Our Feedback Diagnosis Paper is Published Today

July 25th, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

UPDATE: Since it appears the web traffic trying to access our paper has overloaded the publisher’s server, you can get a copy here.

On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance was published today in the journal, Remote Sensing, and a pdf is available. I discussed the findings here.


71 Responses to “Our Feedback Diagnosis Paper is Published Today”

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  1. The decade 2000- 2010 is probably one of the worst decades one could ever use to try to figure out why earth’s climatic system changes.

    The decade as a whole was very stable as far as the items that control the climate changing epecially the first half of the decade. The only item that changed was the start of the prolong solar minimum but the accumualted warmth of the oceans offset that, and is indeed still having an impact, although it is starting to subside.

    This decade and the next will be much more telling, and will answer many questions that can not be answerd by looking at the last decade. Last decade was a decade of nothingness, nothing happened or changed,in contrast to this decade which now has a phasing of all climatic indicators toward a colder mode.

    I will eat my hat if temperatures don’t show a decline this decade.

  2. RW says:

    Dr. Roy,

    Might I ask what specifically is meant by “the Planck response of 3.3 W m?2”?

  3. Andrew says:

    RW-The “Planck response” is the amount of radiation expected to be sent to space per degree Kelvin of temperature increase in the absence of “feedback”, as a simple consequence of fact that warmer objects, including the atmosphere, emit more infrared radiation. In some sense this change is itself a feedback, a negative one, without which the climate would be unstable. But in climate terminology this “Planck response” is typically referenced as the zero line for feedback-a larger response indicates additional negative feedback, a smaller response indicates positive feedback, and a lack of response indicates that the Planck response has been overcome and the system is unconditionally unstable (f=1).

  4. RW says:

    Andrew,

    Do you mean after an energy imbalance at the TOA?

  5. RW says:

    The paper says:

    “Although not usually considered a feedback per se, the most fundamental component of the net
    feedback parameter ? is the direct dependence of the rate of IR emission on temperature, estimated to
    be about 3.3 W m?2 K?1 in the global average [8]. This ‘Planck’ or ‘Stefan-Boltzmann’ response
    stabilizes the climate system against runaway temperature changes, and represents a baseline from
    which feedbacks are traditionally referenced.”

    How does this stabilize the climate system against runaway temperature changes? I’m not quite understanding this.

  6. RW says:

    So a +5.3 W/m^2 radiative surface emission, which corresponds to +1 C temperature increase, requires +3.3 W/m^2 to be radiated to space?

    I presume this is derived from the planet’s emissivity of about 0.62, whose inverse is the surface response required to emit the 3.3 W/m^2 to space? 1/0.62 = 1.61; 1.61 x 3.3 W/m^2 = 5.3 W/m^2?

    I still don’t understand how this ‘stabilizes’ the system against runaway surface temperature changes.

  7. Andrew says:

    RW-It “stabilizes” the system because if there was no response whatsoever, then the Earth could never warm enough or cool enough to restore radiative balance, it would have to keep warming or cooling indefinitely. Think of it this way:

    Take the “doubled CO2” forcing of 3.7 W/m^2 at the top of the atmosphere…or brighten the sun enough to induce such a forcing if you don’t think CO2 really does that…The system is now out of balance by an extra 3.7 W/m^2. If when the planet warms it produces 3.3 W/m^2 of energy out to space, then the amount it has to warm to restore equilibrium is 3.7/3.3~1.12 degrees of warming (this works for cooling with decreased forcing, too, by decreasing infrared emission) But if there were NO extra radiation sent to space by a higher temperature, then the response of the climate to to that forcing would be 3.7/0=infinity. Therefore, such a situation is unstable. That 3.3 W/m^2 is the way in which, with no other feedbacks, this would be prevented from happening.

  8. RW says:

    Andrew,

    Oh, I see. Thank You.

    I also think I see why Christopher Game is always objecting to this. What then is stabilizing the surface temperature to the forcing of the system from the Sun, from the which the ‘Planck’ response is derived? How can these be considered separate from each other?

  9. Phillip Somerville says:

    Gaia has a self adjusting albedo! Who woulda thunk?

    Good work Dr. Spencer.

  10. Slabadang says:

    Well this is BIG TROUBLE for the team!

    Its time to recycle the IPCC/cagw alarmistic coffin now.
    Ut has to be put in a contaner marked “metal” because it consists more of nails than wood.

    Great work Roy Spencer ! Work based on meusuremants and observations is a pice of fresh air. Real science!!!

    Congratulations!!

  11. kuhnkat says:

    Congratulations on the publishing of another well written, useful paper.

  12. Darryl B says:

    I really hope this paper gets the consideration it deserves.

    It seems to be a simple (but elegant) explanation of how things are more complex than assumed by the IPCC. Quantitative findings will be very hard to determine.

    Also, nice explanation Andrew.

    As anyone ever seen even a slightly verifiable reason why there has never been any record of a warm spot over the tropics as predicted almost universally in the IPCC models?

  13. Christopher Game says:

    Drs Spencer and Braswell’s very admirable paper states that “atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in satellite radiative budget observations.”

    The distinction is a defining characteristic of the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism. It is an arbitrary mathematical artifice without uniquely definite physical meaning. Talk in terms of that formalism has been widely current for over a quarter of a century. To judge from Drs Spencer and Braswell’s paper, the subject of that talk is still an unsolved problem. What does this say about the formalism?

    One can distinguish between simply empirical sciences and experimental sciences. For example, astronomy is mostly simply empirical: ‘Point your telescope west and up at 45 degress at midnight tonight and you will see the moons of Jupiter moving.’ The empiricist has to do something in a specified way, and will observe something in nature as a result, but he cannot direct the motion of the moons. An experimental science, in this usage, has the empiricist actually exercise some causal efficacy, not just on his observational apparatus, but also, most importantly, upon the objects of investigation. For example, the chemist might light the match and see the petrol catch fire. In simply empirical sciences, the investigator mostly has no control over the processes of causal efficacy of the object of his investigation, while in experimental science he does have some such control. Aristotle and many of the ancients were magnificant pioneers of systematic simply empirical science but they mostly did not engage in experimental science, which grew mightily in the sixteenth century.

    Experimental scientists have developed the abstract principle that in order to understand the dynamics of a complicated system, one needs to study the effects of external drivers upon it. Abstractly, an external driver has causal efficacy upon a process but suffers no feedback causal efficacy from the process. The reason for the advantage of the use of external drivers is that they get round the problem of inability to distinguish between forcing and feedback.

    An experimental intervention like lighting the match is one kind of external driver, but nature provides external drivers too. For example, the elliptical orbital motion of the earth nearer to and further from the sun can be considered as an external driver of the earth’s energy transfer process, because the effect of that that energy transfer process upon the elliptical orbital motion can be neglected for many purposes.

