Ten Years After the Warming

February 26th, 2012 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The version of global warming theory being pushed by the IPCC is that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are causing a radiative energy imbalance of the climate system, leading to warming.

The radiative forcing history being used in the latest IPCC climate models looks something like the following, with red areas representing times when the climate system’s “stove is turned up”, that is, with heat accumulating in the system.

(Actually, the correct analogy would be that the stove setting remains the same, but the lid partially covering the pot is covering it a little more over time…but that’s too hard to explain.)

As can be seen, in the last 10 years the estimated forcing has been the strongest. Yet, most if not all temperature datasets show little or no global-average warming recently, either in the atmosphere, at the surface, or in the upper 700 meters of the ocean. For example, here are the tropospheric temperatures up though a few days ago:

So what is happening? You cannot simply say a lack of warming in 10 years is not that unusual, and that there have been previous 10-year periods without warming, too. No, we are supposedly in uncharted territory with a maximum in radiative forcing of the climate system. One cannot compare on an equal basis the last 10 years with any previous decades without warming.

There are 5 possibilities for the recent cessation of warming which are most discussed:

1) cooling from anthropogenic aerosols has been cancelling out warming from more greenhouse gases

2) natural cooling from internal climate fluctuations or the sun is cancelling out the GHG warming

3) increased ocean mixing is causing the extra energy to be distributed into the deep ocean

4) the temperature ‘sensitivity’ of the climate system is not as large as the IPCC assumes.

5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG warming theory itself

Of course, some combination of the above 5 explanations is also possible.

The 1st possibility (aerosol cooling is cancelling out GHG forcing) is one of the more popular explanations with the climate modelers, and especially with NASA’s James Hansen. The uncertain strength (and even sign) of aerosol forcing allows the climate modelers to use aerosols as a tuning knob (aka fudge factor) in making their models produce warming more-or-less consistent with past observations. Using an assumed large aerosol cooling to cancel out the GHG warming allows the modelers to retain high climate sensitivity, and thus the fear of strong future warming if those aerosols ever dissipate.

The 2nd possibility (natural cooling) is a much less desirable explanation for the IPCC crowd because it opens the door to Mother Nature having as much or more influence on the climate system than do humans. We can’t have that, you know. Then you would have to consider the possibility that most of the warming in the last 50 years was natural, too. Goodbye, AGW funding.

The 3rd possibility (increased ocean mixing) is one of the more legitimate possibilities, at least theoretically. It’s popular with NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth. But one would need more observational evidence this is happening before embracing the idea. Unfortunately, how vertical mixing in the ocean naturally varies over time is poorly understood; the different IPCC models have widely varying strengths of mixing, and so ocean mixing is a huge wild card in the global warming debate, as is aerosol cooling. I believe much of past climate change on time scales of decades to many centuries might be due to such variations in ocean mixing, along with their likely influence on global cloud cover changing the amount of solar input into the climate system.

The 4th possibility (the climate system is relatively insensitive to forcing) is the top contender in the opinion of myself, Dick Lindzen, and a few other climate researchers who work in this field.

The 5th possibility (increasing GHGs don’t really cause warming) is total anathema to the IPCC. Without GHG warming, the whole AGW movement collapses. This kind of scientific finding would normally be Nobel Prize territory…except that the Nobel Prize has become more of a socio-political award in recent years, with only politically correct recipients. The self-flagellating elites don’t like the idea humans might not be destroying the Earth.

The longer we go without significant warming, the more obvious it will become that there is something seriously wrong with current AGW theory. I don’t think there is a certain number of years – 5, 10, 20, etc. – which will disprove the science of AGW….unless the climate system cools for the next 10 years. Eek! But I personally doubt that will happen.

As long as strong warming does not resume, the heat-hiding-in-the-deep-ocean explanation will provide refuge for many years to come, and will be difficult to convincingly rule out as an explanation since it takes so long for the deep ocean to warm by even a tiny amount.

Instead, there probably will be a tipping point (sooner than later) in popular perception when the public and Congress decide the jig is up, and they are no longer interested in hearing how we ‘might’ be headed for Armageddon.

The public already knows how awful scientists are at forecasting the future…especially a future of doom, which curiously seems to be the only future scientists know how to predict.


101 Responses to “Ten Years After the Warming”

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  1. Sean says:

    I think the tipping point has been reached with the public. They know whose getting the bill for climate change mitigation and are already tapped out from collapse of the housing market, high healthcare expenses, and the cost ef sending their kids to college. As far as 10 years of cooling goes, I think Mother Nature is running an interesting experiment between the ocean cycles ad the sun. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least a mild cooling trend over t next 10-15 years.

  2. Turnedoutnice says:

    1. The optical physics in the climate models fails to take account of a 2nd optical process. In 2020, cloud physicist G L Stephens showed this experimentally, also that the climate models use double real optical depth.

    2. http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/figure-102.png This is the result of (1) in the Arctic. The same mechanism accounts for the end of ice ages.

    3. The oceans are cooling.

    4. CO2 climate sensitivity may be net zero. I believe it cannot be more than 15% of the median IPCC claim.

    5. Until 4 major errors are fixed, no climate model can predict climate.

    The subject needs to be put under new management and cut down to size, say a cull of 70% to concentrate on quality.

  3. Turnedoutnice says:

    Sorry 2010.

  4. mwhite says:

    Looking at the tropospheric temperature graph

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/AMSU5-Aqua-anoms-thru-2-23-12.png

    That 2010 Elnino spike seemingly clouds a definite trend since 2002. Or is it just me?????

  5. Christopher Game says:

    Possibility (5) has two parts: (a) the anthropogenic-emission contribution to atmospheric CO2 levels is not as great as is sometimes supposed, the observed increase over the last 3 decades being significantly contributed to by non-anthropogenic-emission factors such as heat-induced evolution of CO2 from the sea, and likely to be reversed with the coming cooler decades; (b) increased atmospheric CO2 levels do not put the lid down more firmly. I think (a) is a live possibility that needs more investigation before it can be excluded. I think (b) is not likely.

  6. Olavi says:

    Sun controls climate.

    5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG warming theory itself

    CO2 or other GHG wont warm anything. Athmosphere and ocean’s give time lapse, that works like thermostat, but air is only insulation and heat transportter. Ocean is heat storage.

    I’ll bet for at least 0.5 C degrees drop during next decade.

  7. Charlie A says:

    What is your data source? http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~mmalte/rcps/ ?

    The Global annual mean radiative forcing 20c3m file http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~mmalte/rcps/data/20THCENTURY_MIDYEAR_RADFORCING.xls ?

  8. Jim Cripwell says:

    The IPCC basically promised that by this time we should have seen an appreciable rise in the global surface temperatures. This implies that there should be a CO2 “signal” in the surface temperature/time graph, which can be measured and which is statistically significant in the presence of the “noise” of natural variations. This signal does not sem to exist. If the warmists claim that it does exist, then where is it?

  9. As for when was a recent good decade-scale period for analyzing temperature trends: I think from the beginning of 1999 to the end of 2011, or something close to these figures. In this particular period or maybe instead one with nearby start and end dates, I see little linear trend in both ENSO and AMO, less than in the past 10 calendar years.

    So, I try this with the graphing tool at http://www.woodfortrees.org. I choose HadCRUT3 global unadjusted, start 1999, end 2012, and linear trend (OLS). Results look to me as: Best-fit straight line starting at slightly over .375 C at the beginning of 1999, ending at slightly under .433 C at the beginning of 2012. This indicates a warming trend of .057-.058 C over 12 years, or about .048 degree/decade.

    .048 degree/decade *may be* close to the actual long-term warming rate caused by AGW. This figure is certainly much smaller than ones favored by many proponents of existence of AGW.

  10. Ron Dean says:

    “3) increased ocean mixing is causing the extra energy to be distributed into the deep ocean”

    If I understand Bob Tisdale’s excellent analyses of oceanic warming, the ARGO buoys have not shown any indication of energy flowing down to the ocean depths. I have read some of the Trenberth rationalizations for this, but the theory is all he seems to have. Hard data does not seem to support it.

    Didn’t Hansen also make a similar claim?

  11. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    Please look at this link:
    http://www.theclimatescam.se/2012/02/26/lite-egendomligheter-ur-veckans-klimatnyheter-2/

    From the text below the picture:
    dominerades ju av diskussioner om energiutbyte mellan varma och kalla kroppar…
    Translates to energy transfer between cold and warm bodies!

  12. Stephen Wilde says:

    One can see what has happened from the Gas Laws.

    They say that surface temperature is a consequence of solar input (temperature) and surface atmospheric pressure alone.

    So what if something, such as GHGs, causes there to be more energy in the atmosphere with no increase in pressure or solar insolation ?

    The atmosphere will expand instead of causing surface warming and the effect of the extra GHGs is negated.

    The air at the surface becomes less dense because the volume of the atmosphere has increased so the temperature at the surface will fall just enough to offset the warming effect that would otherwise have occurred from more GHGs.

    AGW proponents aver that more GHGs raise the effective radiation height of the atmosphere and so they do.

    What they have not realised is that the response dictated by the Gas Laws is cooling at the surface not the warming implied from a higher effective radiation height by the S-B equation.

    The sign of the system response if one applies the Gas Laws is the opposite of that which occurs from the S-B equations.

    The effect of the extra GHGs on surface temperature is net zero unless the Gas Laws can be overturned.

    I thimk that nails the entire issue.

    • There is a misconception here, Stephen. Let’s say the lower atmosphere warms over the whole Earth. While it is true that the atmosphere expands upward (constant pressure surfaces are elevated) and that the lower atmosphere becomes less dense, the surface pressure nevertheless remains the same, because surface pressure represents the total weight of the atmosphere, which does not change with increasing temperature.

  13. Stephen Wilde says, Feb 26, 2012 at 5:06 PM, starting with:

    “One can see what has happened from the Gas Laws.

    They say that surface temperature is a consequence of solar input (temperature) and surface atmospheric pressure alone.

    So what if something, such as GHGs, causes there to be more energy in the atmosphere with no increase in pressure or solar insolation?”

    I look up “Gas Laws”, and what I see does not mention them dealing with radiation. Radiation and energy budgets dealing with radiation are not covered by Boyle’s Law, Charles’ Law, Gay-Lussac’s Law, Avagodro’s Law, the Universal Gas Law, or Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures.

