:57 am

Close enough, you grasp the concept in broad terms but I would place the cold junction at the surface beneath columns of descending air.
As you say, the mechanical energy needs to be returned to the surface to allow radiation to space.
For a non rotating globe with one large low pressure region on the lit side and one large high pressure region on the unlit side the unlit surface would always be the cold junction.
Rotation simply splits the two single cells into the Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells in each hemisphere as observed on Earth.
The effect of greenhouse gases is to facilitate energy loss to space from within an atmosphere so that convective overturning need not run so fast since the escaped energy no longer needs to be returned to the surface prior to loss to space.
So, the effect of ghgs is simply to make convective overturning less violent than would otherwise be necessary.
There would still be no net effect on global temperature otherwise hydrostatic equilibrium could not be maintained.

Michael Hammer
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
August 29, 2021 2:04 pm

Stephen; I understand your point that the side of the earth facing away from the sun will also be cold and is thus a candidate for the cold junction but there is a major problem with such a proposal. A heat engine works on the principle that the working fluid cycles between a high pressure state and a lower pressure state. Heat is absorbed in the high pressure state (stage 1) causing the working fluid to expand and “do work” (stage 2). Having moved to the lower pressure state energy is lost from the working fluid (stage 3). It is then in stage 4 compressed back to the high pressure state but because the working fluid is colder it takes less mechanical energy to do that than the mechanical energy released in the expansion phase. This means the cold junction must be at the low pressure point. But for both the cold side of the planet or the poles, at the surface, the pressure is essentially the same as at the hot junction. Thus the loop on a pressure volume graph would enclose no area and hence there would be no mechanical work output. Confusing I realise but its probably more efficient to look up the theory of heat engines than me try to explain it here.

However to put it in more practical terms, on the hot side, the air rises because it has gained energy from the surface (warmed). In order for it to descend again completing the convective loop it has to lose energy at the top of the convective loop (ie: the tropopause). If it cannot lose energy it cannot descend. The result would be that the air column everywhere would end up at more or less the highest surface temperature of the hot side. Everywhere else, the surface would be colder than the air so a massive temperature inversion preventing convection (ie: air descending back to the surface). The only atmospheric cooling mechanism would be conduction to the surface which is far too slow to drive meaningful weather on Earth. On the cold side of the planet the surface would be very cold but the air above it would be very hot and would simply stay that way. The cold side of the planet or the poles cannot be the cold junction because the working fluid (atmosphere) cannot get there to transfer the energy.

Reply to  Michael Hammer
August 29, 2021 2:04 am

Without greenhouse gases (water vapor included) the atmosphere would be transparent to LWIR and all upwelling radiation would be from the surface.

Reply to  commieBob
August 29, 2021 2:50 am

Without greenhouse gases (water vapor included) the atmosphere would be transparent to LWIR and all upwelling radiation would be from the surface.

It is the ice in the atmosphere that has greatest impact on the global energy balance. It knocks out around 30% of the incoming insolation before it even gets into the climate system.

The concept of “greenhouse gasses” neglects the fundamental that water in the atmosphere exists in three phases.

The incoming energy is limited by thermostatic control of the ocean surface temperature. It is precise and easily observed. Open ocean surface temperature cannot exceed 32C and is regulated to an annual maximum of 30C in the ITCZ.

Outgoing energy from the oceans is also regulated by the formation of sea ice at a precise temperature of -2C.

So the energy uptake and loss are set by two temperature controlling processes related to water on the surface and in the atmosphere; not only as a gas but also as a liquid and solid. The solid phase over the tropical oceans is the most important for regulating the heat uptake.

Overall, atmospheric water is a cooling agent. However it is primarily a regulating agent, able to warm and cool the surface.

The concept of “greenhouse gasses” conveniently overlook the fact that atmospheric water can be in three phases. You will never see an article on “greenhouse solids” and water is the most important solid. That omission writes off 30% of the incoming insolation as unimportant.