    Meteorology is in some respects more a simply empirical science than an experimental science. Nevertheless it could profit from the study of the effects of external drivers. The IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism cunningly, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, speciously likens itself to an account in terms of a ‘driver’ which it calls a “forcing”. Drs Spencer and Braswell’s article is pulling the sheep’s clothing off the wolf. Christopher Game

  14. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer;

    Very Nicely Done. With respect, this seems to strengthen an observation that I have made. As the surface of the Earth “warms” it emits a spectrum of light/EM radiation that shifts to “warmer wavelengths” (i.e. as it warms it emits proportionately more shorter wavelength light). Since the Earth’s atmosphere exhibits “better” transmission of IR radiation at shorter wavelengths it AUTOMATICALLY COOLS MORE EFFECTIVELY AS IT WARMS !!!

    This may seem shocking, and flies totally in the face of the “Greenhouse Effect” Hypothesis (STILL A HYPOTHESIS, I MUST POINT OUT) but it is totally in accord with the current understanding of the laws of thermodynamics.

    I still believe that if the total system is analyzed as an “AC” circuit (i.e. correctly considering the “speed of heat” through the system) as opposed to the “DC” circuit analysis applied by most climate scientists it will become clear that the “Greenhouse Effect” only changes the response time of the gases (NOT the oceans which are clearly the controlling factor (along with the Sun’s total output) determining the current temperature of the Earth).

    Cheers, Kevin.

  15. cementafriend says:

    Well, said Christopher Game,one could also highlight the difference between engineering and science. Engineers not only have to prove the data they use but must prove the method of application and the outcome (otherwise they are legally liable). It is clear to this engineer that the so-called climate scientists do not understand the theory of heat transfer (which includes convection and phase change as well as radiation), have difficulty with the measured data and its accuracy, and so can not put forward any model which would give a sensible outcome. My own calculations using engineering information indicates that the role of CO2 in climate is insignificant.

  16. AlanG says:

    Congratulations on publication. Spencer and Braswell (SB11?) must be right here and passes the common sense test. All matter above absolute zero emits long wave radiation. The warmer the temperature the more radiation it emits. There is no known physics that can delay emission. SB11 appears to say that the ocean/atmosphere starts emitting more radiation as soon as it warms up. That must be right. The climate models have no increase in emission until after the warming event is over and the system starts to cool down again. That must be wrong. If there was 100% cloud cover that might be true but not with so many holes in the cloud cover.

    Any chance of a paper on the perils of averaging non-linear systems? The Stefan–Boltzmann law is highly non-linear (t^4).

  17. Christopher Game says:

    KevinK in his post of July 26, 2011 at 10:04 PM, is right to say that as the temperature of the land-sea surface increases, the radiation that it emits fits better through the infra-red spectral window of the atmosphere. The infra-red window is a property of water vapour. KevinK is right to imply that this kind of negative feedback effect is not taken into account at least in the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism. The effect is real, but not powerful enough to compensate for the increase in water vapour column amount that also accompanies increase in land-sea surface temperature. Likely, the most important negative feedback mechanism is increase in low cloud with increase in land-sea surface temperature, as studied in Drs Spencer and Braswell’s new paper. The low (altitude 1 or 2 km) cloud partly acts to reduce terrestrial radiation to space for a given temperature, but more effectively, it acts to reduce the amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth and its atmosphere. Drs Spencer and Braswell are working on showing that this mechanism is a powerful negative feedback on global warming.

    No comment on the rest of KevinK’s post. Christopher Game

  18. Martin says:

    Christopher Game writes:

    “The low (altitude 1 or 2 km) cloud partly acts to reduce terrestrial radiation to space for a given temperature, but more effectively, it acts to reduce the amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth and its atmosphere.”

    Doesn´t this strongly depends on latitude?

  19. It is excellent and the commentary about it on the message board is also excellent.

    I just hope clarity will come about this decade, which I think has a good chance to come about due to the prolong solar minimum which started in 2005.

    In the meantime trying to show the complexities and uncertainties of associated feedbacks is a study that is well worth the time and effort.

  20. Paul_K says:

    Dr Spencer,
    Please accept my congratulations on a well presented and very well-argued paper.
    I have only one minor quibble, which concern two statements in Section 1 of your paper:-
    “Also, since all climate models have net feedback
    parameters greater than zero, none of the climate models are inherently unstable to perturbations.”
    and
    “Here we will deal with the net feedback parameter exclusively, as it includes the combined influence of all climate feedbacks, as well as the Planck effect.”

    Neither of these statements is true in an absolute sense. They are ONLY true under the assumption that a linear feedback model is a priori valid. Since, it can be readily demonstrated that a linear model is not valid outwith short-term evaluation, even on the trivial basis that the Planck response itself is non-linear in temperature (perturbation) terms, you are leaving a hole in your armour.

    Since, in your paper, you are making like-for like comparisons with model data – or arguing that the confounding effects are present (EVEN) in a linear feedback model – my complaint does not damage the conclusions of your paper as far as I can tell.

    However, this is the third time that I have tried to bring to your attention the articles I posted on Lucia’s Blackboard, which explain why theoretically a linear feedback model cannot be assumed without strong qualifications. Empirically, a linear feedback model will always tend to give you a result close to the Planck response.

    My first attempt spent a week in moderation. My second attempt has been in moderation since 23rd July. This is my third and last attempt. I will not repeat the HTML links here in case the problem is with your spam filter.

    Please read what I wrote. IT IS NON-TRIVIAL. I am not bringing this to your attention because I disagree with you, quite the contrary, I want to strengthen your armoury.

  21. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of Martin of July 27, 2011 at 8:36 AM. Martin, please tell us more detail about this. I am not a close student of clouds, but was writing loosely in general. As I understand things, globally the low clouds would have to provide a stabilizing effect, a contribution to strengthen overall negative feedback; without this, as I read it, the climate sensitivity would be significantly greater than 1.2C, just as the IPCC wants us to believe. If Drs Spencer and Braswell are right, the climate sensitivity is not greater than 1.2C, and, as I read it, clouds are the explanation. But please tell us more. Christopher Game

  22. RW says:

    KevinK says:

    “As the surface of the Earth “warms” it emits a spectrum of light/EM radiation that shifts to “warmer wavelengths” (i.e. as it warms it emits proportionately more shorter wavelength light). Since the Earth’s atmosphere exhibits “better” transmission of IR radiation at shorter wavelengths it AUTOMATICALLY COOLS MORE EFFECTIVELY AS IT WARMS !!!”

    Very interesting. I’ve never thought of this. Basically, what you’re saying is that as the Earth ‘warms’, its Planck curve distribution of energy shifts to the left, resulting in more energy passing through the ‘window’ to space?

    Is there anyway to quantify or simulate the magnitude of this effect?

  23. Christopher Game- always has something of much interest to say. Quite intelligent, agree or not agree.

  24. suricat says:

    salvatore del prete.

    Christopher Game, though verbose, expounds a valid POV.

    RW.