    Meanwhile, not all of the radiation coming to the surface from above is from above the atmosphere.

    The question is more a matter of *how much* or *how little* surface temperature change in response to a change in greenhouse gases is necessary to satisfy these two items:

    1) The surface having thermal expenditure (radiation, evaporative cooling, convective cooling, etc.) matching surface income (absorbed solar radiation, absorbed thermal radiation from greenhouse gases and clouds, surface condensation, heat delivered by “subsidence highs”, etc.)

    2) Radiation coming to the planet and its atmosphere from above the atmosphere (mainly from the sun) being matching by the amount of radiation above the atmosphere *outgoing from* the planet and its atmosphere.

    This gets complicated by natural cycles in solar radiation, percentage of that being absorbed rather than reflected to space, and how easy or hard it is to dispose back out to space the energy gained by absorbing incoming solar radiation. Natural cycles may also cause the surface alternatively storing this energy into reservoirs and recalling stored energy back from these reservoirs. (Possible reservoirs of energy may be heat in the ocean or deeper parts of the ocean, and chemical energy in biomass.)

    As a result, natural cycles interfere with there being a constant surface temperature (or global average thereof) that keeps the surface energy budget and planet/atmosphere- vs.-sun/space radiation budget constantly, continuously balanced for a given amount of greenhouse gases. Determinations of such an equilibrium surface temperature (for a given amount of CO2, or change thereof for a given change of CO2) are an area where there is debate – and accusations that many of these widely differing determinations are contaminated by political motives.

  14. Christopher Game says:

    Response to the post of Stephen Wilde of February 26, 2012 at 5:06 PM.

    Stephen Wilde writes:

    “One can see what has happened from the Gas Laws.

    They say that surface temperature is a consequence of solar input (temperature) and surface atmospheric pressure alone.

    I thimk that nails the entire issue.”

    Christopher replies: Stephen shows here that he doesn’t understand the difference between (a) thermodynamic equilibrium systems, in which no net fluxes occcur, and (b) non-equilibrium systems like the planetary energy flux process, which largely determines climate. Stephen is thus hopelessly oversimplifying. The climate temperature is largely determined by the fluxes and the resistances to them, which Stephen is treating very inadequately.

    Stephen writes of the S-B equations. What are they? I know only of one Stefan-Boltzmann law. ?Surface-balance equations?

  15. I said in part on Feb 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM:

    “I choose HadCRUT3 global unadjusted, start 1999, end 2012, and linear trend (OLS). Results look to me as: Best-fit straight line starting at slightly over .375 C at the beginning of 1999, ending at slightly under .433 C at the beginning of 2012. This indicates a warming trend of .057-.058 C over 12 years, or about .048 degree/decade.”

    I said that before I realized this was a 13 year period rather than a 12 year one. My “determination” of .048 degree/decade changes to .044 degree/decade.

  16. Christopher Game says on February 26, 2012 at 9:22 AM:

    “Possibility (5) has two parts:
    (a) the anthropogenic-emission contribution to atmospheric CO2 levels is not as great as is sometimes supposed, the observed increase over the last 3 decades being significantly contributed to by non-anthropogenic-emission factors such as heat-induced evolution of CO2 from the sea, and likely to be reversed with the coming cooler decades;
    (b) increased atmospheric CO2 levels do not put the lid down more firmly.
    I think (a) is a live possibility that needs more investigation before it can be excluded. I think (b) is not likely.”

    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/global-carbon-budget-2010
    shows that the oceans were a *net sink* of CO2 in every year from 1959 to 2010. (The .5 in the numbering of the year indicates mid-year determinations for annual figures.
    Figures of 1-year change are for change sine mid-year of the prior year.)

    What I see is that the actual scientific debate is in how much or how little an increase of atmospheric CO2 “closes the lid”. I also see significant contamination of this debate from political factors.

    For example, I have “determined” that the linear trend in Hadcrut3 from beginning of 1999 to beginning of 2012 *may be* close to the actual rate of global temperature increase due to AGW, with a possible figure of .044 degree/decade.

    That *me be* the result of CO2 having increased at a rate of .06656 log scale doublings per decade. (from 353.71 PPMV January 1990 to 387.9 PPMV January 2010.) If .044 degree/decade warming is the result of .06656 doubling/decade of CO2, then global temperature sensitivity to CO2 is .661 degree per doubling of CO2. Considering that CO2′s effect is fairly agreed on as 3.7 W/m^2 per doubling, this indicates (or “indicates”) that net global feedback factor for a change in CO2 has magnitude of about (negative) 5.6 W/m^2-K – if I did not do any math screw-ups.
    The figure for “zero feedback added by nature” is fairly agreed-upon at being said to be (negative) around 3.2-3.3 W/m^2-K. If this figure is zero, then nature is adding so much positive feedback that “we are at a tipping point”.

    I have tried other attempts on my own to discern or “discern” this W/m^2-K feedback figure, and mostly came up with (negative) 2.5-3.6 W/m^k. These would indicate nature is adding feedback ranging from mildly positive (much less so than IPCC reported in AR4) to slightly negative.

  17. Greg F says:

    The solution to lack of warming is simple. Just redo the surface record.

    http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o25/techtipmail/IPCC2000-2007surface.jpg

  18. Sam says:

    I can tell you from being a regulator that almost none of my colleagues believes in AGW. We see this every day and I think at our level the tipping point is there now. I think it’s already probably there among the majority of the public too, but Congress will be the last to give in. That could take a few more years. Hang in there Roy and keep preachin’ to the masses!

  19. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Christopher replies: Stephen shows here that he doesn’t understand the difference between (a) thermodynamic equilibrium systems, in which no net fluxes occcur, and (b) non-equilibrium systems like the planetary energy flux process, which largely determines climate. ”

    Not so, it really is simple.

    If the energy content of a planetary atmosphere increases for any reason other than more energy input from the sun or an increase in surface pressure then the volume of the atmosphere will increase INSTEAD OF there being anmy rise in temperature at the surface.

    That is implicit in the well known equation:

    PV = nRT

    You are right to mention the complexity of equilibrium and non equilibrium systems but they must all obey that simple equation.

    Thus GHGs will raise atmospheric heights but will NOT increase surface temperature.

    Instead, there is a pressure pattern redistribution at the surface consequent upon the raising of the tropopause and all the air circulation patterns shift latitudinally in the troposphere.

    To counter this assertion you must first invalidate
    PV = nRT

    That basic principle explains everything we have observed.

    The Stefan-Boltzmann Law has been incorrectly applied to planets with atmospheres. The planetary ‘surface’ should not be taken as the effective radiation height. Instead it should be taken at a point autside all confounding atmospheric influences. Below that height PV = nRT applies.

    I will be publishing a more detailed article on this shortly.

  20. Stephen Wilde says:

    To clarify a point about this equation:

    PV = nRT

    T, meaning temperature is simply a measure of total system energy content.

    If total system energy content increases from more solar input then to reach a new equilibrium temperature both surface temperature AND atmospheric height must change.

    However, since energy content is derived from pressure and insolation alone, more GHGs do not increase the total amount of energy in the system, they merely, redistribute that which is already available, so there will be a rise in atmospheric height but no change in surface temperature.

    If I have missed something inportant I trust that someone will say so to minimise the time I spend on this.

  21. Stephen Wilde says:

    Whoops. I should have said there will be a rise in the effective radiating height but no change in surface temperature.

  22. Steveta_uk says:

    Stephen Wilde:

    “However, since energy content is derived from pressure and insolation alone, more GHGs do not increase the total amount of energy in the system, they merely, redistribute that which is already available,so there will be a rise in atmospheric height but no change in surface temperature.

    I don’t see a logical connection here. Like the good doctor’s pot on the stove, where moving the lid across does not change the energy balance of the whole system, but does allow a temperature increase, more GHGs may indeed not change to total energy of the system but still alow a change in temperature profile.

  23. Stephen Wilde says:

    “more GHGs may indeed not change the total energy of the system but still alow a change in temperature profile.”

    Yes, and that would involve varying the environmental lapse rate as opposed to the dry adiabtic lapse rate which is why I’m puzzling a bit over whether one would need to change the entire atmospheric height from more GHGs or just the effective radiating height.

    The question is whether the rise in the effective radiation height does negate any surface temperature change for any forcing agent other than insolation or increased atmospheric mass.

    Observations suggest that it does but I’m not yet satisfied that my description is complete and fully accurate.

    The Gas Laws say that the surface temperature is highest where there are most molecules per unit volume which is at the surface.

    So, if one is to avoid a surface warming effect from warming of the air due to more GHGs one needs to reduce the molecules per unit volume at the surface which would cool the surface as per the Gas Laws but only so much as to offset the warming effect that would otherwise have occurred from the warmer air.

    That requires a rise in the height of the entire atmosphere on the face of it but not necessarily.

    It is possible that simply increasing the effective radiating height would do it provided the amount of molecules in the atmosphere below the effective radiating height does not change significantly.

    Thus the volume of the atmosphere below the effective radiating height would increase from extra energy added by more GHGs but the volume of the atmosphere above that height need not change.

    Indeed there is some evidence that the portions of the atmosphere above and below the effective radiating height vary their volumes independently from internal non radiative thermal forcings.

    Below that height the main influence would be the oceans varying their rates of energy release. Above that height the main influence would be solar variations affecting atmospheric chemistry.

    Proposing differential volume variations above and below the effective radiating height would seem to resolve the problem.

    I am satisfied that it is PV = nRT which should be applied within the atmosphere and not the Stefan-Boltzmann Law as reards ascertaining the surface temperature but the precise description of the way the Gas Laws actually operate needs refining.

    • Stephen, of course the ideal gas law is used in climate models, it’s not as if atmospheric scientists have forgotten it. It’s one of the first, if not the first, relationship taught in atmospheric thermodynamics.

      But the ideal gas law does NOT determine what the temperature of a parcel of air is, that is an energy budget issue. The ideal gas law can also be written:

      P = rho*R*T, where rho is the density.

      Now, assuming the atmosphere has a constant amount of mass, the global-average average surface pressure does not change. In that case, warming of the lower atmosphere will cause a decrease in air density (increase in volume) with the atmosphere expanding upward.

      This expansion, though does NOT reduce the temperature back to its previous value…it is a CONSEQUENCE of the higher temperature given the constraint of constant pressure. If the temperature DID go back down, as you imply, the density would also go back to its original value.