Last edited 21 days ago by RickWill
Reply to  RickWill
August 29, 2021 4:15 am

I always have to think about NLC – noctilucent clouds, built of ice cristals in the stratosphere.
This year on NH they were prrsent to mid August just down to Spain, they didn’t melt away as usually earlier in August.
That mesns, more water vapour in the cooler stratosphere less incoming sunlight.

Last edited 21 days ago by Krishna Gans
Dave Fair
Reply to  RickWill
August 29, 2021 10:48 am

Nobody is writing off the SW energy entering the oceans as “unimportant.”

The gas phase of water is a (most important) GHG. That does not mean that the operation of the other GHGs does not affect the energy balance of the planet. CO2’s net (of feedbacks) radiative effect on temperatures is unknown, but is observationally constrained from a fraction of a degree C to 2C at most. Get over it; it is really “just physics.”

Jim Steele
Reply to  Michael Hammer
August 29, 2021 6:21 am

I agree with much of what you wrote. The media and alarmists only focus on the warmiing dynamic oof GHG but seem to ignore the critical cooling dynamics. I tried to address that in the blog post “The Cooling Side of Greenhouse Gases”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael Hammer
August 29, 2021 6:34 am

Would you mind giving me remote access to your computer so that I can look at the pictures on your C: drive?

Reply to  Michael Hammer
August 29, 2021 7:33 am

Nice summary….I would however point out that the Hadley, Ferrel, and Polar cells you mention pretty much do not exist in the meteorological textbook form people expect. Daily pics from
shows Coriolis forces to clearly exist and H,F,P cells….well, not so much….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 8:33 am

Ever heard of MPH, Mobile Polar Highs ?

The Mobile Polar High: a new concept explaining present mechanisms of meridional air-mass and energy exchanges and global propagation of palaeoclimatic changes
Air-mass and energy transportation is chiefly made by large lenses of cold air, the Mobile Polar Highs, the key factor of mendtonal air exchanges, which organize migratory units of circulation in troposphere low levels Mobile Polar Highs (MPHs) originate in the downwards alrmotlon in high latitudes The cold air rejection organizes a dipolar vortex of very large size (2000/3000 kin), the anticyclonic side of this vortex (precisely the MPH) is thin, about 1 5 km thick, by reason of cold air density Mobde Polar Highs migrate roughly eastwards, with a merldlonal component towards the tropical zone, through the middle latitudes where they are responsible for weather variability and for ram-making conditions


Lectures on Tropical Meteorology – Chapter 5. The Hadley circulation
.I would however point out that the Hadley, Ferrel, and Polar cells you mention pretty much do not exist in the meteorological textbook form

Seems you are wrong 😀

Same for Ferrel Cells 😀

Last edited 21 days ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 29, 2021 12:05 pm

Firstly you left off the “people expect” off my comment….and secondly your Lectures reference confirms what I am really saying….those H,F,P cells are education system constructs, not readily visible in actual satellite photos, which your very own ITCZ “photo” confirms. Get overthe fact that you believe in 85% lecturer baloney.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 9:45 am

comment image

Average rainfall
comment image

Dave Fair
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 11:02 am

Just a very quick look shows areas of descending cells: Australia, North Africa & etc.

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 29, 2021 12:31 pm

Dave, that’s not a photo of H, F, T cells. It’s a depiction of rainfall over a decade and is as expected, generally higher over warmer ocean areas (and under clouds…haha, a bit of levity). Anyway, look at real sat pics daily and about 7 of 8 the atmospheric structures don’t look like textbook H,F,P cells. But it’s OK, they are useful learning constructs to make people think and analyze.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 2:30 pm

Maybe you miss the grilles, but the cells aren’t a jail 😀

Last edited 21 days ago by Krishna Gans
Dave Fair
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 6:22 pm

Actually, it is observed from different views of the globe you provided by NASA: https://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Michael Hammer
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 2:20 pm

