Rise of the 1st Law Deniers

July 31st, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

So, we continue to be treated to news articles (e.g. here, and here.) quoting esteemed scientists who claim to have found problems with our paper published in Remote Sensing, which shows huge discrepancies between the real, measured climate system and the virtual climate system imagined by U.N.-affilliated climate modelers and George Soros-affiliated pundits (James Hansen, Joe Romm, et al.)

Their objections verge on the bizarre, and so I have to wonder whether any of them actually read our paper. I eagerly await their published papers which show any errors in our analysis.

Apparently, all they need to know is that our paper makes the U.N. IPCC climate models look bad. And we sure can’t have that!

What’s weird is that these scientists, whether they know it or not, are denying the 1st Law of Thermodynamics: simple energy conservation. We show it actually holds for global-average temperature changes: a radiative accumulation of energy leads to a temperature maximum…later. Just like when you put a pot of water on the stove, it takes time to warm.

But while it only takes 10 minutes for a few inches of water to warm, the time lag of many months we find in the real climate system is the time it takes for several tens of meters of the upper ocean to warm.

We showed unequivocal satellite evidence of these episodes of radiant energy accumulation before temperature peaks…and then energy loss afterward. Energy conservation cannot be denied by any reasonably sane physicist.

We then showed (sigh…again…as we did in 2010) that when this kind of radiant forcing of temperature change occurs, you cannot diagnose feedback, at least not at zero time lag as Dessler and others claim to have done.

If you try, you will get a “false positive” even if feedback is strongly negative!

The demonstration of this is simple and persuasive. It is understood by Dick Lindzen at MIT, Isaac Held at Princeton (who is far from a “skeptic”), and many others who have actually taken the time to understand it. You don’t even have to believe that “clouds can cause climate change” (as I do), because it’s the time lag – which is unequivocal – that causes the feedback estimation problem!

Did we “prove” that the IPCC climate models are wrong in their predictions of substantial future warming?

No, but the dirty little secret is that there is still no way to test those models for their warming predictions. And as long as the modelers insist on using short term climate variability to “validate” the long term warming in their models, I will continue to use that same short term variability to show how the modelers might well be fooling themselves into believing in positive feedback. And without net positive feedback, manmade global warming becomes for all practical purposes a non-issue. (e.g., negative cloud feedback could more than cancel out any positive feedback in the climate system).

If I’m a “denier” of the theory of dangerous anthropogenic climate change, so be it. But as a scientist I’d rather deny that theory than deny the 1st Law of Thermodynamics.


41 Responses to “Rise of the 1st Law Deniers”

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  1. Frank says:

    This article alone has pushed me off the skeptic fence. Global warming is a fraud.

  2. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Dr Spencer,

    Real Climate has had their first take on your paper up for several days. I don’t see any denial of the first law of thermodynamics in their criticism. Two of their first objections are:

    The basic material in the paper has very basic shortcomings because no statistical significance of results, error bars or uncertainties are given either in the figures or discussed in the text. Moreover the description of methods of what was done is not sufficient to be able to replicate results.

    Isn’t it de rigeur to include uncertainties and to provide enough information so that others can reproduce the same results?

    Likewise I couldn’t find any denial of the FLOTD in Barry Bickmore’s criticism.

    Spencer’s entire argument is statistical in nature, but he has made no attempt to find out how sensitive his model fits are to the different parameter values. If the model fit is about equally as good with low or high climate sensitivity, after all, then the modeling exercise has given us NO INFORMATION about the relative plausibility of either scenario.

    Isn’t this a valid criticism? If we can obtain the same fits with high or low climate sensitivity, what is the point of the exercise?

    • The claim that there was not enough information to reproduce the results was not raised against Dessler (2010), and is pretty lame. There was enough there for others to check into it…at least as much as the Dessler study.

      Regarding uncertainties, it is another lame excuse. The reviewers did not feel like that was needed. Again, I think those who criticize the article did not actually read it. For them to claim we did not have an actual signal with the large regression coefficients we showed at non-zero time lags, while Dessler based his results on a correlation of 0.09 at zero time lag, verges on the absurd. They are grasping at straws.

      Finally, their point that the data could support high or low climate sensitivity is, to some extent, correct. WHICH HAS BEEN ONE OF OUR POINTS ALL ALONG! One “point of the exercise” is to show their “validating” very sensitive climate models with satellite data is relatively meaningless.

      Once again, they demand WE jump through hoops THEY cannot jump through.

      • Roy,

        You say, “Regarding uncertainties, it is another lame excuse. The reviewers did not feel like that was needed.”