      As another example, during nighttime cooling, the decrease in atmospheric temperature leads to contraction, and higher air density. The atmosphere actually “shrinks” vertically by a small amount. This shrinkage does NOT increase the temperature, it is just a consequence of cooling within the constraint of constant pressure.

  24. James says:

    option 5 is the correct one.
    Of course none of the warmists will even consider it.

    3 is complete nonsense. There is no possible physical mechanism for the heat to magically get from the top of the atmosphere to the deep oceans without leaving any trace in the atmosphere or upper ocean.
    If there was surface warming, this would lead to a more stable temperature profile and hence less ocean mixing, not more.

  25. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Like the good doctor’s pot on the stove, where moving the lid across does not change the energy balance of the whole system, but does allow a temperature increase.”

    Doesn’t it slow down the rate of energy loss to raise the total energy content of the system which then does allow the temperature increase ?

    Applying a similar analogy to a planet, envisage a ball of boiling liquid suspended somehow in the air with no constraining pot or lid.

    THere is no pot around a planet other than space wich is only 2 to 3 degrees above absolute zero and so it can be ignored for practical purposes.

    However fast you add energy to that ball of water you just get a faster rate of boiling with no rise in the boiling point (the surface temperature) unless you change the pressure of the surrounding air.

    Changing a trace component of the ball of boiling water will not alter the boiling point at the surface of the ball merely the rate of boiling and the amount of steam. The temperature of the interior of the ball of water does not change unless one increases the size of it (more mass) but the rate of energy flowing through it does change. In fact, impurities will make it boil away faster not slower.

    So, with regard to a planetary surface the temperature is set by pressure (from mass and gravity) and solar input and if you try to add energy faster from any other source than the sun you get an expansion of the atmosphere (or individual layers of it) but no change in surface temperature unless you also alter atmospheric or planetary mass.

    The mistake of climate science has been to try to ascertain the surface temperature by applying the Stephan-Boltzmann Law downward from the effective radiating height.

    That cannot be right because the effective radiating height is influenced by internal system characteristics and behaviour. It is determined by the environmental lapse rate and not the dry adiabatic lapse rate. THere are multiple environmental lapse rates in the vertical temperature profile of a planet and it is their net interactions that determine the effective radiating height.

    The Stephan-Boltzmann Law will only produce the correct surface temperature if applied from a point beyond the influence of any atmosphere.

  26. Christopher Game says:

    Response to Stephen Wilde’s several posts above.

    Dear Stephen Wilde, there is a reason why physicists write mathematical equations: it makes it possible to express and develop physics accurately. You I think are a lawyer, and no doubt a skilled one. I suppose you use lawyers’ ways of thinking for that work. I suppose you don’t use physics very much in legal practice. Physics doesn’t yield to lawyers’s ways of thinking. To do physics one needs to use physicists’ ways of thinking, and that includes writing mathematical equations. Seriously. Your current ways of talking are what physicists call hand-waving. They are verbalistic as opposed to physical. They don’t deliver the goods. There is no escape from this, no matter how clever you are. To learn to write equations for physics, you will need to expand your skill set, that is to say, to learn to think as a physicist.

  27. Stephen Wilde says:

    Christopher,

    Logic is based on words and is the best means of manipulating broad concepts and fitting observations to those concepts.

    The maths is then used to manipulate data to prove or rebut the verbal decriptions.

    My point centres on an established equation namely:

    PV = nRT

    That is established physics and it is that which should be applied to ascertain a surface temperature below an atmosphere NOT the Stephan-Boltzmann Law.

    The Stephan-Boltzmann Law should only be applied from a point outside the atmosphere. The effective radiating height should not be used because it is subject to the vagaries of multiple environmental lapse rates at different levels and so does not accurately reflect the dry adiabatic lapse rate

    Please explain what problem you have with that.

  28. Christopher Game says:

    Response to the post of Stephen Wilde of February 27, 2012 at 9:12 AM.

    Stephen Wilde writes: “Please explain what problem you have with that.”

    Christopher responds: Your expostulations do not make physical sense as arguments about climate change.

    Of course I am not denying that the ideal gas law is a fairly good approximation for the atmosphere in many situations. I am not advocating a simple application of the Stephan-Boltzmann law to the atmosphere.

    Logic is based not only on words, but more really on propositions, which are expressed in words put together into sentences. Your point centres on an equation but that one equation is nowhere near enough; nowhere near. You need lots of equations for a problem like this, and the ideal gas law is just an adjuvant, not a lead to a satisfactory account. The maths is not used only to manipulate data. It is used also to clarify the logical of the propositions.

    You continue with unproductive hand-waving. As I said before, you need to expand your skill set; you cannot escape this if you want to make real progress; no amount of bluffing will get past this.

  29. Stephen Wilde says:

    Roy said:

    “This expansion, though does NOT reduce the temperature back to its previous value…it is a CONSEQUENCE of the higher temperature given the constraint of constant pressure. If the temperature DID go back down, as you imply, the density would also go back to its original value.”

    Agreed. The atmosphere doesn’t cool and doesn’t go back to the original density but that isn’t the point.

    The expansion does prevent a rise in the temperature at the surface because it changes the slope of the environmental lapse rate.

    The vertical section of atmosphere containing the GHGs expands upward thus reducing the number of molecules per unit of volume at the surface so the surface stays the same temperature as before.

    The air is warmer but the surface is not.

    “As another example, during nighttime cooling, the decrease in atmospheric temperature leads to contraction, and higher air density. The atmosphere actually “shrinks” vertically by a small amount. This shrinkage does NOT increase the temperature”

    At night, GHGs in the air warm the air but do not change the surface temperature from what it would be without them because they change the slope of the environmental lapse rate instead by expanding the atmosphere vertically.

    Now, if you could tell me that the environmental lapse rate does NOT change then that would be a different matter :)

  30. Stephen Wilde says:

    Christopher said :

    “I am not advocating a simple application of the Stephan-Boltzmann law to the atmosphere”

    What are you advocating ?

    “Your expostulations do not make physical sense as arguments about climate change”

    Actually, they do, because changes in the environmental lapse rate control the rate of energy flow through the system and the various atmospheric heights affect the air circulation at the surface.

    The higher or lower the effective radiation height above the equator the more the Hadley Cells and everything else are affected to drive climate changes.

    If the effective radiation height is controlled by the environmental lapse rate rather than the adiabatic lapse rate then the Stephan-Boltzmann Law has no application at any height within the atmosphere.

    Yet it is used to back calculate the surface temperature from the effective radiating height.

    I think that is why the Earth seems to be 33C warmer than it ‘should’ be.

  31. DWM says:

    Some IPCC types claim that current temps are still in the lower bound of errors in any statistical prediction- not too far off to say the theory is wrong. I would guess that another five years of no warming would reduce the ranks of the IPCC movement to a tiny handful of unthinking zealots. With a weak solar cycle and a negative PDO, this seems possible (to a layman such as myself).

  32. Stephen Wilde said on Feb 27, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    ““more GHGs may indeed not change the total energy of the system but still alow a change in temperature profile.””

    “Yes, and that would involve varying the environmental lapse rate as opposed to the dry adiabtic lapse rate which is why I’m puzzling a bit over whether one would need to change the entire atmospheric height from more GHGs or just the effective radiating height.”

    Besides change of GHGs affecting amount of energy stored in the atmosphere (or elsewhere on out planet), there is the lapse rate matter.

    According to the models, increase of greenhouse gases does increase the lapse rate.

    Observations say that has largely occurred, especially since satellites started giving us data for that since the beginning of 1979.

    Matters of debate because of that come more onto magnitudes of natural feedbacks. One of them is the “lapse rate feedback”, a negative one. That feedback is where convective cooling of the surface increases as global temperature or increase of greenhouse gases increases.

  33. Stephen Wilde said on Feb 27, 2012 at 6:22 AM, in part:

    ““Like the good doctor’s pot on the stove, where moving the lid across does not change the energy balance of the whole system, but does allow a temperature increase.””

    “Doesn’t it slow down the rate of energy loss to raise the total energy content of the system which then does allow the temperature increase ?

    Applying a similar analogy to a planet, envisage a ball of boiling liquid suspended somehow in the air with no constraining pot or lid.”

    And went on with arguing how global temperature cannot change as a result of a minor change in chemical content of the atmosphere …

    I see 2 problems here:

    1) Earth does not have temperature regulation at the boiling pouint of water.

    2) I see ignoring that “the lid” can be altered. Changing concentration of a trace gas that is significant in terms of absorbing and producing thermal radiation has effects. Changing how much the atmosphere absorbs thermal radiation from the surface, and changing how much the atmosphere sends the energy received that way back to the surface in terms of thermal radiation, is a factor.

    I see the debate should be one of *how much* or *how little* global temperature changes from CO2 change, after nature adds feedbacks. Also, I see good debate is in *how much* or *how little* humans have changed atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, how much humans are likekly to, and how necessary is it to change our course to avoid how much or how little future global warming.

    • Watchman says:

      From 2002 to 2007 we had essentially 4 of 5 years positive ONI (a measure of how strong “El Nino/La Nina” is). From 2007 to 2012 we had essentially 4 of 5 years negative ONI. The ENSO oscillations are an order of magnitude greater than the trend over 10 years. That is the main reason that linear regression estimates of surface or satellite temps for the past ten years don’t show warming.

      The 4 ENSO indices all indicate the current negative ONI is ending rapidly, so stay tuned. . .

  34. Gras Albert says:

    There is a completely obvious relationship between recent rising atmospheric CO2 ppm and global mean temperature, see here

    The relationship is less obvious but remains clear over a longer time period, see here

  35. Jinan Cao says:

    Dr. Spencer, I’ll chose 5, and the reasons follow:
    There is a fallacy dominating the way of our thinking in current climate research that radiative gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour are regarded greenhouse gases that trap heat and warm up the atmosphere. Physics analysis of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen molecules, however, tells a different story: carbon dioxide is cooler than, gains heat by molecular collision from, and dissipates heat by radiation for nitrogen and oxygen. Indeed, CO2 is a coolant of the atmosphere, and it is nitrogen and oxygen gases that award the Earth a warm liveable near surface atmosphere.