    “”KevinK says:
    “As the surface of the Earth “warms” it emits a spectrum of light/EM radiation that shifts to “warmer wavelengths” (i.e. as it warms it emits proportionately more shorter wavelength light). Since the Earth’s atmosphere exhibits “better” transmission of IR radiation at shorter wavelengths it AUTOMATICALLY COOLS MORE EFFECTIVELY AS IT WARMS !!!”
    Very interesting. I’ve never thought of this. Basically, what you’re saying is that as the Earth ‘warms’, its Planck curve distribution of energy shifts to the left, resulting in more energy passing through the ‘window’ to space?
    Is there anyway to quantify or simulate the magnitude of this effect?””

    The ‘Planck constant’ of ‘Earth’s radiation’ (seen at TOA) is concurrent with a temperature that is realised above Earth’s surface. Why?

    Best regards, Ray.

  25. KevinK says:

    RW wrote;

    “Very interesting. I’ve never thought of this. Basically, what you’re saying is that as the Earth ‘warms’, its Planck curve distribution of energy shifts to the left, resulting in more energy passing through the ‘window’ to space?”

    Yes, this is correct. If you plot the Planck curve with lower wavelengths at the left the spectrum shifts to the left. If you plot lower wavenumbers at the left it shifts to the right.

    This shift causes a larger proportion (defined as total radiation “escaping” versus total radiation generated) of the energy to escape. Thus a warmer Earth is more effective at cooling via radiation.

    Of course the temporal presence / absence of clouds may overshadow this effect. But I posit that on average a warmer Earth is more effectively cooled by radiation. This “negative feedback”, or “forcing” if you prefer, prevents the Earth from ever reaching a “higher equilibrium” temperature.

    RW also wrote;

    “Is there anyway to quantify or simulate the magnitude of this effect?”

    I have done some simple calculations to verify this relationship, but I have not had the time to do a detailed analysis. Perhaps if I lose my day job I can pursue climate science as a new pastime.

    This does point out the necessity of performing these calculations across the entire spectrum. It is way too easy to just segment the spectrum into “bands” and perform calculations on separate “bands”. This is an easy way to overlook the fact that the spectrum is a continuum and that the shape changes with the temperature of the emitting body.

    It does seem (IMHO) that Dr. Spencer’s measured data confirms this effect.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  26. KevinK says:

    suricat wrote;

    “The ‘Planck constant’ of ‘Earth’s radiation’ (seen at TOA) is concurrent with a temperature that is realised above Earth’s surface. Why?”

    Not sure I understand this comment. My training taught me that ‘Planck’s constant’ is, with respect, a constant. I am not aware of any exceptions. Are you suggesting that ‘Planck’s constant’ varies with altitude ?

    The spectrum of an emitter like the water in the ocean or the rocks on the surface shifts to lower wavelength as the surface warms. The atmosphere allows more of this energy to escape through “windows”. Therefore the Earth cools more effectively as it warms.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  27. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of KevinK of July 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM. KevinK writes: “I have done some simple calculations to verify this relationship, but I have not had the time to do a detailed analysis.” and: “This “negative feedback”, or “forcing” if you prefer, prevents the Earth from ever reaching a “higher equilibrium” temperature.”

    Others (e.g. Weaver and Ramanathan 1995 on page 11587) have done the calculation and KevinK is right for many situations, that with increase of land-sea surface temperature, the ground emission spectrum fits better through the atmospheric infra-red spectral window. This effect is to be seen in the 2010 paper of Ferenc Miskolczi, in which the magnitude of the contributory effect is accurately and correctly calculated by the line-by-line method, in comparison with the contributory effect of CO2.

    KevinK is right, I would say, to call this a negative feedback contributory effect. (I do not think it helpful to call it a “forcing”, however one might use that term.) The effect that KevinK points to is real, but it is not strong enough to “prevent[] the Earth from ever reaching a “higher equilibrium” temperature.” I do not think that Drs Spencer and Braswell’s paper and measured data specifically test this point. Christopher Game

  28. KevinK says:

    Christopher Game wrote;

    “This effect is to be seen in the 2010 paper of Ferenc Miskolczi, in which the magnitude of the contributory effect is accurately and correctly calculated by the line-by-line method, in comparison with the contributory effect of CO2.”

    Well, this spectral shift that better aligns the emitted radiation with the “windows” in the atmosphere is truly a measure of the cooling efficiency of the Earth/Atmosphere system. The “contributory effect of CO2” only changes the speed at which energy travels within the system.

    Efficiency versus speed, different units, different measures of different effects.

    CO2 does not change the efficiency of cooling of the Earth, it is only capable of slowing (by a trivial amount) the speed at which energy flows through the system.

    Christopher Game also wrote;

    “but it is not strong enough to “prevent[] the Earth from ever reaching a “higher equilibrium” temperature.”” –

    Calculations to support your assertion please ? If a system is demonstrated to cool more efficiently as it warms, the logic follows that sans other effects that alter the effectiveness of the cooling it cannot reach a higher equilibrium temperature.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  29. RW says:

    KevinK says:

    “This shift causes a larger proportion (defined as total radiation “escaping” versus total radiation generated) of the energy to escape. Thus a warmer Earth is more effective at cooling via radiation.”

    When you say “escape”, you mean the amount of radiation that passes straight through the atmosphere as if the atmosphere wasn’t even there, right?

    KevinK says:

    “Of course the temporal presence / absence of clouds may overshadow this effect. But I posit that on average a warmer Earth is more effectively cooled by radiation. This “negative feedback”, or “forcing” if you prefer, prevents the Earth from ever reaching a “higher equilibrium” temperature.”

    I’m not sure I understand this. Most of the radiation emitted to space involved in the Earth’s cooling originates from the atmosphere and not from the so-called ‘window’.

    The often quoted 3.7 W/m^2 of additional ‘radiative forcing’ from 2xCO2 represents a reduction in ‘window transmittance’ to space of 3.7 W/m^2. Or, in other words, the atmosphere will absorb and additional 3.7 W/m^2 that previously passed straight through to space as if the atmosphere wasn’t even there.

    To prevent a higher equilibrium temperature, the effect you’re talking about would – in theory at least, need to be equal to that of the 3.7 W/m^2 of ‘forcing’ from 2xCO2, which closes the ‘window’ by 3.7 W/m^2, right?

  30. RW says:

    Kevin K says:

    “Are you suggesting that ‘Planck’s constant’ varies with altitude?”

    Yes, I think it does. Don’t forget that the atmosphere itself emits a Planck spectrum of energy just like any other heated object. As altitude increases, the temperature of the air decreases and the emitted spectrum of energy shifts to the right.

  31. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of KevinK of July 27, 2011 at 7:47 PM.

    KevinK: “this spectral shift that better aligns the emitted radiation with the “windows” in the atmosphere is truly a measure of the cooling efficiency of the Earth/Atmosphere system.” Christopher agrees that this effect is a real contributor, but not the only contributor. The “window” is different for occasions when there are no clouds and for the atmosphere above clouds.