        But can’t you see that when you send your paper to a for-profit Open Access journal like Remote Sensing (which doesn’t typically deal with issues like climate modeling), that your critics might wonder what kind of peer review your paper actually got? Some of these for-profit OA journals have been shown to publish anything people send in, even if it is meaningless science-speak. Even if the journal is more legit than that, if the editors aren’t climate specialists, they might have just sent the paper to the reviewers you suggested. If you were to publish the peer reviews on your blog, that might allay fears that they weren’t rigorous. (You might complain that nobody else is asked to do this, but then, most people send their climate science to climate journals.)

        Also, what’s wrong with error bars? If you put error bars on the graphs, Trenberth and Fasulio showed that some of the models emulate ENSO pretty well, and others not so well. Big surprise. If some of the models reproduce the trends within the error bars, isn’t it fair to say that the error bars were, in fact, necessary?

        You also say, “Finally, their point that the data could support high or low climate sensitivity is, to some extent, correct. WHICH HAS BEEN ONE OF OUR POINTS ALL ALONG! One “point of the exercise” is to show their “validating” very sensitive climate models with satellite data is relatively meaningless.”

        When I made the criticism to which you are referring, I was talking about your book (The Great Global Warming Blunder) and some of your blog posts. In there, it was completely clear that you were claiming your modeling exercises were stunning new evidence for low climate sensitivity. “The evidence for anthropogenic global warming being a false alarm does not get much more convincing than this, folks,” you said in a recent post. In fact, it was no evidence at all, because you botched your statistical arguments.

        You may be right about the utility of validating climate sensitivity with short-term satellite data, however. When Andy Dessler published his study, he DID do the error bars, and they were pretty wide, so I don’t think anyone would argue that this kind of analysis is the final word on anything. So your point might be well taken if you didn’t ignore whole swaths of OTHER evidence (like paleoclimate studies) that indicate fairly high sensitivity. Given these other lines of evidence, your paper might turn out to be an interesting sidenote, but it certainly doesn’t add any evidence for low climate sensitivity, as has been repeatedly claimed.

  3. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer wrote;

    “But while it only takes 10 minutes for a few inches of water to warm, the time lag of many months we find in the real climate system is the time it takes for several tens of meters of the upper ocean to warm.”

    With respect, while we may have used different terms we agree on this point. Your analysis clearly demonstrates the “speed of heat” as energy flows through the oceans. Up here on the shore of Lake Ontario we see the same effect; our growing “climate” is closer to southern Pennsylvania than just a few miles inland from the lakeshore. The delay of the warmth from the spring causes the lake to warm up later than the land. This means little in the spring, but in the fall, when the lake cools off later than the land it makes the plants very happy as they mature.

    Even though our “growing climate” is like that much further south, our “indoor heating climate” is just about identical to our surroundings.

    So the next step is to calculate/estimate the changes in the speed of heat through the system caused by the “Greenhouse Effect” (i.e. backradiation). I posit it is on the order of tens or maybe hundreds of milliseconds. When compared to the 86 million milliseconds in a Day it is not clear that backradiation can in any way cause “warming” or a “higher equilibrium” temperature to occur at the surface.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  4. RW says:

    Nice title!

  5. RW says:

    KevinK says:

    “So the next step is to calculate/estimate the changes in the speed of heat through the system caused by the “Greenhouse Effect” (i.e. backradiation). I posit it is on the order of tens or maybe hundreds of milliseconds. When compared to the 86 million milliseconds in a Day it is not clear that backradiation can in any way cause “warming” or a “higher equilibrium” temperature to occur at the surface.”

    I don’t know about a delay of hundreds of milliseconds – that seems far too short given the amount of energy retained during the overnight hours, but I agree the delay provided by GHGs isn’t very long. The key thing that people seem to be missing is that no energy is ‘trapped’ in the system – its exit at the TOA is just delayed.

    If the ‘radiative forcing’ from 2xCO2 is 3.7 W/m^2 and the current atmosphere only provides 2.3 W/m^2 for a total of 6 W/m^2 (1.1 C), where is the additional 10.6 W/m^2 incoming surface flux coming from needed to cause the 3 C rise? Conservation of Energy dictates this flux has to be coming from somewhere (either via a reduced albedo or from increased atmospheric absorption). There has been no decrease in the albedo and the water vapor concentration is dynamically controlled by clouds via their ability to reflect incoming sunlight and precipitate out the water from the atmosphere. So where’s all the energy coming from that is supposed to be causing all the enhanced positive feedback warming? No one seems to know, but they assure us there is some phantom energy hiding somewhere waiting to be unleashed.