    The physical principle behind the analysis lies in the Kirchhoff’s law of 19th century radiation physics, which can be restated in plain English as: an object that absorbs emits and an object that emits absorbs. Absorption and emission are two inseparable equivalent identities of the same physical essence. Carbon dioxide absorbs infrared therefore it emits as well thermal radiation. Nitrogen and oxygen do not absorb, therefore do not emit. CO2 approaches 0 K because of its emission if there is no radiation source; absorption of the thermal radiation from the earth ground surface rises CO2 temperature from -273.15°C to -78°C only. CO2 gains heat by colliding with warmer nitrogen and oxygen to rise its temperature further, which can be measured by spectroscopy.

    We will have a better understanding of the physical principle if one notices that a computer case is often designed black. This is because a black surface emits more heat out so the computer will be cooler. On the other hand, an industrial boiler is usually painted silver to reduce thermal emission to reserve heat.

    With this alternative interpretation, we have a better explanation of the temperature-altitude profile of the atmosphere; in particular, a better explanation of the existence of the thermosphere where the molecular temperature of residual oxygen gas is well above 100°C ¾ CO2 gas is sorted out in the thermosphere due to its heavier molecular weight.

  36. Jean-Charles Jacquemin says:

    Thanks Dr Spencer,

    I’m not a specialist but your book and posts help me hope that we can can fight dictatorships.

    Best regards.

  37. Ross James says:

    Oh dear, Roy, here we go again. With the warmest La Nina on record followed by what is coming our way in late 2012/2013?

    This dog (natural variation) has got you looking at the tail too much. You fall for it EVERY-TIME – when are you going to give up on the pet theory?

    Watchman said……..

    The 4 ENSO indices all indicate the current negative ONI is ending rapidly, so stay tuned.

    Yep its a cooling , no its not its warming, but its cooling now, but wait its warming again.

    Anyone who follows the elevator statistical method will better understand that a PROPER TREND is a 30 year occurrence – not found by looking at an ENSO (dog) and La Nina (tail wag)!

    Here Doggy, Doggy here. Meanwhile all sorts of weird theories come out of the woodwork – everything from Solar tickles of the upper atmosphere to rather non-science summaries of oceanic heat. Not you Roy. Boy oh boy you well know this to be true – the junk science posted in the comments must be a real source of concern for you at times.

    Reply

    Ross J.

  38. crakar24 says:

    So Ross which of the 5 scenarios above do you beleive in?

  39. KevinK says:

    With all due respect Dr. Spencer, the answer is your item #5. See the details below.

    The CRITICAL flaw in the “Greenhouse Gas” hypothesis….

    Lots of attention has been given to the alleged “Greenhouse Effect” over the last few decades. It seems an elegant hypothesis that can explain almost every weather effect that occurs (i.e. droughts, floods, blizzards, warm spells, cold spells, more arctic ice, less arctic ice, shrinking glaciers, etc.)

    However, this hypothesis has a CRITICAL flaw.

    Please allow me to me explain…

    In any proper analysis of energy flow through a complex system it is necessary to stop occasionally to perform a “sanity check”, this indispensable tool is applied by engineering professionals to ascertain if our predictions/calculations still make sense in regard to the system we are analyzing/designing.

    So let’s do a simple sanity check on the “Greenhouse Effect” (moving forward this will be abbreviated as the “GHE” for simplicity).

    To quickly summarize the GHE;

    1) Visible light (aka EMR radiation) is absorbed by the surface of the Earth

    2) The warmed surface of the Earth emits Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) light

    3) This LWIR is absorbed by gases in the atmosphere

    4) These “warmed” gases emit energy back towards the surface of the Earth

    5) And THEREFORE the “GHGs” cause the surface of the Earth to acquire a higher “equilibrium” temperature

    I hope I have captured the essential essence of the GHE with this short summary. Of course, I fully expect some folks to disagree and inform me that I have misunderstood the GHE. So be it, we will deal with that at a future time.

    To describe the flaw in the GHE we first need to conceptualize a convenient bundle of energy that we can follow through the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe system. This bundle of energy needs to be large enough so we can (largely) ignore effects that happen at the atomic level. Also the bundle needs to be small enough so we can track it in a “real time” fashion and determine what happens to the energy.

    For the purposes of this discussion I propose we use 1 milliJoule of energy. This is 1 one-thousandth of a Joule. This should be just the right size for my purpose of demonstrating the flaw in the GHE hypothesis.

    So let’s get to it, here is the sequence of events involved in the GHE;

    1) A bundle (1 mJ) of energy in the form of mostly visible light arrives at a specific location on the Earth’s surface, courtesy of our friendly neighbor the Sun.

    2) Some portion of the bundle is immediately reflected and departs at the speed of light in an opposing direction. I won’t bother to get into an interminable discussion of what the Albedo is since this proof does not require this knowledge. In fact it could be any number above zero and less than or equal to 1 without making any difference.

    3) The remaining portion of the bundle is absorbed by the surface and converted to heat, this is the FIRST warming event (Warming Event #1) caused by our little bundle of energy. And if we know what material (sea water, soil, etc.) absorbs the bundle we can make a pretty good estimate of the temperature increase, but that calculation is not necessary.

    4) Now, several things will happen to this bundle of thermal energy;

    a) It can be conducted to locations below (or adjacent
    to) the surface which are colder.

    b) It can be conducted to a stationary gas molecule in contact with the surface.

    c) It can be convected away by a moving gas molecule that happens to contact the surface while travelling past.

    d) It can be radiated as Infrared Radiation away from the surface.

    It is important to note that in most cases all four of these events will happen in parallel (i.e. at the same time), so the actual Portion Radiated can vary from 0% to 100%.

    5) No matter what happens in step 4, the surface cools (Cooling Event #1) by an amount which corresponds to the loss of of energy at that location. The amount radiated is somewhere between 0% and 100%, leaving our radiated bundle at somewhere between 0 and 1 mJ. Again, if we wanted to calculate the temperature drop associated with the cooling we could use the thermal capacity of the material to make an estimate. It is important to note at this time that this absorption/remission process IS NOT instantaneous; it requires a finite amount of time (Time Delay #1) that is greater than zero.

    6) The radiated energy (something between 0 and 1 mJ) now travels away from the surface at something close to the speed of light. Note that there are a few “flavors” of the speed of light depending on the material our little bundle is travelling through. The fastest flavor is when the light is travelling through a vacuum. When moving through the lower atmosphere the speed is slightly slower.

    7) Our little bundle, speeding happily along and accelerating as the atmosphere gets less dense MAY be absorbed by a GHG. Whoops, that’s inopportune; it was hoping to get to Alpha Centuri before next Tuesday to watch the REAL Miss Universe show (ok a lame joke). The important thing to note is that a finite amount of time (Time Delay #2) has elapsed before the absorption occurs.

    8) Once our bundle of energy is absorbed by the GHG it ceases to exist as IR light and is converted to heat (Warming Event #2). This is our little bundle’s second warming event within a few milliseconds, boy am I proud. Note that with any flavor of the speed of light our bundle can make it to the top of the atmosphere (TOA) in a few milliseconds at most.

    9) Now, of course the same possibilities shown in step #4 may happen at the GHG molecule. Again all four of the possibilities can occur. To speed up this discussion we will assume that 100% of the energy is emitted as IR radiation. So the best case (or worst case if you still believe in the GHE) is that all of our 1 mJ has arrived at the GHG molecule and is going to be radiated away. A couple of important points need to be made here, first something less than 50% of our bundle can hope to head back towards the surface (as fixed by the geometry of a sphere). And secondly there is some finite time delay involved in the absorption/remission event (Time Delay #3).

    10) Once the bundle of energy has been radiated by the GHG molecule the molecule will cool (Cooling Event #2) by an amount commensurate with the energy reradiated. And we could, if we wished, estimate the temperature drop, but it is immaterial.

    11) Once again our little bundle is happily speeding along at the speed of light, but slowing down this time as the atmosphere gets denser. Oh well, zipping along at any flavor of the speed of light still beats a Lamborghini. And of course our little bundle is now no more than half of the man (or woman) that it used to be.

    12) Damn, we flew our bundle right down into the ground (after Time Delay #4); I hate it when that happens. But the good news is we now have GHE induced warming (Warming Event #3). We could again have the Albedo argument (in the IR portion of the spectrum this time), but it does not matter. The IR radiation has ceased to exist and is now heat. So this takes us full circle and we are back at step #3, EXCEPT, AND THIS IS A REALLY BIG EXCEPT STATEMENT, two subsequent warming and two subsequent cooling events with four time delays interspersed have also taken place in the meantime. TO SUM THE FIRST WARMING EVENT WITH THE THIRD WARMING EVENT (both of which happen at the Earth’s surface) CLEARLY VIOLATES THE FIRST LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS. THE GHE DOES NOT AND CANNOT CAUSE ANY “HIGHER EQUILIBRIUM” TEMPERATURE TO EXIST AT THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH (or anyplace else for that matter).

    13) You are free to expand this time series to describe the third, fourth, fifth, etc, etc. sequential warming/cooling events if you wish, but I am extremely proud of my little bundle at this point and do not see the need. It should be noted that as one bundle of energy is absorbed/reemitted multiple times the amount reaching the surface declines as follows, 50%, 25%, 12.5%, 6.25%, 3.125%, 1.5625%, 0.78125%, 0.390625%, 0.1953125%, 0.09765625%. So after as few as ten bounces (taking at maximum perhaps 40 milliseconds if the energy makes it all the way to the TOA) the energy is already less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the initial amount.

    I know lots of folks will disparage this discussion. So I will suggest a few FAQs in advance;

    1) Q: But, but, but… all the other proud energy bundle parents are sending theirs out to do the same thing, so surely the volume of little bundles will make the GHE occur.
    A: NO, all of the little bundles are travelling in parallel and do not sum. If we cannot demonstrate how one bundle of energy can make the GHE real, then we cannot claim that the GHE exists when discussing a “higher equilibrium” temperature

    2) Q: But, but, but… the time delays you suggest are so long that energy is left over at the end of each day, and this is really what the GHE is about.
    A: NO, at the speed of light each bundle could make 10 round trips to TOA and back to the surface in less than about 40 milliseconds. For reference, each day contains about 86 million milliseconds. So no energy is left over at the end of each day. Besides if energy was left over the Earth would slowly heat up 1 little notch at the end of each day and would have melted a long time ago (ignoring for a moment the fact that as the surface warms the emission spectrum shifts to lower (i.e. more transparent) wavelengths).