    KevinK: “The “contributory effect of CO2” only changes the speed at which energy travels within the system.” Christopher says that the concept of “speed at which energy travels within the system” seems original to KevinK and Christopher doesn’t know what it means. It seems unlikely to fit into ordinary physical thinking, but perhaps we shall learn. The effect of CO2 is largely to block part of the window.

    KevinK: “Calculations to support your assertion please ?” Christopher responds that the calculations are illustrated in Figure 11 of Miskolczi 2010, in the dashed line Delta(t_A). These calculations make the comparison on an apples-for-apples basis, as contributions to the global average Planck-weighted greenhouse-gas optical thickness.

    KevinK: “If a system is demonstrated to cool more efficiently as it warms, the logic follows that sans other effects that alter the effectiveness of the cooling it cannot reach a higher equilibrium temperature.” Christopher responds that there are in the event many “other effects that alter the effectiveness of the cooling”; of these, it seems likely that clouds are the most effective contributors to overall negative feedback, as investigated by Drs Spencer and Braswell. Christopher Game

  32. KevinK says:

    RW wrote;

    “When you say “escape”, you mean the amount of radiation that passes straight through the atmosphere as if the atmosphere wasn’t even there, right?”

    Correct.

    RW also wrote;

    “I’m not sure I understand this. Most of the radiation emitted to space involved in the Earth’s cooling originates from the atmosphere and not from the so-called ‘window’.”

    NO, ALMOST ALL of the radiation emitted to space which thereby cools the Earth, originates AT THE SURFACE. The atmosphere only slows (in some cases) the speed at which this radiation exits. The Sun heats the Earth and very slightly heats the Atmosphere, the Earth heats the Atmosphere, and the Earth and Atmosphere all cool via radiation to Space.

    RW also wrote;

    “‘radiative forcing’”

    “radiative forcing” is a total and complete misnomer. ALL SIGNIFICANT HEAT INPUT TO THE EARTH IS FROM THE SUN (ignoring volcanoes etc.). CO2 does not force anything, all of the energy that is absorbed and then reemitted by CO2 comes from the SUN. CO2 IS NOT AN ENERGY SOURCE…..

    Cheers, Kevin.

  33. Christopher Game says:

    More calculations as asked for by KevinK in Table 3 of Miskolczi’s 2010 paper. Christopher Game

  34. RW says:

    KevinK says:

    “NO, ALMOST ALL of the radiation emitted to space which thereby cools the Earth, originates AT THE SURFACE. The atmosphere only slows (in some cases) the speed at which this radiation exits. The Sun heats the Earth and very slightly heats the Atmosphere, the Earth heats the Atmosphere, and the Earth and Atmosphere all cool via radiation to Space.”

    Sorry, I meant last originates from the atmosphere. In other words, last emitted from the atmosphere.

    KevinK says:

    ““radiative forcing” is a total and complete misnomer. ALL SIGNIFICANT HEAT INPUT TO THE EARTH IS FROM THE SUN (ignoring volcanoes etc.). CO2 does not force anything, all of the energy that is absorbed and then reemitted by CO2 comes from the SUN. CO2 IS NOT AN ENERGY SOURCE…..”

    I agree. This is why I always try to put this in quotations. In theory, additional CO2 does not ‘force’ the system – it only slightly modifies the system’s response to the Sun.

  35. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of KevinK of July 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM.

    KevinK writes: “NO, ALMOST ALL of the radiation emitted to space which thereby cools the Earth, originates AT THE SURFACE. The atmosphere only slows (in some cases) the speed at which this radiation exits.”

    KevinK’s account here is not quite explicit, but it does not seem to be in accord with ordinary physical thinking. On a global average, somewhere about 60 W m^-2 of the outgoing longwave radiation comes from the skin of land-sea body and from the tops of the clouds. The remaining about 180 W m^-2 comes from the atmosphere. The total of these numbers is 240 W m^-2 which balances the absorbed solar radiation on average. The 180 W m^-2 emitted to space by the atmosphere is supplied (1) mostly by conduction and evaporation from the skin of the land-sea body, and carried upwards by convection, and (2) significantly also by atmospherically absorbed solar radiation. A very small part (3) of it is supplied by the very small overall average excess of land-sea body emitted/atmospheric absorbed radiation over atmospheric downward emitted radiation.

    KevinK’s account stating that “ALMOST ALL of the radiation emitted to space … originates AT THE SURFACE” can be read as metaphorical, and then it seems less at odds with ordinary physical thinking, but read categorically it is at odds. Christopher Game

  36. KevinK says:

    Christopher Game wrote;

    “Christopher says that the concept of “speed at which energy travels within the system” seems original to KevinK and Christopher doesn’t know what it means.”

    Please research the concept of “thermal diffusivity”; this is a well understood property of real materials. It has been measured and characterized for many, many real materials for many, many years. It is a combination of the thermal capacity and thermal conductivity of real materials. It typically has units of meter^2/second. The meter^2/second versus meters/second is a old anachronism resulting from the original decision to measure thermal conductivity in units of distance and thermal capacity in units of volume. Regardless of this anachronism, the thermal diffusivity of a material is a REAL measure of the “speed of heat” in a material. When I design a system that attempts to control the temperature at a location one of my concerns is what speed of heat do the materials I select demonstrate.

    Just a few practical examples, did you ever wonder why the “heatsinks” on the microprocessor in your computer are (probably) made out of aluminum and not plastic ? This is because aluminum exhibits a much higher speed of heat than all plastics. In fact higher performance computer systems use copper for heatsinks because copper demonstrates a much higher speed of heat than aluminum. The primary purpose of a heatsink is to move heat away from the source (the microprocessor) as quickly (i.e. at a higher speed) as possible. This allows the microprocessor to continue to function without melting.

    In fact in a few very high performance systems synthetic diamond is used as a heatsink specifically because diamond has a wicked high speed of heat.

    Just a simple experiment if any of you are interested in some empirical lab work. Obtain a 1” diameter rod made of Copper, also obtain a 1” diameter rod of high temperature plastic. Get each rod 1 foot long. Now hold one side of the rod in your hand and heat the other end with a blowtorch. Please note that you will very likely drop the copper rod much sooner than you will drop the plastic rod.

    This is an example of the speed of heat in action.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  37. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of KevinK of July 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM.

    KevinK writes: “CO2 does not force anything, all of the energy that is absorbed and then reemitted by CO2 comes from the SUN. CO2 IS NOT AN ENERGY SOURCE.” Christopher agrees. The clever and deceptive trick of the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism to make out that CO2 acts like an energy source by calling its effect a “forcing”. Christopher Game

  38. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “On a global average, somewhere about 60 W m^-2 of the outgoing longwave radiation comes from the skin of land-sea body and from the tops of the clouds. The remaining about 180 W m^-2 comes from the atmosphere.”