    • RW says:

      I meant to say:

      “So where’s the energy coming from that is supposed to be causing all the enhanced positive feedback warming? None of them seem to know, but they assure us there is some phantom energy hiding somewhere arbitrarily waiting to be unleashed. Sad, very sad.”

  6. RW says:

    Kevin O’Neill,

    Can you explain this to me? Where is the energy coming from that is supposed to be causing the all enhanced positive feedback warming?

    The typical answer is “from the feedback”, but when asked from where specifically, everyone seems to be stumped, which shows that they haven’t really thought this through.

    You do understand that if the surface is to warm by 3 C, it needs to emit an additional 16.6 W/m^2, and COE dictates this +16.6 flux into the surface has to be coming from somewhere, right?

    I just amazes me how basic things like COE can be so callously ignored, yet we’re supposed to be the scientific ignoramuses.

  7. KevinK says:

    RW wrote;

    “I don’t know about a delay of hundreds of milliseconds – that seems far too short given the amount of energy retained during the overnight hours, but I agree the delay provided by GHGs isn’t very long.”

    Well, the energy ”retained during the overnight hours” is exiting (all night long) from the surface at almost the speed of light (there is a little bit of delay from the “GHE”) so it has all left before the sun comes up the next day.

    I admit my calculations about the “delay time” introduced by the “GHE” are very rough and I could be off by one (or less likely two) orders of magnitude, but we have a delay of 100/1000/10000 milliseconds versus 86000000 milliseconds.

    The speed/delay time/time lag is totally independent of the amount of energy travelling through the system. The light emitted from a candle travels through the system at the same speed as the light coming from the Sun.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  8. RW says:

    KevinK says:

    “Well, the energy ”retained during the overnight hours” is exiting (all night long) from the surface at almost the speed of light (there is a little bit of delay from the “GHE”) so it has all left before the sun comes up the next day.”

    How do you figure it has all left before the Sun comes up the next day? It seems if that were true then the average surface flux of about 390 W/m^2 would not be possible. Are you forgetting that the 240 W/m^2 solar flux and 390 W/m^2 surface flux is a global 24 hour average?

    If all the heat is lost overnight, how did we get to a 390 W/m^2 average?

  9. KevinK says:

    RW wrote;

    “If all the heat is lost overnight, how did we get to a 390 W/m^2 average?”

    Because the silly folks doing these “energy budget” calculations used units of power (W/m^2) instead of units of energy (joules, btu’s, calories, etc.).

    This is why it is important to reconcile the units used in any scientific/engineering calculation.

    Using units of power (W/m^2) instead of Energy (Joules/BTU’s/Calories) with no consideration of the speed at which energy flows through the system yields an incorrect result.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  10. RW says:

    Kevin K says:

    “Using units of power (W/m^2) instead of Energy (Joules/BTU’s/Calories) with no consideration of the speed at which energy flows through the system yields an incorrect result.”

    I don’t get it. Power is just energy divided by time. A watt is a joule per second.

  11. kuhnkat says:

    RW,

    you also have to consider that the T4 relationship means that we have a much higher outgoing IR during the day than at night. Joe Postma redid the old back of the envelope rough approximation of the energy balance including a day and night side and obtained much more reasonable results.

    http://principia-scientific.org/pso/publications/The_Model_Atmosphere.pdf

  12. Kasuha says:

    I find the Salon article very amusing. First part is very nice summary of the paper IMO – and then it completely derails. I’d not say it denies First law – it simply failed to bring any relevant arguments.
    I read the “crackpots who were right” series on viXra just yesterday (http://blog.vixra.org/category/crackpots-who-were-right/) and I can’t help it it’s exactly the case.
    Pretty sad in my opinion.

  13. steve says:

    Negative low cloud feedback.

    help please

    in his article;
    Is There a Missing Low Cloud Feedback in Current Climate Models? http://www.gewex.org/images/G.Stephens_Feb2010GNews.pdf

    Prof. Graeme Stephens states;
    “The net consequence of these biases is that the optical depth of low clouds in GCMs is more than a factor of two greater than observed, resulting in albedos of clouds that are too high.”

    “The implication of this optical depth bias that owes its source to biases in both the LWP (Liquid Water Path) and particle sizes is that the solar radiation reflected by low clouds is significantly enhanced in models compared to real clouds. This reflected sunlight bias has significant implications for the cloud-climate feedback problem.”