    3) Q: But, but, but… you assumed the wrong value for the Albedo, Lapse Rate, Amount of GHGs present, etc. etc. etc.
    A: NO, this discussion is about the fact that sequential warming and cooling events occur with finite time delays (more than zero, but otherwise undefined) between each event and the events have finite (greater than zero and less than or equal to one) probabilities of occurrence and therefore CANNOT be summed to yield a “higher equilibrium” temperature.

    4) Q: But, but, but… you have not presented any explanation about how the surface of the Earth reaches its average temperature without the GHE.
    A: Agreed, I have not yet presented any theories about why the temperature of the Earth is what it is. So here I will;

    First, I believe that the application of the Stephan-Boltzmann equation in conjunction with the Kirchhoff radiative equilibrium equation have been performed incorrectly. Yes, I realize that’s a big deal because it’s written in all the climate science textbooks, so IT MUST BE SO. Well, if we never revised textbooks we would be in a bunch of hurt. Just because it is written down in a 20 year old book does not necessarily make it so. And a computer model that implements the assumptions of a hypothesis IS NOT a proof of the hypothesis, regardless of how fast the computer can collide numbers together.

    Second, I suggest that the average temperature of the Earth is determined by the massive thermal capacity of the Oceans and the amount of energy already deposited there (by some undefined prior event(s)). Clearly, the Oceans do not respond to changes in the energy arriving at the surface on a time period of days, or even hundreds of years. A good analogy (as an electrical engineer I must mention this) would be the battery that you (likely) use to start your internal combustion car each day. It has a bunch of energy stored inside (provided by the manufacturer). Each day when you start your car you suck a whole bunch of energy out of it. Then you slowly recharge it (with the alternator) while you drive. So it always has a bunch of energy present, we are missing the fact that the manufacturer filled it up before you bought it. Just like the Ocean was already “charged up” before we invented the GHE.

    5) Q: But, but, but… you are ignoring all the “evidence” of climate change, the shrinking glaciers, the floods, the droughts, the heat waves, etc. etc….
    A: Two Words; CONFIRMATION BIAS. And unlike our current Vice President, I can in fact perform a simple task like counting the number of words in my statements.

    6) Q: But, but, but… you are not a climate scientist that has peer reviewed publications, so we should not listen to you.
    A: Yes, I am not a climate scientist with peer reviewed publications. This is in fact a situation I take some pride in. This discussion relies on a simple flow of logic. Read it at your own risk. Find the flaws. Point them out. Be skeptical.

    In summary, the critical flaw in the GHE hypothesis is that the warming from GHGs happens sequentially AFTER a previous cooling event WITH an intervening time delay, THUS it cannot be added to the initial warming event. And therefore the GHE does not create “extra energy” or “net energy gains”.

    Further, these warming and subsequent cooling events happen so quickly that the GHE has nothing to do with the “equilibrium” temperature present at the surface of the Earth.

    Further, the warming from the GHE dissipates so quickly that it cannot be reasonably expected to influence the massive thermal capacity of the Oceans in any way.

    The “missing heat” is currently travelling as a spherical IR wavefront that is “X+d” light years away from the surface. In this equation X represents the elapsed time since the sunlight arrived (i.e. 100 years for sunlight from 1912) and d represents the slight delay from the GHE and likely averages about 5 milliseconds. “d” is actually a statistical distribution which will of course have a different specific value for each photon travelling through the system. Some will bounce many times and take longer to exit, while others may not bounce at all and exit directly to space

    Ever since the “doctor” that ”perfected” the lobotomy operation won a NobelPrize I have had no desire to win one, so I will not be applying, thank you.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    • Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid says:

      Too many words just to be WRONG.
      You say:
      “TO SUM THE FIRST WARMING EVENT WITH THE THIRD WARMING EVENT (both of which happen at the Earth’s surface) CLEARLY VIOLATES THE FIRST LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS. THE GHE DOES NOT AND CANNOT CAUSE ANY “HIGHER EQUILIBRIUM” TEMPERATURE TO EXIST AT THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH (or anyplace else for that matter)”
      All the process explained by you causes a lower cooling pace of Earth surface and lower atmosphere, and both retain more thermal energy than without (or with less) GHGs. Consequently, global mean temperatures (mean in space and time) RISE.

  40. KevinK says:

    Darn, for some reason (scripting language caused I expect) whenever I post a logic point headed by the number 8 and a right parenthesis it displays as a smiley face. Not my intent of course.

    The logic point between 7) and 9) is supposed to be the numeral 8 with a right parenthesis, not a smiley face.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  41. crakar24 says:

    I am no expert but what KK says makes a bit of sense,

    My take on the 5 scenarios are:

    1) Complete crap, granted aerosols do exist but they are being used as a catch all to explain the flaws in the theory.

    2)Makes the most sense

    3)Its a travesty that Trenberth got his theory so wrong that he was forced to come up with this jibberish.

    4)Agreed, so see point 2)

    5)Agreed (as per KK post) so once again see point 2).

    Cheers

    Crakar24

    PS How is your daughter going Roy, i hope she is recovering well.

  42. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer, I would like to offer my compliments on allowing my recent post which clearly flies smack dab into the face of the GHE proponents.

    I have offered my explanation at other blogs which have ignored it.

    My kudos to you sir for trying to find the truth, even if it whacks you in the face.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  43. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer, I also hope your daughter is recovering well. Our thoughts are with you both.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  44. Ross James says:

    There are 5 possibilities for the recent cessation of warming which as quoted below again.

    1) cooling from anthropogenic aerosols has been cancelling out warming from more greenhouse gases

    2) natural cooling from internal climate fluctuations or the sun is cancelling out the GHG warming

    3) increased ocean mixing is causing the extra energy to be distributed into the deep ocean

    4) the temperature ’sensitivity’ of the climate system is not as large as the IPCC assumes.

    5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG warming theory itself

    It may be simple and time consuming to post a reply but the 3 is the best explanation. This is very simple and for the complexity to justify this reasoning you would have to go with http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2011/

    Simple but under lies complexity of my reasoning. El Ninos increase air temperatures whereas La Ninas sequester heat into the oceans. This process is just beginning to be understood contrary to the throw away line – we know very little of the mechanisms.

    So like as I said, looking at the tail wag (double dip La Nina) does little to support any evidence that climate sensitivity is weak. We must all remember this: global climate is not USA – 6% of globes land surface. A very cold La Nina influence on USA was soon offset by RECORD temperatures in some US states. This variability lends support to an effect of increasing energy budgets and conservation of energy in the day night cycle of suns energy. Thus begins the process where it may appear Global Warming may have taken a holiday. All this talk by Dr Spencer of low climate sensitivity is getting rather repetitive. It is predictable and in itself contains his own confirmation bias.

    On this I basis my option 3 is the root cause. In that respect such as myself I do not support Dr Roy Spencer’s assertion of any low sensitivity proof found. It is simply temporal plateaus in the relentless effect of the increased greenhouse CO2 still overwhelming natural variability.

    I expect the next El Nino could be one of the largest and most profound events in the history of modern instrumental records. It could be so intense that even Dr Christy and Dr Spencer may well revise their climate sensitivity upward.

    For a good article specific to oceanic sequestering of heat goto:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Search-For-Missing-Heat-Confirms-More-Global-Warming-In-The-Pipeline-.html

    Ross J.

  45. Stephen Wilde says:

    KevinK

    A nice light hearted summary explaining the lack of logic that pervades the AGW debacle.

    Great minds clearly think alike because your summary covers a lot of propositions set out in articles written by me (and some others) over recent years.

  46. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of Stephen Wilde at http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/02/ten-years-after-the-warming/#comment-35382 of February 27, 2012 at 10:16 AM.

    My comment to Stephen Wilde “Your expostulations do not make physical sense as arguments about climate change” evoked the following response from him: “Actually, they do, because …”

    Dear Stephen, the reader, in this case I, gets to decide if an item of writing makes sense. The writer, in this case you, has to write so as to persuade the reader that the writing makes sense.

    Having tried several times, I will not try again to get you to see that you need to make your writing far less hand-waving, and your thinking far more physical, as a result of more study of physics, if you want to be taken seriously. Lawyer’s rhetoric does not cut it.

  47. John says:

    The graph shows there’s been no increase in forcing for the past 9 years, except perhaps in the last year.

  48. Stephen Wilde says:

    Well, Christopher, I’ll just have to assume that you don’t want to discuss the points I made so instead you dismiss them on the basis of my background and style.

    So be it.

  49. Christopher Game says:

    Response to the post of Stephen Wilde of 27 February, 2012 at 3:20 AM.

    Dear Stephen, the problem is that you don’t make sense in your “points”. It is not possible to discuss them. Your background is not it; it is your lack of foreground that is the problem.

  50. John says:

    The graph shows there’s been no increase in forcing for the past 9 years, except perhaps in the last year.

    Indeed, the forcing files at RCP Scenario data group show the forcing was 2.15 W/m2 in 2002 and didn’t exceed that until 2010 when it reached 2.16 W/m2.

    Thank you for pointing us to RCP Scenario data group, Dr Spencer.

  51. KevinK says:

    Steven Wilde wrote;

    “A nice light hearted summary explaining the lack of logic that pervades the AGW debacle.”

    Lack of logic indeed it is. And also a wasteful debacle as well (hundreds of billions of rapidly devalued dollars at last count).

    “Damn, a perfectly innocent and elegant Hypothesis ruthlessly murdered by an unruly mob of facts”.

    Paraphrased from a sometimes failing memory, original author unknown by this poster at this time.

    Cheers, Kevin.

    • Daedalus says:

      Kevin,

      May I interrupt your ego-fest to ask a quick question?

      How do you reconcile your personal theory of atmospheric physics with the direct satellite measurements of outgoing radiation ongoing now for over 40 years, which show directly the gaps in the spectrum corresponding to the greenhouse gases?

      Does your theory also explain the more recent studies (e.g. Evan, 2006) directly measuring the increase in radiation at the surface with peaks in the spectrum corresponding to the greenhouse gases?

      Maybe your little packet got together with his friends to screw up the measurements. You think?

      You talk about your theory being “facts” that murdered the greenhouse theory, but the tiny problem remains that your story is directly contradicted by direct measurement.

      D

  52. HR says:

    Roy finishes with

    “…..a future of doom, which curiously seems to be the only future scientists know how to predict.”