    I think you’re forgetting that the heated gases of atmosphere also emit a broad band Planck spectrum of energy, some of which too passes through the ‘window’ to space. Trenberth claims 40 W/m^2 from the surface to space (presumably through the clear sky) and 30 W/m^2 from the cloud tops to space for a total ‘window’ of 70 W/m^2, but he doesn’t account for the atmosphere, which is why his number of 70 W/m^2 is too low – requiring more than half of what’s absorbed by the atmosphere from the surface to be emitted to space.

  39. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of KevinK of July 27, 2011 at 8:47 PM.

    Radiative transfer is different from conductive transfer. Radiation acts “at a distance” while conduction acts only in contiguity. Most energy transfer within the atmosphere is by convection or advection, not conduction or radiation. KevinK does not take these distinctions properly into account. The concept of “speed of heat” that KevinK tells about here is not suitable for a proper discussion of the earth’s energy transport process.

    Diamond is a good conductor of heat but a poor conductor of electricity. Not many materials have that very valuable combination of properties. Christopher Game

  40. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 27, 2011 at 8:57 PM.

    RW writes: “I think you’re forgetting …” Christopher responds: No I am not forgetting that. It is included in what I wrote.

    Christopher checked face to face in person with Dr Trenberth a couple of weeks ago with what his diagram means. He means that about 40 W m^-2 go straight to space from the skin of the land-sea body through the clear sky between clouds. About 30 W m^-2 go straight to space from the cloud tops. That makes his total of 70 W m^-2 direct to space from the skin of the lands-sea body and from the cloud tops. That is not too far from the figure I gave above, of 60 W m^-2; I wouldn’t quibble about the difference. But I would say that his number of 70 W m^-2 is not too low; I think you are mistaken there. When radiation from the sun is absorbed by the atmosphere, it enters the general pool of atmospheric energy, internal, bulk flow kinetic, and gravitational potential; it hardly makes sense to try to keep it as a separate quantity; I think you are misguidedly trying to keep a separate accound of it. Christopher Game

  41. KevinK says:

    RW wrote;

    ““Are you suggesting that ‘Planck’s constant’ varies with altitude?”

    Yes, I think it does. Don’t forget that the atmosphere itself emits a Planck spectrum of energy just like any other heated object.”

    I think there is a slight misunderstanding here, ‘Planck’s Constant’ is a fixed number that is input into the calculation of the theoretical spectral output from a molecule (solid/gas/liquid) at a certain temperature. ‘Planck’s Constant’ is indeed a fixed number that you can look up at the NIST website. As far as I know it does not vary with altitude, temperature, etc.

    A ‘Planck Spectrum’ is the resulting theoretical spectral curve that is predicted to be emitted by a molecule at a specific temperature. Warmer temperatures shift towards shorter wavelengths, colder temperatures shift towards longer wavelengths.

    HOWEVER, the ‘Planck Spectrum’ is a theoretical construct; no measured REAL WORLD blackbody exactly matches this spectrum. The Sun (above the Earth’s atmosphere) for example is about equal to a 6500K ‘Planck Spectrum’. However in reality it has lots of “wiggles” where it deviates from the theoretical spectrum. This is also true for the “NIST Standard” that is used to calibrate radiometric measurement devices. They use molten Platinum for this and it does not exactly match the theoretical blackbody (or ‘Planck Spectrum’) but it serves as a stable and repeatable standard that everybody could replicate if they had enough money.

    Did I help clear that up ? Sorry if I jumped on that, but to me ‘Planck’s Constant’ and ‘Planck Spectrum’ are two distinct things.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  42. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “The 180 W m^-2 emitted to space by the atmosphere is supplied (1) mostly by conduction and evaporation from the skin of the land-sea body, and carried upwards by convection, and (2) significantly also by atmospherically absorbed solar radiation. A very small part (3) of it is supplied by the very small overall average excess of land-sea body emitted/atmospheric absorbed radiation over atmospheric downward emitted radiation.”

    I don’t know about KevinK, but I do not agree with this. All the energy leaving at the TOA is radiative. Energy is not conducted or convected from the surface to space. If there is net convective energy loss from the surface to the atmosphere, the surface is just trading off non-radiative energy for radiative energy, which requires the surface to emit less to achieve equilibrium output power (240 W/m^2) at the TOA.

    The same is true of solar energy absorbed by the atmosphere. As post albedo energy absorbed in the atmosphere (mostly by clouds) that ends up being radiated out to space without ever reaching the surface is simply trading off energy emitted from the surface absorbed by the atmosphere (clouds primarily) that would otherwise be leaving the planet, subsequently falling back to the surface in kinetic form as the temperature component of precipitation. So indirectly, the full post albedo of 240 W/m^2 gets to the surface by requiring less of what’s absorbed by the atmosphere from the surface to be leaving the planet.

    This is why the planet has a referenced ‘effective’ emissivity of about 0.62 (240/390 = 0.62), which means of the 390 W/m^2 emitted at the surface, 240 W/m^2 escapes to space. A portion of the 240 W/m^2 leaving the system is through the ‘window’ and the remainder is that emitted by the atmosphere.

  43. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “Christopher checked face to face in person with Dr Trenberth a couple of weeks ago with what his diagram means. He means that about 40 W m^-2 go straight to space from the skin of the land-sea body through the clear sky between clouds. About 30 W m^-2 go straight to space from the cloud tops. That makes his total of 70 W m^-2 direct to space from the skin of the lands-sea body and from the cloud tops.”

    Isn’t that what I said? I thought it was. At any rate, my point was he does not account for the amount the heated atmosphere itself emits, some of which too passes through the ‘window’ to space. This is roughly an additional 10-20 W/m^2. He has the atmosphere emitting 169 W/m^2 to space, and through deduction has 157 W/m^2 returning to the surface, which is greater than half of what’s absorbed being emitted to space. The physics of an isotropically radiating atmosphere would seem to contradict this – it should be almost and exact 50/50 split (half to space and half back to the surface). A ‘window’ of 82 W/m^2 gives exactly 50/50 with his numbers.

  44. KevinK says:

    Christopher Game wrote;

    “Radiative transfer is different from conductive transfer. Radiation acts “at a distance” while conduction acts only in contiguity.”

    Yes, so what ?

    “Most energy transfer within the atmosphere is by convection or advection, not conduction or radiation.”

    With respect, all significant energy arriving at the
    surface (i.e. from the Sun) travels at the speed of light. A significant amount of this energy subsequently leaves for the cold vacuum of space at the speed of light. The rest travels through the Earth/Atmosphere at some combination of the speed of heat (due to conduction) at at the speed of heat (due to convection/advection, which is even slower…).

    For an empirical example please take the previous mentioned copper rod that was heated with a blowtorch and plunge it into a bucket of water (speed of heat via conduction). It cools off pretty darn quick. Now blow on it with a fan (speed of heat via convection) it takes quite a while longer to cool off doesn’t it ?