    “The consequence is that this bias artificially suppresses the low cloud optical depth feedback in models by almost a factor of four and thus its potential role as a negative
    feedback. This bias explains why the optical depth feedback
    is practically negligible in most global models (e.g., Colman et al., 2003) and why it has received scant attention in low cloud feedback discussion. These results are also relevant to the model biases in absorbed solar radiation discussed recently by Trenberth and Fasullo (2010) and as explored in more detail in Stephens et al.(2010).”
    - – - – - – - – - -

    It’s clear that Stephens believes that cloud feedback is negative, but I find his wording confusing & it seems to contradict itself. On one hand he says that models are biased in that modeled cloud opticle thickness is greater than observations, & that this results in far greater solar radiation reflected away from the earth. Yet he says this artificially suppresses the low cloud optical depth feedback in models by almost a factor of four and thus its potential role as a negative feedback.

    Can anyone explain this to me?

  14. P. Solar says:

    Dr Spencer,
    in case no one else has pointed it out to you yet there is an error in the axis label of figure 2b of the paper : units of W/m2/K instead of W2/m2.

    I found the article very clear and to the point and easily understandable by a wider cross-section of readers than many papers in this field. I imagine this was one of your aims.

    One thing I would think merits further detail is what techniques were used to calculate the “regression slope”. It seems that it was simple least squares but this proabably shoiuld stated.

    I appreciate that the text of this paper was probably finalised a long time ago and precedes some of the comments I have sent you by email but I think this kind of analysis really would benfit from a regression method that is applicable to data with errors in the x variable. The drop off of slope that you document for the non- radiative only case is largely due to incorrect regression method. By inference it is probably responsible for a large ammount of the under-estimation in the mixed case as well.

    This inappropriate use of simple least squares, which is mathematically invalid in regressing this kind of data is ubiquitous in this field (and elsewhere in science).

    In regressing two sets of data against each other some kind of ‘error in variable method’ must be used.

    This is equally important in doing lag regression. Even if there is a linear relation between the observed quantities and good quality data, as the data decorrelate due to the lag a simple LS will start to fail to give a correct regression slope.

    Since this is at the heart of your analysis it would seem worthy of a more rigourous method. Correct detection of ‘lamda’ may be nearer if proper techniques were used.

    This would show the IPCC approved models to be even further away from reality and would remove some of the uncertainty from proving the point.

    Best regards.

  15. yes, over the last several years we have spent a lot of time examining regression methods which account for errors in both variables. My favorite way is to do 2 regressions with the variables swapped, take the reciprocal of one of them, multiply the 2 regression slopes together, then take the square root (geometric mean), which seems pretty robust.

    Our use of ordinary least squares was mostly to be consistent with previous authors, so they could compare the numbers we get with their numbers.

    I could go on and on about the ways in which I have examined the data, including compositing analysis, but suffice it to say that I finally convinced myself that, in the present case, use of OLS analysis is sufficient. I have examined the issue running the simple climate model where the feedback is known and where realistic “noise” is present. It turns out that OLS regression, for whatever reason, gives results that are about as good as the other method. After the correlation gets above about 0.7, as I recall, the 2 methods give pretty similar answers.

  16. Pascvaks says:

    It is difficult to be all things to all people. Especially when the real Bell Curve for People looks more like a Sombrero than a bell on most issues. This link, below, has more on heating water, CO2, and even Grits, on a somewhat smaller more graspable scale, and with a little humor if you’re in need of that too. Life is too short to worry about too much for too long, especially too those of a different mind who dwell on the far side of the Sunbrero.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/lessons-of-the-pool/

    PS: I don’t think “they” read anything except the Title and who wrote the paper.

  17. mark s. says:

    Really, your comment about, “…quoting esteemed scientists who claim…” should read “…quoting esteemed “scientists” who claim”.

    Also, why is it that, other than a few scientist, that we do not press the amount of lousy science that the “U.N.-affilliated climate modelers and George Soros-affiliated pundits” spew out. Had I falsified that much data or only used the data that fit my hypothesis, I would have been kicked out of school and denied my earth science degree.

  18. Andrew says:

    When the best objection they’ve got is the argument from uncertainty, I can’t help but chuckle at the irony. Yeah sure, the truth “could” be on the tails of the PDF centered on Roy’s best estimate…but why only the higher sensitivity tail? No plausible reason has ever been given why in climate science, error bars only extend to accommodate “it’s worse than we thought” and yet it is obvious that climate alarmists operate on the assumption that all errors skew in their direction.

  19. Christopher Game says:

    Dr Spencer refers to the law of conservation of energy when he writes of the “1st Law of Thermodynamics”.