    I don’t think there is any reason to be particularly hard on scientists they’re just reflecting the present social malaise. In most fields, political, economic, moral, there is a serious level of uncertainty about the future.

    Well that’s true in the mature, western, industrial (some might say moribund) economies. I’d be curious how the discussion of the future is playing out in places like China, India and Brazil?

  53. Stephen Wilde says:

    “How do you reconcile your personal theory of atmospheric physics with the direct satellite measurements of outgoing radiation ongoing now for over 40 years, which show directly the gaps in the spectrum corresponding to the greenhouse gases? ”

    Easy. The atmosphere expands a bit so that the reduction of density at the surface offsets the thermal effect of a rise in effective radiating height so as to leave surface temperature unchanged but a slight change in atmospheric circulation due to an altered slope for the environmental (not adiabatic) lapse rate.

    Only the sun irradiating the surface alters surface temperature.

    Warmer air doesn’t alter surface temperature. It just alters the effective radiating height.

    Apply the Ideal Gas Law for any thermal phenomena within the atmosphere.

    Only apply the S-B Law from a point outside the atmosphere.

    The effective radiating height has already been affected by atmospheric composition and so cannot be used as the ‘surface’ for the purpose of applying the S-B Law.

    • Daedalus says:

      Stephsn Wilde (and Kevin),

      What you say has no relationship to the issue I raised
      (I meant my comment for Kevin, but it applies to you too).

      If the “green house effec”t is true, then a satellite measuring the outgoing radiation from earth should be able to detect the radiation being blocked by greenhouse gases on the way to space because the absorbtion happens at specific bands in the spectrum. The location and strength of the gaps in the spectrum should correspond to CO2, methane, etc. Furthermore, surface measurements of incoming radiation should see peaks in the spectrum corresponding to that ” extra radiation” returning (regardless of the surface temperature). Moreover, these peaks and gaps should be getting larger since the CO2 concentration is going up. So of course, climate scientists have done these measurements, and observed exactly what is consistent with the GHE theory.

      This is how science is done. Theories are proposed, implications of the theory are discoverd, and when possible, experiments are set up to test the theory. When the experiements disagree, a new theory is needed. Any new theory must also explain all confirmed experiments already done. The GOSAT (ibuki) satellite is bringing in more data as we speak, and if they find observations that contradict GHE, it would be a major scientific eruption (recall what happened when data from the LHC suggested that
      particles might have been travelling faster than light).

      So, if the GHE is wrong as Kevin K claims, then any alternate theory must explain the radiative signature directly measured at the surface and from space. You can’t do that by vague statements about the atmosphere or generic energy bundles, because the spectral signature of the GHE shows the specific effect of CO2, CH4, etc.

      So I’ll ask again more specifically. How does the Kevin
      and Christopher theory explain changes in the spectrum
      of outgoing radiation at around wavenumber 700 and 1300
      over the last 40 years, but very little change in other
      parts of the spctrum?

      I thought C. Gaine was being a bit harsh on you, but I am
      beginning to see why.

  54. Stephen Wilde says:

    It isn’t the GHE effect that is wrong but the description of the system response to it.

    One can have GHGs blocking exit of energy from the system such that energy in the air increases but what happens then?

    AGW theory supposes that the energy in the air from more GHGs warms the surface.

    However, if one applies the Ideal Gas Law the surface does not get warmer. Additional energy in the air only makes the air warmer so the air expands which makes the density at the surface lower.

    That lower density at the surface prevents the surface from getting any warmer because that reduction in density is proportionate to the warming of the air.

    So the surface stays the same temperature despite more GHGs but the air gets warmer and expands which raises the effective radiating height to expel that energy out to space rather than back to the surface.

    Those are not ‘vague statements’, they describe how the Ideal Gas Law works in practice.

    • Daedalus says:

      Stephen,

      You are still flailing. There are direct measurements of the increase in incoming radiation at the surface at the wavelengths corresponding to the greenhouse effect. You can’t explain that radiation increase away by invoking the Ideal Gas Law “to expel that energy out to space rather than back to the surface”. Again, we have satellites measuring the spectrum of the energy being “expelled out to space”, and the amount going is reduced by the GHE in a very particular way.

      Where in your Ideal Gas Law argument do we get the gaps in the radiation spectrum at 700 and 1300?

  55. Christopher Game says:

    Responding to the post of Daedalus of February 29, 2012 at 7:52 AM.

    Daedalus writes: “How does the Kevin and Christopher theory explain changes …”

    Christopher responds: Christopher does not think he offered a theory. He is guessing that Daedalus’ sentence as just quoted is a typo for ‘How does the Kevin and [Stephen] theory explain changes …’?

  56. John says:

    There are 5 possibilities for the recent cessation of warming which are most discussed:

    1) cooling from anthropogenic aerosols has been cancelling out warming from more greenhouse gases

    Actually, if you look at the component forcings in the RCP6 forcing file which is the source of data for Roy’s graph, you’ll see that virtually all the reduced forcing since 2002 came from volcanic aerosols which caused a reduction in forcing of 0.23 W/m2 which is enough to counteract 8 years of CO2 increase.

    So there is another possibility, measured presumably, for the recent cessation of warming:

    6) the (presumably measured) reduction in forcing from an increase in volcanic aerosols.

    That’s what the RCP6 forcing file shows anyway.

  57. Daedalus says:

    Correct, sorry.

  58. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Where in your Ideal Gas Law argument do we get the gaps in the radiation spectrum at 700 and 1300?”

    The gaps simply make no difference. You just get an adjustment of the other wavelengths for a zero net effect.

    The Ideal Gas Law is as it is. It isn’t invalidated or falsified by variations in the mix of wavelengths.

    PV = nRT

    That is established physics and it is that which should be applied to ascertain a surface temperature below an atmosphere NOT the Stephan-Boltzmann Law.

    • Daedalus says:

      Steven says, “The gaps simply make no difference. You just get an adjustment of the other wavelengths for a zero net effect.”

      Again, the direct measurements do not agree with your “theory”. The anomalies in the spectrum are growing with the concentration of C02 and methane in the atmosphere. Meanwhile the rest of the spectrum is stable. Your statement, which I am pretty sure you just made up, is in direct contradiction to reality in addition to being physically nonsensical. By what mechanism does radiation from one wavelength decide it needs to “adjust”? Is this
      the Steven-Boltzman law I missed somehow?

      But I am starting to get the picture of your argumentative style. You think you understand the Ideal Gas Law, and you think that you can explain everything by applying it qualitatively.

      Studying atmospheric physics while ignoring radiation is a fool’s errand. Apparently trying to educate you is too.

  59. Sun Spot says:

    Barry B. should’nt that be
    http://BBicMoreJunkScience.com ??

  60. KevinK said on February 27, 2012 at 7:39 PM:

    (To make a long story short, change in greenhouse gases does not change incoming heat)

    What I did not notice being handled: Change in greenhouse gases changing the percentage of outgoing from the surface being redirected back to the surface, so as to result in a change of surface radiation income.

    I think the question is a matter of *how much* or *how little* any given increase of CO2 warms the surface temperature.

    Much of the debate there is on magnitude of feedbacks that nature adds to this, and direction of one of them
    (the cloud albedo feedback).

  61. KevinK says:

    Daedalus says;

    “How do you reconcile your personal theory of atmospheric physics with the direct satellite measurements of outgoing radiation ongoing now for over 40 years, which show directly the gaps in the spectrum corresponding to the greenhouse gases?”

    D, with respect, my analysis of energy flow through the system freely admits that there are portions of the spectrum where absorptions and remission of energy occurs. Yes indeed IT OCCURS, there, I admitted it!

    However that in no way alters my contentions that these absorptions/remissions are;

    1) Not a source of “new energy” or “extra energy” entering, nor “net energy gains” occurring within the Sun/Earth/Atmosphere/Universe System.

    And

    2) Only act to DELAY the flow of energy through the system. Please note that energy maybe delayed as it travels through a system by being forced to make multiple passes, and/or by being slowed down. I posit that this additional delay is miniscule when compared to the length of each day.

    Rather than disparage my analysis by quoting recent studies, maybe you could point out a step where I have made a mistake ?

    As Mr. Wilde wrote;

    “It isn’t the GHE effect that is wrong but the description of the system response to it.”

    EXACTLY….. Yes the GHE exists, but it does not cause a “higher equilibrium temperature”, merely a delay to the energy flowing through the system. Please note that even if all of the LWIR energy leaving the surface is totally blocked and the surface warms the emission spectrum will shift to a warmer (lower wavelength) and radiate more effectively to space. That’s the funny thing about heat, it ALWAYS finds a way to flow to a colder place.

    The problem with the GHE hypothesis is an accounting problem, not a science problem. The energy returning to the surface has been preceded by an equivalent cooling event. And it is delayed as it propagates through the system. For either one of these reasons YOU CANNOT ADD THEM together and get a correct answer. Yes indeed, you can add them together and get an answer, but it is incorrect.

    I ask again, would you add the sunlight from Monday to the sunlight from Tuesday and claim that the sunlight on Wednesday will be twice as bright????? The flaw in the GHE hypothesis is exactly the same, except it happens over time spans of tens of milliseconds instead of millions of milliseconds.

    Boy, for a branch of science that has had such a hard time reconciling theory with observations over all these several decades I would think some folks would be more open to an outside opinion.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  62. Ross James said on February 27, 2012 at 9:56 PM in part:

    (I want to add my commentary, even if I hardly remember his)

    > There are 5 possibilities for the recent cessation of
    > warming which as quoted below again.

    > 1) cooling from anthropogenic aerosols has been
    > cancelling out warming from more greenhouse gases

    I largely agree with “catch-all”, and I suspect biased-upward reportings of determinations of increase of aerosol cooling. (For that matter, by aerosols that need regulations for other reasons, such as being corrosive and acidic.)

    > 2) natural cooling from internal climate fluctuations or > the sun is cancelling out the GHG warming

    I think that is a major factor, given the ~64 year periodic component in graphs of global HadCRUT3.

    > 3) increased ocean mixing is causing the extra energy to > be distributed into the deep ocean

    I see this claim is just-enough tallish to call for an experiment that can largely confirm or refute it before it comes into serious consideration, especially when tax dollars and economy-hindering regulations & legislations & treaties are at stake.
    Maybe more than one experiment, maybe done by experimenters very independent of each other.

    > 4) the temperature ’sensitivity’ of the climate system is > not as large as the IPCC assumes.