    “KevinK does not take these distinctions properly into account. The concept of “speed of heat” that KevinK tells about here is not suitable for a proper discussion of the earth’s energy transport process.”

    With respect this is rubbish. In any proper analysis of the flow of energy through any system the speed is a critical component that has been totally ignored by the climate science community. My best analogy is that the climate science community is treating the system as a DC circuit which is what electrical engineers used to do in their high school shop classes. Once we became professionals we learned that the DC analysis approach is a very very limited simplistic analysis that is almost useless in predicting the actual behavior of a real world system.

    The field of electrical engineering has done a remarkable job of understanding and predicting the performance of actual systems in the real world as evidenced by the functioning cell phone that most of us rely on every day. If we predicted that in 20 years your cell phone might have a signal strength that might let you place a call we would have been unemployed a long time ago.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  45. RW says:

    KevinK says:

    “Did I help clear that up ? Sorry if I jumped on that, but to me ‘Planck’s Constant’ and ‘Planck Spectrum’ are two distinct things.”

    Yes, my bad. I confused the two.

  46. RW says:

    Christopher,

    I might also add that there is no reference for the 70 W/m^2 ‘window’ in Trenberth’s paper. It appears to only be a rough estimate or guess.

  47. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 27, 2011 at 9:18 PM.

    By “emitted to space” Christopher means ’emitted by radiation to space’. Christopher Game

  48. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 27, 2011 at 9:33 PM.

    Christopher wasn’t disputing what you wrote about that. He was just confirming the interpretation which had previously left him in a little doubt. Christopher thinks that you are mistaken to believe in your 50/50 figure, and your loosely and inaccurately thought-out physical story to support it, and that Dr Trenberth’s figure is more accurate than yours. Contrary to your belief, the atmospheric radiative field is neither homogeneous nor isotropic. Christopher Game

  49. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of KevinK of July 27, 2011 at 9:36 PM.

    KevinK writes: “With respect this is rubbish.” Christopher responds that KevinK should check his engineering textbooks again. The climate science community is not as far from his textbooks as he thinks. Christopher Game

  50. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “Christopher thinks that you are mistaken to believe in your 50/50 figure, and your loosely and inaccurately thought-out physical story to support it, and that Dr Trenberth’s figure is more accurate than yours. Contrary to your belief, the atmospheric radiative field is neither homogeneous nor isotropic.”

    I know, but on average it should be at the radiative flux boundaries of the surface and the TOA. All radiative emission in the atmosphere is isotropic, which includes emitted photons from GHGs and radiation emitted from the heated gases of the atmosphere, including clouds. All the other transports of energy (conduction, convection, evaporation, etc.) moving energy around ‘chaotically’ are in between the surface and the TOA. The half of what is absorbed that goes to space is an all radiative flux, the half that is ultimately returned to the surface is not – it an equivalent energy flux that returns in a multitude of forms.

    Even Trenberth’s 70 W/m^2 gives very close to 50/50. BTW, if you think Trenberth’s diagram is an accurate depiction, you might ask him where the return path of latent heat is in the form of precipitation? His numbers have it all returning as ‘back radiation’, which is certainly wrong. You might also ask him what the origin of the energy in the temperature component of precipitation is – if not from the latent heat of evaporation primarily staying with the water. He doesn’t seem to be able to answer this question (among many others).

  51. Leo G says:

    Wow, is it ever nice to read a blog post here, where there are no dragons or tides! Wonderful discussion people,Thanx for sharing!

  52. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 27, 2011 at 10:56 PM.

    RW is still stuck with his irrational belief in his 50/50 story, justifying it to himself with an irrational belief about what “should be” so. He thinks that his gut-feel back-of-an-envelope estimate outranks line-by-line calculations for actual radiosonde data. There is no hope for him to advance till he recognizes that he needs to go beyond his irrational belief. He needs to study some more physics to advance his understanding.

    In particular, RW is mistaken about back radiation. More accurate work by Ferenc Miskolczi 2007 shows that the atmosphere’s back radiation emitted downwards to the earth body (Ed) is nearly equal to the earth-body-emitted/atmosphere-absorbed (Aa) radiation. The global average excess of Aa over Ed is not more than 10 W m^-2, and may be less. Trenberth Fasullo Kiehl 2009 put it at nearer 26 W m^-2, but I think the Miskolczi figure is more accurate. RW wants it to go the other way to fit his irrational belief.

    Contrary to RW’s apparent belief, the latent heat of evaporation does not stay primarily with the water: instead it primarily enters the atmospheric internal energy pool and is thence eventually radiated to directly to space mostly from altitudes well above the land-sea body surface. Christopher Game

  53. Martin says:

    Christopher Game:
    In polar regions, low altitude cloudiness doesn´t have that strong effect as in the tropics, bucause angle in which the sunlight comes to the surface is generally small (or large, if measured to the vertical). More of the sunlight is being reflected, with or without clouds, but the IR capturing effect is simmilar. (I haven´t researched that, just assuming, as this is not my field) In general, the conclusion that low clouds acts as a cooling feedback is generally right, as the tropics represent more of Earth´s surface, but this variations should be taken into account. For example, if Svensmark´s theory is right, more of it´s effect would be observed in the polar regions, due to geomagnetic field, which in my oppinion contradicts net cooling effect of GCR´s.

    My assumptions are based on my observations. In valley, where thermal inversions are frequent, the temperature slightly rises, even when there is snow cover. Inversion should prevent mixing of air (and so it does, as cities are having problems with air pollution in those cases).

    Even more, in warm half of the year, more low cloudiness (excluding storm activity) occures at night.

    Correct me, if some of my assumptions are wrong, but I´ll be away for five days, unable to respond.

  54. Tom says:

    Dr. Roy,

    are you aware of this blog article posted by Barry Bickmore?

    “Just Put the Model Down, Roy”

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/just-put-the-model-down-roy/

    Could you answer to some of these critics?

  55. This is a very good discussion.

    The question is does an increase in cosmic rays ,more so2 particles via volcanic eruptions ,a more negative AO ,a cold PDO ,with more frequent La Ninas result in the amount of cloud coverage on earth increasing?

    I say likely, and I think a positve feeback in this case comes about which creates colder periods,with more clouds present.

    I say some positve feedbacks for warming and cooling must come about from time to time, because if that were not the case earth’s climate would not swing from interglaical periods to glacial periods.

    But then again, perhaps earth’s temperature as a whole does not vary to much but rather the distribution of temperature varies, causing these climatic swings,over regions of the earth.

    I will go out on a limb here and say right now it looks like a spurt of activty could be happening on the sun. I say if this spurt of activity results in a k index of 5 or higher sometime in the next few days, expect some geological activity to follow, within a week or less.

  56. Ray says:

    I have attempted to download the pdf file several times and each time I get a “504 Gateway Time-out” message.
    Is it just me?