    The first law of thermodynamics is about the relation between energy transfers as heat and work. The law of conservation of energy says nothing about the distinction between heat and work, while the first law says nothing about energy transfers in which heat and work cannot be distinguished.

    So far as I know, very few people think about work being done in the radiative energy transfer at the top of the atmosphere. It is just about heat transfer, in the usual understanding. The unit of energy that is customarily used for this purpose is not the unit of heat, the calorie; it is the Joule. The Joule is related to the calorie by a fixed universal constant, measured by James Prescott Joule. The use of the energy unit does not mean that the energy is transferred as work, it just means that the heat transfer has been expressed in units of energy.

    The caloric theory of heat is good enough for the top-of-atmosphere radiative energy transfer balance: it is all heat and no work, as usually conceived. The relevant quantities could in principle be measured with calorimeters. Focus the rays into a constant-volume pot of calorimetric material and measure the temperature and pressure changes. Still, since there is no need to distinguish between heat and work here, the first law of thermodynamics and the law of conservation of energy and the caloric theory of heat all three reduce, for the particular case here, to the same eventual statement.

    When it comes to thinking about energy transfers within the atmosphere and ocean, it becomes necessary to think about manifestations of distinct heat and work transfers in gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy of bulk flow, and internal energy of static matter; then the first law comes into play as an essential, and the weaknesses of the caloric theory of heat show up. Christopher Game

  20. Christopher Game says:

    Dr Spencer writes of “net positive feedback”. He means the sum of all component contributory moieties of “feedback” apart from the so-called “Planck response”. The overall feedback is still negative even when Dr Spencer’s “net feedback” is “positive”. I think it was in this blog that Andy Lacis wrote that the so-called “Planck response” is really also a “negative feedback”; it is privileged in the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism as a reference response, and so its status as a “feedback” is not made explicit in that formalism.

    In all relevant scenarios here, the magnitude of the eventual steady-state “Planck” response exceeds that of the sum of the other component contributory moieties of “feedback”. The “Planck response” occurs twice in the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism for CO2 doubling: once explicitly as the reference response with no other “feedback” acting; and once as a component contributory moiety of the overall response, usually not made explicit, when the eventual climate steady state has been reached. The overall eventual feedback thus remains negative, even when the “non-Planck feedbacks” add up “net positive”. Christopher Game

  21. Christopher Game says:

    One can think of two ways in which there might be added, to the earth’s energy transfer process, the heat that must be accumulated to produce the reference “Planck response”. (The usual value attributed to the reference temperature increase for the reference “Planck response” is about 1.2C.)

    One way in which the heat might be added is that the CO2 level could be jumped up and the mathematical model of the system allowed to run with no response except the “Planck response” being permitted, and one could then just wait till the amount of heat necessary for the reference steady state had been gradually accumulated. This way would see some time taken to reach the reference steady state for the assessment of the “Planck response”. It is not conceivable that this might be done experimentally in a real physical system because there is no way to actually “freeze” the “non-Planck feedbacks”.

    The other way is to simply drop the amount of heat, necessary for the reference steady state, instantaneously into the system. This second way relies on prior knowledge of the reference temperature increase for the reference “Planck response”. (I am sure Congress will authorize the necessary giant microwave oven for this experiment. They have plenty of money for things like this at the moment.)

    In the second way (the instantaneous heat addition way), immediately following the reference temperature jump, the system will cool down to an eventual steady state if the “feedback” is “negative”, else it will slowly warm to an eventual warmer state if the “feedback” is “positive”. Dr Spencer proposes that the “feedback” is negative in this sense, while the IPCC proposes that it is “positive”. Christopher Game

  22. Christopher Game says:

    The eventual steady state with “negative feedback” will still, of course, be warmer than the initial state, though cooler than the reference warmed state. Christopher Game

  23. KevinK says:

    RW wrote;

    “Kevin K says:

    “Using units of power (W/m^2) instead of Energy (Joules/BTU’s/Calories) with no consideration of the speed at which energy flows through the system yields an incorrect result.”

    I don’t get it. Power is just energy divided by time. A watt is a joule per second.”

    “Power is just energy divided by time”, well in my opinion this is the fatal flaw in the alleged energy budget of the Earth as provided by the climate science community.

    If you check out the official NASA Earth’s energy budget web pages they start out with nice plots of the time varying nature of the incoming radiation. They also discuss the fact that the arriving radiation varies from the North to South Pole, during the year, etc. etc.