    I think this is highly likely, and also highly connected with item 2). Here, I see debate between largely-mutually-exclusive factors (high natural cycle influence vs. high climate sensitivity to factors other than natural cycles) for explaining the temperature increase and unsteadyness thereof after 1880 or 1900 or whenever around that far back.

    > 5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG
    > warming theory itself

    I strongly doubt that. What I would doubt is *how much* of the warming predicted by advocates of its existence explained the warmup from ~1973 to ~1995, and *how much more* we will get in the next 100 years.
    I say likely around or less than half, fair chance 1/3, maybe 1/4, but not zero.

  63. KevinK says:

    Oh, and regarding that ego-fest thingie, I have never claimed the ability to predict the weather a century from now. That seems to be a “climate science” specific thingie.

    And as an engineer, my final peer-review is if Mother Nature allows my design to work as predicted. Several of the designs I have worked on are currently orbiting the Earth and sending back high resolution color images, so I guess my co-workers and I passed Mother Nature’s Peer Review.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  64. crakar24 says:

    Daedalus @ 515pm,

    When you say

    “The anomalies in the spectrum are growing with the concentration of C02 and methane in the atmosphere. Meanwhile the rest of the spectrum is stable. ”

    Are you talking about the entire IR spectrum or simply the very small part of the spectrum that reacts with GHG,s?

    Cheers

    Crakar

  65. Stephen Wilde says:

    There is a point about the comments from Daedalus that needs to be brought out.

    CO2 has enhanced capabilities for both absorption AND emission and the wavelengths differ.

    He mentions CO2 absorption as blocking certain outgoing wavelengths but ignores the CO2 emissions that increase other outgoing wavelengths.

    He mentions CO2 emissions as sending more energy back to the surface but ignores CO2 absorption of other downward wavelengths.

    He just uses the two positive parts of the radiative interactions and ignores the two negative parts in an abuse of accounting procedures.

    More CO2 does involve more of both blocking and emission but the mere observation of those very narrow blocked wavelengths tells us nothing about the overall net position.

    What does tell us about the overall net position is the failure of the world to continue warming and the fact of the Ideal Gas Law which sees no need to include the radiative characteristics of GHGs or GHG quantities to be valid.

    If Daedalus’s contentions were correct the Ideal Gas Law would have been invalidated long ago.

  66. Dave says:

    An interesting theory by KevinK, and I specially agree with the point made on the time delay argument.
    What do you think about the following;

    If an increase of the GHG concentration causes more “bounces” of “packages” before the same amount of energy is emitted away from the earth-atmosphere system, would you agree that it may still result in an increased temperature of the system (Not necessarily an equilibrium temperature – which depends on a time frame anyway), since other heat transfer events occur on the way (convention/conduction).
    I suppose compared to radiation, these are much slower in execution and so the energy is stored away somewhere (surface/water) for some period of time (seconds?days? years?).

    What are your thoughts on this point?

  67. Stephen Wilde says:

    A point about Kevin’s comments.

    A time delay would normally be sufficient to raise equilibrium temperature because more energy stays in the system for longer but that need be nothing to do with GHGs or atmospheric composition.

    The Ideal Gas Law allows for just such a delay. Indeed it is a delay caused by the effect of pressure and atmospheric mass/density at the surface which is at the heart of the IGL. The denser the molecules at the surface the higher the temperature that will be achieved for a given pressure and solar input.

    PV = nRT

    However the IGL contains no provision for the radiative consequences of GHGs. Therefore, if GHGs were at all relevant the IGL would not be valid.

    Instead, what happens is that more GHGs add energy but to the air alone, the air expands so that density at the surface is reduced and then as per the IGL there is enough cooling at the surface to avoid the increased energy in the air having any warming effect on the surface.

    Warmer air but no warming of the surface.

    THe delay in the system is caused by the entire mass of the atmosphere and not by the radiative characteristics of GHGs.

  68. richard verney says:

    Possibility 3 has a number of problems and raises a significant issue.

    First, why is this a factor now and not during the 1980s to 2000 warming? What process has brought it into play now, and not previously?

    Second, if there is such mixing, then the possibility exists that the mixing process was such that bewteen 1980s to 2000, the oceans were simply giving up heat and this is the cause of the observed warming (or much of that warming) during that period.

    Third, the claim relies upon the ocean being heated and it is not clear how DWLWIR can, in view of its wavelength, heat the ocean. The optical absorption of LWIR in water is such that 20% of all DWLWIR is fully absorbed within 1 micron and 60% of all DWLWIR within the first 4 microns of the ocean. Given that DWLWIR is not acting exclusively vertially, but has a significant incident angle componet, it is easy to see that the theoretical optical absorption is such that there would be so much energy going into the first 1 or 2 microns that there should be significant evaporation (leading eventually to rainfall) that is not being observed. The fact that we are not observing this rainfall suggests that there is a problem with the way DWLWIR impacts over oceans (the issue not arising over solid land which does not evaporate) and is perhaps simply incapable of imparting any heat in the ocean.

    Fourth, if the heat is being sequested into the deep ocean, then there may be no catastrophic issue and particularly, perhaps no short term problem. If the heat is effectively being locked away in the deep ocean then there may be no problem at all.

  69. richard verney says:

    Further to my recent comment regarding the heating of the oceans, perhaps I should have raised another issue of DWLWIR acting over the oceans which is different to that over land.

    Given the angle of incidence, how much DWLWIR is simply reflected off the oceans? If a significant proportion of DWLWIR is simply reflected by the oceans perhaps the K&T energy diagram is not properly representing the position with respect to the oceans.

  70. richard verney says:

    The 5 possibilities inter-relate quite substantially. For example, if 2 explains matters, it almosts certainly follows that the sensitivity to CO2 has been over assessed (possibility 4).

    As you say, possibility 1 is an open ended fudge factor.

    I consider that there are difficulties with this since aerosol emissions during the past 10 to 15 years have not risen dramatically and they are lower than back in the late 1970s to mid 1990s.

    I suspect that if models were tuned for aerosol sensitivity based upon the period 2000 to 2011, then they would underestimate the warming during the 1980s.

    I suspect that the explanation for the lack of warming during the past 10 to 15 years, lies in a combination of possibilities 2 to 5 and by implication I suspect that the most significant player in the 1980s to 2000 warming was natural causes/variation.

  71. The prolong solar minimum will be proven to be the correct cause for climate change, and this will happen before this decade ends.

  72. Of the five reasons Dr. Spencer, has shown as possible causes for the cessation of warming, 1 and 3 are BS.

    While 2,4, and 5 are correct. With 2 leading the way.

    Also there has been another study that shows there has been NO CHANGE in the amount of out going long wave radiation emitted by earth to space since 1970. That study alone proves the CO2 global warming theory is WRONG.

    Expect global cooling this decade if avg. solar flux readings stay 100 or less for the balance of the decade.

  73. KevinK says:

    Dave says;

    “What are your thoughts on this point?”

    My thoughts (assuming this was directed to everybody) are that I may be off by one or perhaps two, and posibly even (but unlikely) three orders of magnitude on my esstimates of the time delay as “backradiation” bounces through the system.

    BUT, tens of milliseconds multiplied by my possible “error bars” (10x, 100x or as a worst case 1000x) still delays the energy by maybe a maximum of 100 msec * 1000x which equals 100 seconds = approx 1 minute. There seems a lot more minutes in a day than ONE.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  74. BenAW says:

    Assuming CO2 IS able to warm the atmosphere a little, how can the atmosphere warm the oceans, knowing the heat capacity of the whole atmosphere is equal to ~3,2 METER of ocean water????

  75. sillyfilly says:

    Roy,

    With no disrespect, I cant see how you can substantiate this “You cannot simply say a lack of warming in 10 years is not that unusual, and that there have been previous 10-year periods without warming, too. No, we are supposedly in uncharted territory with a maximum in radiative forcing of the climate system. One cannot compare on an equal basis the last 10 years with any previous decades without warming.”

    Here is a trend map of Hadcrut3gl data. it clearly shows extensive periods where global temps have been stagnant or cooling for decades.

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1860/to:1880/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1881/to:1909/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1910/to:1940/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1941/to:1974/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:13/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1975/to:1998/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1999/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1975/to:2009/trend

    Indeed for all the periods of accelerated warming as shown in the record, there have followed periods of cooling, but in themselves these cooling periods are gradually becoming less significant or even levelling out as we see currently.

    I’d value your input and comment.

  76. R. Gates says:

    When looking at ocean heat content, which is he best metric for seeing what is happening with Earth’s energy balance, as it is the largest energy repository on the planet, we see the past decade saw the largest increase of any in the past 40. The Earth did warm greatly this past decade, as its largest energy storage battery gained at least 10 x 10^22 Joules of energy in the top 2000 meters.

  77. KevinK says:

    Rafael Molina Navas wrote (in part);

    “Too many words just to be WRONG.”

    With respect good sir, can you point out a flaw in my analysis ?

    Mr. Navas also wrote;

    “All the process explained by you causes a lower cooling pace of Earth surface and lower atmosphere, and both retain more thermal energy than without (or with less) GHGs. Consequently, global mean temperatures (mean in space and time) RISE.”

    If you read my analysis again you will see that the GHE only DELAYS the flow of heat, it DOES NOT “lower the pace of cooling”. This delay is on the order of tens of milliseconds. A delay is not always caused by something propagating at a lower speed (i.e. a “lower cooling pace”). Something making multiple trips through a system will result in a delay that looks alot like something propagating at a slower speed (pace, rate, velocity, etc.).

    I ask again; would you add the sunlight from Monday to the sunlight from Tuesday and claim that the sunlight on Wednesday will be twice as bright???? If you accept the accounting methods used in the climate science community the GHE can be used to “prove” this concept.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  78. J. Seifert says:

    To Roy:

    The correct answer is # 5.!
    No more warming is possible in the 21. Century….
    because we reached the top of the flagpool.. the
    present temp. plateau since 2001.

    Temps will stay flat with a slight decline downward
    towards 2040 and will/must/have to go down thereafter
    toward the coming LIA of the 25. century…..