  57. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “In particular, RW is mistaken about back radiation. More accurate work by Ferenc Miskolczi 2007 shows that the atmosphere’s back radiation emitted downwards to the earth body (Ed) is nearly equal to the earth-body-emitted/atmosphere-absorbed (Aa) radiation. The global average excess of Aa over Ed is not more than 10 W m^-2, and may be less. Trenberth Fasullo Kiehl 2009 put it at nearer 26 W m^-2, but I think the Miskolczi figure is more accurate. RW wants it to go the other way to fit his irrational belief.”

    It’s important to distinguish between ‘back radiation’ and downward emitted LW radiation. ‘Back radiation’ – at least how I use the term, is downward emitted LW that last originated from surface emitted radiation. Regular ‘downward emitted LW radiation’ from the atmosphere has 3 potential sources. Some of it last originated from surface emitted radiation, some of it last originated from the Sun (absorbed by the atmosphere and yet to reach the surface), and some of it last originated from the kinetic energy moved from the surface into the atmosphere (latent heat and thermals). The energy absorbed by the atmosphere from the Sun and emitted to the surface is ‘forward radiation’ and not ‘back radiation’. To lump everything together as ‘back radiation’, as Trenberth has done, is misleading. It makes it look like of the 396 W/m^2, 333 W/m^2 of it is coming back from the atmosphere, which it’s not.

    I do not dispute that the total downward LW radiation from the atmosphere can be close to the amount emitted from the surface. This is not relevant to half of what is absorbed from the surface emitted radiation going to space and half going back to the surface.

    Christopher Game says:

    “Contrary to RW’s apparent belief, the latent heat of evaporation does not stay primarily with the water: instead it primarily enters the atmospheric internal energy pool and is thence eventually radiated to directly to space mostly from altitudes well above the land-sea body surface.”

    What then is the source of the energy in the temperature component of precipitation? No one seems to be able to answer this. Yes, it’s true that some of the energy from latent heat is radiated away in the atmosphere – some out to space and some back to the surface. However, whatever is radiated away is replenished by the Sun’s post albedo energy ‘absorbed by the atmosphere’. Energy leaving the planet from latent heat is being traded off for energy entering from the Sun that would otherwise be leaving without ever reaching the surface. Clouds – the repository for most the latent heat in the atmosphere, are thermally connected to the oceans, so energy absorbed by them from the Sun is really no different than energy directly absorbed by the oceans. Whatever isn’t radiated away, falls back to the surface mostly as the temperature component of precipitation.

    I quote from Treberth’s paper: “Global precipitation should equal global evaporation for a long-term average, and estimates are likely more reliable of the former.”

    How could this be if the energy didn’t primarily stay with the water?

    But this is much less important. The main significance behind the 50/50 split is it limits atmospheric opacity to 50% – meaning even if the atmosphere was 100% opaque to outgoing LW, half would still escape to space anyway. No energy in the system is trapped – its exit is just delayed, and not delayed very long.

    The bottom line is the atmosphere is just acting as a ‘filter’ between the surface and space, where each pass through the filter, about 62% escapes to space and 38% is returned to the surface. The 38% returned is the whole of the GHE. The 62% that escapes to space is the 240 W/m^2 flux leaving at the TOA, offsetting the 240 W/m^2 flux arriving from the Sun. To the extent there are a multitude of ‘chaotic’ and complex energy transports from the surface to the atmosphere, from the atmosphere to other parts of the atmosphere, and from the atmosphere back to the surface is much less important.

    For a more detailed paper that addresses half up/half down and the whole effect GHGs have on the surface temperature in more depth, I suggest you check out this paper. Take a look on pages 17, 18, 19 & 20 in particular:

    http:// http://www.hfranzen.org/GWPPT6.pdf

  58. Doug Reichlin says:

    Congratulations!

    Another nail in the coffin.

    Keep up the good fight!

  59. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM.

    RW is intent on dragging us through every wrinkle of his irrational belief system. He generates endless physically meaningless questions and wants us to think about them. How much of our time will we let him take up with this?

    It seems that his irrational belief system may be summarized in his 50/50 story, but he has a complex of ideas that support that story, and will prefer the ideas of that complex over rational physical thinking, until he abandons his irrational belief system. RW wants to lure us into following his own personally invented theory of the physics of transport processes, to let him avoid reading textbooks about the usual way of doing it. RW would like to lure us down a path of trying to follow the moieties of energy through endless imagined adventures.

    For example, RW wants us to consider the question “How could this be if the energy didn’t primarily stay with the water?” This question seems to try to convert conservation of mass into conservation of energy in an inappropriate way, and to rely on the vagueness of the word “primarily”.

    I am quite happy not to use the term “back radiation”, however it might be interpreted. When I used it above, I was concerned only with radiation emitted downwards from the atmosphere and hitting the interface between the body of the atmosphere and the land-sea body. I do not feel a need to use RW’s term “last originated radiation” because I do not share what I regard as his futile fancy for trying to keep track of the endless origins and destinations of energy moieties within a pool of energy of a mass of material that can be usefully divided into internal energy, gravitational potential energy, and kinetic energy of bulk flow. RW would do well to ponder on the classical principle of equipartition of energy for particles of ponderable matter.

    RW refers to page 19 of his link. That is a diagram with wrong physics in it. RW builds his case partly on that diagram. He will need to look elsewhere for a better guide. Christopher Game

  60. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “For example, RW wants us to consider the question “How could this be if the energy didn’t primarily stay with the water?” This question seems to try to convert conservation of mass into conservation of energy in an inappropriate way, and to rely on the vagueness of the word “primarily”.”

    So my interpretation of the statement was different. If that’s what Trenberth meant, then so be it. Let me ask you this, if most of the latent heat is radiated away and out to space, what is the source of the energy in the temperature component of precipitation? How come Trenberth doesn’t show this?

    Christopher Game says:

    “RW wants to lure us into following his own personally invented theory of the physics of transport processes, to let him avoid reading textbooks about the usual way of doing it. RW would like to lure us down a path of trying to follow the moieties of energy through endless imagined adventures.”

    Not really. All I’m saying is that all the various non-radiative energy transport processes are what they are, but they are all in between the surface and the TOA. Why is this so hard to understand? The 390 W/m^2 emitted at the surface is an all radiative flux, and the 240 W/m^2 arriving and leaving at the TOA is an all radiative flux. Whatever leaves the surface non-radiatively returns to the surface. If there is net non-radiative loss to the atmosphere, non-radiative energy from the surface is just being traded off for radiative energy at the surface, reducing the amount the surface has to emit by an equal and opposite amount.

    Christopher Game says:

    “I am quite happy not to use the term “back radiation”, however it might be interpreted. When I used it above, I was concerned only with radiation emitted downwards from the atmosphere and hitting the interface between the body of the atmosphere and the land-sea body. I do not feel a need to use RW’s term “last originated radiation” because I do not share what I regard as his futile fancy for trying to keep track of the endless origins and destinations of energy moieties within a pool of energy of a mass of material that can be usefully divided into internal energy, gravitational potential energy, and kinetic energy of bulk flow. RW would do well to ponder on the classical principle of equipartition of energy for particles of ponderable matter.”