    Then they just offer the SIMPLIFICATION that since’s it a sphere we can just multiply the peak irradiance arriving (a unit of power) by 1/4 and we now have a number that represents the arriving energy from the Sun. This is one WHOPPER of a simplification. It misses quite a few little details;

    1) The factor of 1/4 is incorrect; it is actually a little bit bigger (by about 1/4 of 1 %) since the Sun is an “extended” source (not a point source).

    2) This assumption reduces any consideration of time varying signals into 1 single number, thus justifying the use of the simpler power (irradiance) value as a proxy for the energy arriving in any time increment.

    3) This assumption also discards any information regarding the effect of angle on the albedo, it is well understood that the angle at which light hits a surface affects the amount reflected (look up “BRDF” – bidirectional reflectance distribution function) and hence the amount absorbed.

    4) This assumption completely ignores the well known fact that the thermal capacity of all materials is a temperature dependent property (i.e. the “sensitivity” of how much a material warms after receiving a packet of energy depends on how warm the material already is). This dependence is very linear for water through the temperature ranges of interest.

    Then they just continue on and explain all of the “energy flows” back and forth (surface to atmosphere, surface to space, atmosphere to surface, etc.) as if they are just a simple little Direct Current electricity flows. I.E. as if the whole energy budget is just a simple little static analysis.

    To their credit they do offer up the little tidbit “this higher equilibrium temperature won’t happen right away because of the massive thermal capacity of the oceans” (paraphrased by myself). This is the only acknowledgement at all that the speed at which all the “energy” flows happen might have any effect at all.

    A proper energy budget needs to use the smallest time
    increment feasible (with today’s computing power 1 millisecond should be doable). Then it needs to faithfully simulate the energy arriving (as a talking point, 100 joules per millisecond per sq meter). It then needs to accurately model this energy as it flows through the system and reflect (irony intended) the fact that “backradiation” flows at the speed of light and the rocks/oceans are only warmed at the speed of heat.

    I know that the climate science community has seen all of their methodology written in their textbooks and research papers, and they only see it the way they have been taught, but as an engineer I must say that the time has come to RIP UP the climate models and start over from scratch. This happens; I have seen it many times in the engineering profession. In the end a much better product results.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  24. DocMartyn says:

    “Christopher Game says:
    no way to actually “freeze” the “non-Planck feedbacks”.

    The other way is to simply drop the amount of heat, necessary for the reference steady state, instantaneously into the system.”

    Or one could simply track the change in temperature changes that occur during a total eclipse as a function of cloud state. One goes from a steady state temperature to a lower one, and then back again.
    Witnessed it twice. You can track the totality across its track and see what happens.

  25. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of DocMartyn of August 1, 2011 at 6:47 PM.

    Great idea, DocMartyn. That would be a good way to estimate some important features, perhaps accessible in no other way, of the dynamics of the system. Do you know if anyone has tried to extract relevant data from satellite records?

    An eclipse probably does not last long enough to bring the system to a new “reference” steady state, and feedbacks are not “frozen” during the eclipse. Essentially, it is the reference temperature for the non-feedback “Planck-response” that needs to be previously known for the heat drop method. On the other hand, who really wants to know the reference temperature for the no-feedback “Planck response”? It is only a reference for a ridiculous formalism. Christopher Game

  26. Massimo PORZIO says:

    @DocMartyn & Christopher Game

    In 1999 I traveled to Baden Baden (Germany) to see the last century total eclipse.
    Unlucky for me it was a cloudy day, and the early morning of that day I thought to myself that I lost my time doing that trip. But something happened during the event, so I seen the total eclipse partially and only after the maximum of the event because before the clouds have hidden the sun at all.

    Well, DocMartyn wrote:
    “Or one could simply track the change in temperature changes that occur during a total eclipse as a function of cloud state.”
    Not so easy I guess. Because I remember that before the eclipse the air was very steady and warm, in few minutes (no more than 5 to 7 minutes) not only the temperature fallen abruptly and the day became night (it was about 11AM), but also the wind rose moderately to strongly. It was that wind which cleared a little the sky after the eclipse maximum and allowed me to record the eclipse with the camera.
    I remember that the girl who were with me wanted an additional cloth because of the weather changed so much.
    So I don’t know how much the sole temperature is meaningful, since the event is local and not spatially diffused.
    As a professor of mine told me at the time of school: “remember that the thermometer measures always the temperature of itself”: I guess that the measurement of that temperature was of no meaning. That because before the event the temperature was averaged on a smaller surface due to the steady air, while after the event the great change in wind force mixed the surrounding air which could be at a very different temperature.
    The climate system is so chaotic that I don’t believe will be so easy to deal with it.
    I take a little time to tell Christopher that I really appreciate his posts always well thought out.