    This is the one and only real prediction, which is/cannot
    be refuted….
    Details: Booklet ISBN 978-3-86805-604-4 on the German
    Amazon.de

    The tipping point question is interesting as well:
    …..5 years is a time span long enough… we will
    all be time witness…
    JS, the author

  79. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Roy, your 5 points are premised on the idea that Warming has stopped, at which point one would ask ‘Warming of what?’ Warming of the Earth. Or just warming of that small part of it we live in called the atmosphere. See my comments below about your option 3.

    #1 We don’t know the magnitude of the Aerosol cooling effect is although there are various suggestions that it is significant. Unfortunately we don’t yet have a satellite up that can supply the raw data on Aerosol quantities needed to determine this. But it must have increased to some extent with the huge increases in air pollution being generated in Asia. So #1 is a factor.

    #2 is a sort of cop-out explanation since it doesn’t dig deeper into what variations and what is meant by ‘internal’

    #3 is the very strong candidate for most of the explanation. “The 3rd possibility (increased ocean mixing) is one of the more legitimate possibilities, at least theoretically. ” Its not just theoretical. It is being observed. And its not so much mixing to the deep ocean as it is mixing between the surface layers and the middle layers of the ocean. See this animation at NODC of heat content in the ocean http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ and note particularly frames 1 & 2. Heat has been drawn down below the surface levels to the middle layers, keeping the surface layers cooler and thus holding down atmospheric warming. I also have a post on this here http://www.skepticalscience.com/Breaking_News_earth_still_warming.html At its simplest, warming hasn’t stopped at all. It is just happening somewhere else at the moment. And as highlighted in Meehl et al 2011, Climate Models predict the occurance of periods like this, calling them Hiatus Periods. When you look at the rate at which heat is accumulation from the NODC data, it is virtually unchanged. No cooling whatsoever. What has changed is WHERE the heat is going.

    #4 isn’t a very sensible supposition. Not because of what Climate Senstitivity might be, but the notion that Climate Sensitivity can somehow fluctuate around to cause variations. CS is related to the longer term response of the climate, not short term events like a single decade.

    #5 is virtually impossible. Unless you can show that all those 1000′s of physicists who work in spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer Analysis are all totally wrong, the GH effects of the different gases are understood in exquisite accuracy. And these effects don’t just turn on and off suddenly. So what drives things like this current hiatus period must be driven by other factors. And as I point out, the explanation, based on the evidence appears to be #3 with a bit of #1.

  80. Glenn Tamblyn says:

    Roy. There is a central fallacy in the way you are framing this question. And that is ‘what is the Climate?’. By regarding the Climate as being essentially just the warming of the atmosphere you ignore the other components of the system. Rather Climate is the interplay between 4 components – Air, Land, Cryospher & Oceans. All 4 of these components can take up or release heat.

    If all that is occurring is heat transfers between these 4 components, then everything is just internal variability.

    However, if there is heat accumulation or loss across the sum of all 4 components then this must be occuring due to some external factor such as the Earth’s energy balance with the Sun & Space.

    So the central question is how do we determine whether the Climate as a whole – all 4 components – is changing or not?

    We would need to sum all 4 components. Air temps did rise but have levelled off in the last decade so no heat acccumulation there. Ice is still melting – 500 Billion tonnes a year – so heat is accumulating there. I don’t have data for the Land. But the data for the oceans says they are still warming, still accumulating heat – see the NODC data I referenced in my previous comment. And they are so much larger a repository for this extra heat, dwarfing the other 3 parts of the system that there is no other source of energy available on the planet to supply it – Geothermal heat is only 1/3rd the size required.

    So, whether or not the changes we are seeing in the Atmosphere may be in part internal heat transfers between the 4 climate components, the change in total heat content for the entire climate system simply cannot be explained by any sort of internal variability argument.

    It is a physical impossibility

    The only viable explanation for the observed changes is something altering the Earths radiative energy balance with the Sun & Space. That is the only physically possible explanation.

    And since the total heat content is rising continually, the Sun cannot be the cause of the imbalance because it has if anything been cooling slightly over the last 1/2 century.

    These leaves only 1 possible explanation standing. Something that is altering the energy flow from Earth out to Space.

    Looking just at Air temperatures and conjecturing what might be causing them to change is like looking at the tip of a Dog’s Tail and trying to understand what the Dog is doing. To understand the Dog we have to look at the whole Dog, not just it’s Tail.

    The Ocean Heat Content data really is the Smoking Gun as far as evidence about Climate Change is concerned.

    Arguments like Roys are based on just looking at a small part of the climate system (the Air accounts for only 3% of the added heat due to AGW) and not asking whether the other internal parts of the climate are changing to cause the Air to warm, or whether all the components are changing together due to an external source of heating.

  81. Stephen Wilde says:

    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/10/update-and-changes-to-nodc-ocean-heat.html

    Ocean heat content stopped rising around 2003.

    The increase in ocean heat content during the late 20th was due to lower global cloudiness and mre solar energy getting into the oceans.

    Nothing to do with CO2.

    Cloudiness is now increasing and less energy is getting into the oceans.

    There seems to be a link between global cloudiness and the level of solar activity.

  82. Ned Nikolov says:

    Roy,

    If you read carefully our online paper/poster “Unified Theory of Climate”, you’d figure out what is the most plausible cause for the lack of warming over the past 13 years. It is the increase in global cloud cover (specifically low-level clouds) and the associated rise of planetary albedo that stopped the warming! This is clearly illustrated in our Fig. 7 that uses satellite temperature records and recent cloud cover data retrieved by a team of Japanese researches (published in JGR last year).

    The comparison of the two series clearly show that cloud dynamics has been controlling global temperature changes throughout the whole satellite record since 1980. Hence we can surmise that the entire warming since 1650 has been a result of declining clod cover. This decline in the order of 1-2% has caused a reduction in planetary albedo of about 1.2%, which is sufficient to explain the 1.2C increase in global temperature since the Little Ice Age. Yes, Earth’s climate sensitivity is about -1C per 1% albedo change! This can be inferred from Equations 7 & 8 in our paper.

    Cloud formation, on the other hand, is affected by solar magnetic activity through mechanisms (such as GCR) that are not yet fully understood. Solar activity has been declining for 15 years now, and NASA astrophysicists predict no recovery over the next solar cycle 25… So, we are in for a period of a prolong cooling, which will become unequivocal over the next 5 years. The negative temperature trend is already evident in the satellite record starting from 2002 on. In my opinion, this cooling will likely continue for several decades if not centuries!

    It’s amazing to see how seasoned scientists keep running in dead-ended circles in their efforts to explain observed climate dynamics, simply because they all operate in the same false paradigm.

    Of the 5 possibilities you listed above, only the last one is correct:

    5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG warming theory itself

    What’s wrong is explained in our recent papers:

    http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/utc_blog_reply_part-1.pdf

    http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/unified_theory_of_climate_poster_nikolov_zeller.pdf

  83. Eric Barnes says:

    But the water vapor is going to be slightly cooler, and there will be more of it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Heat_of_Vaporization_Water.png

    Wouldn’t this help account for moderated global high temperatures and elevated global nighttime temps as well? This is describe in the temperature sets. This would seem a good explanation to me without all the alarmism.

  84. Eric Barnes says:

    Sorry, my reply was in response to …

    Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
    February 27, 2012 at 6:19 AM
    "There is a misconception here, Stephen. Let’s say the lower atmosphere warms over the whole Earth. While it is true that the atmosphere expands upward (constant pressure surfaces are elevated) and that the lower atmosphere becomes less dense, the surface pressure nevertheless remains the same, because surface pressure represents the total weight of the atmosphere, which does not change with increasing temperature.

    But the water vapor is going to be slightly cooler, and there will be more of it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Heat_of_Vaporization_Water.png

    Wouldn’t this help account for moderated global high temperatures and elevated global nighttime temps as well? This is described in the temperature sets.
    This would seem a good explanation to me without all the alarmism.
    Also, as the tropospheric volume increases shouldn’t it also effectively cool the contents of that space? This is how a refrigerator works isn’t it? There is no extra energy input.
    It’s not clear to me why this added CO2 should cause any extra heating of the surface.

    Thanks

  85. Eddie says:

    > Instead, there probably will be a tipping point (sooner than
    > later) in popular perception when the public and Congress
    > decide the jig is up, and they are no longer interested in
    > hearing how we ‘might’ be headed for Armageddon.

    You better double check these expectations based on your psychological framing effects … this most recent winter in Chicago just about everyone and their brother was calling for a very cold and snowy winter (i.e, “no one will want to live in Chicago after the winter of 2011-2012″) but we all know now that a virtual “polar opposite” observation of winter took place. Now, here in the first half of March 2012, layer in 4 sequential days (and counting) of record smashing heat (80°F + for St. Patrick’s day in Chicago where they dye the river green?) Yeah right, sure, aha, this is all just some sort of natural decadal cycle due to aerosols or something like that, it couldn’t possibly be linked to anthropogenic forcing. Chicago is going to set a few more warm weather records between this weekend and Tuesday most likely. But, I’m sure Dr. Spencer that you’ll come up with some sort of “natural” explanation for such a truly “one for the ages” record smashing March heat wave in Chicago (based on 142 years of record keeping at Midway, O’Hare etc.).

  86. Stephen Wilde says:

    I just noticed this:

    “Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. says:
    February 27, 2012 at 6:19 AM
    “There is a misconception here, Stephen. Let’s say the lower atmosphere warms over the whole Earth. While it is true that the atmosphere expands upward (constant pressure surfaces are elevated) and that the lower atmosphere becomes less dense, the surface pressure nevertheless remains the same, because surface pressure represents the total weight of the atmosphere, which does not change with increasing temperature.”

    That comment by Roy nicely illustrates where I think he is going wrong.

    The heating at the surface is not directly a consequence of pressure.

    Such heating arises because the molecules are closest together at the surface (due to pressure) and so when irradiated by solar energy more heat is generated because there are more interactions per unit of volume with the incoming radiation.

    So if the atmosphere expands pressure does of course stay the same but the number of molecules per unit of volume decreases, there are less interactions with solar irradiation per unit of volume and the heat generated at the surface declines.

    The net effect is to offset the warming of the surface that one would otherwise have expected beneath a warmer atmosphere.

    The air has more energy in it and warms but the surface temperature does not increase. Instead the lapse rate changes slightly to accommodate the redistribution of the available energy.

    GHGs effect a redistribution and not an increase in surface temperature or system energy content.

    That redistribution accelerates the flow of energy to space equally as much as the GHGs decelerate the flow of energy through the air for a zero net effect.