DMackenzie; your comment surprises me. It is well documented that there is a high pressure region on the Earth at latitudes 30 north and south caused by the descending air from the edges of the Hadley cell. The 30 degree latitude is set by a balance between the rate at which the warm rising air cools (allowing it to descend) and the rate at which it slows (allowing it to move further poleward). Most of Earth’s deserts are in this region precisely because the very dry descending air means no clouds and no rain. At these latitudes there is little wind because the descending air has equilibrated in speed to the surface speed by the time it reaches the surface and this was known by mariners as the horse latitudes where sailing ships often got becalmed. This is in addition to the doldrums which are at the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) which is the center of the Hadley cell. The roaring 40’s, furious fifties and screaming 60’s are all manifestations of air flowing out from the edge of the Hadley cell The apparent westerly wind speed increases because the surface speed of the Earth is reducing with increasing latitude. At the same time the air outflowing from the polar cell encounters an increasing surface speed with reducing latitude causing it to appear as a strong easterly wind. Where the two crash into each other at latritude 60 very wild turbulent weather ensues.

Evidence for descending air at the poles is also apparent and is why the poles are essentially deserts albeit very cold ones. The descending air at the poles more or less defines a polar cell. Evidence for the Hadley cell is very apparent. This cell is the primary one and in fact drives the other 2 cells. I have however seen comments that the Ferrel cell is somewhat of a convenience.

Michael Hammer
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 29, 2021 3:06 pm

DMackenzie; a further thought. Have a look at earth.nullschool.net This shows a real time plot of wind patterns around the world. What is clearly visible are the trade winds which are the equatorward outflow from the edges of the Hadley cell (latitudes +-30 degrees). These are eastly winds because the surface speed of the Earth is increasing and gentle winds because the rate of increase of surface speed is slow. They also show the increasingly strong westerly winds from the polarward outflow from the edges of the Hadley cell and the chaotic spirals at around latitudes 60 where the easterly outflow from the polar cell meets the westerly outflow form the edges of the Hadley cell. It also allows looking at wind patterns at different altitudes which you might find interesting.

If you are just claiming the terms Hadley, Ferrel and Polar are not used much in meteorological circles because they work one level lower with the wind patterns generated by these systems without using the encompassing term then that is really just an issue of convenience which has no real relevance to the issues being discussed.

Mike H

August 29, 2021 4:20 am

Well – https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/26/3/jcli-d-12-00003.1.xml
Like always when it comes to proxies. Search until you find what you want to find.

Peta of Newark
August 29, 2021 5:01 am

All I needed was at 1min 5 seconds..
blah blah ‘continents heat differently than oceans blah blah change the ITCZ ” end blah

Yes yes yes- and what if The Continents change. What if their water content changed, What if the stuff/things/whatevers that retain water, changed?

What if ‘somebody’, including your own Good Self Uncle Jim, went into a forest, cut it down, burned it, overgrazed it then set about constantly plough plough ploughing it.
While draining all the wetlands swamps lakes and mires that got in the way of his plough.
Then, when climate started to change (get drier), the clever ploughman set about draining the aquifers under the now rapidly developing wasteland.
Just to wrap the thing up completely, started growing annual grasses which you yourself tell us, are hideous Fire Hazards, and have to be set fire to on a regular basis. sigh

If any of that doesn’t change the ITCZ, I am the proverbial King Of England

Question for Uncle Jim:
Why, during an English Heatwave (a fortnight+ of cyclonic weather, blue skies, raging heat in the mid 20’s Celsius (Oh God it was awful)..
Why was Drax Power Station, operating at full chat as seen from the interweb Gridwatch, why was Drax inside an actively raining rain cloud?
What was Drax doing, if not very effectively pumping water vapour into the base of the Troposphere – and ‘changing the weather’ inside a 3 mile radius around itself?
Exactly what a Tropical Forest would do
Despite the rest of the UK being under hot, dry descending air and a raging sun.