    This is not really what I’m doing. I’m using the constraints COE puts on the boundary between the surface and the TOA to deduce energy quantities that last originated from the surface or the Sun in the past.

    Let me ask a simple question. There is 240 W/m^2 entering the system from the Sun and 240 W/m^2 leaving at the TOA. The surface is emitting 390 W/m^2. Where is the +150 W/m^2 flux into the surface coming from? If not ‘back’ from from the atmosphere as a result of GHG and cloud absorption, then where?

  61. RW says:

    Christopher,

    In regards to the paper linked, do you understand the model depicted on page 19 is not a model of the actual behavior, but a model of the net equivalent behavior at the boundaries of the surface and the TOA? In other words, the behavior and internal processes involved in the actual energy flow in the system is much more complex and differs from the simple depiction of the model.

  62. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 28, 2011 at 9:33 PM.

    Your question is based on a mistaken presupposition that you want to lure me into accepting, based on your irrational belief system. It is of the same form as the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

    I do not wish to spend more time with you on this. You need to loosen up your own entanglement with your irrational belief system enough to let you study some physics textbooks, rather than try to lure me into playing within your irrational belief system. Until then, no matter how I would answer your questions, you would endlessly find more of them to continue to try to lure me into your irrational belief system. Christopher Game

  63. RW says:

    Christopher Game says:

    “Your question is based on a mistaken presupposition that you want to lure me into accepting, based on your irrational belief system. It is of the same form as the question “Have you stopped beating your wife?””

    This was not my intention. How can a productive exchange take place without asking questions when there is disagreement? You’re not asking me any questions – you’re just declaring I’m wrong and irrational.

  64. KevinK says:

    Christopher wrote;

    “KevinK writes: “With respect this is rubbish.” Christopher responds that KevinK should check his engineering textbooks again. The climate science community is not as far from his textbooks as he thinks. Christopher Game”

    With respect, the climate science is so far from my engineering textbooks as to be almost unrecognizable. The climate system of the Earth is NOT a set of resistors with currents flowing back and forth. The climate science community has so removed themselves from any reasonable measurements of what is actually happening that their “predictions” of what happens next are for the most part laughable. Except to predict that whatever happens next is with certainty “WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT”.

    If I predicted what my design would do two decades in the future and stated that I was 99% certain of that outcome and then the 1% case actually occurred I would give up on engineering as a profession. This refers exactly to a certain climate scientist that told us back in 1988 that He was 99% certain of his predictions, quite a bit of HUBRIS there.

    For the most part I would not care if a scientist was wrong 99% of the time, but one particular individual insists that we all must dramatically lower our standard of living specifically because of his failed ability to follow the scientific method.

    The climate models are in fact a textbook (engineering or otherwise) example of CIRCULAR LOGIC, I.E.; Effect A exists; therefore I create a model that follows the rules of effect A; my model demonstrates a response that correlates well with effect A; therefore effect A exists!!!

    This is a very easy and tempting trap to fall into, it happens all too frequently in the engineering profession, “Hey it does what I thought it would do”, except in many cases there are errors in the measurement of exactly how well the system actually performs.

    Good engineers actually are careful to build a case for complex computer models that are based on reproducible sub-models of actual physical effects that can be easily reproduced by ANYBODY. For example, very complex models of electrical circuits are based on Ohm’s Law, which can be easily reproduced by most high school students (with a slight bit of guidance). Other easily reproduced physical laws that feed into the complex models used by the engineering profession include Snell’s Law, the Stress/Strain response of materials, and a whole bunch of other examples as well.

    In summary, the “climate models” are simplistic at best and seriously misleading at worst. They have ignored so many real world effects that they are in fact WORSE than simply flipping a coin.

    After two WHOLE DECADES DURING WHICH THE PREDICTED OUTCOME FAILS TO MATCH THE ACTUAL OBSERVED OUTCOME how can anybody still defend these climate models ???????

    Dr. Spencer has shown at least one SERIOUS DISCONNECT between the models and the reality (with some known limitations in our human ability to measure it).

    I vote that the measurements RULE and the models are entertaining at best, and a huge waste of money at worst.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  65. God knows says:

    I don’t think any body knows for sure about climate. The period before going into an ice age is usually marked by wide swings in temperature.
    What I would really like to say Mr. Spencer is that your economic beliefs could not save any one.
    People being as free as possible to produce and buy goods cannot solve a thing.
    Why?
    The human greed factor. It is the main reason for our current economic mess and it will destroy our Country.
    Your economic belief that”freedom” in capitalism is the solution to everything is hackneyed and best left in the pages of worn out text books.
    You were not specific on C2C tonight about what freedoms you are talking about but I assume they are the same worn out saws of lower taxes and less regulation.
    One of the main functions of government in my opinion should be to temper human greed and execute justice. Both are sorely lacking in our Country today.
    Never discount the X (human) factor. If you go on in your beliefs and leave out the X factor nothing positive will happen in our Country.

  66. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @KevinK

    you wrote:
    “The climate models are in fact a textbook (engineering or otherwise) example of CIRCULAR LOGIC, I.E.; Effect A exists; therefore I create a model that follows the rules of effect A; my model demonstrates a response that correlates well with effect A; therefore effect A exists!!!”

    I agree with you, that’s how I understand climate science is working today.
    This post is just a joke of course, because being just an engineer I haven’t the skillfulness to demonstrate it’s really so, but for me the current “climate science” look as it fits very well to the “pathological science” postulated by Irving Langmuir in 1953.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathological_science

    Read its definition. From my point of view, its unbelievable how climate science complies that definition in these days.
    I hope the last characteristic will came soon.

  67. Stephen Wilde says:

    I think this fits very nicely with Roy’s findings:

    http://www.irishweatheronline.com/features-2/wilde-weather/the-sun-could-control-earths-temperature/290.html

    A neat mechanism that appears to reconcile observations with basic physics.

  68. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of RW of July 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM.

    It is futile to try to discuss things until you read and understand some textbooks. Christopher Game

  69. Ivan says:

    It seems to me as a laymen, that the debate between Spencer and his critics is basically about whether or not the climate system undergoes the internal radiative changes on its own that affect the global temperature irrespective of any external forcing. Spencer says yes, Dressler and co say – no. Everything else are just technicalities. Am I correct, dr Spencer?

  70. Mark Whitney says:

    Dr Spencer
    I know you will likely shake your head at the question, but when I cite your work you are dismissed as an oil company shill. I know rhis is not the case having followed your work for years. We even met briefly here in Salt Lake City.
    I would ask you for the source of funding for your recent paper, depite the irrelevence of it.

    Mark Whitney

  71. heat jacket says:

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