  27. James says:

    Kevin O’Neill,
    Bickmore’s claim about it being entirely statistical is completely wrong. Spencer’s model equation is deterministic. And as for Mike Mann at realclimate claiming that insufficient detail is provided for reproducibility, well, thats a perfect example of pots calling kettles black.

  28. what the? says:

    to Barry Bickmore

    Judith Curry-

    “So should the paper have been published? I would say yes, although the reviewers and editors should have insisted on more information regarding the climate model simulations that were actually used in their analysis. Was the journal Remote Sensing remiss here? Well no more so than PNAS has been in some recent publications. Remote Sensing is a new open access journal; the only climatologist that I spotted on their editorial board is Toby Carlson. Remote Sensing is a plausible journal to have published this paper, and it seems that Spencer wanted to avoid the possibility of reviews by Dressler and Trenberth. If Roy Spencer didn’t make provocative political statements, this paper would not receive MSM attention and Dessler and Trenberth would probably be less motivated to spend time criticizing his research and wouldn’t be invited by the media to comment on it.”

    Me-
    Barry Robert Bickmore is a professor in the department of geological sciences at Brigham Young University
    He is also a Mormon apologist, having written Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity (Ben Lomond: FAIR, 1999) as well as several articles that have been published in the FARMS Review.

    Critics claim the LDS church is academically dishonest, because it supports biased research conducted by the church-owned Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). FARMS is a research institute within church-owned Brigham Young University that publishes Mormon scholarship.

  29. Christopher Game says:

    Christopher Game responding to the post of what the? of August 2, 2011 at 5:34 PM.

    The post by what the? is purely an ad hominem attack on Barry Bickmore and what the? should be ashamed of himself for putting up such a post. We might or might not agree with Barry Bickmore, but we value his posts while they are about science, regardless of what ad hominem ideas we might hold, provided he is not engaged in some crime, which is not in the least suggested or alleged here.

    For me, the effect of the post of what the? is to make me think poorly of what the? and to encourage me to take more interest in the posts of Barry Bickmore and to follow them up. Christopher Game

  30. what the? says:

    well, Mr Game, if you take the time to survey the writings of mr BB, you can witness BB being quite disrespectful to the good Dr Spencer.

    And I also get quite tired of many people dissing Dr Spencers views on ID

  31. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of what the? of August 3, 2011 at 12:48 AM.

    If what the? finds disrespect for Dr Spencer it is reasonable for him to complain about it, but not reasonable for him to continue along the same lines with the kind of ad hominem attack of his post of August 2, 2011 at 5:34 PM. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Christopher Game

  32. Christopher Game says:

    Drs Spencer and Braswell’s paper has two main lines of content.

    One line of content is concerned with mathematical theoretical “climate sensitivity” estimation methods, in particular with those more or less along the lines of the IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism, which seek to distinguish “forcings” and “feedbacks”. I think this first line of content would have been better pursued in a separate paper and not combined in the same paper with the second line of content, stated just below. Putting the two lines in the same paper gives the IPCC doctrinists an opportunity to do a snow job by using the first line of content to distract attention from the second line of content.

    The second line of content of the Spencer-Braswell paper is the comparison of AOGCM mathematical model predictions with empirical observations made in satellite data. This second line of content is I think the more important, and would have been better kept in a paper unmixed with the first line of content mentioned just above.

    The comparison of AOGCM model predictions with empirical observations shows clearly that the AOGCMs significantly over-estimate overall “climate sensitivity” to temperature perturbations. The discrepancy is that the AOGCMs greatly under-estimate the amount of terrestrial infra-red radiation to space that is produced by increase of land-sea surface temperature. The discrepancy is visible in Figure 3 of the Spencer-Braswell paper, which can also be seen at http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/CERES-vs-IPCC-models.gif . The Spencer-Braswell examination of the first line of content mentioned above does not come into this comparison at all.

    The IPCC “forcings and feedbacks” formalism is concerned to partition the overall “climate sensitivity” into two parts, the so-called eventual “Planck response” and the so-called “feedbacks” moiety. This partition is a theoretical exercise. However it may be attempted, it does not impinge in fact on the discrepancy between AOGCM prediction and empirical observation.

    The over-estimation, shown in the Spencer-Braswell paper, of overall “climate sensitivity” is important because it shows empirically that the predictions of the AOGCMs are seriously wrong and unreliable, yet they are the mainstay of the IPCC doctrine of dangerous anthropogenic global warming. In this sense, Drs Spencer and Braswell’s paper shoots the IPCC doctrine through the heart. Christopher Game

  33. JamesD says:

    The Real Climate article based the “defense” on ENSO. This reveals something very strange about the models. Are these climate alarmists really claiming that the atomosphere can tell the difference if SST is at 30C because of AGW vs. positive ENSO?