Nice tho, good work.
Peeps listen to you more than me – if only someone would whisper Soil Erosion in your delicate shell-like and the Final Penny would drop 🙂

I is in da pub, glugging coffee. On my way, next the A1 dual carriageway was what appeared to be a large fire burning. A mahoosive cloud was blowing (away fortunately) from the road.

When I got closer, there was a tractor pulling a disc/harrow/seed-drill combo at the base of that cloud. On a (winter wheat) stubble field – it hadn’t been ploughed.
At a guess, the straw had been taken for livestock bedding or feed.
Maybe not, wheat straw is simply ugly. Barley is best for livestock.

What I saw was Low Till No Till at it very best, yet that lone tractor & drill combo was creating a mini dust bowl that would closed the motorway had the wind been blowing opposite to what is was yet was big enough to render the ITCZ invisible.
Yet computers and Sputniks tell us the ocean is rising because of Trapped Heat and Global Greening happens because of CO2 (not because of the phosphate, potash, Mg, Ca, Fe and all-the-rest in that cloud)

what. a. mess.

Last edited 21 days ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 29, 2021 5:46 am

Not a mess because one can use the position size and intensity of the ITCZ as a proxy for the global convective adjustments required to keep the temperature stable despite ALL confounding influences including changes in the amounts of ghgs.
Such natural variations are way,way bigger than anything needed to neutralise our CO2 emisssions.

Jim Steele
Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 29, 2021 6:49 am

I dont understand your rant about the ITCZ. Understanding the ITCZ is important regards global circulation patterns, the Hadley Circulations, wet season/dry seasons in the tropics, etc It is not an argument that landscape changes, including soil erosion, dont impact weather patterns. But they are all dynamics that must be considered separately to accurately interpret the complex nature of weather and climate

Thomas Gasloli
August 29, 2021 5:18 am

“Climate hypothesis suggesting global warming will cause wet regions to get wetter and dry regions to get drier is not supported by observation.”

So, like every other Climate hypothesis.😃

August 29, 2021 7:12 am

Climate hypothesis suggesting global warming will cause wet regions to get wetter and dry regions to get drier is not supported by observations

Absolutely it is!

Climate change continues to be evident across UK – Met Office

As well as increased temperatures, the UK has been on average 6% wetter over the last 30 years (1991-2020) than the preceding 30 years (1961-1990). Six of the ten wettest years for the UK in a series from 1862 have occurred since 1998.

Reply to  griff
August 29, 2021 7:22 am

griff is like a dog who has found a new bone.
He chews and chews and chews on it. Never once realizing that it’s plastic.

1) Despite the fact that the record is much, much longer, he wants us to look only at the last 30 years. Because only the last 30 years match what he wants to believe.
2) 30 years is half an AMO cycle which is one of the primary climate drivers for the British Isles.
3) 6% is well under the error bars for the time period.

This has all been explained to him multiple times.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2021 7:57 am


Reply to  Pat from kerbob
August 30, 2021 1:46 am

Yep. Time to give up on Griff. He will not understand.

Reply to  MarkW
August 29, 2021 8:22 am

It is raining now in the griffter’s neighborhood and he’s running around exclaiming “See?…see?….I told you warmer is wetter!”

Reply to  griff
August 29, 2021 8:16 am

But Griff, just 4 days ago on WUWT we had this graph courtesy of theMet office:

Jim Steele
Reply to  griff
August 29, 2021 9:10 am

LOL Griff, Why do troll factory trolls always deny the science. The video posted results from 2 peer-reviewed global studies showing 80% of the world exhibits no significant change in precip, also ~10% show wet getting drier and dry getting wetter. Indeed there are scattered locations around the globe amounting to 10% showing wet getting wetter or dry getting drier, but only a total idiot would argue those few locations are proof of a bad hypothesis and yet ignore the 90% evidence that disproves it.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 29, 2021 3:45 pm

That is rather harsh for the complete idiots out there! Perhaps complete moron or imbecile would be better; then the current Resident in the White House can be included, too!