    I believe ENSO shows the models are flawed. That is the real test of what happens when the ocean warms. A lot more heat escapes to space than predicted. What does it mean when the alarmists say a model handles ENSO better? Is there some sort of flag they set during El Nino?

  34. Christopher Game says:

    I would like to have seen, besides the cross-correlogram between sea-surface temperature (SST) and net radiative flux of Figure 3, also those between SST and the longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes. And, to ask for even more cross-correlograms, decomposition of the shortwave flux into estimates, of the 8 to 13 micron wavelength ‘window’ band, and of the 14 to 17 micron CO2 band, and of the combined ‘non-window non-CO2 bands’, if the data allow that. These are natural and obvious basic observables, I suppose, and a simple mind would instinctively want to see them. These basic empirical observations would have been more interesting to me than the struggles with the IPCC’s theoretical and non-uniquely defined mathematical decomposition. Christopher Game

  35. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Hey dude. Did you know that you reject catastrophic global warming as a consequnce of your inherent racist views? http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/27/conservative-white-men-climate-sceptic

  36. Sailor says:

    DR Spencer, you are waging your battling with logic, reason, common sense and physics on your side. I submit you are no match for natural (or contrived) stupidity. I am not scientists, but in engineering, physics still apply. I have been given numerous opinions over the years and have only believed those backed by facts. I close with this observation: If you are ignorant, I can educate you. If you are stupid, I cannot help you.

    Success in your quest.
    Sailor

  37. Andrejs Vanags says:

    Dr. Spencer:
    I would like your opinion on what I consider a very basic error that I see repeated by numerous universities and books.
    Its regarding the green house effect of an IR absorbing layer of the atmosphere.

    Basically the layer is transparent to sunlight, 100% absorbent of IR and re-emits IR.
    If there is one layer, the earth is assumed as closed system, and the incoming radiation equals the outgoing S*(1-A)/4 = boltzman*Ta^4 where Ta is at the top of the atmosphere. At the earth the incoming radiation is S*(1-A)/4 + boltzman*Ta^4 = boltzman*Te^4, or Te = (2*S*(1-A)/(boltzman*4))^1/4

    So far so good. However most text then go ahead and generalize to what happens if there are N layers?

    They calculate the temperature for the top layer as S*(1-A)/4 = boltzman*Ta^4, then by similarity assume that the temperature on the layer below is (2)^1/4 that and the earth temperature is (1+N)^1/4 the top layer. This is patently wrong, and would mean that I could build a simple box of alternating materials and air and get near infinite temperature inside. It also means that in any model built this way the results would vary depending on the number of layers used. Ridiculous.

    I think the error most professors and academia make is that when looking at the temperature of the layer below the top layer, it is no longer a closed system, the incoming radiation is S*(1-A)/4 + boltzman*Ta^1/4 but the outgoing radiation is also S*(1-A)/4 + boltzman*Tn-1^1/4.

    The incoming solar radiation also is outgoing and cancels out. Then the temperature of EACH layer is constant and equal to Ta, and the most Temperature one can have at the earth is Te = (2*S*(1-A)/(boltzman*4))^1/4

    I am pretty sure I am correct on this, the atmospheric temperature is not supposed to decrease with altitude due to green house gases and there should be no temperature discrepancy at the earth/atmosphere interface. It just boggles the mind as to how many universities and books could be wrong on this and state that the earth temperature is proportional to (1+N)^1/4, in effect saying it is unbounded. I would like your opinion on this.

  38. anthony divjak says:

    dr. Spencer!

    I read Your article with interrest somewhat hoping that You as acredited scientist will touch on one visibile factor that directly affects the discused climate. That being the relentlessly ongoing geoenginering, albeit somewhat a misnomer in purpose. With tons of chemicals of doubious benefit to mankind or climate at best, dispersed daily over our heads. Thus percieved by this writer as far more dangerous to mankind at large than any dickering over percentages of fall or rise of ocean temperature. In particular as the clouds origin is concern.
    As in above, those geoenginered clouds are undesputable man made.
    I sincerely wish You dr.Spencer would elaborate those issues arrising with the geoengineering. Not meant to critisize You on Your otherwise excellent article. I just though it strange that a scientist of Your caliber would choose to omit the rather obvious and thus huge factor in climate since 1999.