Mark BLR
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 30, 2021 7:23 am

… also ~10% show wet getting drier and dry getting wetter …

The IPCC appears to be coming round to adding some qualifiers regarding models in this regard as well.

AR6, section (“Precipitation”, part of their “4.5 Mid- to Long-term Global Climate Change” musings), page 4-60 :

The thermodynamic response to global warming is associated with a wet-get-wetter mechanism, with enhanced moisture flux leading to subtropical dry regions getting drier and tropical and mid-latitude wet regions getting wetter (Held and Soden, 2006a; Chou et al., 2009). Recent studies suggest that the dry-get-drier argument does not hold, especially over subtropical land regions (Greve et al., 2014; Feng and Zhang, 2015; Greve and Seneviratne, 2015).

In the tropics, weakening of circulation leads to a wet-gets-drier and dry-gets-wetter pattern (Chadwick et al., 2013).

I’m not sure I’d describe papers published between 2013 and 2015 as “recent studies”, but including the above in their 2021 report is at least a (small) step in the right direction.

August 29, 2021 9:04 am

Thanks. This explains very clearly why we’re in drought in Chile right now

Mike Maguire
August 29, 2021 12:29 pm

The influence of cloudiness and atmospheric circulation on radiation balance and its components


“The results obtained at Koniczynka in the years 2011–2018 made it possible to analyse the variability of the components of Q* in the diurnal and annual course. Furthermore, the components of Q* were found to depend considerably on atmospheric circulation, and on cloudiness in particular.”

“The issue of trends observed in individual components of Q* has been extensively discussed in the literature. Most works concern S↓. Initially, a reduction was observed in the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, connected with growing atmospheric pollution; the phenomenon was dubbed “global dimming”. In the 1980s, the trend reversed and “global brightening” began (Wild 2009). In the years 1987–2002, Europe witnessed an increase in the amount of incoming shortwave radiation, S↓, reaching 1.0% per decade (Norris and Wild 2007); then, it accelerated to 2.2% per decade in 1985–2005 (Wild et al. 2009). The trend was verified by observations carried out using satellites. In 1984–2000, the trends of S↓ and S* were 2.4 and 2.2 Wm−2 per decade, respectively (Hatzianastassiou et al. 2005), and in 1983–2015, they were 1.9 and 2.4 Wm−2decade−1 (Pfeifroth et al. 2018).”

“Moreover, the extinction of solar radiation is caused by aerosol emissions. In Europe, near-surface total mass concentration of sulphate, black carbon and primary organic carbon had a 62 % decrease during 1980–2018. The decrease in sulphate loading leads to a warming effect of 2.0 W m−2 in Europe (Yang et al. 2019). Nevertheless, there is still a lot of air pollution in urban areas, resulting in reduced S↓, e.g. by −9.1 MJ·m−2·10 years in Kraków in 1884–2010 (Matuszko 2014), or by −1.95 MJ·m−2·10 years in Wrocław-Swojec in 1875–2004 (Bryś and Bryś 2007; Bryś 2009).
The observed substantial variability of Q* at Koniczynka is determined by cloudiness and atmospheric circulation. The solar energy feeding into the ground and atmosphere affects the functioning of the entire climate system. In nearby Toruń, a correlation between the increase in air temperature and the intensity of solar radiation, especially in the summer season was observed (Kejna and Rudzki 2021).”

Bill Rocks
August 29, 2021 2:08 pm

Fine video by an accomplished educator and scientist.

August 29, 2021 3:13 pm

The cells you write about are only visible during the summer, during the winter season the circulation depends on the polar vortex.comment imagecomment image

Abolition Man
August 29, 2021 3:47 pm

Thanks for helping with my continuing education! I’m looking forward to the next video already!

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